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Mid-Life Blues; Lets Go Riding, first up Australia.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Happyidiot, Mar 6, 2017.

  1. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Hi JJ,
    Aiming to arrive in Calgary or Winnipeg early May 2018 ride the bicycles west, a bit of ferry catching to Vancouver Island & then back to the mainland.

    Riding south down the west coast possibly to Baja Mexico but we will see. In the past I’ve found we have had enough pedalling after about 4 months, 4000kms this will be another 2 months/2000kms over and above our previous PB.

    Hey if Jenny isn’t up for it (read knees aren’t ready) we may do it on a Motorbike or in a Van. Still in the early-mid planning stages.

    Will
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  2. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Some information updates on other Motorcycle Travellers we met on the road.

    348EC058-49BC-4836-A86C-9B0B91195213.jpeg
    Remember Adriano & Clariana from Brazil (blogging on Facebook as Ruta Roots) who we first saw in the Northern Territory & cross paths with on a couple of other occasions.

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    They finally got the Carby on the KLR650 sorted, stayed the night at the "THB" in Mandurah with us and recently completed their ride safely back in Sydney. Where they plan to work, earn some more cash then continue on their travels.

    A000C038-A237-4588-91C7-D884D0A2A8F2.jpeg
    Then there was Shayne (also blogging on FB as A Lap Around The Block) we met him south of Halls Creek, Western Australia. You may recall we actually know each other through "6 degrees of separation".

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    Sadly he & his Royal Enfield 500 were taken out by an Emu in Outback Queensland nearly 2 weeks ago, the resulting crash was pretty bad. The RE500 sustained quite a bit of damage, bent forks etc. Shayne injured his hand but it will mend ok, he recently flew back to Perth. The Royal Enfield is on a Truck somewhere still in transit. (Shayne's photo from Facebook).
    .
  3. fozrunner

    fozrunner Been here awhile

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    I lived in Armidale NSW for five years, I was RBT'd about 15 times. I've lived in Canada most of my life and have been rbt'd here only once, around Christmas party time!
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  4. fozrunner

    fozrunner Been here awhile

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    Most cyclist's will ride from West to East in Canada, partly because it"s more downhill after you get through the Rockies, but mostly because the westerly winds can be pretty daunting. In early May western Canada can be quite cool at night (snow is still a possibility)-are you planning on camping or finding Warmshowers accommodation?


    Thanks for the great ride report! Hope to get around Oz on our bikes one day (motor not push!). If you come through Lethbridge (and we are here) we could probably find a place to put you up.

    Cheers, Bob


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  5. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Thanks Bob for the info, it’s now late here & I’m nearly out of battery on my iPad, I’ll have to get back to you about this. Will
  6. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Hi again Bob, firstly thank you for your support & advice. No one likes headwinds, it doesn’t really matter what the mode of transport is. Though on the bicycle they really suck big time.
    The problem here is we would like to ride a bit of Southern Canada before heading south down the west coast. The Pacific Cycling Route is rumoured to be one of the best in the world ! Reasonably easy, spectacular views, great camping, nice people, etc.

    We're not very good at back tracking so really want to start at point A & finish at point B. I'll take on board the cold nights, sounds like we'll be avoiding the tent for the first 4-6 weeks. We are Warmshowers Members & have hosted quite a lot of travelling cyclists & the odd motorcyclist (like the Brazilian's). As for headwinds if they get too bad then I guess we'll have to "cheat" & catch a Bus or Train. Hills/Mountains always come to an end eventually, so not overly concerned about them. Well that’s until you are actually on them :-)

    Anyway it’s a rough plan for now & we will never be perfectly ready for the trip, once our extended USA visas are sorted out we will push the button & book our one way flights.

    Both Motorbikes & Bicycles are supreme ways to travel, just one is slower but you tend to actually see more & get off the roads more often. If you have time Bicycles are a great option & they’re easier to transport internationally then the Motorbikes. Anyway this is a Motorbike site so enough of the deadly treadly talk, don’t plan on selling up the Motorbikes anytime soon.

    All the best, Will
  7. fozrunner

    fozrunner Been here awhile

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    The local cycle club here is called Headwinds! for a good reason. Although you never know you could just luck out and get a calm week. I've had a few friends start from here and cycle to BC, some made it, others hit chinook winds and gave in and found transport through the pass. I was also a cyclist (albeit triathlon TT and mostly MB) but I could bail on the really windy days. When it's blowing 50k gusting to 80 (which happens quite regularly), it's not much fun being on a push bike or a motorbike. As far as weather goes, you never know what you will get, but consider that our typical summer day is pretty similar to Brisbane (and possibly Perth, never been there in July) in the winter. Nightime 5-7C, days 19-23C. But it can vary wildly, tis summer we had a record number of days over 30C.

    If you're considering motorbikes, I wouldn't ship your bikes but possibly buy and sell over here.

    There are some great places to see in Canada before heading on the coastal highway. I may get some flack from locals, but there really isn't a lot too see from Winnipeg through to Calgary.

    As you suss out your plans feel free to pm me if you want some input.

    Cheers, Bob
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  8. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Ok thanks for the info Bob, sounds like we would be better off flying into Calgary. You are freaking me out a bit with your description of the wind.

    I think you are right with buying a vehicle/bike over there then on selling it at the end. It makes a lot of sense. Once our plans firm up I’ll PM you.

    Best Regards Will.
  9. just jeff

    just jeff Long timer

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    Don't let Bob scare you too much. The area from Lethbridge west to Lundbrec Falls is open terrain/foothills which can be very windy like Bob described but as you head just a bit more west you enter the Rocky Mountains and the wind usually tapers off considerably. The riding to the West is amazing. Now my point of view is from being a motorcyclist and if you are on pushbikes the wind is a much bigger consideration but the problem area is pretty localized. Points of interest in the area, Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump historic site, Frank Slide where half a mountain fell on a town.
    I live in Lac La Biche now, 220kmN.E. of Edmonton but I grew up in Medicine Hat, 150km East of Lethbridge. The wind was much milder in Medicine Hat than the extremes of Lethbridge. Of course like Bob mentioned there is not much to see from Lethbridge East to Winnipeg Manitoba. Hundreds of miles of mostly flat grassland and wheat farms. For reference Winnipeg to Lethbridge is over 1200km. Then to Lundbrec falls is only 110km more.
    JJ
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  10. Shaggie

    Shaggie Unseen University Supporter

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    Well done Will and Jen

    It's been great entertainment for all of us subscribers.

    Thanks and looking forward to your next adventure.

    Best wishes

    Shane
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  11. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    More great info JJ, thanks. This trip is going to be a "must do" for us. I fear that now (well 2018) will be our only window of opportunity, to make it happen.
    We’re going to test out Jenny’s knees on a 2-4 week cycle trip in Western Australia's South West in January. If they are up for it then we will be good to go on the Bicycles. If not we are planning on a Motorbike, most likely 2 up.

    As part of out research towards the trip here is a excerp from an email we recently received from our Canadian cycling Friend, Art.
    "I would suggest starting in Calgary Alberta and going NW thru Banff and Jasper National Park in Alberta. You could continue NW to Prince Rupert British Columbia (BC) on the coast. Then hop on a ferry and travel to Port Hardy on the northern tip of Vancouver Island, then ride south on the island to Victoria before getting back on the mainland and going down the USA west coast to Baja."
    How does this route sound to you Jeff ? Hope you don’t mind if we contact you once we get over your way :-)

    Best Regards Will.
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  12. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Good on you Shane, great to have you along & thanks for all your positive comments & advice. Never did make it to Pellegrini when we were in Melbourne (to tied up doing the family thing) but have tucked it away in the memory banks for the next time we are over there :-)
    Will
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  13. Kiwi-Alan

    Kiwi-Alan Adventurer

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    Really good read, i have been to most of the places you visited north of Brisbane, most of them back in the mid to late 70's. If you get to visit NZ again keep my contact, come and visit Taranaki.
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  14. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Hi Alan,
    Northern Queensland would have been an epic wild place back in th 70's. It’s a bit on the tame side now in this era of modern communications & better roads....still good fun but easier.

    NZ is great, Jenny & I want to come back for a longer trip (say 3 months) so who knows maybe in another 12 months it could be on the cards. We did a quick stop in the Van at Mt Taranaki, didn’t write about it because it wasn’t Bike related. Would love to do some of the walks there, will keep you in mind for the next trip.

    Will

    A quartet of photos for your amusement Alan, that didn’t make the RR cut...NZ, North Island, New Plymouth area May 2017.

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    We camped the night in the Spaceship Van about 15kms south of New Plymouth at Oakura.

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    Oakura, NZ, looking back up the coast towards New Plymouth.

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    The next day we head for Mt Taranaki, this was one of the only photos we took before the clouds obscured the view.

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    At the Mt Taranaki Visitors Centre we waited for the rain to clear then went on a short walk, guess the proper Kiwi term is "Tramp". It was pretty cold up there, well under 10C from memory.



    .
  15. just jeff

    just jeff Long timer

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    Hi Will!
    Sorry I did not reply sooner, I have had relatives here for a couple of days. I have been looking at my maps with a mind to routing for motorcycle travel as I am not experienced enough to advise anyone regarding bicycle travel. :-) I have a couple of questions about your riding preferences if you do decide to travel by motorcycle.
    What sort of time frame are you planning on in Canada before heading into the USA?
    Is a bit of riding on gravel Ok (100-200km) or is pavement the preferred road surface?
    I am tentatively thinking of a looping route across Southern Alberta to get you that Southern Canada experience you mentioned earlier along with some places of interest to visit if that would interest you....
    Best Regards....Jeff
  16. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Hi JJ, our minimum time frame for North America is 6 months (it may end up longer or we may go home for a couple of months then return & continue ?).
    Only a guess but I was thinking at least 2-3 months in Canada, getting a 6 month tourist visa for your country is very straight forward for Aussies. The extended USA visa will require a bit more effort.

    If we go down the motorcycle mode of travel then most likely we'll get one big secondhand ADV Style bike. Not to fussed on the brand, it just needs to be reliable, reasonably priced, comfortable & set up for travel. Gravel roads don’t worry me these days, extended tracks of sand make me nervous, I’ve never ridden in snow or icey conditions so would try to avoid that stuff as well. I guess I’m just waiting to see how the rehabilitation on Jenny’s knees goes before I totally commit.
    I expect it’s getting pretty cold over there now.
    Best Regards
    Will
  17. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

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    Hi Will,
    Congrats on an awesome trip and thank you for sharing it here.
    Taking the time to capture the details and posting it for others to enjoy, and learn from it, is greatly appreciated.
    I've started my research/planning for an Oz trip and this was the first (of many I'm sure) ride report I've digested. Lots of good info.

    There is still much to learn, but my priority at the moment is to settle on a time period for my little jaunt. My leaning at the moment is a clockwise loop starting from Sidney or Melbourne during March, April and May of next year, but that is still subject to change pending further input.
    I don't want to clutter this story with non-related posts, so if you'd like, you and any of the knowledgeable subscribers (like @MaverickAus :wink:) to this tale could respond to my trip planning thread:
    https://advrider.com/index.php?thre...aybe-new-zealand-the-planning-begins.1324791/

    I realize you Jen are deep into another adventure at the moment, but if you have a moment to provide some input, I'd be very grateful.

    Hope your pedaling is going well.

    Cheers,
    Greg
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  18. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    34525C05-0DF8-4E50-B1BC-AB3A308765B4.jpeg 3490B5FB-2934-4528-AAF7-C5EE44FF029F.jpeg 9C5A728A-5A11-4922-972B-18F01EA8EDED.jpeg Epilogue...26th of July 2018.

    Just a very quick update,

    Yes Jenny & I did eventually make it to Canada, we are into day 12 of 140 days cycling the North American Pacific Coast. Have already started formulating plans for a 6 month USA Motorbike Tour in 2020.

    Currently us two unfit fatties have cycled halfway across the Canadian Rockies from Calgary to Vancouver (600kms over 7 days). Right now we are camped in the tent at Sicamous. Just thought some of you ADVRiders may be curious.

    No more posts on this thread after this.... not until the next Big (Motor) Bike Tour. USA 2020.

    Happyidiot signing off.
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  19. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Hi Greg,
    thanks for your positive comments. Sorry if this is a late reply, having a ball on two wheels in Canada at the moment....just missing the motors.
    As a rule of thumb, it is best to circumnavigate Australia in an anti clockwise direction. The theory being you get better prevailing winds. But hey mate if you are on a Motorbike it really doesn’t matter so long as you are in the right seasons . North in the winter, south in the summer.

    What you are proposing would be fine, leave Melbourne/Sydney in March, hit Perth around late May then head North to Broome...etc.

    It would be a great trip...do it.

    Will
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  20. Shaggie

    Shaggie Unseen University Supporter

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    Hey Will

    Go you crazy things!!

    :clap

    Shane