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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Nathan, Oct 23, 2010.
24/10/2010, Broken Hill
This is what Elena's airbox looked like the next morning. Poor wee thing.
More galvanting was out, so I slabbed it to Broken Hill to get Elena fixed up. I met this guy at a rest stop. He had blown a bunch of tyres because one of the axles on his trailer was bent and loading the inside tyre too much. He said his truck got 1 litre/km when driving into a head wind, and it cost him over a $1000 every time he refuelled. I didn't feel so bad about paying $30 for Elena's go-juice in Wilcannia.
This what you need for real mining. Those White Cliffs guys just can't compete.
I met this lovely German couple at the motor camp. Andre doesn't actually need to pee, though it does look like it in the photo. As you can see, they were pretty loaded up. Andre was even carrying a didgeridoo he had made.
Two updates for the price of one BLT, which I paid for anyway. Tough crowd around here.
Thanks for sharing the RR Nathan.
+1 on Mungo, very interesting place.
The Mungo woolshed and (now derelict) timber lined in ground water tank next to it were very interesting.
Showers at the office used more water than I've experienced anywhere else in my travels, a bit odd given the general lack of rain?
Wilcannia, last time I was up there they had 51C in the shade just before lunch, HOT barely desribes the place.
I was on a fishing trip on the Darling near Menindee a couple of years back and have been keen to go back and ride the tracks adjacent to the river.
We motored up stream and found a number of very interesting homestead relics, only wish for the time to head off as you have.
Are you able to provide info re preparation, spares, GPS type. maps, tracks, routes etc?
Am interested to know how much fuel you get through and gearing.
I was planning to weave some of that info into the ride report.
As for fuel, not really sure. I don't tend to fill the tank right up unless I'm really in the boonies, so I'm always filling it different amounts. What has become apparent so far is that I don't have enough range for the really remote stuff. I don't think I would get much more than 600km from a full tank on dirt roads.
Gearing is 14/42, so one tooth less than stock on the front. I will probably switch to 15/45 when I get a new chain. I found it to be about right. Elena's happy spot is a barely-legal 107kph. She'll do that all day. I'm sure that will drop when the rear tyre wears more though.
The motorcycle shop couldn't service Elena until 1pm, so I had the morning to look around Broken Hill. I pulled some things I wasn't supposed to, blamed it on NordieBoy.
I like Broken Hill. It's big on mining, and the supply hub for a huge part of the Outback. As a result, the town feels purposeful and tourism is just a side thing. There is some touristy stuff to be had though:
I feel the same way about Elena.
1pm rolled around and Matt was lovely enough to let me go out back and "help" him. He doesn't look that blank most of the time. (I gotta pick my portrait moments better. ) The good news is that Elena had no water in her oil. What a trouper.
I also got smart and bought one of these. It cost so much, I'd better do something stupid so I get a chance to use it.
Once Elena's service was all done and I'd recovered from the cost of it (Don't distract your mechanic with inane babbling. Lesson learned. ), Elena and I headed out to Silverton.
Here's Mad Max's car.
Here are two sad donkeys. Why are donkeys always sad? Do they look at thoroughbreds and feel inferior? Someone needs to sit them down and explain to them that they're all just Equidaes standing in front of an adventure rider and his motorcycle asking for a carrot.
Not gonna lie, Silverton sucked. But the road past Silverton is epic. Do this road!
Whaddya mean my legs are too long?
It started getting dark, and the ground on the side of the road was rocky, so I just pitched my tent on the road.
26/10/2010, Cameron Corner
I woke up super early. This early:
Didn't get run over. Woot!
Purty morning light.
Aussie's haven't quite figured out the concept behind gates.
I continued on the road past Silverton and eventually came upon this abandoned place. What sort of monster rips the blades off a windmill?
I ended up on a 4WD track. Here is the result of Elena taking an "alternative line" through a straight section.
Closest I've come to falling off so far. Elena was well crossed up--and very muddy now.
There was the odd rough bit.
And just as I was getting worried that I was totally off course, I popped off the 4WD track into a station homestead. This dog used the big plastic tank as his kennel. Lucky mutt! He looks kinda crazy, but really he was just your usual happy, excited dog. (More portrait fail. )
The owner/manager came out of the house dressed in jacket. He complained about the cold which cracked me up because I had been sweating my ass off all morning. He then got onto every Aussie's favourite topic: how hot it gets in summer. 52 degrees Celsius, he reckoned. :eek1 For you Yanks, that's, um, hot as hell.
Anyway, Super Aussie Fulla (as I'm now calling him) used a gyrocopter to herd his stock, used to run a 25,000 square kilometre station somewhere or other, and was busy fixing the motor in his 4WD. He also gave me directions and was the cousin to Matt the mechanic in Broken Hill. Australia might be fucking huge, but it's still in a small world.
Anyway, if we ever need to take this guy down, cold weather is his kryptonite.
I finally got back on the main road and headed to the Packsaddle Roadhouse for breakfast.
My first food shot. I always forget to take my camera inside when I get food.
On to Tibooburra.
Allah, God, Flying Spaghetti Monster, Deity of Your Choice really half-arsed some parts of Aussie. This bit can't be finished, there's nothing in it!
On the way to Cameron Corner tragedy struck... of the bungie cord kind.
My shoe was lost to the vastness of the Australian Outback. Let me know if you find it.
For the ignorant plebs among us, Cameron corner is the intersection of Queensland, NSW, and South Australia.
Here's the Cameron Corner Pub.
Here's the Cameron Corner Pub's goat and dog. The dog was pretty good at catching sticks out of the air, and I like his bandana.
A lovely bunch of Aussies in Australia from Australia invited me to have yabbies for dinner. I had no idea what a yabby was. Turns out it's a funny coloured freshwater crayfish. They showed me how to eat them (I'm not exactly high society material, okay ) and then I spent the evening getting covered in yabby juice everytime I tried to crack a claw.
nice work there Nath!
and some super nice pics!
Last night, Sandy--who runs the Corner Store/Pub--warned me that a lot of rain was coming on Thursday and Friday, two days from now. Rain means closed dirt roads, so my plan of heading down to Lyndhurst and riding the Oodnadatta Track north was busted.
I didn't have a whole lot of options on where to head, so I just kept going west to the Strzelecki Track. I found an old bus.
The road from Cameron Corner to Strzelecki Track is great, with lots of crests over dunes and even some cornery parts.
This is supposed to be desert, but it's been such a wet year, you'd never guess from looking at it.
There were flowers everywhere.
I reached the Strzelecki Track and decided to turn north on the spur of the moment. The wind was coming from the south and I'll take a tail wind over a head wind any day.
Last night, I had asked my new yabby-munching friends about the pink and grey birds with a deathwish.
"Oh, they're Gallahs, but don't worry, you won't hit them!"
So what happens. I was riding along at about 95kph, when a flock of Gallahs launches into the air from a tree they were roosting on. They head directly towards the road at adventure rider height. I had a split second to brake, but it didn't matter. The birds sliced past, barely missing me. Unfortunately, one crunched into Elena's left handguard.
I slowed and turned around to "render assistance." All the other Gallahs had landed on the road near their fallen buddy; they flew off as I approached revealing one Gallah flopping around on the road in pain. I assessed the situation for a moment, realized there was nothing I could do for the bird, so I stomped on its head to kill it quickly.
Unfortunately, the road was soft and Gallahs have remarkably hard heads. The bird thrashed around on the ground even more violently. I was feeling rather sick to my stomach. I'm not some wuss that doesn't know where meat comes from, and I've killed plenty of animals, but I still don't like killing animals and this situation wasn't exactly humane.
I walked to my bike trying to think of a better implement to use, but other than tyre levers, I didn't really have anything. The Gallah was trashing around even more violently now. I walked back to it, pinned it down with my right foot and stomped as hard as I could with my left.
The bird was a complete mess. It gave a few thrashes then rolled onto its back. One of its eyes had come out of its socket. Finally, the bird stiffened, then relaxed and went still.
Here's a picture.
I remounted Elena and continued north towards Innamincka. 90km before Innamincka is Moomba gas field. There were lots of trucks on the road.
While I was stopped taking those photos, a fireman from Moomba stopped to see if I was all right. I told him about the Gallah, half expecting some sort of "You did what?!" response, but he just said "Join the club," and explained to me that Gallahs don't handle trauma well and die even if you try to nurse them back to health.
The road to Innamincka from Moomba was awful--lots of trucks and dust.
Here's Innamincka. The man in the store reckoned it got to 62 degrees Celsius there, but he must have been bullshitting. I filled up with super-expensive petrol and then chickened out of trying to get to Birdsville. A quick calculation of the distances put it at over 600km with no fuel available on the route.
With limited options on where to go, and impending rain complicating things more, I decided to head to the Noocundra Pub in Queensland.
I arrived at Noccundra tired and with a bad case of monkey butt. I bought a beer at the pub and when I went to pay for it, my wallet was missing. :eek1
While I was freaking out about my wallet, the bar lady went and got some guy who demanded to know how I was going to pay for the beer. I told him I had bigger problems to think about. He looked disgusted and walked outside.
I always put my wallet in my left jacket pocket, but I decided to check everywhere else. Turns out, I had had a massive brain fart and put it in my bag. Man, was I relieved. I paid for my beer and talked to a guy whose skin was burnt to a coppery leather. He had helped cut the QAA line through the Simpson Desert when he was younger. Respect!
He told me had moved to the Outback from New Zealand 26 years ago. I said, "So you fell in love with the place and decided to stay?"
He looked startled, as if he'd never thought of it that way, then said, "I guess I did."
I am enjoying your story and pics - great job!
Keep up the good work mate!
The greeness of the outback is astounding compared with what some of those areas looked like when we were there last year.
Great pics - I'm totally sucking this RR in!!
Love your RR and Pictures mate....
Hope you have a safe trip and enjoy your ride....
Good to see that you have spotted one of Oz's rarest creatures - Ozzie Brumbie Unicorn...
Looking forward to more Pictures...
Thanks for the comments, guys, really means a lot to me.
I camped out by the river. The crows were noisy and something was scurrying around outside my tent. :eek1
I found this on my tent while I was packing up. Freaky.
On the road nice and early, heading to Thargomindah, I spotted my first dingo. Unlike the 'roos and emus, this guy was smart enough to slink off the road and along a dry riverbed before I even got close to him.
A dust cloud on the side of the road turned out to be these guys.
Some water over the road sent me into a cold sweat. I slowed down to Granny-with-a-zimmer-frame speeds to prevent Elena from swallowing any more water.
From Thargomindah, I headed down to Bourke through Hungerford.
I had a drink and some food in Hungerford and chatted with the local cop for a bit. He reckoned BMWs were turds in the Outback because the trucks smash the dirt into bulldust, and then the Beemers sink like stones in the powdery muck.
The owners of the Hungerford Pub had just sold the property. I commented that a lot of publicans were trying to leave, and he said that it comes in waves. This time next year, we'll have a whole new set of pub owners having their dreams crushed by the harsh realities of the Outback.
And back into NSW.
I fear these photos don't do justice to a truly stunning piece of road. Red dirt framed by silver trees contrasting with the blue sky.
I booked into a caravan park in Bourke, and met up with the yabby crew again. They were surprised to see me since, when we had parted ways, I was travelling in the opposite direction. I guess that's what happens when zero route planning and the threat of rain collide.
I spent some time cleaning Elena's engine and header pipe, and changing her filter skin (which was a mess after three days of dirt roads).
A couple of blokes were cooking dinner. Since the only place to plug my laptop in was next to the barbecue, I spent some time chatting to them. One of them was yelling enthusiastically into his cell phone about how great Bourke was. It seems he had turned up and scored with an aborigine chick on the first night, and had been shagging her for a week. He had five kids already and joked he'd probably have six soon. The guy didn't look older than mid twenties. Keep it on your pants, mate.
The other guy, Noel, had a terrible speech impediment. Chatting with him mostly involved me frantically trying to pick out key works and piece together what he was saying. He was a top bloke though. He offered me a can of VB because he said (I think) that riding a motorcycle was hard. We talked for a while and he offered me a second beer, then practically forced a third one on me before he went to bed.
Great stuff, can't wait to see more.
Terrific stuff Nathan.
Excellant report, I would love to get out there myself one day.
I think its amazing how you strap your gear to the bike and you dont have a single rack !! Well done