Separate names with a comma.
Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Nathan, Oct 23, 2010.
Don't worry. When I see a dropbear, I'll run him over. I've had lots of practise.
10/11/2010, Alice Springs
Morning brought sunlight and the realisation that I had pitched my tent on a bunch of dried prickly plants. My tent now has a few more holes. Lucky it's old and crappy!
And that segues me into a small philosophical discussion. My philosophy when touring is to think carefully about the items I really need to be high quality. Anything that doesn't need to awesome should be old and crappy. My stuff gets really beaten up on the road, and I would be very sad if it was nice stuff being busted and abused. Also, don't buy Beemers. They aren't awesome, but they are expensive, and you'll cry when your fancy, expensive bike breaks.
I found a 4WD track that goes from the Plenty Highway to Aritunga. It was 60km, and I wussed out after 7km and turned back to the Plenty Highway. I just couldn't be bothered manhandling Elena along a 4WD track in the heat. My worn rear tyre was also worrying me. So my first wimp out of the trip. Good to get it out of the way.
I knocked out the last kilometres to the Stuart Highway, and crossed the Tropic of Capricorn.
The speed limit on the Stuart Highway was 130kph. With a slight headwind, Elena managed an impressive... 130kph.
My rear tyre had made it. I bought a new one--slightly more road orientated this time. The Dunlop D606 did well, but felt really sketchy on corners once it had worn a bit. Here are the guys at the KTM shop fitting it. The guy in the blue and white shirt decided to get Elena off the stand by doing a He-Man impression. Very impressive, but he dropped her down really fast and the sidestand nailed me in the big toe. The Sidi Crossfires took the brunt of it and none of the guys even noticed that my toe had almost been squashed flat. I now wear ATGATT even for trye changes done by trained mechanics.
I also swapped to a 15 tooth front sprocket. The Outback craziness is winding down, so it's time to get Elena a bit more road orientated. After that, I found a caravan park that only wanted $15--much more reasonable--and went for a swim in the pool. Easy-peasy day all done.
<iframe src="http://ridewithgps.com/routes/219004/embed" height="900px" width="1200px" frameborder="0"></iframe>
Great RR! Keep it rolling!
Surely you must have another update by now?! Don't leave me stuck still at work at 8pm with nothing to do but work.
Oh yeah, I was doing a ride report.
Some technical issues are preventing me from posting an update right now. However, they should be all sorted out tomorrow.
Nathan's murderous rampage through the Australian outback! You need to get a kill count on the side of the DR's tank, maybe with a little shape of each animal you have hit.
Good ride report!
Lovin this report....the kill count is a GREAT idea! All I have ever hit is a jackrabbit and a hawk. We don't have anything cool and exotic.
You know, I was considering that. I've actually stopped telling you guys about the birds I kill now because the little guys have a deathwish.
Anyway, updates will be coming today when I get all my photos transferred to my new netbook.
Ah, another successful day spent at..."work"
What a great RR! Thanks for the wonderful pictures, curious information relaying and hilarious narration!
"...stopped to "render assistance"
This was seriously cracking me up 'tho I comiserated with ya for the majority of the poor wee critters early leave-taking.
btw, how the fack is one supposed to "render assistance" to a pissed off and limping Kangaroo out in the middle of nowhere, anyway?
303 and BBQ?
Thanks, mate. I think I'm probably the only "assistance renderer" out here. Anyone who's been in the Outback a decent amount of time just runs the poor buggers over and keeps going.
11/11/2010, Alice Springs
Ahem, where was I? I had the day off in Alice Springs. The aviation museum near the caravan park had some neat planes. This is a blue one.
One of the hangers had a DC3 in it. There was a movie all about history of Connair playing inside the DC3. Connair was a small airline the operated out of Alice Springs. Note: It is in no way affiliated with that shit-box Con Air movie. Anways, Connair went bust when a young pilot with a bad grudge against the airline flew one of their planes into the hanger kamikaze style, killing several people and doing millions of dollars worth of damage.
The inside of the DC3 was pitched at a crazy angle thanks to the olde style landing gear. It made for a very comfortable movie theatre.
Then I went to the non-aviation museum. Here's a picture of an iron meteorite that's been polished up all fancy.
There was a little, deaf old lady staring at the meteorites. She said, in her little, deaf, and grumpy old lady voice: "What are these thing? Fossils?"
Being the nerd ambassador for AdvRider, I had to correct her. "No, these are meteorites," I said.
"THEY'RE METEORITES." Definitely deaf.
"Oh, that's why I don't care."
So, how can a lump of iron hurtling into the Earth, causing a massive explosion, not be interesting?
Part of my $10 entry fee for the museums was also for the local quilting competition. Now, I don't give a crap about quilts, but unlike angry, deaf, little old ladys, I'm prepared to give strange things a chance.
I was given a "people's choice" voting paper by the women at the door, and duly took my quilt democracy duties seriously. After wandering around looking at quilts for a bit, I voted for that one that the judges had selected and buggered off.
Back at the caravan park, this monster had arrived. It was driven by a Swiss dude. He'd come over from Africa, and customs had forced him to get his truck cleaned. The process took seven weeks. World War 2 couldn't stop Switzerland's "we're neutral" bullshit, but the company contracted to clean this guy's truck could have. He doesn't like Australia any more.
12/11/2010, Stuarts Well
Enough faffing around with quilts. Onwards to Simspons Gap!
And then Big Hole--not as rude as it sounds. Theses lovely attractions are on the Namatjira Drive, west of Alice.
I've been messing around with image stitching lately, and it's time to reveal my masterpieces.
The road is a nice ride, and even has a pass over a small range with a few swoopy corners.
If you're made of money, you can pay the Aborigines to get a permit to ride the Red Centre Way to Kings Canyon. I declined, and did the short loop back to Hermansburg instead. Despite the name, it's an Aborigine town. The petrol at Hermansburg is called Opal fuel. The only difference between it and regular unleaded is that it doesn't have the strong smell because the locals have a penchant for sniffing it.
There was also some old missionary building there or something. Cost money, so you only get this crappy photo of it.
After that, I wanted to ride through Wallace Rockhole down to the Lasseter Highway. Unfortunately, I'm an idiot and can't read a map. I rode to Wallace Rockhole only to discover that the road I was wanting to take was nowhere near there, and the road from Wallace Rockhole was closed due to unspecified Aborigine sensitivity. Not wanting to anger any giant kangeroo gods, I backtracked and did the Owen Springs 4WD track instead.
It's all good though, because I enjoyed the Owen Springs track. It even had some decent grass. :eek1
If Aussies aren't telling you how hot it gets where they live, then they're telling you rain is forecast. If they aren't doing that, they're drinking and trying to beat their kids.
Now that I was on the Stuart Highway, the forecast rain did indeed arrive, so I took shelter at a rest stop.
A bus load of Dutch tourists came and went and it was still raining, so I decided to stay the night at the rest stop. After busting out some amazing Kiwi ingenuity to pitch my tent on the concrete floor of the shelter, I was lazing in my tent when a couple of car loads of Aborigines turned up. They screamed at each other for a few minutes until two young guys, Eric and Samuel, came over to talk to me. We had a fascinating conversation where they told me they were from Imanpa about 50 times while a rather drunk woman plaintively asked me for more beer or cigarettes. I told them I was going to see Uluru. They kept calling it Ayers Rock, presumably because I'm a gringo and can't understand Aborigine names. They eventually departed, but left their empty cans of VB in the carpark as a gesture of goodwill.
Then the sun set.
This isn't quite right because some of the roads were missing in Google Maps, but it's close enough.
<iframe src="http://ridewithgps.com/routes/224287/embed" height="900px" width="1200px" frameborder="0"></iframe>
Here's where I spent the night.
Once I was packed up, I went for a ride down the Ernest Giles Road. It's very fun, with a short section that's graded very deep, giving the road banked sides. It also has meteorite craters. Sadly, the little, deaf, and grumpy old lady was not in attendance.
I met two British guys on bikes at the intersection with the Lasseter Highway. Their wives were driving the support vehicles.
I had to teach them the AdvRider salute. Check out the highway footpeg made out of plumbing supplies on the DR-Z 400.
Lots of noobs mistake Mount Conners for Uluru. I didn't, but in retrospect, I wish I had.
Here is the real Uluru, and that's as close as I got.
They have a huge tourist resort 20km from the Uluru. Then, if you want to get close, you have to pay $25 to enter the park. Of course, they don't tell anyone it's $25 until they've coerced you ride down a narrow one-way lane. If you don't wish to pay the outrageous price, you'd better hope you're riding an adventure bike and can cut across the median like I did.
The whole thing is tacky and diminishes a fantastic natural wonder. I left straight away and spent the 200km return trip fuming about what a complete waste of time it was.
I met Alex and Azia at the Mount Ebenezer Roadhouse. They had camped next to me in Alice Springs. We decided to camp at Mount Ebenezer and they invited me to share dinner with them. I had a rant to them about how crap Uluru was. They weren't put off and were still going to see it the next day. Here's a photo of Azia talking to a couple from Portugal.
<iframe src="http://ridewithgps.com/routes/224288/embed" height="900px" width="1200px" frameborder="0"></iframe>
Well Done Buddy!
14/11/2010, Mount Dare
I was thoroughly sick of tourist buses, so I decided to make a beeline to the Oodnadatta Track. A bit of slabbing got me to the Kulgera pub. I marveled at this sign for a time.
Until a couple of trucks rolled in carrying these, so I diligently switched my marveling to their cargo.
On a whim, I decided to head to Finke and ride through Witijra National Park to meet up with the Oddnadatta Track. The road was sandy, with the occasional nasty washout or road train.
And also some delightful pink flowers. I was really enjoying getting away from all the cheesy tourist crap.
Finke is another Aborigine community, but has the claim to fame of being home to the Finke Desert Race, which is something, I guess.
It was Sunday, so Finke was a bit of a mad house. So much hustle and bustle.
If you live in Finke, they will give you "tucka" (that's food, people) money even if you don't work. Given the state of my work ethic, I'm seriously considering the offer.
I noticed my licence plate was only hanging by one screw, so I removed it and put it in my bag. It's still in my bag several days later, but the police don't seem to care.
Finke was great, but I had to push on, which meant heading toward Mount Dare Station because the store in Finke was closed and I needed fuel.
I really enjoyed the ride to Mount Dare. It was a 4WD track, but not so rough that Elena couldn't maintain a good speed. Mount Dare is actually in Witjira National Park. I'm not sure how that works.
I stopped at the Mount Dare Hotel, got some fuel and talked to the managers, Karen and Jeff, for a bit. I decided to Abminga to camp, because Karen said it was nice.
Back on the road, I was blatting along, feeling good. There were some rain clouds on the horizon, but I wasn't too worried about them. I popped onto a smooth bit of road doing about 90kph. The road forked, as they often do in the Outback. I picked the left fork and slowed down slightly as the track narrowed. Suddenly, I saw a deepish washout across the road. I angled towards the middle of it and braced for a nasty hit. The front thudded into the far side of the washout, then the back slammed into it and catapulted me over the handlebar.
I remember thinking "Oh no!" as I flew through the air. My out-stretched right arm hit the ground first, then the right side of my forehead slammed into the ground. The peak on my helmet made a splintering sound as one of the plastic screws hold it on was sheared off. I continued forward in a roll and came to rest on my back.
My right arm hurt, but otherwise I felt okay, so I got up. Elena was lying on her side spewing fuel out of the tank because the fuel cap had been knocked off. I righted her as quickly and possible, looked at the wreckage strewn around, then got out my camera.
I realise it doesn't look that bad, but Elena is definitely worse off than she looks.
And here's the washout that somersaulted Elena. It doesn't look like much, but there is a pronounced raised lip that was our undoing.
I picked up all the wreckage and packed it back on Elena, then tried to start her. She fired up easily enough. My right arms was hurting quite badly now, so I assessed my options. Mount Dare station was 50km, otherwise the next closest help was Oodnadatta. I gingerly remounted Elena and started back tracking.
The gear lever was bent, so I had to change gears with my heel. Elena's subframe was also bent, the rear suspension was making a nasty noise, and my arm made it hard to grip the throttle. I putted along in second and third gear, swearing like a sailor whenever I had to deal with sandy sections. After an hour of riding, I finally made it back to Mount Dare Station.
Jeff gave me some ice for my arm and called the Royal Flying Doctors. The guy on the phone asked me some questions in a disinterested voice, then went on an anti-motorcyclist rant when Jeff took the phone to write down some details.
I was feeling really shit at this point. Oddly, the worst part for me was that I'd trashed Elena badly. I felt like I'd let her down somehow.
Jeff eventually patch my arm up, and Karen gave me some dinner. I got a room for the night because tenting would have been impossible. Karen forced me to take some Panadeine Forte with me to my room. I didn't think I needed it until a few hours later when everything started hurting. Just getting off the bed left me breathless. Eventually, I fell asleep wondering what I would do now. I had no home to go back to in NZ, my bike was probably written off and I didn't have enough funds to replace it, and I was stuck in the middle of nowhere.
Some of the track is missing because the roads aren't on Google Maps.
<iframe src="http://ridewithgps.com/routes/224500/embed" height="900px" width="1200px" frameborder="0"></iframe>
doing good Nath!
EDIT: i posted this BEFORE Nath told us of his wee OOPS so don't go thinking Shaggie is an
Now it's getting good.
About time too...
Quote: "The petrol at Hermansburg is called Opal fuel. The only difference between it and regular unleaded is that it doesn't have the strong smell because the locals have a penchant for sniffing it."
This must be the modern version of the aboriginal "dream time"....
Good luck with sorting out this shit fight. You've done really well so far.