Nathan and Elena's Aussie Ride-About

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Nathan, Oct 23, 2010.

  1. Nathan

    Nathan Why I laugh?

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    Thanks guys, except for NordieBoy. :lol3
  2. Nathan

    Nathan Why I laugh?

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    15/11/2010, The Aftermath

    This is what Elena looked like in the morning. Right mirror and both right indicators destroyed. GPS mount broken. Handlebars all wonky, and of course the frame wasn't quite right.

    [​IMG]


    And here's my bandaged up bit.

    [​IMG]


    I talked with Jeff about my options. He said it would cost about $2500 to drive me to Alice Springs. :eek1 I really didn't want to pay that, so I decided to ring my travel insurance company to see what they would say.

    After finally figuring out how to reverse charge an international call on the Telstra pay phone outside the pub, I spoke to a Brad. And here's where I made mistake. I told Brad that I wasn't badly hurt, but that I needed help getting to civilization. Brad said he would talk to their claims department and call me back.

    He eventually called back and told me that my situation wasn't covered under my policy. :deal I couldn't believe it. After some back forth, where he offered no new information, I demanded to talk to his manager. Someone called Brendon eventually got on the other end of the phone and started asking me questions.

    Brendon: "Have you had any medical treatment?"

    Me: "Only first aid."

    B: Where is the nearest medical centre?"

    M: "There's a clinic in Finke, and a hospital in Alice Springs."

    B: Is there any scheduled transport through Mount Dare?

    M: Um, no. It's very remote.

    The questions went on in that vein for a while, then Brendon said he would do what he could, and hung up. Throughout the day I received more phone calls from the insurers wanted additional information. They're a New Zealand company and seemed to have real trouble understanding how it could cost $2500 to get me to a hospital. They asked if that was the cost to fly out. I assured them that it was in a 4WD. Then they asked if that included getting my motorcycle. I told them the bike didn't change to cost since it could just be put on the back of the 4WD that was taking me out.

    Eventually, it got too late for more calls from New Zealand. I had dinner and spent another night in my $70 room, only slightly closer to a solution to getting out of Mount Dare.
  3. FloorPoor

    FloorPoor Been here awhile

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    Bummer, by the looks of your bike I would say she took quite a tumble. I bet you can get her back up to snuff though.
    Im glad you made it back to some help. It could have been much worse, with you stranded and or injured to severely to ride.

    Good Luck and let us know how things go.
  4. TonsOfFun

    TonsOfFun Been here awhile

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    Western Oregon
    15/11/2010, The Aftermath

    This is what Elena looked like in the morning. Right mirror and both right indicators destroyed. GPS mount broken. Handlebars all wonky, and of course the frame wasn't quite right.

    [​IMG]



    Frame does look a bit twisted... may as well go for the full "mad max" resto while you're at it and then step up the native fauna carnage a few notches!

    :strum
  5. NordieBoy

    NordieBoy Armature speller

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    Nice bandage but.
  6. DrParnassus

    DrParnassus Ni Dios Ni Amo

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    The belly of the beast
    OK - so the secret is to tell them you need 'Medical Evacuation'? :wink:
    Hope things work out- that your injuries are minor and Elena can be resurrected. I'd hate this epic to end just when it was starting to get interesting!

    Good luck and keep the faith! :clap
  7. Nathan

    Nathan Why I laugh?

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    Christchurch, New Zealand
    16/11/2010, Still Aftermathing

    I woke up still feeling stiff and sore. Yeah, yeah, I know. :2cry

    After breakfast, I tried ringing the insurance company again. They said they would call me back. I wandered back to my room and spent some time tidying my busted and dirty belongings up. When I went back outside, I spotted Jeff "fixing" Elena. :rofl

    [​IMG]


    He hadn't even asked me if he could do it--he's that kind of guy--and it didn't stop him from charging me for it, but I like him anyway. Here's a before and after picture. I thought I'd taken an after picture at Mount Dare, but I guess not.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    As you can see, it's quite a bit better, though possibly Jeff over corrected.

    Near lunch time, the insurers finally called back and told me they would cover my extraction provided a medical check confirmed I was legitimately injured. I have to say, while it was good news, I was quite annoyed that a medical assessment would dictate whether they paid out. How hurt did I have to be? Did my arm have to be broken? It was an extra level of stress that I didn't really need at the time.

    And that leads me to a small rant. Shouldn't insurance be about providing surety? Instead, I was having partial information dumped on me and I had to make the decisions regarding a potentially very costly extraction. It would have made things so much easier for me if insurers had just taken the lead and sorted out a way out for me. But no, they left me to make all the decisions and just added their own layer of anxiety on top of it all. ::bluduh

    Over lunch, I decided that I would try riding out, and if it wasn't feasible, I'd get Jeff to drive me out. After packing my things up, I finally got underway around 3pm. It was immediately obvious that riding out would really suck, but I decided to see how far I could get, which ended up being 5km down the road. My right arm started to hurt more and more as I rode, to the point where I couldn't use the throttle or front brake reliably. All the other aches and pains from torn muscles also made doing practically anything on the bike a miserable experience. Defeated, I turned around and headed back to Mount Dare.

    Jeff and I discussed my options, and I decided to pay for a 4WD ride out to the Stuart Highway, 250km away for the paltry price of $900. Jeff reckoned that was as low as he could go without the station owner yelling at him.

    Here's some pictures of Mount Dare Hotel. It's a nice hotel, and, honestly, throughout this entire experience Karen and Jeff were the only two people that I felt actually gave a crap about me. So thanks Karen and Jeff. :beer

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    We got Elena loaded onto this beast and set off.

    [​IMG]


    Before riding with Jeff, I had wondered if I rode too fast in the Outback. The answer is: no. :lol3 Jeff was motoring along at 80 or 90kph over some pretty rough terrain all while driving with one hand so he could embellish the stories he was telling me with his other hand. I'm sure a lot of it was to do with how well they set their 4WDs up. It flew over bumps that would have seriously unsettled Elena. :huh

    Before long, we were back at Kulgera Pub. Getting Elena off the 4WD with just the two of us was a bit iffy, but the locals seemed thoroughly disinterested in helping us, so we had to manage. Jeff left to drive back home; I ordered some dinner and got a tent site for $11. It took me ages to set up my tent, then I lay in it, just glad I was a bit closer to civilization.
  8. Nathan

    Nathan Why I laugh?

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    It's a strange thing. If I'd been wearing no riding gear--like most people do out here--and really hurt myself, the flying doctors would have just swooped in and got me, no questions asked. Because I wasn't badly hurt, no one really wanted to know about. It's like you get punished for doing the right thing, which bugs me a lot.

    Anyway, the correct thing to do is get yourself to a doctor for a check up. Tell your insurers what happened and that you haven't been checked by a doctor. If they ask about your injuries, don't tell them that "you're fine" or downplay your accident, but be truthful. You don't actually know if you are fine, and aren't qualified to make that call.


    Here's how a real medical evacuation would go down in the Outback. I fall off and hurt myself badly. I activate my personal locator beacon and wait for help. The emergency services will call the nearest station or settlement and ask them to go and check what has happened. The locals will find me and get on their radios to the flying doctors to help make a decision about whether they can evacuate me. The flying doctors will land at the nearest airstrip, where I will either meet them with the locals, or they will come and get me by 4WD if I'm too badly hurt for the locals to move me. It's not a simple process no matter what happens.
  9. TonsOfFun

    TonsOfFun Been here awhile

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    Insurance companies are in business for one reason only, to make themselves as much money as possible. Not paying out on policies whenever possible is SOP. Most are annoyed when claims are filed.
    Also you are in an area where people are self sufficient and pretty tough... heck they probably do their own root canals with red hot barbed wire.
  10. Sake

    Sake n00b

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    Nate, this has been an epic tale thus far. Truly the wildlife of Austrailia will certainly remember your travels. Are you counting coux?

    get better, get Elena fixed up and get on the road, stop being a panzy.

    Cheers meng ~ Sake
  11. trustme

    trustme Long timer

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    Insurance companies are bookies in a flash suit taking bets on how good or bad your luck is . Like any good bookie they skew the odds in their favour rather than the punter. They lost the bet don't expect them to jump through hoops to make a pay on the bet, they are in cost limitation mode.

    Hope the Dr says nothing is broken. Cup of tea & a lie down for a couple of days & a strong dose of Voltaren might be the go.
    It would be a shame for your ride to end this way, you've done really well so far , you deserve to finish it if at all possible.:D :D
  12. pirnie

    pirnie Adventurer

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    Nate,

    I've been following your adventure since the beginning, wishing I was there.

    I've also worked for an insurance company here in the States. The ambiguous answers you are receiving are designed to frustrate you until you decide to do things on your own. When you do that, the company has just saved a whole bunch of money. The longer they can stall on a claim payout, the better for them.

    Your approach is the correct one to take - be just as ambiguous as they are. You're not lying by doing this. After all, you are not a doctor so you're not in a position to evaluate your own condition. You don't know the extent of your injuries just as you don't know the extent of damage to the bike. And yes, you're right - never be macho or try to downplay the incident. Be factual and let them deal with some ambiguity.

    All the best to you and I can't wait for the next chapter.

    Pirnie
  13. MacG

    MacG Been here awhile Supporter

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    Ga.
    Excellent report !! Your narrative is descriptive and hilarious as well. Sorry about the get-off,glad it wasn't worse. :beer
  14. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

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    :lurk Great RR!
  15. advNZer?

    advNZer? Long timer

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    Wellington,New Zealand
    chin up mate.maybe leave the bike where it is for now and see if you can grab a ride to the nearest medical place.Please let us know how you get on.
  16. Nathan

    Nathan Why I laugh?

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    You registered just to say nice stuff, Sake! :raabia I popped on the MV forums yesterday and everything is changing. Overpowered coming back and everyone playing as Allaing. I'm not sure about that, but we'll see how it shakes out. :eek1

    PS: WTF is a coux?

    Um, the rest of you aren't supposed to understand this. Just :nod and move on. :lol3
  17. Nathan

    Nathan Why I laugh?

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    Thanks for all the nice replies guys, it really does help a lot. Another update coming soon.
  18. Nathan

    Nathan Why I laugh?

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    Christchurch, New Zealand
    17/11/2010, Back to Alice

    Packing up took me ages in the morning, and the slowness put me in a crappy mood. I eventually got under way and made decent progress. I took a break at Erldunda and a Dutch guy from a bus tour came up to me and asked me about my "nice bike." He didn't even notice how banged up Elena was. :lol3

    Now, I feel I need to explain the tourist hierarchy in the Outback. At the top, of course, is the intrepid motorcycle adventure rider. Dusty, battered, hot, and going deaf--these are the real men of the Outback. Note: BMW riders don't get to be in this category.

    Next up are the cycle tourists. These guys and gals are mashocists, tougher than nails, and probably insane. Don't mess with them. Also, slow down and give them a wide berth when passing them, because dealing with vehicles sucks when cycle touring.

    In third spot we have the real 4WDers. Realistically, driving a 4WD through the Outback is a cake walk if you aren't retarded, but I'm a sucker for farkled 4WDs with big tyres, loads of ground clearance, dubious roll-over stability, and lots of mud.

    Fourth spot is for the bitumen-only motorcycle tourers. BMW riders get to be in this group because if they take their bikes onto a dirt road, they deserve whatever bad thing happens to them. :lol3

    Campervans, 4WDs with caravans, and anything else that is annoying is in the fifth spot. As an adventure rider, you don't even have to acknowledge these people--unless they bribe you with food or beer.

    And in last spot, the feeble bus tourist. Oh how I despise them. They clamber off their air-conditioned bus at every inane photo spot on the Stuart Highway, then huddle together like cattle, looking confused and scared. If life was fair, they would all be riding in a tiny little Matchbox-car-sized buses and we would be able to crush them beneath our mighty Dunlop D606 tyres (only BMW riders can afford TKC80 tyres), but life isn't fair, and they have massive fuck-off sized buses that can squish adventure riders. I hate them.

    Anyway, at Erldunda, I wussed out and took a couple of Panadeine Fortes. I dunno about you guys, but Panadeine Forte is the freight train of the painkiller world for me. It takes ages to do anything, but once it's up to speed, nothing can stop it. :bmwrider After a while I was humming along nicely, aches and pains largely in the background and easily ignorable. I puttered into Alice and it was then that I noticed the rear suspension was still making a nasty noise. After some bungling and a bit more nasty noisy ignoring, I got to the hospital.

    I'm going to preface this next bit with a disclaimer: I AM NOT RACIST. Having said that, what the fuck is up with all the Aborigines at the hospital? It's like they've adopted it as another reserve to live on. The ER was packed with them, and there were mothers walking around ignoring the multiple little kids trailing behind them. The most common injury for an Aborigine seems to be a hurt wrist or hand. What's up with that? :dunno

    After an hour or so of waiting, I got to see a doctor. He asked me a bunch of questions about my crash, poked and my arm and back for a bit, then told me he wanted me to piss into a cup, get my arm x-rayed, and have a tetanus shot. A trainee nurse gave me the tetanus jab, cleaned up the cut on my arm and gave me loads of water because I had pee'd earlier. :lol3

    I got my x-ray, managed to not screw up peeing into the little cup, then had a chat with Tim, the doctor. He said my arm wasn't broken, and I had no blood in my piss, so I was pretty much okay. I told him about the insurance issue and the $900 I had spent. He was really cool about it and wrote up an official explanation of what happened to me that I could give to my insurance company.

    Then he let me go. I stood there stupidly for a second expecting that I would have to pay some kind of Bludging-Kiwi-in-Australia fee, but apparently not. I got to just walk out. :clap After that, I booked Elena in for a check over at the Desert Edge bike shop, and went to the caravan park to once again erect my tent at the speed of slow.

    Sorry for the lack of photos in this post. I know you guys don't like to read much.

    <iframe src="http://ridewithgps.com/routes/227462/embed" height="900px" width="1200px" frameborder="0"></iframe>
  19. NordieBoy

    NordieBoy Armature speller

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    Less squiggly bits. More pics.
  20. Nathan

    Nathan Why I laugh?

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    Get back in your box! :whip