RTW on a H.A.T. In the slow lane.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by gperkins, Sep 7, 2016.

  1. Yannick

    Yannick Asterix the Gaul

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    Oh those pictures ... I'll show them to anyone who doesn't realize what it's really like...

    To think that it's been raining so hard here for weeks that even the slightest stream is overflowing. So much so that we're fed up with the rain.
    To think that the world is badly made.
    Stay safe and continue to give us reassuring news...
  2. SmilinJoe

    SmilinJoe Been here awhile

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    Any updates Graeme? You guys got a lot of us worried here.
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  3. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Hi Yannick & SmilinJoe I've been deliberately keeping a low profile, seeing as our RR is currently in winter hibernation. But I understand and appreciate the concerns that some might have for our safety. Conditons here have improved somewhat and we are currently not under threat. The massive fire immediately to the south of us "the border fire", is still out of control, but at least not advancing. The other fires to our west and north are both quite some distance away and better contained. At least the one to our north. There was a public meeting here two nights ago at the little Nethercote hall. We didn't attend, but we listened into the webcast. Essentially these fires will only be extinguished with rain and a lot of it. They are simply far too big to be put out by conventional means. Also much of the burning is in really rugged and difficult to access areas. When conditions allow, both helicoptors and fixed winged aircraft are passing over and water bombing where they can. Mostly around peoples property's so as to try and save their houses and out buildings. Some areas of both New South Wales and Victoria got some decent rain in the last 24 hours, but sadly we once again missed out. There is 10mm forecast for Monday for us, SFA, but beggars can't be choosers.

    We know personally some people that have lost all or part of their property's. Rob had his 100 acres burn, but fortuantely his house survived. Dave also saved his house, but lost his shed containing a number of motorbikes, including 3 early 70's classic Ducati's and many rare spares, including a shelf of Ducati tanks. Katrina knows people down at Kiah that have lost everything. The figures now are so large it's kinda pointless quoting them, for it's impossible to really get your head around it. But some are saying that this fire season right across Australia 17 million hectares ( 40 million acres ) have gone up, 11 million hectares in Victoria & New South Wales. Twenty nine lives lost, 1 billion native mammals, reptiles and birds, using average population density's and something approaching 3,000 homes.

    Again, a huge thanks for your concerns, but we are ok and if things get a little techy around here again, we'll once again load the bikes up in the ute and get the hell out of the place as we did on the 4th.

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    Elvis and it's attendant tanker at our local airport, Merimbula. There are well north of 100 choppers and fixed wing aircraft currently deployed trying to douse the flames and there are apparently more on their way from overseas. Especially the large fixed winged planes.

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    Water bombing chopper flying over our place a few days back. There are 4 or 5, including Elvis currently permanetly stationed at Merimbula

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    One of the few reasonably sized employers in the area is the Eden wood chip mill. This is their stock pile of woodchips still burning a full week after it ignited on the 4th. Word is that it is nearly out and management announced just this morning that they hope to have the mill back up and running sooner than many thought possible. In the middle of Twofold bay is the HMAS Adelaide giving locals support.

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    Unless the wind is onshore, every day we continue to be smoked in. This is only yesterday. the little bit of rain we have had has made the place green. But don't be fooled, we are still in severe draught. You might notice our dam is dry, has been for 2 years now.

    Again thanks for your concerns. For those north of the equator, winter will be over soon enough. Our plans for this coming year continue to evolve. Assuming everything remains calm around here we'll be back on the road around late April, early May as we head east out of Sofia and across Ukraine, Russia, Mongolia, Sth Korea and Japan. Heres for a great 2020. :ricky :dukegirl :beer :ricky
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  4. SmilinJoe

    SmilinJoe Been here awhile

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    Any updates on the fires?
  5. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Hi SmilinJoe thanks for your concerns. I'm really quite concious of the fact that this is not RR related, but I also understand and really appreciate any concerns that anyone out there might have for Katrina and I. So I'm hoping that this is the last update, so far as these devastating fires go. We for now are still OK, although the fires around us continue. Conditions have been fairly benign lately so many of the fires are either extiguished or at least coming under control. The fire immediately to our west, the "Big Jack mountain" fire is still out of control and only about 8 klms or so away. The smoke from our place is ever present and at night we can see the orange glow. Our road, the Mt Darragh rd is closed to all, except those that live along it or off it, as we do, so we still have access to our place.

    On Feb 1st, things livened up around here once again. These fires out to our west moved about 20 kilometres towards us, creating their own weather system including thunder and lightning. No rain, so this only created even more fires. One being just 3 kilometres away the Chalk hills fire. That one is now under control.

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    The arrow denotes pretty much where we live on the far south coast of New South Wales. The current fires are clearly marked, so as you can see we are somewhat surrounded. Here is the link to the most current situation. https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/fire-information/fires-near-me You need to zoom in, down the south where we are. Clicking on each fire symbol will give details on that particular fire.

    Here is a little video I did on Feb 1st, when things got lively around here once again. I've downloaded to my FLICKR acc, click on the photo, that will take you to the FLICKR account and then you can watch from there.

    [​IMG]
    After I took this video the fires moved another 20 kilometres closer to us.

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    This is what it looked like yesterday and today it got a little further out of control. A big problem is the terrain. Most of these fires are in really rugged terrain and it is either impossible or at least very dangerous to get fire fighters in.

    Australia as most i am sure are aware is always prone to fires. The big events are always named. In my memory we have had Ash Wednesday back in 84 and Black Saturday in 2009 which claimed 173 people, to name but two. They have nearly always been one or two day events. This time it's being called Black Summer. But even that is not accurate, because they started back in about August up in Queensland and have been going non stop for 6 months now. There have been astonishing stories of bravery and heroism. Because nearly everone carries a camera these days the web is awash with photos and videos. It's worth taking a look if you are interested.

    Lastly we need to remember 33 people have perished thus far. Two, a father and son in the little town of Cobargo, only 40 kilometres north of us trying to defend their farm. Nine more were fire fighters and 3 of those from North America. Crew of a water bombing aircraft that crashed during a water bombing mission, just an hours drive north of us. I'm really struggling to find the words to express our immense gratitude to each and everyone of these heroic people.

    This weekend we are expecting a major rain event. Perhaps as much as 6 inches or more. The first decent rain around here for 4 years. Hopefully this will put an end to this catastrophy and we can all return to our normal selves. Although not much will be normal around here for a very long time to be honest.

    Hopefully I can bed down this report from this point forward and we'll see you all back here late April.

    Again thanks for your concern. But Katrina and I are well prepared and we are not about do anything silly.

    I'd like to finnish on a happy motorcycle note. I think I'm about to add this beauty to the stable. But lets just keep that our little secret, lest Katrina finds out. :D
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  6. Shaggie

    Shaggie Unseen University Supporter

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    Thinking of you guys

    Regards from Over The Ditch

    S
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  7. MrKiwi

    MrKiwi Long timer Super Supporter

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    Hi Graeme thanks for the update.

    I've added a goose to my stable which is now Honda free.

    Quite a change for me.

    Hope the rain doesn't cause too many problems and does indeed settle the fires down.
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  8. DunkingBird

    DunkingBird Been here awhile Supporter

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    Hi there
    6 months under fire threat sounds very worrying and the steady smoke is certainly not helpful for the general well-being. But your search for a Moto Guzzi calms me down a wee bit.

    Two months ago, as a precaution against the Italian invasion, I stabilized the balance of the Hondas and acquired my 7th RD 03 (1st hand, 32000 km, complete history).
    Susi was not really enthusiastic but has forgiven me again:raabia

    upload_2020-2-5_15-7-24.png
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  9. SOLOKLR

    SOLOKLR Back to work

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    @DunkingBird , my wife treats me like a recovering addict. She tries to keep me away from the stuff, but if I relapse and bring home another bike, she eventually forgives me!
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  10. DunkingBird

    DunkingBird Been here awhile Supporter

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    But the thoughts are free :evil
    [​IMG]
    RD 03 Number five.


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  11. yokesman

    yokesman Long timer

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    reviewing the ute loaded, if that rain doesn't put out the fire you will need to ride the new one out.
    Those Guzzis have always looked good, the first I saw one was at the ducati dealer where I bought my first real moto, 350 duc scrambler. 1969
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  12. SmilinJoe

    SmilinJoe Been here awhile

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    Hey Graeme, how are the fires going around you guys? I hope it is better.
  13. BarryB

    BarryB Been here awhile Supporter

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    Has anyone had an update on Graeme and Katrina? It’s been awhile. Hoping for the best.
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  14. MrKiwi

    MrKiwi Long timer Super Supporter

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    Last I heard he was safely hunkering down due to Covid-19.
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  15. BarryB

    BarryB Been here awhile Supporter

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    Thank You Sir!
  16. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Thanks for your concerns BarryB, both Katrina and I are well. We are bunkered down at home like most others.

    I expect to give a full update of our future travels at months end when we should have a clearer picture for the years ahead. The bike remains safely housed in Sofia. Huge thanks to N & M. :clap

    Take care one and all. The road will be there well after this unfolding tragedy is consigned to history.
  17. DunkingBird

    DunkingBird Been here awhile Supporter

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    Thanks Graeme

    Crazy times :loco
    First the fire almost drives you away from your home and now you're locked up there.

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  18. MrKiwi

    MrKiwi Long timer Super Supporter

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    Hi Graeme. I'm seeing news reports coming out of Australia about tougher measures being introduced in some states. Are you now locked down for three months?
  19. Yannick

    Yannick Asterix the Gaul

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    Hello Katrina & Graeme, and all the usual followers of this thread ...
    Yes as said Mr Bird (hi Peter), we're living some crazy moments as the whole planet is getting into confinement. But the main problem is that some countries in the world have been long to react, their leaders refusing to believe that pandemy was going to hit the whole planet (I won't name anyone here, we're not in a political thread ... ok ... the main one has the forename of a well known duck).
    This confinement will last as long as it has to last to be sure everyone is safe and now we're talking about 2 months. Ok, but next step ... ? We're now talking about deconfinement or unconfinement (sorry I don't know if these words exist in english as I haven't found them in any dictionnary but I bet everyone will understand so let's use the french word deconfinement.) It won't be as easy as the confinement measures because who can be declared safe and not at risk compared to someone else ? I don't know for the rest of Europe (and therefore the rest of the world) but the French government has already talked about the phase of deconfinement and it said it would be even longer because it's absolutely unthinkable to "free" everyone at the same time : some regions are more hit than others, some age groups are more hit or more risky than others, etc ...
    And for now all the borders are still closed, and we know they will reopen only when the whole world will be safe from the virus ... yes but when ?
    All this to say for me this year just looks like it's screwed up for all travellers. If European borders reopen inside (the schengen zone), according to your plans, who can say you will be allowed to enter Russia ? For me this year is a blank year for everyone, a blank season for travellers. And I'm suddenly thinking of your bike stuck in Sofia, I really hope the people where it's sitting at won't matter if you say you won't be able to come before next year.
    I really hope the best for both of you for the coming times. Don't hesitate to pm me if needed.
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  20. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Little did we know, did anyone know, late last year when Katrina and I booked our flights from Sofia to home and then returning to Sofia on the 27th April 2020 that we, along with most of the rest of the world, would be in lock down.

    Yep today we were booked to be flying out of our little airport here at Merimbula, first to Sydney, then onto Sofia, via Paris so as to continue our meander across the world. Intention being to first give our great hosts Nikolay and Milena and big hug, then throw new chain & sprockets along with a battery on the bike and head east.

    Avoid paying dodgy police fines in Ukraine, onto Russia, down to Mongolia, back to Russia. Catch the now, non existent RoRo from Vladivostok to Japan via Sth Korea and finally get the bike across to Nth America by November. But instead we are of course, as mentioned above in a steady cycle of Ground Hog day. Actually we are far more fortunate than most, being on 25 acres that always needs something doing on it.

    As February past by, both Katrina and I were begining to pay a bit, actually a lot more attention to the news coming out of China. We had until mid March to submit our passports so as to obtain the appropriate visas for Russia and have them return in time for our deparure today. We set Friday 13th as D-day for a final decision on what we would do. By then it became abundantly clear that all bets were off. We have/had overlander friends literally all over the world assessing their own individual situations. Some lucky and in either Europe or Nth America, others less so in Africa, Asia and else where. People were having to scramble and radically change their plans within days. Remember our great friends Ken and Carol Duval whom we shared the 100 th aniversay of the battle of Villers Bretonneux in France with, also the Valencia MotoGP. They were stuck in west Africa, Benin I think and had to get out fast before being locked down. Fortunately for them they and their old Beemer got on one of the last flights out of that part of the world and back to the UK.

    We put the word out there that anyone stuck could prop with us for as long as was necessary. Matteo whom we'd followed from Italy was now in Australia and in a real bind. He obviously wanted to continue his journey here in Australia, but that was now increasingly difficult. Some states, Western Australia, Tasmania and Queensland being three, were now not allowing people from interstate to cross over. If you were from Italia, no chance. Then of course he was increasingly concerned for his family and especially his elderly parents back in Rimini. So for 3 weeks Matteo stayed with us whilst he figured out his next move. After much research and many phone calls he snagged a flight back to Rome and on the 12th we bid him goodbye. His Transalp stays in our garage for when ever he returns to continue his journey.

    In any case enough waffle. Clearly our trip is on hold, most likely at least until this time next year. But honestly who knows? We do know this though. We will continue, there is so much more to see and do.

    Be patient, listen to the medical and science experts and we'll all come out the other side of this pandemic safely. This RR is not over, just in hibernation for a while. We'll see you out there on the road in the years to come.

    [​IMG]
    Katrina, Matteo and Moi. Matteo's carnet will fall due in his absence. The local AAA along with Australian customs have now designated our garage as a bonded warehouse untill Matteo's return. Just one example of how local authorities are tackling this unprecedented situation. Who knew beauracrats could be reasonable and have some common sense? Good on them I say.

    [​IMG]
    It's not all drudgery in lock down. We here in New South Wales are still allowed to go fishing, so long as we maintain the distancing rules. Victoria to our south, no such luck. Although not a fisherman. Matteo couldn't get enough time down at the beach with a rod in his hand. He even caught a few.

    [​IMG]
    In our time home here we have had a new arrival.

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    Of course lock down for us means more time in the vege garden. No bad thing at all.

    Like I said, we will continue with out journey, that is a certainty.