WRRoaming Australia (WR250R + short-bus)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by FLICKIT, Jul 7, 2017.

  1. FLICKIT

    FLICKIT Long timer

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    I'm 19 days into this trip, around 5000km on the WR250R so far, and around 4000 km in the van, so I figure I better start a ride report or it will never happen, I have a day and a half to spare sitting at a free camping spot just south of Cairns so I'll make an effort to get this up to date before I set off on the next two week bike leg up Cape York...

    The trip so far:
    D19 map.jpg
    (black+dark-blue=van, other colours=bike)

    Spot Tracker:
    http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0kVBhf3MJNRZ7sRh8ZMmFbzQbWhuAlq62

    Spotwalla: (tends to miss spots)
    https://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?id=1403b58fdb47a7fe7c
    (you can click the "2017-WRRoaming-Aus" at the top, select adjustments, and change the "history" to "all" if you want to see the whole trip)

    GPS Tracks:
    https://ridewithgps.com/users/64712/activities
    Every day I upload my GPS route there...

    The vehicles:
    2010 WR250R
    (17,000km at the start of the trip)
    -Purchased in 2014 with 1800km on the clock
    -no engine or preformance mods,
    -18L IMS tank,
    -Screensforbikes screen,
    -Seat Concepts seat with Sit&Fly cover
    -Cycleracks rear-rack with a cheap Pelican style hardcase,
    -Homemade side rails/racks to mount a couple of $10aus 40L drybags,
    P6270937c.jpg
    P6240532c.jpg

    The WRRest & WRRecover van is:
    1997 Toyota Hiace Commuter RZH125R 14 seat mini-bus.
    (139,000km at the start of the trip)
    2RZ 4cyl 2.4L carb petrol engine
    Full specs here>> http://www.redbook.com.au/cars/rese...ace-commuter-super-lwb-manual/SPOT-ITM-276911
    P7011311c.jpg

    I've been contemplating this "Around-Aus" trip since I returned to riding in 2011 (at 40), I originally planned to do a 3 month lap on my old 90's Dominator but I wasn't really ready for it and I had concerns about using a 20yo bike, it wouldn't be good to get stranded in the middle of nowhere.... I ended up buying a basically new 2010 Tenere with the intention of doing a lap on that but it never eventuated... In-between times I decided the Tenere was too big for the solo riding I was doing in Tasmania (it was only a matter of time before I got it stuck/stranded or I hurt myself getting it unstuck), and I was having second thoughts about living off a bike for 3 months, I don't sleep well in tents and I need a few days off every week or two to recover... Thanks to another Tassie inmate theMISSIONARY and his regular talk about the "WR250R of Awesomeness", I started looking into them and realized what a great little bike they are, when a near new one came up at a decent price I decided to sell the Tenere, downsize to the WRR, and build up a rough campervan and use the pair for a lap-of-oz...

    So here we are now.... The general plan is to do a counter-clockwise lap of Australia, I'll abandon the van for a week or two at a time and do side trips on the bike to get to all the good parts, I figure I'll probably end up doing more miles on the bike than in the van.... I expect the trip to last 3 to 4 months...

    Initially the ride report will be a bit light on photos and video, I'll probably just stick to uploading the 4 photos per post, I don't really have the time, internet connection, or reliable image host to make this what I'd like it to be while on the road, but I figure if I get most the info in here while it's fresh in my mind then I can return and do a big edit when I get home and bulk it out with a mass of photos and videos (I'm running a gopro for ALL the riding, 50+ hours so far).... If I don't start something now it will never happen, at the end of the trip it will be way too much to tackle from from the start...

    Here goes>>>

    EDIT:
    GPS files for 2017
    GPX:
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B81fGFWSPwlPbDJYZUlnZXZnQ2M
    (this is 52meg so it'll take a while to download on a slow connection)
    KMZ:
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B81fGFWSPwlPTnpFeGRsOVp0WkU
    (for Google Earth, only 3meg)

    GPS Files for 2018
    GPX

    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1d_sxdqR-eAVM9SNwyHJSpH-KXJ0ckA0z
    KML
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1oIn45hcCanHIwI8rSrru3ZbIpSo1Ttyj
    #1
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  2. FLICKIT

    FLICKIT Long timer

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    Day-1
    2017-06-20
    Hobart to Devonport
    275km in the van
    Route: https://ridewithgps.com/trips/15437838

    A windy rainy winters day battling into a headwind to get to Devonport so I could jump on the Spirit of Tasmania overnight ferry to Melbourne, nothing interesting to say really, when I filled the van up with juice in Devonport I was a bit disappointed she had only done 7.8km per liter, a lot lower than expected, I figured the headwind was probably the issue, I was hoping for closer to 9Km/L...

    I made this quick rough video while I was waiting to board the ship:


    A photo of Melbourne as the ship was comming in to dock the next morning:
    20170621_054555c.jpg
    #2
  3. FLICKIT

    FLICKIT Long timer

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    Day-2
    2017-06-21
    Melbourne to Cobar NSW
    860km in the van
    Route: https://ridewithgps.com/trips/15465001

    After looking at the weather report and seeing it was going very frosty (0.C temps) as far north as Griffith I decided I'd try to make a big day of it and get as far north away from the wintery weather as I could...

    Stopped at Jerilderie to snap some pics of the Leopard tank:
    P6210293c.jpg

    And Griffith for a quick look at the Fairey Firefly Memorial:
    P6210308c.jpg
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairey_Firefly

    After 4pm I started seeing a lot of roos, emus, and more and more feral goats as I got closer to Cobar... Using the Campermate app on my phone ( www.campermate.com.au ) I decided I'd stay the night at the Newey Recreation Reservoir Camping Area in Cobar, it sounded good, it's a free camping spot supplied by the council.. (it turned out to be a good spot also)

    It was after sunset when I got to Cobar, on the way into town I noticed a sign to Fort Burke Lookout so I went up for a look:
    P6210344c.jpg
    The sign at the edge of town which incorporates some of the old mining infrastructure:
    P6210359c.jpg
    #3
  4. FLICKIT

    FLICKIT Long timer

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    2017-06-22
    Cobar to Charleville
    656km in Van
    Route: https://ridewithgps.com/trips/15487043

    Todays mission was the get to Charleville which was the first place I'd abandon the van and head off on the bike...

    Before leaving town I re-visited the Fort Burke Lookout, it's on the edge of an old open cut mine, The New Cobar Gold Mine:
    P6220388c.jpg
    which is now the entrance to the newer Peak Gold underground mine:
    P6220393c.jpg

    I got into Charleville late afternoon, I was staying at the Charleville Bush Caravan Park ( www.charlevillecaravanpark.com.au ) $25 per night for a powered site... This was further north than I wanted to be really but they were the only people that responded to my emails about storing my van, these guys were great about it and said I could store it there for free :D .. Nice park, very clean and modern showers and toilets, and the hosts/caretakers were friendly and welcoming... There was a bit of grass around but it was mainly just red dirt like most outback camps and caravan parks:
    P6230433c.jpg
    #4
  5. FLICKIT

    FLICKIT Long timer

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    Day-4
    2017-06-23
    Charleville to Hungerford
    460km on the bike, mainly dirt
    Route: https://ridewithgps.com/trips/15705375

    Woohoo, finally on the bike, all packed and ready to go:
    P6230436c.jpg
    The rough plan was to do a big 3500km loop and take in all the iconic outback spots in this area... Cameron Corner, Strzelecki Track, Birdsville, Innamincka, and such...

    I headed off south-west and hit the dirt the first chance I had, then just followed the dirt roads down towards Eulo.. This was the first obstical I encountered, it looked a bit ominous but it turned out to only be a few inches deep, no dramas :D
    P6230460c.jpg
    A while later I came to a cattle grid at a property called Aldville Station, the map showed the road going straight ahead but there was a sign saying "NO ENTRY, NO camping, No fishing", and there was a track leading off to the right that was well used, I figured this must be a "bypass" around this property, so I followed that... It started out ok but gradually got worse and worse, lots of bulldust holes, eventually it came to some cattle yards and I realized the track was in such bad shape due to cattle road-trains using it... I continued on for a bit further but the track turned into a rough station track that wasn't used much, and it started heading in the wrong direction, so I turned back... Went through the "NO ENTRY" sign, I'm sure it's public road anyway, and I continued on without issue...

    Stopped at Eulo to refuel and snap a pic of their Diprotodon:
    P6230465c.jpg
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diprotodon

    Then continued south through Currawinya National Park towards Hungerford, saw a lot of wildlife along the way, had near misses with emus, and pigs..
    P6230476c.jpg

    Refueled at the pub in Hungerford, they have an overhead tank out the back of the pub, and I stayed in the campground across the road from the pub, it was only $5.50 per night, there's a shower and loo there which are nothing flash but adaquate :)

    I had a double-serve Outdoor Gourmet Company "Coq au Vin" dehydrated meal for dinner, I added a stack of dehydrated peas to bulk it out a bit , a decent shake of cayenne pepper and black pepper, and a good dash of olive oil to boost the calories a bit (dehydrated meals tend to lack fat and calories)... It was actually pretty tasty...
    #5
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  6. FLICKIT

    FLICKIT Long timer

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    Day-5
    2017-06-24
    Hungerford to Tibbooburra
    478km on the bike, all dirt
    Route: https://ridewithgps.com/trips/15533524

    I slept fairly well and it was nice to have a hot shower in the morning, I headed off about 8am, the plan was to head west along the Dingo Fence for 100km to Hamilton Gate:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dingo_Fence

    It was a cool ride, fairly sandy in places, a bit rocky at times, I've never been in desert sand before so it was quite educational trying to work out how to handle the bike... The main issue was the damn emus !!! 100km along the fence I think I was chasing emus for 50km of it, stupid things, they just keep running along the fence, even if there's clear open ground off to the side they stick to the fence, I tried everything to move them off the track, stop and wait 5 mins, chase them forever, nothing worked...
    P6240505c.jpg

    After a while I found it was best to wear them down for a couple of miles then over take them, I wasn't game to pass them straight away, they were very erratic... 30sec video of emus:


    I eventually got to Hamilton Gate and passed through the fence into NSW, Hamilton Gate Rd down to Wanaaring was a shocker, lot's of big bulldust holes and loose crap, it seemed most the damage was done by cattle road-trains, I didn't enjoy it at all, I was way out of my comfort zone...

    Made it down to Wanaaring and refueled, then headed for Tibooburra, this road was fairly crappy to start with also, quite rutted in places with lots of fine loose bulldust, the dust thrown up by passing vehicles was a bit of an issue also, I found it best to just stop for the trucks, save riding blind, and save the bike from sucking in a gut full of dust:
    P6240521c.jpg

    After about 100km the road improved a heap, it had very recently been tidied up, it was a welcome improvement..

    Getting close to Tibooburra:
    P6240523c.jpg

    Refueled and grabbed a 10L bladder of water in Tibooburra then headed out to Dead Horse Gully camp ground in Sturt National park, this cost $8 for park entry and $6 for the camping fee, not a big deal really, I planned to ride through the national park the next day:
    P6250534c.jpg

    Had a Back Country Cuisine Beef Curry dehydrated meal for dinner (with the usual peaz, cayeene/black pepper + olive oil), it was fairly tasty but I don't think my water was hot enough, or I didn't add enough, the meat was a little chewy, not a big deal... Same as most camping areas out here there were a stack of people around, so much for finding some solitude in the outback :lol3
    #6
  7. FLICKIT

    FLICKIT Long timer

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    Day-6
    2017-06-25
    Tibooburra to Strzelecki Track via Sturt NP and Cameron Corner
    391km on the bike, all dirt
    Route: https://ridewithgps.com/trips/15685167

    There's a lot of big piles of granite boulders around the Dead Hose Gully camp ground, interesting, but I was more interested in riding than wandering around looking at detail, next time:
    P6250546c.jpg

    I woke feeling really crappy, blocked nose, headache, unenthusiastic, I figure the body was adjusting to all the dust I was sucking in, lol ... I considered heading straight for Cameron Corner but Sturt National Park won, on the map it appeared there was sand dunes through there and I was keen to get some sand experience:
    SturtNP.jpg

    It was a nice ride through the park, plenty to see, I disturbed this Wedge Tail Eagle having some breakfast, he was trying to fly away with his kill but it was too heavy to fly with:
    P6250556c.jpg

    Jump up Lookout:
    P6250588c.jpg

    TBC.....
    #7
  8. FLICKIT

    FLICKIT Long timer

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    Day-6 continued:

    A couple more pics from Jump Up Lookout:
    P6250576c.jpg

    It wasn't till later I was flicking through the photos and realized there was a bunch of kangaroos down below watching me: (3 top-left, couple more down the bottom)
    P6250586c.jpg

    I continued on through the national park, it got sandier as I got further west, there was quite a few sand dunes with fairly loose sand, it wasn't really hard riding, just a lot different to what I'm accustom to, it was educational... I don't have any photos of the sand so this will have to do :lol3 (I'll edit up a Sturt National Park video when I get home)
    P6250594c.jpg

    The last 20km or so to Cameron Corner crosses quite a few large dunes, it's quite a good fast road, and thoroughly entertaining..

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cameron_Corner_Survey_Marker
    Cameron Corner Survey Marker is a heritage-listed survey marker. The survey marker is at the border corner of South-West Queensland with New South Wales and South Australia; it was established in 1880.

    In 3 states at once :D (well, 4 if you include the "state of insanity" )
    P6250609c.jpg

    TBC...
    #8
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  9. FLICKIT

    FLICKIT Long timer

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    Day-6 continued:

    The poor little bike in the background fenced off from all the excitement :(
    P6250611c.jpg

    The fuel out there was a little pricey at $2 per liter, fair considering the roads in there I guess... The next leg west to Merty Merty then south down the Strzelecki Track to Lyndhurst was about 422km, to play it safe I put 4 liters in my 12L fuel bladder:
    P6250631c.jpg
    (the silver bladder was the excess water from the 10L bladder I bought in Tibooburra the night before)

    The road west out of there was similar to the road in, a bit sandy but not bad, crossing a lot of dunes, not easy to get good photos of:
    P6250634c.jpg
    It's quite freaky going over the top of the dunes at speed, more often than not I backed off just in case there was a 4x4 coming the other way in the middle of the road:
    P6250644c.jpg

    TBC
    #9
  10. FLICKIT

    FLICKIT Long timer

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    Day-6 continue:
    P6250645c.jpg

    The Strzelecki "Track" was more of a hard packed dirt Hwy, with 5km sealed sections every now and then, it really wasn't what I expected:
    P6250649c.jpg

    Fairy Martin nests in a rest stop shelter:
    P6250658c.jpg
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairy_martin

    I ended up camping at Montecollina Bore... Nice spot...
    P6250690c.jpg
    #10
  11. FLICKIT

    FLICKIT Long timer

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    One last Day-6 post, lol

    These little guys were running around me all evening:
    P6250710c.jpg

    Not sure what they are:


    Funny little guys, I was laying in my tent watching Orange is the New Black on the tablet, I heard a rustle on the edge of the tent and turned my flashlight on, one of these guys had his front paws up on the mesh opening of the tent peering in at me, gave me a bit of a shock, lol

    EDIT: Inmate @Nerb informed me they're a Crest-tailed mulgara (Dasycercus cristicauda), a threatened species:
    https://www.livescience.com/61222-extinct-marsupial-rediscovered.html
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crest-tailed_mulgara
    #11
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  12. FLICKIT

    FLICKIT Long timer

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    Day-7
    2017-06-26
    Montecollina Bore to Mungerannie
    512km on the bike, mainly dirt.
    Route: https://ridewithgps.com/trips/15685168

    Todays route was just down Strzelecki to Lyndhurst, up to Maree, then up the Birdsville Track to Mungerannie...

    Started the day with some sunrise photos at the bore:
    P6260746c.jpg

    P6260748c.jpg

    A few others that arrived later last night:
    P6260754c.jpg

    P6260755c.jpg

    TBC...
    #12
  13. FLICKIT

    FLICKIT Long timer

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    Day-7 continued:
    Heading down the Strzelecki Track the sky was looking fairly dark down south, the further I got the colder it was getting:
    P6260767c.jpg
    and as expected it started showering, I stopped and put the wet weather liners in my pants and jacket, the showers didn't last but at least I was warmer...

    Refuelled in Lyndhurst then headed north to the Farina Ruins:
    P6260769c.jpg
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farina,_South_Australia

    The willouran Range in the distance I think:
    P6260784c.jpg

    Then off to Marree where I snapped a few quick photos:
    P6260799c.jpg
    #13
  14. FLICKIT

    FLICKIT Long timer

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    Day-7 continued: Marree
    P6260804c.jpg

    Then I started heading up the Birdsville Track... a couple of nice bulldust holes along the way:
    P6260805c.jpg



    Not much out here... other than a couple more light showers of rain:
    P6260817c.jpg

    Visited the Mulka ruins which are a short detour off the track:
    P6260826c.jpg

    TBC...
    #14
  15. FLICKIT

    FLICKIT Long timer

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    Day-7 continued:

    Continued up the Birdsville Track to Mungerannie:
    P6270855c.jpg

    P6270860c.jpg
    (the Maccas sign is a bit of a joke I assume)

    This place had a bit of an odd vibe to it, not bad, just odd, lol... There was a stack of people here, most with big 4x4's towing big expensive caravans, most heading to Birdsville for the Big Red Bash (a 3? day music festival held at the base of Big Red, the biggest dune in the Simpson desert, just out of Birdsville)

    I paid $29 in the pub for an Angus beef schnitzel with chips/fries, salad and gravy for dinner, + a couple of beers, it wasn't bad, chatted to a few interesting people in the bar... and crawled into my tent fairly early...

    Woke through the night to fairly constant rain, it was more than just a shower... I was expecting the roads to be closed in the morning...
    #15
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  16. FLICKIT

    FLICKIT Long timer

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    Day-8
    2017-06-27
    Mungerannie to Beetoota
    611km on the bike, all dirt
    Route: https://ridewithgps.com/trips/15685179

    The plan was to head to Birdsville, check out Big Red, and camp around Birdsville somewhere....

    Thankfully the roads were open even though there was a bit of rain, the road was a bit damp but not really wet.... My tent was soaked but I didn't want to hang around for it to dry so I just packed it up wet and hit the road...

    North up to the Warburton junction:
    P6270867c.jpg

    Then up to the Birdsville Inside Track... I have read the "Inside Track" is a great ride but the track is closed the majority of the time... There was no sign saying it was closed, and it appeared a heap of traffic had been up there, so I headed in for a look... I had the be careful with fuel because it was 320km between fuel stops and I didn't put any extra in the bladder.. (18L in the IMS tank, the WRR does between 20 and 25km per liter, range of 360km to 450km at best... typical is close to 400 range... ... If I went too far in and had to turn back I wouldn't have enough the get to Birdsville...

    A lot of this pebble covered ground out there:
    P6270879c.jpg

    P6270887c.jpg

    After 25km (which was close to my safe limit), I came to some cattle yards, past them there had been no traffic on the track what so ever, the track must be closed up further, lol, fooled by the cattle truck tyre tracks AGAIN...
    P6270889c.jpg
    Turned around and headed the 25km back to the main Birdsville Track and continued on north towards Birdsville...

    TBC...
    #16
  17. FLICKIT

    FLICKIT Long timer

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    Day-8 Continued

    I got into Birdsville early afternoon, the place was packed with people there early for the Big Red Bash: http://www.bigredbash.com.au

    I refueled and headed out to Big Red for a look, Big Red is a 40m (120 foot) high sand dune at the eastern side of the Simpson Desert...I was unsure if I was going to attempt to cross it, I just wanted a look at it... I wasn't sure where I was going and I ended up taking a track that lead me around to the western side of Big Red:
    P6270926c.jpg

    Being a total sand noob I decided to take what looked like the easiest route, at the right... Here we go !


    Easier than expected, even though I had to paddle a bit to get up over the top, lol :clap... I should have really taken one of the other straighter lines, I probably would have made it all the way up without issue...

    P6270950c.jpg

    P6270966c.jpg

    I considered heading back down and doing it again but it was stinking hot and I needed some food ! ... Headed down and went to the Birdsville bakery for one of their famous? curried camel pies, I must have got an anorexic camel because there wasn't much meat in the one I got, lol

    TBC...
    #17
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  18. FLICKIT

    FLICKIT Long timer

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    D8 continued:
    With the place being so packed with people, and hundreds of people camped along the river on the outskirts of town where I was planning to camp, I decided to fuel up and hightail it out of there... The next leg was 530km, to be well on the safe side I put 10L in the fuel bladder: (lucky I got extra fuel, I needed it, lol)
    P6270972c.jpg

    P6270976c.jpg
    The little bike handles the extra weight really well :D

    An emergency runway on the road:
    P6270988c.jpg
    I ended up heading about 160km east out of Birdsville to Beetoota, and old abandoned fuel stop which is now a rest stop, it was another lovely sunset:
    P6270998c.jpg
    #18
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  19. FLICKIT

    FLICKIT Long timer

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    I arrived right on dark and it was blowing a gale, it was a very open areas, very exposed... My ground-tarp and tent were still soaking wet from the rain the night before.. I unpacked everything and tied the tent fly to the bike to flap in the breeze to dry, and just flapped the tarp and tent around for 5 mins to dry them out.... There was 3 other groups camped here, they thought I was struggling to erect the tent in the wind so the 3 guys came over to offer a hand, lol ... I explained I was just drying gear and it was all under control, they headed back to their camp fire and told me to come over once I was sorted...

    Got everything set up and had a Beef Teriyake freeze dried meal for dinner, pretty tasty considering it starts off as 200 grams of dried crap, lol...

    Slept on and off through the night, the strong winds bashing the tent around woke me a few times... Woke fairly early due to a road-train pulling up on the road to check/bash his tyres... . then discovered the down-side to camping in an exposed windy camping spot that's just sand and gravel.... The tent was full of sand, I was covered and it was through everything....
    P6281006c.jpg
    Oh well, live and learn, lol

    Beetoota ruins:
    P6281007c.jpg
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betoota,_Queensland

    The rest area/camp ground across the road: (there's a long-drop composting toilet off to the left)
    P6281019c.jpg
    #19
  20. FLICKIT

    FLICKIT Long timer

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    Day-9
    2017-06-28
    Beetoota to Innamincka
    370km on the bike, all dirt +sand + lots of mud :(
    Route: https://ridewithgps.com/trips/15685180

    The plan was to head east then south into Planet Arrabury Rd, visit Haddons Corners, then continue south on Cordillo Downs Rd to Innamincka, I was expecting a fairly easy day, :lol3

    The day started pretty good, the track into Haddon Corner was fun, there was a couple of small dunes near the corner...

    (still a sand noob :lol3... and excuse the boppy poppy girlie music :lol3 )

    I have a Sena SMH-10R on my helmet: https://www.sena.com/es/product/smh10r/
    I have 2 batteries, while 1 is in use the other is charging in my tank-bag, I have music playing constantly, most of it is 70's-80's classic rock, and a lot of boppy poppy upbeat music, I find it occupies the part of my brain that dwells on crap I shouldn't be dwelling on while trying to enjoy a ride, I'd be lost without music playing....

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haddon_Corner
    P6281032c.jpg

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    Headed back to Planet Arrabury Rd and continued south in QLD, a lot more nothingness out here:
    P6281046c.jpg

    TBC...
    #20
    Plebeian, egret, Don T and 8 others like this.