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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by FLICKIT, Jul 7, 2017.
Got back into Birdsville mid afternoon yesterday after having to deal with a rear pinch flat 80km down the road... all good :)
Awesome stuff. Simpson. Solo. Unsupported. Tick.
No big offs or issues out there?
I dropped it against the bank going down a dune on the QAA line, I stayed on my feet and the bike was only 1/2 way over against the bank, and I got crossed up and dropped it again against a bank going up a powdery dune west of poeppels corner in the dunes of death, again I stayed on my feet ... First one my left boot got caught under the jerry can and twisted my knee a bit, nothing bad, and the second one my right shin smacked into a little stump in the bank and left me with a graze and a bit of a bruise, not a big deal... When I have some time to spare I'll uploads the videos
It seems inmate @Nerb and @RidingWithTom (which both have fairly popular Youtube channels) headed in to do a west to east crossing earlier today, since there's some WRR's in the group I might hang around here to greet them when they pop out this end:
Just watched their prep videos, they packed a hell of a lot lighter than me, lol:
Ooops, from Nerbs tracker half way along the QAA line 30 mins ago:
I think it's going to be an interesting night at the pub tonight (hoping they get here tonight)...
I escaped dusty Birdsville after being there way too long and did the 380km east to Windorah yesterday, the dirt road was good at either end for 90kmh in the minnebago, but it was a bit dodgy in the middle with bad corrugations, bearable with slowing down to 20-30kmh on the real bad bits, usual story, drive to the conditions, I passed 2 4x4's with flat tyres so slower speeds seem wise through there anyway ... (the van runs light-truck tyres which seem fairly tough)
I considered hanging around to see if the guy with the broken bike needed a lift out to civilization but I figured it would be days before he organizes recovery of the bike and such, it was only about 100km out but the roadhouse quoted $2500 to pick it up, Nerb was running around asking 4x4ers hoping to find a generous one that would go out and get it.... Personally I would have stayed with the bike for a couple of days in the hope a ute would come through with room in the tray, you'd have more luck getting someone passing by than getting someone to make a dedicated trip out and back I think... (my bike has well and truly paid for itself now so I think I'd happily bury it in the sand if it had a major catastrophic issue, then plan a 4x4 expedition at a later date to retrieve it, lol)
The bike is a TR650 terra, apparently it just died, as they pulled the gear off to find out why the frame just fell apart, it had died because of the frame breaking the tank had dropped and smashed the bottom off the fuel pump, not sure if it's just the subframe or what, keep in mind this is now 3rd hand info... As for a cause, guessing, the 50 or 60km of white dunes west of the corner that people call the dunes of death are like constant deep whoops, going too fast or not getting your ass off the seat through there would be very hard on a bike, especially if the suspension isn't set up for the load and such... <<< speculation... and something to keep in mind...
It seems all the other guys in that group had a fairly smooth run.... I think any low-skill rider like myself can potter through the simpson on a trail bike like the WRR (with the right prep and attitude), but it takes skill to pilot a big bike like the 1190 in that stuff, well done to Nerb for his successful crossing... Their bikes all looked issue free other than Tom's WRR chain slider was totally worn through and the chain was chewing through the swingarm, lol, I sold him one of my spare sliders to get him back to Vic safely....
The 4 days of hard riding and the current cold weather have caught up with me, my hands and wrists are ridiculously stiff and sore today, it often happens like this and catches up to me a few days later which is why travelling with the bus is so good, I can take it easy and recover for a few days.... I'm going to potter over to the Sunshine Coast, I was considering going back to Fraser Island to do the couple of tracks I didn't do last year but I think I'm done with riding for this season, I've done 10,000km-ish on the bike, I'm content with that... After I finish on the coast I'll probably head down to near Mudgee to catch up with a rider I met at Birdsville, then maybe a week in Sydney, I don't want to head down into vic and the cold weather to catch the boat on the 15th of Sept until the last minute, ....
As for the bike, she's all good, no issues.... I'm contemplating the Canning Stock Route for next year, and/or maybe the Madigan Line, so I might re-jig my whole fuel and storage setup, if I'm going to do that much sand I really need to lose some weight and get her well balanced, maybe ditch my topbox as it's quite heavy, and I might go for a couple of the cheap $50 10L chinese rotopack knockoffs for fuel, I met a guy that had them and they seem pretty tough:
If there's any interest I'll write up my French Line crossing in detail ?
I'm interested. Enjoying your RR's and observations about things.
Is there any interest, does a bear shit in the woods, is the Pope a Catholic.
Fuck yeah there’s interest.
I’m looking forward to you doing the CSR.
Keep it coming. I have a WRR and a DR650. Really enjoying your report.
Please, do it!
Lots of great information here. Can't believe I didn't take time to read it all earlier. Thanks for posting this great report.
After 3 years of doing this and over a year on the road, I'm still quite content with the choice of Hiace and WR250R, you really cant go wrong with the WR, cheap to run, cheap to maintain, very forgiving in rough stuff, and reasonable on the hwy....
If I was a rich man I'd have a bigger van, a Sprinter or such, but they're so damn expensive and there's no way I'd buy an older one with 500,000+ km on it, I imagine they'd just be a money pit... The Hiace Commuter is just big enough for solo travel, they're good on fuel, very reliable, and parts are cheap.. I was lucky to get one with low miles, I think it was 130k km or so, I've just ticked over 180k km, the only thing I've had fail on the road was the harmonic balancer last year, that cost about $500 all up to get replaced, but other than that I've just done a bit of usual maintenance..
-Pre-2017- oil+filter, new air filter, tyres, front discs and pads (around $100 for the lot on ebay), greased front wheel bearings, wheel alignment.
-pre-2018- oil+filter, changed gearbox and diff oil, new Alt + PS belts.
-pre-2019- oil+filter, plugs, leads, distributer cap + rotor, greased front wheel bearings.
-Before next year I might change the fuel filter, change power steering fluid, probably 2 new tyres, these vans scrub the outside edge off the fronts.. and i should probably replace the front wheel bearings, last year the grease in one was pretty dirty, the bearing itself looked ok so I just bought a spare to carry with me just in case.... I try to do a bit each year just to stay in front and hopefully avoid any breakdowns while on the road, maintenance parts are so damn cheap I have no reason not to stay on top of it...
When i'm on the road I usually do an oil change around 8 to 9000km, 2017 I changed the filter also but the last couple of years I haven't bothered, I just do the oil change a little early then do oil and filter when I get home before leaving the next year.... Oil changes on the road I just buy a $1 bucket and a bottle of oil, cut the bucket down so it will fit under the sump, drop the oil, pour the new oil in and any excess into a smaller container, then pour the old oil back into the container the new oil came in, then wrap the 1/2 bucket in a garbage bag and toss it in a bin, then I carry the old oil until I go past a supercheap with oil disposal bin, or small town tip with an oil disposal spot, or such... I've seen lots of people just dump their old oil on the ground but i cant bring myself to do that... I also like to carry the old oil for a week or so just in case the sump plug leaks or anything and I need to pour it back in to get me out of trouble, lol... (i usually have plenty of bike oil with me anyway but in remote areas I do everything possible to cover my ass)
Another upside to the smallish van is it fits perfectly into standard car parking spots in towns and at the supermarket and such, you just have to be mindful of the height with underground carparks, she's about 2300mm high, and some carparks are less than that... + being an older van, once it's covered in a weeks worth of road-grime it just looks like a dirty old hippy/backpacker van so the chances of someone breaking in while I have it parked/stored are slim, no one would guess there's a good amount of tools and gear stored in here....
Before this year I installed a couple of cheap ebay 100w solar panels on the roof and got a 12v fridge, I should have done it years ago, I'm eating so much better now, luxury! (2017 I had a 240v bar fridge but almost never pay for powered camping sites so it was fairly useless, 2018 I relied on an eski but buying ice all the time is a pain and it doesn't last long)
I think you asked me last year if you could come have a look at my setup when I get home? , I totally forgot about it, so maybe we can line something up this year, come have a look before I unpack so you can see how the bike fits in and how much room I have with the bike inside and such, it's certainly not for everyone but it works for me
Once you get home and get a chance to get over your trip give me a PM.
Just OT, I’ve been checking the prices on the Spirit of Tasmania site in regarding to height and width prices.
It seems once you get over 2M in height and more than 5M in length there is a decent price hike, how did it fair for you.
Since it's set up to sleep in they class it as a campervan/motorhome, 5.2m long, over 2.1 height, so it costs about $100 on the boat... Even if I try to book it as a "Hiace van", they specifically ask if it's set up for sleeping and then change the fare to a campervan... (I tried this when I couldn't get a spot as a campervan, lol)
The downside is they only have a certain number of spots for campervans on each sailing so you have to book a couple of months in advance, it's almost impossible to get on at short notice at the peak times leaving tassie around the start of winter, and returning in spring.... The first year I assumed it would be the same as with cars, like you can get on any time, I was shocked how early I had to book ahead...
The first year I think I booked ASAP which was like 10 weeks away, then I checked online every day until I found an earlier date from where someone had cancelled, then I changed my booking to that date, it's very easy and free to change your dates through their website...
The last couple of years I've booked around late Jan-early Feb when they run a special deal, this year my return trip was $409.89 total for me and the van on day sailings with a shared 4 bed cabin each way..., I figure if things change and I cant go on the dates I've booked, I can just keep changing the dates until I can go, there's no limits on how many times you amend your booking ...
Looking now for the date i'm returning, Sept 15th day sailing, standard price fare:
and it's an extra $30 for a shared cabin on a day sailing... When they run specials they often have the adult fares for $20 or $30 less...
I've taken to doing day sailings when I can and I get a $30 shared cabin so I can spend the day snoozing and watching tv on my tablet in bed, and have a shower, I find it exhausting sitting around in the common/public areas all day so having a room is good.... With night sailings I basically don't sleep due to sharing with snorers and rude bastards that return to the cabin drunk at midnight and decide to have a shower and such... On my own I can't justify the high cost of a private room...
Edit: the reason why motorhomes/campervans are so much cheaper:
Rebate applicable under BSPVES
The following rebates are available from 1 July 2019:
Up to $234 each way for a motor car
Up to $234 each way for a bus
Up to $469 each way for a motor home
Up to $469 each way for an eligible passenger vehicle towing a caravan
Up to $120 each way for a motorcycle
Up to $35 each way for a bicycle
My return trip this year:
Total inc GST 409.69 AUD
Federal Gov rebate 918.00 AUD
Hi @FLICKIT , was great to see you out there. Must say, youre really living the life cruising around in that van. It looked like a great setup!
We got back last night from our whirlwind 5000km 8 day simpson crossing. To fill you in, Marks Terra 650 snapped the subframe... and then the key snapped off in the seat lock when he tried to get the seat off! The way the frame broke pulled the fuel hose out of the fuel pump, but that was not really an issue. He did infact go back and sit with the bike once he heard that a supported group with a trailer was coming through. He told me this on satphone, so we headed off, not wanting to hang around for several days waiting for him to get into town. A couple of the guys had deadlines. He got into birdsville tuesday morning and tuesday afternoon his trailer ride changed their mind about a lift all the way back to NSW. So he went to the workshop and got the frame welded tuesday night and rode birdsville to Hawker Wednesday and Hawker to Melbourne Thursday.
Besides that, our crossing was awesome. The 1190 loved it, even though I couldnt pick it up by myself when it fell. A few people have now said it might be the only 1200cc to cross the french line unsupported? Trying to suss that out.
Anyway, continue on with your fascinating trip to the envy of everyone here.
Thanks for the update Nerb, it's good to hear you all made it home safely and it's GREAT to hear Mark made it home under his own steam which makes his trip a 100% success, just action packed by the sounds of it...
Congratz on the successful trip and I look forward to seeing the video series for this trip
Unreal stuff and very inspiring.
I'm contemplating a solo trip east along the French/QAA about 10 days after Finke.
At this stage my sand riding is average at best but I'll do a few more shorter loaded trips in the sand to see if i'm ready.
I've done a couple already but with only half the load I would need for the Simpson.
Watching Nerb and co. make it look very easy.
Most people talk it up to be much harder than it is, especially if they have a Youtube channel to promote, lol... take your time and plod along and you'll have no issues...
My skills are well and truly in the "noob" category and I had no issues at all, dive in, take care, you'll be fine....
In time I'll write about my crossing, it's not easy to write about because it was fairly uneventful... I've been uploading the whole crossing "Slow TV" style to Youtube, sorry Youtube butchers the footage so badly, it is what is is...
Thanks mate...look forward to the write up...in due time of course.