An Austrian in Australia

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Seppo, Jul 4, 2009.

  1. Seppo

    Seppo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2009
    Oddometer:
    517
    Location:
    Austria "Mostviertel"
    G´day mates!

    My name is Josef, some of you might now me already. I´m currently here in Austrialia touring on a bike and having a good time. Now i did a trip i want to tell you about, so here it is, my first ride report on advrider!

    For those who only want to read the actual ride report, proceed to the point "and thats where the ride report really starts..."

    So, where to start? Lets start in Austria. Yes, Austria, the country of Hitler, Mr Fritzl and Brüno. But i rather like to look at it as the country of Mozart, Schwarzenegger, Red Bull and, you guessed it, KTM. Austria is a nice country and i liked my work, was working all my life on my parents farm. But, why i´m now in Australia you ask? Well, live is not always easy, there are people dieing of cancer, killing themselves or try to. Not funny, and some day i decided that it was enough, went to vienna, bought a ticket to sydney and two days later i was here. Now, back home i have a Suzuki DR 800, riding a bike is a huge part of my live, and since i´m now in Australia, which offers all sorts of riding you can imagine, i decided to buy a bike and travel around.

    I found a nice bike in the Austrialian flea market section by a hint from an inmate, a mint condition xr650, 04 model, fitted out perfect for offroading. Bashplate, handguards, crf forks and even a rock solid rack plus andy straps bags.
    While i was staying in Sydney, another inmate offerd me a bed to stay, i gladly took the offer and stayed at matts place for a few days, while getting everything sorted out. And a week later i was on my way up north. Meet a few nice people on the way, like ColonialMick, another inmate, who showed me some nice roads through the woods around Wauchope.
    Another week later i arrived in Hervey Bay. Funny story about Hervey Bay, on the plane i was sitting next to a woman with her 3 year old child, turned out she was austrian as well, heading back home to austriala cause she lived here now for 6 years and she´s running a hostel in Hervey Bay. She said if i come to Hervey Bay, i should come by to stay there. What i did. Best decision i made. I spend 2 weeks in the hostel, meeting some really nice people, going into the woods with the bike.

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    When i arrived here, i orderd a bigger fuel tank (australian made safari tank of course) and a new rear tyre.
    As i said, i met some nice people here, first of all Astrid and Michael, 2 germans who have been in the hostel for weeks already. And i met Melanie, guess what, german as well, who was really nice but left after a week to cairns where she stayed another week. When the bike was ready, i really wanted to get on with my trip, altough it was sad to leave the new friends behind, but i had plans to come back here and i hoped, the would still be here.
    Women, its all about them in a mans live, and i´m no exeption to this rule. I thought, if i started imideatly, i could meet again with Melanie in Cairns, spending some days with her before i get on going again to....well, whatever comes into my mind.

    And thats where the ride report really starts...

    I planned on goinig north from Hervey Bay on the Highways to Cairns. Instead of starting early morning i had to wait for the hostel owner to pay my bill. Finally, at about 11 i was on my way out of town, fuelling up for the first time the cassier at the fuel station looked at my bike and asked if all of the fuel was going into my bike? Cause it still looks like a dirt bike. Instead of going on the highway i took a dirt road through the woods to childers, but something was wrong. The bike was very unstable and i felt very unsecure on it. I stopped, looked at the bags cause i thought they weren´t properly fixed, but they where ok. A few k´s later i stopped again, something was wrong, but i couldn´t find anything. Suddenly it came into my head: The fuel tank. Never ridden the bike with the big tank filled to the top. Makes it awfully topheavy, very unstable. Anyway, i had to get used to it, so i opend the throttle and on and on i got it. It took my some time to get out of the forest again and into Childers, where i was about to meet inmate „OldOzy“, who offerd me a cup of coffee. We talked about biking, aboriginales and, since we both have a strong farming background, we talked alot about farming. Sometimes later i was back on track, cruising up the highway towards Cairns, rather boring.

    Cairns is a nice town. And i don´t like towns at all. Got me a bed in one of this big Hostels, a 4share room for 25dollars. I tried to contact the german girl, Melanie on facebook but got no answer. She had my phone number, but didn´t call. No reason for me to stay in Cairns any longer. ADVJake, another inmate here and the guy i bought the bike from, told me i should visit cape york, so had a look at the maps and decided to go there. Next morning, i packed my bags and headed north.

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    Via Mossman, Daintree with the small ferry over the river and onto the nice track up to Cooktown. That was a really nice track, not very hard to drive, some nice watercrossings, steep uphills, but a lot of 4x4s.

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    Arriving in Cooktown i really had the feeling of being at the end of the road. Nice little town. Really.

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    I bought as much water as i could carry, a 5 litre jerry can and some food. 30l of sprit should take me to the musgrave roadhouse and on the next morning i was on my way.
    A few k´s north of Cooktown i went left towards Lakefield National Park and after some more k´s a right turn to Starke. First ist was a big Dirtroad, easy. The road was getting smaller and smaller until it only was a track, but good to ride though. The track always changed from hard dirt to gravel, then sand and patches of really soft sand. Great to ride, also a lot of creek and river crossings, most of them dry.

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    After an hour on the track or so, the sand was getting more and more. First there were only small patches, maybe 10m long, but now, some streches were as long as 100m and more. And it was really soft sand. No problem, just open the throttle and power through it. So i went on, always looking for big washouts who became more and more frequent. I didn´t stop very often, a big mistake as i had to learn just after about 2 hours in the track.
    Sand all over the track. You drive through a spot of soft sand, struggeling to keep the bike in direction, trying not to fall. Thats so fucking hard, i got really exhausted. Its been really soft sand, something i´m absolutley not used to. I couldn´t go on with just open the throttle and ride through it, i had to slow down, get my feet on the ground and drive slowly. But even that was very exhausting. And when you have passed one spot, you get around 2 corners and the next soft sand patch is in front of you. Fuck, i thought, i can´t go on... I started falling, no big deal, almost in a stillstand, but getting the bike back up and kicking it 10 times was even worsening my physical situation...i was tired, next fall, and so on. I felt like charly boorman and ewan mcgregor on their long way round, getting through this muddy places, where they have done not more then 30km on one day. I was drinkng water as much as i could, making breaks all the times, my gps told me a average speed of under 20km an hour. I felt really weak, disapointed about myself. But i kept on going, i wanted to reach wakooka outstation this day. At about 4 i met a couple in their landcruiser, camping at the side at the road. They invited me to stay with them for the night, we chatted a bit, but i decided to go on. And since that, the track became better, less sand, more hard surface, i was riding through very high grass, just guessing where the track was, and i made it just before dawn to the outstation. What a feeling of achievment...I walked around, looked at the car wrecks, the old rusty tractor, the abondend buildings and the messages other people have left there. I left a message there (Josef-30/06/09-austria) and started to put up my tent. As i was taking the tent of the bike i took a closer look at the bags and...fuck...the left bag had a huge hole on its back. All the water must have been to much for it. Anyway, had to fix it next day. After putting up the tent, making everything ready for the night i eat something and went to bed. Not really bed, sleeping bag on the hard surface. Even that caused me pain, the seat of the xr is really hard, my butt was hurting.

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    Nice warm weather was waking me up early the next day, i had some breakfast, walked around again before i started to take care of my bag. The only way i could fix it was to fill it up, take some ropes from the tent and tie it as good as i could to the rack. At 9 i was good to go and i really enjoyd the ride. Nice warm weather, beautiful landscape, nice tracks, why couldn´t it be like that all day long?

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    No, that would be to easy. After some time my nightmare came back. Again and again i had to go through deep sand. Wherever i could i got next to the track and rode through the bush, but often i had to go through the sand. The rivercrossings were dry, but often with huge washouts, and washouts also on the track, at places where you don´t expect them. Most of the time i was sitting on the seat, but my butt began to hurt again. I stood up in the pegs, but was getting exhausted again from it and from the sand, i had to sit down. At some point i couldn´t decide what was less painful, standing or sitting. It must have been about 11 when i came to a huge rivercrossing. It was more like a lake and i wasn´t shure if i can make it through. So i got of the bike, looked around and found a way to get around it. And there my real misery began. It started pretty easy, going about 5m in shallow water, over big stones onto the side, between some trees. As i was passing one tree, the rear wheel got stuck at a root, and the bike stalled. Kicked it, wanted to go on, but the wheel just turned und burried itself in the mud. Fucking hell i shouted im my helmet. Got of the bike, took all the gear of it, what was very tiring in the heat, got back to the bike. Started it, pushed as hard as i could and engaged the clutch...and the bike sank even deeper into the sand...engine off and first thing i did: i screamed FUCKING HELL!!!! Into the lonlyness. Thats great about being on your own in such a remote area. I sat down next to the bike because i was completly out of power. After 30mins i started to dig with some kind of wood i found nearby, tryed to lift the back wheel out of the ditch, but it wouldn´t even move a millimeter. Again i sat down. Come on, i thought, i´m a smart guy, i have to find a way to get it out....and lightning struck me. I took the tie down i used for strapping down the jerry can, dug out a root in front of the bike, hitched the tie down to the root and the front wheel and strapped it. Kicked the bike, got behind the bike, pushed as hard as i could, released the clutch and.....I WAS FREE!!!! FUCK YOU RIVERCROSSING!!!! YOU HAVE BEEN DEFEATED!!!! JOSEF 1 – RIVER 0

    Full of pride i got back on the track. I was tired, but happy and not even the sand could hold me from going on. At least not for the next 10 minutes. Then i hit the next big river crossing. I got of the bike, tried to find a way around, but this time, i had to go through it. With a stick in my hand i walked along the little lake and measured the depth. It should be ok...but i wasn´t sure....anyway, i had to go...Slowly i entered the river, making good progress, it was about 50m long and after half way, i was shure i was going to make it. Being shure of something is no insurance, and about 15m away from the safe end of the river, i almost lost it. I got out of balance, had to get down with my left foot and the bike leaned over to the left side where the air filter is. The river was about 40cm deep, just under the air filter, so when the bike began to lean over, i hit the killswitch...standing in the middle of the river, i thought about the few things i know about corcodiles....they like slow flowing water, deep water....i had a look around....fuck....i took all the strengh i had left in my body and pushed the bike as hard as i could up the riverbank into safty, water was running into my boots i was wet all over, leaned the bike to the side, got out of the helmet, threw my backpack away and almost fell on the ground. As i said, i don´t know much about crocs, but at this moment, i was scared to death. Its amazing how you gain strengh in situations like this, cause after i took all the gear of the bike, i wasn´t able to push it to the plain area above the river. So i started to take out the air filter to dry it and kicked the hell out of the bike, with the decomp lever. Every 10 kicks i had to stop and rest for a few minutes to get some breath back. I was thinking about my options, what if the enginge was blown because i wasn´t quick enough with the kill switch? What if i can´t get it going again? There´s maybe one car per day passing by, at most, maybe no car in a few days. And even if a car comes by and the bike is nuts, what should i do with it? How can you get it out there? I thought i had to camp there for some time until someone comes by....
    Just as i wanted to drain the carb, 2 cars pulled up at the other side of the river, making their way through it, stopping at my side to ask if i´m ok. Turned out he was a ranger with his family. He had 2 sons who where immideatly around my bike, asking if it is a 650, if that are the crf forks, the younger one, about 14 years old has a gasgas 200 himself. They helped me to get the bike onto the flat, we drained the carb and instead of kicking it, tryed push start it. After 10min and a few more kicks, the bike finally fired up. The younger son drove it back to the cars, looks like he had some fun on it, and he defenitly knew what he was doing. The ranger himself owns 2 moto guzzis, one 850 something, and a Le Mans II, a real classic bike. Very nice bloke, like most, if not all australians i met so far.

    I was on my way again and from now on, it was like kindergarten. I didn´t care anymore about the deep soft sand, i just ploughed trough it with way more confidence then ever before. Its crazy how the thoughts in your head affect your drivng skills. From zero to hero in under one second. I felt great. And this river crossing was really the last thing that botherd me.

    I now got closer to lakefield, one of the campgrounds around there and by getting closer, more and more cars appeared, the track was really easy now, no big obstacles anymore. I was getting faster and faster, enjoyed riding on the open tracks. Past the lakefield campground the track was really easy, a 2wd could go along. Only thing i didn´t like where the guys in their 4x4 racing along and leaving me in a thick dust cloud. But i didn´t care. Sometimes i hit a sand hole, just flying over it, the rear wheel felt like it was all over the place, from left to right, but i had confidence to get through it. Then i came to a big gravel road and i was riding almost flat out towards musgrave. But before getting there, i had to fill my 5 liter from the jerry can into the fuel tank, odo showed 385km. And at 5:30, a arrived. Still felt great, you know this feeling of having something great achieved? Like the king of the world.

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    It wasn´t dark, so i set of from Musgrave into the south, did 30k´s and stopped at a rest area and put up my tent there. There was already a group of 4 camping and they invited me over to have a cup of coffee. We talked a long time, it was a older couple with their son and his wife. The 72 old father told me that he got stuck in a river crossing today because he was in 2 wheel drive and later almost rolled the car in a bend when he came out to the shoulder. When he was younger he also was riding bikes, but now he feels to old for it.

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    Next morning i rode down the peninsular highway to cairns, where i arrived at about 3. That was one of my favourite parts of the journey, cause i had to walk into the city to get some cash. I parked the bike at the esplanade, got out of my boots and walked along the esplanade. My pants and my backpack where dusty and dirty and i looked like i didn´t belong there. But for me it felt like i was wearing a trophy, showing of to the world, to the people that never would be able to get to this places, to people who would have turned around at the first sign of problems. I was proud and i didn´t cared about what the other people might think. Loved it.
    I headed back to the Highway, doing another 30k´s to a rest area where i took a little nap until a harley pulled up. The rider was a guy who looked like taken out of a biker gang, long white beard, leathers and stuff. We talked about bikes, his harley and the other he has at home, which he had for 30 years now. It has 2 new engines, 3 now front ends, but still runs great and has the same fuel effeciency as his new one. He invited me to stay at his home, but that was to far away into a wrong direction. I got back on the road again and after some time, i pulled into a motel, for a nice shower and a nice bed. Still 1300k´s to go to hervey bay.
    Next day i started at about 9, cruising along the highway past townsville, did more then 750k´s this day till i got to a rest area filled with rv´s, campervans and cars. I looked around and found a nice spot to put up my tent. Just as i got the tent of the bike, i heard a bloke behind me asking „is this the big red pig?“. The guy loved the bike, we chatted about biking and it turned out he was on his way up to cairns with his xt660r to meet a friend and go to cape york for 2 weeks.

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    We talked a long time about life, from global warming to all the stupid people who never get out of the ordinary. Nice guy, good attitude. And, guess what, he lurkes around here to. But it was sleeping time and i got on with putting up my tent. Next morning i went over to his spot, he was already ready to go, we chatted with another guy who just came back from cape york with his ute and then i headed south for hervey bay, back home.

    And here i am now. I got a nice welcome back, nice hugging by Astrid and a friendly welcome from the hostel owners. Its good to be back, i´m still tired and i have to fix the bags before i can go on. But i don´t mind staying here, its nice, compaerd to the hostel in cairns.

    I hope you had a nice time reading and it wasn´t to long.

    before i say goodbye, i wanna thank all the guys i met here from the forum, its a great community here!!

    Now its really over

    Good fight, good night,

    josef
    #1
  2. Mowster

    Mowster Stressed Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,061
    Location:
    Melbs
    Vielen dank fur deine reisen blick

    Sounds like you did just fine with the sand-riding......

    screaming, shouting, crashing, sweating.........sounds quite normal???
    #2
  3. overlandr

    overlandr Dystopist

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    Oddometer:
    5,985
    Location:
    Sydney
    Thanks a lot for a great RR, nice to get one with all the details on the struggle through that river crossing.
    #3
  4. southroads

    southroads old and tired

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2008
    Oddometer:
    142
    Location:
    East-East Gippsland
    thanks josef ,,great report:clap
    #4
  5. Seppo

    Seppo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2009
    Oddometer:
    517
    Location:
    Austria "Mostviertel"
    what made me really feel better in the deep sand was when i found a mirror of another bike next to the track, at one of the really bad bad parts...i was not the only one who struggeld...
    #5
  6. lentil

    lentil All round nice guy Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2006
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    12,508
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    Not Gunnedah
    Josef,

    Sounds like youve had your practice and ready to see the simpson in a couple of weeks :wink::wink:
    #6
  7. Seppo

    Seppo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2009
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    517
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    Austria "Mostviertel"
    Well, lets see, i have to repair my bags first. Unfortunatley i cant sew myself, i have to find a shop. The german girl here can´t sew either, what a shame...girls these days, can´t cook, can´t sew, can´t knit...rough times for us.
    #7
  8. bondiboy

    bondiboy go with the waves

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    82
    Location:
    Bondi Beach, Sydney
    Good one. Great storey, I enjoyed the read.
    #8
  9. Seppo

    Seppo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2009
    Oddometer:
    517
    Location:
    Austria "Mostviertel"
    by the way, alongside some fine memory, i got some cuts on my fingers as well as a big bruise on my foot. Something to remember...
    #9
  10. Mickldo

    Mickldo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2007
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    659
    Location:
    Maryborough, Qld, Australia
    Good stuff josef
    #10
  11. edgy

    edgy Been here awhile

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    Jun 11, 2007
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    513
    Location:
    Gtown,SA
    Looks awesome,would love to do the same!
    #11
  12. on2wheels52

    on2wheels52 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
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    3,128
    Location:
    northern Arkansas
    Thanks for taking us along, I'm no fan of sand either.
    Jim
    #12
  13. LC8TY

    LC8TY must......find........fuel

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,337
    Location:
    Carnarvon, Australia
    Bewdy mate! :thumb I enjoyed the read.
    #13
  14. ADVJake

    ADVJake ***** dweller

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
    4,341
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    I loved that read, you expressed all that was going through your mind at the time, even all the cursing :lol3
    great stuff.
    #14
  15. dirtbikeslob

    dirtbikeslob Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 4, 2007
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    309
    Location:
    dunedin new zealand
    hey seppo,very good report there:thumb,i will be going through the starke track
    to cape melville on the way to the top in about 3 weeks,so i won't follow your tyre tracks into the rivers:D the soft sand sounds like it could be a pain as we
    don't have a lot of it here in nz. and i'll be on a big blue pig(dr650) .
    will look forward to more of your adventures.
    #15
  16. carmima

    carmima All Orange :-)

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,957
    Location:
    Northern Rivers, NSW
    good on ya josef...I'm heading up there later in the year so was good to get a recent perspective of the run through Starcke.

    Great read...thanks :thumb

    Oh yeah...if you end up doing the simpson ride with Leith (lentil), say hello for me will ya - something like letting his tyres down, you get the idea.

    thanks mate
    #16
  17. Seppo

    Seppo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2009
    Oddometer:
    517
    Location:
    Austria "Mostviertel"
    hey,
    i will find a way to say "g´day" from you. But i have to do it in a way he doesn´t suspect me...saying it here in the forum won´t help either.
    cya
    josef
    #17
  18. Sstalker

    Sstalker Newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1
    well, seems you like the ideal trip, meeting lots of great people while your traveling around awesome roads...

    i thougt about australia too, but i´m not in the right position... lack of money.

    an thats what buggt me, it seemes that you left your home and did not plan anythin more than going as fast as possilbe to australia, but where did you get your money from??? or have you played with the idea of breaking out for a longer time before?

    and i have to say, love your bike... even if i am more the street-racer-fan^^
    #18