A few days off

#1
A few weeks ago I was able to get a few days off before the busy Christmas season and this is the report from that ride that I originally posted on the FarRiders sight.

Day 1

I have had a ride planned for a while now and I finally was able to get some extra time off to try to put this one away. My original plan was to attempt this ride for the 2017 memorial ride but a bad case of the man flu shortened my riding time by three days.

With five whole days away from the brewery I was off on Monday morning at 09:30 and had a full day for a transit ride to get to Melbourne from the Adelaide Hills. My start time was at 09:30 and with a full day ahead of me and some great riding weather I decided to take the long way there.

With 48 litres of fuel (23 main, 20 auxiliary, 5 jerry can) I was ready for a day’s ride and I decided to head south and ride along the Coorong. This has to be one of my favourite roads to ride in good weather and today did not disappoint

As I continued south it was through the small towns Kingston and Millicent before a corner docket was needed in Mount Gambier.

From there it was back north through the Coonawarra wine region before a quick top up of the rear tank in Naracoorte.

From there it was some new unridden territory for me as I went east into Victoria through some fun roads with plenty of corners with my next stop at the sight of FarRide East #47 in Dergholm. I had planned on attending this ride for quite a while and was looking forward to finally being able to attend but thanks to the South Korean government** that plan had to change.

From Dergholm it was some more interesting roads to Casterton for the last fuel stop for the day before riding past the southern Grampians through Dunkeld to Lake Bolac then north to Ararat.

From there it was a rather uneventful ride along the Western Hwy. to my accommodation for the night just out of Melbourne in Sunshine.


** My second in charge of the brewery’s kitchen is from South Korea and he was given a mandatory date (27/10) of return to get an extension from his military service. We are sponsoring him and to be excused from military service is part of the visa.

Day 2 (100 CCC start)

After my scenic ride east from Lobethal to Melbourne it was time to get serious and ride the next part of my limited time off. After a good meal and a good night’s sleep in the Melbourne suburb of Sunshine it was quick ride to my starting point of Port Melbourne where I was greeted by some familiar faces that came out on a rather cool Melbourne morning to see me off. It was greatly appreciated that Fatman and LTP went to the effort of organizing the send-off and all of the riders for getting up so early on a public holiday.

After the papers were signed and both tanks filled I was anxious to get this ride started. Fatman offered to lead the way out of Melbourne and I got to see what his two sets of Clearwaters had to offer. I also got to see what lights Derrick had on his Tiger and Nico on his Tenere.
All too soon I was on my own as the others got off on various exits along the way. I was feeling quite refreshed after last night’s sleep and the cloud covered sky keep the temperature warmer than expected. I usually take a photo of the sunrise on my rides but today the sun was completely hidden and no point in taking photos of the clouds. I reached my first of my three fuel stops for today about five hours (518 km) after leaving Melbourne. A quick top up of both tanks in Keith and soon I was back in home territory as I wound my way through the Adelaide Hills avoiding the slow moving traffic of Adelaide.

Through Gawler, Mallala and Balaklava and shortly I was making my way to my next stop in Port Augusta. Again a quick fill of both tanks, an iced chocolate and I was back on the road in under 10 minutes. I then headed north on the Stuart and was looking forward to doing it in the day as last time I was up this way around midnight I was set upon by roos for the over 300 km. I decided to make my last fuel stop for today in Glendambo and avoid the extra time the ride into Coober Pedy takes.
By now the clouds were slowly giving way to some sunshine, it was a great day to be riding north. I was surprised to see so little road kill and was hoping this was a sign of things to come.


I made my first nights rest stop of Marla (1793 km) shortly after the sunset, filled both tanks, checked the bike over, got a little something to eat and soon was settled into a room for the next six hours.

Day 2
A 03:00 alarm woke me and I was back on the road within 30 minutes. I was quite surprised that the bike was quite wet as a bit of rain had fallen during the night and the temperatures were quite mild. Again no wildlife was seen but about 2 hours after setting off I was overcome with fatigue and decided to grab a quick power nap before the sun came up. I woke by my set alarm 15 minutes later and was feeling quite refreshed. This was to be the only power nap break that I would have for the next four days. After not seeing any wildlife so far I was quite surprised when a lone roo threw itself at me, swerving I was lucky part of it just caught my rear tyre. Again there was to be no sunrise photo as the whole sky was covered in cloud and would be that way for almost the entire day.

Alice Springs (455 km) was to be my first stop for today and I took an extended break to have a sausage roll and a coffee. I had given up caffeine a couple months ago in anticipation that it might be beneficial for this ride. Its absence from my body certainly took its effect on me and it was all that I would need for the rest of the day.
A light rain continued to fall as I made my way north. I had a quick stop at Wycliffe Well roadhouse to get a souvenir for Helen who loves anything to do with UFO’s before stopping to fill both tanks in Tennent Creek (508 km).

A rather uneventful ride took me to Daly Waters (398km) for more fuel before my final fuel stop for the day in Katherine (274 km). By now I knew that I was in the tropics with the heat and humidity increasing quite rapidly. With a top up of my camelback, glasses and visor cleaned it was time for the last 300 km of today’s ride as I made my way to Darwin. I have always enjoyed this part of the country and this had to be my favorite part of the last two days ride. Although it was getting quite hot and I was looking forward to getting all of this riding gear off I still stopped multiple times to admire the scenery. As I approached Darwin the clouds were beginning to disperse and I got to see the sun for the first time today.

I also was surprised to see some water buffalo just off the road as I would my way to Darwin.

I made it to Darwin (3744 km) at 20:47 ACDT in just over 41 hours and was greeted by Darwin local, IBA member and FarRider Wendy on her Honda ST. After a brief catch up and paper work signed I needed to find my motel room and get some of this gear off and get ready for tomorrows ride.



Day 3

A 03:15 alarm had me up and packed and at the 24 hour Daly St. Coles Express in time to fill both tanks have an iced coffee and something quick to eat before my planned 04:00 ACDT departure. As I was obtaining my receipt the young man behind the counter expressed his interest in my bike and excitedly told me about his 250cc outside and how he had arrived from Bangladesh where they never have bikes over 150cc. Even though I was now on the clock and eager to get on the road I spent 15 minutes with him talking about his bike, and my travels. With an exchange of emails and Facebook it was now time to start heading south.


I have never been very fond of night riding but have to say how much I enjoyed the ride south to Katherine. The weather was still warm but very pleasant for an early morning ride. With no animals in sight and my first fuel stop just 5 minutes away it was time for some very quick, evasive action as the ute in front of me swerved to the right and then did a U-turn at 80kph. I was far enough back from him to safely avoid the vehicle but still too close for my comfort.

With the sun rising as I left Katherine there was now plenty of open space and very little traffic for the next 1600 km.
With a top up of fuel in Daly Waters, Tennent Creek was the next stop. The heat was beginning to increase and the sun was definitely out today as the temperature stayed around 38 for most of the day.
As I approached Tennent creek the sun was obscured by smoke and dust and you could see a few fires off in the distance. Both tanks got filled here along with the camelbak and a Gatorade to help replenish some of the fluids lost to the heat.

I had one more fuel stop planned for the day and if I kept on schedule I should make Marla, today’s final destination before sunset. The heat continued to take its toll on me and an additional stop to cool down and another cold drink was needed in Titree before arriving in Alice Springs to fill both tanks before the last 450 km of the day.

I arrived in Marla (1955 km) just after sunset and in time to get a little something to eat from the restaurant before getting a room and checking over the bike before my ride south continues in the morning. By this time I realised that for some reason my phone had no data available and knew the next day I would have to recharge and try to fix this situation in Port Augusta

Day 4
Another 03:15 alarm had me packed and back on the road within 30 minutes. I was not looking forward to the next 3 hours until the sun came up as I have been spooked by roos before on this stretch of road. My plan was just to take it slow as I can always make up time when the sun comes up. Not too long into the ride I was passed by a rather large 4WD who slowed down, gave me the thumbs up and let me ride behind him until Coober Pedy. His massive spots showed a far bit of the road side and quite a few roos were spotted. He also swerved a few times to avoid the ones on the road. After he turned off into Coober Pedy the sun was beginning to rise and I was able to pick up the pace onto my first fuel stop for the day in Glendambo. With the sun up I saw at least 50 fresh carcasses that were not there two days before on my way north.

By the time I reached Glendambo I was a little ahead of schedule and decided on a coffee and something quick to eat that would see me through until I reached Melbourne later on tonight. My quick break was delayed by a group of men that worked in the nearby minefields who were quite interested in the Tenere’s setup and long distance riding. After over twenty minutes I was anxious to get back on the road and had to excuse myself and explained that I was now running behind and still had another 1300 km to go before the day was over.

Back on the road to Port Augusta I knew that after filling both tanks I could stop at McDonalds and use the free internet to take care of the no data issue and also give a quick call to my wife who I am sure would be a little worried as she has not heard from me for over a day now. Upon arriving at McDonalds I was greeted by a staff member who informed me that they had no power but the O.T.R. further up the road could assist me with access to the internet only to be told once I got there that they too had no power.
I had also not realised that my spot had stopped working and my charger on the bike had failed to charge my phone. I did not know that my wife, Fatman and LTP were all trying to get a hold of me and to see if all was okay. As I made my way back towards Adelaide I tried a few public phones that I had passed to try to ring Helen but the two that I tried just ate the coins that I put in and would not work. I was quite oblivious to the fact that a few people were worried about my whereabouts.

I soon was making my way towards Balaklava and then onto Mallala before Gawler and the Barossa Valley. I soon was back in the Adelaide hills and close to where I had started when I came to this intersection.

I was on the road for a little over four days and had almost rode 8000 km. I also needed to be back to work in 22 hours…..
If I turned right I would be back home in 15 minutes, to my wife, my bed and my dog.
If I turned left I would have at least another 1400 km and another few hours’ sleep in a rather questionable motel room.

I turned left and proceeded to head down into the Murray lands before a quick stop in Tailem Bend to try to sort out the phone charger etc. With no luck but a new USB charger and cord in the tank bag I was about to head off when I thought I should check in with Spot and then realised that it had been shut off for I do not know how long. With the spot now active I it was time to finish todays ride but before the day was out I needed to get in touch with Helen and decided to stop at the public phone in Coomandonk and try my luck. I asked for change at the general store only to be told that the phone does not work but I could use his if I wanted to. A quick phone call to a very relieved wife and I was ready to get the day over.
My third and final fuel stop for the day was in Keith before I made my way back into Victoria. The sun was beginning to set as I made my way through the Grampians.

The weather to the east was looking a little dismal so a quick addition of a layer in Ararat and I was ready for the ride into Melbourne. It was a great sight when I was about 50 km from my next stop to see three bikes on the side of the road and was soon being led back into Melbourne by Fatman and LTP and their four Ericas along with Philmore and Derrick riding behind me.

I arrived in Port Melbourne at 22:15 ACDT, 42.25 hours after leaving Darwin and 90.5 hours after leaving Port Melboure on my way to Darwin.
So after a brief catch up from four very committed riders and with windscreen and lights freshly cleaned by Fatman it was time to say goodbye as I still had a little riding to do before the day was through.

I was soon back on the road heading west into a cloud covered night with just under 100 km to finish the day in Ballarat. As I was feeling quite alert and enjoying the ride and I was tempted to continue on towards home but the thought of riding through the Grampians at night made me stick to my original plan. I found my motel room in Ballarat and settled in for the next 4 hours.

Day 5

I was back on the road by 04:30 and had just over 5 hours to finish my ride. With both tanks filled last night in Port Melbourne there was no need to stop until I reached my rides final destination 450kms from Ballarat.
A rather uneventful ride took me back through the area I had ridden a few times before over the last few days. I reached my final stop (9050 km.)of the ride at 09:20 at the sight of the silo art in Coonalpyn. I knew from previous visits that they make a great breakfast and coffee and I was eager to eat something as it has been over 24 hours since the last time I ate. After my final receipt was obtained and breakfast ordered it was time to take a break off the clock as I sorted out a couple of witnesses as I waited for my breakfast.


I still had 145 km to get home and had to be back to work in 2.5 hours so it was a short break before getting back on the road to start another weekend at the brewery.

https://spotwalla.com/embed.php?id=16b6d5a08feda5ba9e&scale=on&zoom=default&refresh=no
 

Nico

Well-known Member. Moderator
#2
Great riding throughout this big journey Jeff!
Congrats on completing it all successfully and thanks for the report. Makes good reading.
Sorry I couldn't be there for the finish as well, but you were in good hands as always.
 

Fatman

Well-Known Member
#5
That is one huge ride Jeff and you handled it so well it is a credit to you.

We had fun seeing you off and when you returned to Port Melbourne and being able to ride with you for a short distance each way was a bonus for us.

Thanks for posting your report, the reading took me along with you..

And not only completing the ride, then you went straight back to work... Now that's dedication.. :)

Congratulations Jeff.