Border Crossing

jeffrey gebler

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
It has been over 13 months since I had a break away from the brewery. Having to deal with the bush fires and the recovery of our community and then the virus and our slow climb out of it I was in desperate need of a break. With two weeks off my wife and I spent the first week on a houseboat on the Murray.
I was hoping for a few more days of riding but with the borders restrictions and not wanting to be in isolation for 14 days I decided to keep the ride to three days and go into the territory for a while.

With a casual 330km transport leg up to Port Augusta the bike was prepped and I was well fed and in bed by 14:00 for an early morning start. A 23:00 alarm had me ready to leave by my planned midnight departure up the Stuart Highway.
The weather was much warmer than the 4 degree forecast but the heated gear was still needed as I headed north for my first planned stop 545 km at Cobber Pedy. The last time I rode this way in the early morning my speed was so slow due to the amount of roo’s but this time I only saw one as I left Port Augusta. I made Cobber Pedy well ahead of schedule and had a 5 minute fill of both tanks and was soon back on the road with Marla being my next stop before the Border. Once again no roo’s in sight as I made my next stop just as the sun was rising. With the heavy cloud cover there was no need to take a sunrise photo and my next stop was going to be the border check point. I was greeted at the border by a friendly group of officers and with a brief check that all my paperwork was in order I was back on the road in several minutes.

I made Alice Springs at 10:40, 27 minutes ahead of plans. With both tanks once again filled, a quick short black and a sausage roll in my hand it was time to get to Tennent Creek 508 kilometres from here. As I was approaching Ti Tree I noticed that I seemed to be burning more fuel than expected and I was not going to make the distance. I decided to stop and just top up the auxiliary tank but had to wait almost 15 minutes as the caravan on one side of the pump and the ute on the other side decided that they needed to stay parked in front of the pumps while they waited for their food orders. This time did not get wasted as I took off a few layers, changed gloves and cleaned my glasses. When it was time to fill I was surprised to see that my Auxiliary tank was still completely full. I did not have time to change over the quick disconnect fuel line coupling so I removed the seat and disconnected it and made sure fuel was coming out of both ends. I reconnected it and hoped for the best as my next plan was to buy and additional jerry can when I arrived in Tennent Creek. I already had a 5lt in my pannier but was not comfortable with that amount if the cell did not stop flowing properly. My worries were soon put to rest as I noticed my fuel gauge slowly started heading north.

I made Tennent Creek just a little ahead of schedule and was quickly back on the road trying to keep the lost time in Ti Tree to a minimum. The weather was perfect for riding and even had a tail wind for most of the last 15 hours. I reached Daly Waters (2134 Km) just as the sun was setting as was hoping that this might be my last fuel stop for the day. I had so far encountered very little wild life, cattle and sheep and was hoping it would remain this way as I made my way north towards Katherine. During the day I had a few calls and messages from Fatman and he mentioned the Bush Fires around Adelaide River and I might have a few delays. I decided to stop in Katherine to give my knees a break as they were feeling pretty sore by this time, I also topped up the back tank and grabbed a cold bottle of water for the tank bag.

As soon as I was out of Katherine you could smell the smoke and at times you could see a red glow in the distance. I came upon a few stretches of road with fire burning on the verge and I did encounter some heavy smoke in the Adelaide River region. While the fires did not delay me the amount of kangaroos and cattle on the road did. I am not sure if the fires had pushed them out of the bush but they were out in abundance and were mostly well behaved and they remained mostly motionless as I rode by them.
(The remains of the fire the following day outside of Adelaide River)

By this time I was feeling a little uncomfortable and was looking forward to getting to my room for the night as I cautiously made my way into Darwin. I reached the Darwin Daly Street Shell at 23:35 and was glad to get off the bike for an extended period and get a little fuel for myself.

I reached my motel room and decided to give myself another hour’s sleep and cut short the next day’s leg. After a six hour break I was at a nearby petrol station topping up the oil and checking the final drive that has had a few spots of oil around it and by 07:00 I was ready to start the ride back. I must admit I was feeling rather worn out after yesterday’s 2720km ride but once I was on the road things got better as it was another great day to be riding. I rode through the fire damaged area today in the light and was surprised to see that the fire had spread past Katherine and in some areas it seemed to be still burning.

I repeated yesterday’s stops with a top up off both tanks at Daly Waters and further down the road at Tennent Creek.
I had planned on finishing the day at Ti Tree but when I arrived I almost had a full hour of daylight so I decided to push on and grab a good eight hours rest in Alice Springs. No sooner as I pulled into the Shell Station on the North side of Alice my phone rang and Fatman was calling me, he mentioned that the football was in town and accommodation might be a little hard to find. With their help I proceeded to call four motels and to be told they were completely full. There was a B&B nearby that I called and the polite lady on the phone said that I was more than welcome to stay at their place. I did warm her that I would need to be back on the road in the early hours of the morning and that I am a little dirty from a few days on the road. Not a problem at all and soon I was welcomed into Margaret’s “ A Good Rest B&B”. This is not what I am used to when on the road but the fluffy robe that she insisted that I wear to get more comfortable, and the beautifully appointed room was a real treat. Cars were shifted so my bike could be under the veranda for the night and she insisted that she was going to cook me breakfast in the morning. I needed to be back on the road by 06:00 and at 05:15 I was sitting in her kitchen with juice, freshly brewed coffee, toast, eggs, sausages and beans. Not my usual riding breakfast but greatly appreciated and devoured quite quickly. With goodbyes said to my most gracious host it was back to reality.

It was quite cold here in the centre and the heated gear was put to good use. With a little while until the sun rise I started my final day of this ride with Marla being my next stop.
Today’s weather was certainly different than the last two days with a strong cold headwind to contend with. As I approached the South Australia border I was expecting to be stopped and to once again have my paperwork checked out but to my surprise the only cars that they were stopping were the ones heading into the territory.

Marla was reached in just over four hours and with a quick full stop and I was on my way to my next stop 487 km to Glendambo. The ride was very uneventful but contending with the wind was at times quite tiring.

I have been receiving a few messages from fellow rider Taffy over the last three days and he mentioned that he had left his home and was riding up to meet me in Port Augusta and would do the last 335km back home with me. As promised as I reached the outskirts of the Gutter Taffy was there waiting for me. With one final fuel stop and a quick catch up it was back on the road for the final leg home, it was nice to have David take the lead and he kindly altered his pace so I would not be left too far behind. This leg was also rather uneventful with some cold weather, rain and surprising a far bit of traffic to contend with.

I finished my ride in Lobethal just over 69 hours from the time I left for a total of 5888 kilometres. It was great to get back out on the bike and get back into some ride fitness that I have seen to have lost over the last year. I am still hoping to participate the 2021 IBR and need to keep my levels of fitness up even though the chances of the borders opening up by that time are fairly slim.


Well-Known Member
Congrats Jeff on your Centreline 24hr, that has to be one of the toughest 24hr rides we have here in Australia, I have noticed there is never much time to spare at the end. Well done keeping on schedule after a few issues along the way.

Taffy, what a sight for sore eyes you would have been and riding back home with Jeff, top stuff!


Premier Member
Ah, the Centre! One day I'll get further north than Coober Pedy.

Thanks for the RR Jeff, nothing like a multi-dayer to sort out how our LD mojo is faring. Mate, fingers crossed your fitness will be rewarded with travel permitted to the Big Dance.

Gr8 to see IBA members helping out and providing invaluable assistance too. Bloody legends you and all.