Cape York to Wilsons Promontory

Skidoo

Administrator
Premier Member
#41
Can't wait for the report. In a year or two it will be paved all the way to the top and people,will be running their Goldwings and Hoggelys up there, but you'll know you did it when it was a real adventure.
Absolutly! The amount of roadworks in Queenslander was unbelievable. I stopped taking photo's of being stopped after about 20. Even on the Development road I have pics of being stopped o_O
 

Nev..

#44764
Premier Member
#42
Congrats Karl. super effort. I had the day off work on Wednesday, and I headed up the Hume to near Broadford intending to accompany you into the northern subs of Melbourne, but the spot showed you stopped at Glenrowan for a while, and again at Euroa, and then it stopped updating and I couldn't be sure whether you'd stopped for a nap or you'd kept moving and the spotwalla page had just stopped updating so I headed for home. Of course as soon as I get home I check the page and see that you've only been a minute or two ahead of me or behind me on the road and practically rode straight past my house once you were off the ring road. Maybe next time !
 

Skidoo

Administrator
Premier Member
#43
Thanks Nev, appreciate your support mate.

I find SPOT challenging at times, received several texts in Qld for a welfare check when in fact I was having a cuppa several hundred kilometres away even though it was flashing green and looked all good :rolleyes:

Next time sounds good mate!
 

Skidoo

Administrator
Premier Member
#45
The ‘Ends of the Earth’ ride
Cape York to Wilsons Promontory

June 2018​


Part 1/4? (too many images)

INTRO
I make no apologies; this is written for friends and family that may not be familiar with ‘jargon’ or terminology used in the long-distance riding fraternity.

OVERVIEW

The completion of this ride was part of a trifecta of rides I contemplated when I purchased my first Super Tenere (S10) about two years ago. The transition from a ‘Super Tourer’ to an adventure bike was bought about by my love of riding on dirt. Many fellow Long Distance (LD) riders (riding in excess of 1,600 kilometres within 24hrs) have completed amazing distances on their S10’s, I was not totally convinced this was the bike for me.

My first ride contemplated was the IBA Dusty Butt SS1,600 (1,600 kilometres on dirt within 24hrs), a couple of fellow riders had just knocked that challenging ride off. Not at all competitive, I attempted and successfully completed the Dusty Butt SS2,000 (2,000 kilometres on dirt within 24hrs). It didn’t take me long to realise the potential of the S10 in LD riding.

My second ride was the, 'Heaven to Hell to Heaven insanity' (H2H2Hi). This ride encompassed riding from the highest accessible point in Australia being Charlotte Pass to the lowest point Lake Eyre and return within 48hrs. This was a particular challenging ride due to the demography of hundreds of kilometres of dirt, mountain passes and extensive wildlife including deer, wombats, kangaroos, goats, emus and miscellaneous little critters that play Russian roulette with motor cyclists.

A reasonable portion of this ride is completed in remote areas with often no communication if help is needed.

My third ride in this suit of rides was an attempt at riding from the most Northey to Southerly points on the mainland in Australia, 4,226 kilometres within 60hrs. Initially I considering attempting the ride within 50hrs and my initial plan reflected this.

Having countless multi day and several 10 day or more IBA rides under my belt, I understand my body’s capability and a thorough working knowledge of fatigue mitigation. Managing fatigue (and hydration) is far one of the most challenging skills to learn.

You don’t often get a second chance and need to get it right. I learned the art of power-napping and know when to stop. That’s the trick, knowing when to stop. On one occasion I was approximately a kilometre from Nullarbor roadhouse and had to pull over on the side of the road and had a power-nap as I just couldn’t make it the short distance to the roadhouse. Just as I woke 20 mins later Ziggy (a fellow LD rider) rang my mobile confirming my safety as my SPOT hadn’t moved. LD riders always keep an eye out for one another.

So why do we do it? Some run, some watch footy, some dream, one said I live for your photos. For me; I love the challenge, the planning, preparation, isolation, pushing myself to the absolute limit, the quietness of space and being in charge of the experience. I have blue tooth connectivity to GPS, iPhone, UHF radio, FM and music however rarely if ever utilise it on rides. For years I used the technology but now just zone out, meditate, savour the moment, reflect, clear my mind or just simply escape the pressures of life.

Success is not measured by successfully completing the ride, it’s about the ride, the journey and getting home safely.

Some rides require minimal planning and can literally be planned on the run during the ride. Others require days or weeks of planning due to logistical or technical challenges. Countless phone calls confirming opening hours, road conditions and accommodation are often required.
Many components are totally outside the riders control being; machinery failure, flooding, road closure, road works (we rarely ride without experiencing them) and unscheduled early closing of refuelling points subject to tourism or passing traffic on the day.

To successfully complete this ride, I needed to ride over 1,700 kilometres a day, it isn’t too much to ask when you look at the whole picture.
There is ample time to sleep, I can operate optimally on six hours sleep for extended periods. The ever-changing environmental factors are the wild card, to get the latest intel I spoke to locals and contacts in the days leading up to the ride.

This was going to be a challenging ride especially riding on the ‘clock’. The road is closed for many months of the year; is impassable to all vehicles until grading occurs reopening them to traffic.

This is the challenging part, leaving too early will cause delays due to extensive roadworks on the Peninsula Developmental Road (PDR) and leaving late will allow tourist traffic to build up impeding progress.

This was never going to be easy, I decided to use my 'sacrificial lamb' (blue S10). It had a proven history with successful completion of many challenging rides and has always bounced back when dropped. It fits me like a slipper and I am more accustomed to it compared to its newer twin.

PLANNING
As with all rides, some form of planning takes place. Preliminary planning commenced about six months ago, sourcing routes, fuelling locations and potential challenges.

Serious planning commenced about three months ago. I formulated a commencement date, applied for leave, confirmed operating times of fuelling points, ferry and other arrangements.

The route was downloaded into two GPS units. One of them is the new TomTom 550 that I had been beta testing for some time and has withstood some shocking treatment that was inflected upon it. I carried no maps but had an iPad (maps pre-loaded), iPhone and tough phone. I carry an additional phone having previously had one stolen by an Eagle in the Northern Territory (previous story).

PREPARATION

I serviced the bike with all the usual processes. New Mitas E07 tyres running 43psi all-round were fitted and balanced in my workshop. An Airhawk fitted, I find it allows greater than 20hrs continual riding relatively pain free on multi day rides. All lighting and auxiliary power sockets tested and redundancy circuits tested. I opted for soft panniers as they are more forgiving if an 'off' occurs. More accurately, when an 'off' happens, as it’s inevitable. I checked the fastening bolts of the auxiliary fuel cell, fitted a new filter, checked the breather tubes and one-way valve. All cables were lubed with excessive fluids/lubricants removed to minimise build-up of dirt. The S10 allows two seat height options, I selected the taller option allowing a more comfortable seating position.

SPARES
Due to remoteness, I carried a few additional components to my usual ‘bag of goodies’ being; gear/clutch leavers, gear change linkage tubes, and carry bag in case ‘Wicked Kate’ became unrideable and I had to fly home.

TRANSPORT LEG
I had a great sleep and woke just before sun. Another great rest, I sleep well in the swag and find it offers me flexibility of sleeping almost anywhere.

The shortest route to the Cape is over 3,100 kilometres, not a bad transport leg just to get to the start. To be honest, Australia ‘too small’, you can travel almost anywhere within two days. Google says it will take over 53hrs to get to Cape York, little does it know I thought. My initial plan was to ride up there in two days and commence the ride on the third. It had been a big month at work having worked in several cities involving a lot of travelling, I needed to refocus and unwind, I changed my plan. I decided sight-seeing was on the agenda and 'smell the roses’.

I took countless photos of ‘Big’ things on my way and stopped for some dinner at Toowoomba. My first night was just outside the Cactoblastis Memorial Hall near Brigalow. I was woken suddenly in the early hours of the morning by an unusual noise that was identified as a horse grazing nearby. The sunrise woke me, I packed up and continued collecting ‘Big’ things and stopped at Roma for a decaf coffee. I stopped, bike still idling near the big Mango and was encouraged briskly to get off the lawn.

My second rest stop was just outside Townsville at a truckie stop. These are great places to camp, they often have lighting and rest room facilities. By setting the swag on the table, you’re away from the bugs and things that tend to love on the ground and you stay warm and dry in inclement weather.

A three-star IBA Hotel.jpg
A three-star IBA Hotel

Rolling the swag as tightly as possible within a few minutes didn’t take long. After I fitted the swag to my auxiliary tank I realised that my glasses were still within the swag. I was distracted, I shrugged my shoulders and though at least they are well padded and couldn’t be bothered to retrieve them.

S10 having a rest.jpg

S10 having a rest

I did the touristy thing and checkout out some spectacular locations. I stopped to check out sugar cane plantations, kicked my side stand down and yes, the S10 lay down for a sleep. I picked it straight up with a bit of grunting, fully loaded without too much trouble and thought, I didn’t take a picture of it as it reached the centre of balance and fell over on the other side. I laughed, had a drink and took a photo. My compromised shoulder from a previous off was a little tender to say the least however I have learned to handle the discomfort.

I continued into the Kirrama National Park, what a view and challenging road conditions giving me an opportunity to hone my skills with almost every conceivable road surface included my nemesis, sand.

I had visions of continuing and coming out on the other side of the range however was turned back by firefighters, my only hint of the fire was dense smoke in the valley.

A balancing act.jpg
A balancing act

Majestic view.jpg
Majestic view

I arranged to catch-up with a mate at Mareeba who gave me some Intel on current road conditions as they can change daily. Before I left Dubbo, I ordered five litres of Penrite oil online from the Archer Supercheap Store and changed it when I arrived Mareeba. I had travelled approximately 4,000 kilometres in the last few days with an additional 8,000 plus before I return home. Dan has lived in the area for many decades and he had the contacts. He is also a real bike nutta, he has three bandits and other two wheelers in his shed with room for more. The shed is filled with tools, compressors and all the goodies to keep you on the road.

The transition in temperature during the journey Northward was noticeable. I arrived at Cook Town and booked into the ‘Top Pub’ as I had planned to do some sight-seeing. I took my time and walked the main street, found a quaint Thai restaurant that I would try later that night. I purchased a bottle of clear medicine and a couple of bottles of diet coke to keep me hydrated.

Cook Town is the commencement location for the IBA 50CC East Coast (Cook Town to Warrnambool within 50hrs) the sunset was awesome and I feasted on Thai washing it down with a few drinks with other tourists at the top pub.


My room led onto the veranda overlooking the ocean, I loved the fire escape. Next morning, I headed to the lighthouse to see the non-existent sunrise. It was overcast with slight drizzle. I returned to the Pub and packed the bike and headed off.

Next morning, I headed off towards my starting point some 850 kilometres away.

I refuelled at Lakeland and queued to pay for my fuel, the smell of deep fried chips was almost overpowering as I paid and walked out the door.

Sunset.jpg
Sunset

Cook Town.jpg
Cook Town


Sunrise.jpg
Sunrise

I savoured the bitumen whilst it lasted and knew the dirt, sand and other surprises lay not far ahead.

Out of the blue multiple well signposted sharp corners appeared over a bluff posing no risk to the rider and the first dirt stretch lay not far ahead.

It was easy going, hard, corrugated, dusty and I sat easily on 90-100kph. Some kilometres further the bitumen reappeared, I returned to cruising speed and then was I in for a shocker.

The dirt looked benign as I hit the sand at 100kph, instinctively I moved my weight towards the back of the bike looked at the horizon and steered forward whilst meandering across the road saying some choice, not polite words to myself. I knew there was sand but forgot how much I detested it. For one moment when I was just floating on top I vowed if I got out of this I’d consider pulling the pin. The S10 is not ideal for sand weighting about 280kg not including the aux fuel, painters, swag and my weight making the total weight close to 400 kilos balancing on two hand sized patches. Approximately a kilometre down the road an opening appeared where I could pull out, regroup and lower my true pressure to 35psi from and rear. I later decreased the front to 28psi. I'm not debating tyre pressures but I managed the conditions confidently including beach riding.

Very few vehicles were encountered on the first stretch and one of the first was a ute, it towed a caravan, that means dust, and lots of it.

The strategy to pass them was simple, ride through the red dust until you can see them in their mirrors, flash your lights and they usually move over allowing you to pass on the right-hand shoulder. More often than not the road was more than wide enough however occasionally some caravaners believed they owned the road and different strategies were implemented.

I stopped at Coen for fuel and a bite to eat. I was directed to the local pub for a good feed and it was washed down with a cold beer.

Extensive road works is occurring in countless sections on the PDR. Short stretches of sealed sections gave short moments of reprieve from the dust and typical off-road conditions.

A gem of a pub.jpg
A gem of a pub


Lunch - $18 what a feed and an ale to wash it down.jpg
Lunch - $18 what a feed and an ale to wash it down

Typically, I took numerous photos and all too often almost lost my footing in the loose unstable ground. The causeways were getting progressively worse and may were not sign posted and appeared suddenly causing me to hit the ’anchors’ sliding towards them backing off just at the end allowing the suspension to work.

It was a relaxing ride so far and I previously decided to spend the night at Bramwell Station. It's located approximately 6.5 kilometres off the main road and is a 'little rural'. I paid the $12 camp fees and told happy hour starts in half an hour. I set the swag under cover in a couple of minutes, had shower and headed up to the bar for a drink.

The homestead is really geared addressing travellers needs with ample amenities capable of addressing large numbers of tourists.

IBA 3 Star accommodation.jpg
IBA 3 Star accommodation
 

Skidoo

Administrator
Premier Member
#46
Part 2/4

Bush Shower.jpg
Bush Shower


Never let your guard down.jpg
Never let your guard down


A rather large anthill.jpg
A rather large anthill

A smorgasbord was offered to the thirty odd people camping in the area but I opted for something lighter as I enjoyed a couple of cold beers and relaxed as a station hand discussed the history of the area in detail. Live Entertainment was part of the camping fees and continued until the early hours of the morning, so did the drinking.

I awoke to another beautiful day, packed and departed by 07:15 heading towards Bramwell Roadhouse about 13 kilometres away.

It was a magnificent day for a ride, I passed two caravaners in the thick red dust and arrived at Bramwell Roadhouse and pulled alongside a young guy on a GS and chatted for a minute as I dismounted from Wicked Kate.

I refuelled at 07:40 and sat at a table with him and chatted for about 20 minutes. Mitch was from Canberra and was travelling around Australia on his GS 650 for the next three and a half months, this was his gap year and he wanted to explore Australia. We said our goodbyes and planned to meet up at the top.

The causeways continued as did the dust, corrugations and sand. I was getting comfortable and probably over confident on the sandy sections.
One sandy section, approximately 20 kilometres from the Jardine river was treacherous and appeared never to end. Before you realise the bike meanders all over the roadway, I put all my weight over the auxiliary tank whilst keeping the power dialled and looked at the horizon. I dare not look down as I worked my way through this section that appeared never to end and continuing around a long right-hand sweeper. It must have been spectacular as I powered full throttle through it. I was on the edge of losing it but hung on for dear life. I just wanted it to end and at one stage thought stuff it, I’ll pull over but knew I’d drop her in the sand and didn’t want to pick her up again. Finally, it finished as quickly as it started and things were back to ‘normal’ as I approached the Jardine Ferry.

As I approached the ferry I reflected on this section not looking forward to the return leg.

One of the dozens of causeways.jpg
One of the dozens of causeways

At Jardine river I chatted with the receptionist as I purchased a return trip costing $40. I thought this was reasonable and it also entities the bearer unrestricted camping in the area.

I rode onto the ferry and parked the bike and was the only vehicle on the ferry. I asked an attendant if he would take a photo, he had not taken a photo before with a phone. All good minus a leg or two but managed to get some great photos.

I thanked him and rode off the ferry checking the running time and projected time into Bamaga. I stopped at the supermarket and purchased some water and a few supplies and headed towards the caravan park to check in.

Jardine Ferry.jpg
Jardine ferry crossing


On the ferry.jpg
On the ferry

This is a wild remote location, it is like stepping back in time. I had to step over three dogs sitting at the front door to gain entry to the supermarket, everything is relaxed to say the least. Bamaga is absolutely nothing like I imagined, I expected a smaller community with less facilities. It is a well serviced community with all basic facilities available.

I made a few calls, chatted for a while and then headed towards Seisia where I was planning to stay at the caravan park.

Initially I planned to stay at Pusand Bay as it was closer to my departure point. The challenge here being if it rains the two main river crossing may become unpredictable creating challenges getting through. Rain can be unpredictable in the area and I needed as much stability as possible on my departure time.

I had not made any arrangement and wasn’t too worried and happy to ‘swag it’ if necessary and didn’t need too much space to roll it out. I arrived at the caravan park, looked at options and paid $90 a night for a double room, air conditioned, fridge, shared kitchen, laundry and amenities. I headed towards the room but the key didn’t fit, good start I thought. I returned and found I didn’t have the air-conditioner key, third time lucky I thought and all was well. The caravan park has a restaurant, café and ATM. I unloaded the bike and strolled down to the beach, what a view. It was deserted, apparently the tourists were due to arrive in the next few days, what perfect timing as I walked for about fifteen minutes down the beach without seeing a soul.

Peace.jpg
Peace


More breakfast.jpg
More breakfast

The caravan park was very quiet and an influx of tourists were expected in the next few days, it worked out well for me as there were only a couple of us in the whole area.

Later in the afternoon I heard the distinct sound of a bike, I looked more closely and recognised Mitch’s Red helmet, and thought he must have been doing quite a bit of sightseeing as it was hours since we were speaking as Bramwell Roadhouse only 250 kilometres away. I gave him time to settle down and walked over to say hi.

His bike looked a little second hand to say the least. He had a battle in the long sandy section that I was dreading on the return leg. His steering was well out of plumb. A couple of caravans that I had been speaking to at Coen had befriended him and carried his broken panniers for and were arriving as we spoke.

We spoke for a while and the caravans had the broken panniers at hand but they were concerned about Mitch’s steering. A few minutes later steering fixed, no problem. I left them to setup camp hoping to catch up later.

The road towards the tip.jpg
The road towards the tip

This was my first run to the Cape, there was much to be explored and I had a couple of days to review it all. I headed off to the tip some 45 minutes away. The track was well formed with a hard base. Several water crossings were negotiated and two of them were above my front axle, no real problem. Riding within the rain-forest was spectacular, I saw a monstrous Cain toad but was unable to stop to get a photo but kept an eye out for others. Suddenly the track ended in a car-park leading onto the beach, I braked and parked the bike parallel to several vehicles already parked.

It was hard to believe this was the tip, it was overcast, pleasantly warm and windy. It was low tide I decided to try my luck and walk along the beach to the tip. It was strange as the tide went out and there were hundreds of metres of ‘rippled’ sand where the water had rescinded. It took about twenty minutes to walk around to the sign indicating the most Northerly point where several people including young children were chatting excitedly and looking towards the horizon. I took a few pics and strangers came up offering to take a picture of me in front of the ‘sign’.

Made it.jpg
Made it

I found a comfortable spot and just stared into the distance savouring the moment whilst the warm continuous breeze was relentless. About half an hour later I walked back over the hill directly to the car-park. The route is easily identified with huge mounds of rocks grouped into tall peaks. It not a hard walk to the tip but you need to be mindful isolation and roughness of the track.

As I departed the tip and headed back towards civilisation I came across what appeared to be the large cane toad, as I neared I realised that was in fact a coconut shell, how embarrassing I thought as I continued forward.

The airport was only about fifteen minutes out of Bamaga. I was checking out the signage when a police Toyota travelling with its warning devices on pulled in front of me. Two male officers sprung out of the vehicle, one holding a breath analysis unit and the other asked, ‘why did you not pull over when we indicated you too’? I was startled by the comment to say the least. I said, ‘it wasn’t me’, I wouldn’t do that. I had seen a police Toyota approximately an hour ago in Bamaga at the corner where the road leads South. They were after a similar looking bike, I said there aren’t many bikes with an auxiliary aluminium fuel tank gesturing to mine.

They said they hadn’t seen the rear of the bike only the front, I asked about the driving lights, they looked at the front of the bike then at each other, I was breath tested that returned a negative result. We chatted for some time and they shared local knowledge of scenic sighs worthy of spending time at. I was relieved as they drove away and continued on my way zigzagging through the northern tip exploring the different tracks. I headed towards Punsand Bay later in the afternoon.

I was caught by surprise when I crossed a creek, the S10 just fell over as I exited the water. By default, the S10’s traction control turns on every time the engine is started. I find this a nuisance as every time I stop to take photos, I had to manually deactivate it otherwise as I hit the sand, the traction control engages and I lose all forward motion.

As time passed the S10 appeared to gain weight especially when having to lift her out of the sand, however this was part of the adventure. As I passed through Bamaga horses were seen on both sides of the road posing little risk.
 

Skidoo

Administrator
Premier Member
#47
Part 3/4

Gotta love default traction control setting.jpg
Gotta love default traction control setting

For dinner I made a couple of wraps with relatively fresh produce. It was quite a job to source a Lettuce, capsicum, onions, tomatoes and chilli. No problems with staple items or frozen food but not chance of getting hot chilli sauce.

Mitch turned up for a chat, in case he missed me he had written a note with contact details hoping to again catch up. He is a nice young guy, I gave him contact details and offered a bed or support if needed if he was in central NSW.

I shared a few drinks with a couple of tourists that had arrived that afternoon when another Police Toyota passed. I waved and they stopped, the two female officers were up for a chat. I explained that I was previously pulled over near the airport, they were aware of me and I explained that I had seen the bike that they may be after. They returned later and we chatted and shared stories.

THE NIGHT BEFORE
It was drizzling, I moved the bike undercover just outside my room and had the bike packed at by 21:00hrs. Everything I touched ended up red, it was putrid but satisfying at being so dirty.

I was concerned about the condition of the air filters. The S10 has a double UNI filter element as standard (Australian edition only I believe) the fine red dust was everywhere and I didn't want to field strip the bike to inspect them as I didn't have the appropriate equipment to clean and re oil them. My fuel economy for the transport leg was 4.8 L/100 K. This was reasonable as no premium fuel was available for over 850 kilometres of riding and road conditions were less than optimal.

I revisited my ride plan, confirmed the revised times following my transport leg. I was concerned about the run from Cape York as rain would have a direct impact on travelling time as the dust turns to red mud and would be tricky.

I relaxed in a hot shower still getting red pigment from my skin and hit the sack setting the alarm for 04:30. I allowed an hour to make my way to the car-park at the tip, I didn't want to leave too early as this wastes time and only increases my 'awake' time.

THE RIDE
I awoke, stretched and felt great, I lay in bed for a few minutes focusing on the ride. There was no urgency in getting up as I packed the bike the previous night and everything was set out to speed up my depature. I push the bike about ten metres from the units, I hit the starter, it instantly barks to life and the noise breaks the silence of the early morning as I idle out of the park.

As I approached Bamaga I was acutely aware of the horse hazard. The night before last I returned late and almost hit a horse standing in the middle of the road. I passed through Bamaga event free, turned left and continued towards the tip. I carried enough fuel to get to the tip and return as I wanted to minimise overall bike weight. I was told that it’s difficult to calculate rainfall in the area.

Drizzle is normal and my perception of rain is vastly different to the locals. The road was wet, large areas covered with what looked like glass, it doesn't look good however the drizzle was not an issue just the amount of water laying on the road surface concerned me. The road got wetter and slipperier, as I approached the halfway point things deteriorated

I backed off, continued cautiously passing through one river crossing after another until I was greeted with no warning and no provision to stop by a tree partially blocking the track. It surprising what goes through your mind as options are processed at lightning speed.

The technical aspect is not reflected in the photo.jpg
The technical aspect is not reflected in the photo



Just another crossing.jpg
Just another crossing


My option was not to stop, everything was slippery, it’s impossible to dismount the bike without dropping it. The ground is uneven, wet, greasy and the bike is fully loaded. I approached the hazard in first gear with all lights blazing. It looked like daylight but the problem was larger than I initially anticipated.

Someone had partially cut the end off with an axe however directly adjacent are large tree roots that also pose traction and a slip risk. As I tried to bluff my way around the log and roots the S10 slipped sideways until the sump was directly over the log, I was stuck. To say I was worried is an understatement, I slipped the transmission into neutral and the cooling fans cut in. I needed the light to evaluate options so the bike was running hot. The log was not thick enough allowing me to rest the bike on it so I had to carefully dismount standing on the log whilst attempting to keep the bike upright. It was top heavy, I battled keeping traction on the log with my boots whilst trying to dismount her.

I finally had both feet firmly on the red slippery ground. I turned the traction control off, engaged first gear and pushed the bike with my shoulder getting the bike to slide along the long towards the tree roots. This allowed me to slide the S10 towards the tree roots and slightly forward and release it from its captive. Friends understand this is challenging, I am overdue for shoulder surgery however being a little, 'stubborn' I have been delaying this as several rides held a higher priority.

I refocused on what lay ahead, things seemed to get easier as I arrived at the Cape York car park. Surprisingly there was still mobile phone coverage, I posted on Facebook and waited for the actual commencement time making a slight adjustment due to the poor road conditions. The tree really concerned me as if the bike was dropped I doubted myself being able to life it up as the ground.

The Top.jpg
The Top

Sunrise was approaching shedding a hint of light, occasionally I would hear noises in the bushes but ignored it as the time approached for leaving. SPOT was activated as I make my way Southward on the long pilgrimage south.
The clock was on, everything needed to be done carefully first time, I pushed the bike as far as I dare, I approached the fallen log at a wider angle and a little faster in first gear, the bike just rolled right over the roots effortlessly. I passed through the river crossing, big bog and continued towards Bamaga for fuel and a commencement receipt.

Ever changing road conditions.jpg
Ever changing road conditions

I arrived Bamaga service station, refuelled filling the auxiliary tank with my calculated amount required for the next leg, completed documentation and drank an iced coffee. I departed exactly six minutes later, what a lightning stop.

I arrived at the ferry five minutes earlier than planned, there was only one car waiting. I knew the occupants from the previous day after sharing a few drinks. I dismounted the bike, got a few photos and within minutes flagged to approach the ferry, within a few minutes a DR 650 also rode on.

As we rode off the ferry, the car pulled over and waved us both past saving many kilometres of dust.

The temperature was perfect, kilometres rolled under my wheels as I approached the dreaded sand section, it wasn’t as bad as I had remembered.

Jardine Ferry.jpg
Jardine Ferry

I hit the section at about 75kph, weight over the rear wheel and looking at the horizon where I wanted to go. Within a few minutes it was done and dusted and I continued to my next fuel stop.

The causeways appeared fast, the signposted ones posed no concern however after riding on the red soil for so long I found I had difficulty discerning dips and imperfections in the roadway. I don’t know if I was just complacent of that it all blended in together.

Sticky stuff.jpg
Sticky stuff

I pulled into Coen ahead of schedule, two 4wd vehicles had refuelled and were in the shop wasting my time. The bike idled for about a minute so I pulled in front of the unleaded bowser and filled the bike. I went inside to pay and the occupants were eating ‘ice cream’, inconsiderate tin caners I thought. I took the appropriate photo for validation purposes and continued.

Interesting braking from the speed limit for this one.jpg
Interesting braking from the speed limit for this one

There was a steady stream of caravaners heading North, they are much easier to pass when they are going in the opposite direction however it doesn’t take long before a thick file of dust coast the visor substantially decreasing visibility.

The bare cockpit.jpg
The bare cockpit

One causeway came up way too fast, I locked (as much as you can with ABS) and slid forward with minimal decrease in speed, I pulled the monster onto its rear wheel and blasted through wobbling like a bastard as she landed on the other side. Some sections of the road are very hard with what appears like marbles on top providing rather poor traction to say the least.

Some time later I noticed the front head stem nut was loose. Buggar, I don’t have a spanned large enough to torque it up I thought to myself and I hurtled down the dirt road I don’t want the handlebars to come off like what happened some time ago to Wombattle whilst attempting a Dusty Butt. I became a bit paranoid and kept hand tightening the nut every few minutes.

Queensland has extensive roadworks being carried out almost throughout my whole trip, I just couldn’t get away from it, doubt in a couple of years this will be an easy run on a Harley or other cruiser.

My next major fuel stop was a few hundred kilometres away however I have a mate at Mareeba with a full workshop that would have the correct sized ring spanner. I didn’t want to remove the handlebars as this is a timed ride and I need to be as efficient with my time as possible.

Roadworks, everywhere.jpg
Roadworks, everywhere

I stopped at Lakeland Roadhouse, purchased a cool drink and give my mate Dan a call. No answer, I left a message explaining what I needed and gave him an ETA of 17:20. I arrived Mareeba at 17:15 but he wasn’t home. I tried ringing again and left a message, ‘please disregard previous message’ and continued onward.
 

Skidoo

Administrator
Premier Member
#48
Can’t get away from these critters.jpg
Can’t get away from these critters

I stopped at Hawker right on schedule, refuelled, re inflated by tyres to 42psi and the attendant said he has never seen a bike take that much fuel. He made me a coffee and I checked my phone, Dan replied saying he had my message but just missed me.

Now these are a tricky, most are not signposted.jpg
Now these are a tricky, most are not signposted

I walked outside, it was overcast, really overcast and dark. I opted not to put my wet weather gear as it was still humid and ‘hot’. Not five minutes into the ride it started raining.

It was a hard ride through the range, traffic was moderate and I got stuck behind a few trucks with little opportunity to pass. Low visibility due to rain complicated things more and I just had to wait for the right opportunity. The rain eased, I was dry from the waste up but wouldn’t take long to dry if the rain eased. Traffic thinned and I put more time into the bank.

I pulled into the Maccas at Ingham for a decaf coffee and a quick break. I noticed that several text messages and voicemails had come through so I addressed them. Apparently, my SPOT, even though it was flashing green had stopped transmitting since Mt Carbine some 330 odd kilometres and a few mates were concerned. I reset the SPOT but it still wouldn’t play the game even though green lights displayed, I fitted a new set of batteries and that fixed the issue.

The rain had cleared and I was running at a comfortable IBA pace, ahead of schedule. I pulled into a rest stop near Cape River Bridge where I had just over four hours sleep.

I awoke to the alarm and was off in approximately ten minutes, it was cold compared to far North Queensland, and I fitted an additional couple of layers.

Emerald was my next stop for fuel, I pulled into the Caltex and filled up. You wouldn’t believe it but there was a Yamaha dealer (Central Bike Centre) right next door. I rode around the corner and spoke to an employee explaining my problem with the nut in hand, she directed me around the corner to the workshop. A mechanic came out with a big assed ring spanner and tightened it up. I offered to pay, he just shook his head and said have a safe ride. I rode across the road to McDonald’s for another decaf coffee.

This little blighter was a real pain.png
This little blighter was a real pain

I checked my schedule as clouds were moving in again, I was worried as I was going to enter NSW at sunset, this area is acknowledged as extremely kangaroo infested.

I turned left at Hebel, heading South but the sun had all but set, now the fun begins I thought to myself.

End of another day.jpg
End of another day

It began with little grey kangaroos, no higher than three quarters of a metre but droves of them. I backed off to 90kph but they kept getting in front of me. The lights gave me heaps of warning but they kept jumping in front to get to the other side. I stopped at the Queensland, New South Wales border for a photo.

After playing Russian Roulette for about fifteen minutes, I needed a different strategy. I slowly increased my speed and found 110kph (GPS) to be optimum as they posed less of a threat. I seemed to pass them before they realised what was happening, don’t get me wrong, I still had to take evasive action countless times to avoid them.

Been there.jpg
Been there

Going here.jpg
Going here

I pulled into Walgett for fuel, an iced coffee and small packet of salt and vinegar chips, this is an interesting place to say the least.

Interesting place at night.jpg
Interesting place at night

The run down the Castlereagh Highway was relatively event free, kangaroos thinned however they grew in stature.

I arrived Dubbo just before midnight and refuelled before I went home for a quick kip. It was good to be home if only for a few hours. I ride into the garage, dump the swag and think to myself as I pull the S10 back onto its centre stand, it’s much easier without the swag.

A salad was waiting for me so, I assembled a humongous wrap as I’d been waiting for fresh salad for days and had been looking forward to it. I had a hot shower and set the alarm for 1¾ hrs sleep.

The alarm chimed, I was really slow turning the alarm off and Jody said something like, ‘be a shame if you didn’t finish the ride because you slept through the alarm’. I think it was a hint to, ‘get on your bike’. I dressed don wet weather gear and headed off into the rain.

Rain was steady as I headed south in absolute darkness. Traffic consisted only of semi-trailers, ‘normal’ travellers were still in bed. Approximately twenty-five kilometres from Wagga Wagga it poured down reducing visibility to approximately fifty metres. I reduced speed and crawled towards Wagga Wagga looking forward to the break.

I finally arrived at the service station, refuelled, pushed the bike to the parking area and had a quick break. The rain eased; I was on an endorphin high and really wasn’t too worried about the rain as I was approaching the pointy part of the journey.

I pulled out of the Service Station into Wagga Wagga’s peak hour traffic, entered the flow and continued towards the South towards Kapooka, the rain eased slightly and continued to ease the more South I travelled.

The plan was working, I was ahead of schedule as I approached my refuelling point just out of Melbourne.

I ride the bike into the parking bay, remove my waterproof gear and head into MacDonald’s for a coffee and a needed break.

I sit down, relax and savour the coffee. I receive a text from Fatman and give him a quick call. We chat for a few minutes and arrange to meet at his home a couple of hours away. I headed off, the going wasn’t too bad in the steady stream of traffic maintaining the legal limit as I passed what appeared dozens of speed cameras.

Unknown to me Derrek had contacted Fatman and was waiting at an overpass with a sigh however we missed each other and Derrick missed lunch waiting for me to appear.

Derricks view whilst he waited, I missed him by minutes and he missed lunch.jpg
Derricks view whilst he waited, I missed him by minutes and he missed lunch

I turn into LTP and Fatman’s street, LTP is taking photo’s like, ‘a dog scratching fleas’. I pull up in their driveway. After a quick chat Fatman guides me towards the Golden Grail and we are met by Philmor who ran shotgun on the final part of the pilgrimage.

The scenery is majestic, everything is green and lush however dark clouds are forming, rain was imminent.

We meander through a mountain range and finally arrive at the entrance to Wilsons Promontory for a quick photo opportunity.

We quickly head off for the most Southerly point on the mainland and it feels like forever as we meander through posted 80 and 60kph sections, it just didn’t seem to come to an end and then finally we arrived.

The end of another adventure.jpg
The end of another adventure

The welcoming team; Fatman and Philmor.jpg
The welcoming team; Fatman and Philmor

We order a coffee and the barrister asked where we had come from and said, he used to work at Bamaga, what a small world!

We take a few photos and obtain receipts and photographic evident and mount our rides for the run back into Melbourne.

As were weaved our way back I reflected on the adventure and suddenly hit rock bottom. The challenge had ended suddenly. I had been on an emotional high for over a week leading up to the ride and including the ride now it was done and dusted. Its hard to explain but the euphoria just stopped.

I refocused as it started raining, the rear end was loose on the wet roadway forcing me to maintain focus and concentrate on smoothness as Fatman led the way at a blistering speed. Des on his Goldwing signalled and cut in and Philmor peeled off as we passed his turnoff. The rain continued and I found it challenging to maintain Fatman’s pace. My riding gear was starting to leak, I wasn’t cold just starting to get wet and uncomfortable, I neglected to read the weather at Wilsons Promontory correctly and was paying for it now.

I usually don’t mind riding in rain, even if heavy but I was not enjoying this as we approached the Melbourne. Fatman was slowing, I backed off and almost immediately I was drawn to a flash of light in my left mirror and almost immediately saw a tower of water on the top edge of the mirror. I felt sick as I flashed my driving lights a few times to signal Fatman. I swerved to the edge of the roadway and kicked my stand down and ran back looking at the wing in a drainage canal. I car had already pulled up and a young girl was gesturing to the bike in the water.

Cutting the chase, we waited for the emergency services whilst Des lay prone on the steep bank, soaking wet. A passer-by removed his ute cover in an attempt to keep the rain from belting down of Des. ‘Apparently’ the driver that hit Des had his cruise control on and shunted Des some 40 metres forward landing with his bike some four to five metres into a canal. Bloody lucky he landed in the water.

Bystanders were brilliant, in pouring rain they were selfless in assisting, a young girl turned her car around driving close allowing us to see what we were doing, she was soaking wet assisting whilst waiting for the ambulance.

I hadn’t noticed numerous missed calls and messages from fellow riders who noticed that the SPOT had not moved. One message said something like I hope your only parked next to the canal!

We did a handover with the paramedics and after some time the ambulance headed off to the local trauma hospital.
 

Skidoo

Administrator
Premier Member
#49
Part 4/4

We assisted the towie in gathering a few pieces of the Wing that were torn or ejected from Des’s bike.

We headed off, wet and despondent. I needed fuel so we refuelled on the way trudging puddles of water into the service station. The short ten-minute run back to Fatman’s house seemed to take forever where we are met by LTP.

We spend some time chatting and checking on Des’s condition in the Hospital, he was going to be kept in overnight for further tests but seems to be OK.

Des’s wing.jpg
Des’s wing


The route – 4226Km.jpg
The route – 4226Km


The Numbers 2.jpg
The Numbers

Des was released from hospital 2 days later and his wing was written off.

Now to finalise the planning my quinella of trips involving unsealed roads

end
 

HACKLE

Well-Known Member
#51
I've patiently been awaiting this R & R. What can one say, the bars been lifted, that's about it. The highs [and lows] that come with such an undertaking. To be at home for such a short time, to leave and head out into the rain, the finish, with Victoria's best escort riders, the unfortunate incident involving Des [Wingman], boy you had it all. The certificate is certainly going tobe different. Congratulations, once again for such a hugely difficult ride. Maybe time to see the surgeon re that shoulder re-construction.
 

Fatman

Well-Known Member
#52
What do you do for an encore Skidoo? Wow what a ride, thanks for taking the time to type it up and post it.:)

It was a pleasure to be able to meet you and escort you along with philmor and then Wingman (Des) to southern point at Tidal River at Wilsons Prom, and ending with Wingman (Des) trying to give the Goldwing a bath in the drain putting a bit of a damper on your adventure. It was fantastic to have you as an paramedic at the accident scene reassuring Des and lying on the wet grass/mud with Des and you in the pouring rain was interesting to say the least. Luckily Des is all fine and has a new toy which he can tell us about.

What's next Karl.....
 

Skidoo

Administrator
Premier Member
#53
I've patiently been awaiting this R & R. ....
Maybe time to see the surgeon re that shoulder re-construction.
Well Hackle, two days ago I realised that I have another week off in two and a half weeks, so I have arranged another rather left of field ride, ooh I think I'm in trouble again :eek:

The surgeon will just have to wait, come to think of it he may have to wait for a while as there are too many rides to do o_O
 

Skidoo

Administrator
Premier Member
#54
What do you do for an encore Skidoo? Wow what a ride, thanks for taking the time to type it up and post it.:)

It was a pleasure to be able to meet you and escort you along with philmor and then Wingman (Des) to southern point at Tidal River at Wilsons Prom, and ending with Wingman (Des) trying to give the Goldwing a bath in the drain putting a bit of a damper on your adventure. It was fantastic to have you as an paramedic at the accident scene reassuring Des and lying on the wet grass/mud with Des and you in the pouring rain was interesting to say the least. Luckily Des is all fine and has a new toy which he can tell us about.

What's next Karl.....
I really appreciated, 'you guys' assisting and sharing my experience. It was a highlight of my ride except the return leg to Melbourne :(

When your wet you wet :oops: but to assist a fellow rider is more important than any personal inconvenience or discomfort :)

So glad Des is OK and out riding again with a new ride :)

'What's next Karl....' Yes, something will be happening soon o_O
 
#56
WOW that is a great write up, had a few giggles whilst reading your report remembering watching your SPOT whilst you were doing this ride. Bought back some great memories, phone calls, texts & pictures you sent us along the way.
Always happy to help out & to share a few glasses of my clear water with you ;)
You certainly do like an adventure don't you :p
Can't wait for your next adventure..... good luck with it
 

hagar

Premier Member
#57
You never cease to amaze or inspire with your epic rides. A pleasure to be on the rides with you through your words and this one truly incredible, especially the adventure of the Cape. Looking forward to your next adventure.
 

Skidoo

Administrator
Premier Member
#59
What a great yarn Karl. Congratulations on an epic adventure.
I hope I get to have a crack at it before this body gets to old.
Thanks for writing it up.
Too old - tell me about it Vlad, I find I don't bounce as much as I did 40 odd years ago
 

Nico

Well-known Member. Moderator
#60
Great write-up Karl on a huge ride.
Epic mate, epic.
Thanks for sharing all the details as you have. Felt like I was on the ride with you.
So much so that any mention of sand or mud - made me feel anxious!