SS12000 - Beyond the Barrier - Part 2/2

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SS12000 - BEYOND THE BARRIER - (Part 2/2)

Day 5

The alarm woke us after four hours sleep, I re-inflated the tyre as I packed the swag. Abe’s system ran parallel to mine and we were both packed and ready at about the same time. We were riding again in darkness again, this is getting to be a habit and the darkness passed passing quickly as we were enjoying the adventure.

We pull into Kununurra Roadhouse for fuel and a quick bite to eat. It was not far to the Northern Territory border as it was only about a 1,000 kilometres to Darwin. Abe’s phone chimes as he gets the message that I had a flat tyre North of Carnarvon, bit late but at least I knew he wasn’t ignoring me. I started running the numbers again and just didn’t have enough time to get a tyre fitted in Darwin. We had earned a substantial buffer but whichever way you look at it, I just didn’t have enough time to get a tyre at Darwin. The only option is Katherine if they have a suitable replacement.

As we enter Northern Territory, the speed limit immediately transforms from 110kph to 130kph and we are in another time-zone. This reinforces the need to run multi day rides in one time zone.

I dial in more power not changing out of sixth and Wicked Kate obediently responds immediately, she is much happier at the higher rev range. Flocks of birds are everywhere due to the flooding in the area. After a while I forgot I am travelling at a faster pace, the birds approach faster increasing bird strikes. I ran into a flock and splattered two outright and several others bite the dust with feathers scattering everywhere. I pull over and inspect the damage, I was lucky. One bird was opened up over the brake caliper and moulded around the brake assembly. The other bird hit the other fork and feathers and bits are scattered on the radiator guard. I cackle to myself and continued on my way, it was a change from hitting kangaroos.

Abe swerved to miss an eagle that was feasting on road kill, it took off slowly, he swerved and it appeared to perch on his windscreen for a moment before it flew awkwardly away.



Flocks of birds everywhere

Sections of the roadway were covered by running floodwater and had to be negotiated with care. The rain eased and I pulled over to re-inflate the tyre, whilst the tyre was being inflated I removed my jacket liner. This little pump has had a thorough flogging and hasn't let me down. This was tiring work and Abe had been talking to Wendy in Darwin trying to arrange a replacement tyre. I took my phone out and walked to the front of the bike and took a photo of the bird, bugger the vibrations and rain had washed any evidence of carnage from the bike.



One of the countless sections of roadway under water

The scenery was magnificent, we are still running at IBA pace and didn’t get a chance to stop to take many photos.

The weather conditions provided perfect conditions for locusts and they are everywhere. As we motored along, I would stir the locusts up, they would take flight , I’d run into a few however Abe would ride through a wall of these flying messes splattering all over his bike and helmet.



Locusts can be seen as small spots

We pull over a little later and Abe had a red eye. He had pulled pieces of the locust’s exoskeleton (leg) out of the side of his eye and it looked a mess. Later when he returned home his doctor removed more pieces of the insect’s body out of the corner of his eye.

I have as many splattered insects on the inside of my screen as on the outside, not sure how that works but I didn’t even bother trying to clean them off.



The scenery was spectacular

I arrived at Timber Creek a few minutes ahead of Abe, fill up and have a quick chat to the guy behind the counter that came from the Dubbo area.

Even though we had banked many hours in credit, I did not have time to wait until morning to get a tyre fitted at Darwin, it would be impossible to make up that time.

Wombattle had left a message on my phone, he was aware of my predicament and sourced a bike dealer in Katherine with tyres. This was all done whilst he was in class studying, what a legend! He gave me the contact details and I rang them. RM Motorcycles Katherine had a suitable tyre and I explained that I was three and a half hours away and told them what I was attempting. Abe had just finished paying for his fuel, he told me that WendyL from Darwin had also sourced one. I sent her a text thanking her and said we couldn’t get to Darwin in time to have it fitted and would see her later this evening.




Roadworks, a familiar sight

We left Timber Creek and pressed on ensuring I achieved the window allowing the tyre to be fitted at Katherine. We arrived at RM Motorcycles Katherine one minute outside my given ETA. They were waiting for me and guided me into a carport area out of the sun as the sun just hammering us with the high humidity.

I started removing the rear wheel when the mechanic assisted and we chatted whilst working together removed it. He asked numerous questions about the ride and you could see the look in his eyes, ‘you what’ however he just got on with the task at hand. Abe went to a nearby shop and purchased a couple of large bottles of water and refilled my camel back. We worked well as a team and overall saved time knowing what the other needed or what had to be done.

The mechanic was apologetic as he fitted the tyre back to font, he corrected it, re-balanced the tyre and the wheel was in place a few minutes later. I can’t complain about the service and their eagerness to assist.



Inside tyre showing plug and cause of puncture

This critical unscheduled stop cost, we pulled out about forty minutes later and headed towards the Caltex petrol station. The weather was closing in as we continued northward, the rain started and got heavier. Visibility started deteriorating necessitating us to slow down. Traffic was moderate however passing trucks threw up walls of spray reducing visibility even more.

Approximately 10 minutes North of Hays Creek a police road block redirected us back along the Sturt Highway due to a fatal bike accident involving a truck. We found out later some of the guys were concerned that we may have been involved in the accident.



Road block

We turned tight into Fountain Head West Rd and ride along a narrow lane that is twisty and very scenic. The lane is crowded as the traffic previously using he highway has been diverted here. The bikes were nimble and we were able to easily move through the traffic without any issues. The detour brought us out at Adelaide River where a roadblock was redirecting traffic through this detour.



The view was scenic



A bit tight in sections

We were getting closer to our next destination, the rain had passed and the riding was easier now. I needed to dump a few litres of fuel into Wicked Kate on the outskirts of Darwin as I underestimated the previous refill by about a litre. We arrived at our destination about 90 minutes outside our schedule. The tyre change and detour around the accident site added to the lost time. I was not concerned with this overrun as little ‘meat’ into the plan for things like this. WendyL was waiting for us. Abe filled his tank bought a couple of Cherry Ripes. I also bought a couple, a water and a Gatorade. Wendy is a little standoffish and we later found that we were a little on the nose, the humidity had putrefied our clothes a little and we followed her home.



I don’t eat them but they looked good

We unpack fresh clothes from our bikes as WendyL wouldn’t allow us into her house until we stripped off. She kindly washed our clothes and directed Abe to her exercise bike as he had developed oedema to both lower legs. I had been lucky to date, the only issue was cramping to my lower legs in the first 15 minutes of lying down. This ride has been challenging both mentally and physically challenging. The long hours in the saddle are not healthy, the huge kilometres, altered sleep patterns and high temperatures and humidity were starting to catch up. It’s hard to explain what it’s like riding in high humidity day after day.

I showered, had a shave and dressed with fresh clothes, it makes such a difference and I felt ‘brand new’ and ready to continue again, I really felt great.

WendyL put on a spread of spaghetti bolognaise covered in cheese, wow a five star feed. It was absolutely delicious, I polished all my off whilst ABE struggled but made a might effort. He offered me what was left but I was absolutely stuffed. We chatted for a while, probably too long as it burned into our sleep time.

I calculated a revised depart time giving us a more time off the bikes ensuring we hit Daly Waters some 589 kilometres away at opening time. No fuel is available before this time until we hit Daly Waters at opening.

We hit the sack, the room was cool with virtually no humidity. When I entered the room Abe was asleep sleeping on the bed under the air-conditioning. I laid on the bed on the other side of the room and cramps hit me again, for about 15 minutes I stretched and walked around the room not making any noise with the stabbing pain. I was able to oppress the cramps and went into a deep sleep however I woke up a couple of times as it was cold in the room. I turned the air conditioner down being mindful not to wake Abe. I covered myself with a sheet and a bath towel and had a great sleep until the alarm woke me.

Day 6

The alarm woke us, we dressed and WendyL was still awake and gave us our freshly laundered clothes. Abe complained that he had the Chinese water torture all night as the air conditioner was dripping on his forehead, I showed no sympathy as I readied for the ride.

The bikes were packed and within fifteen of waking we were off again for our start docket. Abe had refuelled his bike the previous day however I needed to fill mine and added fifteen litres into my auxiliary tank.

We departed the service station at 00:08hrs right on schedule in total darkness, traffic was very light and the GPS’s had trouble initially plotting a route. A few minutes later we had our course plotted and confirmed and headed South through the middle of Australia.

We stopped at Katherine for a photo opportunity and a quick stretch after being in the saddle for almost three hours.



One happy chappie at 04:30hrs

Minutes later we were off again punching out the kilometres. The humidity wasn’t so bad however I lowered my windscreen to allow more wind to hit and cool my body.

The trip was uneventful, we had a fantastic run and arrived at Daly Waters about 25 minutes inside our scheduled time and had to wait until they open. There were facilities to use a ‘self-pay’ system but opted to wait. This allowed us to do the necessities including washing lights, visors and making a nature stop. The Roadhouse opened right on time. The console operator looked like a leprechaun as it was St Patrick’s Day. We refuelled had a ‘great’ cup of coffee and relaxed for a couple of minutes.



Giant ant hills

We arrived at the Threeways, cleaned all the bugs off the bikes, refuelled and had a feed. Before I refuelled I went inside and ordered a hamburger with the lot, this saves time as the food is cooking whilst I am refuelling he bike.

I pushed the bike away from the bowsers, go inside and Abe had a sausage roll that he said wasn’t hot and seemed heavy in his gut. My burger with the lot was delivered to the table and was ‘bloody delicious’ with a few chips and added salt. My gut usually composts almost anything effectively and only a couple of times been caught with an upset stomach.



Every break has a purpose

We pass the ‘Devils Marbles’, these are huge granite boulders scattered across a wide, shallow valley, 100 kilometres South of Tennant Creek. Many of the giant stones are precariously balanced on top of one another, appearing to defy gravity.



Devils Marbles

As we approach Wycliffe roadhouse I signal Abe and pull Wicked Kate in to buy a couple of souvenirs as UFO sightings have been part of Wycliffe folklore since World War II.

The unrestricted sections of Northern Territory allow me to ‘play a little’. Even through the GTR is loaded and I’m running into a head wind she purrs along at more than double the maximum NSW posted speed limit. I check the computer and realise I’ll run out of fuel forty kilometres short of Alice Springs, I back off as the bikes 42.6 litres of fuel won’t allow me to make short work of this section. During the planning process I allowed a moving average of 120kph through Northern Territory.



Now that’s ‘nice’

Alice Springs approached and I limped into the service station on fumes. We had a break and refreshments and were ready for the next leg into Marla some 454 kilometres away.

Our next planned stop was anywhere close to Coober Pedy, nowhere specific but preferably with a bit of weather protection. We headed off and the clouds started to build up with a slight sprinkling of rain. A display of continuous rainbows for almost thirty minutes kept us entertained during this leg.



Alice Springs, the Centre of Australia



Rainbows in the middle of nowhere

As we approach the South Australian border, we pulled over for a photo and observe the speed limit signs that reflect the reduction from 130kph to 110kph even though the surface and condition of the roadway is unchanged.



NT/SA Border

We pulled into Marla, completed the necessities and I rang my weather man Hagar who gave me some bleak news. The weather was foul near Coober Pedy however moving southward and we would miss it if we took our time. We decided to continue until the weather turned and a few kilometres out of Manguri we located a rest-stop and we each claimed a table. I don’t recall seeing any vehicles for some time as I unrolled my swag and was asleep within minutes.



One picnic table is not necessarily like another

Day 7

I jumped to the sound of my alarm, Abe was slower this morning, and was obviously not 100% fit, he was having a few bowel issues but was not complaining.

As we approached Coober Pedy, Abe gestured me to take the lead and I guide us to the servo, we arrive at 04:48hrs. We refuel have a cool drink and were itching for a coffee however their coffee machine was cactus. As we walked outside a stray dog met us and wanted attention. I dumped additional fuel into the auxiliary tank as our next schedule refuel was at Port Augusta 540 kilometres away. This was a fairly short stop as we headed off to the famous landmark about a kilometre away for a quick photo.



Goodbye from Coober Pedy

As we head south traffic is non-existent, absolutely nothing for the first couple of hours. It’s important when travelling in these area that riders be self-sufficient and carry enough water and supplies to survive these harsh conditions if you were to break down.



Sprung

The sky lightens as the sun emerges from the Easter horizon. We stop for a few photos, enjoy the view and continue on our way. I have a quick look at our tyres and somewhat worried that Abe’s rear tyre has substantial wear, the front didn’t look too bad. My front is also worn and it’s doubtful that it will last to our scheduled tyre change at Dubbo. I made a quick call to Wombattle and as usual he made enquiries and sent address details. It’s so easy when we have a network of long distance riders across Australia that are willing to assist at a moment’s notice.



Loved these texts



ABE chasing the sunrise



Short haul into Port Augusta from Alice

We pull into Port August for fuel, scrape the bugs off the lights and enjoy a break. That was a long boring run from Coober Pedy, we enjoyed just sitting down for a few minutes and Abe still wasn’t looking the greatest. I expressed my concern and he insisted he will let me know when he has had enough. The trip to Nailsworth was slow; we had to ride differently that was difficult to adjust to as the previous 11,000 odd kilometres had little to no traffic. I was not used to the number of continuous vehicles on the road.

As I followed the GPS I was flagged down by STinkyPete who directed me around the corner into GC Motorcycle (Adelaide). Four mechanics were waiting to change out tyres. I hovered over Wicked Kate and the foreman said the boys will take good care of her, it’s not the same letting someone else working on your bike. STinkyPete headed off and returned with brewed coffee whilst Hagar returned with some Maccas burgers, we both enjoy the coffee and burger whilst observing the action occurring on our bikes. They worked like a well-orchestrated machine getting the task done efficiently in approximately 40 minutes. I find these unscheduled breaks difficult and very mentally demanding as I haven’t prepared for them.

Once completed we thanked everyone and rode across the road for fuel and Hagar guides out of the city on the shortest, fastest route however it appeared to find every red light in the CBD.



A couple of the team working on ABE’s ride

We headed towards Bordertown and stopped for a powernap at a roadside rest area, it was hard going. Abe headed off first and arrived about ten minutes before me and was eager to get going, I was relaxed as we were well inside our schedule even though we had a tyre change during a 50CC. I’m not aware if anyone has had the pleasure of arranging an unscheduled tyre change during a Coast to Coast ride.

We continued towards are destination, the GPS’s were trusted even though they both let us down a couple of times, occasionally I had doubts but soldiered on. We had a solid mental understanding of the route but I had been caught before not trusting my GPS when fatigued.

We weaved through the countryside and as we approached Torquay, Fatman and LTP again turned up from nowhere. They guided us until we neared the fuel station where they gestured us to take the lead. Another 50CC done and dusted within the 50hr limit. It was later suggested that when we were taking the lead both LTP and Fatman were able to smell us both, now that’s a little ripe, or is that a Cherry ripe?



ABE, LTP and myself – 50CC done and dusted!



A quick kip before the next leg?



A bit dusty after 11,500 kilometres

End receipts were gathered, appropriate paperwork completed and LTP gave both Abe and myself a bag of barley sugar, awesome guys. Our ride was far from over and they guided us Southward towards Warrnambool and pulled away waving.

I arrived Warrnambool at about 02:40hrs and book into a motel adjacent to the service station that ABE had arranged earlier, I arrived about ten minutes before Abe as I took the scenic route as suggested by my GPS, ABE was waiting at an intersection for me further up the road where his GPS had suggested. I had a warm shower and felt ready for the next challenge that was to avail to us in about four hours’ time.

Day 8

Our receipt at Warrnambool service station had 07:09hr printed on it and witness forms signed. I drank an Iced Coffee as I walked towards the bike for our next leg being Barnawartha 542 kilometres away. Our GPS’s (both) opted to direct us to Melbourne using some back roads. We travelled along some narrow poorly paved roadway and I made a mental note that I would not be taking this route again.



No a perfect rural road to be travelling in the wet

The traffic through Melbourne was increasing as we approached the more populated areas. We pushed forward being mindful of countless speed and point-to-point cameras located sequentially along the highway. The cruise control makes things much easier as I set it and just sat back and relaxed weaving through the traffic. Riding on the freeway was boring and not very exciting; it was difficult to stay focused but our goal at this stage was an attempt on an East Coast 50CC Gold that had not been attempted before. This was not going to be easy due to the mileage required for approval; substantial roadwork’s over hundreds of kilometres and continuously changing speed zones, what the heck, we will give it a go and if nothing else I have never been to Cooktown.

We were now entering very familiar territory; we refuel at Parkes and have a thirty minute break. Abe was still feeling pretty ordinary so we relaxed for a while and had a bite to eat. We headed off to Dubbo for short break and say hi to the kids as I had been riding for over a week by now. We had originally arranged to have a tyre change here however it was now not required allowing us the opportunity to drop into home for a few minutes. Abe finished off a salad roll that he had purchased in Parkes and I caught up on some gossip and off we went again.

Our next stop is Tamworth, I was getting tired and I needed a powernap at the servo. I suggested to Abe that he continue and we would catch up at Toowoomba being our next fuel stop, he decided to stay and have a breather. I had a quick bite to eat and drink, I was asleep on the cement driveway within seconds. I spontaneously woke 15 minutes later ready to continue.

We headed north and previously discussed that we would stop at Guyra for our schedule long stop. Abe had a ‘perfect’ location picked out containing not only benches, shelter but ample undercover parking for the bikes. Guyra can get very cold and the bike cover would at least keep the bikes dry.

We pulled into our IBA motel at 02:10hrs, I kicked out the swag and crawled into it as it was going to be cool. The alarm woke us up and I rolled the swag and started packing everything onto the bike and thought Abe was talking to me and I was answering however a guy turned up and was talking to Abe but out of sight to me. This conversation went on for probably a minute or so before I realised the conversation was not directed to me. We headed off and the temperature hovered around 9 degrees at 1,330 metres, Guyra has the highest caravan park in Australia and I don’t know why someone would punish themselves by staying in a caravan here.

Day 9

We approached Toowoomba and I needed to go to the loo. As we got closer the urge increased but this is nothing new to me hanging off for another hour or so was not an issue.

We finally arrived at the service station, Abe headed straight for the amenities where he still had opportunities to improve his bowel motion for what seemed like eternity. I refuelled and washed my lights and visor and walked around in circles for what seemed an eternity looked behind the power transformer for a possible place to relieve myself however everything was in the ‘open’. As soon as Abe vacated the rest room I was in as quick as a flash and took off a few layers of clothing after relieving myself. This stop was for fuel and amenities only and we then continued through Toowoomba that appeared to take forever. It just went on and on but finally escaped Toowoomba and still on schedule.

We stopped about two hours out of Toowoomba. Abe was now showing signs of fatigue and I have no doubt the long hours in the saddle were catching up with him.

We finally pulled into Nanango for a heavy duty breakfast at 10:08hrs for an extended break of just over two hours. I was concerned for Abe’s well-being. We sat and chatted and just generally got to know each other better. At first it felt uncomfortable not to be travelling however after a few minutes it was relaxing sitting back in the shade and chatting. I knew this attempt of the ride was out of the question however we could continue at ‘IBA’ pace and still end up with a mammoth ride under our belt.

We sat down and ordered a ‘big’ breakfast. After some confusion with the order about spaghetti or beans we sat down and had a coffee. Typically Abe decided on beans, I reckon he thought they would clean him out. It arrived and half a dozen slices of toast came out on a separate plate, I couldn’t finish of the hot meal, just too much food!



Comparing ‘big’ breakfasts around Australia

Abe said he was fine and we continued however within a short period of time it was my turn and I needed a break at Goomeri. I had a quick powernap and woke feeling refreshed. Consumed a cool drink and was off again this time refocused with a vision clearly at hand. The previous extended break caught me unaware and really stripped my strength and focus.

We pulled into Calliope at 18:25 focused, refuelled and were gone in a flash and didn’t realise that fuel was available close to the highway until we travelled about three kilometres off the main road, refuelled and returned to the highway.

Ilbilbie gave us an opportunity for a quick break and a quick bite to eat. Police were attending an accident on the opposite side of the highway as a vehicle had hit a horse. Abe needed a rest, I wasn’t tired and foolishly hung around whilst he had a powernap. In hindsight I should have continued but I felt compelled to stay a while, 30 minutes later I left quietly and would text him my location.



One of the many crossings

I refuelled at Mackay and asked the console operator if it was OK to kip down around the corner for the night. She directed me across the road to a large carpark that was private and quiet, I couldn’t get away from her she just wanted to chat, and she was very friendly and finished her shift at 06:00hrs. I asked her if she wouldn’t mind directing a friend of mine to where I was sleeping as he was still travelling. I suggested to her that he was a good sort.

I texted Abe with the directions and headed across to the carpark for a good night’s sleep. The swag was laid out and I dozed off as ABE arrived at the service station, I smiled as I knew what Abe was in for with the console operator.

Day 10

The alarm woke us six hours later in a carpark, what a great sleep. ABE was still looking second hand, maybe slightly worse than previously. I asked how he was feeling and he said OK, I knew from the tone he was in some discomfort. Our system of packing had us mobile in around ten minutes. I didn’t feel like getting a depart receipt from the service centre across the road.

We arrived at AYR McDonalds restaurant about 09:15hrs for breakfast. We chatted and I knew Abe wouldn’t be going much further, he had been honest about how’d he had been feeling at different stages during our trip and I was just waiting for him to bring it up. He had never complained, never let me down and I was truly impressed with his stamina, endurance and management of a medical issue.

As we commenced our breakfast he said he would have to leave me know as he wasn’t able to finish the trip. Even though I knew this was coming, to be honest I really felt a bit gutted. I did a quick mental calculation and said to Abe I think he’s only a few hundred kilometres short of a 10/10th’s, he needs to calculate the mileage required to finish off the run as a 10/10th’s as he must be very close.

Abe said he would work out a location to meet on my return trip and wished me all the best.



A great coffee certainly makes a difference

We shake hands and I head off twenty five minutes later continuing the journey, it felt strange, Abe and myself had been and travelling together for over 15,500 kilometres continuously for ten days. It felt very strange travelling alone.



Sugar cane plantation

I arrived Woodlands at 10:01hrs for a cool drink and a fuel top up. I ring Jo and let her know what’s happening. At this stage I’m continuing at IBA pace and will attempt an East Coast 50CC commencing at Cooktown. The roadworks and multiple different speed zones have been horrendous to say the least. I had difficulty maintaining a moving average (MA) of 80kph over the last 1,500 kilometres and knew I will have to work hard on the return journey and was not very optimistic on achieving the required MA.



Banana Plantations

It’s an easy run into Cairns, I refuel and head to McDonalds for a quick coffee and relax in the air conditioned comfort of the restaurant. It is still very warm and very humid. I take my iPad inside, do a few calculations and am still on schedule as the plan has been adapted to several changes in circumstances over the last ten days. I ring my weatherman at Mareeba; Dan has worked there for many decades as a manager of a plantation, if anyone knows the local weather Dan does.

My major concern is not the actual weather at or near Cooktown but the rainfall west of the Mulligan Hwy as two low crossings flood quickly without any notice. Often the first warning that the crossings are impassable is the missing supply truck at Cooktown service station at 07:00hrs. Dan gives me some good news saying rain is expected however the causeways shouldn’t be affected and if they are the water should subside fairly quickly. When asked how quickly he said within the hour, I just need a place to hold up then it would be fine to proceed and cautioned me not to pass through any floodwater.

The run into Mareeba was spectacular to say the least, kilometres of twisties and awesome views of the mountain ranges. I enjoy throwing Wicket Kate from side to side scrapping both foot pegs on several of the corners. Scraping the GTR is not an easy task as many will attest to.



A view from one of many lookouts

A few scattered kangaroos are spotted and hundreds of cattle grazing on the side of the road and or slowly walking across it. The calves appeared to be the real issue, as I approached they became skittish and run across the roadway.



Looking North towards Cooktown

Traffic was light as the rain started falling again. I stopped and took a few photos, yet another rainbow was spotted and I enjoyed the run north into the Cooktown area.

I pull into Cooktown at 18:30hrs not knowing what to expect and ride down the mail street proceeding to the service station, it is very clean with only a handful of people out in the drizzle.

I fill my tank, get the appropriate witness forms signed and had completed over 16,000 kilometres in less than 10 days. What a ride, this is what life’s all about. I contacted Abe and he has completed a 10/10th’s and will meet me at Sarina on my return trip. I congratulated him on his mammoth achievement.

I was advised by the console operator at the service station that basically Cooktown closes down after 19:00hrs (except the pub).

I had previously booked into the guesthouse and they were expecting me at 18:45hrs.I depart the service station and rode down and purchased some local fish and chips to enjoy when I was back in my room watching TV. I arrive at the guesthouse and the receptionist is waiting for me. She completes the booking and asks if I will be attending breakfast, I decline the offer and say I’d be departing early at 02:00hrs for a ride down south as long as the road is open. I had discussion and the young lady who really didn’t really understand why.

I mentally went through the plan of tomorrow’s ride in my head and had an early night ensuring I set the alarm correctly and drifted off to the sound of the rain falling.

Day 11

I woke to the alarm and headed towards the ANZ terminal in the main street for a start docket. This was going to be a particularly difficult ride and the route initially decided will pass through numerous small towns and countless changes in speed zones. The Queensland leg would be the most challenging and knocking out a 2,000 kilometres day will be no easy task. There was slight drizzle as I departed at 02:01hrs.



ANZ ATM Cooktown

As I approached the town limits a small kangaroo passed in front of me, I thought this is a good start as I slowly winded Wicket Kate to the speed limit. The rain eased and I was still concerned about the low crossings that lay ahead particularly the main crossing located over an hour away. I like to have control and not knowing if the causeway is open until I have travelled over an hour is something I find difficult to grasp.

Not being able to complete the Coast to Coast ride is not real issue as far as I’m concerned, because of one thing or another however the closure of the roadway would have direct impact on timings and currency of my overall ride to date.

I slam on the brakes as the bike moans halfway through a corner going uphill as black cattle are standing right in the middle of the roadway just staring at me. The geometry of the bike is not designed for this manoeuvre as I ease the brakes and ride around the cattle. The speed limit increases to 110kph and the fog hits, I slow to the conditions and cautiously continue expecting more cattle to be located in the warm pockets and wasn’t let down. Once the fog lifted I made up time and passed through the first causeway without any drama, things were starting to look up as there appeared only a moderate flow of water under the crossing.

A few small kangaroos danced on the roadway as I approached, nothing serious just a ‘nuisance factor’ as I continued Southward towards the main causeway. About 45 minutes later I approached the main crossing, I could hear the water passing underneath and was relieved as I continued up the other side towards Bustard Downs.

I hadn’t passed a single vehicle, it is isolated, quiet and the bike followed the undulating and curved road through the hills illuminated only by my lights. I had a dream run down the Kennedy Hwy towards Cairns and only passed one vehicle otherwise the road was all mine.

I pulled into Smithfield at 05:02 for fuel and an Iced Coffee. I was running on schedule, feeling great and it appeared that the rain has moved on as I continued on my way. The run was uneventful as I refuelled at Railway Estate and continued towards Sarina where I was again going to meet up with Abe.

I pulled into Sarina at 14:25, refuelled, had a drink, quick snack and caught up on the gossip with Abe. He was feeling much better after a decent sleep and a chance to just kick back for a few hours. We headed towards our next fuel stop at Calliope being about 412 kilometres away.

Abe took the lead and I lost him a few kilometres out as I had taken a few photos and couldn’t catch up. ABE sent me a text prompting where he found a closer Servo but I didn’t get the message until I pulled into the original service station that we initially stopped at. I was a little tired and knew there was a closer service station. From experience if you feel confused, always go back to basics or what is firmly embedded into your memory so without hesitation I returned to the service station that was originally planned.

I refuelled and replenished my water and headed off and caught up with Abe on the highway heading towards Toowoomba. The run was slow due to traffic and slight drizzle on the hills.

We continued towards Toowoomba, fatigue was starting to catch up with me so we had a few quick breaks. After doing some mental maths and calculations I realised I could make Toowoomba close to the planned 24hr period. I would be short of rest and decided to wind the pace back and pull my Coast to Coast attempt however still maintaining IBA pace. This was the most difficult and gruelling 2,000 kilometres that I had ever completed. So many factors were completely out of my control and I just had to suck it up, but I learned a few things.

I have many kilometres of hard riding, many in adverse or difficult conditions/environments and understand my body well and always listen to it, safety comes first and every time without exception. We still cracked on at IBA pace however felt more relaxed as the pressure was off me.

We pulled into Toowoomba and refuelled and parked the bikes in front of the restaurant window. I purchased a salad roll, sausage roll and cool drink whilst Abe ate an oversized meat pie. We chatted and reminisced highlights of the ride to date and headed off for an extended planned break further south. It took ages to get out of Toowoomba and we were finally on the country road.

It was time for a rest stop, Abe selected a choice park with several picnic with all the amenities just outside Warwick. I rolled the swag out on the table, set the alarm and once inside was asleep instantly.

Day 12

We were approaching the end of the ride, I wasn’t exactly sure how many kilometres I had done or what time if any was in credit to me. We headed towards Glen Innes, stopped at McDonalds for breakfast and a quick break. Once refuelled my next scheduled stop was Gunnedah however ABE was going to go his own way at Tamworth. I was starting to feel a little down as I always do on these multi day rides and needed a break just south of the Armidale airport. We chattered and reminisced the ride, this was a lifetime experience. We had seen so much, experienced pain, discomfort seen almost all of Australia that neither of us would forget, it would forge a friendship that would continue.

We headed off and rolled down the Moonbi’s just out of Tamworth, I waved Abe Goodbye and continued towards Dubbo, running the numbers checking where I was up to in relation to distances and times. Wombattle reminded me some days ago that I still had time credit from the Coast to Coast runs and I realised that I had knocked out a 2,000 kilometre day only a few days ago so the mind went berserk crunching the numbers. I directed Wicked Kate towards Yass for a corner docket and pulled into Dubbo where Jo was waiting for me camera in hand and said, ‘you’re home early’ and I replied, ‘I got bored so I’d give it a break for a day or so’.



Arriving home

I unpacked Wicked Kate; clothes only at this stage as something said don’t worry about the rest. Wicked Kate was covered in insects and crap from one end to the other.

Jo directed me to an outside tap that contained a failed tap washer that previously had water gushing out. I replaced the tap washer, went inside and had a hot shower followed by an ice cold beer.

I spoke to ABE and he got home OK, was a little sore and sorry but had a fantastic time.

I had punched out close to 19,700 kilometres in less than 12 days and had a blister on my left hand between the second and third knuckle, tenderness and abrasion to my left ear otherwise I felt fantastic and some sunburn to both hands where I had taken over 500 photos of the trip excluding the 200 I discarded.



Not much left to explore

Day After

Whilst cutting the lawn I thought to myself; I still have a week off. Initially I had planned and had several strategies allowing me to ride for 20 continuous days. All I needed is a new set of tyres. Unfortunately it was a long weekend so after the lawn was manicured, I gave Wicked Kate a service, planned the next adventure with a tyre change to occur at Townsville on the first business day after the weekend. The challenge being I had to travel over 1,700 kilometres before I could confirm that they had tyres and be there at opening to have them fitted.

That night I received a phone call from Wombattle saying that he was speaking to someone about me and said. ‘I bet Karl is off again next week’. He was on the money however it wasn’t next week! The adventure continue



Re-linked images
 
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#3
Magnificent....just magnificent...hats off to you both, what an amazing effort, i am going to have to read this a couple of times to take it all in
 

Nico

Well-known Member. Moderator
#6
Mate.
F*#!ing huge!
You know how I feel about your rides.
Same again!
Congrats to you both. And I know why you don't like writing reports.
This one is nearly as big as your ride ... :rolleyes:
 

Tele

Premier Member
#9
Truly amazing ........ speechless. I hope the word "Insanity" appears on both your certificates somewhere! :D
That shot of the map is almost unbelievable
 

Abe

Active Member
#10
Well folks, that little meeting at the hospital seems a long time ago now. And I was not the one on a Schedule 8 drug ;)
I must thank Skidooo immensely for all the effort/time that he put into the pre-planning and execution of this ride.

And a big thank you to all the helpers/supporters that assisted us throughout this adventure, without you and your dedication to this sport, these rides would not happen :)

As the ride went on it become more and more evident that Skidooo was all over this ride "like a fat kid sitting on a smartie" .
As time went on I was feeling a little worse for wear and Skidooo would add words of immense encouragement like "take your skirt off and pull your big boy pants on, Princess" (just a joke, relax).
I got fatigued once again just reading the Ride Reports.

Many thanks Skiddooo for the mateship and experience, these things will never be forgotten.

Body and Bike repaired enough for another ride :)
 
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Grey Gentry

Premier Member
#11
Karl, you just screwed my head with those reports. An amazing ride.
I'm privileged to ride with yourself, Abe, Martin and Fred on a small part of the journey.
 

Skidoo

Administrator
Premier Member
#12
Thanks for the comments, it was my pleasure to ride with all the guys/girls that were involved and or assisted!

Abe mate, what you did was absolutely remarkable to say the least. The conditions were far from ideal, multiple unscheduled tyre changes and medical issues presented and you worked through them all to knock off a unbelievable ride. I raise my hat to you mate :rolleyes: Well done!
 

HACKLE

Well-Known Member
#14
Once again I'm lost for words [normally not a problem]. Thank you Karl for the extra effort in writing this report, so much information, so much knowledge. My lids dipped.