H2H Two Up

jeffrey gebler

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#1
Several months ago over a coffee with Henk he had mentioned that the ride that he would really like to do was the Heaven to Hell and I said that we certainly could have a go at it.

As I already had a ride planned with Ron out west and a staff member on holidays for a month so I had a very limited window of time available before the Christmas season starts.

With a fresh set of tyres and the aging Tenere prepped as well as it can be with a bike with around 300k on the clock we set off for Marree on Monday morning. As I needed to be back to work on Thursday we had very little time to spare so we made a direct line north with very little time to see the sights along the way.

We had a hot windy ride north but made Marree shortly after 15:00. We thought it was best to do a little run out on the Oodnadatta track to see what the conditions would be like for tomorrow’s departure. The twenty kilometre ride out on the track seemed to be in relatively good condition with a few patches of deep gravel and very little bull dust.

With a fair bit of time before tomorrow’s 07:30 departure it was time to do some last minute work on the bike, get some rest and have a nice meal at the Marree pub. Taking some advice from the locals I went to the local police and told them of our plans. They offered some good advice and said the first 50 kilometres of the track should be in good condition but after that it could get a little interesting. Lynne had also contacted me on the way up and had told me that my spot was not working and after several attempts to fix the problem I decided just to text Lynn at each stop so she could keep a few others informed of our progress.
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The accommodation at the pub was really nice and falling asleep was not a problem. I did wake up during the night to the sound of distant thunder and some very heavy winds. At 06:30 when I got up the sound of the thunder was no longer present but the wind seemed even stronger. After some breakfast it was time to get this ride underway, Henk was already down at the bike and was packed and waiting for me. It was not going to be a pleasant day for a ride from the look of things.

We went to the general store and taking the advice of the local police we got some additional water in case of any problems. After that it was onto the track which was still in good condition but I found it quite difficult at times as I had to constantly lean the bike into the wind and the dust was making seeing the line that I chose quite difficult. I must have been quite tense as I felt myself tighten up and cramps were beginning to take hold of my legs. We had a brief pause at the sculpture park that is about 50 kilometres from Marree but did not get off the bike as the conditions of the track were now deteriorating. With much relief we make it to the Lake Eyre look out, this section of the ride had taken much longer than expected but I knew if it took this long on the way back we could make up the lost time once we were back on bitumen.

The wind out here was much stronger than when we left and there is basically no place to take cover from it. We still had about 30 minutes to spare before our planned departure time so the information bay kept us interested for a little while. With 15 minutes to spare we positioned the bike in front of the signs and took the required photos and at 09:28 hit the spot and we were off. I have to admit I was having troubles getting started and trying to find a good line was nearly impossible as the wind was covering the track with sand. I also had to lean into the wind and was blown across off of my line many times into the loose soft gravel. Henk later told me that he had closed his eyes a few times and I have to agree with him that I might have too. I finally managed to get some traction and was able to pick up a little speed but then my oil warning light came on. I had checked it the night before but was not going to take a chance and found a firm spot to put the side stand down and top up the oil level. We finally got through the worst of it and my speed was able to pick up, we made the 91 kilometres back to Marree in 61 minutes, one minute behind schedule.
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With our start docket in hand it was all pavement for the remainder of the ride. We were still struggling with the strong winds and it was playing havoc with the fuel consumption. Our next stop was Hawker and after that we finally were heading east and had the wind at our back. I also switched from my usual sport mode to tour mode and watched the fuel consumption rise from 12.5 km/lt. to 17.0 km/lt.
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By the time we reached Morgan we were about 20 minutes ahead of schedule and all was going well with both Henk and myself.

Ron was unable to escort us through Mildura due to the recent birth of his grandchild but sent me the details of the bypass which made getting though Mildura much easier than other times. As we crossed the Murray into New South Wales it was time for another fuel stop. Henk needed something to eat which gave me time to fix an auxiliary light that had worked itself free earlier in the day. I also had time to add some layers as I knew the night was going to get cold.

We started our track across the Hay Plains just as the sun was beginning to set. I was a little concerned about wildlife on this section after reading Fatman’s and Lynne’s report from the same ride a year earlier. I spotted a couple of roos early on but no evasive actions had to be taken. I tried to sit behind some trucks for a while but all the trucks were full of hay and it was blowing right into us and making me sneeze.

We reached Hay right on schedule at 22:20 and another fuel stop was needed. I had asked my wife at the last stop to find a hotel in Wagga Wagga as we were going to be a little too early for my liking to head up into the snowy mountains. I was also beginning to feel the cold and knew Henk was too so a few hours off the bike in a heated room would be a great benefit before the final push up into the mountains the following day.

We reached Wagga and got some more fuel before getting a few hours of sleep in a very “interesting” motel. A 04:00 alarm had use geared up and back on the road by 04:15. I thought last night was cold but this morning the temperature hovered around 2 degrees as we made our way towards Tumut. As tempting as stopping at McDonalds in Tumut was we had a rather tight schedule this morning and I knew Ed and Russel would be waiting for us at Kiandra. Ed had warned me about the possibility of roos near the reservoir outside of Tumut and as sure enough they were there along with emus and wild horses. A few heavy braking moments were needed but the majority of the distractions were well behaved.

As we made our way up the hill towards Kiandra the sun was beginning to rise and I saw the two KTM’s on the side of the road. It was so good to see them and some time off the bike would do use both some good to get the blood circulating through our chilled extremities. A few minutes later we were back on the road with one KTM leading the way and the other following to make sure we did not fall too far behind. A top up of fuel was needed so another brief stop in Adaminaby before the final 125 kilometres. During this section of the ride we encountered several sections of road works with one being quite an extended stop. I knew we still had plenty of time but now I was having some regrets in the decision of the break at Wagga. I have enjoyed the Middlingbank Road before and today was no exception, the sun was now up and the temperature was rising as we made our way into Jindabyne. We needed a final receipt from here and at the moment we were not sure if the road to Charlotte’s Pass would be open due to the snow that had fallen the night before. Once again Ed led the way and Russel followed to ensure we arrived safely. I was quite surprised that the road was in such good condition and that a relatively quick pace could be obtained. At last year’s Iron Butt Rally I rode up to Mount Evens and was hoping that today’s ride would not be anything like the conditions that I had encountered on that road.

With very little traffic to contend with and no delays due to the snow we arrived at the summit at 08:55, five minutes ahead of schedule.
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We spent a little time enjoying the view, taking the required photos and signing the appropriate paperwork. As I still had to be back at work tomorrow we needed to get back on the road but not before a leisurely breakfast in Berridale with our two escorts. It was great to have a couple of hours off the bike to catch up with Ed and Russel but I knew we had over 700 kilometres to go before the days end so we were back on the road retracing our route from a few hours ago by 12:00.

The remainder of the ride was rather uneventful, we made it to Tooleybuc for a good night’s sleep before finishing the ride in Tailem Bend at 09:28 with 3100 kilometres traveled in the 48 hours.

It was good fun to share the road with Henk for a few days and look forward to our next adventure. Thanks to LTP, Fatman, Russel and Ed, we have such a great community and their help and support makes rides like these much more enjoyable.
 

Nico

Well-known Member. Moderator
#2
Congratulations once again Jeffrey and Henk!
A fantastic ride under some tough conditions.
Knowing the Oodnadatta Track is always changing, doing that stretch in those windy conditions must have been scary to say the least!
And still to do the 91km to Marree in an hour - very well done!
Charlotte Pass was looking fantastic, with the snow a bonus.
To then continue for the 3000 - amazing stuff you two.
Some great photos and an excellent report. Thanks.
 

Fatman

Well-Known Member
#4
Glad it all worked out well for the both of you boys, tough with the dust and strong winds, congrats Jeff on keeping the bike upright.

Henk, you legend, 82 years old wow! Words fail me, great effort. :) When are you going to act your age? ;)

You will remember that one for a loooong time guys.

Good to see Ed and Russell intercepting you towards the end of the of your H to H. :cool:
 

Ed.

Premier Member
#8
Great ride and write-up, Jeff. It was a pleasure and a privilege to tag along for that last bit. What a cracker of a day to spend riding motorcycles in the hills.
What an effort getting it done two-up and a very fine thing to do with Henk!
 

HACKLE

Well-Known Member
#9
I can only echo those words above. As Fatman said, Henk, when are you going to act your age. Bullshit, keep on acting like the young fella you are. Congratulations to you both on a very special ride under extremely trying conditions.
 
#10
Congratulations Jeff & Henk on your successful ride.
"I tried to sit behind some trucks for a while but all the trucks were full of hay and it was blowing right into us and making me sneeze."
Now how appropriate is that, being escorted into Hay by a truck full of hay, LOL
I'm always happy to help out where I can, if I can ;)
So what is Henk going to mention to you over your next coffee together? :eek: This is going to be interesting......where to next.....
Thanks for sharing your ride
 

tj189

Administrator
#11
A great epic ride, by two gentlemen, Jeff and Henk, well done to the both of you, each riding it from the different perspectives of rider and pillion.

Again and again we continue to the observe the support of our LDRiding community, Russ and Ed well done and to the many supporters on the forum and keeping contact by phone, great effort;)
 

Vlad

Premier Member
#12
The locals in the bush are the masters of the understatement when they want to be. Tough conditions on your Pat Malone let alone with a mate on the back. Great effort to you both.
I confess to having shut my eyes on occasion as well, no point to watching the shit happen now is there.:)