Seen WA, time to go home

Biggles

Premier Member
#1
After a week sightseeing Perth, New Norcia and the Pinnacles, back in Perth I put the pillion on a jet plane and departed at 8:30am WST. The trip home was just the route out in reverse, with a different overnight stop and daylight in different places. As you head away from the coast in WA and SA you run parallel with pipelines carry the vital water to the dry interior.



The goldfields are rich in historical buildings. It's amazing how much difference vast sums of money in a community makes to the architecture.



Another feature of mining districts is the horizon-long trains you see, usually with engines in the middle was well as at the front.



I arrived in Caiguna at 7:30 and was careful to avoid the 91RON bowser. When I went in to pay for the fuel I told the owner his 91 juice that I had bought on the way out was contaminated and caused the bike to have serious conniptions on two disturbing occasions. He energetically denied it was possible despite the incontrovertible logic that the issue only arose after adding his fuel.

The roos came out to play east of Caiguna, and I decided to pass the time counting them after Cocklebiddy. I was up to 255 by Mundrabilla. By then I was getting cold and decided to put on my rain pants to deflect the wind. I pulled in to the truck stop which I found to be a quite uneven clay surface. I put the sidestand down and was about to get off when the bike fell to the right. It had been almost vertical because of a high spot under the stand. Once it was down there was no way I was going to lift its 300+ kg mass even after taking the overloaded top box off. I just put my helmet under my arm and stood by the road awaiting my next guardian angel. He arrived within five minutes driving a B-double and instead of just stopping, pulled into the parking bay- he was ready for his break. I approached his cab and asked for his help. He said, "I've got an old man like you. He's asked me three times recently to come over and pick up his bike." That's good, I thought, he's experienced at this!

It wasn't far down the road I met up with four skippies around a metre high. It was a Friday night and they'd obviously been drinking because they were blindly headed for the bike in a tight formation. The leader bounced off the left cowl and set the bike on a vacillating trajectory until its momentum and my counter-steering stabilised the motion and we both went on our way. The only evidence of the encounter was a patch of dust with a fine fur pattern stamped in it.

My stop for the night was Ceduna, but I didn't get there until 7:40 in the morning, which is an odd time to look for a motel, but the Highway One there is used to transcontinental bikers rocking up at odd hours, so I was duly granted a room without hesitation and the right to sleep through the usual vacate time.

When I woke up I was ready for the short day's ride to Yunta. I figured I'd get lunch at one of the little towns up the road. Wirrulla and Poochera were virtual ghost towns and Minippa, Wudinna and Kyancutta offered nothing to eat. By then I was looking hungrily at the sheepskin but was saved by the Shell at Kimba.

One of the trends I observed at the many servos I attended was the number of Indians manning the tills. As you'll notice in the next photo, the tendency had gone another step. Whereas hot food displays always offer delicious Chicko Rolls and Saveloys, this one had six large pans of authentic Indian curries. There were three forlorn lukewarm pies begging to be rescued and I selected the most deserving, a beef and mushroom variety, for lunch, not feeling quite up to curry strength.

Every easterner visiting the Centre and West marvels at the size of the road trains; this example at Kimba. I was struck by the fact this rig was driven by a little guy who would tip the scales at 60 kg wringing wet. It's the truck in the man that counts! He climbed five steps to his perch at the controls.



The one mine that you can't miss on this road is Iron Knob- a moving mountain of spoil from one of the more modest holes in this country's surface.



Passing through Port Augusta, I noted the Maccas wasn't in a parallel universe as my first experience indicated, and headed away from the coast to bag my Banner Shot.



While I was there, a lady rider on a Goldwing trike travelling west pulled up. Her first words were to assure me she doesn't usually stop for anyone, and I took that as a compliment that I looked suitably harmless. She's planning to be at the coming Hervey Bay Wing gathering, so she's obviously not afraid of a bit of travel. Indubitably the reason she was there was to take my photo next to Davo's memorial plaque.



Since this was my "tourist" day, I stopped by the Giant Gum at Orroroo. It was only one km off the highway and a dirt road, within my "divert" criteria.





It occurred to me that I'd better reserve one of the 12 rooms at Yunta, so I rang them. When I mentioned dinner, he said the kitchen closes at 8:00. Well, that gave me a bit of a hurry-up, as it was 6:30 with 122 kms to go. As I rode into Peterborough I was greeted by Alans1100 and wildfireangel. Great to link up in that neat way, thanks to SPOT. Unfortunately, the pressure of the dinner deadline and the prospect of riding through the worst roo time (dusk) to get there meant I had to rudely push on after only a few minutes chatting. I arrived with 15 minutes to spare and was sure to order dinner before putting the bike out the back. When I announced a dawn departure, there was consternation all around about the hazards of roo o'clock. I got a Start Witness from them since they would be in bed when I left.

A fuel docket from the Yunta 24 hour servo sent me on my final day's run at 6:40. Still not much to see between there and Broken Hill where the correct breakfast of Bacon and Egg McMuffin restored my glucose levels. The mining towns like to put up an old headstock to advertise their industry.



The next stop was Wilcannia for a snap of the old lifting bridge that reminded me of my years in Bourke.



Onwards to Cobar for fuel and a shot of their headstock.



Nevertire's town sign is a favourite of FarRiders, suggesting as it does, our ambition to outlast the miles.



Gilgandra saw me heading north, and gave the feeling this was the last leg. I noted the destroyed bridge rail south of Coonabarabran that was the scene of the accident that blocked the highway two weeks earlier. No restorative nap needed this time, and the next foot on the ground was at Boggabilla for fuel and to drain the water.

The shorter route to Brisbane is via Toowoomba, rather than Warwick, and I wasn't about to argue. However, the Gore highway up to Millmerran is very uneven. Not that I was wanting to do 110, in deference to potential zoological encounters, but I only saw a couple of feral pigs in the tabledrain. The main reason I don't like this route is the long slow ride through Toowoomba, but at midnight all the lights favoured the highway (except the one giving way to the New England highway).

Down the steep winding range road and out onto the plains, marvelling at the number of big new 24 hour servos. I cannot understand the economics of their opening all of them- the wage and power bill alone would absorb the profits from the few late night travellers.
I had SMS'd home asking for the laundry door to be left unlocked since contrary to my wife's expectations, I hadn't found a bed between Gilgandra and home. There just weren't any to be seen! I rolled in at 1:30 am to the sound of the garage door going up. Apparently she'd heard me coming and saved me the trouble of getting off to open it from inside. Now that's a homecoming! It's nice to be expected.



 

Tele

Premier Member
#3
Fantastic riding Sir Biggles and another enjoyable and entertaining report (with some great pictures!). Almost makes me want to ride across the country!
 

Grey Gentry

Premier Member
#4
Well done for both rides, Bill. Thanks for the RR, and pics.
I seem to remember I posted some pics on FarRiders of the Giant Gum at Orroroo, some time back, now probably deleted. Marls and I used a similar route for our first SS1600 (Merredin to Ceduna) that RR would have been deleted too.
 

Wombattle

Well-Known Member
#5
Congrats on the rides and the certifications Bill. I enjoyed reading the report over here. I like seeing the pics of the red ST, I miss mine!
 

Skidoo

Administrator
Premier Member
#6
I really enjoyed your ride report and photos Bill. Bad fuel, it's funny how the operators always deny it. Your red beast lying down on you, what a sickening feeling, I understand and at least there as someone who could assist.

Roos, yes I also have seen one or two along that track also, glad you made it through reasonable unscathed.

What another great adventure.

Congratulations on your certificates Bill.