Well this is how it started off. Down to the beach at Byron Bay, collected the sand and water from the Pacific Ocean and off into the early morning. Departure was around 1am.
The weather was a bit wet to start off but luckily this did not last long. I remember reading Davo’s report on the original trip across, with his first comments about the first part of the ride up through the hills “My notes say ‘Dicy up this section, wet cold and slippery. Bike slipped sideways a couple of times’”. Fortunately my bike did not slip but I was very cautious and it had the effect of putting my timings out for the rest of the day.
The route took me up through Lismore, Tenterfield and down to Uralla for fuel, nothing overly exciting except that this loss of time was going through my mind and how was I going to make it up.
Down through Tamworth and onto Gilgandra and somewhere after here a whole new world of IBA LD riding opened up, 110Kph speed limits, yahoo!!! The issue of losing the time earlier was partly negated by this increase. This of course brings about the new issue of burning up more fuel. Questions racing through my mind again, did I have the right fuel spots planned, too late now, on on young man!
I had, and still do, like some other LD riders, disliked the idea of stopping the bike and photographing the countryside. I had earlier purchased one of the waterproof Aldi cameras and had decided to put it to the test. Beats stopping the bike but found that the camera uses up batteries like they are going out of fashion.
This one somewhere near Cobar
Now I had planned to do the stretch between Cobar and Broken Hill without refuelling, the bike was and should be quiet capable of doing this. Well 432Km later the bike told me it did not have enough fuel to continue, you all know the signs, the motor stops working. Bugger!! Being a bit cautious I had carried a 5L container of fuel in the side pannier, so topped the bike up and off in a flash. Now quiet simply, the extra Kph and wind had a lot to do with the fuel consumption, this was later proven to me again further across the paddock.
The run from Broken Hill across to Port August was simple enough, I stopped in at the Cairn at Horrocks for a bit of reflection and was amazed at the stars. Riding down through the pass I now know why Davo liked the run through there with its sweeping bends but oh to short.
Stopped in at Port Augusta and refuelled at the Shell. I needed a bit of a sleep at this stage, so asked the attendant if I could use the car shelter for a bit. Not a problem was the reply, so ripped out the bivvy bag and out like a light.
Somewhere between Port August and Kimba
Off over towards Ceduna now and very uneventful just long roads with a small amount of traffic. Well I can mention this here and it applies throughout the entire trip. I can safely say that I no longer need to go to any theme park for rides. Every time a road train passed me going the other way ensured that I had a very exciting ride!!!
The rest of the way across to the WA border was uneventful, well sort of, there was a bit of excitement when I passed three guys on postie bikes, gave them a bit of a wave and kept going.
As a bit of a side note, there are plenty of refuelling spots across here and these are notated in various location on the web and also on the FarRider forum. Temperatures for me was an interesting situation. The read out along this stretch from the TireWatch dial at one stage showed 50c as an outside temperature. This lasted for around an hour and then the temps varied from 40c up to around 47. My fluid intake was good with a supplement of Powerade at refueling stops. I carry a 2 litre water bladder in the tank bag with tube and a right angle mouth piece so it can fit up under the helmet to allow me to drink.
The other thing that I did was allow the LD Comfort gear do its work in hot weather by pouring some cooler water down my back and chest and only opening the air vents in the jacket. This has the effect of allowing the air to cool from the water and assisted in maintaining a lower body temperature. More appropriate information can be gained from their website. It worked!!
One of the long straight stretches, did I mention that there are a lot of long straight stretches of road.
And of course (well I needed to get off for a stretch not just the photograph)
Just for the RFDS – one of the numerous landing strips on the main road
Now into the real exciting stuff, well for me it was anyway. Heading down towards Balladonia roadhouse, approximately 4Km’s out, the Tire Watch starts flashing at me, hmmmm, what’s this only 25PSI in the rear tyre?? Jumped off the bike, I did stop it first, walk around to the back of the bike, kick the tyre, yep its down. Look around not a nice place to be, especially as it is getting on dark o’clock and we know how exciting the road trains can be. Nothing left to do but ride it on into Balladonia roadhouse. Bugger!! Was the initial thought or words to that affect. What quickly then ran through my mind was that there was no way in hell that anybody could come out and fix this nor could I afford the time to wait. Did this mean that I had come all this way just to give up on this puncture. No way!! Well that took about 30 seconds.
Dashed into the roadhouse to see if they had a spray bottle with some soapy water, yes we can do that for you, great. Out to the bike through some more air into it, spray the soapy water on the tyre, what???? Can’t see any bubbles. Back in for a top up of water as there was enough soapy stuff in there, he apologises as he mistakenly fills it up with hot water, not a problem says I, ouch! Back out to the bike, through about 60psi into the tyre and start spraying, ahh!! there it is. It is a small piece of metal and using the gear from the tyre repair kit I pull the metal out ream the hole and with some help from a truckie, we plug the hole. Pump the tyre back up and within an hour back on the road. More time lost. Will need to make that up sometime as well.
Last day and heading for Denham, pretty green up here and notice lots of water close to the road, would not take much to flood around here.
My original plan had me arriving at Denham by 1930hrs WA time and the way I was going it looked that I would be about 15 minutes late. I touched down at my accommodation and walk in the door asking the gentleman at the counter where I can find the ATM and check the time with him. It is a couple of minutes pats 1900hrs, somewhere along the line I had mixed up my time that I had set on the bike clock. Find the ATM upstairs in the bar area and get a lot of strange looks from those frequenting the area. I have no idea why they are all staring, I am a motorcyclist dressed in all the gear minus the helmet, but I do have that bright green vest on, that must be it, the green vest is mesmerising them or is it my good looks, nah it’s the vest.
The last thing I do is collect the water from the Indian Ocean , now the ride is complete. No real need to do this as it is normally done on the CC rides, but I believe for this run it is appropriate.
I had travelled from Balladonia to Denham on the repaired tyre.
The tyres I had been using were the Continental Attack and I was lucky to get around 8000K out of them and had them replaced in Geraldton with Metzlers.
The trip back had its excitement with the road closed at Olary for a couple of hours due to suspected bridge damage from flooding. Then several sections of the road were cut by water between Broken Hill and Wilcannia. This required negotiating some fairly long stretches of water on the bike, something I am happy to admit that I was not overly comfortable in doing but after watching the other vehicles and gauging the depth I felt it was safe enough for me to cross. The depth would have been around 10 to 15 cm, so first gear and slowly does it. All good