Sunday, 12 October 2014

Sunshine, lolly pops, and rainbows...

What a glorious day for a ride.
Sun shining, no wind, leave pass, and all the V8 fans safely tucked away at home watching the race, drinking beer, and arguing about which one of their cousins they should marry.

The leave pass was granted by getting up to our strangely nocturnal children, cooking breakfast and giving the minister of war and finance a sleep in.

Having spent the last couple of months extremely busy at work, the little ones being sick, weekend work, and the odd social function it was nice to have a weekend relatively free to get on the bike. I'd spent some time on maintenance and mucking around with a new headlight setup, which I’ve abandoned, and finally had a complete bike again. It was as if the bike gods were smiling upon me. Little did I realise I was just a pawn in their sick little game...

I sorted all my gear, got dressed, started the bike, got the tunes going, jumped on, closed the garage, and was on my way. GOD THIS FEELS GOOOOOD!!! Down the street, onto the freeway, merge into traffic (all 4cyl... no V8's), check my speed... 0kph... BUGGER. Back home to diagnose. Broken speedo cable... The appropriate sacrifices had not been made...

Now I know many would have just said "Stuff it, I'm going for a ride" and I nearly did myself. Then I remembered I live in Victoria and with the new L Platter laws requiring Hi-Vis and, wait for it, the headlight to always be on (I thought that was an ADR requirement but obviously the Victorian Government knows better) I just quadrupled my chances of being pulled over. There was probably already a cop car sitting at the end of my street waiting for me...(I'm not an L plater, but that would not be a valid argument).

Admitting defeat, I reached for the fridge and switched on the TV to watch Bathurst. After many beers and subsequent arguments over which of my cousins was the most marriage worthy, all I can say is GO FORD!!!

There will be other weekends.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Day 12 - Renmark to Melbourne via Wentworth

How good was that heater? A little bit of a sleep in today. We had a big day but most of it would be done in the car. We'd managed to dry our gloves and most of our riding gear but there was still dampness when they were put on. Today would have us riding to Mildura to pick up the ute, out to Wentworth to see my Mum and have lunch with some family members before heading back to Melbourne and the end of the trip.

The ride from Renmark to Mildura was mostly uneventful. There was an awfully thick fog for about 40k's. It was freezing. Much colder than yesterday. And to top it off all the Grey Nomads were sitting on 40kph. Once safely past these mobile retirement homes we made good time.

A car seat has never felt so comfortable.

The drive back to Melbourne felt like it took forever. As comfortable as the car was, god it was boring. We got back to Melbourne, ate Kebabs and pizza, drank beer and unloaded all of my stuff. Trent had to head home early the next morning.

I had an amazing time on this trip and the company was great. I hope we get away again but I think we'll have less of a commute to the main attraction...

Thanks to everyone that helped with this trip and an even bigger thanks to Bec and Theresa for letting us chase this dream. Your time will come.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Day 11 - Woomera to Renmark

Shouldn't of had those last 3 beers... Bit dusty this morning and to make matters worse the weather had turned on us. We'd had a good run but it was over. It had rained over night and my gear was wet through, the wind was blowing a gale and the cloud cover meant it wasn't going to get warm any time soon. Oh well, off we go.

We got to Port Augusta around 10:30 and decided it was time to eat. Good old Hungry Jacks filled us up. As we sat and ate the rain began to come down... Bugger... And it didn't stop. We pushed ourselves pretty hard today. The rain was cold and neither of us had waterproof gloves. We pulled up every hour to try and thaw out a little bit. There was a couple of picnic areas with barbeques that did a good job of heating us up. And the hand dryers in the public toilets were great. We rolled into Renmark finally and looked for a place to stay. With the rain not letting up and our gear already wet we headed straight for the first Motel we found.

They let the water in, but not out...

Absolute bliss, heater, beds, TV, showers, and places to hang our riding gear. Copious amounts of coffee and then dinner before an earlyish night. The heater was awesome.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Day 10 - Marla to Woomera

Up early for an uneventful ride into Woomera. The morning started cold but still. Eggs and beans for breakfast and a coffee or two.

Lake Hart

By the time we arrived at Woomera the wind was blowing and the temp was dropping, and it was only 3pm. We setup camp, got a load of washing on and conveniently the bar opened. A "couple" of beers later we headed over to cook up some dinner and then back to the bar. Had a good laugh that night, even scored a free round. Into bed at 9pm, which is, thankfully, when the bar closes.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Day 9 - Oodnadatta to Marla

It was a welcome shorter day today. Not crossing the Simpson had taken the wind out of our sails a little and we had decided to fast track it back home retracing our path from Marla. We slept in a little and were awoken by a local dog relieving itself on Trent's swag. Time for breakfast, coffee, and some souvenirs. Bid farewell To Kyle, packed our gear and headed for Marla. The road from Oodnadatta o Marla was great. It was quite refreshing to be able to up the pace a bit and not have to dodge rocks and sink holes all day. We last filled our tanks at Mt Dare and we decided to see how far we would get before topping up with the fuel from the Rotopax. In the end we finished 20k's short of Marla which put us in the 600k range. Not too bad at all. Just goes to show how much these little bikes don't like sitting on 110 all day.

 "There ain't nothin' to hit but the heights"

Marla as the best showers ever. Hot and plenty of pressure. Marla also has great food, happy hour, and everyone we have spoken to there was nice. There were 2 lady's from Gipsland headed to the Kimberly's in their Landcruiser towing a pop up camper van. They were having some trouble with things falling apart. Picture this, a Landcruiser with a trailer full of stuff and we had to give them some zip ties... They were very grateful and returned the favour with some fresh eggs, yum!. Another coupe had been in Oodnadatta the previous night and camped near us. We didn't see them but we did recognise their car. The came to join in frivolities and we all caught up later for dinner and happy hour. The second couple were nurses and were travelling all over, working where they could. They were on their dream trip. Good on them.

Spoke with Bec for the first time since Ayres Rock. Was really good to hear her voice. Wasn't so nice to find out our girls had been sick for the past week and they may not be able to fly home when planned. Getting back early would be a good thing. Bec sounded very tired and at least I could help with the girls and let her get some rest before I had to return to CENSORED.

Into bed reasonably early. We were both very sore from the previous days on the rough roads.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Day 8 - Dalhousie Springs to Oodnadatta

Woken early this morning by bloody KTM riders... Joking... They weren't KTM riders this time. A couple of bikes were started early and they were promptly told to "Switch 'em off or fuck off".

Back to sleep for a little bit. There was no rush today. Get up late, have a swim, eat, pack, and mosey on down the road.

Time for a bit of site seeing

Dalhousie ruins. Tough folks these.

Pretty cruisey day today. We rolled into Oodnadatta pretty early. Setup camp in the caravan park. We went and bought some coffee which had us bouncing off the walls in no time. Young Kyle from Leeton setup camp next to us. He had a very well setup Hilux and was off to visit a mate in the Kimberly's. Things were looking pretty bleak. There wasn't a lot to do or look at once the sun started to set and we were looking at an early night. Luckily Trent found some fire wood and a fire was lit. Feeling pretty chuffed that we'd snaffled the wood before the KTM riders that had rolled in when the owner rolled in with a ute full of wood. Oh well, at least we would be warm all night. The KTM guys got a big fire going and were well behaved, even in the morning. They may had restored some faith in the orange steeds yet.

Kyle told us the ring around the moon meant rain within the next 3 days... We hoped he was wrong.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Day 7 - Mt Dare to disapointment

KTM riders... They got up early just to start their bikes... The first bike started at 6:15 and it idled until 6:45 with the last bike leaving at 7:30. Over 1 hour of idling KTM's. They're not the quietest bike in the world. Arseholes.

Anyway, into the hotel for breakfast and a coffee. packed up camp and over to fuel up for the big crossing. $2.48 a litre.

Off we went. The plan was to stop at Dalhousie for lunch and head into the desert as far as we dared for night 1.

The picture above was taken just after the first crash for the trip... I hit a big rock which threw me off line straight into another rock and I couldn't recover from there. My right hand saddle bag was torn off and my screen was broken. Luckily no injuries other than a big bruise down my right forearm. A couple of Gotcha straps later had my bags secured again and we were off.

Time for a swim.

The spring was full of these little fish that nibbled at your dead skin. Kind of freaky to begin with. The water was around 34C where we were swimming. The swim couldn't last forever and it was time to dry off and hit the sand.

 Bit of a breather at Purni Bore (I think Trent was a little bit buggered)

YEAH BABY!! Officially into the Simpson Desert!

These sand dunes were chewing us up and spitting us out. Just could not get the hang of them. So after a few crashes and me losing 4lt of water it was reluctantly decided we should turn around. Bugger... Absolutely gutted, but there was no energy left to go on.

Again we were racing the light to get back to Dalhousie, but we made it back with just enough light for another swim. That helped ease the body pain and the Mead helped with the mental pain.

We chatted the night away. Peter from Kingaroy was trying to talk us into having another go at the crossing the next day. He may have convinced us if he had of offered to put our gear on their support ute... Anyway, cold night, into bed at a reasonable hour and the start of our trip home.