Saturday, May 25, 2013

The End? For The Time Being.....

I washed the red dirt out of my hands in just a few days

I washed most of the red dirt out of the bike a few days later

The red dirt will never wash out of my spirit

I hope that the red dirt will bind together these friendships forever

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Technical Talk

We are home and learnt some stuff along the way. Here are a few technical tips:

1. Send spares on ahead for collection - cables, sprockets and chains. You can always send them home again

2. Use a Telstra SIM - they work pretty much everywhere

3. Ask the locals lots of questions - the older ones know the most reliable answers

4. Take plenty of CO2 tube inflaters - you might have a lot of punctures

5. Take plenty of spare inner tubes - see 4 above

6. Drink this stuff - It is absolutely brilliant worth at least 100 kms a day - 50 at the end of the day in hydration and and 50 in the morning if you like red wine (a lot)


7. At the end of the day don't ride after dark. White cows are scary, brown cows a pain and black ones lead you terminally towards this dude.......................


More tech talk to follow

Monday, May 20, 2013

A Very Rough Route Map

A few people asked us for a route map to show our general progress and direction

The map below gives an indication of the 4,900 km trip - it is the line marked in red. Some of the detail is pretty rough and will no doubt need to be corrected


As the map got drawn on the computer a strange purple line suddenly appeared after the file had been saved

Perhaps the gods of Kost Too Much are meddling with the ether......................



Until the next time folks

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Home - Home Again

Freezing to Lithgow - Phil must have cooled his heels even more as he left at the crack of sparrow fart - Then we were 3




A meeting with The Comacheros at the filling station




Brilliant little roads down the Vale of Clwyd onto the Bells Line of roads

Pies and lasagne near Bilpin

Past the stinking turf farms of Windsor

Onto the freeway and home for a hot shower


Great Times, Great Mates, Great People Along The Way and Great Support from friends and families via this blog

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Nyngan to Mudgee

Cold, cold, cold.

The temperatures crawled to a little over 12 centigrade, a huge contrast to the dripping sweatiness of Darwin just 10 days ago

We found dirt and tracked along the rivers and through to Wellington

The little Cactus cafe was warm and inviting so we stopped off for pumpkin soup, scones and jam

We then hooked on into the rolling hills towards Mudgee

Massive granite boulders lined the road, a potential delight to rock climbers everywhere but no time for photos

Eventually the rolling hills and dirt roads drew us in and we had to resist the temptation to turn on The Loud Handle and play enduro riding

Mudgee arrived and another motel

Dinner was appropriately lubricated before, during and afterwards

Our loved ones and The Betty Ford detox clinic beckon from Sydney





Friday, May 17, 2013

Not Nygan RSL

The bush begins behind Bourke, 10kms out of town the sadness of that tough town disappears

The kids bunking off school everyday and the front gardens of savage guard dogs are replaced by those wide open spaces

You stop and stand still, turn off the bike and all that can be heard is the deep, sub sonic resonance of Australia

The dust is brown, red, grey and sometimes white

That plume of dust gets into everything and somehow once you have stood still and heard that booming, sub sonic resonance of this huge place that dust marks your soul and draws you back again and again, out and into these wide timeless spaces

The Swiss Gnomes Deliver

At the crack of hangover fart we saddled up and left Hungerford

The sandy horrors of the previous trip up the track had receded and the road out to Bourke was easy

Mobile phone calls to carriers delivered new sprockets and chains that were fitted to the Darwin bike

Once again we hit out of town and found some superbly graded dirt

I make a personal confession of finding the throttle stop on the LC640

140kph on dirt at dusk with pigs, ostriches, sheep, goats and cows looming on the verges is character forming

We took a wrong turn and ended up in Nygan

The rissole provided sustenance in both liquid and nutritional form

Once again a 475k day draws us closer to our loved ones

Mudgee beckons for a final crease of the credit cards




Snap Shots

Moments in time....













Rebels With A Cause

So the clutch cable needed fixing, one of the team rode to the council depot without a helmet on, some 300 metres

The local council pushed the rider aside and recreated the appropriate mechanical equipment for zero requested compensation

Zero tolerance policing prevailed on the return trip home

Local council 1 local police minus one

A further team member went to check out team member 1 and zero tolerance policing prevailed again

Riding team 1, local police minus 2

Letter to appropriate ministries are in preparation

We left town to Eulo

Eulo is a lovely place and more worn drive chain gear was ordered with financing provided by the gnomes of Switzerland 

We pushed on to the Hungerford hotel

The road to was sh1t until we hit the shire border and then became as smooth as ten pin bowling alley

All hail the grader team

At the Hungerford hotel we hailed the grader team over dinner and turned in for another 400k day's sleep


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

An Epic Day To Junda

Rain stopped play so we tarmacked over to Winton. The black cotton soil inland would have been much too sticky to ride

179 kms later we lunched in Winton and fuelled up. It was 380 kms to Junda and there were 5 hours of light left in the day. A daylight run was still possible and so we set off (for fuel)

Then at the service station the big KTM failed to start and we lost an hour finding the loose battery connection under the bash plate

After 150k's the Beemer hit a large rock and split the front rim

Phil was ahead and Stevo went to catch him

Roscoe and Mike repaired the rim and as the light faded we started the 200 km run into town. The shadows got longer and longer, then the sun set..................!

It got dark, white cows on the road are fine, brown cows less so and black cows are a total pain

Riding in the feeble light of weedy enduro road headlights the speed dropped to 40 kms an hour as we wrestled bull dust and muddy wash aways by a form of two abreast Braille riding

Then 70 kms out Phil's clutch cable let go and we push started him on his way

We hit the Jundah Hotel at 8.30 with hardly enough strength left to raise a beer

But the backpacker bar staff scoring country credits for their visas lifted beer bottles to our trembling, weary lips and gradually the strength returned



The Middleton Hotel

We left Dajarra and promptly took a wrong turn, 60kms later we returned to the wrong turnoff and bumped into a pair of station hands who invited us into the station for tea and generously topped us up with fuel

We followed farm tracks towards Middleton and hit the black cotton soil

The Beemer jammed with mud under the front tyre which we excavated and continued

Eventually we hit the Middleton Hotel , perhaps of the last great Aussie icons

Lovely people but on its last legs

Fuel out of a 45 drum, ready to go and then it started raining

Dajarra

A town with an exotic name but little else

A donga cabin sleep out and a roadhouse steak dinner

We cut out early to The Middleton Hotel

Sunday, May 12, 2013

An Easy Day For An Old Lady

After a splendid dinner the night before at Livingstone's in Mount Isa we strolled out of town towards Duchess

The road to Duchess was a filling rattling jolt and we so stopped in this three horse town for lunch

The Thirsty Camel Hotel had a picket gate to keep out the horses out of the bar. Apparently, one of the horses recently died from cirrhosis. So we stopped for a pie lunch.

We fed the horses and got back on the road

The grader had been out and the tooth fillings resettled

Dajarra is a rail head town that is fading into an on / off  tourism stop as the cattle are now being moved by road train

So an easy day for an old lady ensued and we had a pleasant afternoon snooze

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mount Isa and New Bits

2000 kms in and we are wearing rear sprockets down to gums and knobbly tyres are looking like slicks

The riding is cool

But we are hitting out into the channel country and so new bits were required

Using the wonders of modern technology we phoned ahead and got the gear organised

All we had to do was jump over the dealers fence and collect our pre paid spares

After arriving in town we moteled down and fitted tyres and sprockets

3000 kms to go but on new tyres and drive gear

Happy daze

Loafing Around At Adel's

After breakfast a seriously partial eclipse of the sun produces strange shadows all around


Out the back of Adel's Grove there is a stunning gorge. The sandstone walls rise straight out of the deep green water

We paddle open canoes up past the rust red cliffs and swim in the warm water

Archer fish squirt jets of water two metres into the air and half a dozen turtles dream past on the way back to camp

I dream of deep water bouldering and brand new rock routes but once again the dust beckons and we ready the bikes for the next day of riding





Friday, May 10, 2013

Off The Tar to Roper Bar

At Katherine the gorge is gorgeous and thermal springs cool away a few aches

Down the middle of the Northern Territory on the freeway to Mataranka and then east.

Past Brahmin bulls and termite mounds until the white chipped strip turns dirt red

The dust hangs slow across the road and you drop back to see the pot holes

At 100kph the bars shimmy and the big springs soak up the wash always

At Roper Bar the air conditioned cabins are cool. Supper is plentiful and once again the bikes run sweet



Laying The Hammer Down

Fuel is critical - so are digs

So sometimes the hammer goes down. 

But the KTM is a weapon. The head nods on deep sand. The back end digs in out of wash always and the electrics stay dry in deep water.

We laid down the pipe to Hells Gate and refuel and hack off into the fading light

We arrive at Adels grove, a tented camp and shower off

It was a big day, Brahmin bulls stumble into the road and roos spring out of the bush

A big day but a cracker............

Too Long In The Saddle by Major Bumsaw

An early start and a big fuel up

100 km legs before stops. We strapped added fuel to the back racks and the last man along collected them up

Hells Gate was a welcome break, more fuel and frozen Cornish Pasties

With another 200 kms to run we fired on through the dusty blue

Heading towards Adels Grove we splashed our way though numerous fords and wash aways. Dodging cattle and roos we finally arrived at the tented Nirvana slaking our thirsts and washing away 500 kms of white, red and grey dust




Thursday, May 9, 2013

Heaps of Tinnies - No Fish

The King Ash Fishing club is an alternative universe - A fishing RSL

Borroloola is a strange place, indigenous people with brand new cars but no apparent work, Bing Bong is up the road and faces east to twisted knot of mangrove swamps

The faithful kneel in front if mounds of stubbies and sometimes the fish sometimes oblige by jumping onto hooks

The gods were not smiling and fish were not jumping onto hooks

We dined out at an open air fishing club - lasagne and chips and then turned in. A big day and 500kms beckoned

We didn't fish, we didn't worship at the stubbie altar

The next day we fueled up at hit out at 07.00am



Ever Since My Baby Left Me

The run down to Cape Crawford was eventful, the concrete wash away bases were slimy and caught out one of the larger KTM's. The ford into the rangers station beached a Beemer but all of the bikes recovered from dunking and we stopped off for lunch and a swim at the divine Butterfly Springs
A goanna swan across the billabong and swallowed a fish

The Heartbreak Hotel was yet another container motel but we were happy to arrive - 350 kms was hard work and we cut out the final leg to 120 kms to the King Ash Fishing Club up on The Gulf for another day

Phil the petrol pump expert was press ganged into flying up to the fuel dump by the Hot 'copter pilot to help pump gas - he didn't need to be asked twice....


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Off The Tar To Roper Bar

MatAranka, last stop on the Stuart Highway, stocking up on high grade plonk for supper at the dry motel

We plunged into the warm springs with a scary mob of wrinkly grey nomads and then hoed out of town quick smart

We hit dirt real time as the shadows grew long and checked in to another container motel at Roper Bar

A big supper of chops and steaks. we watched celebratory fireworks for a motel employee rejoining the real world. we played a few hands of 501 and then the fatigue hit and we turned in


Sunday, May 5, 2013

To Katherine By Tar

Down the road, through the burn offs with hawks snatching feed off the road to Katherine.

Bikes running like Swiss watches, cruising at 110kph on hot bitumen. Four trailer long road trains blowing us sideways.

Leisurely fuel stops and Paddle Pops along the way

Phil had a tank slapping 'moment' on a long groove in the Tarmac.

Showered off in a budget motel and ready for a cleansing ale

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Friday, May 3, 2013

Doing It Tough In Darwin

Hard times....

Darwin and Bikes

Flew into Darwin and released the bikes From the transport company and collected my bike from the eBay seller. Great guy great bike

Checked into the motel and stepped out for a beer, life is good if a little humid



Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Let The Packing Begin

I checked my baggage alliance and reserved an exit row seat - don't you love Frequent Flyer status.

I'm boxing up my stuff as I have to post some bike spares back that came with my KTM. There is a printed check list - including my inflatable bike seat pillow.

I'm nervous, flights, getting on a bike I've never seen. Pass me the Valium....

Tomorrow all will be resolved when we get to Darwin. Off to the truck depot to collect three bikes and the bike shop to get mine.

Hopefully all will work out fine.... More news to follow soon

Monday, April 29, 2013

More Planning....

So we gather around the dining table and gloat over large scale maps.

The bikes are said to arrive in Darwin on Friday and we fly in that day. It seems to be hanging together.

A supper of snags and red wine is set as a training meal. Got to get used to that road food.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

It Was Ebay's Fault

I was just CyberLoafing Ebay and found this KTM up in Darwin. I sent a text to Steve A. asking him if he was thinking what I was thinking.

Darwin To Darlinghurst - 4,500 kilometers as much as it as possible off road. It was on - all bar the Ebay bidding.



A couple of days later the KTM was mine and Steve was already talking shipping bikes up to Darwin - that was two weeks ago. An invite was extended to the old Vietnam crew members and Ross K. and Phil S. jumped on board.

That was last week, and the Sydney bikes went Tuesday by truck - Where they are now who knows, somewhere between here and Darwin.............

We had a meeting up at Steve's and pulled out the maps - Katherine, East to the Gulf of Carpenteria seemed to be the go and then off road to Mount Isa and all dusty points South.

We appear to be set. There is another planning meeting tonight and on Friday we all fly to Darwin to wait for the bikes and load up.

This blog is here so that I can hopefully update it from on the road and keep anyone who is interested up dated. I plan to get a Telstra sim card for my mobile and then update the blog whenever we get signal. 

Sign up for notifications..

We are planning to leave Darwin, tarmac to Katherine and then dirt out East.

Michaelc 29.04.12