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9657km (aka Perth - Brisbane - Perth) ...fantastic!!!

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' started by Strom Girl, Nov 10, 2008.

  1. Hi all,

    My partner - hereinafter to be known (affectionately) as Sir Grumps-a-Lot, and I had been planning this ride for about 10 months and it's now been three weeks since we got back from our road trip and we're both climbing out of our post-trip depression (slight exaggeration but you know what I mean).

    I'll try to keep the details brief so as to hopefully not bore anyone and I'll put the trip details in over a few days, as shown in previous examples by other netriders, this seems to be the most reader-friendly way.

    Firstly, some details:
    The Bikes:
    Sir Grumps: 2007 Suzuki GSX1400
    Mods: Engine crash bars, handlebar risers, Staintune exhaust, Givi racks & packs (46L topbox, 37L panniers). Sheepskin seat cover.
    Strom Girl: 2008 Suzuki DL650A (V-Strom)
    Mods: Engine crash bars, knuckle covers, centre stand, Givi racks & packs (small topbox, 36L panniers). Airhawk medium cruiser seat cushion (thank you thank you thank you Airhawk - I have an old tail bone injury from when I was about 12 and my Airhawk helped soooo much!!)

    The Kilometres: 9657km (including some side-trips)

    Fuel Used:
    1400 – 568.67L
    V-Strom – 461.34L

    Day 1 Perth-Norseman, WA 732km
    The night before our leave date we were all packed up, fuelled up and tyre pressure adjusted so that we were all set to go at first light. Set off just after 6am with 0kms on the trip meter and much excitement about the adventure looming before us.

    It was a very cold morning, especially for this time of year, and we were dressed in our full complement of (Perth) winter clothing – Draggin™ jeans, waterproof overpants, boots (dri-rider for me, Rossi for the Grumpy One), singlets, shirts, (plus cardigan for me), thermal lining, jacket, winter gloves, neck warmer ….. and we were still cold!

    There is nothing particularly impressive heading out of Perth (not for about 3 days!), long straight roads, lots of scrubby terrain, red dirt (although I'm quite sure it's actually more of an orange colour) and lots of other traffic for the first two days (I guess being a Saturday can account for some of that traffic).

    Our first stop was Merredin (263km) for fuel and I could not believe how cold it still was. We never did find out the exact temperature but the fact that it was literally blowing a gale was not helping warm things up for us. Further along the road in a parking bay we passed a couple of cop cars with a group of cops standing around talking – they looked up as we passed but that was all. As we approached Southern Cross we were doing between 120-130kph in amongst a fair few cars also doing that speed when we saw a police car had stopped a car in the oncoming direction and was in the process of chatting to the driver, Sir Grumps' instinctive reaction was to throttle off a bit of the speed which caught the attention of the policeman who looked up at us as we passed by. Bugger. I’m watching in my wing and sure enough, the cop gets into his car and does a u-turn – he’s now travelling but one car behind me. We behave ourselves most carefully but I still feel unnerved (I have a built-in sense of guilt ready to fire into action for any occasion).

    Then we come over the crest of a hill and suddenly into our view about 6 more cop cars parked off the road on our side with all the cops standing around. Of course when they see us one walks into the middle of the road to indicate us to pull over. The funny thing was, they were actually really friendly and amicable and all they did was breath-test and check licences. Then we were fine to go again. Strange.

    Moving on…. We stopped at Southern Cross for our first meal of the day, fuel and to stretch our legs. Fatigue had set in by the time we reached Coolgardie. It was very tiring battling the constant wind coming in from the south-east, along with the occasional rain shower. My shoulders were burning and it seemed that just about every time I put my left arm behind my back or on my pack to ease the strain of being in one position, the wind would suddenly try to wrench the handlebars from my single handed grip again. We got fuel then pulled over to the side of a road next to a sunny park where we made the mistake of laying down (too comfortable and suddenly pain-free!). Snacked on tuna, crackers and water for lunch then reluctantly pulled ourselves to our feet to suit up and continue.

    We stopped for a quick break and photo at the side of the road on the Coolgardie-Esperance Hwy


    The last leg was even more of a struggle (I blame the wind primarily followed closely by our lack of riding fitness). We had another stop on the side of the ride for another leg stretch and finally got into Norseman at 4.30. We fuelled up and went to the accommodation which we had pre-booked and paid for (cabin at caravan park), however they said they had no record of our name or booking. Grrrr. We were too tired to argue the point and went to a motel which had one room left – it was about 2ftx2ft (well it seemed that small – the bed was on wheels thankfully because to get into the bathroom you had to push the bed back towards the entrance door and vice versa). We ended up clearing this up in Brisbane and it turned out that there was a booking for us- entered into their books for the wrong date – someone was not listening properly!!!

    We wanted to go and find somewhere semi-decent to eat but couldn’t find anywhere, ended up going to the Caltex and getting some deep fried grease. Went back to the room where I promptly fell into an exhausted stupor at some ridiculously early hour (about 8pm I think) and, despite seemingly hurricane force winds outside, slept right through til morning.
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  2. Day 2 Norseman – Border Village 725km
    I awoke feeling refreshed and looking forward to the next leg until I registered that the howling winds still had not abated and intermittent rain promised to make the day challenging.

    The morning also brought home to us just how much our riding fitness needed to improve. On a positive note, this happens really quite quickly - within only a few days it is much easier to put in the hours in the saddle and we found we had much more energy at the day's end too. Anyway, my back was threatening to do something very painful so I ended up putting on a kidney belt over my tshirt (just the kind that the staff at hardware shops wear) and it made a huge difference - much easier to keep my back in a good position and I ended up using it every day that we did long kms in.

    Back on the road and into the hellish wind, rain on and off and seemingly sub zero temperatures. It was very cold! We left Norseman at 7am and went straight through to Balladonia for food (191km). Had a close encounter of the skippy kind when a kangaroo leapt out of the bushes at the side of the road, my mind raced but luckily the real world went in slow motion for a few moments, the kangaroo stopped on the road, I had time to make a plan to go around the back of him in the hope that if he moved it would be in the direction he was already facing – I braked somewhat, swerved around the roo into the opposite lane (no traffic), the roo took off on his original path (yay) and I had a few moments of dealing with the after effect of the adrenalin rush (being very very shaky). We got to Balladonia, refuelled and literally raced inside to warm up in the nice toasty roadhouse. Balladonia was where large chunks of Skylab fell to earth and the roadhouse has a very interesting museum room with a replica piece of Skylab and newspaper articles, etc.

    We had some food (good food and good service) and met Richard, aka Travelling Strom (check out his blog on travellingstrom.com). He is on his Australian leg of his world motorcycle trip. He was a very interesting guy and good to talk to - also has great taste in bikes. Also chatted to another rider from Kalgoorlie about the bikes and the trip and the trips he’d done in America. We found that in general people are so much friendlier on the road, motorcyclists seem to gravitate towards each other in a shared camaraderie as if we all belong to the same club, the one that knows the joy of the riding, the way you are more connected to the landscape around you, the smells, the wind, the road, the exhilaration.... you know.

    Me, trying not to freeze (and yes, lovely high vis vest for the first few days):

    After leaving Balladonia we hit the 90 mile (146.6km) straight. This was actually not too bad as most of the roads on our journey were very straight (and the V-Strom still has the tyre to prove this!), it’s just maybe they’re not all quite 90 miles long! Caiguna was at the other end of the straight and it was a shambles - the flashing around roof over the pumps was falling off and clanging loudly in the wind - (this had all been dismantled and tidied by the time we came through on the return trip so it may possibly have been their plan - but it was really eerie and gave a feeling of desolation) PLUS we paid the most ever for fuel ($2.11 for premium but I know one day in the future this will probably make me laugh that we thought it expensive).

    Bikes parked at Caiguna:

    Finally an interesting bit through the Madura Pass, the low ranges beside us constantly as we reached Mundrabilla roadhouse. Very quick stop here as the wind was whipping us with merciless stinging sand – trying to keep the petrol tank filler hole thing (yes, I AM a girl - sorry I don't know the correct terminolgy!) sheltered while filling up so nothing blew into the tank. Only Biofuel here, didn’t seem to impact on the performance of the bikes but then it was just a one off 17L for my bike and about 2 more litres for Sir Grumps.

    At this last stage of WA, we notice the roadside was like a scene from a gory movie – the quantity of roadkill kangaroos was horrific. We were relieved going over the Eucla Pass and out of the wind into the Eucla accommodation complex. Unfortunately there were no rooms with bathrooms available and at this stage I had not yet realised I wasn’t actually a princess and that I could actually use shared facilities (this realisation did come later though). The friendly staff at Eucla rang Border Village, SA and they had a room, so back out onto the road and a final 12km over the border to South Australia and into Border Village. Had a really nice dinner there in the roadhouse and another long restful sleep of the exhausted.

    The accom at Border Village:
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    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. Great report so far keep up the good work!
  5. Day 3 Border Village – Ceduna, SA 513km
    We said goodbye to the WA/SA border - actually that's a lie, we really just took some photos, fuelled up and left.

    The SA view of the border check point:

    It's probably worth mentioning here that we found that it worked better for us to fuel up when we arrived at our intended stop for the night, rather than in the morning before we left - so much easier just to pack the bikes and go than to mess around with re-fuelling when you just want to start riding.

    We did a double take when we went to stock up on supplies for the day - when we went to buy some more bottled water, Border Village had none. Nothing. Not a drop (to share anyway). They said it had been 3 weeks since their last bottled water delivery and that it sold quicker than any other hydrating beverage - ok maybe they didn't quite use those words but you get the gist (jist?). With all the crap that we'd be eating (and had already eaten) we felt it was pretty important to try and drink heaps of water rather than anything else, with that said, there is always a place for a daily Coke (or two) for both of us, but we rationalise that one to ourselves by writing it off as a necessary caffeine hit.

    I know they mean their treated water but it's pretty harsh when you can't even buy bottled water here:

    So now to The Nullarbor Plain. We left after sun-up (I was nervous of the roos in the early morning light after the previous day's almost mishap).
    Stopped at one of the Gt Australian Bight Lookouts to take some photos and film some video and then rode through to the Nullarbor Roadhouse for brekky. The ride on the plain was not as boring as we thought it might be. We both realised that our opportunities to do this again were very limited so we took the time to enjoy the immense spectacle that was this scrubby, sandy plain in three directions as far as the eye can see and on the other side, glimpses on the majestic blue waters of the southern ocean and Bunda cliffs.

    Kind of looks like he's a cop checking the speed of the ...umm cliffs I guess. Fantastic view.

    At the Nullabor Roadhouse we chatted with some guys who recognised our bikes from Border Village, they were on the return run (in a small truck) back to Newcastle having done Newcastle-Perth to deliver & install spray booths. Nice fellas. Then in walks Travelling Strom (Richard, from yesterday's roadhouse - seriously, check out his blog travellingstrom.com) for his brekky too. We have a great chat, when I express interest in his attendance at the inaugural V-Strom gathering at Cobar this year, he goes out to get his laptop from his bike and shows us some of the photos – I resolve to get photos of my lonely V-Strom in front of the same Cobar entry statement where the multitude of Stroms lined up at the gathering.

    While we're having a 3 table conversation in the roadhouse, we mention that we might stop to look at the whales and so a 4th table joins in - they told us (all) that it was well worth a look. We jumped back on the bikes and rode down ($12 per adult but, yes, it was worth it!) and sure enough there were 3 whales with their calves frolicking only a few metres from the shore. It was amazing and well worth the time and money. Guys, if you ever get the chance and it's in whale season (Sept - Oct I think), don't pass this road by. Grumps even got some footage of one of the calves practicing breaching (typically I had ducked to the toilet at this time and missed it in real life!). Unfortunately we didn't take the still camera down to the water but we'll figure out how to put some of the footage on here (maybe putting it on youtube with a link from here would work the best?)

    Back on the bikes and realised we had suddenly "lost" over 2 hours due to us forgetting daylight saving started the day before so it suddenly became an issue to get to Ceduna quickly (so we didn’t have to annoy anybody for accommodation out of business hours).

    After Yalata (still not operating as a roadhouse) we started to notice that the roadside carnage was now wombats – I’ve never seen these animals outside of a zoo before so I felt a bit ...subdued (it's the only word that comes close) seeing about 15 of them dead. Pulled into Ceduna about 5.45pm SA time. Found a caravan park behind the airport, it didn't look like much but we got a really big comfortable cabin for less than we'd been paying for little boxes.

    The cabin in Ceduna (almost as big as our house!)

    Looking over the bikes, it was obvious that the long straight roads were taking their toll on the rear tyres - the 1400 definitely had a pronounced flat spot, the Wee-strom not so much with it's slightly more knobbly tyres, I guess it had more that could wear down before flattening out. Everything else was still good. We could certainly (and joyfully) feel the difference in the bikes after we took the packs off and rode into town to find some dinner, sans luggage. Seeing as we were on the coast it was fish n chips for tea (not enough salt and no tomato sauce – don’t worry, I coped, but only just).
    • Winner Winner x 1
  6. Me again. Our plan was to meet Sir Grumps brother in Armidale on Thursday and it's Tuesday now so we've got some km to put on the bikes now, but the problem when you're not equipped to camp, is making sure there will be somewhere to sleep on the way. And we didn't want to just ride through our days without taking the time to have a look around at some of the places we were going through. Roll on Day 4.....

    Day 4 Ceduna,SA – Peterborough, SA 612km
    Late start today (just after 7am) – raining and dreary but finally the wind has eased off. We had to sit behind two wide loads - trucks carrying trays for the big (ore?) trucks, they took up the whole road and had 2 police cars and 2 pilots. We were allowed to overtake them (stupidly I felt the need to duck as we passed under the edges of the trays even though they cleared us by metres). Unfortunately we couldn't go too far before we needed fuel, we raced around doing this as quickly as possible (no toilet break here), we could already see the trucks coming as we were getting on the bikes but we managed to get back on the road in front of the wide loads, just behind the police car escorts. The cops were very obliging. It’s a weird feeling when a police car pulls into the oncoming lane to allow you to pass on the inside of him.

    Rode through to Wudinna for brekky – nice roadhouse out there - it's amazing just how good scrambled eggs on toast can taste. Luckily for us the wide load posse also pulled into Wudinna for breakfast so we were confident we might have seen the last of them.

    Stopped at Kimba for fuel and to take photos.
    Spoke to a few bikers heading back to Perth from the MotoGP. Travelling Strom went by while we were stopped, giving us a toot and a wave – he was off to country Victoria for an adventure riders rally so we knew we wouldn't be catching up again on the road.

    We pulled in at Iron Knob for a few photos, had to stop to let some emus cross in front of us.

    We didn’t stop at Pt Augusta – it was really busy and seemed horribly congested with traffic after 4 days on the open road. We headed off through the Flinders Ranges and my first real twisties!!! I thought I'd been on really winding roads before but I was wrong. I've only been riding for about 2 years and that has been restricted to Perth. I thought I'd been on twisties through the Perth Hills and we've done a fair bit of country riding in WA too. But nothing like these. How excited and amazed I was. Sir Grumps was nowhere in sight - he's been riding for years and has lived in New Zealand (South Island - magic) and in Melbourne so he was flying ahead of me in joyous rapture at real roads again. Plus, twisty factor aside, these were pretty much the first roads that weren't straight that we'd been on in 4 days. He was waiting for me on the other side of Horrock’s Pass, I couldn't see through his helmet but I know that he was wearing the biggest grin ever.

    We rode through Wilmington. Stopped to have a snack in a rest area - we seemed to be much quicker at eating and resting if we didn't do it in a town.

    Now we were faced with a decision, it was still early in the day and our intended stop was Peterborough but if we stopped there, it meant our next day would be really long. We spoke to some guy in a fuel stop in Orroroo who reckoned we were still 3 hours from Broken Hill and that there was nowhere to stay in between Peterborough and Broken Hill. We considered going right through to Broken hill but it would have meant riding at dusk and therefore possibly sharing the road with roos. I forgot to mention before that on the second day as we were headed to Eucla from Norseman we were about an hour out of Norseman when this car appears in the distance heading in the opposite direction. When it got closer we could see why it appeared to be going slow - it was going slow. The bonnet was caved in in an almost geometric way - like he'd run into the tip of a pyramid lying on its side. Huge damage, he must have had horrendous engine/radiator issues, hence the approx 50kph he looked to be doing. This car was literally limping into Norseman. It was very sobering - if a roo can do that to a car, imagine what it would do to a rider and motorcycle.

    We stuck with our original plan and got into Peterborough with a bit more time to relax.
    Peterborough has a proud rail history which is kind of interesting if you’re interested in trains (which I’m not, but still found it interesting). I love daylight savings however - it gave us more time to have a look around while it was still light and we took the opportunity to stock up on more road snacks (tuna, nuts, crackers etc), got a pizza (surprisingly nice) from the takeway attached to a pub and finally picked up a six pack of beer. It had been our intention to sit back and relax each night of our trip with a beer and put our feet up and reminisce on the day's travel. Bugger that, we'd've fallen asleep sitting up! Now we were getting fitter and more used to what we were doing. We had a nice little cabin in the caravan park, pizza and beer .... we were feeling pretty happy with our lot!
    • Winner Winner x 1
  7. Day 5 Peterborough, SA – Cobar, NSW 752km
    Left Peterborough at first light but because of daylight savings just recently starting, this was not that early by the clock (just before 7am). It was beautiful scenery – rolling low hills, some mist/fog in low lying areas and then, suddenly, the same two wide loads that had caught us out yesterday!! Typi-bloody-cal.

    This time they were letting no one pass them (no room on this road) til they finally pulled over at Yunta. After being stuck behind them for 30km doing 80-90kph we went hell for leather and kept a "good" speed until we finally had to rest for a few minutes at Olary (with the round ex-water tank toilet blocks). It seemed to be a ghost town, one pub and a few other buildings and not a soul (living anyway) to be seen. Oh and here's the thing - our map said there was fuel at Olary and there bloody wasn't!

    Went through to Cockburn for fuel – right on the border of SA and NSW at 10.10am. Friendly, chatty service station dude from Bribie Is, Qld. (Friendly roadhouse staff make the journey so much more pleasant – there are a few grumps out there who make you wonder why you bother to make an effort to be friendly).

    We didn’t stop at Broken Hill – the day had already gotten away from us time-wise and we knew we'd have a chance to explore it on the way home. We stopped instead at Little Topar Roadhouse. This was a great place, fantastic, friendly character served us. Excellent lunch – steak sandwich, burger and chips (all shared, not each!) all done the way they should be. Slight slip on our part in that we nearly forgot to pay – usually we paid before we ate, but the guy serving us said to do it after, it wasn’t until we were out at the bikes gearing up again that it dawned on us that we hadn’t paid, especially funny because we had joked that we might forget. Oops. Sir Grumps ducked back inside quickly to square it up – no harm, no foul!

    Little Topar Roadhouse - Great food, we recommend stopping here if you can. If you do stop here, make sure you check out the photo collection on the wall - perfect example given of what Scotsmen actually do have on under their kits!!

    Our next stop was for fuel at Wilcannia. What an odd looking town this is – the supermarket is directly opposite the petrol station and it has no windows and just a normal looking door (“Yes we are Open†the sign states). Everything looked closed except the petrol station on this main through road. We had a chat to an older couple on a Harley returning to Adelaide – she dropped his helmet in the petrol station forecourt but didn’t bat an eyelid. There were also a lot of people who were on a charity trek in their cars and 4WDs (raising money for the RFDS) who invited us to join them in White Cliffs for their last night (they said they had a band and everything!). We were actually tempted to do this but had a prearranged meeting with Grump's brother the next day, so declined.

    Finally the air temperature was starting to warm up now, yay! And so were the flies (not so yay, but they only bugged us when we stopped).

    We continued onwards, stopped for a rest 114km short of Cobar and it was just as well. Grumps had been in front and we were doing about 130kph but I was getting tired and needed a leg-stretch so I overtook him and indicated to get off the road at the next parking area. Just as we pulled off the road, two cop cars came past us from the opposite direction. I don't know if they would have pulled us over but I felt lucky anyway.

    We stopped here for about half an hour and when we got back on the bikes, it was feral goats everywhere right through to town. We had seen a few before we stopped - but just a few, resting in the shade. Now it was just starting to reach dusk and the number of goats at the sides of the road were incredible – literally hundreds, if not more! They seemed to be pretty cluey about the bikes and the road though and scattered on our approach, it was always a bit of a worry when a group of goats were on both sides of the road and the odd recently dead goat on the road was testament to the fact that they didn’t always make the best decision.

    So that last 100km or so went very quickly due to the fact that we were on hyper-alert - along with the 6,590,473 feral goats, there were also the odd feral sheep and several kangaroos. Got into Cobar and went to get accommodation at the caravan park – alas they were all full. We drove through the town to a motel on the other side, it was quite cheap and had just one room left. Dumped our stuff and went to get some Chinese take-away. The motel room was adequate but smelt of cigarette smoke (especially the pillows – yuk) and the water smelt weird. But hey, Foxtel, beer and food... who are we to complain?
  8. Day 6 Cobar – Armidale, 708km
    We were woken at 4.30am by some of the contractors who were staying at the motel getting up and ready for work – they were not quiet about it let me tell you. With no hope for more sleep we made an early start, went and checked the tyre pressure on the bikes (both fine) but the rear tyre on the 1400 is now showing very excessive wear. Still looks legal and safe enough though. We went to take some photos, as the sun was rising, at the entry statement on the town’s eastern side.

    The scenery was really starting to show changes to green now and it was definitely getting warmer. The roads were also starting to become more hilly and winding. We got fuel in Warren and went into the town for breakfast/lunch. We had pie and a slice of cake at the café bakery there. Everyone was very friendly. We were sitting at an outside table and there was an old fella sitting at a table near us nursing a coffee and every local who went by said hello to him (Arnold, apparently) also, one of us had inadvertently left their sunnies on the bike and they were still there when we got back to it, even though quite a few people had stopped to look at the bikes. A very nice little town.

    Went on through Coonabarabran for fuel and a quick rest and chatted to some other bikers. They were headed home after the MotoGP. We ended up getting stuck with them on the winding busy roads leading into Tamworth. We go through one patch where we have to stop to clear our visors of a million small green bugs about every 20-30 minutes – disgusting critters – my windshield is a rainbow of bug colours by now! Stopped for fuel in Tamworth – starting to feel tired and quite hot by this time. Chatted to another biker for a while then had some tuna and crackers and started our last leg for the day. Went through some nice hilly twisties (Moondi Hill One and Two I think. Much fun). We get to Armidale and switch on the comm. units to discuss how to get to the caravan park. We finally get towards the place and another bike 2-up comes down the opposite way and waves – does a u-turn and pulls up beside us – Grump's brother and his girlfriend - they're 2-up on an RF900– “This way!†we follow them to the caravan park. After greetings and bag dumpage we went into the town to a pub for dinner then I conceded defeat (thumping headache – probably haven’t drunk enough water again today) and went to bed, leaving the others to have a drink and catch up.

    The accom in Armidale. Really good.
  9. Wow! This is a really good read, awesome! :)
  10. Day 7 Armidale – Springwood, Qld 502km

    Finally we get to have a really late start with the prospect of less km ahead of us. Didn’t leave til after 9am. It was chilly chilly chilly this day and we drove through to Glenn Innes all the while getting colder and colder (Sir Grumps and I both admitted that we wished we’d put on our plastic overpants this morning). I forgot to mention that we've got Blueant Motorcycle Intercoms - we use them all the time at home - it's really handy to know what the other person is about to do or where we're going if our plans change - also good for warnings about which cages to look out for. On this trip we only really use them when we come into towns so we can work out where we want to go and there's no confusion. They've been great.

    We had a nice hot breakfast in Glenn Innes and a quick walk around then put on a few more layers of clothes and rode through to Tenterfield for another stop and to take some photos (birthplace of the nation and all…. Plus my Mum really likes the Tenterfield Saddler song!).

    Two bikes become Three. The RF900 joins us for the last day to Bris.

    We rode through to the state border and took more photos.
    Notice the grey skies. This is because we took the photo on the NSW side. We expect it will warm up and get sunny on the other side, being Queensland and all (ha ha).

    This was supposed to be (and was) our shortest ride yet but it still seemed to be a long day. We were on lots of twisties through the ranges – I found it challenging with my lack of twisty experience and the constant drizzle falling and getting inside my visor (supposed to be the correct one fitted by the helmet shop guy but apparently not!!). I was quite cautious on some of the downhill bends especially with all the slippery road warnings and the memorial flowers and crosses every now and then. We finally got into Springwood in sunny Queensland (it was still raining) at about 5.30pm. Brisbane at last and a good 4 days rest before heading back for the return trip.

    Return trip to follow shortly.....
  11. Great Pics and reading...

    Thanks for sharing thus far!
  12. Thanks for reading all this guys, I'm trying to keep it brief and to the point but I'm struggling with my natural tendency to waffle!

    I'll get at least the first two days of the return trip done today and then I'm back at work tomorrow but will put some more up when I get home.

    We had the bikes serviced in Brisbane (both are still under warranty). Got a new tyre for the 1400 which by now was no longer legal. The V-strom's was still holding up nicely. With regards to the return trip, we were planning to go down via the coast (Coffs Harbour) but were warned that there were a lot of road works and the traffic was crawling through at a snail's pace, so we decided to head back the way we'd come but to take it easy and stop more. Plus have a two night stop at Broken Hill (great place to look around).

    Day 1 Return Trip Springwood, Qld – Tamworth, NSW 596km
    We were up early, said goodbye to Grump's brother's girlfriend and left at 6.30am. Grumps brother was riding out with us as far as he could manage to still be back in Springwood by nightfall. I missed our exit on the motorway due to someone's last minute lane choice and me not having time to react. Got that sorted (after finding my way back at the next exit, completely losing my sense of direction and luckily taking the right direction off the right exit to find the other two bikes waiting patiently in the emergency lane. If they hadn't been there, I would have been stuffed as I had no idea at all where I was. We went through 2 toll booths (a real novelty for me) and on to a roadhouse at Warwick for breakfast.

    We rode through to Dalveen where Grumps set up the camera on the bike for sh*ts and giggles and we took a slightly touristy route for a while and then to Glen Innes for fuel and to say goodbye to Grump's brother. We rode up the Standing Stones Monument on a hill in Glen Innes and had a rest and a wander around before we said our goodbyes and continued on through.

    The last time the three bikes were together:[​IMG]
    The Standing Stones Monument

    We got through to Tamworth at 5.30pm.
    We had dinner at the Hogs Breath Café and went back to the cabin we had at a caravan park.

    Someone in another cabin started playing music way too loud and given that they play both types of music in this town (yep, country AND western - hee hee, no offense intended) of course, it was country music, and of course it was loud and of course.... no one seemed to mind. I thought it was funny. How very Tamworth! :grin:
  13. Day 2 Tamworth – Nyngan, 568km

    We got up early with the intention of setting off really early but then figured we had plenty of time so we rode up to the look-out on a hill behind the town. Took some photos, it was a lovely view. Then we went to the Golden Guitar to take more photos and then on to the Golden Arches (ha ha) for breakfast to wait til the tourist shop opened so that I could buy some souvenirs for my daughters.

    We rode to Coonabarabran and had lunch at a café in town, then rode up to the largest observatory in Australia.
    The ride up was beautiful, gorgeous hills with stunning rocky outcrops.
    In fact we both admitted that we enjoyed the ride up and looking at the scenery from the base of the observatory more than we did looking at what was indeed a very impressive structure. There's a small museum to explain all about the universe(s) and telescopes and then you can go up into the observatory. You step into the lift and it takes to you to the telescope room (behind a glass screen).

    Rode through to Warren for fuel and then onto Nyngan as the sun was about to go down. Found a caravan park and got a cabin for the night. We rode back into town to find something to eat and found the only place was a complete grease-pit at a petrol station. The guy behind the counter was a rather hefty looking err... gentleman and he was rude to everyone, locals and passers-thru alike and each time he finished with the piece of paper the orders were written on, he just threw them on the floor. We got our food to take away.
    We got back to the cabin to find a bloody great prime mover parked beside our door. Grrr! Hope he’s not having an early start tomorrow…..
    Had dinner and I decide to have a shower to sluice off the grease from the takeaway shop...

    And the shower water just stops halfway through my shower. Just stops. Just. Stops.

    Great. I got one more short burst of water from it and then nothing, I could not get it going again. Funny thing is that Grumps had a shower later and his water just kept on flowing and flowing. Does anyone remember that scene from The Three Amigos where two of the amigos just manage to squeeze a few drops from their canteens to moisten their parched throats and the third amigo's canteen is so full he drinks his fill, pours it over his head and lets lots go to waste on the ground. Well it was a bit like that. Unfair.

    Then, sure as eggs are eggs at 5.30am the primer mover starts up. Fan-bloody-tastic. Not.

    Are we still having fun? Bloody oath!!!
  14. Day 3 Nyngan – Broken Hill, 587km
    After being awoken nice and early by the prime mover, we managed to get back to sleep and ended up leaving Nyngan quite late (at 9.30am).

    We rode until we found a Bogan Shire sign and thought that was worth a photo

    Then onto Cobar and Subway for breakfast. The day was continuing to get hotter. We stopped at Emmdale for a drink and if you're travelling this way, I don't think I would recommend stopping unless you have to. This roadhouse was run by an old guy, apparently by himself. The ladies toilet was too disgusting and filthy to even contemplate using and I am talking major mess here - put it this way - sh*t and toilet paper and flies EVERYWHERE.

    So we went on to Wilcannia – the town that’s practically boarded up but still open. Fuelled up and I used the toilet and with Emmdale toilets still lodged firmly in my memory I rejoiced in using a toilet that was merely standard issue roadhouse squallor.

    It was continuing to warm up, we stopped just outside the other side of Wilcannia because we could see some willy willys really close to the road. We parked up and took some photos and some footage, then as we were getting back on the bikes we realised the big willy willy was going to cross the road a bit further down so Sir Grumps-a-lot turned the video camera on and went down to try and film going through it – unfortunately the willy willy started to pick up speed and crossed the road before he could get there but it was still bloody impressive. Once we load the video footage onto the computer, I'll put a link here because it turned out quite well on film (we used a video tape recorder on the 1400 and used a hand held hard drive video camera for other footage).

    This was the willy willy before it picked up half the desert and got bigger:

    Sometimes the road disappears into the horizon:

    We went to the Little Topar Roadhouse for a drink (really hot now!) and the guy who served us last time remembered us and come outside and had a chat with us while he had his drink and smoke. He even brought his digital camera out to show us some photos he had taken in Qld during his last a fishing trip. Again I was reminded how great it is to just fall in with people and chat and talk about the bikes (usually its the bikes that draw people to us - I guess they're a bit like puppies in that respect, people always come over to talk to the person with the cute puppy).

    Anyway, we're feeling really relaxed and happy and looking forward to stopping for 2 nights in Broken Hill. We got into Broken Hill just before sundown and booked into a caravan park. Got a really crappy cabin but it was pretty cheap ($67/night) and it had everything we needed.

    We went out at about 7.30 to find some tea- the air was very balmy. We went to a café restaurant and ordered. Sir Grumps’ beef schnitzel came out quite quickly and after waiting about five minutes or so for my pizza to join the schnitzel on the table, the waitress told us that there were still two more pizzas to be made before mine. Why would people think that a couple who walk into a restaurant together and sit at the same table, would be happy to eat their meals at separate times is beyond me. Maybe it's got something to do with the fact that none of the workers looked like they were older than 20. Seriously, it's not even about good service, it's about that we want to eat our dinner together. The waitress offered to re-heat the meal, Sir Grumps declined and asked for a new one, to come out with our other meal. They obliged. Luckily!

    The next day we went down to the Tourist Bureau and bought some souvenirs for the girls and then rode out to Silverton to do some touristy things. We had our summer jackets with us today and had just normal jeans on – our draggins being quite warm and it was looking to be another hot day. The road out there is quite good fun, full of dips and there was no other traffic so we set a good pace, trying not to become airborne! Went out to the Silverton Day Dream Mine for a tour. Details to follow....
  15. fighting back rising tides of jealousy :LOL:
  16. Me again!
    The ride out to the Daydream mine was dirt for 12km return. Fairly hard packed but we did get really dusty
    We joined a group which had just started the tour of the mine, thankfully we'd missed about 15 minutes of the above ground part - although it was a shame to miss the commentary, it was really hot (35deg) and we were keen to get out of the sun for a while.
    We followed some strangers into a dark place, but it was ok no-one seemed to mine (mine - get it! not mind... oh never mind...)[​IMG]

    Then we rode through to the actual town. We parked at the Silverton Hotel which, as probably everyone knows by now, is a pub which has been used in lots of “outback†movies because of the way it, and the town, look – being quaint and what overseas people would expect an outback town to look like. Went inside the pub and looked at all the photo memorabilia all over the walls (eg. Photos of Mel Gibson playing cards with other actors in between shooting scenes for Mad Max 2). Then we went to the Silverton café for lunch in air conditioning (yay!), back on the bikes out to the desolate aspect of Mundi Mundi lookout – it was an amazing view and I counted 8 willy willys in the distance.

    Mundi Mundi Lookout:
    When we got home, I got out Mad Max 2 to see if we could recognize anything and right near the beginning they are at Mundi Mundi Lookout (there's even an old sign saying so) where they find the prime mover Max eventually comes back for. How special!

    The pub at Silverton (with the replica of Max's car):

    We rode further out to the dam ( I can’t remember the name of it), it’s funny because I would never expect to see so much water hidden out there in such a dry landscape. We rode back into Silverton and went through the old gaol which is now a museum. Then back to Broken Hill over the road of “39 dips†or so. Went past a guy taking shade under his broken down Harley, Grumps promptly turned around to see if we could be of assistance but the guy had someone on the way out to him and he had plenty of water - he'd been on a poker run when he'd broken down and all his mates had continued without him. A bit rough but he was fine about it.

    Realising we were ploughing through our hard-saved holiday money, we got some microwave dinners from the supermarket and went back to the cabin. Went out after dark to look at the stars in the sky (there were lots!) and see a bit of the view of the town lights from the hill near the caravan park, then back to the cabin to eat icecream, watch tv, and chill out.
  17. Broken Hill – Kimba, SA 747km

    It's funny that in the first days of our trip 747km was a big ask. Now it's a piece of cake (well, a slight chewy two day old piece of cake).

    We dressed lightly this morning as it was hot again in Broken Hill (expecting 35deg). We stopped at Yunta for food and noticed it was steadily getting cooler and cooler. Stopped in Orroroo to look at the Giant Gum Tree attraction (well, while we were in the area and all!) then went on to Magnetic Hill (21km each way I think it was – the last 9 km to the Hill on dirt). Magnetic Hill was actually quite impressive as long as you are standing in the right position to watch. It is an optical illusion that makes it looks as though the road is sloping one way, when in reality, it is sloping the opposite way so when you put the bike (or car) in neutral, it looks like it is rolling uphill. I kid you not. I was very sceptical but when a 4WD pulls up then you can really see the effect.

    How to tell when you've arrived at Magnetic Hill:

    My bike waiting "downhill" for me. Sir Grumps had just let his bike coast in neutral with the motor switched off, "uphill" to where I was standing:

    Went through those fantastic Flinders Ranges (Horrock’s Pass) to Pt Augusta where it was blowing an absolute gale. We pulled up in the town but, being a Sunday, there was no where to get a coffee and have a toilet stop, it seemed. So, slightly annoyed, we gave up and moved on. We knew we would be needing fuel before too long so planned to stop at Iron Knob, however when we got there, the roadhouse was derelict and obviously not open. Oops, a big error on our part - we should have paid more attention on the way over, however in our defence we'd passed a sign for Iron Knob with a petrol bowser on it. We had to decide if we could risk going the 86km to Kimba or divert 55km out of the way to Whyalla. We elected to go to Whyalla. Grumps made it with 2L left in the tank, I had 6L so we probably would have made it to Kimba anyway.
    So after an extra 110km we were back on the way to Kimba.

    Yeah baby! Me offroad (actually I'm looking for a place with plenty of tree concealment from the road... I had a lot to drink that day... and I'd needed to go since Pt Augusta! Whyalla's roadhouse toilets had been closed "due to vandalism"):

    Arrived at 6pm, Got a motel room at the roadhouse. It was a decent room but crawling (literally) with these medium size hopping bugs which were a slight annoyance (they were crawling over us every now and then as we lay in bed – had to keep flicking them off), they were also on the walls and ceiling – still don’t know what they were but a couple of them hitchhiked with us ( a few even made it back to Perth…. But they’re gone now…:twisted:). We got takeaway for dinner and slept well that night which was just as well because the next day was a big one!
  18. Good read and pics, nice to read the enjoyment coming from a first time paddock crosser. I also know Richard (travelingstrom) good guy and really enjoying himself. Met him on the way to Darwin last year.
  19. Really enjoyable read :cool:

    And great pics - done well to document it all, as yet to ride further wet of Vic, the visualisations keep us glued until the next instalment
  20. Kimba – Eucla, WA 812km
    Our biggest day so far which was weird because
    a) we were supposed to do shorter days on the way home and;
    b) it didn’t feel like 812km. Plus we got to Eucla at 6.30pm on the time zone we had woken up with, but in Eucla it was still only 4.00pm.

    Left Kimba at 7.15am and our first stop was Poochera for breakfast – checked email, got fuel and a bacon and egg sandwich then on to Ceduna for, you guessed it, more fuel, at 11.00am. We rode straight down to Nundroo for fuel and a 10 minute break and back onto the Nullabor plain for a long ride. Both times, we found this road not to be the boring, seemingly endless ride we’d thought it would be, there was actually a lot to look at and appreciate.

    As we were riding from Nundroo onwards I started to notice strange looking lumps in the landscape off to the sides of the roads. Curiosity eventually got the better of me as I was really starting to think they might be wombat burrows. I pulled over and waited for Sir Grumps to realise that I wasn’t behind him anymore and to turn around and come back to me. We walked a short way off the road to investigate and sure enough… wombat burrows – lots of wombat tracks and fresh poo (and some bones :cry:)
    And lots of the burrows.

    We took one quick photo without (hopefully) disturbing anyone at home.

    The burrows were depressingly close to the road and the wombat's well worn trails crossed the road as well. We wondered it would save wombat's lives if there was a very low fence on the sides of that highway in that stretch (excuse my ignorance - I really don't know what I'm talking about - I just want the cute furry flea bitten bad tempered bowling balls to live!)

    We stopped at the Nullabor Roadhouse for lunch (3.30pm SA time) and fuel. Then rode through to Border Village and ...surprise surprise... got fuel. Went without a hitch through the checkpoint - this was the third inspection point we'd been through and no-one felt the need to inspect any of our packs, thankfully. Now, how to tell you're back in WA???? You ask.... Well we went through the first slight bend in the road past the checkpoint and.... the cops had someone pulled over at the side of the road!!

    We stayed in the cheapest accom now (no bathroom, in fact, not even a power point to charge any of our stuff with!!). Two other bikers were there so we had a chat. One guy was on his way to Melbourne - he had a BMW 1200RT with all the fruit, plus he was towing a trailer with solar panels and a fridge (the fridge was inside the trailer of course). The other guy was on his way back east after attending the Kawasaki GTR Owners AGM in Busselton, WA. He said you'd also attended, Davo, I guess there's every chance we waved at each other somewhere along the road - I'd abandoned "the nod" right from the start of our trip and tended to raise my left hand in greeting at other bikes - it was good for when we passed a few bikes because you can just keep your hand up in one long wave... as opposed to nodding at them all and feeling like one of those bobble heads on the dash of a car :shock:

    We got our stuff off the bikes and went for a ride to see the old telegraph station. It was eerie and windy and the sun was just starting to set as we got there so we got some fairly good photos (for us, anyway!).

    We headed back to Eucla on the dirt road and some stupid tourist bus came belting past us in it’s hurry to get to the telegraph station before the sun went completely down, showering us in dirt and small stones. Grrrr.

    We went and had a snack and a drink in the hotel and watched a bit of the news on the idiot box before a relatively early night