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Howdy Y'all

Discussion in 'Welcome Lounge' started by KatanaBart, Jul 30, 2015.

  1. So happy to be a member on this site! Good news and bad, sorta. As you might tell from the thread title, I'm in Texas - no, not the town/area at the NSW / Queensland border. As in armadillos, long-horn cattle, oil refineries and all that good stuff. I've had a fascination with Australia as far back as I can remember. I am passionate about riding, I love exploring forums. Seriously, from what I've read here the average IQ seems higher in Australia. So feel free to ask stupid questions, I'll do the same, except for the kangaroos. If the Japanese come up with a way to make them outrun a Corvette you've got my attention.

    I can deal with the metric system, barely, and will probably make fun of y'all for riding on the wrong side of the road. And yes, I do say "y'all" a lot.

    Bikes? - I've had two. Started on a 750 Katana. Officially, a Suzuki GSX 750 F; I think "Katana" is just a sticker stuck on the fairings for the US release. It's a big sport-touring bike - there's no graduated licensing requirements here. My next toy was a 2005 Yamaha R6. I have mixed feelings about it. I had to sell that one, and I'm most interested in the Hayabusa, I really love Suzuki, although I have no use for that much power.

    I love safety, I hate people that use the phone while driving, I'll upload an avatar in the near future, I've never ridden a cow or watched NASCAR, and I'm too lazy to google up what a wallaby is. So... safe riding, y'all.
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  2. Howdy and welcome to NR! Your fascination with Australia is not misplaced as it is an awesome place. Both coast and the Outback. Sorry you sold the R6 and let us know if you decide to go the mighty Busa!

    As riders in Aus, most of us fear the dreaded kangaroo as they are the most unpredictable, contrary animals that are responsible for causing all sorts of mayhem unfortunately. Wallaby's are smaller, cuter and furrier than kanga's, but equally erratic, but luckily they are much shyer.

    Check out the thread 'Photo's from your ride' to take a first hand look at some of the places we get to on our rides around Australia, and it would be great to see some of yours as well! :)
  3. Welcome Bart, will be good to hear input in threads from your perspective and experiences.
  4. Well thank you all. Is there a definition of "the outback"? I get the impression that outside of a few very large cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Perth; pardon any misspellings) Australia is large and mostly uninhabited.

    What is typical food? We have a restaurant chain here called the Outback Steakhouse, which I'd bet is just gimmick and not authentic. Ever heard of a bloomin' onion? Didn't think so. Is there good Mexican food?

    What's the typical Aussie take on New Zealand (-ers)? The US and Canada make for moderately tolerable neighbors, so I'd guess about the same for NZ. And what's the deal on Tazmania?

    And how about location vs. weather? The southern part gets colder that the northern part, and it's early winter... (scratching head).

    Oh, and while we're at it, any stereotypes about Texas (/US) you care to share?
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  5. You're right in that the Outback is a loose definition of the huge and very sparsely populated areas outside the major cities and coastal areas. We took 3 months off to travel Western Australia including the Canning Stock Route. 3 months was not long enough and we ran out of time, but we keep darting back to various places in WA that we fell in love with. In particular, Broome in the north of WA. Other than the major connecting highways, much of the Outback is only accessible in a solid four wheel drive with suitable recovery equipment, sound mechanical knowledge as well as emergency comms such as a Satellite phone, or a HF radio. This is a picture of our trip last year and is the road into Dalhousie Springs in South Australia. We destroyed 7 tires and 2 windscreens on that trip. Many of the outback roads are closed to traffic during our 'summer' as it is technically the wet season that floods creeks and rivers.

    Outback to Dalhousie.

    We'll eat pretty much anything as the major cities are multicultural but love a good roast, be it lamb, pork or beef. The best roast beef I've ever had was at an Outback pub in Birdsville Queensland. I can't tell you about Mexican food as I'm not a fan unfortunately. I had to google 'bloomin onion'. Never seen one here!

    The deal with Tasmania, is that although we like to make fun of our southern kin, we mainlanders are secretly jealous of their awesome twistie riding roads and many make the trip across with their bikes to pursue that pleasure. It is unbelievably beautiful in the warmer months. As for NZ, I would guess pretty much the same as Canada and the US!

    You're pretty right about the weather too! Being from Victoria, I can tell you that there are a lot of very frustrated riders right now owing to the extreme cold while up north they are enjoying more seasonable weather.

    What is the riding like where you are from?
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  6. welcome aboard :] what part of Texas you hail from
  7. Welcome Tex! This is your stereotype from over here - you have jeans with a huge belt buckle of a steer head or some such, a giant Stetson, carry a loaded handgun and drive a huge Ram/dodge/Chevy pickup. You eat monster steaks and firmly believe the lone star state is far superior to the rest of the USA. Oh and you say 'y'all ' a lot. ;)

    How did I do lol...
  8. I'm just south of Houston. Overall, the riding is great. There's not much of a winter; we get a thin layer of snow once every few years - people panic and the city shuts down. Summer has about 3 months of brutal heat from June - August. As in, you seriously can get a bad burn from hot metal putting a seatbelt on. We're a coastal city and the ground can't hold much water, so a few days of hard rain and we get major flooding. Otherwise it's year-round riding on 9 of 10 days.

    Houston in particular is spread out. Even in the middle of the city there's huge fields. For driving/riding it's like hitting the straightaway on a racetrack. On the flip side, the city is like a dry swamp so it's not very scenic. The land is totally flat; the only "hills" are freeway overpasses and the giant bridge on 610 over the Houston ship channel. The city is laid out like a giant grid; most roads have no curves. Finding your way around is pretty easy, but like I said, easy to drive in race-car mode.

    What really makes this city unique is the cultural diversity. Following the US involvement in Vietnam, there were countless thousands of Vietnamese who had to be evacuated. The US allocated several cities as relocation zones, with Houston (the Alief area in particular) as one of them. So, a big chuck of the west side of the city has tons of Vietnamese. They're community-minded, so nearly every dry cleaners and nail salon in the city has some wrinkly old lady greeting you with "Sorry, no engrish."

    Texas shares a border with Mexico, and Houston is essentially the closest major city. 51% + of the city is hispanic by race. Thus, the language barrier is huge, many jobs require bi-lingual employees, half of what's in the mailbox is English & Spanish, ect. Resentment and backlash follow.

    We're a major port city with tons of industrial jobs. We have heaps of petroleum refineries, mostly in smaller cites to the south. Add to that the companies that make drill pipe, drilling mud, etc. Our economy is a roller-coaster, all tied to the price of gas. We also have a huge medical industry here. People come from all over the world in hope of becoming a doctor in the US, making big $$ - and Houston is the #1 destination. Seriously, there's a huge hospital just about everywhere. This brings in Asian, Indian and Pakistani mostly. Name any country in the world and there's someone from there, here.

    Boil all that down, and you get roads where there's no consistency in driving habits. Some are just slow, some won't go at intersections and quite a few don't know reality from video games. That... and everyone is on the phone. Everyone. I bought a smart phone and got a free side of self-loathing for doing so.


    As far as the stereotypes go, there's actually quite a bit of truth to them. We do have a high number of big SUVs and giant pickup trucks. Parking lots are difficult because you can't see around them. "Stetsons" (cowboy hats) are goofy; you'll set them either at Texas-themed events or on Texas independence day. They do seem to be trendy with law enforcement - although their hat sits prominently on the dash of their personal vehicle instead of being worn. Then there's "cowboy boots"; much more common but only with a select few people. The oversized belt buckles are out there; they go with the boots and hat, and are usually seen in the small towns where the only music is country music. All of our large cites are typical modern-day places, and all that cowboy stuff is for small-town "rednecks".

    Oddly enough, around the entire US we have a reputation for being gun-toting firearm fanatics. There's very few national laws; each state makes their own laws. Texas is in about the middle when it comes to gun laws, between leniency vs tight regulations. We have a "concealed carry" law; we can't carry openly/visably, and must take a class to get a concealed carry permit. Mostly, only the police carry in public. The few people who carry anyway are usually doing so illegally, like gangs or kids who want to be tough. There's plenty of places where you can't carry at all, permit or no. Schools, the post office, any government building, or any place that sells alcohol from bars to the grocery store and/or gas station (erm, "servo"). Plus, any business can prohibit gun posession on their property and ALL businesses do this. The "firearms prohibited" sticker is a standard part of every door except people's home.

    The arrogant "we're better than y'all" idea has a catch. Online, people are competitive about complaining and people love to trash Texas and call it a dump. Oddly enough, if you go to other states you can find more products with "Texas" in the name than you'll find here. In Atlanta, Georgia, you can find "Texas" chili, Texas-style hot sauce, beans, chips, you name it. These same products are not on the shelves here, so go figure. I guess every secretly likes us, I dunno. There's a huge movement in Texas to secede from the US and be an independent country. Seriously, in spite of the "arrogant American" stereotype, there's tons of people here in the US that want their state to be independent and hate the US.


    Then there's the rest of the State. Houston and Austin call each other "sister cities" even though we're about a three-hour drive apart. Austin is the capital, so the legal field is their biggest "industry". The University of Texas has a huge campus there, and it's extremely liberal. Austin is filled with people sporting tattoos and nose rings. Austin sits in the Texas Hill Country - so from a Houstonian's point of view, it's beautiful. Then there's San Antonio, home of the infamous "Alamo". That building is just 4 walls, and not much bigger than your bedroom, that's it. Huge tourist attraction, and never fails to disappoint. SA also sits on pretty hilly land and it's pretty scenic. Then there's Dallas, which is actually the two cities of Dallas and Forth Worth which have completely merged together. Houston and Dallas have lighthearted animosity, which I think is sports-related since the Dallas Cowboys (American-style) football team was the dominant team for most of the 1980's. ABD - anywhere but Dallas. El Paso sits in the far west and we don't know much about it, except that it exists and you pass through it if you're headed west.

    Enough of the novel... my giant steak is almost ready.
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  9. Welcome to Netrider Bart!
    Put Australia down on your must go to places list :)
  10. G'day BartBart, welcome to Netrider. Thanks for your description of some of the places and dynamics of the state of Texas, you write extremely well. I look forward to more perhaps with some of your ride reports.