I mentioned in my intro thread I have been looking over the forums for advice on touring for a while. Now I can share how the advice helped me and what else I learnt. It's been almost 4 months since I did the trip. So here it goes. Most people talk about how great a road trip is. Well here is one that failed in an epic way. Why go? I'm a youth leader and the opportunity was presented to go to a youth camp in Tassie as a leader. Not that you need a reason to go to Tassie, but this helped motivate me. Not many people understood why I choose to bike it to Tasmania over flying there, as flying was cheaper. All I could say was that getting there was not the point. I had the idea for two years but started saving up and preparing in April 2010. I wanted to camp for most of the trip, but it was hard to find info on camping with a motorbike. My bike was a Boulevard M50, a smallish bike for long distance touring. Bike Mods: • Adjust suspension to handle better in corners. • 12v power supply fitted for phone etc. • Seat modded for comfort. • GPS power supply installed Gear: • Three man tent (will be a two man tent next time for size reasons.) • 0 degree goose down sleeping bag, silk liner and full pillow. Comfy and warm, even if they’re damp. I kept pillow in stuff sack to reduce pack size. • Black Wolf Deluxe self inflating mat. (cannot express how comfy this is) • Hiker cooking stove with British army style pans. Good size and light weight. • Freasy over boots. I opted to take leather steel cap boots and the Freasy’s kept them dry while riding. They also pack down flat. • Camel back style water bladders. These fit into funny shaped spaces better than bottles. Just make sure you get good quality to avoid leaks and chemical taste. • Toilet paper • First Aid Kit. Include lip screen for wind cracked lips. • GPS, 12v phone charger, GO TAG, Headlamp. • Tool kit, Puncture repair kit and gaffer tape and Leatherman. • Note book with emergency contacts, accommodation contacts, insurance, RACQ etc. • Leg warmers from cycle shop. They look like stockings, but you wear them under jeans so no one will know. More user friendly at toilet stops than thermal bottoms • Olympus Tough Camera. This will be explained later. • Earplugs. Because wind roar kills your ears. • Kick stand plate for soft dirt. These are a few of the items I found made the trip easier. I took lot of other gear, but I don’t need to tell you to take socks and undies etc. Because I’ve never done anything like this I decided to do test camp 21/12/2010 at the Bunya Mountains to make sure I had everything. Rains had already drenched most of SE QLD 27/12/2010 Ipswich to Oxley Wild Rivers. I was pouring down this morning. I could see that if I could get into NSW I could have a chance at getting away from the weather. I checked the road report and none were closed yet. I headed towards Warwick via the Cunningham Highway. Creeks and drains were full but hadn’t crossed the road yet. Cunningham’s Gap was a mess. This road was already suffering from land slides. Parts of the road had slipped away, cliffs beside the road had slipped onto other sections of the road covering these parts with silt making the road slick. In hindsight I should have taken this as a sign. I continued to Warwick and started to see creeks and drains that were now crossing the road. One crossing in particular had carried a fair amount large gravel chunks onto the road making the road like a mine field. Thankfully I could see them and I managed to avoid the big chunks. I guessed that I just passed Clintonville where I encountered backed up traffic. I could see ahead that the road was covered in water. I saw a couple of bike riders at the start of the line turn around and head back to where I had just been. They were shaking their heads and indicating the road was not crossable. I realised that my road trip had hit its first major barrier. I needed to back track and find an alternate route. Mt Lindsay highway would be too twisty in this weather, so I decided to head to the coast and take the Pacific Motorway. I was so annoyed at the situation, and I was riding aggressively to make up for wasted time that I neglected to navigate around a series of potholes in the road. This wasn’t a huge issue until I got to the other end and realised I was positioned to head into a monster pothole. Later using my bike as reference and a tape measure I think the hole was at least a meter long and just as wide. I have limited experience with off road riding but I managed to hold the M50 as I went through the hole. I wondering if the denser oil I put in the front forks helped absorb most of the impact. I got though it and everything seemed OK. It wasn’t until I got to the servo near Cunningham’s gap that I realised I had lost a saddle bag with all my camping gear and my tent in a blue dry sack. The servo operators let me leave the rest of my gear behind the counter as I back tracked to try and find my gear. Buy this point roads were now covered with water. The crossing with the gravel was now fully under water which made the crossing very dangerous. I kept my feet down incase I lost balance by hitting a big rock. Even the Freasy’s couldn’t keep me dry in this situation. But at least I was warm. I searched for my gear, but it was obvious that it had been washed away or picked up. I left my details at the nearby driver reviver hoping that someone might be honest enough to hand in my gear. While there I met some drivers who had seen me go through the pothole and wondered how I hadn’t come off. I also heard rumors that the Gap was about to be closed off. I headed back to the servo very quickly to pick up my gear. I had a quick chat about road conditions with some truckies who had just come though the Gap. I decided to risk it and head back home as there was no way I wanted to be trapped here with rising waters. I navigated the debris on the Gap road again. I think it was around Warrill View where I encountered another line of traffic backed up in front of another flooded creek. Police were there already getting there barriers ready to stop traffic. Thankfully traffic was still moving slowly through the creek. I watched a few cars go though first to see how deep it was and if there were any hidden rocks or potholes. I pulled into line and headed for the water. I followed where the tires of the 4WD in front of me had been. Thankfully I didn’t encounter any obstacles, but I could feel the current pushing me to one side. I was in second gear keeping the revs high as I lent a little into the oncoming water as I crossed the creek. The water was up to my ankles as I rested my feet on the pegs, but I managed to get though, and back home to Ipswich. Not finished yet. Got to go to work so I’ll finish the rest later.