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  #1  
Old 25 Feb 2011
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Australia, all of it (pretty much) - Arse About Face

Inspired somewhat after reading 'BaldBaBoon's account of his antics in Oz, I remembered that I'd never posted my own account of the 44,347km I covered in Australia. Calling in at all the most extreme geographical points as well. (N, S, E, W and dead centre).

These entries were originally written on my blog and were intended more as missives home, rather than an actual ride-tale, so you'll have to forgive the style!

Anyway, on with it!
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Old 25 Feb 2011
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Entry 1

Lights will guide you home...
Originally published: 17th June 2006

...although in my case I'm also hoping a couple of pilots and a very large aeroplane will be involved as well.

So here I am in Western Australia. Armadale to be precise, just outside the city of Perth. Not a great deal to report as I've been spending most of my time pretending to be a web-designer. Not doing too bad a job too, even if I do say so myself. All this work does have a purpose (what work hasn't?), the fruits of my labour will be one of these:
Which I will then proceed to take on a grand and frankly rather insane expedition around this:
It will certainly make my blog entries a little more interesting once I'm on my way, so make sure you all check back on a regular basis! :0)

A couple of people have asked why exactly I'm taking a vehicle that clearly has two wheels missing, around a very bloody big country. I'll erm.....let you know once I figure that one out myself.

First things first though, a flight back to the UK for the wedding and a handy chance to pick up some nice European riding kit. Hooray for shopping!
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  #3  
Old 25 Feb 2011
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Entry 2

Act two, scene one...
Originally published: 29th August 2006

...finds the hero of this tale somewhere else. So instead, I'll have write something...

Returned, briefly to the UK for a good friends wedding, also took the time to spend copious amounts of money on bike gear.


Managed to get myself completely kitted out with motorcycle equipment (see above, very dashing image) while I've been back, so I'll be ready to get on with adventuring as soon as I return to Australia. I'm hopefully due to fly out at the end of August. (Terrorist plots / acts of random paranoia permitting of course)





Other than a very short blast on a bike in New Zealand last year, I've not really ridden a bike since I passed my test! I'm sure it'll all come flooding back though. Just keep the round black rubber things in contact with the ground as much as possible I reckon, what could possibly go wrong?!




Oh, I always do all my reading in full bike gear, it erm...aids the concentration, yes that's it.
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Old 25 Feb 2011
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Entry 3

Go go Gadget cartographer!
Originally published: 24th October 2006



That, dear friends is what we in the business call 'bloody stupid', but I'm doing it anyway. That should hopefully give those that are interested a general outline of the route I shall shortly be embarking on (honest!) The only 'iffy' bits are the Cape York area, which is outlined as the toughest 4x4 track in Australia and involves many, many river crossings, the Gibb River Road and the Great Central Road as the distance between fuel stops may be stretching the bikes capacity somewhat. Still, there's only one way to find out! Of course it's not set in stone and I'm sure there will be alterations to the route as I travel around.

Work here in Perth is rapidly nearing completion and the final items of kit have just arrived in the post.
Gadgets! Gotta love em.




Exhibit A - A handy little GPS system

Exhibit B - An EPIRB (or PLB)


Hopefully I'll never have to use the EPIRB (Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon), but it's good to be prepared for any eventuality. Plus of course it's another outdoorsie-type gadget, and you can never have enough of those.


I've decided to try and catch the train from Perth over to Melbourne via Adelaide, it'll be an interesting trip and it's only slightly more expensive than getting a direct flight. It does mean sitting in a train for about four days, but if nothing else it can be training (har har) for the buttocks in preparation for spending umpteen months in the saddle. I've also decided not to cut my hair as a scientific and social experiment, nothing to do with laziness honest. It will also answer the question that has been plaguing the minds of scholars everywhere across the globe...How much of a muppet will I look with long hair?


Also on this trip I will probably be addressing these important questions:

How long can you wear one pair of socks before they become self-aware?
Just what does a didgeri do? (aha! I crack myself up)
Just how deep a river can you cross on a motorbike before you float away?
What does a pie-floater taste like?
Is the duck-billed platypus taking the mick? I mean honestly it's a beaver with a prosthetic nose!


I will hopefully NOT be answering any of these questions:

What is it like to float away down a river on a motorbike?
What is it like to share a sleeping bag with any number of bitey and rather toxic insects?
Do crocodiles take good care of their teeth?
Any pressing questions you want answering, feel free to send them in! :-)
Ahh...the things I do for science...
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Old 25 Feb 2011
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Entry 4

Thomas the tanked up engine...
Originally published: 25th November 2006

OK, slight delay in execution of my plan to depart Perth. Erm...the train was full. Who would've thought? So the below post still applies, it'll just be one Sunday later than originally planned.



Just a short update this one as there isn't a lot to write about. Will hopefully be boarding the 'Indian Pacific' service from Perth tomorrow. 2659km and three nights later I will arrive in Adelaide and swap the 'Indian Pacific' for the shorter run of 'The Overland' service, a mere 828km to Melbourne. Bottom numbing stuff!

Once in Melbourne I will finally be united with the bike and I can get on my way and start providing a mobile buffet for all the flies in Australia. Seriously you can't stand still for more than a few seconds without a gaggle of flies making a 'bee-line' (aha!) for your ears, eyes and nose. I think I'll just take to wearing the bike helmet everywhere. Might get a few strange looks down the beach though.
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Old 25 Feb 2011
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Entry 5

Sand on the tracks and other such excuses...
Originally published: 16th December 2006

My blog updates are a bit like buses, you wait around for ages then a really long wordy one comes along...ok, so they're not like buses at all really.

Finally boarded the 'Indian Pacific' or as I like to refer to it, the 'bottom torture express'. It was functional for the most part but certainly lacking a bit in the comfort and service departments, especially considering that it was mainly aimed at tourists. The food and drink sucked, the toilets broke down on the second morning, but it was definitely an experience! The only saving graces were the people I met aboard and the chance to see the scenery of the Nullarbor Desert from an air-conditioned box.


The Indian Pacific from Perth to Adelaide. Not as much fun as it looks...does it look fun?

After two days of awe-inspiringly bad coffee we finally reached Adelaide, where I had to disembark as the 'Overland' service from Adelaide to Melbourne wasn't leaving until the next morning. A day seeing the sites, a night in a backpackers hostel and I was off on another train for twelve hours. Met some more great people aboard the 'Overland' service, which once again relieved the monotony nicely.

Arrived in Melbourne not a moment too soon, as I was about to go stark-raving bonkers and kill everyone aboard in a Nescafe induced frenzy. Melbourne hadn't changed one jot since I last visited, so I won't be writing anything about it. However I cannot stress enough the bizarre atmosphere produced by every store in a high-street of thousands each playing it's own selection of Christmas carols, in temperatures exceeding 36 deg centigrade. My idea of hell.

Jumped on the next train out to Castlemaine (one hour north), where I was finally presented with this:


'Gosling One' (watch Mad Max, you'll understand)


"Fan-bleeding marvellous", I said to myself, as I often do. Time to get on with this adventure malarkey. It took about 60 seconds of riding for me to decide I'd packed waaay too much, and would certainly try and get rid of some of it as soon as possible.



Certainly looks the part, but hasn't really got a bloody clue.


So I headed south from Melbourne down towards the 'Great Ocean Road' and the southern coast. A nice ride around the twisty bends of the coastal arteries was a handy introduction back into riding again, however that didn't stop me dropping it once in a car park after misjudging a turn at low speed. (although we'll keep that one to ourselves eh?)


Roads in the Grampians come in 3 flavours: gravel, sand and sand covered gravel


Headed up into the Grampians National Park for my first taste of 'off-road' riding. Certainly an eye opener, but good fun once you get the hang of it. Two more droppages in the sand reinforced my belief that I really REALLY had packed too much. Seriously, this thing weighs a ton. A fact only exacerbated when it is lying on it's side in a pile of gravel and sand. Still, lesson learned!




Plenty of closed roads to choose from in the Grampians, mainly due to fire damage, be nice if they put the closure signs at the start of the road rather than half-way down them though. I also encountered a bunch of Australian bikers out for a tour in the Park, nice fellows, some flashy machines too. I was making a nuisance of myself by parking up in the middle of the track, so they stopped to take the piss out of the England cricket team. Fair enough really I thought.



Spent an interesting couple of nights camping out in the mountains of the Grampians, letting my imagination run-wild about what horrendous beasties could be making all that noise in the middle of the night. I also started one morning (or not started, depending on your point of view) with a flat battery. Could find no reason for it at all, so I just hoped it was a temporary occurrence. I spent the next 45mins puffing and panting my way up and down a couple of hills in an eventually successful attempt to bump-start the bike.


So, not going into too much detail (as this is costing a fortune in internet fees), I now find myself in a town called Mount Gam. I came here for one reason mainly, which was to look at a long-range fuel tank a fellow had for sale. I had a look, it would do the job, so I bought it. (thanks ma and pa for the early Xmas prezzie!) This has upped the fuel range of Gosling 1 quite considerably, and I now have one less thing to worry about when touring in the outback.


I even managed to fit the thing myself, with a few bits of free fuel hose from the local bike shop in Mount Gam. Honestly, I have evidence:



Step 1: Take standard Yamaha XT600E, and attack with all available tools.

Step 2 : Wonder what the hell you've let yourself in for.

Step 3: Pretend you knew it was all going to turn out fine.

Step 4: Make like a cheesy poser


So that all went well until I discovered that my temporary battery troubles in the Grampians had turned out to be not so temporary after all. After lugging said battery round to the local Yamaha shop it turns out it is indeed at fault, a cracked cell or something similar was the diagnosis. The result is $60 for a new one, and an enforced stop over in Mount Gam until Tuesday morning, as that is the only time I'll be able to pick up the fully charged new battery.


See that, that's not supposed to be a big hole that isn't.


Wouldn't be so bad if I hadn't exhausted the entertainment capabilities of the town in the first four hours after arrival.
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  #7  
Old 25 Feb 2011
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Entry 6

There's a Beyonce in my helmet...
Originally published: 21st December 2006

Shame she's not real though. Not much worse than having a tune you don't know the words to stuck in your head while riding a motorbike. Heavens knows why Beyonce was in there... well I'm sure there were a few reasons, but they probably weren't musical.

No pictures this time round as it's just a short one to wish everybody that happens along this blog a very happy festive season. I'm heading down towards 'Kangaroo Island' for Xmas and probably new year as well, so it's unlikely I'll be able to do a proper update until after I get back. Will hopefully have some good photos by then though.

Bike is running well, coping with the heat (a mere 38deg yesterday) much better than I. Riding isn't so bad as long as you keep moving, prepare to sweat buckets when it comes to putting up a tent though.
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Old 25 Feb 2011
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Entry 7

What do you get if you cross a duck and a cat?
Originally published: 29th December 2006

A duck filled fattypuss! Ahah ha, I crack myself up. But seriously, Duck Billed Platypus (platypusses, platypi, whatever), they're cool and I've seen one. Add to that the Echidna I saw a few days back and I've chalked up two of the worlds five monotremes (that's egg laying mammals to you normal people), now to find the other three...


Echidna, like a hedgehog on a really bad hair day.


Anyway enough of my prodigious wildlife spotting abilities. Seasons greetings from Penneshaw on Kangaroo Island, or as I have come to know it 'Corrugation Island', due to the state of the unpaved roads. Talk about turn your bones to jelly...

A funny thing happened to me on the way to the island... There I was waiting for the ferry at Cape Jervis when I got talking to a bunch of people that had just arrived on a Cagiva and another Yamaha. Thoroughly bloody nice bunch, and to cut a long story short I ended up spending Xmas day at their place on Kangaroo Island. Nice bunch this biking lot eh?



On the ferry across the 'backstairs passage'

Kangaroo Island has just the one paved road, which runs in a continuous loop around the island taking in most of the major attractions. It's somewhat like a kangaroo based Jurassic Park. All the tour buses are practically on rails, dropping off hoards of people at all the notable points, only to swallow them up again an hour or so later. Needless to say I didn't spend a lot of time on said road, choosing the more jarring experience of the extensive network of gravel, rock and sand roads. Much more interesting, and a good old learning experience to boot.



Anyone would think I knew what I was doing...good job you can't see my expression

Ended up in some great secluded locations, mainly on the coast (hence the plethora of beach-based photos). I also spent quite a bit of time in the Flinders Chase National Park, where I went hunting for the elusive Duck Billed Platypus, amongst other wild creatures. From my time in the park and on the island in general, I have been able to learn three valuable things about the wildlife here:

1) The young of the Echidna are called 'Puggles' which, quite frankly is bloody fantastic.

2) Your average Duck Billed Platypus will surface for slightly less time than it takes for a Sony digital camera to switch on, zoom in and focus. Which is rather infuriating, and led to many 'Nessie!' style blurry photos of said beastie.

3) The isolation of living on this island has driven all the Kangaroos to suicide, and they will attempt to end their lives as often as possible in front of a moving vehicle. Usually when you least expect it and conveniently timed to cause maximum swearing.



Look look a platypus! (honest to god)

Best camping spot would have to be West Bay, funnily enough on the far western shores. Marvellously secluded and a fantastic beach to boot, and it takes a lot to impress me when it comes to beaches. Coming a close second is the Cape Gantheaume Wilderness area on the south eastern edge, although the road leading there leaves quite a lot to be desired. I'm sure I have a photo around here somewhere, ah yes...



Good scenery, roads an 'experience'

As for West Bay, check it out:

You can usually count on mother nature for a good show at bedtime

So I'm scheduled to leave tomorrow (30th), and will have to decide where to go from there. After talking it through with a few people and reading up a bit more, I have decided to save the 'Ooodnadatta Track' and the 'Great Central Road' for a bit later on in my trip. Mainly because now (Jan - Mar) is the hottest time of year in the middle, and I mean melt-your-tyres hot, not just "ooh that's a bit warm". That fact combined with Gosling One only being air-cooled (and me too come to think of it), and I have decided to delay that section to the 'shoulder season' when temperatures should be slightly less mechanically destructive.

However, that means I have a bit more time to bimble round the southern regions of Australia before heading west, so I feel a trip to Tasmania coming on. Not only is it VERY south, it'll also mean I'll be biking round every state in Australia. Score!

Now for some pictures:



Cape Willoughby on Kangaroo Island, windy as a windy thing heralding from a windy land


Another from Cape Willoughby, this time with the interesting view obscured by a helmet


Yours truly, also like a hedgehog on a very bad hair day
(curse this not-cutting-my-hair resolution!)

More updates to come, but for now Happy New Year to all! See you in 2007.
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  #9  
Old 25 Feb 2011
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Entry 8

He said "let there be stodge", and there was stodge
Originally published: 2nd January 2007

And lo, the traveller did combine the hallowed elements... two minute noodles with a cup-a-soup, and there was much revulsion.
What hideous globular mass had the creator spawned? He gazed upon the creature with much distaste, and did cast it out unto oblivion.
Hastily did the creator harken unto the promised land of milk, honey and Subway sandwiches. And there was much feasting.

Here endeth the lesson.

So 2006 passed peacefully into 2007, look there it goes you can see it:


2006 - 2007 transition, as seen from my campsite

Hope everyone had a fantastic New Year, I spent it (as tradition dictates), in the middle of nowhere. Not a soul around, just me and some pelicans and they weren't in much of a party mood.


Back on the road now, headed for the ports of Melbourne and the boat to Tasmania. A twelve hour sailing should see me safely on the island state, and my next update will be from there.


Just a few pics of where I spent the last few days:

That'd be the end of the road then, best find another route...



Crossing the Murry River by a much more sensible method
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Old 25 Feb 2011
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Entry 9

A devil of a tale...
Originally published: 28th January 2007

Three weeks round Tasmania and only a single blog update, all my loyal readers (all three of you) have my heartfelt apologies. Although in my defence, internet access over here costs a kings ransom, and I had an expensive couple of days to begin with.

Allow me to elaborate...

As soon as I rolled off the ferry, I rolled straight into (not literally) the local Yamaha dealership in order to get the drive chain replaced on Gosling One.




Ahhhh, sparks! Get that man away from my beloved bike.

The original was doing a passable impression of an elastic band, stretching... a lot. So to head off a snapped important thing, I erred on the side of caution and got the pros to sort it out.

No sooner had I set off with my shiny new chain, than the fork seals on the front suspension decided to blow. For the non-technical like myself, that meant that what should be inside to forks started to come out, leading to a very rough and bouncy return trip to Devonport. An enforced stop over for a couple of days saw that little problem set right, and I was finally able to get under way properly, albeit with a substantially lighter wallet.

So, not to go into too much detail (because people would get bored and wander off), I did a big anticlockwise loop around Tasmania, almost a microcosm of my trip-to-be around Australia. Starting with the North and West coasts, I headed south to the most southerly navigable road in Australia (next stop Antarctica), up the east coast and then back through the middle to Devonport again.

Found some great out of the way camping spots, and also some fairly hair-raising 4WD tracks that tested my new suspension to the limit. I fell foul of the local wildlife at one of my camps on the west coast, with something furry making off with one of my sandals in the night. I'd like to think it was a Tasmanian Devil that needed to use it for surfing or some such thing. Makes me look a right gooseberry hopping round the beach on one sandal though.


Medic! My trousers are on fire.

One such route was the interestingly named 'Crabtree Track', just down south of Cradle Mountain near a place called New Norfolk. You would have though the sign at the start of the route stating that it was a track for 4WD vehicles during dry weather only, would have put me off. But not me, I laugh in the face of such warning signs...also I'm a bit of an idiot.


I like mud, me. Good for the skin.

Where the route was level it was fairly easy to weave in and out of the ruts and around the larger boulders. Where it got a bit more interesting was the ascent up the side of a mountain (and I'm talking steep), where the weight on the back of the back actually probably helped; and the descent down said mountain, where the weight on the back definitely did not help at all!




For correct operating procedure, please return to upright position

The track leading down was washed out by rain water, strewn with really rather large boulders and edged with slippery gravel and smaller rocks. This led to a slow and teeth clenched descent in first gear, with the rear wheel locking up most of the time as I tried to stop the bike running away down the hill. Of course, inevitably it went wrong. Although just the once! A bout of swearing, a few bruises and one hell of a workout picking up the bike on that slope later, and I was out! Felt rather chuffed with myself I must admit.

On checking the odometer whilst gathering my shattered nerves together at the bottom, it turned out I had covered about 24km in about 2 hours! Definitely an interesting, if not speedy route to take.

Feeling pleased with myself I took a bath in the River Mersey as I was passing.



Lather, rinse repeat.

Just try doing that in the UK version of the same river, you'd probably bounce off the surface.

So, during my time in Tasmania I checked out all the standard tourist type attractions, including the famous Cradle Mountain. I have to admit that it registered as a "Meh!" on the 'awe-inspirement scale', as did the 'Bay of Fires'. I found the west coast, with it's lack of specific attractions far more interesting and a lot more rugged.

Met some great people along the way, including my new friends Ramon and Merel. Big 'shout out' to them if they happen by and read this, we had a nice little trek out to visit 'Wineglass Bay' on the Freycinet Peninsula. If you can read Dutch, check out their blog at:
http://members.home.nl/ramonbeschi


Apparently I look like a 'dirty storm-trooper' Pretty close I reckon.


Nice view eh? The one behind us isn't bad either. (Wineglass bay)

I also met my first live snake since being in Australia. Which to date makes three, count em three in total. All were Tiger snakes, so named because they can scare the bejesus out of tigers, they're that 'ard. Not really, but apparently they're ludicrously poisonous, and not at all scared of me it would seem.



Snake, snake ooooh it's a snake. (No badgers though, I think the snake ate them all)

I'd also like to mention that in true Australia summer behaviour, it snowed yesterday for about 15mins as I was riding back towards Devonport via the Central Plateux region. Seriously, it was so cold i've only just today started to get some feeling back in my fingers. Nothing like a bit of variety to keep you on your toes!

Jumping on the ferry tonight back to Melbourne, then it's west for me, over towards Adelaide, the Nullarbour Desert and Perth.

So, to sum up my time in Tasmania I present a little selections of images, as I've probably written enough for now. (anyone still reading this?)

Enjoy! (No sniggering at the back)



Warning signs? Pah! I laugh in the face of warning signs!


Look at me, look at me! Vrooom, crunch!


Taking a break at Lake St Claire, Tasmania


Wildlife, thieving bastards the lot of 'em.


The Gordon Dam, bloody high up and also bloody windy. (Not the dam itself of course, but the area in general)

UPDATE: The Tasmania leg of my trip is the basis for a feature due to appear in Adventure Bike Rider magazine. Welcome to Adventure Bike Rider. Issue 4, due out the end of March 2011.

Read it, it'll be great, trust me.
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  #11  
Old 25 Feb 2011
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Entry 10

Give me your money or else...
Originally published: 9th February 2007

... you'll probably spend it on something you don't really need anyway. Actually it's not me that's after it, it's MSF or Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders, to my American friends)

I'm about to cross the Nullarbour Desert over to Perth, and I realised it would be a shame not use the Perth to Perth, complete loop of Australia to try and do some good. So if you can spare any cash then please feel free to use the donation facility located at Medecins Sans Frontieres - Arse About Face, or the one on the right hand side of this site. Big hugs to everyone that manages to donate. Don't feel any pressure though, just because I'm out here going 35-40,000km round Australia while you're all tucked up and cosy in front of the telly, no pressure, no pressure at all.... :-P

The main update is below, written while I was still in Tasmania. It's got lots of pictures, so for those with a short attention span, you shouldn't get too bored.


I'm now in a place called Port Pirie just north of Adelaide, preparing to cross the Nullarbour Desert. On the route over here (mostly where I had already been after heading west initially), I managed to dip into the northern end of the Grampians National Park again, which was great.


The Grampians National Park again.

I also managed to link up with the people I spent the Christmas period with on Kangaroo Island, so this is just a quick message to them. Steve, Dave, Debs and Lexley thanks once again for all your help and hospitality, I'll be back when something else falls off the bike!

Dave was kind enough to assist me in servicing Gosling One, he also happens to have a rather spectacular garage full of shiny, shiny crotch rockets.


Clearly my bike is the most stylish and expensive :-D

That's about it for now. I'll be going 'Mad Max' for a bit while I cross the desert to Perth, but with any luck I'll be able to avoid the Toecutter and the rest of his daggy gang mates.
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Old 25 Feb 2011
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Entry 11

My kingdom for a physio...
Originally published: 19th February 2007

Quick, call me a physiotherapist!

First person to leave a comment reading "You're a physiotherapist" gets a slap if I'm ever actually able to raise my arms again.

Just a quick one this time to report a successful traverse of the umpteen-million-squillion kilometres that is the Eyre Highway. Once again I am unable to upload pictures at the moment, as they have apparently only just discovered the wheel here in Esperance. But rest assured they are on the way!

I'm currently stuck with walking a bit like John Wayne as pretty much everything aches. Especially the posterior. Battling silly winds, immense trucks (and truckers) and various other unpleasant things, left the old body a tad worn out.

Thanks to all that have donated so far. It all goes straight to MSF, so don't think I'm running around spending it all on pies or anything like that.

I'm off for a bit of a lie down...
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Old 25 Feb 2011
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Entry 12

Desert? I'd rather have a dessert thanks very much
Originally published: 20th February 2007

I've come to the conclusion that there isn't a great deal of point to writing a great long post about crossing the Nullarbor Desert, because, well... there isn't that much to write about. It's long, VERY long, and also incredibly dull.

I got myself suitably energised before setting off on day one however:




Mmmm, caffeine. Let's go, time to goo, woo...

Which generally led to most of the first day being a caffeine induced bender, something akin to playing a video game, only without the comfy chair and cup of tea.




There were a few opportunities to get off the highway and view a few sights, such as the Great Australian Bight. Or as I have now come to know it, the 'Great Australian Blight' (of flies). I also got the chance to play storm-trooper in the desert at the ruins of the Eucla Telegraph Station:



These aren't the droids you're looking for...

At a place called 'Belladonia' there was a dotted line marked as 4WD only, which cut across the 'Arid National Park', and down towards Esperance. This effectively was an alternative route to my destination. Being 1WD I figured I could probably make it. Standing up on the footpegs after sitting down for the last 1200KM was certainly a welcome relief!



Yes, something rattled itself off, no it wasn't serious.


The 'Belladonia Track'

Just east of Belladonia is the 2nd longest straight stretch of road in the world, or something like that. Not that you'd notice, it's just like the rest of the highway. Although, just my luck...roadworks! On the longest bit of straight road, it appeared to me as though they were installing a corner, just for a bit of laugh.



Longest straight bit of tarmac I ever want to see


Installing a corner, just for shits 'n giggles...

Mind numbing, arse numbing and a lot of other numbings to boot. That about sums up the journey really. Still, I'm back in Western Australia baby. Woo!

Extra piccies from the first couple of days:

My camping buddy for day one on the road


Lawrence of Arabia ain't got nothin' on me...
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Old 25 Feb 2011
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Entry 13

Australia, now with dual-cyclone power!
Originally published: 9th March 2007

Never worry about emptying your dustbag ever again with the new model of Australia, with 'Dual Cyclone Power!'. Most probably because your dustbag, hoover, living room and entire house have been blown away.



Yes that's right folks, the northern end of Western Australia, and most of the Northern Territory is currently getting the stuffing kicked out of it by cyclone 'George' and cyclone 'Jacob'. The gruesome twosome are having a ball up there, wrecking towns, smashing up ships, upsetting peoples hair and generally doing cyclonic things. (That Dyson bloke has a lot to answer for)





uckily for me, I'm enjoying a serendipitous pit-stop in Perth. (That's at the southern end of Western Australia) I'm pretty much back where I started before I embarked on this adventure, once again staying with friends in Armadale just south of Perth city centre.

I'll be here for a couple of weeks I should imagine, for three main reason (and now the added fourth of there being cyclones in the way of my expedition. Bloody nature!)

Reason one: Bike don't go nowhere without fuel; and the money in my fuel account has gone. Erm...into the fuel tank (and possibly on a few pies). So I've stopped to do some work to top that up a bit.

Reason two: Bike also don't go nowhere if it falls apart. I'll be taking this opportunity to fix a few minor problems that have cropped up with the mechanical workings, and generally do a full on service. Things like adding 'barkbusters' to protect the levers in case I drop the bike; not that I'll be doing that of course. Along with other things like sorting out valve clearances, changing the oil and replacing the 'cush drives'. (which are apparently not a bad 80's cover band as I originally thought) Can't say I know for certain how to do everything that needs doing, but I've got half an instruction manual and a set of spanners; what could possibly go wrong?

Reason three: It's still too wet up north at the moment, and many of the tracks I plan to take are still under water. A week or so more and it should be dry enough to proceed up north, sans-waterwings.

Reason four: Big, big, swirly, whooshing things. (See map above)

So once all those 'reasons' have been sorted out, I shall be continuing up the western coast of Australia and round, over the top and on!

The trip around the south-western section of Western Australia was fairly uneventful. In fact there isn't really that much to write about at the moment. There were some fairly nice towns I stopped in, places like Margaret River. I'm sure you could have a fantastic time there if you liked drinking wine, were there for a week and had a stack of cash. As I fulfilled none of those three criteria, I didn't really find much reason to linger in most of the towns.


Just off the bike, hot, sweaty, smelly and with hair to make a scarecrow blush.



It's a wonder I don't get swamped by hoards of gorgeous women more often really.

Once again ended up in some nice camping spots, mostly scattered throughout the National Parks that were conveniently placed on my route. Got lost for about two hours in the 'Leeuwin Naturaliste' National Park. Bounced around on a sandy track for most of that time, only to realise it took me on a big loop back round to where I'd started. Where I discovered that a car had parked across the sign which pointed me in the direction of the campsite. Turned out the site was all of five minutes from the main track. Curses! Still, I got to see most of the national park at least.



Lost? Moi?! Why yes, actually...

That's about it for now. Coming soon (with any luck), will be an actual front-page to Arse About Face - 44347km (27556 miles) around Australia by Motorcycle - Book coming soon!. Hopefully it'll lend a bit of credibility to my fund-raising efforts, and get some more donations rolling in. Also coming soon (I swear!), is a proper photo gallery with a nice big selection of photos.

Watch this space. {------} <----That space right there, go on watch it...I dare you.



A smattering of pictures for you:



The Albany Wind Farm. Pretty and also environmentally friendly.


The worst road surface in the world; like trying to ride on marbles.
At least I imagine that's what it's like, not ever having ridden on marbles.


I'm not usually in a position to criticise someone else's mangling of the English language, but this one was special. I love a distinguished fire me.
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Old 25 Feb 2011
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Entry 14

If it aint broke, fix it until it is...
Originally published: 22nd March 2007



So I've been spending the last week or so splitting my time between working to top up the petrol fund, and working on the bike to get all the niggles sorted out. Despite the fact that I didn't have much of a clue about working on the bike; a bit of common sense, a downloaded workshop manual (in Spanish mind you) and a large lump hammer saw me through.





Had a bit of occasional help from a fellow that knew his way around an engine though, so that helped head off any major dramas. Nothing like pulling apart the front suspension, and having the probably very vital parts spring out of the fork and roll under a car. Cue lots of swearing and grovelling under said vehicle.

All in all though, it went pretty well. No bits left over when I stuck it all back together either, which is always a good sign I reckon.

I managed to stick together a quick website for Arse About Face - 44347km (27556 miles) around Australia by Motorcycle - Book coming soon! With any luck it'll help persuade people that visit to donate, and that I'm not faking it all. I also took the plunge and made a little introductory video. Not very good in front of a camera, but I decided as it was for charity I would make the effort, even if I did feel a total gooseberry.

Check it out at Arse About Face - 44347km (27556 miles) around Australia by Motorcycle - Book coming soon! (click on the cinema ticket) I put it up on YouTube as I figured there were a hell of a lot of people using that site, and if even only a couple of them watched it and decided it donate, it'd be a good thing.

So spread the word oh yea faithful few readers!

Updates from the road will be coming soon, once I'm back on the road (or non-road as the case may be) of course.
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