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  #16  
Old 21 Feb 2011
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Warrnambool

Ah, I got distracted there...Warrnambool.

This was the first sizeable town on the ocean road since really leaving Geelong/Melbourne, and was to prove to be a resting place for a week or so due to the combined effects of meeting some new friends and also coming down with a chest cold that will have killed an office worker


Bob and Brian ( yes I know thats rubbish, but names are not my strong point ) were both holed up in the backpackers and were two English lads that were working in Oz as brickies/builders and were going to try to emigrate when they could. Good talking and as usual with travellers, everyone swapped their tips/tricks and experience on where they had been.

At this point I decided to post back my tent to the UK as even though it was an awesome tent, it was too much weight and bulk to lug around on the back of the skinny DR650, this would haunt me later on.....Vango Typhoon 300....great tent especially if camping for long periods, as I can now say in hindsight.

In its place I purchased a lightweight, single person tent that was eventually nicknamed ' the coffin ' because it was so small after using it days on end.....you live and learn.
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  #17  
Old 21 Feb 2011
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Technical Problem.

Fuel Range.

There are arguments galore about the fuel range of motorcycles, and this site is not exception.

Do I fit a 50 litre tank ? etc.

To be honest there are not many places in the world that really do require a motorcycle with more than a standard tank to safely get A to B....unfortunately I happened to be in one of those very few places that you needed a large fuel tank.

A DR650SE off road spec has a 27 litre tank with a possible tank range of at least 350km when taking into account the temperature,terrain,weight and tyres.

However, as I had only booked the bike in a bit of a rush all the off-road spec DR650's were already out.....what I had was a DR650SE road spec bike with a fuel tank of only 13 litres.....and from what I had achieved on the ocean road, that was no more than 160km tank range before it started sucking fumes.This was a situation that had to be fixed before I got too far into the trip.....and the age old solution of the jerry can proved its worth.

A normal 5 litre fuel can is what I carried on the back of the bike when riding along the more populated parts as a comfort zone.Later into the trip I attained a square plastic 15 litre jerry can that was strapped to the back of the bike and doubled my fuel range......bungies and straps prove their worth yet again.

Anything bigger in fuel capacity and I would be chasing that very thin gain of extra range against extra weight especially when added to the water that would be carried as well.....always a compromise.
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  #18  
Old 21 Feb 2011
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Started to get the old wunderlust towards the end of the week in Warrnambool, and looked ahead to where I would go next. Having had a chat at the local bike dealers, a Ktm dealership if I remember rightly , they suggested a ride up to the Grampian national park....a bit of a ways in-country but worth the visit.

At the KTM dealer I had fitted a few essentials that would later on prove their worth....

1) A set of rimlocks for the wheels front and rear

2) Heavy Duty inner tubes front and rear ( Rhino tubes )

3) A hand pump....and binned the heavy foot pump, that came on the bike.

4) spare front and rear inner tube of normal thickness carried in a rather snazzy pouch on the front fender.

Actually bought some ordance survey quality maps of the area being travelled and a decent compass to start brushing up on my old map reading skills/bearings.

# this is out of sequence of the trip timetable but I can not put enough spotlight on the fact that later in the trip, if you travel off route...your map reading skills really need to be on the ball #
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  #19  
Old 21 Feb 2011
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The Grampians

My destination and rough plan was to head to Halls Gap that was in the middle of the mountains and held a selection of camping sites and hostels.

The trip here was a combination of beautiful views and where I started experimenting on being all artisic with my camera and excruciating pain from the long distance on the DR650's seat from hell.

Riding through Halls Gap, I just wandered about and got a feel for the place....popping in and looking at a few hostels and such until I got to one that I liked the look of.

Tims Place

This is a smallish set of accomodation that proved to be an utter gem of a place to stay.

Tim, the owner immediately came over and greeted me like a long lost friend as soon as he saw the bike pull up and we immediately had a talk about motorcycling as he is an avid rider himself.

He insisted that I use his own garage to store my bike and gear and this effectively became my base camp for the week where I could go off on an unladen bike and explore.

If you are ever here....this place is great to stay at.

The Grampians are an explorers dream, take a road at random and you will see something worthwhile....and also learn about how fragile nature can be in an area like this.

Even though there was greenery everywhere,the main resevoir for the Grampians was down to 5% when I was there and was really starting to cause concern and promote some lateral thinking....I never realised how much of a problem water supply was in this country...far more pressing than most Middle eastern countires for example.

The Aussies themselves have great water discipline, but it just goes to show how areas can struggle with human habitation.
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  #20  
Old 21 Feb 2011
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Of all of the dozens of shots I took of the Grampians, due to a technical mishap that may or may not involve and falling into a swimming pool while carrying my camera....this is the only shot that I have managed to find at present.

And a shot of the DR650 in full travel load.
Attached Thumbnails
No plan, no research....Australia, here I come.-up10.jpg  

No plan, no research....Australia, here I come.-pict0169.jpg  

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  #21  
Old 21 Feb 2011
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Blue and yellow theme going there. Did you know, that here in Scandinavia, when someone gets beaten black and blue, we say we get beaten, you guessed it, blue and yellow. The lonely red canister sort of dots the i.

Other than that it's looking good
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  #22  
Old 21 Feb 2011
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TwoUpFront

Hehe, yeah it was not intentional with those colours...but it seems to work.
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  #23  
Old 22 Feb 2011
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While I was out riding around the area I noticed vast swathes of forest lowland that had obviously been ravaged by a massive fire. On returning to Tim's place, I asked Tim about this.2 Years before, the entire area had indeed been almost wiped out by a forest fire......thousands of acres of prime woodland. This started a argument amongst the locals and the government in their approach to forest conservation.

The official government approach was a complete ban on any removal of trees or vegetation and no controlled fires were allowed to clear areas of old brush wood, this was to promote a ' natural state ' for wildlife.

The locals pointed out that what this actually created was vast stockpiles of old tinder dry brush and an uncontrolled woodland expansion. Fires occur and have always occured naturally without human involvement and its natures way of revitalising an area.....a few regular minor fires can prevent a massive forest fire basically.

The locals were ignored, most of the forest was wiped out.
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  #24  
Old 22 Feb 2011
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To continue the trip, I decided to return on my inland route and start travelling the ocean road again, starting from where I left it at Warnnambool.Long, straight roads to get back there, and the only distraction was the DR's seat that at this point was making my backside feel like I had been hit by a 12 bore rock-salt blast.

Next few days were spent at a slow pace moving to the west and passing through various little towns and stopping off at a whim.Lots of nice views and pleasent places to stop off and stretch.


Mount GamBi er

Camped out for the night on a campsite and this was my base camp for another couple of days, where I scooted off at random and visited various touristy bits and bobs.

This was a slow, mellow part of the trip in preparation for what I classed as the real start of the adventure at Kangaroo Island and then heading north......nothing to tell at this point, except doing the final tidying up on the bike for the big distance involved in the next few weeks.
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  #25  
Old 22 Feb 2011
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Mad Max.

I am a self confessed nerd. I love my sci-fi films and books and the thought of being within 2 days travel of seeing the Mad Max interceptor and memorabilia at the Silverton pub near Broken Hill, proved too much for my self discipline.It was a far way to travel, so I just cracked on and knocked out the miles until I got to Silverton.

This is where the terrain was starting to be noticeable different and changing form the coastal hills and woodlands into a more barren type of affair.

Broken Hill used to be a huge mining area that has been all but exhausted, and as the mines died...the town started to as well. There are some new industries that have moved in, but nothing what the town was what I would imagine in its hey day. Big rocky hills slowly gave way to sand and then desert on the way to Silverton and as was the norm for Australia, the roads became gravel tracks.The route I had been up to this point was the part of Australia that was most populous and had the bulk of the roads tarmaced......once you left this, only the main roads tended to be.

Pulling into Silverton, it became obvious that I was the only person there.....a problem on these trips is that you lose track of times and dates and also forget that other people stick to them slavishly.Yep it was Sunday, it was closed....but what the hell, 1000km to see the Interceptor was worth it.
Attached Thumbnails
No plan, no research....Australia, here I come.-pict0562.jpg  

No plan, no research....Australia, here I come.-pict0556.jpg  

No plan, no research....Australia, here I come.-pict0553.jpg  

No plan, no research....Australia, here I come.-pict0548.jpg  

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  #26  
Old 22 Feb 2011
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We don't need another hero

Having got all the way to Silverton and found it deserted, I decided to put plan B of my Mad Max fantasy to good use.

I must put all humble pretensions aside and honestly state I did a cracking rendition of " We don't need another Hero " by Tina Turner when I draped myself across the Interceptor while wearing my chainmail bikini and blonde fuzzy wig.....you try explaining why you have that in your luggage at customs.

Robe

Stopped at this great little place on the off ocean road called Robe that reminded of the little coastal town in Jaws, the locals were getting a kind of festival up and running and it proved a pleasent few days just exploring my new found appreciation for the drink called Mead.....you Northen European type Viking people.....I salute you. What a great drink you created those thousands of years ago.

Met a great German girl called Sylvia while I was there and we sort of just clicked. Sylvia was a school teacher by trade and just decided one day that she needed to just go and travel for a year or two.She was in her late twenties and had never travelled outside her home in Bavaria before....now she was travelling by rail/road all around Australasia on her own.

Us Horizons tend to not realise sometimes what a massive effort it takes for a normal person just to up sticks and do something like that, without any previous travel experience.

We got on well and agreed to meet up in Adelaide at a certain hostel............... I reckon it was my " unter wasser panzer fahrer " line that did it.
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  #27  
Old 23 Feb 2011
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Wet T-shirt competition.

I happened to arrive in Adelaide on the weekend of the big cricket match between England and Australia, now as this was a couple of years back this was not when England beat Australia by such a margin that I actually felt sorry for them...no that was what happened recently.Back then, England lost on purpose just so the Ozzies didnt go and sulk for another 2 years.

As I was staying only the night before heading south for Kangaroo Island and was not really bothered where I stayed, I just resorted to gut instinct and whatever ever hostel had a wet T-shirt competition that night....and I found one !

Sometimes I just love it when a plan just comes together as that wise philospher Hannibal Smith often said....I managed to get on the judging panel for the competition on account of me being the oldest one there and them foolishly thinking that being British with natural integrity, I could not possibly be swayed by the teenage girls, hoping for my vote.

They did not fall the part that I was blind and would need to feel the competitors as they had all seen me ride up on my bike...but it was worth a try anyway.

The rest of the night was hazy, but did involve lots of drink....rematches between some girls and other stuff that would not be of interest to hardened travellers on this site.


I missed my ferry, in fact I missed the next 2 days as well due to my exceptional performance as a judge was required for the next night...and a hangover that would have killed a lesser man.
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  #28  
Old 23 Feb 2011
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Kangaroo Island.

Kangaroo Island is about 2 hours ferry ride from the mainland and about 4 hours or so ride from Adelaide.This is one of those enjoyable roads you travel where you get an itch to turn round and repeat sections of it due to a combination of swooping corners and the chance to take some shots of the green, rolling terrain. Local History goes that a single man swam or sailed out to the island many years ago and effectively claimed it as his own and lived there as a hermit until the day he died.

The ' offical ' tours of the island involved being bussed around and being shown their selected sites for no more than 1 1/2 days, how you could ever see the island in those days is beyond me.I set myself about 4 days to wander at random and camp out.

There are only a few main roads on the island that cross section it and the remaining roads range from gravel to dirt track made up of the reddish brown soil and are well worth exploring.No off-road ability really required if you take it sensible, but a great laugh scooting along through the dirt and leaving dust plumes in your wake. The campsites I used were the National Park sites that mostly just contain a basic toilet and refuse bins, at this time of year ( off season ) I could just turn up and break out the tent without worrying about the sites being over crowded.

The first day I found some stunning little beaches by following unsigned tracks and then following the coast, bouncing about on rock strewn trails until you just popped out out over looking a wide, white sanded beach framed by the rocks and blue sky and aqua waters......the temperature had been increasing for the last 2 weeks and was a very pleasent 30 celcuis at the moment.

After 2 days of trail riding in the red dust and camping out with only my carried water I was starting to get a bit of a scavenger look.
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  #29  
Old 23 Feb 2011
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I just wanted to let you know that I'm still reading and enjoying your trip report immensely!

I'm mentioning it, because I know the feeling of writing in a void.

Although, now I have this image on my retina (lol) of you in a Tina Turner outfit. I'm not sure that's a nice image.
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  #30  
Old 23 Feb 2011
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Naked Beach Dancing

I found a lovely little alcove on the coast, quite a trip to get there down a dirt trail and parked up the bike. I found that as long as I was not in a city I can pretty much leave the bike unattended for a while in complete confidence, pretty much unique to Australia I think ?

The actual beach was reached by going through a tunnel in the rocks, at one point on hands and knees and was quite a squeeze for someone in bike gear...anywhoo, I emerged from the tunnel onto a beautiful deserted beach that curled in a crescent shape to the north and consisted of white sands backed up onto steep cliffs and a fully protected pool made by a naturally occuring low rock wall.

After strolling about in perfect isolation and taking a few happy snaps with my camera, decided that this was a perfect spot to give all my bike gear a wash in the sea from the accumalated sweat and reddish/brown dust ingrained in it......so in short order I am stood naked up to my waist in the sea whilst hand washing the bike clothes ( all synthetic,mesh type stuff )

I was just finishing up washing myself which involve with performing Elvis style hip swivels in the water and turned around to find an entire bus load of tourists either stood on the beach behind me or still emerging from the tunnel......I bet their tour catalogue didnt mention about seeing a bald,bearded,white skinned fat bloke doing naked elvis hip swivels in front of them.

I had to wait until most of them staggered off and then stride out of the water with only my motocross socks covering my strategic areas until I could get back into my already dry gear.

Pure chance, I also met Sylvia again on the next beach and had a fun couple of hours walking about, talking and agreeing to met later.
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