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  #46  
Old 25 Feb 2011
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Monsoon in a desert.

It is a very worrying experience being in a flat,hard baked desert when its hit by torrential rains and storms....the rain comes down, but the desert just gives up after a short while even attempting to absord the water...I assume the soil just cannot take it after being parched for so long.

From that point onwards any further rain does not soak in but rather just sits on the surface and you have what appears to be an inland sea grow out of solid sand.....this then sluices down the undulations in the land creating very fast moving rivers of unknown depth.....all the while you are trying to ride in 8 inches plus of sticky mud, looking desperately for some high ground in a flat desert.

The next week became a constant and repetitive battle to try and make some distance or find some high ground and try to wait out the weather. If I was lucky enough, I managed to get to a little ville or townlet and use their facilities and try to get some word of what is happening up ahead on the route or back down the trail.

Everytime I did managed to get some info.....all bad news, the roads were washed out completely or the route ahead was closed for 3 days etc etc.

Another disconcerting aspect was being the only vehicle travelling on the road, up to this point I had not seen another sould for a week, the only tracks I had seen were a single set of 4x4 tracks from a search vehicle that had been a day ahead of me.
Attached Thumbnails
No plan, no research....Australia, here I come.-up4.jpg  

No plan, no research....Australia, here I come.-up5.jpg  

No plan, no research....Australia, here I come.-up3.jpg  

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  #47  
Old 25 Feb 2011
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Damn, that last photo looks scary. And wet!
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  #48  
Old 25 Feb 2011
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Big storm.

Have a look at that storm in the previous post.

On the near horizon I saw what appeared to be a purple,black dust devil starting to form of substantial size, it was an impressive site to behold I must admit. While this was forming there were another two being created to the left of me and to the rear....none nearer than 5 km's maybe....hard to put a scale on a pretty much featureless landscape. Interestingly enough they seemed to be creating their own weather patterns, they were all moving in different directions....quite a stunning sight to behold.

I dismounted and broke out the camera and got a few shots of the dust devil growing massively in size and ferocity by the second....this was starting to look damn ugly to be sure.

At this point, the loose maps on my bikes tank were blown across the ground by a massive gust of wind, as I turned around I was confronted by a wall of sand being blown around in a funnel that was hundreds of metres across at least bearing down on position at great speed......what the hell?

Funnily enough I did not feel a pressing need to take any more photographs.

A losing Battle

I jumped on the bike and gunned the engine to scoot off to breakneck speed.....now, this being a little DR650 that was travelling off-road in mud and carrying a fat bloke and all his gear...that actually meant I was doing a top speed of about 70kph...not good enough.

In fact it now reminds me off those films when the little spaceship is trying to pull away from the blackhole and not making it......we have'nt got the power captain!.....even a little enthusiastic shout of " Mummy " from me would not provide any more speed.

There was nothing but a wall of sand in my rearview mirros like that bloody T-rex chasing after the jeep in that film.

To give me one more thing to panic about, the original storm I was watching was now moving across my proposed road of travel ahead...Now I know some of you seasoned travellers will possibly state that it was nothing but a big dust devil, but I was getting a tad concerned at this point.

Where can you go ?

There was no way in hell I could outrun this thing, and if I did I was going to run into one of its mates...so I made a choice. I had seen by the side of the road an irregular placement of what might have been old telegraph poles, and a headed towards it.

I slid to a halt and laid the bike down against it, almost flat and crawled underneath the bike and hugged the telegraph pole,when the storm/dust devil/armeggedon hit it was an experience I would not like to repeat again.
Pitch black and ferocious winds pummeling you and getting covered by choking sand, Its hard to say in hindsight if it was life threatening..but it felt like that to me.

After it passed, brushed off the half-sand dune off me and the bike, to be met by the site of another storm building behind again......at this point I made a series of girly shrieking noises and sped off up the trail.
Attached Thumbnails
No plan, no research....Australia, here I come.-pict0539.jpg  


Last edited by BaldBaBoon; 3 Jun 2013 at 22:16.
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  #49  
Old 25 Feb 2011
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Photos...

Bike stood in the mud taunting me....just the mud holding it up, 400 kms of this.

scary storm before it chased me.

William creek, stopover for 3 days to let the route ahead open.
Attached Thumbnails
No plan, no research....Australia, here I come.-williamcreek.jpg  

No plan, no research....Australia, here I come.-bs3.jpg  

No plan, no research....Australia, here I come.-46360_480867138792_704143792_6628857_1494269_n.jpg  

No plan, no research....Australia, here I come.-pict0069.jpg  

No plan, no research....Australia, here I come.-start-of-400kms-of-rain.jpg  

No plan, no research....Australia, here I come.-pict0091.jpg  

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

No plan, no research....Australia, here I come.-up8.jpg  

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  #50  
Old 25 Feb 2011
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Bad Things ahead.

My last stop to get fuel and water before I headed to follow the Oodnadatta north rather than cutting across and heading for Coober Pedy, and filled up another spare can of fuel especially for the part of the trip.......the servo ( fuel station ) owner says the entire track has been cut and is impassable to vehicles, not sure if a motorbike could get through or not though.

After all that I have battled through over the past two weeks, I cannot see it getting much worse than it is now, So made the choice to push on up the track and see how it goes.... the extra fuel gives me more than twice the tank range needed, and I have found that the water I am using is much less than calcualted.....possibly because that for most the trip so far have been driving in pouring rain.

It did get much worse, the rain howled down and soaked everything that could get soaked, the camera died, the Gps died.....it even soaked my drinking water...... and I got no more than 80km up the trail and it simply disappeared....the track was washed out into a sizeable gulley with eroding sides and there simply was not an alternative way road.

It happens.

Back down the trail and started heading to Coober Pedy, torrential rain, slimy mud, 2 foot deep washouts and everywhere about half foot deep in water and its getting dark.

I spent a surprisingly good night sleeping in the seated position on my bike on the concrete plinth of some old courtyard, under my hoochie shelter.
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  #51  
Old 25 Feb 2011
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I cannot see anything, my ears are ringing and I cannot move.

My eyes are streaming from a mixture of petrol,sweat and rancid mud that has forced its way past my shattered goggles......

Yeah, you all seen that on the first page.....and I have no idea to this day how I got like that. 1 minute I was scooting along and the next I am waking up under the bike in a ditch.

After getting all rowdy and forcing myself out from under the bike, I felt and heard an almighty clunk from my right shoulder that surprisingly did not cause anymore pain than I was already in.

I checked myself over and as far as I can tell...I had no injuries except for the right shoulder that would not allow me to move my right arm above waist height...all the blood was from my nose where I had headbutted the ground.

Problem.

At least 100km off-road from Coober Pedy ( town ) with one non-working arm and a heavily laden bike.

Cargo straps have many uses ( webbing and quick release buckles ) and this I put to use by strapping my upper arm to my chest and after getting the bike upright simply sat on the bike and rested my hand on the throttle.....I could move my fingers and have sensation so that was an immediate worry out the way.

At this point, I best point out that Mobile phones do not work outside the towns in Australia, a Sat phone is $2000 to buy and several hundred dolars a month to run....and I did not have an EPIRB, I didnt even know what one was to be honest...but hindsight is wonderful.
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  #52  
Old 25 Feb 2011
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Those storms look hectic!
Love the empty dirt roads in your picasa album

I've enjoyed reading your tales so far, its made a boring Friday at work a lot more enjoyable!
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  #53  
Old 25 Feb 2011
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Map reading.

On the off-road part of this trip so far.....I must put the point across again that map reading is essential.

I had up to date and detailed as possibly maps that I took bearings and distances from that I counted down on both the bikes odometer and the GPS readings, If an expected turn didnt appear when planned.....I immediately stopped and checked by hading/compass what location was rather than assuming I was in the right place.

The distance between fuel stops would use no more than 50% of fuel capacity....and well, water was not really a problem at the moment.
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  #54  
Old 25 Feb 2011
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Thanks for the Feedback.

Hope you are enjoying it, Its just quite daunting writing up the whole trip after the fact.....bloody lazy on my part, I should have put this up as I did the trip.
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  #55  
Old 25 Feb 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BaldBaBoon View Post
Thanks for the Feedback.
.....bloody lazy on my part, I should have put this up as I did the trip.
I can sympathise with ya there!

Just to be a total bastard, this is the weather I had along the Oodnadatta track:



Compare and contrast:



Sunglasses all the way

Looking forward to the next 'chunk' when you get around to it.
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44,347km around Australia: Book coming soon! (With any luck)
http://www.arseaboutface.com
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  #56  
Old 26 Feb 2011
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I have been reading through your ride report Sly-Fox.

Nicely set out out trip you have got there, looks like you did the research and timed it right for the road..rather than turn up at random like me

Those EPIRBS, are they still an essential piece of equipment or have they been replaced by something better yet?
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  #57  
Old 26 Feb 2011
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Coober Pedy

Safe to say that I did finally get to Coober Pedy and spent a 5 day layover checking the bike and more importantly me!

I did a few checks myself on the shoulder to see what the damage was and see what articulation I had from the joint. No obvious breaks, no bruising whatsoever or lacerations and although very sluggish to use and a massive loss of upper body strength on that side....I could not find a major problem, hopefully it was just a bad knock.

I did get checked out by the local hospital and to cut to the chase, they believed that I most likely ripped my shoulder out of the socket and then partially pushed it back in again....and fully back in when I heard a load clunk. No breaks or fractures that they could find, immobilised the limb in a rather fetching sling and that was that.

I quite enjoyed the enforced rest as I really got on with Coober Pedy, I liked some of the characters I met in the bar's ( medicinal brandy ) and I liked the idea of living underground that was used to such great effect by the locals and the backpackers I was staying in.....I fully used the days to do the old tourist thing and prep the bike and get to know a few of the backpackers....but as usual, for reason of diplomacy I concentrated on a nice lady from Austria.

During this time, whenever I could I started to use my arm and to exercise it as best I could....I have learnt from previous injuries gained when in remote areas, that I did not want the arm to start healing while immobilised.

Its medically correct to immobilise in an controlled environment, but when in some remote area or travelling its best to get the limb working as normal as possible as soon as possible......the same reason why I do not take painkillers, they will hide the bodies natural warning that you are doing more damage ( its called pain )

Five days later, cut the sling off and set my sights for heading north...taking the Stuart Highway this time, part due to my injuries and part due to the tracks off-road being totally washed out.
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  #58  
Old 26 Feb 2011
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Crocodile Harry.

Crocodile Harry

Was the legendary figure that used to reside in Coober Pedy and is a point of pride for the town, he was a larger than life character who's stories were so crazy that they were most probally true and seems to actually deserve the legend status.

Accepted by almost all that this was the true inspiration at the least for Crocodile Dundee, The Locals are trying to get a proper statue of him made up.

Harry was possibly a genuine Baron from Germany who initially moved to the Northen Territory and made his living by hunting big Crocs and spent a large amount of time living with the aboriginals where he picked up at least 3 of their languages.He moved onto the Opal mining at Coober Pedy when Croc hunting was outlawed in the late 1970's, as well as his own opal mine he cut a sizeable home from the rock using just hand tools and explosives.

His home was used for the Mad Max films and during filming he pursued an impressive attempt of wooing tina turner ( Harry was at least 60 odd at this stage ) so impressed with his gusto, she gifted him her chainmail bra used in the film...which started a trend with thousands of visitors leaving him underwear and message's in his cave.

Harry found out he was dying from cancer in his mid 70s.....so he swore the Doctor to secrecy and got all smarted up and went to the bank and took a huge loan out .....which he spent on a 3 week party for the town, before he died.

You need to see his place or read up on him if you are near here.....far too many stories to even skim the surface.
Attached Thumbnails
No plan, no research....Australia, here I come.-coober-pedy-church.jpg  

No plan, no research....Australia, here I come.-pict0096.jpg  

No plan, no research....Australia, here I come.-pict0100.jpg  

No plan, no research....Australia, here I come.-pict0102.jpg  

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  #59  
Old 26 Feb 2011
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Stuart Highway From Coober Pedy to Alice Springs.

Coober Pedy to Alice Springs via a ' diversion ' to Ayers Rock.

1350 km of Tarmac hell, a single lane highway that stretched to the far horizon and never ended, it was like trying to get the pot of gold at the bottom of the rainbow....mile after endless mile sat on a poxy,slow little trail bike that had upturned nails for a seat.

The heat was bearable, the traffic was no more than a single vehicle every couple of hours, but the boredom.

That offended diety played a blinder yet again, my trusty MP3 player was on the blink after trekking through the swamp that was laughably called a desert and would only played 3 out of the hundreds of possible songs on an endless loop.

I'm a Barbie girl...............by Aqua.

Gay Bar.........................Electirc Six

I,m goingly slightly mad....Queen ( rather fitting )

YouTube - Gay Bar Song - The Armstrong and Miller Show - S2 Ep4 Preview - BBC One

Anyhow, at the least the route had changed from being horizon to horizon dirt track to being......horizon to horizon tarmac, except for every dip in the road turned into a washout,mud river that was a little exciting to cross to say the least.
Attached Thumbnails
No plan, no research....Australia, here I come.-pict0089.jpg  

No plan, no research....Australia, here I come.-pict0051.jpg  

No plan, no research....Australia, here I come.-pict0055.jpg  

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

No plan, no research....Australia, here I come.-landtrain-2.jpg  

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  #60  
Old 26 Feb 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BaldBaBoon View Post

Those EPIRBS, are they still an essential piece of equipment or have they been replaced by something better yet?
EPIRBS meant for land use are called PLBs. The difference being that their battery is smaller and they don't have to be able to float antenna up, meaning they can be smaller and cheaper.
PLBs and EPRIBS are very much alive, but you need a 406mhz these days, and not a 123mhz (or whatever it was). 406 is the standard you want, and if you're smart, you get one with inbuilt GPS so it can send your position along with the emergency code.
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