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  #61  
Old 26 Feb 2011
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Uh, I cringed when I read about the clunk of your shoulders. Nasty damage.
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  #62  
Old 27 Feb 2011
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While crossing the Simpson desert you see many wrecked bike frames. If you have little sand riding experience dont attempt desert crossings. also most of Australias inland roads are dirt/clay it rarely rains but if it does...There's a saying in Aus "See you when the mud dries." Obey "road closed" signs, the fines are $2000 per wheel.
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  #63  
Old 27 Feb 2011
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Cool Great read

What a great trip you had! I rode from Sydney to Melbourne and did part of the ocean road and back round the coast to Brisbane back in 2009 and reliving the experience. Fantastic country and a rider's heaven. Look forward to reading more.
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  #64  
Old 27 Feb 2011
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I just reread the entire thread. I'm ready for more
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  #65  
Old 27 Feb 2011
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The horrendous weather appeared to have been foiled by my cunning plan to disguise myself as a tree using my camo hoochie and the storm skulked off to the North ahead of me to play havoc on some other unsuspecting soul for a change.

Getting to the next Servo ( fuel station ) I had abundant evidence that the storm had passed, there were trees blown down and the site was flooded.....also no power to the pumps, so that made no fuel avaliable.

A bit of haggling with the owner and they agreed to top up my main tank from a spare jerry can, a paltry 10 litres was all that was needed and I made a break for the next Servo up the highway that was at the turn off for Ayers Rock.

Overland Expedition Trucks.

These trucks range from a bus with chunky tyres to a full blown off-road survival behemoth that travel up and down the trails with various numbers of tourists looking for the outback experience. I met the girl who was driving one of these trucks at the Ayers Rock/Stuart Highway servo and had a good chat for a while with her, while her human cargo were stretching their legs.

She had been following me about a half day or so behind when leading her outback expedition and was greatly bemused about having her...... " most isolated spot on earth, real danger of death and only the best survivalist's come here tour talk"...... being ruined by having a motorcycle obviously travelling solo..always ahead of her.

Especially as every once in a while the bike tracks would degenerate into a wobble and it looked like I had just stopped and made mud angels with my body on the ground ( obviously fallen off at irregular basis and thrashed around a bit ) Agreed to meet up with her for a meal in the next week at Alice Springs and mounted my noble steed and set off again.

The next several hundred kilometres were spent riding leaning to the left at a 45 degree angle ( no exageration ) fighting against the winds, and fording 2 feet deep floods....and having buses overtaking, or passing and tourists staring at me as if I was insane.......at this point I had probally sung " I'm a barbie Girl " to myself several hundred times, so insanity was quite possibly an option .
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  #66  
Old 27 Feb 2011
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Ayers Rock, Uluru and Kings Canyon.

A mystical place is Uluru, thats what the travel blurb said.

What I found was to all intents and purposes an Aussie version of Disney world....maybe thats a little harsh, but the place is a blatant commerical resort.

Even the cheapest backpackers shared room was 5 times the price of any I had yet stayed in, you could not cook you own food, you could not rough camp..and the price of the offical camp site was almost the same price as a room.

Hotel rooms costing hundred's of dollars, an airfield so you can fly in and do ' the rock ' without the bother of travel, pubs and karaoke and to top it all a bus load of brits turned up who took a wrong turn from a 18 to 30 holiday....thats not me being snobbish, I am English by birth.....but I bloody hate Brits abroad.

Its also has great sacred value to the aboriginies who will not let you walk on it or take close up photos....unless you pay for a permit, in which case you can.

Kings canyon

If you make the effort to travel a little further to this place you may well get the experience you are looking for, unspoilt and no one around....a very beautiful place to just walk and mellow out....worth the travel to get here without a doubt.
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No plan, no research....Australia, here I come.-up20.jpg  

No plan, no research....Australia, here I come.-up17.jpg  

No plan, no research....Australia, here I come.-up19.jpg  

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  #67  
Old 27 Feb 2011
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My shame and soul eating guilt.

Whoever you are and where ever you are now, you have my honest apology.

Some of tarmaced routes in this area were quite awesome to ride on, swoopy corners and very enjoyable dips through deep streams and an absolute hoot to get a little throttle used splashing through the overflow/creeks that cross the road.

Just came over the brow of a hill and heading into the creek lower down, when I noticed that the approaching Toyota Landcruiser isnt actually approaching....but is parked up smack bang in the middle of the creek.It cannot be drowned thinks I, as the creek looks about one foot deep at most, Just to be sure I gun the engine and sit back to get the weight off the front wheel in case the ford is a little deeper than expected.

Only as I screamed past the Toyota did I notice that it wasnt abandoned, But had stopped with all its windows wound down to allow the occupants to look at the pretty fish in the creek. A lovely family of 4 young children and mum and dad all enjoying the day....all leaning out of their Toyota with their happy beaming faces..........the smiling dad looks up as I shoot past......followed by a 6 feet tall bow-wave of muddy water.

In the slow motion that only genuine horror allows, I see from the corner of my eye and my mirrors the lovely family and their car being swamped by the muddy tsunami of shame.

Karma

I did actually laugh so hard about this, that I fell off my bike later....so karma gets you in the end.
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  #68  
Old 28 Feb 2011
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Alice Springs for Christmas.

After my rather unfocused meanderings over the past 2 months it was a bit of a shock to realise that christmas was just around the corner.

I made what is called a command decision and decided to lay up in Alice springs for the next few weeks over the holidays and for far more practical reasons as well.

1) Bike needed new tyres and service within the next few weeks.

2) My shoulder was getting worse.

3) Alice springs in xmas is party central......actually it was either have xmas here or with a camel out in the desert, no inbetween.

Booked myself into the backpackers that Stacie the overland truck driver suggested and settled down, quite a decent place. Pools,Tv rooms, Kitchens, Laundry and a short walk from Alice Springs town centre. Toddy's Backpackers was the place if I remember right.....and a BAR with a resturant.

Dumped all my gear off and took a little ride to Alice Springs hospital to get my arm the once over, it was starting to grind and click and I was losing a lot of strength and articulation from it in the last few days....pushing my bike through flooded water crossings possibly did not help in the slightest.

Damage to shoulder.

Got seen by a couple of nurse's and had a checkover and it sort of continued by a having a bite to eat and a good chat in the canteen as one of the nurse's was going to get a bike soon and the other nurse had a boyfriend who was a top notch off-road rider.

Nothing wrong with my skeleton or joint, the muscles appeared to be intact, in fact the nurse mentioned that because I am so stocky that most likely prevented a worse injury.......by stocky I assume she meant muscular and manly rather than being fat.( I wish )

However, from what the symptons showed and partly because the nurse with the biker boyfriend had seen these injuries before, she guessed ( and correctly as it turned out ) that it was a glenoid labrum injury.

This is where the Labrum which is sheath of tendon and muscle that surrounds the shoulder joint and provides it with stabilty and effectively holds your arm in the socket......this was either torn or detached from the bone.

Either open surgery, and in a sling for 6 months and ' maybe ' repair it, surgically remove the part torn injury and live with it or take it easy and try to strengthen up the surrounding muscle's to compensate....this is what I had instinctively been doing by using and exercising my arm.
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No plan, no research....Australia, here I come.-labral_tears.jpg  

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  #69  
Old 28 Feb 2011
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Snoring

I met some good people and made some friends here and as I was staying for a longer time, arranged to rent a small shared flat across the road that Toddy's runs for the' long termers ', people either working in Alice Springs for a few months or where the overland tourist truck drivers have rooms.

This actually worked out only slightly more costly than having a bed in one of the large mixed dorms that was the cheapest option at the backpackers, that I was using at the moment.

People who snore

While on the whole I can get along with people quite well, I do have a few little tics that get triggered and they tend to wind me up.

1) I do not suffer fools.

2) cannot tolerate Lack of Hygiene in either a personal basis or living area.

3) Snorers.

I am an incredibly light sleeper and having to share a room with a snorer pretty much ensures that blood is going to be spilled before long....it is a failing of mine to be honest, but I just lie in my bed wishing that the snorer would have the good grace to just choke in their sleep or something.

The night that decided for me to move out was when some strange fella was sleeping in the top bunk across from and actually held a conversation with himself while sleeping and snored enough to wake everyone up, not just me.....I spent the rest of the night sleeping with my crash helmet on and the visor shut....which scared the hell out of the girl sleeping across from me, when she woke in the early morning.
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  #70  
Old 28 Feb 2011
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Good times.

I enrolled at the local gym and used it in the morning and afternoon and attended quite a few of the free lessons during the day like circut training....and discovered that boxing training like I used to do was actually quite good for my shoulder for some weird reason.

Apparently Aussie men do not go to the gym as I was the only bloke there in a class shared with 30 or more Aussie girls/ladies.I reckoned I was subliminally impressing them with my nonchalant style of gym clothing which consisted of a motocross shirt/beach shorts and combat desert boots.

Doing this greatly increased the strength in my shoulder and had a good laugh too and also got me away from biking for a few weeks which can get a bit much if it is day in, day out for weeks on end.

Every night was night as well...Bojangles was the watering hole of choice.

Beer,party then wake up somewhere new was the common thing....this is not what adventure biking is all about, but hey..someone has got to push the boundaries.
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  #71  
Old 1 Mar 2011
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New Years and new start.

I remember bits and pieces of the New Year holidays, but not a great deal....so that to my mind, means I must have had a cracking time.

I do recall having Christmas and New years at Brian's home..... he was one of the tour guides that I made friends with, where a group of us orphans of the road got together and brought booze and food and had a Bar-b-que and pool party on both days....must have been about 35 degrees in the shade.

Spent another 3 days hiking and sleeping out in the bush with the same group of boys and girls and then it was time to really start preparing ahead for the next stage of the journey.

Also the problem of the shoulder injury sorted itself out. After climbing out of the pool to get some more refreshments I happened to slip on a wet tile and instinctively shot my arms out to steady myself.....a very audible tearing pop sounded and I sort of fell to one knee.Took me a good couple of minutes to gather myself, and the shoulder felt 100% better ( since coming back I found out that it was the badly torn ligament finally snapping in half and completely severing)....a bit like the surgical procedure suggested by the hopsital but with more , pools and nice ladies in bikinis that what the hospital could supply.
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No plan, no research....Australia, here I come.-me.jpg  

No plan, no research....Australia, here I come.-red-rock-sunset.jpg  

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  #72  
Old 1 Mar 2011
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Aboriginal eye opener.

I have left any mention of aboriginals out of this story on purpose up until this point.


While travelling I had many, many people who had an opinion on aboriginals and especially a lot of Aussies when told where I was headed to...effectively warned me about dealing with them and even totally avoiding some areas/ not stopping for them etc, and having travelled a fair bit, I am aware you cannot tar everyone with the same brush as some areas attract the worst of people. Now call this what you want, but I tend to reserve judgement for myself.

I am struggling to word this in an appropiate manner while trying to describe what I experienced accurately.....If offence is caused, it is not intentional....just maybe sloppy wordsmithing on my part.

First encounter

If travelling the same way that I came, a traveller or tourist would most likely first meet an aboriginal at Coober Pedy, Expecting to see a proud example of one of the oldest tribes in the world is not what you get. Like all towns along the Stuart Highway a lot of aboriginals gather because it is either a traditional meeting place like Alice Springs or...for other reasons.

Alchoholism is rife amongst the aboriginals here and there are theories as to why normal alchohol is almost like rocket fuel for them...one theory is that their bodies just cannot process it due to there being no alchohol until the western immigration began.( 200 years ago )

The reasons why are not important but the results are that they get totally out of their skulls drunk as often as they can and all the problems that brings, when I turned up at Coober Pedy....the first thing I saw was two aboriginal's having sex in the middle of the road. Another group was throwing rocks at the cars until a police meat wagon turned up....not a good start.

I honestly had a good dozen people tell me quite forcefully that if I hit one on the road while riding my bike, just do not stop and carry on to somewhere safe then report it.......I never had that before!

Hospital

The hospital at Alice Springs looked like something from Vitez, back in Bosnia at the height of the war there. There had been a big gathering that degenerated into a free for all involving braining each other with rocks and multiple stabbings,in the middle of the day I got there.

Real aboriginals?

Two of the tour guides that I got on well with and were aboriginals themselves explained the problem after they actually stopped me going to help a women getting beaten by two others when we were all walking down town.

They said that the root problem to all this was an Australian Government guilt complex, so keen to been seen to be making amends that they would absolutely not interfere with " culturally sensitive issues ", one of the guides said this was bollocks... the culturally sensitive issues of child abuse and rape, spouse abuse etc....were not cutural problems, they are simply child/rape like evreywhere else.

There is a government fund from cradle to grave that supports every aboriginal that amounts to free housing and education including university....and effectively a free pension their whole lives that does nothing but encourage them to not work and drink their lives away.

If that came from two white fella's there would be uproar about racism....but what do you call it when the two lads saying it are aboriginals themselves?
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  #73  
Old 3 Mar 2011
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Northward bound.

A couple of days before I left Alice Springs, one of my new Aussie friends turned up.....he had gone back home for christmas and had now returned and due to the work drying up in the area, Dan had decided to relocate to Darwin for the ' suicide season '. This suicide season is the next few months from January onwards when the rain season starts up in the tropical north of Australia and the humidity rises and so do the associated problems of people unable to cope and they start to crack up.

Dan and I arranged to set off together in a few days, him in his Holden off-road truck carrying my fuel and water....and me wobbling about behind.
Dan had a start date on his new job in Darwin in 10 days, so he was in no rush to get there really so we took a steady run north and stopped off at the few sights along the way.

A couple of nights we stopped at the servo's and camped by the side of the station, I was using my tent and Dan was trying to impress me with the all-singing and all dancing Australian ' Swag '.

A swag is like a tent.....but crapper.

It is made from heavy duty canvas like an old field army tent, for that is exactly what it is...a all in one tent that contains the matress and blankets already inside and when stored is rolled up into a giant sausage roll weighing about 20kg for a ' lightweight version '.

Any way, he got bitten to death by mossies...I was fine in my cheap one man tent.
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No plan, no research....Australia, here I come.-swagman-xl.jpg  

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  #74  
Old 3 Mar 2011
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Shoddy work


Just before Tennents Creek I had the first blowout of the trip, a nice little rear tyre blowout at the maxium speed for the DR650....about 160kph.Pulled over and stripped the tyre off and looked in dismay at what the damage was.

In Alice Springs I had a another set of rimlocks fitted at a main dealer due to some minor damage on the old set when I had the new tyres and inner tubes fitted, God knows who they let loose on my bike...but they must have never fitted rimlocks before and managed to fit them and actually cut slivers of metal off the inside of the wheel rim and not even grip the wheel at all.

Result was I had shards of metal inside the wheel that had cut slices out of the tyre itself, and the non-gripped tyre had spun on the rim and ripping out the entire valve....one very expensive inner tube written off.

Bodge repair on tyre/wheel and tube replaced and off we go again. 50kms along the road the tyre is flat again, this time another shard of metal hidden on the inside of tyre cuts a 3 inch long slice out of the tube.....bugger.

This time I had to used my spare ( and last ) front tube to put into the rear to try and crawl up to the next town of Tennents Creek. This I managed and pulled into the only tyre fitters there and the tyre fitter having assured me that they had heavy duty inner tubes for my bike..so payed him to remove my spare front and replace with a proper rear tube while me and Dan went for brew.

150kms north and an almighty bang....the rear has gone yet again.

Stripped the tyre yet again and was treated to the sight of the inner tube that had been fitted......it might have actually been a childs flotation ring for a pool for all the use it was, It was no thicker than 1 mm!

This was as far As I could go practically go on my avaliable resources, so just coasted to the next Servo and told Dan I would meet him soonish to go on ahead.
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No plan, no research....Australia, here I come.-valve.jpg  

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

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  #75  
Old 3 Mar 2011
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Henry the Truck Driver

The servo I was at happened to be one of the main stops for the massive land trains that transport the bulk of the goods to various areas of Australia. These machines are allowed to tow 5 trailers in the Northen Territories and up to 7 trailers if on the mine roads.

As luck would have it, I asked one of the drivers who pulled up if he would give me a lift/recovery to Darwin, and offered to pay.

Henry the driver said no problems and do not bother about the money, just get him a couple of drinks at the night stop and to work as a truck crewman on the route....guiding into reversing spots, helping restrain loads...being a truck driver myself, that seemed a very good deal to me.

The next 4 days were spent in the luxury of being driven along the Stuart Highway and diverting off and dropping stores and talking to Henry, who was happy to natter on this regular 6000km round trip that he did. He gave some very good pointers about the road trains.

1) They cannot emergency stop, with a full load they can take up to 1,000 metres or more to come to a halt.

2) They will not stop for anything smaller than the truck itself.

3) They drive in all conditions, including visabilty so bad that you can just about see the nose of the truck.

4) they do not have ' Roo bars ' like most vehicles, but have ' Roo cutters '....designed to destroy any animal they hit.

5) do not follow close behind one, as they will smash through anything and not slow down.


A great 4 days spent working and even having a laugh like at the town of Katherine where Henry took me to see the famous hot springs when we got there at night.......However we ended up sprinting away as we came face to face with croc in the dark after the area had flooded.

Got dropped off at Darwin Honda, who went out of their way to help me get the bike up and running again.
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No plan, no research....Australia, here I come.-truck2.jpg  

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

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

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