Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB

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Rob Hall 14 Jul 2011 22:33

Touring Sporty
1 Attachment(s)
Attachment 4977This will be a journey both "Up to the Territory", and "Down Memory Lane"!

In the late 1970s, I rode a BMW R60/5 from Sydney to Alice Springs and a new job, which changed the direction of my life.

Now retired, I will travel from Little Mountain, Qld, to Darwin, NT on my long-term Harley Davidson 1200 Sportster, via Birdsville. I would have gone via Birdsville the first time, if I had realised that Birdsville is a travel icon!

Most of the time I would travel in company with wife, Jill, on her XVS650 Yamaha, but this time Jill will fly, and meet me in Darwin.

Rob Hall

anaconda moto 14 Jul 2011 22:55

Have a great time!
Your wife doesnot feel like driving ?

Enjoy your trip!!:funmeteryes:

Rob Hall 15 Jul 2011 00:07


Originally Posted by anaconda moto (Post 342585)
Have a great time!
Your wife doesnot feel like driving ?

Enjoy your trip!!:funmeteryes:

She does usually like riding, but this road will have a great deal of kilometers on dirt. And that she does not like.


gixxer.rob 15 Jul 2011 03:47

Sounds Great. I look forward to hearing about it.:thumbup1:

Rob Hall 15 Jul 2011 07:47

Touring Sporty
3 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by gixxer.rob (Post 342612)
Sounds Great. I look forward to hearing about it.:thumbup1:

Thanks. A Sportster is not a touring bike of course - HD have a series of bigger bikes for that job.
But I like the agility of the Sportster, and have found that it will not even notice the 50kg of touring gear that I normally carry, and, having reached the destination, it all comes off in 6 minutes. Then the packmule becomes a quarter-horse again!

Rob Hall 1 Aug 2011 10:49

I have travelled this route many times, but never by bike.
My Sportster is of course a genteel, city-guy, cruisish lollard by edict from the MoCo, but somewhere deep in it's gene pool it must have a racial memory of the Furious Fifties, when it ran the Jack Pine Rally, and the Santa Catalina Grand Prix.
So why not eat a little dirt now? So the gravel roads it was for us, and that meant Darwin via Windorah and Birdsville.
So the leaving of Queensland's long narrow and bumpy sealed roads was to end at Windorah, before facing the even worse gravel roads.
And in Windorah, there was a number of things to be done.
First, post home about 15 hundredweight of clothing that I should have never brought in the first place.
Second; buy some fuel from a blind man. As you do.
Yes, the gentleman was definitely blind, he finally admitted as much, but not until we had gone through a to-and-

Rob Hall 1 Aug 2011 12:40

Sorry about the last entry. I think that this small slow e-machine computer does not like fast impatient typists.

Anyway: the blind console operator: I think that he never gets cheated.
Because his customers are either locals, who would watch each other like hawks; or tourers like me. And we would not cheat him either. Just because.


Rob Hall 4 Aug 2011 14:22

Wild camped beside the road for the first time in years, and sure eniough, a rat came by and ate a hole through the bottom of my plastic cup. Ignoring, on the way, two Uncle Toby's Muselie Bars, and a cask of half - decent Yalumba Reisling.
Not sure what this tells us about rodent discrimination...

Arrival in Birdsville early on the 28th, hoping to find hotel or motel accomodation. No chance, this is High Season in the outback, and the little town was jam-packed with Grey Nomads, who had arrived in 4 by 4s, or by air, as apprpriate to factors like affluence and relative decrepitude.

Not that I scorn other people's modes of travel, as I am/have been both bushdriver and aviator. But the population crush put me back under canvas again for the coming night. Ah well. I have slept worse.

But after the mandatory photoshoot outside the pub, I went in to find food and beer and was immediately fined for using a cell-phone in the bar! (All in fun. The proceeds go to the Royal Flying Doctor Service)

And while in there, I met with a group of dusty Kiwi adventure riders on Suzuki DR, BMW and KTMs, who were competing in a rally run by an Australian property development company. Apparently, the ride details are on ADV rider, but I have not checked.

The company had organised for contestants to start from numerous points around the country and navigate via GPS co ordinates, with position reporting via SPOT satellite tracking.

Hard men to be sure. And as I pointed out to them, a group who would have to return on another occasion and ride the same tracks again, next time looking at the country, instead of constant high speed blasting.

"Oh? you arrived in Birdsville from the South? That would have been on the Birdsville Track fom Marree, right?"

"Ah, yeah, I suppose so"

"Did you see Tom Kruse's Outback Mailrun Truck? The Lake Eyre Sailing Club? Australia's oldest, oudoor mosque,as used by the Afghan cameleers in the 1800s?"

"Er no"

Ah well I'm only jealous that I can longer ride so hard and fast....


zandesiro 5 Aug 2011 19:42

Nice report.:clap:

Waiting for more pics!:thumbup1:

Rob Hall 6 Aug 2011 14:40

Turning North
29.7.11 After seeing the Kiwi Adventure rider/rallyists off, I turned North again towards Boulia.

Riders will know that Australia in general and Queensland had huge rains earlier this year.
So much for Global Warming and "we may never see flooding rains again"!
So it was no real surprise to me to find lakes where there never lakes before in living memory. And: oh yeas, they just crossed the road.

I have to say, it's the first time that I have heard Harley exhausts underwater. Happy too, to avoid hearing the air intake underwater...

All in a day's ride, and the delight of the desert after rain came back to me.
And the birdlife! Just check some of the pix.

Boulia is the home of the "Min Min light", by popular aclaim. It seems that at certain times on a cold night, it is possible to see a mysterious light moving slowly along the horizon. Mystery indeed!

But the answer my be less mysterious than Roswell New Mexico. It seems that a cold layer of air can refract light from a far- away road train over the (very flat) hoizon. And there is your silent moving light.

In the pub that night, I had another incredulous query about a "Harley in the Outback". I do not know why people are surprised at this. Certainly, there are a host of made-for-the-job adventure bikes on offer, but there is no reason that any well-maintained bike should not do the job.
And a Harley was the first motorbike ever to be ridden around Australia. In 1929, two-up and burdened with a sidecar, sometimes through places where roads did not exist.

So how did I prepare my bike for the trip. Er actually, I didn't.
I did take a spare drive belt, since belts do not like gravel very much, I'm told. My belt had 2 stone-holes when I left and the same number at the end of the trip.
Peter and Kay Forwood who have ridden their Harley in every country in the world, have never bothered to convert over to chain drive, as have so many other HD adventurers.

The only modifications that I have installed on this bike were to fit Intiminator valve-kits in the front forks, and I fitted "Progressive" rear shocks at the rear. I'll say more about this later.


Rob Hall 7 Aug 2011 15:18


Originally Posted by zandesiro (Post 344728)
Nice report.:clap:

Waiting for more pics!:thumbup1:

Actually; this my problem. I do not have a URL, and can only attach pics from my own computer. And there used to be a way to do this. But no more!!!
Can you suggest?


Rob Hall 8 Aug 2011 14:03

1 Attachment(s)
And at last I came to Dajarra.
All those years ago, I had concluded that I had found the axxxole of the world. How little I knew. Since that time I have travelled extensively in Australia and have found a smorgabord of contenders for that title.....

This time I found a quiet little town centred around a roadhouse, selling petrol, groceries, beer....

And was this last commodity that dragged down impressions last time. Dozens of roaring, brawling drunks - and the damn BW would not start! I found a loose battery terminal and seemed to unpack tools to fix it.

But I was rescued by a smiling elderly Indigenious fellow, who proffered me a beer can ring-pull. (remember them?) What a guy!

This time Dajarra was quiet and peaceful, and I was happy to pass through, have a toasted sandwich, and ride on.

And enjoy the wildlife and sights.


Below: A suitable campsite? Gibber plain.

Rob Hall 8 Aug 2011 14:12

3 Attachment(s)
A few pics along the way.
  • Down came a jumbuck to drink at the billabong.
  • Dingo fence.
  • Dire warning.

Rob Hall 8 Aug 2011 14:26

2 Attachment(s)
  • A rat ate my tea cup!
  • Old Birdsville Hotel/Hospital.

Rob Hall 8 Aug 2011 14:33

4 Attachment(s)
  • I should balance the last pub photo, with a picture of the Current Birdsville Hotel!
  • And then I came to the birdlife. Since the heavy rains earlier this year, there is water everywhere, and the wildlife population just explodes.

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