Date: 21 July 2000
13th Ride-on Newsletter
Alice Springs seems ages ago already, though we have some real good
memories. First we were stuck there for four days because of cyclone Rosita
whose rain flooded huge areas, got to take a camel out to dinner (yahooo!!!)
thanx to Michelle and Nick from the Frontiers camel farm and visited the
school of the air and the flying doctors to do some research for one of
When the roads opened up we headed south to find the Kings Canyon still
closed, but the Flinders Ranges open, which is a lovely area to ride around.
There's a lot of geographical information about the formation of the ranges.
The gravel roads are well maintained and there are very nice picnic and
camping areas. We enjoyed seeing all the kangaroos and even a big red
hopping around and got crazy of all those screaming birds, that look beautiful,
but never ever learned to sing nicely. Another thing that annoyed us was
the amazing amount of signs telling you not to do this and not to do that.
Getting rid of all those signs would make the environment a lot cleaner.
We drove down to Adelaide, where we occupied ourselves a few days with
the children of the SOS-Children's village over there. The set-up is a
little bit different from other SOS-Villages around the world, for these
are children that have been taken out of their parental family-situation
by judges and child welfare organisations. One girl told us just like
that that her father had killed her mother. Many children were having
a lot of difficulties when they were placed in so called foster families,
were some of them never settle down. The children SOS cares for in Adelaide
are those that have fallen out of different foster families and need professional
help to get their lives together again. We were pleased to see how flexible
a big organisation as SOS can be as to give children in need what is necessary
for a better future and did our project 'The World on a Children's Drawing'
together with the children in Adelaide.
From Adelaide we headed towards Melbourne. The day was nice and sunny
and the Great Ocean Road was even better. It twists and turns and is the
love of the Aussie motorcyclists and a must for every visitor. At one
of the nice lookouts a motorcyclist on the new Yamaha WR400 offroad stopped
next to us. We talked a while and he offered me a ride on his little toy.
Wow!!! That little toy's got big toys power. I started on the tar, then
tried my luck in the roadsides and with unbelievable ease twisted and
turned wherever I wanted to go.
Half way the Great Ocean Rd we were joined by Jan Marc, a Belgian who's
done a lot of travelling himself. He works at the Melbourne University
at the moment and gave us a place to stay. It was great to meet someone
of the travel-tribe after a long time and we spend many hours talking
about Africa, India, Nepal and South America, where Marc still wants to
We had a great time in Melbourne. Visited Ian Drysdale who built the
Drysdale V8 motorcycle and is now building one for the road rather that
for the circuit. We were invited by Global Ballooning to go on one of
their flights over the Yarra Wine Valley and had a champagne breakfast
The fact that we all had to help to prepare the balloon, that was a
yellow and black beauty, made us really feel part of the whole operation.
It was a very nice and sunny day, but we had hoped for a little bit more
wind, because we were going so slowly. The pilot told us that in the beginning
of ballooning, in France, they would fill the balloon with black smoke.
The farmers that saw the balloon flying always thought that it was a sign
of disaster that would strike soon, for the balloon left a filthy black
stripe in the blue sky. To save the balloon and it's occupants from wargoing
farmers, they would bring champagne.
For a long time already we have been thinking that we should not ride
around in our jeans. Leather would be much easier (no washing) and also
very comfortable. We decided to go to Tiger Angel, an Australian manufacturer,
to see if we could get a pair for not too much money. Steve was very enthusiastic
when he heard about our travels and initially wanted to try out a new
product on us.
Next day however the co-producer Gore Tex had different thoughts about
the value of test results that we could give them. Too bad, we thought,
but Steve made us more than happy after all with a pair of fitting-Gore
Tex models, that off course are 100% water and wind proof and still breathe.
From Melbourne we drove the Alpine Highway, got up in the Mountains
close to Canberra and bypassed Sydney on our way up towards Brisbane,
along the New England Highway. We camped one time in a garden, stayed
at a farm another time and also pitched our tent down in a canteen building
on a horse race track. Outside Brisbane is a small island, whereon Tangalooma
Wild Dolphin Resort (yes a resort) invited us to come over. The island
is a real paradise for nature-lovers and the resort one for tourists that
like to be amused all the time. We had a wonderful day out and a night
in a very luxury resort bungalow. It was detesting though, to see how
much food the guests were filling themselves up with.