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Rob en Dafne de Jong

Ride-on Australia part 2

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Date: 21 July 2000

13th Ride-on Newsletter

Dear friends,

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 our articles.

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 go 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 afterwards.

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.


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de Jong's Home

Travel Stories, English:

January 2002,
Ride on 2002...
October 2001,
Ride on Home
July 2001,
Russia and
April 2001,
Jan 2001,
Dec 2000,
Oct 2000, L.A
to Fresno via
Sep 2000,
New Zealand
July 2000,
Australia part 2
April 2000 India
and Australia,
part 1
Dec 1999,
to Kathmandu
Nov 1999,
Shoeshine boy
of Gondar

Sept 1999,
Uganda to
May 1999,
Zimbabwe to
Dec 1998,
South Africa
and Namibia
Sept 1998,
Swaziland &

June 1998,
S. Africa 1
April 1998,
W.Africa 2
March 1998,
W. Africa 1

Travel Stories, In het Nederlands:

July 2001,
Rusland en
April 2001,
Jan 2001,

Top of Page

Our jackets were starting to get some holes in the wrong places and, because we will get to cold whether in New Zealand and Alaska soon, we were hoping to find replacements. At Mc Gregor's, the importers of Dririder, who liked what we are doing very much, we found just that. Warm, wind and waterproof jackets as well as two Dririder fleece jackets. Thank you so much for your support.

Slowly we headed south for Sydney, where we would look for a way to ship our sidecar to Los Angeles in the United States. Our engine was not really sounding so happy any more, but an overhaul was not really necessary yet. In Sydney we visited Yamaha Australia and together with them we decided to overhaul the engine there and put in the first oversize pistons, that Yamaha Holland had send over for us. (In the USA it would be much harder because of the strict rules and regulations over there) Rob could do most of the work himself, helped by some very skillful mechanics, which checked all the ins and outs of the engine and replaced everything that showed the least signs of wearing. We got to ride another bike (XTZ 660 Tenere) while our sidecar was standing still and Dafne could use a desk and a telephone to keep the publishers of our articles happy and gain info for the shipping of our bike. We cannot thank you enough!

Meanwhile Michelin decided to put new tires on our sidecar at half prize and television came out to film us and the kids of a primary school, that we visited to do our children's drawings project. All is going very well, also thanx to our great Argentinean friend Ruben of the Australian Side Car club, who gave us a home and good base to work from.

Air New Zealand flew us to New Zealand and will fly us to Los Angeles at just 25% of the price and, because we have been so lucky getting so much support, we know that we will go to Japan as well. But first: New Zealand on two solo bikes (from New Zealand Motor Cycle Rentals).

Our next newsletter will tell you all about our travels through New Zealand. For now, many greetings and a smile!

Rob and Dafne Ride-on World tour

Story and photos copyright © Rob and Dafne de Jong 1998-2002.
All Rights Reserved.


Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

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