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Sunday, 11 September 2011

Day 37, Heywood to Home....

Sunday 4th September, 2011 Day 37…
Odo start, 20,055 K's
Odo end,  20,569 K's
Distance Travelled.  514 K's
Accommodation, Home sweet home…
As today was going to be a relatively short day of just over 500 K's, i had a leisurely start getting on the road at 9:00am. Todays ride wonld take me along the Great Ocean Road into Lorne, then onto Geelong, then basically freeways to Melbourne and then the Eastern suburbs.

The first destination was Tyredarra then onto Port Fairy and Warrnambool to the start of the Great Ocean Road. The Great Ocean Road is one of the Worlds most loved coastal road, it skirts Bass Strait until it turns inland to traverse the "Great Otway National Park" it returns to the coast at Apollo Bay for the most popular section to Lorne.

The Western end of the GOR is home to most of the spectacular coastline, home of the 12 apostles, London Bridge and the Bay Of Islands.

The Bay of Islands…

The Grotto…

London Bridge…

The coast at the 12 Apostles…

I finally arrived at Apollo Bay at 1:15 for fuel. The ride through the Otways was freezing and wet, i was happy for the break and small rest whilst refuelling. The bike took 17.7 L (PULP) $1.63.9/L $29.01 for 268 K's.

I could feel i was starting to feel the pace of city life once again, the traffic was getting busier and frustrations started increasing. It is amazing the difference between city life and living in some of the outback towns i had visited. I think more people and particularly politicians should stay in these remote communities, it really helps redefine what is important and how meaningless most of our worries are.

I arrived at my Parent's home at 4:30 to pick up my house keys and wish Dad a happy Father's Day. I finally pulled into my driveway at just before 6:00pm, the speedo read 20,569 K's, i had travelled 19,151 K's in 37 Days.

It was good to be home.

Day 36, Port Augusta to Heywood

Saturday 3rd September, 2011 Day 36…
Odo start, 19,160 K's
Odo end,  20,055 K's
Distance Travelled.  895 K's
Accommodation, Heywood Motel, $75 for one of the best budget motel rooms i have had…
The day started with a lovely cup of coffee, catching up with friends before hitting the road. Home didn't seem to far away. 

Last night my friend asked which way i was riding home, i said through Adelaide then down to Mt Gambier. He and his wife suggested a scenic ride through Laura and the Clare Valley, initially i discounted this as an option as i had seen enough "Wine Country", but this morning i re considered, Jeff is a Driver and knows good roads, so we sat down and ran through a good run into Adelaide.

With the days ride planned, i hit the road at 8:15am. Last year when i rode to the Flinders Ranges i didn't realise that the ranges ran as far South as Port Augusta. The view from here was as good if not better than most of the sights i saw further North, i don't understand why This part of the Flinders Ranges is not promoted more.

Checkout the scenery, oohh and the roads are great!!

After a couple hours of riding on stunning roads, it was time to refuel at Clare. At 10:40am i refuelled, the bike took 10.53 L @ $1.43.9/L $15.15 for 200 K's

It was now time to get through Adelaide, the day was warming up and the traffic was pretty heavy. I was looking forward to the ride through the Adelaide hills, and my final stretch back into Melbourne. 

At Tailem Bend, i turned South heading along the Coast. I refuelled at Meningie, the bike took 14.1 L (PULP) @ $1.53.9/L $21.70 for 296 K's

My first sighting of the Coorong, my GPS showed an altitude of -2M to a maximum of -5M below sea level.

I skirted The Coorong, looking out on Encounter Bay, until i reached Kingston. It was here i turned onto Adeleaide Road (B1) and took the quick way to Millicent. From here it was a short run to Mt Gambier. 

I rolled into Mt Gambier for fuel at 5:00pm, the bike took 17.02 L (PULP) @ $1.56.9/L $26.70 for 306 K's It was time to decide whether to stay here, or get back into Victoria. I decided i sitll had over an hour of reasonable light, so i hit the road heading for the border.

My goal was Portland, and the light was fading. Once i crossed the Border i lost 10kph because of our draconian ideas on speeding and another 30 minutes as i re entered eastern standard time, but i was home, it was a thought i always had when i was driving Semi's Interstate, whenever i crossed back into Vic i was HOME. 

My night ended sooner than planned at Heywood, the bugs were unbelievable, i simply couldn't see through my visor. My GPS gave me 2 options for accommodation, The Pub or caravan park, i headed for the Pub. Unfortunately the pub had no rooms! But they suggested the Motel, It appears Sensis is not very good when it comes to POI's on the GPS. 

I headed out to the Motel and was confronted with a note on the door, saying the office was unattended and gave me a number to ring. I duly rang the number, was told the price $75 and where the key was hidden and could i leave the money in the room! It is great to see that trust is alive and well in thew bush. I was surprised to find one of the best budget motel rooms i had been in, a 32" LCD TV was the icing on the cake, i could sit and watch qualifying for the Misano MotoGP race. A great way to end a big day.

My Visor looked like this..

Day 35, Ceduna to Port Augusta.

Friday 2nd September, 2011 Day 35…
Odo start, 18,398 K's
Odo end,  19,160 K's
Distance Travelled.  762 K's
Accommodation, Friends Home in Port Augusta…
I woke early due to the gusting winds, i got up and packed as quickly as i could. I was on the road at 7:45am heading for Port Lincoln.

The winds were getting stronger, but the day looked like it would stay dry. I followed the road past Streaky Bay, the scenery was underwhelming, not what i expected at all.

I fuelled up at 8:45 the bike took 6.2 L @ $1.54.9/L $9.60 for 116 K's, this would get me to Port Lincoln.

As i neared Port Lincoln, fields full of crops started appearing….

I arrived at Port Lincoln at 12:15, i immediately looked for a Motorbike shop, i needed some chain lube. I stumbled into Lincoln Mower & Motorcycles, looking for chain lube. I found a small can of Bel-Ray and asked if i could get a hand to lift the rear wheel of the ground to lube the chain, they gladly helped, finally having to get a jack to lift the bike as it was too heavy to lift, thanks for the great service guys.

I refuelled the bike took 17.21 L of Premium @ $1.49.9/L $25.80 for 320 K's.

The ride out of Port Lincoln was beautiful, a lovely road following the coast. Soon enough, i could see the Flinders Ranges in the distance…

I arrived at Port Augusta at 3:45, i fuelled up, the bike took 20.42 L @ $1.48.9/L (PULP) $30.41 for 349 K's.

It was a short drive to my friends home, and a great night spent with friends. Thanks Jeff and Barb..

Friday, 9 September 2011

Day 34, Balladonia to Ceduna.

Thursday 1st September, 2011 Day 34…
Odo start, 17,365 K's
Odo end,  18,398 K's
Distance Travelled.  1,033 K's
Accommodation, Ceduna Big 4 Caravan Park, $28.00 For a Powered Site…
When i woke this morning i was glad i had chosen the Donga, it had been a wet and cold night. When i popped my head out of my room, the light was magic, checkout how good the campsite looked...

I was on the road at 7:00am, it was going to be a big day, i wanted to get to Ceduna if possible, but loosing 1.5 hours of daylight when i crossed the SA border was going to make it a challenge.

I couldn't figure out what the day had in store for me, the weather was fining up but there was a massive storm front on the horizon…

Just down the road, i came to the most photographed sign on the crossing…

There was not a whole lot to photograph on the early part of the day so i was able to cover some ground quickly. Planning fuel was a challenge for the first stop, there were quite a few stops before the border, the first was Caiguna, only 183 K's away, the second was Cocklebiddy a further 64 K's, the logical one was Madura, it was about 340 K's from Balladonia, I chose Madura, i just hoped i had calculated well.

As i rode past Cocklebiddy, my fuel gauge had just started blinking, i had 91 K's to travel, fingers crossed!! I buttoned off a little trying to conserve fuel. At 10am Madura came into view, as i cruised into the Madura turnoff, the bike stalled, i had ran out of fuel! Luckily it was a downhill gradient to get to the pumps.

At 10:00 am the bike took 21.55 L @ $1.93/L $41.59 for 344 K's From here on the fuel stops suited the bikes range. 

Next stop was to be Border Village where i would need to adjust my clock 1.5 Hours forward. I was having a great run until this…

$75.00 but no demerit points. I explained how i was trying to sit on 116 - 120 Kph as it was safer, at 110 fatigue and boredom was far more dangerous than speeding by 10kph, it is a pity that the rest of the country doesn't follow NT's lead of 130 Kph, but then millions in revenue wouldn't be collected..

I crossed the border into South Aus at 12:10 but this then became 1:40pm, i refuelled the bike took 12.66 Ltrs for 196 K's, i forgot to document the fuel price but it would have been around $1.95 - $1.99 Ltr

There were a stack of bikes at Border Village, they were returning from the Black Dog Rally. I stopped for a snack and warned the guys about the Eucla cops.

The road now skirted the Great Australian Bight, i stopped for the first couple of lookouts. A guy in a Camper van came up and thanked me, as if i didn't get booked he would have, i had overtaken him just before the cops booked me, he was travelling at about the same speed as me.

Here is a shot from the lookout...

I finally reached the actual Nullabor Plain, i was amazed that it only ran 20 -25 K's East - West.

I refuelled at the Nullabor roadhouse at 4:00 pm, the bike took 12.01 L @ $1.99.9/L $24.01 Igrabbed a cold can of Coke as the weather was bipolar. One minute it was sunny with a fresh breeze, perfect riding weather, the next moment it was stinking hot with no breeze. I didn't want to stay there so it was time to push for Ceduna, 300 K's away

The shadows were getting longer as each K passed, i didn't want to ride at night, my GPS told me that Sunset was going to be at about 6:30pm, as i rode through Nundroo and Penong Ceduna was looking like the place to stay, i pushed on with eyes like saucepans looking for roo's.

I finally arrived at Ceduna after dark, it was 6:52pm when i refuelled at Ceduna, the bike took 17.6 L @ $1.52.9/L $26.91 The guy at the quarantine checkpoint told me where the campgrounds were, the Big4 had a site available for $28.00 so i quickly setup camp then rode off to buy a Pizza for dinner, if you visit Ceduna, grab a Pizza it was stunning!

Thankfully this would be the last big day before i get home.

Day 33, Esperance to Balladonia

Wednesday 31st August, 2011 Day 33…
Odo start, 16,584 K's
Odo end,  17,365 K's
Distance Travelled.  781 K's
Accommodation, Balladonia Roadhouse Donga $35…
I woke to a beautiful fresh morning…

I was on the bike at 7:45am, heading North. Today's plan was to visit Kalgoorlie, then double back to Norseman and finally start the Nullabor Crossing.

On the way to Norseman from Esperance, i was amazed at the scale of the trains, the grain trains were of an equivalent scale to the Mining trains of Qld and the Pilbara!

I fuelled up at Norseman at 9:40am, the bike took 20.23L @$1.59.9/L $32.35 for 317K's

I arrived at Kalgoorlie at 11:45 via Kambalda. I had a quick ride around town, then stopped for a Bundy and Coke at the Exchange Hotel…

After the refreshing drink, i ducked into the chemist for a fresh pair of earplugs, as my Zumo still wasn't working when in the cradle. Whilst in town i had to visit the "Superpit" …

Photo's don't convey the scale very well, if you look closely at the water tank near the bottom Left hand side of the pic, you will see a small white shape in front of the tanker, that is a Landcruiser!

It was now time to head South and start the trip back East. 1:20pm and it was time for a quick fuel stop at "Widgemooltha". The bike took 17.27L @ $1.67.9/L $29.00 for 290 K's

At Norseman, i turned left and finally the compass was pointing East.. I had no idea what the crossing was going to be like, The "Nullabor" translates for "Treeless Plain" but there was over 700 K's before i reached the actual Nullabor Plain..

The ride to Balladonia looked like this...

I finally arrived at Balladonia at 4:00 pm, i was debating whether to camp at the side of the road or grab a Donga, rain and a cold night forecast was enough to sway me towards the Donga, $35.00 for the night, checkout the luxury accommodation…

The bike took 16.94 L @ $1.90.1/L $32.20 for 283 K's

I had showered and was transferring photo's when i heard another bike passing, it was John on a Super Tenere, he was riding home to Perth, he had been riding in Central Aus, part of his story is here

About an hour later another bike rolled up in the dark!! It was Steve on his new ST1300. He had just bought it from Brisbane and was riding it home to Perth. He had covered 1,500 K's for the day, riding from Port Augusta! WOW big risks..

Sunset at Balladonia...

Sunday, 4 September 2011

More to come soon..

Sorry for the lack of updates, there was no 3G on the Nullarbor.

I arrived home at 6:00 pm tonight, i'll update details and pics in the next few days, for now i'm going to relax : )

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Day 32, Pemberton to Esperance

Tuesday 30th August, 2011 Day 32…
Odo start, 15,842 K's
Odo end,  16,584 K's
Distance Travelled.  742 K's
Accommodation, The Pier Hotel $88…
I woke this morning to find a drab grey day awaited me, well i have had an excellent run with the weather so i can't complain. I fitted all liners to my jacket and pants, it was the first time i had fitted the liners to the pants as i didn't get them until i was in Cairns, so all liners were removed before i wore them. I was unhappy to see that one of the zips that secure the goretex liner in the leg was damaged, not very happy considering the cost of the pants, when i get home i'll contact the manufacturer and see what they will do. The performance of the gear has been excellent, i have been comfortable in a wide rage of conditions and the stuff is very comfortable.

I was on the road at 8:15 am, i took a quick spin to see the Gloucester Tree, which left me underwhelmed so i hit the road headng East.

The countryside around Pemberton is stunning, lush and green as far as the eye can see...

When you see a sign warning you of logging trucks for the next 100 K's, it is a pretty good indication that the roads are going to be great. Here are some of the Karri Tree's…

The forest's remind me of the Dandenong Ranges where i live, the Karri's are a similar scale to the Mountain Ash trees from home, the major difference is the undergrowth and scent. Not many ferns in this neck of the woods.

On the way to Denmark, i saw a sign for "Fine Chocolates" and i thought it would be an ideal time to stop and have a hot chocolate, i rode into the property and walked through the front door only to be told they were closed, they were busy making the chocolate but wouldn't be open until Thursday!

Beautiful little place..

I rode on through Denmark and then took the scenic route into Albany…

What a great little town, i grabbed a cold drink choosing not to refuel as if i was lucky, i would find a fuel stop near the half way point to Esperance which hopefully would mean one refill. When i took the turn off for the South Coast Highway heading for Jerramungup the scenery took a turn for the worse, gone were the trees, replaced with scrub that screened fields of Canola and other crops.

My fuel plan had me snot stopping until Jerramungup, but the fuel gauge didn't want to play along with my plan, so at 12:30 i rode into Wellstead for a refuel. 20.46 Ltrs @ $1.55.2/L $31.75 for 358 K's

In the distance storm clouds were brewing and it was raining to the East, i was actually hoping for a little rain, the amount of bugs on my visor was becoming a pain.

Not much to report about the next leg of the trip, just kilometres of the same endless scrub. The bike was chewing fuel at a ridiculous rate and it was becoming clear it would be touch and go to get to Esperance, so at 3:10, i pulled into the Munglinup roadhouse and refuelled again. 16.73 L @ $1.53/L $25.60 for 279 K's. When paying the attendant asked if i had seen the Stormtrooper on the road ( i though Stormtrooper must have been local lingo for the cops) I told him no, where was he, off to the East i was informed… 

I thanked him for his info and headed off. About 3 K's to the East guess what i came across? A guy walking from Perth to Sydney wearing a complete "Stormtrooper" costume!!! It takes all kinds, i tooded my horn and waved as i rode past, he may have had a few too many screws loose to stop and chat!

I finally arrived inEsperance at 4:30, the rain was still threatening, so i wimped out of camping and got a room at the pub.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Day 31, Perth to Pemberton.

Monday 29th August, 2011 Day 31…
Odo start, 15,387 K's
Odo end,  15,842 K's
Distance Travelled.  455 K's
Accommodation, Gloucester Motel Pemberton, $80…
It was a very early start this morning, MotoGP was on TV from Indy, i had watched qualifying live yesterday morning, Casey was on fire, i set the alarm for 1:28am expecting another dominant performance from Casey.

Bleary eyed i got up and turned the TV on, Ben Spies had had a good morning warm up session, so all was looking good for the race. Casey rode a faultless race to score his 7th win of the season. Hopefully soon most people will understand just how good he is. When he won on the Ducati, a lot of people said it was because he was on the best bike, it is funny how the very same bike has ended the careers of many promising riders and "The Doctor" is finally getting a reality check on just what the Ducati is like to ride. Now on the Honda it is the bike that is receiving all the praise, not the guy who wrings it's neck, at the moment, no-one rides with the controlled aggression of Casey, i hope he goes on to win many championships.

It was back to bed after the race, the 2 early mornings had left their toll, so it was 9:30am when i finally got out of bed and jumped in the shower. By 11:45 i had said my goodbyes and was on the road. Thanks Lyn and Graham for your wonderful hospitality, see you in Melbourne at Christmas.

I meandered down all the tourist drives i could find. My first stop was Mandurah for fuel. The bike took 19.21 Ltrs @ $1.36.9/Ltr $26.30 for 314 K's 

I stopped at Bunbury for a few pics..

It was then time for a quick stop at the Busselton Jetty…

I followed the signs to Margaret River, i arrived at 3:30 so the place was packed with school kids and buses, i decided to keep riding and get to Cape Leeuwin, I saw a sign for Caves Rd, one of my friends had suggested i use it, i turn right and after about 10 K's i realise i am on the wrong end of the road!! I doubled back and then rode to the Cape, unfortunately luck wasn't with me, i rolled into the carpark at 4:10pm, the lighthouse had just closed as they were shooting a TV Show/Movie there.

I got a quick shot from the fence was all i could get..

I headed back to Augusta then my GPS found a short cut to Pemberton, so it was time to try and get there before dusk. 

There was some glorious country on the way...

I arrived at 5:45pm i rolled into the BP servo on fumes. The bike took 20.99 Ltrs @ $1.52.00/Ltr @$31.90 for 408 K's.

I tried the local pub, which was a Best Western, the tour bus out front didn't bode well, only deluxe rooms for $220.00 a night!! I headed off to cruise around town, i found the Gloucester Motel with an $80.00 room, so i grabbed it.

Tomorrow i head off for the Karri Explorer Drive, then off to Albany and Esperance. 

Day 30, rest day in Perth

Sunday 28th August, 2011 Day 30…
Odo start, 15,375 K's
Odo end,  15,387 K's
Distance Travelled.  12 K's
Accommodation, Staying with Family in Perth…
Day off, the bike got a thorough wash and an oil change @ 15,387K's

I then had a BBQ with family and a quick guided tour.

Point Peron…

Cockburn Sound...

Port Kennedy…

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Day 29, Dongara to Perth.

Saturday 27th August, 2011 Day 29…
Odo start, 14,916 K's
Odo end,  15,375 K's
Distance Travelled.  459 K's
Accommodation, Staying with Family in Perth…
Today is going to be an easy day into Perth. I am told there is some wildlife about these parts so i decide to sleep in and have a late start.

I leave the hotel at 8:30, heading for the "Indian Ocean Drive". I expect to see coast line as far as the eye can see, but all i see is sand dunes and low scrub with occasional glimpses of the turquoise Indian Ocean.

I stop for fuel at Cervantes, the bike takes 16.98 Ltrs @ $1.59 L $27.00 for 287 K's

Here is the Cervantes Foreshore…

It is now time to visit the Pinnacles, i pay my $5.00 entry fee and decide to ride the 4 K loop, it is a very weird place!

I now head into Perth to visit one of my dealers, then it is time to head South to meet up with my cousin, where i have a room for a couple of days, time for some rest for me and a bit of TLC for the bike, tomorrow it is off to the car wash then time for another oil change. 

Friday, 26 August 2011

Day 28, Exmouth to Dongara.

Friday 26th August, 2011 Day 28…
Odo start, 14,002 K's
Odo end,  14,916 K's
Distance Travelled.  914 K's
Accommodation, Dongara Hotel Motel, $130…
I woke up before dawn, First light was 6:15 so for 45 minutes i started packing what i could. When i finished packing, i went to the Caltex for breakfast, Choc Big M and toasted cheese sandwich. I checked the tyre pressures, the front was low, down to about 15psi!! and hit the road heading South at 7:15.

On the way in last night, i discovered that 2 of the worlds dumbest animals in regards to road sense inhabit the roads, so this morning i decided to leave early, but keep the speed down. Cruising at 80kph i hoped that i could safely avoid any animals bent on suicide.

A couple of cars overtook me, when a 3rd 4x4 went past i decided to up the speed and sit 100m behind the 4by, within 20 seconds i had a roo dart out in front of me, so it was back down to 80 - 90 Kph.

The scenery, the bay is just off to the left, and the Ocean way off to the Right…

First stop was Carnarvon, my fuel gauge had been blinking at me for 50K's. At 10:45 i duel up, the bike takes 21.23 Ltrs! (it's a 22 Ltr Tank) @ $1.57.5/Ltr $33.53 for 365 K's

I rode out past the OTC Space Centre heading for Geraldton. The scenery hadn't changed much and the day was quite fresh. I refuelled 121 K's down the road at the Wooramel Roadhouse. 7.84 L @ $1.57/ Ltr $12.31 I again checked my tyres, they were fine. Unfortunately whilst i was lying on the ground doing my tyres, a tour bus rolled in, by the time i walked in to pay, there was a massive que so it took about 10 minutes before one of the pensioners who had been talking to me about my trip, let me in line to pay : ) 

The scenery was still uninspiring, suddenly i see a scenic lookout sign!! I had to check this out…

Where i had come from...

At about 150 K's North of Geraldton, wildflowers started appearing, then something strange happened, all the creeks and river bridges that i was crossing has water under them!

By the time i had reached Binnu, it was freezing, well the sun was out but the wind was freezing. I had to stop and put the thermal layer back in my Jacket. 

It was onto Northampton for another refuel, 19.39 Ltrs @ $1.55.9 $ 30.23 for 309 K's This part of WA from Binnu down to Dongara is beautiful, lush paddocks and occasional spectacular views out to the ocean.

I dropped in to Geraldton for a quick pic, i wonder if that is the same Ocean Liner i photographsd at Palm Cove??

One last push to Dongara, where i grabbed a motel room so i could clean up and feel human, these have been 3 big days in a row, i couldn't face putting the tent up again, so it is time for some luxury.

I now feel like i am getting back to civilisation, i will have to start slowing my speed down, for the last 5,000 K's or so, i have had 110 - 130 kph speed limits, i will have to readjust to a little slower now there are TOG police around.

Tomorrow Perth, via the Pinnacles