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-   -   APC Rally 2011 - The Yunta Starters - by Crom-o (http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=726485)

Crom-o 09-19-2011 03:04 AM

APC Rally 2011 - The Yunta Starters - by Crom-o
 
For those of you who aren't familliar with the APC Rally, it was held from 23rd July 11 to 5 Aug 11 and entrants covered +7000km unsupported.

More information regarding the rally can be found here:

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=595715

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=717440

http://rally.australianpropertycentre.net.au/

And photos of my time on the rally can be found here, thanks to John Hudson (Rally Organiser):

http://apcrally.smugmug.com/Adventur...473170_4b67fCx

This is my first ride report, so my appologies if it's a bit long winded. :D

Crom-o 09-19-2011 03:09 AM

22 Jul 11 – Day -1 Home to Yunta Start Line
 
Seven months had past since I’d committed and paid my deposit for the 2011 APC Rally back in January and it had been closer to 12 months since PodgeNT had put the idea of entering in my head, so the excitement about throwing a leg over and heading off was at boiling point. After a couple of photos and saying my goodbyes to the missus, I headed off for the start line at Yunta and to meet up with Ian and Kevin at the Pub. I had a nice route on the dirt sorted which I’d pre-run a few months before and loaded it into the GPS so I could get even more used to following the pink line which would guide the way during the rally. Thanks to KevS69, the section from home to Burra was sorted after having pre-run it with him earlier in the year. I’d also gone back over this route and onto Yunta via Faraway Hill and Lilydale during another ride. I left home at about 1300 and pulled up out the front of the Yunta Pub by about 1630 after an easy ride on well graded tracks. The only drama was that the GPS kept turning itself off. After grabbing a beer and finding the other guys, I quickly pulled off the fairing to check the GPS wiring. All looked good so I put it back together, wrapped a bit of tape around the power lead going into the GPS and got on with more important things, food, more beer and some bench racing. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>
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As the pub was booked out I’d planned to roll out the swag, so after a night cap of port I went in search of a good sleeping place. I ended up across the road from the pub under the tourist information shelter thinking, great no need to set up the fly and there’s a dunny near by for my morning constitutional. About 5min after getting into the swag I hear a diesel Landcruiser Ute pull up and the driver head into the dunny. Then he ends up talking on his phone for the next hour to anyone who’d listen to his woes much to my annoyance. Anyway, got my head down and spent the night dreaming of what was to come.<o:p></o:p>

Crom-o 09-19-2011 03:11 AM

23 Jul 11 – Day 1 Yunta to Mungerannie
 
This being the first official day of the rally we had a half hour late start, not that I slept in. After a quick brekkie at the Roadhouse, we were all ready to head off by 0800, well we were actually watching the clock tick down before heading up the Arkaroola Track for the first leg into Hawker. Spacing our selves out to stay out of each other dust, Ian took the lead with Kevin in the middle and me running sweep. Keeping an eye on the GPS I saw our first turn coming up, Ian was out of sight but I could still see Kevin, he’d missed the turn. I though great start this is, first turn and I’ve gotta chase him down already. I got along side him and signalled to stop, Kevin didn’t respond, so I gave it a quick squirt and then got hard on the breaks and pulled up. I thought to myself, well the idea of this is for each rider to navigate their own way and figured he’ll work it out soon enough, so I turned back to try and catch Ian again. I caught Ian at our first gate and explained what was going on. Ian and I agreed to keep going as Kevin was only doing part of the rally and may have had other plans for this section. After winding our way through some beautiful gullies crossing dry creek beds and getting into a nice rhythm we arrived at Hawker, time for some fuel and a quick coffee. Whilst enjoying the coffee and getting some warmth back into our bodies, Kevin arrived. After a quick chat to see how he was travelling I came to realise he didn’t have the route loaded in his GPS, hence he had no idea where the corners were and the exact way we were going. With this knowledge we pulled out and settled back into the same order heading through even more of the scenic <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Flinders</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Ranges</st1:PlaceType></st1:place> via Wilpena, Blinman onto Parachilna. Pulling up at the Hwy, Kevin and I thought “where’s Ian?” We hadn’t passed him and he wasn’t waiting, so we pushed onto <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Lyndhurst</st1:place></st1:City> where Kevin needed to get fuel. We still hadn’t come across Ian and my phone started yelling at me saying it had a message. The message was from John Hudson, the organiser of the rally, telling me that Ian had stopped in Parachilna and we’d passed him. With time getting on and our goal to get to Mungerannie by 1800 slipping away, Kevin and I were still discussing what to do when Ian rolled in. He was all smiles and said there was still a steak sandwich waiting for both of us back in Parachilna where he’d pulled in for lunch. Apparently he’d told us that was his plan, but in all the excitement of the first day we must have missed that one. Back together again and making sure we all knew what each others plans were, we opened up the 3 Katie’s and legged it up to Marree for a quick refuel and then kept pushing on up the Birdsville Track. Approaching the signs for the Cooper Creek Ferry detour I saw Kevin pulled up and looking over his 690R. He told me it’d been running like a dog since <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Lyndhurst</st1:place></st1:City> and had died as he was slowing for the corner and that he was having trouble getting it going again. While Kevin investigated the problem I tried getting on the UHF to let the guys at the ferry know that we’d been held up and to let Ian know. Kevin ended up adjusting the fuel map setting, thinking he may have got crook fuel in <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Lyndhurst</st1:place></st1:City> and also cleaned and re-seated a wire in the CDI and the 690R purred back into life. As we rolled up to the ferry we could see Ian had already loaded up his 690R and was waving for us to come straight on. A very quick trip over the very flooded Cooper and we were back on our way and still looking pretty good to make it to Mungerannie by 1800. Riding along side Kevin along the dirt super Hwy that is the Birdsville Track I could hear and see his bike was still running rough, with not far to go we pushed on and pulled up out the front of Pub just as the sun was sinking below the horizon. Ian had booked a room, so he sorted that while I fuelled the bike and gave her a quick going over and congratulated her on a great days riding. After a couple of beers and some Barra which I was told “Out of a cardboard box” when I asked where it’d come from I rolled out the swag under the carport for Ian’s room and kept the bikes company for the night.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>

Crom-o 09-19-2011 03:20 AM

24 Jul 11 – Day 2 Mungerannie to Innamincka
 
Still getting into our routine, we all were ready early and almost headed of half an hour before our official start time of 0730, bloody interstate time zones, anyone ever heard of Zulu? Whilst I was packing the bike, I thought “This would be the perfect time for a coffee and crank up my new JetBoil” I set it all up and continued packing while waiting for it to boil. Before I knew it Ian was saying “Hey, I think this is ready.” Barely 2min had gone by, I was suitably impressed. So after waiting around and realising that we’d been rushing for nothing, we were once again holding the throttles wide and before long we’d done approx 150km and pulled up for smoko. Kevin needed to top up his fuel being that he was running the standard tank and carrying bladders low on his pannier frames, being well practiced, he’d done this in no time and we were away. We pulled into the roadhouse at Birdsville on 1030, where Ian and I dumped a bit of gear of the bikes into the back of Barnsey’s Ute for safe keeping while we did the loop out to Big Red. I turned around at one point to find Kevin rolling out his swag, thinking I hadn’t kept him up that late, I asked what he was doing? Which he replied, “I can’t find my wallet!” Oh shit I thought. After some frantic searching he found it sitting on top of one of his pannier bags where we think it had been sitting for the last 150kms, he must have been the luckiest man in Birdsville that day. Kevin was parting ways from here and heading to the QLD coast for work, so as Ian I fired up to head out to big red, we said our farewells and wished him a safe ride. Ian and I had a 104km return run out to Big Red which took us about 2hrs, with only a few stops to catch our breath in the sand and 15mins of looking at the amazing views from atop the dune. The volume of water to the east of Big Red was unbelievable. Back in Birdsville we had a quick lunch while loading the bikes and chatting to Barnsey, who Ian had competed against in a few Safari’s many moons ago. Back on the road by 1400 and aiming for somewhere between Cordillo Downs and Innamincka for the night, with the hope we’d get a good run and make the later. There was a remote fuel stop organised out near the Qld/SA border for us where we both topped up the bikes from a 44Gal drum. The run through Cordillo Downs was a very nice station track which for the most part had been recently graded. Coming out of the bottom of the station we came to a T-Junction where we pulled up, got our bearings and discussed our plans for pulling up. It was decided we were looking good to make it into Innamincka by a bit after 1800, so we pushed on. The track from here on became a bit more sandy, but still well graded, so we were able to keep up a good pace through some nice flowing turns which I was really enjoying. With the sun well below the horizon we pulled up out the front of the store at 1830, a bit over our cut off but at least in “civilisation” and some where with beer. We discovered that the store was closed and that we wouldn’t be able to get fuel until 0830 the next morning, oh well, we’d run over time a bit the last two days. What I hadn’t realised was that Ian (The old wise bull, making me the young dumb bull) had booked a room for use at the Pub, and what a room it was. After fighting our way through a packed car park of grey nomads to find the room, a hot shower and chucking on some clothes that would make the tourist pass out from the smell, we went and had a lovely dinner of Sunday roast, washed down with some Coopers Stout and a night cap of Green Ginger Wine (I was trying to reduce my load).<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>

Crom-o 09-19-2011 03:21 AM

25 Jul 11 – Day 3 Innamincka to Noccundra
 
Having to wait for the Pub restaurant for brekkie and store to open to get fuel, we had a casual wake up and I had a quick check over the bike. After a hot breakfast, we headed back round to the pumps to wait for the opening. There was a group of older ladies waiting as well and as the door to the store flung open, we were greeted buy the owner in a very ‘pleasant’ mood yelling at the old dears “Why don’t you lot just FUCK OFF, can’t you see I haven’t even got me sign out yet? Just go fuck off and talk to your friends!” Ian offered to put the sign out for him and was quickly told to bugger off. As the dust settled we were told we could start pumping fuel. By the time I’d filled up and walked in to pay the owner couldn’t be nicer to me, even wishing me well on the trip. Ian must have buttered him up, but I got a good laugh out of it all and thought it was great to see that the Innamincka I had experienced 12 years earlier was still there, even if the Pub had gone a bit fancy and the barman looked like he should have been serving Fluffy Ducks in a night club in Kings Cross. By 0845 we were on our way, having lost 1hr 15min wait for fuel, and headed east in search of the southward turn down the Bore Track. Ian had been talking to John about what was to come and was told we could expect to riding in a dry sandy creek bed, but if we looked hard we’d find a 4x4 track which ran along side it. Finding the turn off and having a quick stop to check how each other was travelling, we dropped into the creek/track. I took the lead and was surprising myself as to how well I was handling the sand, even starting to get into a rhythm and enjoying it. Coming to a stop at a Y junction I though was a good place to pull up, have a drink and make sure Ian was still behind me, I waited for what seemed like forever, think shit what’s happened? I decided to turn back to find Ian, as we well away from anything or anyone that might be coming along our path. Thankfully I hadn’t got far when Ian came into view, the first thing I noticed was that his aftermarket rally fairing was looking very out of shape, shit I hope that’s the only thing damaged. Ian had high sided it and hit the deck fairly hard, having a quick look over his bike we couldn’t see anything that was going to fall off, so with Ian’s confidence a bit down we set off to get into Cameron Cnr. where we could do some bush mechanics over lunch. Not far down the track it opened up and we passed across some large flood plains where the local cattle casually watched us go by, with the odd young bull standing his ground in the middle of the track. Our route notes said we needed to pay a donation of $10 each for the privilege of having just survived the Bore Track at the station homestead we passed through. Wandering into the yard we were greeted by a little Jack Russel, who couldn’t have been happier to see us. Not finding anyone around and thinking the dog would just leg it to the pub if we gave him the money, we ended up tucking it under the door with a note. We got into Cameron Cnr. by 1200, quickly chucked some fuel in the bikes and got the backpacker serving us to sort a sandwich and drink for us while we got stuck into Ian’s bike. Turns out the backpacker was into bikes and wanted a bike to go exploring on out there and was more than willing to help us out. Using some brute force, large shifter and some well placed 100MPH tape, we had the fairing and mounting bracket back in shape in about 1hr. Looking at the map we realised there wasn’t much between us and Noccundra, so that became our aim for the night, pushing onto Thargomindah if we still had time. Luckily one of the guys working at Cameron Cnr. told us that there was a mistake in the distance between Cameron Cnr. and Noccundra in our route notes and that it was 261km and not 131km. About 120km out of Cameron Cnr. we came across an elderly couple who had two flats on their Pajero and nothing to fix them with. As I walked over to them I heard Ian ask where they were headed and old bloke who seemed a bit overcome by the situation replied “I’d have to look at a map to remember the name of the place.” After looking at the map, we worked out they were going to Tibooburra. Looking at their tyres I couldn’t believe how bald they all were and how they’d made it this far. Ian got on the SAT phone to Cameron Cnr. and filled them in and asked if they could get someone out ot help them as we didn’t have anything to fix tubeless tyres ourselves. Making sure they had plenty of water and food, Ian and I were about to get underway when another couple pulled up and said they had all the gear to help them out, lady luck had popped up again. It was then that I noticed the front axel pull nut missing on Ian’s bike, having heard about a guy crashing out on the way over to the start from WA, I checked all the clamp bolts and we got going. Not 10min down the road I saw Ian had pulled up, thinking shit what’s happened? I pulled up along side him; he decided to call his long time mechanic and arrange to get a replacement nut sent to Goondiwindi where we were going to get new rubber in a few days time. Thinking the nut might not make it from <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:City w:st="on">Adelaide</st1:City> on time; we also range John who was straight onto arranging one to be sent out from his end in <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Brisbane</st1:City></st1:place>. Having lost more time it was obvious Noccundra was going to be our stop for the night. Arriving well before our finish time of 1800 we sorted a donga out the back of the Pub which my old man had told me about and settled in. I did my usual end of day maintenance while enjoying a beer and having a chat to 3 guys who where planning on pretty much following our track in reverse to spend a few days down in the Flinders. Dinner at the Pub finished with some locally caught yabbies for dessert.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>

Crom-o 09-19-2011 03:23 AM

26 Jul 11 – Day 4 Noccundra to 100km past Charleville
 
Woke up to the sound of the guys from last night getting their bikes sorted, 1x WR250’s, 2x DR650’s. The little 250 was blowing a lot of smoke and Ian and I thought “Shit, hope that things just been in storage with some oil down the cylinder, otherwise his going to have an interesting trip.” The run into Thargomindah was a single lane of bitty which reminded me of the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:Street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Plenty Hwy</st1:address></st1:Street> in the NT where I used to live. Having nice wide dirt shoulders either side of the black crap, I ended up sitting off in the dirt keeping a watchful eye out for wildlife as we ran into the rising sun. Fuel for the bikes and coffee for us Fergies in Thargomindah. Taking the back way to Toompine we were dodging Roo’s and Emu’s along the black soil plains. About 5km out of Toompine I pulled up along side a Jackaroo who’d stopped for a smoke and was putting off meeting the in-laws for a few more minutes. He was on a DR650 which was decked out with a car style UHF with an external speaker and a few other essential bits and pieces someone working the land may need. While having a quick chat he mentioned he’d been mustering out west on the big DR and was having to change the oil in it daily due to the heavy going in the sand. I thought to myself “Hmm, must remember to do an oil change when I get home”. We passed through Toompine without stopping and we’d later find out from John that there was interesting cemetery out the back of the Pub to look at. Oh well, just an excuse to head back another time. Stopped for fuel and lunch in Quilpie where I managed to do a Ewin when the pump didn’t shut off, ending up with me and the bike covered in fuel. This seemed to amuse the fat stinking inbred attendant who thought it was a great laugh. I didn’t think it was that funny and “kindly” asked him to get me something to clean it up with. Not wanting to hand over any more of my hard earned to this wanker I choose to head down to the bakery and grab a pie, which my old man had been raving about how good they were. The pie wasn’t that great and Dad would later tell me it’d been a few years since he’d had one from there, anyway I was feeling better that I hadn’t eaten from the servo, even if Ian thought his sandwich was very nice. We kept tracking north until hitting Adavale where we were at the most northern point of the Rally and about to start the downhill run. I’d made into town a few minutes before Ian and pulled up to a building which I took for the Pub which looked like it was undergoing renovations. A couple of guys came out to the some of the bike to tell me that it was actually the heritage listed town hall which they were in the process of bringing back to it’s former glory and that if I turned around I might notice the big XXXX sign which usually indicated there was a Pub within. Just as Ian was rolling in I headed for the Pub and signal for him to do the same. Being mid afternoon and still having a fair few miles to go for the day we elected to have a squash and got chatting with Deb the licensee. Deb was your typical welcoming bush Queenslander and told us that she had a couple of offers on the pub after we’d asked about the for sale sign. She let slip that for anything over $137K we could walk in and take over there and then. Checking the time we realised we’d betted push on if we were to make our goal of Charleville and beyond for the day. Passing through <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Mariala</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">National Park</st1:PlaceType></st1:place> on fast flowing pea gravel I was heading into a left hand corner to see a Ute coming at me on the wrong side of the road. I ended up running very wide and left the driver to keep his line. In the usual laid back Qld fashion a quick wave from the driver and a, thank Christ I survived that from me, and it was done with. Pulling up for fuel at about 1600 in Charleville Ian and I discussed our next move, we worked out if we kept going for a bit that we should be able to make it into Goondiwindi the next day before knock off, where we had tyres waiting. Pushing on we got in another 100km before pulling up and making camp for the night on the side of the road. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>

Crom-o 09-19-2011 03:24 AM

27 Jul 11 – Day 5 100km past Charleville to Goondiwindi
 
Waking up after a peaceful nights sleeping to the sound of Ian’s farts and my snoring, to find ice covering my dry bag. After warming up, a quick feed we slowly made tracks, spreading ourselves out due to the dust hanging like fog and there being a roo or pig readying itself to commit suicide with the help of a KTM around every corner. Bollon was to be our morning smoko break and first chance to give the bikes a drink for the day, which was once again turning out to be another mild and sunny one. Taking the long way down and around to St George, we passed through Dirranbandi where I noticed a metallic slapping sound coming from below which wasn’t my brass balls hitting the tank. Stopping to investigate, I found the chain had stretched and was in danger of skipping teeth. Out with the tools, the chain tightened and we were on our way again. Fuelling up in St George, Ian went to sort out lunch while I paid for the fuel. For the second day in a row I was to get the Muppet attendant serve me, this time she couldn’t work out the change, so five minutes later and me having to take my boots off so I could count past ten, it was sorted. I wandered down the street to find Ian who’d found us a good feed, which made up for the servo Muppets. For most of the morning we’d been leap frogging each other as we made our way through gate after, gate, after gate and for the most we thought we could see the tracks of the guys who started in front of us in Marree. Asking at most stops, we found out that we were possibly only about an hour behind the guys in front of us. So with the aim of the day to get to the bike shop in Goondiwindi before knock off, we opened up the Katies and rolled into Goondiwindi at 1615. While trying to find the bike shop I saw another couple of bikes getting around which looked like they may have been on the Rally, but who knows as they didn’t even wave as I went by. Finally finding the bike shop after a few wrong turns, I sorted a new chain and grabbed my pre-ordered rear tyre and found a spot out the back of the workshop to get into changing the tyre and chain. Ian took the easy (Older and wiser) mans way out and got the very helpful bike shop staff to do his tyres while he cleaned his air filter. Mean while I sweated it out thinking I was proving something by doing it myself. While all this was going on a guy pulled up on his BMW F800GS looking like he’d done a few miles to be there. Turns out he was ‘Greg’ who had started in Maree, not before doing the Canning Stock Route from WA to get there, and had separated from the other Marree starters during the day due some bike dramas. Greg had some how ended up with the axel nut for Ian’s bike, so it was luck we bumped into each other. After some more sweating, swearing and working out I’d been given a road chain with a rivet link the bikes were ready to go and we were ready for a feed and much needed shower. Greg, who’d been doing some exploring around town earlier in the day, sorted us a motel for the night where we got to some bench racing over a few beers and tea. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>

Crom-o 09-19-2011 03:25 AM

28 Jul 11 – Day 6 Goondiwindi to Woodenbong
 
Noticing the Golden Arches next the motel the night before we all agreed we could go some McCrap for brekkie. With Greg not sure how his bike was going to go for the day and still working out if he was going to leg it to the nearest BM Trouble U dealer, he asked if we’d mind if he went out in front so if something went wrong we wouldn’t be far off to lend a hand. So with Greg pulling out a few minutes before us we headed off into the cold patchy fog and frost to Ashford for our morning coffee, which now we had a BMW with us we could get away with saying it was his idea. Cruising through mainly farm access roads there was plenty of kids waiting for the dreaded School Bus, so following one of the golden rules of riding there was plenty of waving as we scooted by. Not long after Ashford we passed <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Pindari</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Lake</st1:PlaceType></st1:place> (Dam), North West of Seven River Nature Reserve. After following the bitty around the dam wall and stopping for a few photos, we hit the dirt again with me in tail end Charlie. I’d only done about 200m and was taking it pretty easy and the back end fell out from under me. After about a 10m slide down the pea gravel I picked myself up thinking WTF just happened? With the bike laying on it’s side in the middle of the road on a corner, I quickly picked it up and assessed the damage; a bit of bark off my right knee, bit of a scrape on the bash plate and one strap worn through on a pannier bag. After checking nothing was going to fall off, I was on my way again still wondering how I’d managed to low side it. Catching up with Ian and Greg in Tenterfield for lunch we decided to aim for Woodenbong for the night after hearing the following 92km leg onto Mallanganee could take up to 2hrs. After a fairly easy run into Woodenbong edging our way into the Great Divide, we sorted a room in the Pub and settled in. As we were about to head down to the bar for tea, Ian asked if I trusted the advice of an old man, I said “yeah” and he said “well we’re going to have T’Bones for dinner.” “Why T-Bones, I could go a Scotchy?” to which he replied “So we can through the bones at the bloody barking Dog!” Greg’s bike hadn’t missed a beat all day, much to his relief and helping him to make the decision to stay on the Rally course and aim for his original planned service stop in <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Canberra</st1:place></st1:City>. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>

Crom-o 09-19-2011 03:26 AM

29 Jul 11 – Day 7Woodenbong to Dorrigo
 
Getting away about 8min late we made our way into the fog and onto the dirt, for what would end up being some of the best terrain we’d pass through during the Rally. Following the pink line we kept on the pace in the tight twisting trails into Mallanganee for a quick coffee and then onto Jackadgery for lunch after following the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Mann</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">River</st1:PlaceType></st1:place>, crossing it several times. The scenery was spectacular and at times I had to remind myself that I was riding a bike and should be paying more attention to the road ahead. After even more great riding we all pulled up out the front of the Nymboydia Pub, owned by Russel Crowe, at about 1430, without dismounting we decided to push onto Dorrigo for the night, once again hearing the following 90km section onto Taylors Arm could take up to 2hrs. Getting into Dorrigo at about 1630 we called it a day, after what had been the first day of tight technical riding. Finding the Pub we sorted a room and I checked over the bike while Ian and Greg took one glance at their bikes and decided they were good to go. By this stage Greg had settled into the way Ian and I operated and before I knew it he’d even sniffed out a Guinness for me at the bar. While enjoying a few steaks in a glass (Guinness) we all went over the maps, looking at options for a route that would get Greg into <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Canberra</st1:place></st1:City> by Sunday night and to the dealer first thing on Monday. Making the decision to stick with us and see where we ended up the next day, Greg and I stayed on the Guinness over tea, while Ian stuck with his Lemonade not being a drinker. Feeling refreshed after tea I decided it’d be a good idea to stitch up the strap on my pannier which had been damaged in the low side. While doing this, with his sixth sense of knowing when I’ve got my hand full, my old man ran which made holding the phone and sewing at the same time interesting. <st1:PersonName w:st="on">Dad</st1:PersonName>, being a pilot, filled me in with the weather report, which looks pretty good for us out to Tuesday.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>

Crom-o 09-19-2011 03:27 AM

30 Jul 11 – Day 8 Dorrigo to Gloucester
 
Heading out of Dorrigo and into the sub-tropical rain forests, we began to realise why everyone raves about the rides they’ve been on with DETOUR based in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Coffs</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Harbour</st1:PlaceType></st1:place>. We weaved our way through some amazing tracks which looked like they only seen bikes passing though on them for a fair while. At some point in the morning, Ian and I managed to miss a turn as we were distracted by a couple of guys headed the other way who looked like they were having a ball on their unloaded enduro’s. Because of this, Greg managed to steal the lead with out knowing and kept charging on, probably thinking when are these other two going to pull up for a breather. I finally caught Greg, who’d already pulled up and started ordering a coffee, at the ‘Pub with no Beer’ in Taylors Arm. Thinking Ian wasn’t far behind and that we’d discussed making this our morning pit stop, I wandered into the bar for a look around and got myself another Stubby Holder to add to the collection. As Greg and I enjoyed our freshly brewed coffees we heard the rumble of Ian’s 690R coming into town, then ride straight past. Greg and I looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders and said he’s got the route, we’ll catch him later, not wanting to waste a good coffee. The next leg took us through more rain forests and we eventually hit the <st1:Street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Oxley Hwy</st1:address></st1:Street> to run the bitty up into Gingers Creek for lunch. Our route notes advised us this section was a famous road bike section and to NOT SPEED! Hitting the twisties I couldn’t resist opening it up and was quickly into a rhythm thinking “I wonder how hard I can push these knobbies before it all turns to crap?” Before finding out I’d caught old farmer brown taking his cows to town in his clapped out truck. Deciding to play it safe, I sat in behind him, in the mean time a guy on a road bike came through going the other way at light speed. I was please to see he’d judged the corner well and only missed hitting the back of the truck with his head by about 2 inches, fucking mad man! Over lunch we decided to aim for <st1:City w:st="on">Gloucester</st1:City> for the night as this would be a good point for Greg to start from to make <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Canberra</st1:place></st1:City> the next day. A few K’s west of Gingers creek we left the bitty again and had a great run south through the gradually thinning rain forest, which eventually opened up to grazing land before hitting Gloucester. At some point in the afternoon we pulled up for a regroup and to find out Ian was unable to load the next section of the route in his GPS. Deciding we didn’t have far to go for the day, Greg and I played corner man for Ian with the plan to ring John and sort the GPS once we’d settled in for the night. Finding a motel we all went into our usual routine and at some point Greg snuck off and before I knew it he was handing me a beer while I was half way through pulling an air filter skin off. Mean while Ian had got John on the phone and I was roped into sorting out the GPS issue being the electronics techo. With the GPS and bikes sorted, us showered, we ventured up to the motels restaurant and bar for few more ales and what turned out to be a great feed. Having a bit of a chat with some of the locals at the bar, I got the idea that the motel may have been run by bikies, the fact that the guy running the bar rocked up on a arm chair earlier sort of gave it away as well.

Crom-o 09-19-2011 03:27 AM

31 Jul 11 – Day 9 Gloucester to Bathurst
 
After waving Greg off on his way to <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:City w:st="on">Canberra</st1:City>, Ian and I headed west out of <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Gloucester</st1:place></st1:City> with the plan to pull up for a coffee in Moonan Flat. Heading through the top of <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Barrington</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Tops</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">National Park</st1:PlaceType></st1:place> we passed through a boom gate with signs warning of ice and snow. Not far up the track there was a good cover of frost which made me think, “Yeah, I’m not being a girl thinking it bloody freezing, it actually is!” After a few close calls with the local wild life we pulled into the Moonan Flat Pub at about 0930 to find it didn’t open until 1000. Deciding to push on the <st1:place w:st="on">Scone</st1:place> we started pulling out to be suddenly surrounded by a couple dozen 4x4’s who looked like they were headed out for a big day. Following the upper <st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Hunter</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceName w:st="on">River</st1:PlaceName> and passing lots of horse stud farms we made it into <st1:place w:st="on">Scone</st1:place> and sniffed out morning smoko. The rest of the day consisted of short sections, alternating from dirt to bitty. Just before getting into Mudgee for lunch I pulled up on a corner to wait for Ian. I’d barely come to stop when a bike pulling along side, looking around expecting to see Ian, I was greeted by Dean on his 950SE, after a very quick chat he was off. We caught Dean again at the servo in Mudgee and had another quick chat where I found out he’d started the rally in Wodonga and about 70km behind us this morning. He was on the charge and it wasn’t long before he’d left us still filling the bikes and sussing a good spot for lunch. I’d later find out that Dean was training for <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Dakar</st1:place></st1:City> and completed the rally on his own and finishing the quickest of anyone, not that it was a race, but an iron man effort on his part. Best of luck at Dakar Dean, the rest of us will be here cheering you on and dreaming. We had more of the same mixed dirt and bitty into <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Bathurst</st1:place></st1:City> for the night. Arriving in town fairly early Ian and I decided to save time in the morning we’d head out to the track and do our lap of the mountain. On the way out we bumped into Steve, who’d started in Marree with Greg. We filled Steve in on what Greg’s movements were and he let on that the guys he’d been riding with had pushed on ahead after he’d had clutch dramas earlier in the day. Being a bit worn out and not thinking we didn’t ask were he was staying or what his plans were, so we lost track of him after parting ways. Sticking to the 60km/h speed limit around the mountain, I was amazed at how steep the assent and descent were, you don’t get the real picture on the idiot box and to think of the speeds the V8 guys are doing is unbelievable. Noticing a winery in the middle of the track and thinking I needed to get something for my petrol head of a missus, I went looking for a bottle and finding a Riesling I was set and sure to be in the good books when I got home. After finding a bed and a feed, Greg called to let us know he’d made it safe into <st1:City w:st="on">Canberra</st1:City> and had actually enjoyed the run down the Hwy through <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Sydney</st1:place></st1:City> not having ever done that sort of riding before. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>

Crom-o 09-19-2011 03:28 AM

1 Aug 11 – Day 10 Bathurst to Canberra
 
This morning we followed forestry tracks out of <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:City w:st="on">Bathurst</st1:City> and into Crookwell for smoko, skirting the edge of the <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Blue Mountains</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">National Park</st1:PlaceType></st1:place>. At one point I was climbing out of a creek crossing and into a right hand corner. Running on the inside wheel track of the left hand lane, I looked up to see a tip truck coming the other way and running wide. With both the driver and I shitting our selves, I straightened it up, while he tried to tuck it in tighter. With a collision avoided, and the now fish tailing truck behind me, I for the millionth time thanked my Motorcycling guardian angel for saving my arse. Knowing we had a fairly short day of riding, we leisurely had our morning break enjoying a coffee and apple crumble in the sun. With me planning on staying the night in <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Canberra</st1:place></st1:City> with mates and Ian’s plans up in the air, we gave Greg a quick call to let him know our progress and see how he was going. It looked like Greg was going to be heading out of <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Canberra</st1:City></st1:place> not long after lunch and with only 102km for us to go, we thought we might catch him so he and Ian could push on together. We got on the charge again and made it in by around 1200 pulling up out the front of Parliament House where I wanted to get a photo of my Rang’r bike in front of the Rang’rs office. Ignoring the sign telling me that I shouldn’t be stopping, I put the bike up on the foot path and quickly jumped off and got the shot off, all the while keeping and eye on the fast approaching Federal Copper on his pushy. I was just about to throw the leg over when the cop pulled up, I went straight into apology mode, but he was quick to say, “It’s not a problem, I can see you’ve come a long way to get that photo, do you want one with you in it?” Hey this bloke was alright, so after a few more photos and filling him in of our travels, we set off in search of fuel. It was about 1300 by the time we’d sorted fuel and found out Greg had left town about half an hour before hand. I had two hours to fill before meeting up with a mate for the night and Ian decided to push on. Waving Ian off, I decided to head round to the bike shop which was another start point for the rally to see if I could find some space to change my rear break pads which were on their way out. Passing a few XXX shops as I made my way through Fyshwick I found the bike shop thanks once again to the little pink line on the GPS. With the pad changed, I met up with my mate and headed for his place and several beers to catch up on the conversation we’d last been on six months ago.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>

Crom-o 09-19-2011 03:30 AM

2 Aug 11 – Day 11 Canberra to Wodonga
 
My plan for today was to get to Wodonga to stay the night with the old dear (Mum) and get some washing done. Needing to get back on to the rally course where I’d left it yesterday, I followed my mate on his fake Harley through Canberra on his way to work and then headed for Fyshwick to re-join the course. From Fyshwick I headed out through the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Brindabella</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">National Park</st1:PlaceType></st1:place> and through to Tumut for a quick refuel and coffee. Following logging routes it was onto Jingellic for lunch at the pub, passing through Batlow and Tumbarumba along the way. Heading out of Batlow the course got onto some tight hilly 4x4 tracks, which were mainly slippery red clay covered with sharp rocks and leaf litter. Being on my own for the first time throughout the rally I took it easy thinking that there was no need to push it as I only had a short day and I couldn’t be stuffed picking up a loaded bike on my own. Pulling up out the front of the Bridge Hotel in Jingellic, memories of Sunday ride on the back of the old mans CBX as a kid came to mind and the feeling of being back in my old stomping ground was great. After the best lunch of the trip, a chat with the lady publican who informed me that Greg had spent the night before there and a play with the Pubs resident dog, I was off again following the N.S.W. side of the Murray River. Riding along and noticing the river widening it totally skipped my mind that I was at the top end of the Hume Weir and wanting to stop to take a photo every 5min wasn’t getting me anywhere fast. Pushing on the course eventually brought me out onto the <st1:Street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Hume Hwy</st1:address></st1:Street> around Table Top and into Albury/Wodonga via the old Hwy. Getting into Wodonga at about 1500 I stopped into to say G’Day to a mate of <st1:PersonName w:st="on">Dad</st1:PersonName>’s, before meeting up with Mum for a night of being over fed and having my washing done. Gotta love ya Mum for knowing how to look after a weary rider. Having survived the day on my own, Ian called to let me know he’d made it to Barham after spending the previous night in Tumut and that he’d been in touch with Greg who’d made it to Swan Hill. They were planning on meeting in Ouyen the next day so they could cross the sands of <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Murray</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Sunset</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">National Park</st1:PlaceType></st1:place> together, with the aim of making it to Renmark for the night. I went to bed thinking can I make Renmark tomorrow and catch up, so we can all ride into Yunta and across the finish line for Ian and I together? <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>

Crom-o 09-19-2011 03:30 AM

3 Aug 11 – Day 12 Wodonga to Renmark
 
Waking to the smell of even more of Mums cooking, I started psyching myself up for a +800km day in the saddle. Leaving Mums a bit early I made my way through my old home town checking out what had changed and re-joined the rally course just on 0730. Having done the trip from <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Adelaide</st1:place></st1:City> to Wodonga many times, I knew that the ride through to Hattah was going to be a variety of mainly fast open farming roads linked by the odd bit of bitty. Leaving the <st1:Street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Hume Hwy</st1:address></st1:Street> about 15kms south of Wodonga and hitting the back roads I opened up the throttle and got on with it. Stopping in Deniliquin and Swan Hill for fuel and a quick feed I made it to Hattah by about 1400, after seeing that I’d cracked my fastest speed for the trip somewhere around Deniliquin. With the boring bit out of the way, I topped up the fuel, stripped a few layers of clothes off and sucked down some fluids in preparation for the sand +200km of sand which lay ahead. About 40km out of Hattah I came across the gate which was in our route notes and as I eased the bike through it I picked up on some fairly fresh tracks. Knowing they’d most likely be Ian and Greg’s I started to think about how far ahead they were and if I’d catch them? With this in mind I did my usual and open the throttle just that bit more, I was on the chase like a Greyhound who genuinely thinks that it’s a real rabbit running along the top of the dog track fence. Finding my rhythm and really enjoying the ride, it wasn’t long before I looked down at the dash to notice the bike temp was getting very high. I decided to play it safe and pulled over in a shady spot to let the bike and me cool down for a bit. Happy the bike was good to go again I pushed on thinking that the right hand turn to run along the Vic/SA border couldn’t be too far away. Another half hour in and the bike overheated again, this wasn’t looking good. Pulling up I noticed the radiator boiling over a bit, thinking this is just great, I let it cool down again and then emptied the remains of one of my drink bladders into the radiator hoping it would see me through to Remark. Not long after pulling off again I hit the border and having ridden this part of the Border track before I knew I could make Renmark easily by the 1800 stop time and would be enjoying a cold beer with tea rather than cooking up a rat-pack meal and potentially cracking the bottle of wine I’d brought the missus in Bathurst. With the sun falling and the roo’s coming out I rolled into the servo to hear the phone going of, it was Ian and before the call was over he was wandering up to me from the motel next door. Ian being the father figure of our small team, could see that I’d had a hard slog and was quick to help me with fuelling the bike and getting it around to the motel room where he and Greg had got a room big enough for a Catholic family who believed in the rhythm method for contraception. It was great to back together as a team again and over a few beers and dinner we all got in some good bench racing about what we’d been through on our own for the last couple of days.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>

Crom-o 09-19-2011 03:31 AM

4 Aug 11 – Day 13 Renmark to Yunta Finish Line then Home
 
Provided the shit didn’t hit the fan during the next 311km run up to Yunta, this would be Ian and my last day for the rally, with Greg having to make it to Marree for his finish line and then the long haul back to WA. We were greeted by a spectacular sunrise as we headed north out of Renmark and into <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Danggali</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Conservation</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Park</st1:PlaceType></st1:place> for the homeward stretch. Deciding to break the ride into three legs of 100km we all set off at our own pace knowing we’d be regrouping at each stop. With Greg out in front, I came over a raise seeing him pulled up and rummaging through his Giant loop saddle bag. Pulling up next to him I didn’t even get a chance to say G’Day before he ran off into the scrub with dunny roll in hand and in obvious need of a crap. By the time Greg had lightened his load, Ian had pulled up and we had a quick smoko before getting back into it. The next break would be a few km’s past Sturt Vale station where Greg picked out a nice shady spot for a drink and what would be our last on the road chin wag. Pulling out Greg took the lead again with me not far behind. I hadn’t even got 5km up the road when two Roo’s decided to play chicken, grabbing a handful of front break I managed to wash of a fair bit of speed before hitting the second Roo which bounced down the left side of the bike. Keeping it upright, I pulled up and turned around to see the Roo was still kicking so I turned back and as I pulled up to the Roo I got out my trusty Bear Gryls knife and put the Roo out of it’s misery. For you greenies out there, the Roo had a broken hind leg and head injuries, IT WAS NOT GOING TO GET UP AND HOP HAPPILY AWAY! While dealing with the Roo Ian had caught up and looked more concerned then I felt about the whole event, it may have been something to do with the fact that he only told me to not hit any Roo’s before we’d pulled off from the last stop 3mins beforehand. With the Roo dragged off the track and the only damage to the bike being a smashed headlight protector, we got under way again. I’d worded up Ian and Greg that I wanted a photo of Ian and I riding across the line into Yunta, so a bit before 1200 we all pulled up just outside of town and Greg was handed our cameras and given 5min to set up for the shot. Ian and I congratulated each other on what had been an unforgettable trip and began our slow roll side by side into town. Greg got the shot and we all pulled into the servo for our last supper together having a laugh over the map on a paper sandwich bag which we told Greg he had to use to find his way through the Flinders. With Greg still needing to cover a fair bit of ground for the arvo, we wished him well and waved him off on his way. I’d been thinking about taking the dirt home, but after hitting the Roo and being blown around by winds that were doing there best to drive us off the track, I decided to slab it back down the Hwy back to <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Adelaide</st1:place></st1:City> with Ian. So the last +300km would be on the boring black stuff, but we made it safe and were rolling into <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Adelaide</st1:place></st1:City> by about 1530. Farewelling Ian, I turned off the Hwy and headed for home, a hot shower and a few days rest before going back to the daily grind. What a ride! <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>


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