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Old 09-03-2010, 06:16 AM   #3
Sundowner OP
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Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Central Oz
Oddometer: 3,596
Originally Posted by sac1032
Looks like an interesting predicament!
It certainly was.... We were maxing out the tour-o-meter needles well into the Adventure range.....

Rich, to my relief, has dumped his bike just past the narrowest, steepest part of the cliff track but fortunately it's simply laid down and held position by digging a footpeg into the soft soil. He's narrowly missed both smacking his helmet into a concrete strainer post and tangling himself in the barbed wire boundary fence. I help him lift the heavy machine upright and he turns the bike around on a relatively wide and flattish section just ahead of my bike. I tentatively follow him back down the hill, feathering the rear brake to keep the bike under control and keeping it almost locked as we tackle the short, steep 4WD section. With relief we scramble back through the fallen gumtree canopy and scoot back across the creek. I check the GPS and come up with an alternative escape route - it looks easy until we get a short distance into it.

The farmers must be pleased. This is mid way through the growing period and the wheat & barley crops look thick enough to walk on top of.

This road's underwater in sections and the mud's almost as bad as the first road in. Rich and I work together to alternatively push and walk the bikes through each bog, some only a couple hundred metres from the last bog. It's better than a gym membership and this hard going has me sweating like a rapist in my thermals and layers of winter clothing. But it's all good fun.

Sidestands are highly over-rated.

The next intersection with promise of potential escape to dry roads is only a kilometre away, but it feels like 50. I know there's a better, all-weather road running parallel to the mud pond we're tackling. We've just got to get there.

I'm forced to ride past Rich's fallen bike to try and find somewhere to park, upright, myself. I'm not really trying to cross the tracks, just having troubles going forwards at this particular moment.

Rich breaks out his tyre levers to help my sidestand support my bike so I can park up and help him scramble in the mud and raise his fallen bike. It's hard enough to walk upright in this red grease, let alone move forward easily under power.
The side of the verge gets that bad in the end, we are forced back onto the roadway to make progress.
Finally at the intersection, we head for the parallel road and dry land, we hope.

The Great Escape wasn't meant to be. Just prior to reaching a cross-roads half way to freedom, I feel and hear the tyres picking up mud again. I stop and wait for Rich to catch up to warn him of the mud ahead.

Trying to move forward again, my front end plunges as I let the clutch out, then pogos back up, then plunges again. What the hell?, I think. Rich yells a warning that my front wheel isn't turning. So I stop and we try to turn the front wheel by each grabbing a handful of spokes and lifting. The bike leaves the ground but the wheel just doesn't budge. So out with the 10 mm open end spanner and spend 30 minutes digging the front fender bolts from their damp home. I make a mental note to add my good ratcheting ring spanners to my tool bag set when I get home. After digging off about two kilograms of firm clay with a tyre iron, I lock the freed guard under an Andy Strapz Piggy Back Strapz holding the tent onto the swag.

The intersection we need to travel through is a complete disaster - the mud is easily axle deep and impassable with the road beyond partially flooded further up. So we turn around and head back to the last boggy road once again.

It's taken us three hours to do the last 10 or so kilometres. No more bloody adventure!! Enough, we hope. We head up the only other road available at the boggy road intersection. It proves to be a better, all-weather road. We need to make some distance so reaching a bitumen road just outside the township of Balaklava, we make use of it. After only a short distance, I spot another touring adventure bike parked up in a roadside rest area. I give him a wave then think, "Stuff it, I'll see if he's okay." It turns out to be another South Oz ADV inmate, Snale, on his way home from the Off Centre Rally. We chat for a short while then make tracks again. It's past lunch time and Clare township is our target.
About ten kilometres later, I'm bored with the bitumen and spot a road linking up with my GPS route north again. It proves to be a good all-weather road. It leads along a wide fast dirt road that suddenly terminates at a farmer's gate. Damn GPS's. Wish they could discriminate road routes better off the data maps used. The only near option is a dirt track leading off 90 degrees downhill. We go 50 metres down it and it soon becomes apparent it's another greasy track we need to leave alone today. It takes a few scary moments and a bit of a push to turn the bikes around. We back track to a small village we passed through and take a side road leading up into gently rolling hills. This turns out to be an absolutely brilliant twisting, snaking dirt road that follows a creek valley all the way into the Clare township. What a great blast this road is after the previous frustrations. Rich and I find a shop for lunch. While waiting for a hot meal to be cooked, I bolt my front fender back on while Rich removes and cleans his guard and brake lines.

Clare is a beautiful old mixed farming and wine grape growing centre roughly 120 kilometres north of Adelaide. It's also the point at which Rich must depart for home and family. It must be terrible having a real job .
Thanks Richard. It was a brilliant blast and top morning. And thankyou for the photos to add to this ride report.

From this point onwards, I need to avoid too much more excitement. Easier said than done, when you're me.

To be continued.......

Sundowner screwed with this post 09-05-2010 at 07:49 AM
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