Sorry for the lapse in writing the outback saga but I have been busy trying so make some money for an upcoming trip this winter, yup winter is on its way in my part of the world.
Day seventeen of the rideabout began with breaking camp, grabbing a morning snack and gassing the bikes for the upcoming long and dusty ride from Laura to Bramwell the site of the OCR.
Along side of the gas station they had this neat old car, I have heard of compact cars but this is the smallest real car I have ever seen.
Just so you get an idea of how small this car really is, I am 6 feet tall, this car is tiny I would have really liked to sit in it just to see if a regular sized person could even drive it.
We take a break along side of the road, in the 31 days I was to spend with Jock, THIS is one of the few times I ever saw him take a drink of "water".
Just one of many road trains we were to come in contact with during this part of the ride.
This truck was going quite slowly, not to much dust.
We stop for food, fuel and refreshment, how the place got its name I don't know and I didn't ask.
A close up of the sign on the roof.
I took advantage of the fuel-lunch stop to swap in a clean air filter, the dust had pretty well clogged up the one in the air box. This LONG straight stretch of dirt road was kinda hard packed, not to dusty but rough with a lot of holes and ruts, still I held the Ural at 100kph and made good time.
Again I was in the lead, I rode past the big tire sign at the turn off to Bramwell Station where the OCR was being held as I "assumed" we would be filling our gas tanks before going to the rally site and setting up camp. So I rode on another 10 klicks or so until I reached the gas station at Bramwell Junction. I gassed up, filled the spare gas can, drank a clod Coca Cola and had a bit of ice cream, still Jock and Zac hadn't shown up. So I decided to ride back to the rally site to see if they had turned off there instead of fueling first.
I rode back to the big tires and turned into Bramwell Station the site of the OCR.
OK, I have been thinking about how to present this part of the ride report without sounding like a "Crabby old bastard" but there really isn't any way to do it and be honest so here goes. Upon reaching the ORC site I was again reunited with Jock and Zac who had arrived there whilst I was waiting for them at the gas station.
Sunset was fast approaching, Jock and Zac had already set their tents up. As I was setting my tent up, I had barely gotten it out of the bag, I was approached by an Aussie who explained to me that one of his friends had had a mishap on a dirt two rut road coming to the camp ground. He said that his friends bike was wreaked and couldn't be ridden he asked if I would use the Ural to go pick him up and bring him aback to camp.
This happens a lot, every dual sport rally I have ever attended the Ural's are way to often asked to perform rescue duty to retrieve broken riders and get them to aid. So I said sure I'll help, I'll follow you to where your friend is. The guy then looked at me and said something about he didn't want to ride that nasty stretch of road again and all I had to do was follow the two ruts that ran out of camp until I came across a wreaked bike and its rider.
This kinda took me aback, I said I don't have a problem helping your friend but I don't know where he is, I don't know what two rut road your talking about and I don't know how far away he is and its soon going to be getting dark. I explained the the Ural I was riding only had one wheel drive and that if the gravel was as deep as he said it was that I might have trouble and may need help myself if I got stuck. This seemed to fall on deaf ears as two of this broken down guys friends didn't want to accompany me on the rescue mission. At this point I was getting a bit pissed and put it to his friends that if at least one of them didn't go with me I wasn't going to be able to help.
One of the fellows finally agreed to go with me so we set off, once we started down the dirt road that in some places had new freshly laid gravel in places at least a foot deep, he took off and disappeared down the road. About a klick past where the other rider left me I got stuck in the deep gravel, with only one wheel drive I had a hell of a time getting moving again, if the Ural didn't have a reverse gear in it that would have been the end of my ride, I had to back up and then go forward until I dug myself out of the deep gravel. All was going fairly well until I came across some more deep gravel with an off camber side slope that put the sidecar up hill in a corner PHCUK, stuck again and damned near tipped over. I managed to get going again after a lot of work with NO ONE TO HELP.
OK by now the sun is low and I am not in a very good mood and I'll admit it. quite a few klicks later I come across the guy who was supposed to lead me and the guy who crashed, the crashed rider had hit a tree with his bike busting the timing chain case among other damage to the bike. The rider thankfully was not hurt bad and seemed to be in pretty good shape. Here's the front of the broken bike.
We push the broken bike out of the road and strip the gear off the bike and load it into the Ural. As luck would have it, right where this wreak happened the road was covered in fresh deep gravel, I had a hard time getting turned around and then getting going when headed back with the heavy load of the gear and the rider.
Out of the nasty stuff and back on the hard packed road.
All the while we were loading the guys gear into the rig he's telling me how thankful he is and how he'll buy me a beer when we get back to camp. Well he NEVER did buy me a beer and I had to set my tent up in the dark. Yeah I was a bit on the grumpy side that evening. OK, I have to get back out in the garage and continue building Ural skid plates, I have to have one ready for a guy who is coming over tomorrow to have it installed. Stay tuned, its gets better, this is the ONLY time during the trip when I was really up set and it does not set the tone for any of the rest of the trip or the ride report.