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Old 12-27-2012, 11:56 PM   #1
XRman OP
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Joined: Dec 2006
Location: SW Victoria
Oddometer: 2,354
South West Victoria

I have been playing around with my GPS and mapping program ( Oziexplorer) making up routes in various places for the “ one day” when I have time to ride them. My appetite for doing this was whetted by my riding buddy BRR when we did a lightning tour in the Flinders Ranges in South Australia in November this year. It was a great time and BRR plotted our course on his Garmin GPSmap62s and then wirelessly transferred it to my unit. I didn’t know they would do this! So we followed the pink line around some pretty amazing country.



We had planned to do the 14 day APC rally in 2012 but my leg breaking incident caused us to cancel. Now the plan is to do the 4 day APC rally in February instead. These events are a GPS navigation rally so we need to get on top of finding the way on the ground, following the pink line on the screen. I also need some on bike time before I try to ride for 4 days straight.


So yesterday I fuelled up the piglet (Suzuki DRZ400E) with 28L of premium unleaded, switched on my spot tracker, switched on the GPS and selected Portland Victoria to Mt. Burr in South Australia route that I had made and followed the pink line.


I left Portland at 9-30 a.m. and went about 10 km on the sealed road heading west until I came to the first section of the Cobboboonee Forest. This camel of a forest is divided into 8 parts, 7 non- contiguous “forest parks” and one central “national park” separating the areas set aside for recreation. Two different administration bodies and no money to develop recreation anyway! It was a political situation foisted upon the local population by the ALP to win Green Votes in the State election.

The Cobboboonee forest has been logged for over 200 years since European settlement. It is riddled with trails that made for great trail riding environment, but 12 years ago the ALP closed our forest industry to protect the forest from selective timber harvesting and exported the timber industry to third world countries. We all know this has been a wonderful thing for the world environment!


With no track maintenance most of the old tracks have grown over so trail riding will eventually be restricted to the Great South West Walk. Not an ideal situation for anyone, but it will be the result of government rigidity in thinking. The GSSW is a 200 KM walk that loops through our district and attracts a few bushwalkers each year. It has attracted a lot of government money and takes a lot of effort to maintain, but in reality is not of great economic benefit to the local community. Having said that, I support the concept and have helped maintain it.








I had to wind my way through the major fire roads and ignore the tempting trail openings along the way. I kept my speed down because of the influx of black wallabies coming from the north via the blue gum plantations. They dart out at the last second and can take out your front wheel.

I came across two Parks Victoria blokes laying fox baits.

They were a bit camera shy in case I was an animal activist! You can locate the bait stations by the pink tape tied to trees and a yellow tag nailed to the tree.





I eventually came out of the northern section of the CF into pine plantation and some rolling hills.







Once I crossed the highway I kept North on Johnsons siding road which took me into farming areas and the start of the blue gum plantations. I got a bit puzzled with the GPS route here but eventually found my way out to the west and headed to the state border.








The track forded the head waters of the Crawford River and wound through a mixture of pines and blue gums. I was having trouble using my phone camera. Glare was an issue and some of the vista was lost in the photos. I will have to get another point and shoot camera soon.




I eventually came out of the northern section of the CF into pine plantation and some rolling hills. Once I crossed the highway I kept North on Johnsons siding road which took me into farming areas and the start of the blue gum plantations. I got a bit puzzled with the GPS route here but eventually found my way out to the west and headed to the state border.



The track forded the head waters of the Crawford River and wound through a mixture of pines and blue gums. I was having trouble using my phone camera. Glare was an issue and some of the vista was lost in the photos. I will have to get another point and shoot camera soon.



The terrain became sandy and after my recent deep sand leg breaking incident my confidence is not high. When suddenly confronted with axle deep sand for 100 m I tried to swerve off the track onto better traction, but ended up here on my side.







I cranked up the steering damper and the bike managed it better. Not as well as an enduro bike; but better.
I came out near the CFA fire station near the bridge over the Glenelg river.



[I remembered this area from the 1990s when the local DSMRA group made a navigation route sheet which we called the South West Adventure trail (SWAT). I intend to ride that again soon and do a GPS plot. I might need my tractor and slasher to get through some of the trails though!


I came to a few T junctions on the road where the map indicated a through road. The road reserve had been fenced off and gated. Not wanting to cause any fuss I zoomed out on the GPS and found alternate tracks.






The roads on the S.A. side were sealed with limestone. They were very white and bright, but they would be very slippery when wet.




The roads were a hoot to ride on with sweeping bends and a few tight corners to keep me amused. The DRZ brakes work well enough.






This is the major industry in Tarpeena : timber processing.


After three hours I had to make a decision. I was just North of Mt. Gambier and Tarpeena. Would I be able to make Mt Burr and get back home before roo time?


I wanted to zip into Mt Gambier to the marine shop for yacht fittings and visit The Cougar for a beer. Once those tasks were done, it was obvious that time was not on my side. My decision was to head to the coast and connect up with my pink line again and turn east.






Luck was with me and I found some interesting dirt roads as I skirted around Mt Gambier and headed towards Mt Schank . This is also an extinct volcano.




I found another road heading south that turned into a track though farmers fields. It showed all the agricultural products of this region. (Diary cows, hay making, irrigation for crops and sheep)




A little further on I came to Ewans Ponds which is a natural spring with a huge volume of fresh water that flows into the sea.



Scuba diving is allowed there but nothing else. Why do we tolerate such restrictions to our freedom? Stupid regulations deserve to be ignored.






I eventually hit the border and saw this monument to the surveyors of the Sate borders. Those blokes were tough but the job almost killed them. It took 3 years to survey from the coast near Nelson to the River Murray.





I rode to Nelson on the sealed road. This place is popular for holiday makers and fishing. Pub is good.







Along the Glenelg River I followed a sandy track. I was a bit busy dodging roos and 4WD and trying to stay upright in deep sandy bits so I didn’t take any photos.





I stopped at one of the many camping places along the river.





Once out of the Lower Glenelg National Park I started a series of South East turns to reach the Portland Nelson highway. Pines and more pines and fast dirt roads! The one road suddenly ended in very deep sand that had been ploughed for a fire break. Who needed brakes? The prospect of wallowing though a kilometre of this to get to where I needed to go was daunting so I back tracked and eventually found my way to the edge of the pines and the National Park.






I played around the pines a bit after crossing south of the highway, but eventually I had to slab it down to the next road. Telegraph road runs back into Portland past Mt Richmond (300 M high/ should be called Hill Richmond).



I detoured off the Telegraph road onto Kennedys track and headed toward Cape Bridgewater.



From the hill above the Bridgwater area I made my way back onto Telegraph road and back into Portland.


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I had a great time and felt that I have a handle on riding with GPS now. It is the last ride on the DRZ before I fit a wide ratio gearbox. The DRZ held up pretty well. The suspension is supple, yet firm, thanks to Dwayne Alexander our local guru. I think this last mod will give me close to my ideal ADV bike.



This where I rode.


XRman screwed with this post 12-30-2012 at 12:02 AM
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