It was planned as a multiple rider, supported trip for 3 weeks and ended up as a 2 rider, 2 bike adventure. We left on July 1st, Speedzter on the KTM950 (03? model) and myself on a 99' 1150GS. The route taken ended up about 6000km, just over half of which was dirt/sand/rock and whatever else you find in the outback. Routes changed along the way to suit local conditions - first few days had seen rain so we missed the Balranald/Mungo/Pooncarie tracks.
The route went something like this, going in an anticlockwise loop.
I was trying out a set of new Andy Strapz panniers on a custom rack with a simple sports type bag in place of the rear seat. Speedzter had a set of Gearsack panniers and Ventura tail bags. The GS ran TKC's while the 950 had a TKC front and indestructible Dunlop 908RR rear. This gave me the shits as no matter how hard he tried, the Dunlop seemed not to wear. The TKC rear of the GS wore like buggery on the blacktop but was reasonable on softer surfaces.
Anyhow here's a few pics
First day meeting with shiny clean bikes
Start of the unsealed stuff - did I mention it was bloody freezing?
Campsite on road to White Cliffs
Getting back to the road required a bit of peg standing....
Now we all know pigs like wallowing in mud
Where as it seems the KTM prefers just to get its wheels dirty
Out from Tibooburra, we wonder what the poor people are doing
Once you start riding it is dificult to stop for photos, I take my hat off to those that find the time.
Temperature on the rise as we contemplate the old Strezlecki Track - In great condition BTW.
Even the Cooper was flowing at Innamincka
Sunrises don't get any better than in the outback
Speedzter tackling some of the softer sand on the track across to Walkers Crossing. In some places it wasn't as easy to get off the track, but beats the shit out of commuting to work every day! The prolonged dry has made many tracks very dusty, trying to overtake vehicles was entertaining to say the least.
Adventure Rider country
The el-cheapo K-mart compressor at work again - don't leave home without one. Probably useless for reseating a tubeless tyre, but great for pressure adjustments. Oh, and that's why KTMs like having GSs along - power socket std for compressor and built in bead breaker/side stand
End of the Walkers Crossing Track
A quick run out to look at Big Red - a popular spot for 4WD 'ers.
And of course the Birdville Hotel shot
It must have been an Adventure Ride, we camped a lot, this time north of Birdsville
The country out here doesn't get any bigger
Taking on more supplies - Speedzter wondering where he can fit it so as not to upset the handling
On the Donahue Hwy at the Georgina River. Riding doesn't get any better than when a friendly Victorian 4wd'er supplies cold beer
The Donahue Hwy at it's best
The only bulldust holes we found that were of reasonable size, and very well marked.
Camping by the side of the road is a fantastic attraction in Oz, let's not lose the priveledge!!
Checked out some of the gorges West of Alice Springs, in this case Stanley Chasm.
We opted not to ride to Finke from Alice, and headed south on the Stuart Hwy. At Kulgera we had had enough blacktop and took the newly graded road out to Finke.
Even the track from New Crown to Mt'Dare had the sandy bits graded - bugger, I was looking forward to that section as sand was the only place I could keep up with the KTM. Instead I watch him ride off into the distance on the rocky shit, oh for more suspension travel (but at least my rims are still round)
More Australian beauty...at Eringa homestead site
We start worrying when black clouds start appearing on the horizon in the morning. We set a cracking pace for the final 180km into Oodnadatta. Forecast is for rain in the evening. We wimp and head for Coober Pedy, just beating the rain.
The final 3 days home were a mix of bloody strong winds, buckets of rain and freezing temperatures. Adventure Riding was starting to suck
Some observations along the way;
Satphones are great.
Andy Strapz panniers are dustproof, mud proof and reasonably watertight.
The 950 and GS had similar fuel consumption on the highways at same speeds. Off road the GS always was better, altough this may be because the 950 could be ridden harder. In sand with same riding speeds the GS was much better.
Fuel prices were up to $1.90, mostly around 1.55 - 1.65
Next time I'll do more exercise before leaving - standing on the pegs of a GS for hours is tiring (but makes beer taste better)
Whether you ride a 950, a GS or a postie bike, Outback riding is bloody good fun!
Can't wait for the next one
Thanks Speedzter for a great ride!!