This is my first ride report, I have read a lot of other people's adventures, so I thought I would tell you about my latest one.
It starts with the Phillip Is GP which, for those of you who don't follow such stuff, is held every year in early October about 150km SE of Melbourne, Australia.
Herein lies problem No 1, I live about 4000km away, on the other side of Australia, in the hills SE of Perth. This has not stopped me doing the trek 5 times previously, in fact, for me it is the ride, not the racing that moves me. The GP is really just an excuse to see more of the country.
So, in the last week of September I load up the trusty Guzzi Le Mans IV.
I have owned this bike from new, (23yrs), and know him pretty well, we have done over 200,000 km together.
On a sunny Wednesday morning we set off through the lovely forest that surrounds Perth.
You'll find quite a few pics with "Gus" as the foreground coz there's only me and him.
300ks from Perth we stop for fuel at Hyden, home of the famous Wave Rock, but having been there, done that, we fuel up.
and hit the dirt.
From Hyden to Norseman is 300km of dirt with no services, but having done it many times before, by car and bike, it's a 3 hr non stopper, apart from a pic for you guys, and a stop to allow a road train to get ahead so I didn't have to swallow his dust.
The road varies from 160km/hr stuff, to bloody great holes, often in the space of a few metres, but is easily doable on any road bike.
From Norseman it's an easy 200ks to Balladonia.
Balladonia is just a truck stop on the long and lonely Highway 1, but as they go it's pretty civilised. Pub, Motel, Resturaunt, all the works and jerks.
I have a fav camp spot 5 ks out that I dump my stuff at, empty the top bag, take the bike into "town", fill up, bag of ice, & cokes, back to camp for icy Jacks & Coke, cook up a storm and enjoy my first evening on the road.
If the universe has 10 million stars, you can see em all out here, no light pollution, and very dry air.
As the sun went down it was pretty, but I was a bit slow, so the colour had gone by the time I found the camera.
Up early, as we are now 1000km east of our home, but in the same time zone, so it gets light early
The Eyre Highway is busy these days, lots of trucks and "Grey Nomads" (retirees with caravans) unlike the 1960s when my folks took us kids on the adventure of a lifetime to Sydney, it was all dirt in those days, and bloody rough dirt, even to us "bushies" who were used to dirt.
Back then, if you met someone coming the other way, you stopped and had a chat about the price of corn.
These days its tar seal, but a lot of people still wave and come up to you in roadhouses to chat.
After leaving WA we cross the 100 km or so of the true Nullabour (from the Latin NULLIS = No ARBOUR = TREES
It's another 1000ks to Ceduna, which is civilization again.
This trip I decide to take a detour down the Eyre Peninsular (named after Edward John Eyre, who, in the 1840s WALKED east to west across this desert. His partner was speared by the locals and all his black trackers but one jumped ship. Amazingly, he lived to tell the tale. The Aussie explorers were made of stern stuff.
This area actually has about an 8" annual rainfall, but because it is limestone karst, that is, it was once a coral reef, it is porous limestone with caves, the rain goes straight down. some of the caves are the longest in the world, going for 10s of miles, often right to the sea, so we have blowholes up to 40 km from the sea.
Down the coast we come to the world's centre for cheap oysters, Smokey Bay, I have a wander and a half dozen for morning tea $4
Another 150ks brings me to Streaky Bay. When I was last here, in 1967 it was a dust hole, my how things change in 41 years!
Had lunch at the pub
$8 counter lunch
Met up with a couple of young blokes from Perth on KLRs on their way to Sydney to put the bikes on a plane to Santiago, Chile, to travel around S. America for 9 months - and I thought I was on an adventure!
Here are their bikes
Down to Pt Lincoln, the town with more millionaires than any other in OZ, didn't look like my kinda town, so after a quick look around Coffin Bay
I headed up the East coast of the Peninsular, headed for Cowell, the jumping off place for the ferry to Wallaroo. It was not to be.
In my haste to get out of Lincoln, I forgot to refuel, so 3ks north of a place called Arno Bay I went onto reserve, with 45k to Cowell, at night, I decided to return to Arno.
The fuel station was closed, as was everything, except the pub, which was jumping. 150 people in a town of 50.
The first person I meet is Jacko, who has just had a coming together of car & bike on his way back from Darwin, smashing his left arm and leg in the process. He makes me very welcome and by the time I stagger to bed I have met everyone in town.
I just love the bit about "If you forgot to pay"
Drag myself out of bed in the morning, take a look at the superb architecture of the pub,
and cruise around to Jackos for tea.
Then, after dragging the father of the bride out of bed (did I mention It was a wedding) to open the otherwise shut fuel station, it was on to Cowell and Lucky Bay to catch the ferry across to Walleroo on the Yorke Peninsular. A few bikes on this crossing.
Among this lot was a fellow Mk IV rider from WA who I spent the next week with riding to PI and engaging in a mutual admiration society re our bikes.
Off the ferry in Wallaroo, we headed for Murray Bridge, skirting around Adelaide because cities are not my bag.
Next morning we came across a collection of Nortons just over the bridge in MB, well worth a look even if you have trouble telling one from the other. Dean, the 77yr old "curator" of this museum is quite a character & is happy to chat as long as you are. This is a 1955 Manx.
On to Casterton just across the Victorian border, 3 pubs in Casterton, 2 of them closed and the third not far behind if the clientel on a Sunday arvo/evening is anything to go by (us). Nice building though.
Made even better by the class machinery parked out the front.
South Western Victoria is pretty nice country.
On the south coast of Vic lies the most amazing collection of bikes, collection is hardly the word for it, a jumble would be more like it. Ther is some pretty exotic stuff here, mostly Euro, wierd and rare.
None of it is for sale.
Here are a couple of snaps.
This one caught my eye because of it's similarity to the Guzzi,
No ride east is complete without a blat down the Great Ocean Road, even if it is infested with cops, caravans and tourists in Hyundais.
First though, a night in the best backpackers in OZ. at Pt Campbell.
This is the view from the front verandah
and from just over the road
Spectacular scenery along "The Road"
3 Geese have a chat
We come out the other end unscathed
For those of you who remember the TV series "Seachange" here is Diver Dan's Jetty
and the "closed bridge"
This is Barwon Heads where we stayed in rhe caravan park prior to chatching the ferry across Pt Phillip heads -saves going through Melbourne.
On the Thursday we are set up and ready to go at Trackside Campground.
4 days at the Island and I say goodbye to Clint who has to go back west to work, I ride east to continue my adventure.