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Old 10-03-2010, 02:26 AM   #1
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Cameron Corner - 6 day blast

Day 1 - Coorparoo to Cambooya.

Google map link

Day 1 is more about preparation than any real riding. It sees Kelly and I hire the car, pack the car, pack the bike up and scramble around doing any finishing touches. I've been getting stuff ready since half way through Sunday (the previous day). Been flat out with work as well as choco time, hence haven't had much time to get things in order.

I'm stressing and scrambling about what to take with regards to sat phone, spot, UHF and all that stuff. Until you go, you just don't know. To top it all off, I have a visit to the bank to organise some finances and take a dash into the city to make a purchase. More on that later. Kelly later wonders why I took so long. I simply say I got stuck talking to the guys down at KTM Brisbane while buying my Sidi Adventure boots. It's a plausible excuse as it's a regular occurrence any time I walk into a bike shop. I'm pretty sure we're all guilty of this.

We leave a bit after 4pm, straight up the highway, I stop of at Olbis and buy a better aerial for the handheld UHF to get me more range should I need it. PS: Highly recommend this to anyone, the standard aerials are pretty average.

Kelly has a bit of an adventure ... in all my excitement I actually entered the incorrect address in the GPS. We're meant to be heading for Cambooya (south of Toowoomba) but I've directed her to Woombye (down the Gold Coast) .. err ... woops ...

Pretty funny though.

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Old 10-03-2010, 02:27 AM   #2
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Day 2 - Cambooya, Dalby, St George, Bollon

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We wake up in the morning, it's been raining steadily during the evening. No problem, today is mostly tar anyway. Kelly realises the passenger foot well is quite damp, and has water in it. Bugger about the laptop, camera and text book sitting there! We ring up Europcar and organise a swap. What a pain in the arse. In any case, at least we got a Nissan X-Trail instead. More capable than the Subaru Outback they gave us (after all, it's a blessing in disguise this car swap I think). It's got 2000 kays on the clock ... ends up with over 5000 only 5 days later.

We're in T-bar, so might as well go up to Dalby and check out the famous Dalby Moto. I pick up a set of rear brake pads, thinking I might run out on the trip. I end up not needing them, but at least I've got a set when I'm ready. The Tenere 800 is out the front, all washed and ready for another adventure soon no doubt.

On the way to St George. Wide open spaces.



Arrive in St George, check out the info centre.



A lot of water in the river. Everything is still quite wet from all the recent rains.



I spot a Shingleback on the side of the road. Plenty of these around, but they're pretty cool little guys. Apparently they 'shack up' with another Shingleback for up to 20 years!



Taking a break, side of the road is as good as anywhere.



We arrive in Bollon, rather buggered from the day (just the heat, plus a poor nights sleep). The main drag of Bollon.



And the pub, a room for $45, ripper!



After a beer, a good shower is in order. We come back down, have a few beers and it's almost time to order when the power goes out. Shit eh. A great bloke my the name of Mark Savage pipes up and cooks dinner on the BBQ for us. He has links with the Husqvarna moto group and set a world record back in 2009 around a Motocross track. Sounds like a crazy guy. Mark Savage world record

The publican Mary is great. Very nice people and all welcome for a chat. The pub by candlelight.



I'm shattered, haven't had much sleep the entire week and stress levels have been up. Time for a good snooze. Zzzzzzzz. Tomorrow is a big one.

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Old 10-03-2010, 02:28 AM   #3
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Day 3 - Bollon, Cunamulla, Tharogminda, Noccundra, Cameron Corner, 758 km.

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For the most part, this was a lot of road kays, just trying to get west to the good stuff. I wasn't necessarily interested in dong every bit of dirt I could find along the way. After all, I only had limited time to fit it all in, and as it proved, I think I got it just right for my ability / fitness level. There's only so much super human distance you can do. I'm not Phil n Bill.

The day starts nice n clear, then turns a bit cloudy, however the temp is great. It only gets up to 22 deg C all day. What a rarity!

Wide open spaces, and some emus.



A sample of a lake area, which is probably dry most times. Just because of the rain we've had it's actually got water in it.



We arrive at Thargominda, refuel (including an extra 30L), have some lunch (hamburger) and check out the information centre.



The Adventure starts here ... I bloody hope so. The 'Adventure Way' should be re-named the 'mind numbing way' - while the scenery is interesting and I actually enjoy it, the road is so straight and flat.



I was wanting to take the Boolloo Downs road across to the Corner, but was advised it was closed and is more of a goat track than a road as such. In any case, it seemed we wouldn’t be getting through.

We headed to Noccundra and the pub.



The turn off heading South to Cameron Corner.



Nuccundra pub.




We bought some water from the pub, asked about the road conditions again then headed south to the turn off for Cameron Corner which then heads South West. 150 kays to the turn off basically.

I can't remember when it turned from dirt to sand, but the first section was quite good, open dirt road, with a reasonable surface, a bit loose. Very open landscape, as far as the eye could see.



Cruisin ...



More scenery ... or ... something ..



Creeks had plenty of water in them.



On the bridge.



Most of the boggy patches had alternative routes around them, which you are advised to use. It stop the road getting chopped up and makes life easy for everyone. This one didn't, but it was all good, a nice firm base so no problems. The turn off heading South West to the Corner was about 100m up the road from this.



The turn off. Only 109 kays to go! (yeah, only!)



I'd never really done much sand riding, my experience was basically hitting a few patches and going "oh shit" - for some reason I still wanted to come out here though! True to Marks's previous comments, it wasn't that deep and had a hard base. It wasn't the bottomless sand you get through the dunes etc.

Still, for someone with few skills it was a challenge, and my legs were burning. The stand position was a bent leg stand with my weight as far back as possible to get the weight off the front wheel. Hands were feeling it from holding on (basically the ergos just aren’t quite right).



I stopped regularly just to drink (didn't want to take a hand off the bars). It seemed to take forever. The last 110 kays was slower, averaging say 60 – 70 kays an hour, depending on how much sand was about. Unfortunately I’m not the master sand blaster and I couldn’t tuck in at 140 and get 6 foot of air while having a ciggie over the dunes.

The track into the corner was actually quite enjoyable and at least predictable. There was a few areas where you had to drive around bog holes etc, but overall it was pretty good. Again, there was lots of sand in general, but a hard base and not too deep at all. I was going reasonably slowly anyway, so I didn’t hit anything too hard.

I kept pushing, knowing that I wanted to get into the corner. It was quite late, and the sun had set. The high beams were on (lights I mean), but probably a bit too low so I couldn’t see far enough ahead. There were a few arse puckering moments as I was going slower than before and probably getting more caught in the sand (or maybe the sand was worse) – I kept looking at the GPS just hoping I would arrive on top of the spot.

Sunset.



Finally arrived at the corner! I saw a glimmer of yellow light and a few speed signs on the approach to the corner store! What a day, and an achievement. Here we were drinking Coopers at the corner of SA, NSW and QLD. We were both pretty bloody excited!





Pub of the year 2005! Pub of a lifetime if it served me cold beer n food!



Tuckin in, man that was good.



And to the previous story. My head was full of crazy ideas that I would somehow crash in the sand, cark it and never get to Cameron Corner. Some years later someone would trifle through my tool box and go "hey, what's this" and find a bloody diamond ring in there! Kelly and I have been together for a long time, and it was about time I got my arse into gear.

You might remember me scrambling to get finances in order, rush into town, buy a ring, get it insured, put it in bag where Kelly wouldn't find it (she actually trawled through it on the day, saw the bag and thought it was something else), wrap it up then put it in the tool box where it wouldn't be found. That's the best bit, she carried it all the way out to the corner for me!

So with all the romance I could muster, in the car park, outside the pub after a Pale Ale that went straight to my head, I asked Kelly to marry me. She said yes by the way (people always seem to ask, and no, we haven’t got a bloody date set for the wedding! And, yes, I did get on one knee, and I did have a ring … I think that’s all the standard questions out of the way).

Huzzah!

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Old 10-03-2010, 02:29 AM   #4
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Day 4 - Cameron Corner, Tibooburra, Wanaaring, Bourke, 557 km

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What a day. I thought getting to the corner was a challenge, getting out was way worse. If you’re interested, hands down the easiest way to get to the corner it from the North East via QLD. This is considerably easier than doing it from NSW out through Tibooburra, Wanaaring, Bourke etc.

We woke up, had bacon and eggs and bought a few stubbie coolers. Handed over about $200 for all out food, accom, beer and the like, supporting the locals!

Flag post.



The store.



The corner post.



The Dog fence. This is a bloody big fence to stop the Dingoes from QLD getting across into NSW and SA. It might sound like a lot of work, after all, what could a Dingo do? Well, for example, one got through the other day and ran 8 lambs to death and killed 3 sheep (or the other way around, you know how it is, chinese whispers). In any case, just one Dingo can cause quite a bit of havoc, so a whole stack of them can have pretty serious consequences. Hence ... a bloody big fence. It's interesting to see all the animal tracks on either side of the fence, various walks of life.



Enjoying ourselves.



Essentially this day was broken into three legs. The first section out of the Corner to Tibooburra I actually found the easiest as I’m sure the road was in the best condition of the lot. Things were feeling good and I was alert.
From Tibooburra onwards the road wasn’t too bad, although still plenty of sand and a few things to keep me on my toes. The stamina was really starting to give though, and I was getting tired. I was picking the hard pack sections on the crest of the road, sitting down, taking a break, then standing when I had too. Kind of like a race, just putting it together one section at a time.

On the road to Tibooburra.



One more ...



We stopped for Fuel at Tibooburra. Should have filled up the jerries too if I had of known fuel was so expensive at Wanaaring!

Headed out of Tibooburra and off to the east. The road started reasonably well and I was thinking this would be a good high speed cruise. The surface was a bit loose though, bike moved around a bit. I may have these slightly out of order ... can't remember the precise location, but I do know the Sturt National Park was after Tibooburra.

Salt pans ... GPS says we're driving across water ...





After a break (you tend to take these a bit) ... support vehicle behind.



Some interesting features ...



Wildflowers.



Sturt National Park. I'm informed that some of this National Park is essentially just old shit farming country that wasn't much good. Sounds like Army land, not good for anything else except a rock haven, each with your knee caps name on it.



A Bearded Dragon. Lots of these around. I like the 'fight or flight' instinct. Sometimes they run, sometimes they brace up and just stay still. At least the Shinglebacks don't move much, so you can dodge them easily enough. Pity I didn't see any others like Frill Necks or a Thorny Devil (although I think I've seen one before). I guess I didn't get off the road and walk around too much. Might have found myself a few snakes too!



Coming down to a Salt Pan.



Bike making sure things are ok. Kelly hadn't been on a salt pan before. It's always great to have a bit of a walk and realise how thin the crust is and how silty and soft it is underneath. Something that backpackers and hire 4WDs don't seem to appreciate ....



Me taking a walk.



Makin tracks.



Perspective.



I stopped for fuel at Wanaaring, rather buggered but wanted to push on. Fuel was bloody exxy as well, the most expensive of the trip. $1.85 a litre! It was cheaper out at the corner! I got word that the road was “much the same as you’ve just been on, except more sand” … great … just what I wanted to hear. True to his word, the sand was longer in stretches and a bit deeper as well. I stopped multiple times, kept eating, kept drinking, just putting each section together. I was still averaging 80 kays an hour or so, but it makes for a long trip.

A lot of the trip was spent like this.



The amount of water around was truly amazing.



After what seemed like an eternity, we came into Bourke. I say that as I didn't realise the road was as sandy as it had been for so long. As I stated previously, for those who are all over this kind of riding they'll eat it up no problems. But for me, although I was still moving at a good pace for me, it wasn't sitting on 120 or more through the sand and just flogging it. Anywhere from 70 - 90 kays or so through the sand and that was about me. I crashed down the road, 5 mins from home last year. I know what it feels like. Stuff that in the middle of nowhere!



Nice roadside scenery.



Finally, arrived in Bourke, straight to the info centre! I was shattered, needed a good sleep, my legs had built up quite a bit of lactic. This sums up my energy levels really well, and captures the moment.



Booked into a motel, had a shower and went down the road to the local Bowls club for a few beers and some food. Again, in bed by about 8:30. Zzzzzzz. This was a tough day for me, mentally and physically.

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Old 10-03-2010, 02:29 AM   #5
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Day 5 - Bourke, Brewarrina, Walgett, Come by Chance, Pilliga, Narrabri, 439 km

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Day 5 was a part rest day. I had a good sleep in and caught up a bit. The rear tyre was almost toast (Pirelli Scorpion Rally, overall held up really well) so I decided to get the 908RR put on at the local tyre shop. The guys there were really good, changed it over no problems. Note: They don't have a wheel balancer though, so I left the old wheel weights on. Seemed to work fine.

By the time it was all sorted I think we set off around 11am on our way to Narrabri. There was a few kays to do in the arvo, so didn't do a complete dirt route. Slabbed it to Brewarrina (was hoping there might be a brewery, but no luck). We turned off the main road to follow along the river into Walgett. Blacksoil road mainly and I would hate to attempt it in the wet. Suicide mission for sure.

Nice flowers, although I'm sure they are probably weeds.



A lot of the bridges along this road had been re-rated to 2T. I didn't get a photo of one in particular, but you could literally see the sag in the bridge beams. Pretty average, they sure do need some funds for bridge upgrades. Must be shit when it rains badly, as not only is the road stuffed, but you wouldn't be able to get through the creeks anyway.



We made our way into Walgett and grabbed some lunch and a bit of fuel. Erghg, another shithole. I appologise to tourism NSW but when the whole town has metal grilles all over the windows you know it's not the best place to relax and flex out. In any case, a good bacon and egg burger, then headed off to Narrabri via the dirt.

In town, you turn off to Come By Chance, Pilliga, Narrabri etc.

A bit of a crossroad, signs at Come by Chance, Pilliga.



The road through here is also mostly blacksoil, with ruts left over from the rains. Not bad on a bike, might be a bit scarier in a car. As you get towards Pilliga, it opens up to red sand country, a real change and unexpected from what we had been on. The sand is only minor in patches, but there is patches of it where there's holes in the road, so you have a hard lip on the end of the sand holes. Keeping the weight off the front and accelerating through each one sorted it out nicely (I was doing that anyway). Not so nice in the car, you just hit it!

Pilliga springs ... would have been nice if I had more time, would have gone for a refreshing dip. A few campers / nomads here.



The bore ..



The rest of the road into Narrabri is all tar from memory. We took a quick shortcut across near the radar station etc, cut a good 8 kays off the trip. Wound our way into Narrabri and the place looked pretty decent. Nice tidy town, decent shops, mechanics, Honda dealership etc.

I realised my headlight had blown earlier that morning. Put another fuse in and it blew straight away, so I figured it was a short.

Taking the headlight assy apart.



The culprit was the park light wires had worn through as they were rubbing on the sharp mesh grille at the front. Perhaps when I had the GPS power socket installed down the road they didn't put the headlight assy on back properly and the wires were as per this photo.



Note to others, just check these wires when you put your headlight assy back together and make sure they are clear of the wire mesh. I taped up the wires and the mesh to avoid any more hassles. New fuse in and it was sorted. Easy fix. *phew*

Off down to Tattersals pub for a beer and a Schnitzel. Consulted the map and worked out a rough direction for tomorrow.

FuTAnT screwed with this post 10-03-2010 at 08:59 PM
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Old 10-03-2010, 02:30 AM   #6
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Day 6 - Narrabri, Bingara, Inverell, Emmaville, Deepwater, Coorparoo, 603 km

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I plan on being down in this region on the coming weekend (9-10 Oct) hence I didn't go all out and do a shitload of dirt etc. I was interested in the road through to Bingara as at least it was over the mountains and I love a good twisty piece of tarmac. The road from Narrabri to Bingara is excellent and you get great views going up the mountains and back down the other side.

Just off the turnoff, outside Narrabri.



Coming into Mt Kaputar National Park.



View off the side.



At the bottom of the mountain, on the Bingara side.



Mmmmmm ... Better Beef.



Cool old theatre.



I'm not sure if I'm mising a few photos, but we didn't take many more in any case. We stopped at Inverell then went up through Emmaville to Deepwater. While in general this road was great, there was one section, only a few kays long that was bloody scary. Gravel inches deep, absolutely no bloody traction (not that the 908RR was giving me any bloody confidence anyway! ... *spit*). I was happy to get through that section and back onto a better dirt road. Again, nice scenery, although the weather started to turn in a bit.

Slabbed it up to Tenterfield and then Stanthorpe. We stopped for a late lunch and made a decision to slab it home. I've done the roads up the back of Stanthorpe etc multiple times, and I'll probably do it again this weekend, so I really wasn't that fussed. Plus the weather was drizzly, no tell me again why I'm not at home ... having beer n eating Pizza?

At home, triumphant, Cameron Corner done!



Trip summary.



Beer n Pizza ... oh yeah!



That's it! Although the dash did start to play up coming into Brisbane. It flicked to miles per hour, then scrolled through all the trip meters etc. Eventually the buttons on the dash wouldn't even work, so I'm stuck on the fuel trip of some crap. Have to get it checked out this week, hopefully it's an easy fix or I'll be waiting some stupid amount of time for KTM Australia to order a new part in. Prove me wrong KTM ... prove me wrong.

Highly recommend the trip to anyone, great to get out there and give it a bash. Also makes me realise if I want to do the Simpson etc, I think I'll take a smaller bike. I'm not a super advanced rider, so I think I'm risking too much taking the Adventure out there in that kinda country. Perhaps a 610 or a 630 Husky.

FuTAnT screwed with this post 10-03-2010 at 09:11 PM
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Old 10-03-2010, 03:09 AM   #7
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Old 10-03-2010, 03:38 PM   #8
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Nice RR it is fanastic country out there. The bride and I did our first trip there by 4by at Easter this year.

Congrats on popping the big Q, by the way!!

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Old 10-03-2010, 09:13 PM   #9
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Updated, all days complete. Enjoy.
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Old 10-03-2010, 11:05 PM   #10
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Nice RR. Liked the photo's as well. I'm the guy you chatted to with 6 teeth left on the rear sprocket at Tharmomindah. Glad you had a good trip.
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Old 10-03-2010, 11:40 PM   #11
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Very cool ride report and photos...
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Old 10-03-2010, 11:43 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ianbmw
Nice RR. Liked the photo's as well. I'm the guy you chatted to with 6 teeth left on the rear sprocket at Tharmomindah. Glad you had a good trip.
Ah yes, ello! Forgot to mention you in my RR. How did you end up? I take it you got home ok. You get sorted at Cunamulla or go further inland for repairs?
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Old 10-04-2010, 12:17 AM   #13
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The bike shop you mentioned at Cunnamulla had an XR sprocket. 4 teeth to big but for $38 and 500 rpm more who cares. They also had a set of bearings for the back as well. Very resourceful and helpful.
6400 kilometres of rough roads and Desert in 14 days takes its toll. Sounds like your bike did okay.
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Old 10-04-2010, 02:07 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ianbmw
The bike shop you mentioned at Cunnamulla had an XR sprocket.
That's good to know! Glad they helped you out. Sounds like your lucky day! All sorted and on your way home. Nice.

I'd be keen to check out your own ride report, sounds like you would have had a ripper trip. You pack bloody light too!
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Old 10-04-2010, 03:18 AM   #15
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great RR. love the country out there
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