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Old 09-03-2011, 02:03 AM   #16
Sundowner OP
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Next morning, the rain is coming down steady and moderate. Nothing I can do but have a sleep in and wait it out. The fire's died overnight so breakfast is cold water from the near empty camelback and some Anzac slice I made before leaving home. By 10am I'm keen to throw the bike back together. The repaired tube has stayed inflated all night. The rain just won't stop hammering down. By noon, trapped in the tent and having read a couple of chapters of a book and becoming aware the rain's easing, I get the bright idea to grab a wash under the rain. Stripped off, soaped down and starting to rinse off with the rain, suddenly it stops. Eap! It could be worse. A bus load of violent, cane wielding Nuns could have driven in while I was standing nekkid next to the bike in the sudden sunshine. After donning fresh clothing, I start looking about and sorting the wet camp.


A nearby introducted cactus plant (all cacti are introduced plants in Oz) that I suspect are edible Prickly Pear (the red bits the actual fruit) but I'm not familiar enough with them to give it a try.


One of literally hundreds of mouse burrows in the long grass metres from my camp. I didn't see a single mouse, fortunately, however during the night I could hear something jumping on my metal cooking gear, followed by the ungodly screech and beating wings of an owl attacking. It was amazing to hear.

Soon it starts to drizzle rain again. I grab my camelback and go for a walk up to the abandoned farmhouse. Just as I reach it, looking for a non-existent rain water tank, I notice a good stream of water cascading off the damaged roof guttering. In a matter of minutes I've got pure, fresh rainwater to last all day. Wandering back to camp, I gather a gum leaf covered fallen tree branch. The leaves burn with an explosive energy due to the oil trapped inside, so with a couple of matches, I've got fire again. The wood found nearby is dry enough to catch quickly. There's plenty of it as well. I only take the solid stuff, as I know many of our native animals live in the hollower pieces.



I get some water boiling for a cup of tea and get stuck into the tyre change job. Once done, I'm actually starting to really like this campsite again. The birds start to come out and the sun shines through clearing skies. It's too late to make any real distance today, so I grab my chair and book then settle into some reading and bird watching.



A flock of bright and noisy parrots flit from tree to tree nearby, so out comes the super zoom FZ40 Panasonic camera - my new toy. I manage to get some great shots just sitting quietly near the fire.


A nesting pair of Musk Lorikeets


Looking for a safe nesting hollow in a gum tree.


While the partner checks me out.


A pair of common Galahs, known to mate for life.


A flock of magnificent Rosellas, a fast moving and noisy bunch.


Some Port Lincoln Ringneck Parrots

And while quietly reading my book, I spot these guys out the corner of my eye, only a couple of metres away grazing on grass seeds.


A dozen or so Stubble Quail. They looked fat and delicious. They all lived happily that day, as I had plenty of food with me.

Finally the sun went down on what turned out to be a pretty decent day. And my tyre's looking properly fixed. With the weather looking alright again, I make my mind up to head east, into the Victorian Goldfields, rather than north towards the goldfields near Yunta and the Flinders Ranges. They'll wait for another trip. I stayed up late enjoying the fire and the sounds of the bush once more.

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Sundowner screwed with this post 09-03-2011 at 02:52 AM
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Old 09-03-2011, 02:28 AM   #17
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Nice day you had there. Where are the pics of the shower?
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Old 09-03-2011, 02:48 AM   #18
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You probably don't want to see me nekkid. But I'll include some shower scenes in a future post.
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Old 09-03-2011, 05:40 AM   #19
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You probably don't want to see me nekkid. But I'll include some shower scenes in a future post.
Ok now I definitely subscribed
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Old 09-03-2011, 03:07 PM   #20
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Great photos..
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Old 09-04-2011, 01:06 AM   #21
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Good one Sundowner

Cheers Terry
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Old 09-04-2011, 08:43 AM   #22
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Next day it truly feels great to be rolling again. I had the tent dry and camp packed by about 9am, despite the threatening dark clouds scooting in from the west. My only concern was to find somewhere with rain water to refill my near empty camelback once again. After about 40 kilometres riding towards the Border Track, I was down to only a couple of farm properties before there'd be a stretch with nothing available. It wasn't what I wanted to do but stopping to check my GPS for water options just near a farm drive, I found my rear tyre deflating quickly yet again. I knew I'd need water to drink if I was going to peel the rear tube out again so I made my way to the farmhouse to see if they'd let me fill the camelback. What ended up happening was that I met Gary and his two motorbike riding sons who insisted on helping me fix the puncture over in their huge shearing shed workshop. It was starting to rain again, so it was too good an offer to refuse. When we got the tube out, I was disappointed to find my previous decent patches had failed to hold. All three peeled off fairly easily. The old rubber glue had simply failed to vulcanise the patches onto the properly scoured up, prepared tube. So while it absolutely poured down, three really good, big, round patches were applied, tested and everything thrown back together - two over the previous holes and one over a tiny pinprick sized hole caused by the tube being stressed by running flat again. The tube was now covered in dozens of fine craters, but only the one showed signs of green Slime puncture seal goo oozing from it. All fixed up, I grabbed a few photos (for the farmers who may be interested in an Oz grain/grazing property), before saying goodbyes and rolling again out into the fresh mud, east once again with a 3litre bladder of fresh rainwater included. Really great folk - a true pleasure to meet.


The grain/seed silos.


Beaut workshop with eveything you could need, including a fixed touring bike.


A four stand shearing board, well organised with holding pens and release chutes just behind each shearing station, raised high to make fleece collection at chest height. A great setup.

The lads warned me about the road ahead. They said they liked to avoid it as it was pretty rough and slippery. I didn't have paddocks to be able to travel across, so my options were limited.



Really great fun, thanks to a neighbouring grazier stuffing the road up with a stock transport truck - it slid and churned past me as I unstrapped the tank panniers once more, ready for another likely crash.



For once, the front Dunlop D606 actually worked really well, helping to keep me upright and pointed in the right direction all the way to the Border.


A photo of a rare and elusive fully inflated rear tyre, in its natural habitat.



It did make me wonder why I was entering Victoria, but then again this last section of South Australia hadn't been too sunny all morning.



Onto the Border Track that runs north and south for several hundred kilometres.




You can see I'm thrilled to be riding in the pouring rain. Strangely, all thoughts of getting nekkid and soaped up are completely gone.

Finally reaching the end of the dirt, I meet an old farmer out checking his stock. It's too wet for him to want to open and close six paddock gates in the rain so he's taking the "scenic" bitumen route when we bump into each other. I'd stopped to get off and kiss the bitumen covered road when his arrived spoilt those plans. We talk farming and stock prices. He's hoping tomorrows stock auction will exceed $176 a head for his fat lambs.



He tells me the road I've just travelled use to be slick clay until they topped it with the red sand. That'd explain the high speed sideways moments I'd been experiencing and my joy at reaching sealed road. It also explains the red road in an area where all roads are normally a whitish-grey. Another enjoyable conversation over, we part ways.




The road to Nowhere...Hell...Nhill...rougher than the Oodnadatta Track. Victorians have the worst roads in the country. The change is really obvious, even coming off a dirt road. The potholes, bumps, ruts and corregations seem to get sealed under the Victorian bitumen, probably to keep the freshness in.


Nhill, is all it's glory. The sign suggesting a U-turn to Adelaide was strongly considered after 4 solid hours of riding in the constant rain. I decide to stop for some comfort food, nice hot bbq'd chicken and chips.


The flag at half mast due to a local plane crash the night before.

I eventually continue back out into the rain, heated grips on high for the next 80 kilometres to Horsham on the Western Highway, dodging interstate trucks and cars for the first real time all trip. In Horsham, I find a supermarket for some basic supplies then head to the Showgrounds after dark to shelter from the rain under an old livestock display shed. Other than a used syringe and condom nearby, it turns out to be a great spot. I don't sleep too soundly though, in case the owners return. (next photos taken the following morning).


My shelter is the small shed structure with the dark opening, to the right of the larger buildings.


Room with a view, of the greyhound racing track and clubhouse.


Other than the fore-mentioned items, broken glass, cigarette butts, old hay and huge quantities of possum shit, it was really nice in a drafty dungeon sort of way. But it kept me dry from the thunderstorm that raged all night. All for a good cause - I needed a spare tube from the motorcycle shop across the road because my rear tyre went flat again between the supermarket and the fuel station earlier. Pumped up to 40psi, it actually holds for the next few days.
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Say 3 Hail KLRs and recite the old Honda "skid demon" warning 3 times." - CA Stu
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Old 09-05-2011, 12:42 AM   #23
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Good ride report Sundowner & some great photos in there too, well done mate..
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Old 09-05-2011, 03:49 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Sundowner View Post
Another ADVrider riding mate, GoneAgain, disappeared back homewards only five minutes before I arrived.

Hey thats me!!

bummer i missed you, but it sounds like you have a few reasonable excusses... that Ngarkat is a wonderful but frustrating but beautiful place, and your spot on when you say...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sundowner View Post
Out here, the silence and isolation from the modern world really hits you. It clears the unneeded thoughts from your mind. One of the few places I've ever struck where you're moving into an unknown area surrounded by a world where you're the complete and solitary intruder.
ah Ngarkat... i remember her well..




shame you missed the ceremony in Kieth, i think you would have liked it..





hey great pics by the way...expecially in the intro post...blew me away...




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Old 09-05-2011, 03:54 AM   #25
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The old rubber glue had simply failed .....

cant believe you havent thrown that out yet.... i think you're the only one in South Australia who would give 'that' glue another chance....




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Old 09-05-2011, 07:43 AM   #26
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Not anymore I won't! Bought a new kit in Horsham. Although I still haven't thrown the old stuff away yet. But I'm going to. Same glue batch that we had trouble with that Mallee ride we did - cheap Chinese crap.

And thanks for the excellent photo of Andy's family and last race bike. Really appreciate you including them here.

Great photo of your Ngarkat experience as well.
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Home - an amazing place.
"Surround yourself with the best people you can, and make them your friends" - Justin Hunt, Oz Safari Director.
"
Say 3 Hail KLRs and recite the old Honda "skid demon" warning 3 times." - CA Stu
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Old 09-05-2011, 08:07 AM   #27
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The day starts watching the local birdlife gather a feed from the flooded grounds nearby while I finish off last nights dinner of crackers and dip from the supermarket. The nearby Wimmera River attracts early morning walkers and joggers.


The river is just behind the trees.


A Red-rumped Parrot.


Black-tailed Native Hens.


Crested Pigeons (also called Topknot Pigeons)


Purple Swamp Hens...


with their comedic walk, my favourite river bird. Their broad feet are perfect for walking on water lillies, mud flats and through aquatic plants.

After buying a new 17inch rear tube at the local Harley/Suzuki dealer, I go on a mission to the three other bike shops in Horsham, trying to find a new rear Mitas E09 Dakar to trade the DeathWing and some cash for. I can't even find any type of 17inch dual-sport tyre "We don't get any bikes that need those around here." "What, like mine?" It's only a major rural centre on a major Australian travel route. Shame I wasn't riding an 18inch motocrosser, because that's all every one of them catered for, other than normal road bike tyres.
Giving up and glad I still had the Bridgestone to fall back on, even though it's a pain in the arse to carry, I head to the local Primary Industries government office, to obtain my Victorian Miner's Right.



While the counter worker fills out the paperwork, I take a couple of photos of the Bearded Dragon in his display tank. He's about fifteen inches long and really active.




The name coming from the spiny "beard" that even goes underneath his face. They're actually a really soft, easy to handle lizard that loves to flatten out as wide as possible when feeling threatened. They also love to climb and can often be seen on fence posts out bush.


They make great pets and feed happily on cockroaches and insects, including flies, which is a good thing in Australia.

Wandering back to the counter to collect my Miner's Right, I blurt out to the lady, "Your Bearded Dragon is looking really healthy today." Most places in Australia could have me groaning on the ground clutching freshly kicked nuts seconds later, but here she smiles and agrees he's a beauty. I leave the office, thankful I haven't been manhandled out by security gorillas and with the great feeling that I'm now a legitimate Gold Prospector. Off to the fields to dig gold nuggets like potatoes and earn that round Australia holiday ticket overnight.

About forty kilometres later, I have to stop for a koala on the roadside.


He's a biggun.


Australians have a fascination with building these big bronze, steel and fibreglass monuments, to draw in tourist dollars. With the souvenir shop, Icecreamery, a Hotel and even an Indian Restaurant alongside, this one seems to get a healthy share of traffic.

After a bit more riding, refueling and camping gear shopping (I wanted a plastic gold panning dish (no luck there), hexamine stove and grabbed a couple of cheap waterproof roll top bags for my panniers at home), I finally make the goldfields of the Saint Arnaud Range National Park, near Redbank township. Into the forrest along the all weather tracks...



And find an old campsite only metres in, with a bottle dump dating back to maybe the 1860's, containing a few intact hand made potion and elixir bottles left by previous prospectors for all visitors to appreciate.


Such bottle dumps were common on the goldfields where settlements were formed near reliable mining sites. The actual "snake-oil" potions were designed by the chemists and hawkers to be so foul and horrid to ingest, the patient consuming them would feel so much better once they were finished, he/she would feel miraculously cured by said half toxic blends.

And finally, deep into the eucalyptus forrest to camp right near some old gold mines and diggings.



My home for the next few days.
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Home - an amazing place.
"Surround yourself with the best people you can, and make them your friends" - Justin Hunt, Oz Safari Director.
"
Say 3 Hail KLRs and recite the old Honda "skid demon" warning 3 times." - CA Stu

Sundowner screwed with this post 09-17-2011 at 06:21 AM Reason: Proof read edit
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Old 09-05-2011, 07:50 PM   #28
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Old 09-06-2011, 04:10 AM   #29
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Loving this keep it coming please Sundowner
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Old 09-07-2011, 12:59 AM   #30
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Next morning after a breakfast of porridge with extra salt, I let the campfire die, kick some dirt over it for safety and grab my gold detecting kit for a day exploring the old mine sites nearby.



The bare soil mounds are the remains of hand dug mine holes dating back to about 1855. Thousands of ounces of nuggety gold have been hauled from this area when it was first rushed. With high hopes and a half full water bladder tucked into my backpack tank bag, along with some muesli bars for lunch and my good camera to record the first awesome gold haul, I set off across the gully towards the diggings, earphones on intently listening for any signal from the detector worth digging. You have to watch your step out here...



It'd be easy for me to disappear with little trace. Holes like this were dug down to the clay base, where the gold supposedly rested after being erroded off the quartz reefs further up the nearby mountains. Once at that level, the miners gathered all the soil with a bucket and rope to be hauled to the surface and sifted for the gold pieces. Tunneling would continue until the miner broke through into his neighbour's tunnel. The holes in this area were all about eight to twelve feet deep. Most had been refilled by collapsing dirt around the sides. Although covered by fallen leaves, branches and tree bark, the extent of the diggings was quite amazing. The whole area along the gully was covered by old mines.



I spent all day walking through the diggings, earphones on, occasionally digging a piece of scrap steel, rusted tin, old iron nail or even pieces of lead tubing from discarded miner's supplies.



By dusk I was happy to return to camp, just to finally sit down and rest. I'd spent all day working the field up and down the gully next to camp but in reality, probably only covered an area the size of a soccer field. It was a great day though, with some exciting moments digging deep signals that turned out to be old miner's junk. Other than a brief flair at sunset, there was no gold today for this new chum miner.
I spent the night listening to the forrest's nocturnal animals scurry and hop around after the birds sang themselves to sleep. From all the dung I'd seen today, this area was alive with roos, wallabies, possums, wombats and maybe even a wild dog or two. My small campfire kept them at bay but seemed to attract a huge number of spiders. That night the wind came up in random gusts tearing through the tree canopy as clouds filled the skies, gradually blocking out the stars. For entertainment, I listened to the ABC National radio shows until the fire had finally died down safe enough for me to head to sleep.

Next morning, after a cold and damp night, I woke to rain. This wasn't too much of an issue for me, as I needed to do a run into the township to fill my camelback and some of my water bladders. So after breakfast of a few Anzac slices washed down with the last of my water, I fired the bike into life and rode carefully along the wet forrest tracks then by main road into Redbank, where I went straight to the local sports ground for water. The area was also the emergency meeting and shelter area in case of bushfires.



Not much to the town, other than a Hotel that appeared to be now closed permanently and some typical rural house blocks, complete with barking dogs and pet livestock.



Plus a house with a huge paddock full of vintage to modern cars and curiosity items, worth a photo.



Then back into the forrest once more.



For a bit of a ride around and explore before returning to camp. From what I could tell, I was the only human for miles. The tracks were slippery but great fun to ride.



With it continuing to rain, I fired up the new haxamine stove for a cup of tea....



and spent the day tent bound, reading up on the gold fields of the area....



before finally doing a couple of fruitless hours detecting the creek area before the sun set once again. At least the rain had finally stopped.

That night, once dinner was cooked and eaten, I knocked up a nice, heavy muesli bread for tucker for the next few days.


Half a kilo of Self-raising flour, half a bag of fruit and nut muesli mix and enough water to mix into a clean, soft dough.


Like so, adding flour until the mix neither sticks or flakes.


Ready to cook.


Waiting patiently, making sure it stays at a good heat with plenty of coals on standby.


Done. Not too bad. I love my camp oven.


I can't resist breaking off a piece while it's hot, for supper.

To share with a little visitor.



Isn't he a cutey. Harmless, I think. He was a bit tricky, coming back inside three times while I waited for the bread to bake.



After finally ejecting him one last time into the cold night air, I hit the hay myself, making a mental note to keep the tent done up from now on.
__________________
Home - an amazing place.
"Surround yourself with the best people you can, and make them your friends" - Justin Hunt, Oz Safari Director.
"
Say 3 Hail KLRs and recite the old Honda "skid demon" warning 3 times." - CA Stu

Sundowner screwed with this post 09-17-2011 at 06:27 AM Reason: Speeling
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