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Old 01-16-2006, 10:16 PM   #1
Eaglebeak OP
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Cyclone Circuit, Western Australia

Summer holidays for school children here in Oz and Mrs Beak and myself found ourselves child free for 4 days. We decided to ride to my home town of Geraldton, around 400 k's north of the State Capital, Perth, where we were. From there we would ride north to Kalbarri only 160 k's further afield before swinging south again for home.

There's a semi coastal road that runs through grazing country and Crown land. Pretty boring, busy with trucks and tourists and well, we've been there, done that.
We opted for a run up through the wheat belt. It takes us further inland, it's a bit longer and it will be HOT.

Tuesday 10th, two days before we leave and Cyclone Claire crosses the Pilbara coast 2,000k's to the north, bringing with it winds of 200 kph.
It quickly deteriorates into a vast rain bearing depression that heads south.
We left on Thursday morning, heading north in steady rain and strong northeasterly winds, the temperature in the mid 20's (Celcius).


Suze hadn't done an overnighter before and I was determined to make it enjoyable for her. I'd booked a decent room in Geraldton and made sure we had a few stops along the way to ease her into the ride.
By the time we made the small town of Coorow the rain was easing. although the sky was still heavily overcast. Chatting at the servo we find out they had 2 inches of rain in the last 24 hrs.





We pushed on to Mingenew



then swung west to pick up the coast road at Dongara, 70 k south of our nights stop of Geraldton.



After a late start we go on a nostalgic tour of town. I had spent my youth through the 60's and 70's here. Geraldton is a service centre for the local crayfishing and grain farming industries and it's grown a lot.



Memorial to the HMAS SYDNEY, sunk by the German raider Kormoran in WW2 under suspicious circumstances. The wreck is thought to lie further north nearer the town of Carnarvon but hey, that shouldn't stop the local civic leaders putting up something to attract the tourists and their dollars !






There's a new road north into Kalbarri which runs past the squatter community of Pt Gregory.



The terminology "Port" is used pretty loosely, it's just a safe haven for the local cray boats behind a fringing reef on an otherwise open coast.




Along the way we stop at the ill fated convict settlement of Lynton. It lasted just three years, long enough to build a few substantial huts and (as rumour has it) to introduce the notorious "double gee" weed into the state. If you have ever trodden on one barefoot you'll know about it. Three pronged, mean little things. A quite green ground plant during winter which dries out and distributes spiny seeds in it's path. (Apparently boiled and eaten by the starving settlement)











On to Kalbarri, originally another safe haven for cray fishermen, the town has now become a popular tourist destination for those escaping the southern winter.

Menacing enough ?




Argh, that's better !





It's a beautiful little spot with a winding entrance around reef and sandbars before entering the safety of the river. Every couple of years someone loses a boat at the entrance. Good surf, fishing and consequently, big crowds in the season.





(north of town along the coast, an unbroken stretch of cliff runs for 140 k's before entering Shark Bay) Mid way along lies the Dutch wreck the Zudtdorp which went aground in the 17 century. They rounded the Cape of Good Hope,Southern Africa, ran east with the roaring forties (trade winds) for just a little too long before turning north towards Java. Oops, they hit the "Great South Land"!

We overnighted in town and caught the TV news. Down south the rain was causing havoc. Lake Grace had 230 mils of rain in a 24 hour period ! (8-9 inches) They were cut of from the rest of the state.
The weather was gradually clearing for us as we rode out east towards the main highway, stopping to check out the Murchison river as it cuts it's way coastward through the gorges. The heavy rain was falling well east of us in its catchment and these gorges would see a bundle of keen white water paddlers drive up from Perth as the flood waters arrive in about a week.
It'll be big and muddy but for kayakers starved of good water this Cyclone induced level will be a real treat.






We hit the Nor west highway and then cut further east looking for a wheat receival bin I worked on as a young student in 1975.
Up and down some dirt roads looking for my bin to no avail.



Well, it was primitive even for it's day. A bucket shower on a rope and pully, a refridgerator that ran on kerosene and a woood stove to cook on. It's been pulled down and as the roads have been improved the local Cockeys (farmers) are driving further to better appointed bins.

I had planned a little dirt riding on this trip, but time and the Main Roads Dept have caught up with both my memory and my old maps.

On to the little settlement of Yuna, nothing but a pub and grain receival bin.



I had planned to not ride the same road twice but on Thursday had promised a mate we would have lunch with he and his wife in Dongara today, Saturday. I was his best man at their wedding and hadn't seen them both for a few years. We managed to ride a number of back roads on the way to lunch.

The old train station of Walkaway, now a Museum. This was Saturday midday, by Monday night the flodwaters of the Greenough river would arrive with a vengance. the town of 200 would be saved by three mates driving bulldovers and diggers. They constructed a 200 metre embankment as the nearby river rose 5 metres, cutting the highway for a day.



thankfully that was after we passed and we made it to my mates place to witness their local river, the Irwin, break through it's sandbar and flood out into the sea. A sight I have only seen twice before.



Riding my circuitous route we had managed 275 k's by lunch. Late that day we pushed on another 100k's to Mingenew where I had booked a night in a local B&B, formally a Convent.




Mingenew is a typical Aussie country town, (well at least in my State). It's dieing. Old empty buildings, banks, schools closed, run down pubs, etc.



That's why it was great to see this family making a go of it. They'd moved to town six years ago and are renovating the old convent into a pretty good Bed and Breakfast. It's Iron Ore country out the back and small teams of drillers are working and staying in town. Hopefully there are better things ahead for Mingenew at least.

Our host prepares our breakfast.




Across the road.



The weather had been steadily improving and our last days ride was forecast to be 37 degrees C.

Salt affected area of bush just out of town.



I continued the theme of new roads, always trying to finds places I either hadn't been or had not seen for some time.

Earlier on the trip Suze would tap me on the shoulder if my speed went over 110 kph. Now, as she settled into the ride and realised I rode according to conditions not the whim of a cloistered Bureaucrat she suddenly learned over, pointed at the speedo and pointed her finger upwards, go faster!
Truth be known I was enjoying the slower pace on these older roads and my economy on the big 1150 was good at 21k/litre.

We stopped a few times to savour the moment. Dreading returning to the City and work.

A hand painted sign warned me of "Sheep Crossing". I switched off and chatted to the farmers wife as hubby moved them across. He made my day when he did a great power slide along the verge on his quad bike.




We finally arrived back in Perth in the early afternoon on Sunday. That night the news was full of flood problems all over the Sou west. We missed most of the problems, had a great break and cleared the cobwebs.




1400 k's, four days. Not a big trip by my old standards, but a bloody great trip ! A happy couple.

The weather is finally heating up, too hot for much riding for a month or two, we'll have to live on the memories.

Andrew Linton.

Eaglebeak screwed with this post 01-17-2006 at 01:31 AM
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Old 01-16-2006, 10:20 PM   #2
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Wow ! What happened ? I haven't resized my camera settings from my Holland Track story but these photo's have come out way too big ?

Can I reconfigure them now that it's posted ?

Andrew.
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Old 01-16-2006, 11:05 PM   #3
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Great pics, well written and your missus is a good sort!
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Old 01-16-2006, 11:35 PM   #4
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Well done ride and ride report

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Old 01-17-2006, 12:26 AM   #5
Eaglebeak OP
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I'm a moron !

I put a new battery in my camera and it must default to a larger picture size when the battery is removed. I've just spent one hour or more learning how to reduce them in Photobucket and then re submit them to this post. I hope they are a better size for everyone now.

Andrew.
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Old 01-17-2006, 01:12 AM   #6
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Good report Andrew. Have not been up that way for many years, just did the touristy bit in the SW a couple of times recently. Looking forward to the OC Rally in August.
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Old 01-17-2006, 01:33 AM   #7
Eaglebeak OP
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Originally Posted by Jackhandle
Good report Andrew. Have not been up that way for many years, just did the touristy bit in the SW a couple of times recently. Looking forward to the OC Rally in August.
John
I'll be there. Too close to home not to go.
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Old 01-17-2006, 05:45 PM   #8
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- As good if not better than the last one Andrew - I cant wait to get back to WA. -Thanks for sharing.
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Old 01-17-2006, 05:57 PM   #9
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Great pictures. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 01-17-2006, 06:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowbike smallpenis
- As good if not better than the last one Andrew - I cant wait to get back to WA. -Thanks for sharing.
No real dirt so less "adventure" but you're right, for me it was better than the last one because I had my girl with me...and she enjoyed it too !

Andrew.
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Old 01-17-2006, 09:32 PM   #11
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I never get tired of pictures from countries that I will likely never see. The west coast of oz is one of those places. Thanks so much for the ride report and pictures from us yanks(usa)
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Old 01-17-2006, 10:11 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Kapp555
I never get tired of pictures from countries that I will likely never see. The west coast of oz is one of those places. Thanks so much for the ride report and pictures from us yanks(usa)


I agree 100%! Love the pictures .
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Old 01-18-2006, 01:19 AM   #13
slowbike smallpenis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eaglebeak
No real dirt so less "adventure" but you're right, for me it was better than the last one because I had my girl with me...and she enjoyed it too !

Andrew.
My Uncles Name is on that wall at Geraldton - Ill be stopping by to see it from the OCR.
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Old 01-18-2006, 01:43 AM   #14
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Great report, mate.



I was in Perth for a flying visit this week. A nice spot.

Rgds from the other side of Oz.
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Old 01-18-2006, 04:02 AM   #15
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Andrew
Nice report and pictures, we were up that way a few years ago camped at Denham and had our own private audience with a pod of dolphins while swimming at Pt.Perron. heard talk then about a road from Kalbarrie along the cliffs connecting to the Useless loop road, is it still talk or have they made a start on it.
ed
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