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Old 09-05-2006, 12:58 AM   #16
the hard way
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Nice start Big Fella---- 9 Days to go
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Old 09-05-2006, 01:23 AM   #17
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Nice pix Trev.

Looking forward to the next installments.
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Old 09-05-2006, 03:08 AM   #18
dirt rider X
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excellent photos Trev and bikerooter

what was the longest stage fuel wise?
Did bikerooter ever find his pants
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Old 09-05-2006, 05:28 AM   #19
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C'mon Trevor,where's the rest of it.This is good

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Old 09-06-2006, 02:33 AM   #20
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Bumpity bump.

C'mon Trev, we're hanging out for the rest.
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Old 09-07-2006, 01:43 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Eaglebeak
C'mon Trev, we're hanging out for the rest.
Slave driver

Originally Posted by dirt rider X
what was the longest stage fuel wise?
580km from memory ? Across the Simpson Desert, so fuel usage was pretty ordinary, especially on the heavier KTM. Steve has all the exact numbers if he wants to comment. I carried 15l spare, Steve carried 10l, I got in with more then 5 but would not have felt comfortable with running any less, noting for emergencies. You could probably do it on the 400 with only 5l extra along with your 30l Aqualine tank BUT if anything happend ... like fall off on that side and bust the fuel container, you might be in trouble. I carried 10 l in one pannier and 5 l strapped to the back of the carrier rack (smaller main tank on the KTM), Steve carried 5l each side in his panniers as he normally does.

Originally Posted by dirt rider X
Did bikerooter ever find his pants
Unfortunatley no, scary shit huh ?

and I have unleased an animal, now he is talking about doing the Colson Track, (turns north 1/2 way along the french line) YOUR turn to ride with him this time

Trevor S screwed with this post 09-07-2006 at 01:57 AM
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Old 09-07-2006, 01:56 AM   #22
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Day 2 - Blackall - Noccundra

After a cup of tea and a muesli bar for breakfast, a slight repack saw us head out early for Quilpie. Steve was keen to catch up with his Cousin whom he had not seen for some time and we needed to collect some used 5l containers we were going to use for as temporary storage for fuel while crossing the desert. The road was to take us via Adavale to Quilpie on good dirt roads and from there to Noccundra via Eromanga on asphalt.

The road to Adavale was easy as all the decent outback dirt roads are,

with the odd sighting of a guy waving us down frantically (where the fark did he come from on both our minds) as we started to enter some foothills. He just wanted to let us know that there was a collapsed gorge on a side road a little further and it might be worth a visit.

The gorge had indeed collapsed and the bottom seemed a small oasis in comparison to the hard country surrounding it.

We had wondered about a track up to a nearby radio mast (on the hill behind us in the following photo) proffering a scenic view of the surrounding country but our temprary tour guide assured us that none existed and where he was from was soon answered with a "he was working with a nearby road maintenance crew and had just come back from walking up a nearby hill to grab a couple photos of his own".

From the gorge we went on into Adavale. Steve had been advised to visit the toilets at the back of the pub as they were a local curiosity, with some apprehension I wondered why "shitters" in a far off remote town where worth visiting and in all honesty, even after the visit I am still left wondering about that and Steve's seeming fascination for outback "shitters".

Note to other travellers, no fuel at Adavale but there is a "community hall" they said we could use to stay in, complete with showers.

As is the want of a plethora of small outback locales, some scallywag had decided to start a S.L.S.C (Surf Life Saving Club) no doubt the juxtaposition of the arid outback and a surf club seemed funny while inebriated at the local Pub but the humour was mostly lost on me.

From Adavale we headed to Quilpie, where Steve caught up with his Cousin (a Hotelier !) with 15 mins of "family catch up" before we sourced 5 x 5l fuel drums from a nearby garage. Steve was badgered by the local eccentric with efforts to use some toy or other, while I engaged in repacking my bike to fit the fuel drums and smirked on how I had effectively flicked the guy on to annoy hell out of Steve.

A brief lunch, with Steve muttering about the Quilpie oddballs and we headed down the asphalt for Noccundra, a town on the map but a pub and service station only on the ground, with a camping area on the banks of the Wilson Rv.

The town of Eromanga on the way holds little of interest aside from the quirk of proudly declaring it is the furtherest town in Australia from the Ocean

The Pub was completely full, along with the camp ground being fairly full, some Brisbane based 4-WD club where enjoying a beverage and salubrious accommodation before heading to the Innamincka Races, a build up race prior to more famous Birdsville Races of the following weekend.

A good set meal at the pub, followed by use of the free (with a voluntary donation to the RFDS) shower saw us comfortably ensconced in camp for the night.

A discussion over dinner had us modify the route slightly, instead of going through Cordillo Downs, we would head to Innamincka, and from there up the Walkers Crossing Track, onto the Birdsville Track to Birdsville itself tomorrow.

Trevor S screwed with this post 04-29-2011 at 07:59 PM
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Old 09-07-2006, 06:51 PM   #23
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Nice pics (as usual) thanks, keep it coming.

Steve looks to be travelling fairly light. He must have a bit in his backpack.

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Old 09-08-2006, 06:26 PM   #24
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Day 3 - Noccundra - Birdsville

This was the start of the ride proper for me, until now, most of what we had been doing was transport

and while we had a fairly long run on bitumen today

to get through the oilfields, we would be doing the Walker's Crossing Track and starting to enter smaller Deserts, like the "Strzelecki" and "Sturt Stony Desert".

Never having ridden these parts of Australia it was all new and much anticipated, the ride through the oilfields shows the importance of Oil and Gas, with smaller fields being beavered away at.

Most of the road from Noccundra to Innaminka is easy, with the vast openness that is pervasive through central Aus, agoraphobics beware. With my photography skills so lacking, it incredibly so difficult to capture the feeling of seeing so much open. It has it’s own unique beauty that is lost on some but to me is breathtaking.

There is only a small section of sand to keep your mind focused, taken at speed it presents no problems.

Crossing Coopers Ck (some history associated with Bourke & Wills, early famous Australian explorers following this creek up, and dying on it’s banks) saw a considerable amount of water still within its banks from the floods earlier in the year in far northern Queensland, the massively long flows from FNQ lending credence to early settlement theories of an inland sea.

Just before Innamincka sees the grave of Robert Bourke, a thoughtful moment is spent pondering the difficulties faced by these pioneers and a continual respect for the abilities of the Aboriginal Australians to live off the land and survive its seemingly harsh environment.

A quick stop at Innamincka sees us refuel and purchase a Desert Pass from the SA Parks and Wildlife service. Obviously designed by a bureaucrat, the folder is so large it's virtually impossible trying to carry it on a motorbike. I removed the parks pass, a couple maps and "*long grassed" the rest, Steve "pissed and moaned" about the "size of it" but managed to sequester it among the rest of his gear. He made a mental note to send them a terse email when he returned, you followed up with that Steve ?

Leaving Innamincka after a quick check the Walkers Crossing Track was open "yeah mate, a bit of sand but u'll be right" assured us it was okay, blasting past Wills Grave, I felt we had somehow shown this early explorer a disservice by not paying him the respect he deserved.

We shortly entered the Strezleki Desert, where upon the big kid in Steve had to go play

What's that speck on the photo ?

Why it's some dirty dirtbiker !

We has timed the crossing well. 4 weeks ago had seen wide spread rain fall through the desert areas, and the wildflowers were still out, acres of them, truly beautiful. I was definitely more enamoured of them then Steve.

Let the photo's speak for themselves

The "Walkers Crossing Track" is recommend for all bikes,

it has some sand but winds it’s way through the Strezeleyki and Sturt Stony Deserts and makes for a much more interesting ride then sticking to the main roads and Birdsville Track, a misnomer for what has become a dirt highway.

You want to know why it’s called the Sturt Stony Desert ?

Now you know

Back onto the "highway" that is the Birdsville Track saw a short run up and into Birdsville

We got in at a reasonable hour, the town had started to comae alive in preperation for the famous outback Birsdville Races that were to be run next week, horses and I never got along, and gamabling seem's a nonsense to me, so I had no real interest other then in the kerfuffle (now there is a word you don’t hear much these days !) it generated each year.

Steve changed the oil in his bike, we did some minor repairs and maintenance, fuelled up, attached the fuel bottles to the bikes and then decided on a meal at the Pub, where Steve befriended some local who suggested a close spot to camp on the banks of a local creek.

The next day was to see us attacking the Simpson Desert proper.

* a coloquial North Qld term used to describe throwing something useless into the long grass. Hopefully in an environmentally concious way of course !

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Old 09-08-2006, 08:00 PM   #25
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Awesome. Love the well set-up DRZ!
"And some guy said, let there be filtering, and we filtered and we saw that it was good, and hours became minutes..."
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Old 09-09-2006, 01:06 AM   #26
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Excellent ride report!

Great stuff!
Love how the outback landscape changes with a bit of rain. I think that's the rain that came down just as we were leaving back in mid July.

I can see the day where a big single might make it back into the shed again - can't beat them for this sort of thing. I can hardly imagine a supported crossing on the GS, let alone unsupported.

Looking forward to the next instalment..........
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Old 09-09-2006, 01:33 AM   #27
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These photos are making me pine to get back out to those less frequented parts of oz, but I don't think the wife will approve given that I've only been back 3 months. Shite!

Great story and photos.
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Old 09-09-2006, 06:34 PM   #28
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Great report Trev - keep it coming
I never find a place where I can stay
I'd rather be a thousand miles away.
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Old 09-09-2006, 08:27 PM   #29
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Great report!
Doubletake Mirrors- Folding D/S mirror that is both useful and indestructible.

Dual Sport Riding Techniques DVDs: Clear instructional DVDs to improve off-road skills.
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Old 09-09-2006, 10:15 PM   #30
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Day 4 - Birdsville - WAA Line

Rewinding to the evening before, a dozen or so people had wandered over intermittently from the Van park across the road from the service station to marvel at the "idiots" riding across the desert on their 'bikes, unsupported. One lady seemly refused to believe what we were doing could be done, obviously not realising how many had done this before us. It seemed kind of weird to be told what you were doing was a huge achievement when it had become such a standard thing to do, she same lady seemed amazed "but where do you sleep ?" "On the ground, you know, like a dog !" being my response, mainly to get a rise as I was hopeing to be safely ensconced in my hammock if we could find suitable trees "oh my god !" being her response, her husband marvelled at our sense of adventure. I queried if he really meant stupidity, he replied he was so pleased to see there where people like us still left in Australia. I took that as a compliment, not an insult. We had been reassured that the WAA line was "do able" so Steve voted to abandon the easy option of taking the rig road and to take the WAA line all the way across.

The 4WD's seemed to be in two groups, those going via the French Line and those taking the rig road, wanting to stay as far away from the 4-WD's as possible it seemed an obvious choice to go the WAA line


We set off, Steve had a bee in his bonnet to go see the Wadi Trees (Acacia Pines) just north of Birdsville, an ancient remnant from a bygone area (sounds like a description of myself ?), that were/are close to extinction. The tree, while not particularly spectacular in it’s appearance is marvelled at for being some of the toughest wood in the world, renowned for blunting chainsaws and axes and originally much sort after for fence posts etc.

My arboreal interest was peeked (hell, I am cultivating the truly magnificent, ancient and down to the last dozen trees on the planet before being re-discovered and saved a few years ago Wollemi Pine, out the back of my place) so I was keen to have a look as well.

Not that much to look at but switching the bikes off and listening gave an eerie sense of majesty as these unpretentious trees overlooked a millennia, living for 1000 years or so.

A quick ride back to Birdsville and a top up with 2l of fuel before, as they say in the movies, "go west young man"... sigh.. Though not so much of the "young" these days.

The first dune, while not being much of course makes you stop and wonder

The first turns into many, many, many, more after that

The first part of the QAA line is quite easy, even though we were approaching the dunes from the steep side and going down the easy side, they were a comparative doddle and allowed you to take time to actually enjoy the spectacular scenery

The flowers were out in force in the Simpson as well, once again, brilliant timing for our ride

The track across the dunes truly seems to go on endlessly

About 30 - 50 kms from the end of the QAA line the track becomes more challenging, the dunes closer,

then they become endless, no real break between each one. This is where the challenge of the bigger, heavier bike started to come into it's own, Steve was skipping across the top of each dune, I was occasionally wallowing, using more fuel, more water and more energy to muscle the bike through. In particularl my energy levers where a concern, while I was still fine, I would deteriorate eventually and I knew I had many days of riding in front of me. The extra weight of another 15 l of fuel and the extra water was telling, with the rear suspension not coping and bucking as I took small whoop sections. I was trying to find the perfect speed; somewhere between slow enough to conserve fuel, energy and water and fast enough to stay on top of the sand but mindful of the bullbars that occasionally popped over the top of a dune attached to the front of a 4-WD Luckily, they all seemed to have a small iridescent flag on the top of a long whip aerial making them much more visible.

Though the few that queried my sanity and the one that was adamant we could not make it across where starting to piss me off. Ensconsed in their A/C'd 4-WD's, Ipod ear phones in, sipping chilled beverages from a car fridge, I genuinely wondered what experience it was they were seeking ?

There weren't many so far and they mostly seemed to be coming down the French line, confirming our choice not to go that way. They often travelled in small convoys of 3 - 7, so pulling up at the first one and enquiring how many behind them was worth it.

Eventually the dry salt lake near Poeppel's Corner pops into view. I stopped for a photo

and noticed a micro hole in one of my fuel drums, so far I would have lost less then 200ml of fuel. I quickly dumped the fuel into the main tank, mindful of Steve on the lakes edge wondering out loud what the hell I was doing. Middle single finger raised in the traditional salute sorted THAT problem out.

A quick discussion saw us decide to head to the end of the lake, the start of the French line and find a spot for lunch

Comfy spot found, sweet, small can of Tuna and some crackers consumed, a few jelly beans for sugar and off we went to find Poeppel's Corner

With Steve reading the visitor guide and signing our names. He was ALWAYS parking in the shade ! Shade parker !

We started down the French Line, which was more of the same,

endless dunes with no real break in between, before turning south down Knolls Track.

A re-reading of an old Sidetrack Mag before we left for this trip had me intrigued by a comment from T Kirby abut this being "some of the best desert riding in the country", while I didn’t agree (WAA line is better IMO) It was good for something a little different, following the tops of the dunes in places, running parallel, climbing them at acute and oblique angles adding to the variety in the track. This would lead eventually down to the rig road and of course intersected the start of the WAA line, where we were heading.

The Knolls themselves

Where mostly significant for the contrast to the dunes surrounding them, place them anywhere else and they would seem innocuous albeit there is no doubting how ancient they must be. This innocuousness does of course not take away from their significance. The track while still in sand but much harder packed, allowed me to make better time, sitting at around 70km/hr or so rather then the 40 - 50 km/hr previously.

Eventually we turned down the WAA line, I was starting to tire by then, drained of energy, I dropped the bike on this corner, of course Steve managed to get the shot but I am still not convinced it’s a "crash" if your body stays upright, more a I dropped the bike because I was fucked and could not be bothered to keep it upright when the front washed out, semantics aside, it went down. Steve tried to console me that he had buried his helmet face first into the sand on one corner but I was to rooted to respond at his attempts of empathy, this and my "topple over slowly" when I stoped and realised my foot was in a rut, meaning I could not touch the ground, 1/2 way up a dune when I stopped because Steve was stopped at the top were my only two "get offs", if you want to term them that. Steve's two, one on the WAA line and the other on the Cattlewater Track coming up in the East Mcdonell Ranges in NT were apparently a little more spectacular, body in contact with the ground but as equally innocous, thank god.

I was rooted, Steve said did you want to stop for the night, it was 5:30pm or so (QLD time), no, we had another 90mins or so of riding time left, I had a few more jelly beans and 5 mins rest before heading off again, soldiering on,

I dialled it back a little and had no real problems, except to fight the urge to stop and lay down We had not encountered a single vehicle on the WAA line, nor would we the next day, excellent !

At about the 137th line of longitude I had enough and we set up camp

Dispelling the myth of the uselessness of the Hennessey Hammock in the desert (albeit this was the only place we were limited in our choice of camping spots, still we had no problems at all in that regard)

Steve cooked dinner and I was wasted, dropping off straight away in my hammock, waking up shivering at 4am for a quick change of clothes into some thermals and back into the sleeping bag, rolling all the while in my own special cologne of unwashed sweat from 2 days of riding sans bathing.

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