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Old 09-29-2008, 09:34 AM   #1
Eaglebeak OP
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Lake Baladjie, Western Australia

This trip nearly didn't happen. Ever since we'd taken the kids away for a three day bike ride over the Easter Break, they'd been at me to organise another.
We locked in this past weekend some months back, with a Public Holiday on the Monday we'd have plenty of time to get out to Lake Baladjie, on the edge of the wheatbelt about 400 kms east of the State capital, Perth, where we live.
At the last minute my step son went to visit his Dad in Melbourne, 4,000 kms away and Mrs Beak, myself and the eaglet, Milly (8 years old) all came down with heavy colds.

I'd had two days off work in the final week and felt a bit guilty about using the weekend for a ride and not to recuperate but I was also determined not let the little one down.


We left Perth around 0900 hrs on a chilly Saturday morning and it wasn't long before we made our first stop for more clothing.



Mrs Beak hates the main truck and tourist routes and I am always happy to take the road less travelled so we went from our home in Freo via Armadale, Brookton Hwy and across to Beverley where we had another stop, this time for food.


From Beverley across to the Quairading Rd and on to Merredin.






Where we filled both bikes and refuelled the bodies. Not the flashest servo and as we wanted to sit in the sun we had to provide our own seats !



I try and introduce Suze to a bit more dirt on each one of our trips, but this time I had mapped a route that had very little. We went up a main farm access road that was marked as tar but it turned to dirt. Wet dirt. The lower corner of the state had experienced some good rain in the last few days.
Still a good road but a little too much movement for Suz.



Mid way along I spoted this old minesite off to the side. An added bonus as it wasn't marked on my maps





Now I've worked in the Pilbara in the late 70's and have spent the last 30 years in a Diamond Exploration Laboratory, so I have no idea what this place mined. Anyone ?

Talc, Kaolin perhaps ?







Back on the dirt and Milly rides with me while her Mum comes to grips with the loose surface.



We come off the dirt and have 40 kms of tar before entering the access road to Baladjie Rock (or Lake, depending on your map)

It started well . . . .



. . . . but had sections that were much worse than this. It looked like a couple of 4WD's had gone through during the heavy rain.



In places the wheel tracks were pretty deep and I stopped around a corner to wait for Suze. Realising she'd had a problem I ran back down the track to see her lifting her bike, mud down her left leg. Nothing serious and her first question was,
"what, you forgot the camera ?"

We moved on and when we got to this I stopped . . .



. . . . and Suze was glad of my offer to ride her GS through the water.



Although I've always believed in the saying, "The journey is the destination"
I've certainly been guilty of hammering out the kms to get somewhere, anywhere. If we didn't have 700-900 kms behind us by nightfall there was something wrong.

Travelling with the family we tend to stop a lot, smell the flowers, chat and ease tired little bodies.
So after having left our home on the coast, endured nearly 50 minutes just to get to the outskirts of the city, numerous stops for food and clothing changes it was late in the day when we finally arrived at the Lake.
~430 kms for the day.

Just time to get the tents up and gather a meagre quantity of wood for a fire.

A good feed and we where in bed and asleep by 0830.



We have two person tents and Mum slept with the little one. A good thing too as I was suffering from my head cold and would have made it a tough night for anyone sharing with me. I woke at midnight for a good coughing session, fell asleep only to wake again at 0200 and then again at 0530 hrs.

It had been cold.



But I was rewarded for my discomfort by the sight of a happy little girl, ready to get out and explore her new surrounds.





We discovered later there were 4 other groups spread around the rock, these were the only immediately obvious ones.
If we hadn't seen them, they had made their presence known by their generator, all for a bloody light bulb !
Geez, what is it with some people, why come out to the bush if you want to bring your bloody house with you ?




It was time to climb the rock and have a good look at the Lake.







From being nervous at first when faced with the steepish walk up, Milly soon ended up revelling in her new playground










Finally it was time to go and the ride out proved to be less daunting for Suz.





The wheat belt of WA is full of such rock formations and if, like me, you hate to stay in the townships, they make good camping spots amongst all the freehold farmland.
For those unaware, only about 1/15 of the state is freehold, the rest is grazing country or Crown Land (Government) and fences are few and far between. There are still some written and unwritten protocols to follow when camping in such country but it is certainly easier to get off the road the further north you travel.



Another stop as we head east to Mukinbudin. The road behind Suz leads to Elachbutting Rock, another top spot. From memory only about 40kms of dirt. A big wave shape, as good as the famous one at Hyden but without the crowds (or the parking fees !)



And another stop for clothing, on or off, or was it flower smelling this time ?





A good looking crop but I'd hate to be a dog in that paddock. Nowhere to cock a leg.




We pull into the litle town of Cadoux where I spot this great little school.
Now it can get bloody hot out this way in summer but the immediate grounds look great.





Although not the soccer pitch. Yep, that's dirt and more dirt.





One of the great things about these trips is the opportunity for us as a family to spend some quality time together.
Usually our days seem to revolve around work and school and the hassles of getting kids up and organised during a working week are not conducive to harmonious relations.

I spotted this little moment and being the hopeless camera man I am it looks pretty average, but to me, it was beautiful and one of many such moments on this and other bike trips together.



Whilst we still had maybe about 100 kms of fuel each I like to keep the tanks topped up where possible and out this way, with tiny townships, you are lucky to find a servo, let alone one that is open, especially on a weekend or Public Holiday. Remember these are not tourist towns, just hard working rural communities struggling to get by.

More and more of then are getting unmanned bowsers that are operated by your credit card. This one had just opened but the credit facility was not hooked up yet.
The couple in this photo are locals from Bencubbin, about 80 kms away, he drives a tanker from Perth, supplying the wheatbelt. The machine would accept his company BP card and he immediately offered to use it for our fuel if I had the cash for him.



I grew up in a country town, actually come to think of it, Western Ausralia in the 60's ? Anything outside of Perth was a country town !
I've watched them lose a bank here. a Police Station there, seen family farms bought and amalgamated, schools close as a consequence and young kids leave the district for the city.

We've all seen it, the great Aussie image, the man on the land and yet our inland is being de populated so I'm happy to spend my holidays showing the kids around, I'd rather pay a surcharge on my petrol or food and spend my hard earned here here, in the bush, than take the family to Bali.

So while I'm on my soapbox, Mukinbudin has a great little food shop that is open 7 days a week, 0800 - 1900 hrs and does great coffee.


Anyway, on with the story, we'd originally planned to camp out two nights but we've introduced little Milly to a long running TV show, "Doctor Who" and the latest series final was tonight ! We had to find a pub or Motel with TV reception.

Luckily, Wongan Hills had just such a place, order was restored to the Universe.

We settled in, with drinks on the balcony outside our room . . .
~230 kms.



. . . . looking down on our bikes.



A three bed room with clean, hot showers AND an Art Deco building for $95, it'll do us !



An early wander around town before the "Continental" breakfast then we were off, heading for Calingiri, Bindoon and Perth.



Not looking forward to getting back to the city, we took every opportunity to turn off our path to look at anything of interest.

This is Lake Ninan



...and these are bugs. Thousands of them, all out after the heavy rain the week before. We were having to clean the visors two and three times a day (and we weren't doing big kms)

They'd also fly up inside your helmet, not fun when you're sniffing with a cold as well !



Finally back on the main Hwy, easily noticed by the increased traffic and the undulating road surface caused by the heavy truck traffic.

We stopped at the Bindoon Bakery, a popular spot with day riders out from Perth.

Mrs Beak and I ride daily to work and don't usually take the bikes out of the shed on the weekends for just day rides, we'd rather do overnighters.

Surrounded by shiny sports bikes, it was probably a combination of our misplaced elitism and the knowledge that the trip was almost over that we fell into a sort of melancholy. Even looking at Milly's happy face didn't lift my spirits.



We turned off for the lovely ride through the Chittering Valley. Anything to delay finishing.



I stopped for this picture . . . .



. . . . and saw these coming.



... and then this. Lovely, I'm thinking of getting an outfit one day (money, money, money or lack of it)



and seeing a bit of water flowing always lifts my spirits.





Well that was it, three days 894 kms.

The weather's warming up, is there time (or holidays) for another trip before the summer sets in ?

Andrew Linton
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Old 09-29-2008, 10:18 AM   #2
nachtflug
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awesome pictures and report.
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Old 09-29-2008, 10:52 AM   #3
GB
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The family that rides together.. has fun together!! thanks for the fantastic ride, report and pics
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Old 09-29-2008, 11:51 AM   #4
olebiker
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It is always hard to come home from a short trip. Thanks for sharing the pics are great.
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Old 09-29-2008, 04:46 PM   #5
MymoJoe
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don't want to rush her.. but

I am so looking forward to being able to do that with my daughter... for the moment we will have to be happy with rides up and down my street...she is only 2..... and loves it!!!!

Good on you - enjoy the time!

Joe
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Old 09-29-2008, 05:21 PM   #6
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Great Report!!

WOW!! Great RR and Pics Andrew.....

You have some beautiful country out west myte!!

Love to ride around there one day..... as you said - Money, Money, Money... or the lack of it!!??

Cheers

Bala
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Old 09-29-2008, 06:00 PM   #7
StinkyCheese
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Thumb Brilliant!

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Old 09-29-2008, 06:55 PM   #8
mcc66
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Great pictures and report. It's strange to see Calingiri mentioned in a ride report, my mums family is from there and I spent years working in Bolgart down the road from there.
Hope to read about more family trips from you.
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Old 09-29-2008, 09:10 PM   #9
Eaglebeak OP
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Thanks one and all.

mcc66, if you haven't read our Easter ride report, here it is

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=325501

Eaglebeak screwed with this post 09-29-2008 at 09:27 PM
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Old 09-29-2008, 09:18 PM   #10
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That's a great picture! She seems to do really well on long trips--impressive for an 8-year old.

Nice report--thanks!
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Old 09-29-2008, 09:21 PM   #11
theturtleshead
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Indeed

You,re a very lucky man!
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Old 09-29-2008, 10:25 PM   #12
rogueriver
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Awesome

Beautiful family and great report - thanks for sharing....
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Old 09-30-2008, 04:06 AM   #13
auRoscoe
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Looks like a little bit of green around... thanks for the ride report.
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Old 09-30-2008, 04:44 AM   #14
chicky
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Talking Lake Baladjie

Hi Andrew .....
With all these little family bike trips,the 2009 border run will be a piece of cake

for you

regards Chicky .......................
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Old 09-30-2008, 05:14 AM   #15
philth
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jealous mate
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