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Old 07-11-2014, 10:47 PM   #1
Muzz2wheels OP
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Cape York 2014 - 2 weeks and 2 beemers.

Well the dust is only just settling from our trip but I'll make a start on the ride report whilst it's still fresh in my mind. We set off from Brisbane on the 28th of June and had a maximum of 3 weeks to get to the tip of Cape York and back. My mate Sunny and I were both riding bmw f800gs's. This was the longest trip away on the bike by far for either of us, but I was confident with our preparation before leaving.

School holidays just happened to coincide with the trip we had planned. The extra tourists on the roads did have some impact on our trip, Next time I would probably go a little later in the season, late july or early august would be better, I think.

Another factor that had more of an impact on our trip than it should have was the temperature. I was prepared for nights as low as 5 degrees, but next time I will prepare for -5 degrees.

Day 1 - Brisbane to Duaringa
Just a 770km commute with about 100km of dirt. The first night we camped at the free rest stop there in town. It was pretty good, free camping and hot showers. lots of motorhomes but plenty of space. We walked the kilometre to the pub on the north side of the tracks for a beer.



Leaving home



And setting up camp.





Day 2 - Duaringa to Big Bend



After a quick breakfast at the Duaringa servo and witnessing a magpie get atomised by trying to land on the high voltage power line insulators, we headed for Dysart via Dingo and some dirt near Middlemount.






From there we headed through Peak Range to Clermont.



Then we began the boring stretch between Clermont and Charters towers. 380 odd kilometres of straight roads with with only Belyando's Crossing to break things up. Car-wrecks litter the sides of the roads.

We finally reach Charters Towers for supplies then off to big bend for the night. I did have a go at riding around on the sandy river bed but got stuck pretty quick. Some of it was hard and some was super soft.













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Old 07-11-2014, 11:42 PM   #2
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Day 3 - Big Bend to Fishery Falls




When the sun rose in the morning it was a balmy 3 degrees. There was ice on the bikes. It had been a bloody cold night, I had used everything in my tent laid on top of my sleeping bag to try and keep warm. At about 3 in the morning I got up and stoked the fire in a bid to warm up. I just wasn't expecting temperatures so low. We got going and decided we would push to the coast instead of camping in the hills near malanda. This meant we did more tar instead of riding the Valley of Lagoons.






Here we crossed a dry river bed and I dropped it in the sand. This was the first of many drops for the trip.








We Had a Blast riding down the Gilles range into Gordonvale. In a bid to avoid the holiday choas of Cairns we stayed in a great caravan park in Fishery Falls. Right behind a pub, out of the wind, a bit fancy really. It was much warmer near the coast.




This creek right behind our tents drowned out the highway noise. Had a great sleep, but that could have been due to the beers from the pub...


Camp Kitchen and ensuite toilet and shower. Very Lah-Deh-Dah.
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Old 07-12-2014, 01:22 AM   #3
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Day 4

Day 4 - Fishery Falls to Lions Den





We headed into Cairns where sunny got his tyres changed for him. We had a bit of a look around while we waited and then when the tyres where done, we rode around the harbour and then headed north. It wasn't the nicest of days on the coast, overcast and very windy, lots of traffic too. I was pretty keen to get to the Bloomfield track and start what I thought would be the first of the challenging stuff. I spent all day asking anyone I could about the depth of the Bloomfield crossing at Wujal Wujal, as I had heard it was too deep to cross about 2 weeks earlier. I tried wuja wujal police station several times but no answer, not even the daintree ferry operator had any idea so we just headed up the track to find out for ourselves.







Before jumping in the half hour queue for the daintree river ferry we went and had a look at the start of the CREB track just to check it out. The river seemed a little swollen from what i could remember from pictures. We hung out for a little while hoping to see a croc.









We then made our way to Cape Tribulation. It's very much a backpacker destination and we didn't find it very appealing, so we moved on to the bloomfield track. The track turned out to be in pretty good condition, not really a challenge at all. The only challenge was overtaking about 100 four wheel drives. The whole track was teeming with tourists.



This guy had lost the wheel of his camper trailer through the rocky section and causing a traffic jam of about 20 4x4's.





Here the traffic controller is telling us the depth of the crossing. At first I didn't believe him as it was very shallow, but it got deeper at the northern end.










Then we saw a cape york motorcycle tour group heading off onto private tracks, they were lucky enough to avoid all the roadworks north of Wujal Wujal, but we saw them again at the lions den.









I changed the front tyre to the Metzeler MC6. Whilst I had the wheel off I tightened the steering bearings which had just started to knock over the sharper bumps on the bloomfield track. I could feel a knotch starting to form but it wasn't yet evident whilst riding. It took me a while, but eventually decided to look for new bearings in cooktown the next morning, and if they didn't have any I would just push-on and hope they didn't get tremendously worse on all the corrugations up the cape.

Here's a little video of the Days riding.

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Muzz2wheels screwed with this post 07-15-2014 at 09:50 PM Reason: Added Video Embed.
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Old 07-12-2014, 04:36 PM   #4
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Day 5

Day 5 - Lions Den to Archer River Roadhouse



We headed toward Cooktown for breakfast in the morning and stopped off for a look at Black Mountain.






Crossing the Normanby on Battlecamp road.




Straight roads on Battlecamp




Crossing Laura River




On the road from Old Laura to Musgrave Via the Ranger station. The road was in excellent condition as it had only just officially opened a few days prior. I don't think word had gotten out yet as it was very quiet, we didn't see another vehicle for about an hour.












We made it to Musgrave Roadhouse a bit after lunch and Sunny had a burger which he still claims was the best of the entire trip.






From there we motored up the development road, through Coen and up to Archer River Roadhouse where I had a pretty good burger for dinner. We stopped for supplies in Coen and the Grocery shop attendant was complaining because it was so cold, it was 'only' 25 degrees.





Here's a video of the days riding.

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Old 07-12-2014, 06:40 PM   #5
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Day 6

Day 6 - Archer River Roadhouse to Bramwell Junction Via Chili Beach, Lockhart and some of the Frenchman.




After leaving Archer River I Immediately Killed a bird with my face.



Here's the pascoe river on the main road to Lockhart.



We headed straight to Chili Beach and It was really nice and tropical, but a bit windy.










Sunny was determined to have some coconut



Success!


We then rode to Lockhart, it wasn't exactly what i was expecting. The township was pretty rough. lots of stray dogs and stray people hanging out around the fuel pumps. We had a quick look at the beach and high-tailed it to go and have a look at the frenchmans. we had heard it was too deep to cross not long before we got there but decided to have a look for ourselves.












The road in from the start of Frenchmans to the pascoe river was testing at times. It took us a bit longer than expected to cover the 10km in to check out the river. We had a few off's, In one of the rocky sections I got speared off the road. The whole frenchman experience will be better shown in the videos i took but i've just not got around to editing them together yet, I hope to do it soon.








When we got to the pascoe there was a group of nine 4x4's heading the opposite direction (east). They had gotten 3 of their vehicles through before we arrived. We stayed and watched them bring the 4th one across which took about 20 minutes. Some of their vehicles needed strapping or winching to get up the steep exit so we couldn't get our bikes down until they had finished. Extrapolating the time it would have taken for them to finish getting their vehicles through, it would have been 2 hours before we could have a crack at the crossing. This, combined with the difficulty of the crossing, and the unknown difficulty of the 40km track on the other side, made us turn back. It was getting late in the afternoon and I really should have allocated more time for the frenchmans track. Here you can see the people in the river having a hard time just keeping their straps from being swept downstream.






And so we headed back to the main road and on to Bramwell Junction.








And here is a little video of the days riding.
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Old 07-13-2014, 05:36 AM   #6
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Cheers for sharing your trip, appreciate it This is on my list of dream rides, even more so after the rest of my family had a ball 4WD'ing it from Adelaide in a straight-ish line.
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Old 07-13-2014, 03:22 PM   #7
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Hey sounds like you guys had a great adventure. Can't wait to hear more about it, and I really mean it, as me (DR650) and two friends (WR250R and F800 GS) are less than 2 weeks away from heading up to Cape York from Brisbane too. Thanks for the write-up.
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Old 07-13-2014, 05:38 PM   #8
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nice work lads..!

looking forward to the rest..


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Old 07-13-2014, 07:52 PM   #9
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Day 7

Day 7 -Bramwell Junction to Loyalty Beach via some of the Old Telegraph track.

We woke to the clattering sounds of campers frantically packing up tent poles and folding tarps. It was 5am and the race had begun to secure a starting spot on the old telegraph track. We thought we would let them have it, and got a little bit more rest. When we finally did rise at around 7am, about half the camp ground had disappeared up the old telegraph track, a good 15 4x4's had made the charge up early. Word was that only the first 6 or so vehicles each day were getting through Nolans Brook before the sandy bottom became too chewed up for an easy crossing.

After a short pep talk sunny and I rode the 4km up the track to see if we could get through Palm Creek. It was more intense than what I had seen in the videos. The entry was no problem, the water depth was nothing to worry about, the only issue was the exit up the steep and muddy banks.

The 4x4's had rendered the main creek exit completely useless to anyone and all vehicles were winching up the soft, steep bank just to the right of the old exit. We checked out all the options, including the 'chicken' track. It was definately doable and I'm certain we could have made it through, in-fact, on a trail-bike it would be laughably easy. There was a trail bike exit to the left of the old exit but it probably just a little deeply chewed for our bikes and our centre stands and footpegs would have dug in to the dirt. I was determined to get through, and gave myself a 20% chance of riding through with no help, 40% chance of riding through but needing a push, and a 40% chance we would make it half-way up the exit and could winch the bikes up using the rope and pulleys we had with us. Despite my confidence in our abilities to get through the track, I couldn't convince sunny that we would get through, and I wasn't prepared to face the track on my own, so we bypassed palm creek, and in doing so, most of the southern section of the old telegraph. It was certainly a situation I wasn't anticipating.

The photo's don't do justice to the steepness of the track.This is main exit most 4x4's weren't using anymore.




And this was the trail bike exit




This is the exit most 4x4's were using.




And here's the main entry that serves the 3 exits shown.




So, we headed in past Heathlands ranger station which brought us back onto the telegraph track just north of gunshot. The road past the ranger station was about 26km and one of the sandiest and most corrugated of the trip. The vibrations loosened my luggage and my tent fell off my bike at one point.






back on the old Telegraph track.



Cockatoo Creek Entry






Had a Quick Shower as we were assessing the crossing.




I'm still struggling with the video editing, my computer isn't playing the game, but i hope to have the videos up in a few days as they really give a better idea of the terrain. Here's a sample of cockatoo crossing on video. I'm still working on getting the best formatting for youtube, it's still not right.

*EDIT - Better Video Added at the end of this post.




The condition of the Old Tele Track was at times better than the development road. long sections of no corrugation and very little sand. We then met up with the bypass road again.



A bit of Shoe repair.



And on to Fruit Bat Falls








We headed straight for the Jardine River ferry via the northern bypass road, but this wasn't to be the last go at the old telegraph for this trip.


The ferry was closed for lunch which gave us time to sit by the banks of the Jardine and try to spot a croc, which we had failed to do the entire trip so far.










We then got across the Jardine and rode into Bamaga and Seisia via the old plane wreck at the airport.







Seisia Ferry that heads down the coast.



Making Camp at loyalty Beach.













Riding Video of the Day

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Old 07-13-2014, 09:57 PM   #10
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Day 8

Day 8 - Rest day - The Tip, Sumerset beach ride, Croc Shop.

It was such a nice spot at loyalty beach we decided to spend another night. Loyalty beach is nothing but a caravan park about 2km north-east of Seisia. It has a humble kiosk where you can buy pies, baked beans and a few odds and ends. There's also a restaurant and a bar down the eastern end and the food was great, we ate there both nights. Nice and warm up there too, about 32 degrees, the wet boots dried pretty quick up here.

We headed off to the tip in the morning. Roads are a bit rough but nothing to write home about.





I Had carried this Mars bar from brisbane in my Jacket pocket. It had been through all the same shit we had and I ate it in celebration of reaching the top.






We then headed for Sumerset. We expected sand, and we got it.



















A Visit to the Croc tent


After that we just relaxed on the beach.









And Here's the riding video for the day.
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Old 07-14-2014, 12:45 AM   #11
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Day 9

Day 9 - Loyalty Beach to Wiepa via Northern Old Telegraph Track

So I had been pondering my options over the 'rest' day and decided i didn't want to leave the cape without seeing more of the old telegraph track, even if I had to do it solo.

I knew that Nolans Brook had the motorcycle bridge, but i wasn't confident doing that by myself, even though I knew people had done it solo before on bigger bikes than ours.

So I planned to split up with sunny and take the road that cuts across from the northern bypass into the south side of mistake creek. That would get me three extra crossings that I was reasonably confident i could do on my own, then I would regroup with sunny at Fruit Bat falls, just off the bypass track.

We rode through Bamaga, crossed the Jardine on the Ferry and rode down to the mistake creek turn off. As I pulled out the map to make sure sunny and I both knew where to meet, a 4x4 driver pulled out of the track and asked us if we were lost. I asked him what the track conditions where like through Sam creek and canal creek and he said it was a piece of cake. His recount was so confidence inspiring sunny decided to join me, which was great.

Back on the Telegraph track.




Original Telegraph pole



We Headed 400m north on the Old telegraph to check out Mistake Creek. The creek was shallow, clear and very doable but we hadn't planned on going any further north and besides, some 4x4's had decided to do some roadworks between us and the creek on the track and there was no way past them until they were done.



Mistake Creek





Having sunny there to help meant I could try some of the more difficult lines that I probably wouldn't have taken if i was doing it solo.
Here is Sam Creek,











Then Canal Creek


















Then we came to Elliot Falls (Twin Falls)










Then was a little 'Ford' that was unnamed on my Hema Map.






From there is was Bypass road all the way back to Bramwell junction, we hadn't refuelled since arriving in Bamaga 2 days prior but we made it with just a few kilometres to spare. We refuelled and headed through Batavia downs to Wiepa. It was some of the worst riding of the trip due to lots of traffic and dust that just lingered for minutes. We needed some serious de-dusting when we pulled up in Wiepa. We took off the gear and went for a sight-see around the eastern edges, and we also went across the really stupidly long, one-lane bridge at the northern end of town.
















We had a $20 all you can eat buffet at the Bowls club for dinner which was superb.


And here's the riding video for the day.
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Old 07-15-2014, 09:31 PM   #12
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Day 10

Videos have been added to the Day 4,5,6,7,8 & 9 posts.

So now it's business as usual.

Day 10 - Weipa to Laura

This was just a commuting day. We Raided the Mitre 10 in Weipa for a bolt and some washers that would fit the headlight on my bike. The corrugations had taken their toll and sunny had also lost a bolt off his chain guard. With that all sorted we left Weipa and stopped at the mining vehicle crossing a few km out of town to try and see some action but the mining vehicles weren't using the road. We could see them off in the distance though.






We stopped for lunch in Coen and had a beer and burger at the sexchange hotel.





After an uneventful run down to Laura we discovered the roadhouse didn't sell beer so we went and stayed in town behind the pub.



The place was run by an asian family with an aussie cook who chased stray cats down the street with a cattle whip. It was all a bit bizarre and dodgy, but it was only for one night.


This is my front tyre wear since putting the tyre on at the Lions Den, roughly 2,000km on it here, just a few knobs broken off. I had left my 'road' tyre (tkc80) in the bush on the development road near musgrave and I picked it up again on the way south. I decided to try and run the knobby all the way home as it was feeling better than the tkc.

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Old 07-15-2014, 11:31 PM   #13
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Day 11

Day 11 - Laura to Innisfail

So the whole point of staying in Laura was to be at the starting point for Old Coach Road the following day. We were glad to be leaving Laura, and we powered out to the start of old coach road. Well, the terrain was quite rocky and I think the video best shows just how tough is was on these bikes. We only got about 3km into the 40km 4x4 track and it was taking a heavy toll on the bikes. Nothing serious was damaged but I got the feeling if we kept pushing on maybe we would break something vital. So we erred on the side of caution and returned to the main road, and headed back through Laura. This is another track I will put on the "Next time" list.







We stopped at Palmer River Roadhouse for lunch. It was nice, good burgers, set relatively high in the hills, looks like it would get cold on a winters night.



Then we had an uneventful trip into innisfail.

Creepy beam of light over the cemetery. We camped across the road. slept like the dead.
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Old 07-16-2014, 12:22 AM   #14
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Day 12, 13, 14

Day 12, 13 & 14

The final few days were just commuting down the coast. Not much worth mentioning.



On day 12 we left Innisfail and took the bruce highway down to townsville to see if I could find a new tent-pole which had snapped in a wind gust at Loyalty Beach. I had been using a tyre lever gaff-taped to the pole every night since. Couldn't find what i wanted in BCF so i just bought more gaff tape. My tent only cost me $50 so it's doing alright.

We camped the night in Proserpine, Had a good meal at the pub and it was game 3 of state of origin.

Day 13 we bypassed Mackay and ended up in Sarina, then took a detour to get off the bruce highway. The cold weather was back and it once again I regretted my choice in riding gear. We made it to Gladstone and had a look around the Harbour, then pushed-on to Tannum Sands





Gladstone





Camped at Tannum Sands






Day 14
View from Tannum Sands as we left. temperature got to 3 degrees as we rode back to the bruce highway.




We then headed straight to Beggenden and had lunch in Goomeri.

We got back to Brisbane around 3pm.


Some Numbers for the trip.

Total Distance travelled:
Me - 6682km (Brisbane)
Sunny - 7000km (Ballina)

Number of Punctures
Zero

Most expensive fuel
$2.45 Jardine Ferry and Bamaga, closely followed by Bramwell station.

Average fuel consumption
5.1L/100km -

Cost of Fuel
Lost count. about $600 roughly


But most imporantly of all, it was a fun adventure.
We met some characters, shared a few laughs, rode some amazing tracks, learned a thing or two.
I would definitely do it all again, Same bike with a bit better riding and sleeping gear.
Hope you enjoyed the Ride Report.

Muzz.
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Old 07-16-2014, 12:52 AM   #15
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Thanks for sharing Muzz. I have wanted to do this trip for many years. It certainly takes longer then it looks on the map.
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