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Old 09-04-2008, 05:09 PM   #16
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Purnie Bore to Birdsville

I remember camping at Purnie Bore back in 1984 when Fred and I completed a Steep Point to Byron Bay trip. I rode an R80 GS and Fred an R80/7 with front forks taken off his KTM 500. All night it blew a raging sandstorm and we only had a ground sheet for protection – no tent. It was an uncomfortable night and sand got into every orifice possible. Next day we’d go charging over the dunes only to totally lose the track on the downhill side as it was covered in meter deep tumble weed. Pretty memorable stuff!
Twenty four (did I get the maths right?) years later we had no such problems. The two nights we spent in the desert were quite warm and the daylight temperatures were moderated by a cool breeze. This meant riding conditions were ideal with no surprises over the dunes and relatively low water consumption.
The night before our collective brains generated the following resolution – wake up at sparrows and get away early. So at three in the morning Belly throws some sticks on the fire and lights the night sky up like Luna Park. Actually, I wouldn’t have a clue what Luna Park looks like at night but somebody used that term about thirty years ago and it sounded impressive then. Anyway, we told the bloody cow cocky to go and get …...
When we arose for real the light was being produced by the SUN at a much more civilized hour. In retrospect it turns out that maybe we should have crawled out of bed at a cow cocky’s morning piss time because it took us hours to get out of the place! I don’t think any of us could believe how inefficient we were at getting on the frog and toad. To make matters worse Belly found that his rear tyre had a suspicious looking flat spot on the part that touches the ground. Oh well, out with the levers again.
With the sun already too high in the sky we eventually departed and got into some serious dune riding. Most of the time things went well with only a few unintended excursions and low speed topples. I found the steering a bit tricky at times and was soon lamenting not having completed my tank in time. This would have moved some weight further forward and lower. I probably should have just bought a Touratech tank but knowing better thought I’d make one so I could access the air filter without taking the tank off. As they say “proper preparation prevents piss poor performance”.
Below are some images of our Simpson ride.
Simpson dunes.

Colin bogged.

The Simpson desert.

More sand.

Flower power.

Go Belly.



The bikes performed admirably considering the demands placed upon them. Belly was happy with his 640 and the DR’s were bouncing along nicely on their under damped rear suspensions. We re-named them the Piglets and Colin’s even had a dodgy horn that made a convincing squealing sound! Belly and I reckoned we could differentiate between the two by further naming one Adel and the other Lorella.
After visiting Poepples Corner we called it stumps and set up camp for the night.
The image shows the corner of South Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Packing up our second campsite.

It had been an enjoyable evening .Once again Fred and Colin were forced to be impressed by the speed and efficiency of our Jetboil cookers as Belly and I heated up our meals and made a couple of cuppers before the old school “piglet”cookers could muster up a lukewarm response! A few ports and chocolate along with a bit of “slightly irresponsible” banter and we were set for a good night’s sleep.
As the precedent had already been set, regardless of an early rise, it was still after eight before we hit the track. The previous day of riding had covered the bulk of the demanding stuff and amazingly we had not encountered any 4wd convoys. This day we passed several but without any incident.
One of the fears of riding motorcycles over the dunes is the worry of having a head on when cresting the ridge. You need to maintain good momentum on a bike to keep control but this has its element of risk. We were pleased with ourselves for having fitted radios and therefore being able to warn others of our imminent approach.
We made good progress as the DRs pig rooted and squealed their way across the desert accompanied by the Bee Em Wobbleyou and Kaboom. With rain having fallen a month or so earlier many desert flowers were in bloom, a pleasant vista to behold. Before long we were sitting on top of Big Red, big noting ourselves about what clever bastards we are and how easy it all was!
These photos show the section between camp number two and Birdsville.

Little bit of air.

The crew.

Fred on big red.

Big Red.

Andreas on top.


Up Big Red.

The water crossing on the way to Birdsville.

It was surprising to have to ford a substantial but risk free body of foot deep water after so many kilometers of desert sand. A few more clicks and we arrived in Birdsville for the mandatory “bikes outside of pub“ photographic cliché.
I must say we were all very happy. Modern bikes are in general reliable and can be trusted for this sort of journey especially if they are only a year old or less. We carried the amount of gear that our riding experience indicated we could handle and therefore basically kept out of trouble. The BMW used 30 liters of fuel for the 615 km from Oodnadatta to Birdsville and the KTM and Suzuki machines consumed around 43 -45 liters respectively . So the equation is roughly desert consumption equals touring consumption providing you are being responsible with the throttle.
Stay connected for more motorcycle moments very soon.
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Old 09-04-2008, 07:56 PM   #17
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What an awesome report, love the pics.

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Old 09-05-2008, 12:17 AM   #18
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That sunset photo from a hill of the bikes and tents is excellent makes me want to get out there stunning scenery and great report.
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Old 09-05-2008, 12:59 AM   #19
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Wow Wow and Wow , have to put this trip on my to do list.

Good to see the baby Beemer did so well on fuel and the trip against the jap bikes with proven history.
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Old 09-05-2008, 03:26 AM   #20
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Old 09-05-2008, 04:24 AM   #21
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Readers Comments

Thanks everyone for your positive comments. I'd like to get to the next OCR and meet up with more like minded individuals. I was looking forward to meeting some good blokes I came across at the previous OCR but it was not to be. The same is true for people I do not really know but have sort of become familiar with to a degree via forums.
For the DR650 boys who are interested in the headlight surround I'm meeting up with my brother this weekend so will have some discussions with him.
Hopefully will get the next part of the ride report up tomorrow. Will likely complete the report on tuesday or at the latest wednesday.
Enjoy the weekend,
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Old 09-05-2008, 05:11 AM   #22
Aussie BM rider, West Oz.
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A great report A.

Many years ago I bought my second BM, one of the early GS80 PD's.

My shed wall had a pic of Gaston on his genuine bike, one of the replica's from a brochure, and one of Fred from the magazine article of your CSR unsupported ride so long ago.
I was sorry to hear of your "off" a couple of weeks ago and just assumed it was on an old flexy frame airhead like these old ones of yours and Fred's.
(pic taken by me at Gascoyne Junction OCR 2006)

Thanks for taking the time to write this up.

Andrew Linton
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Old 09-08-2008, 05:03 PM   #23
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After a pie and a bit of repartee (we got some mileage out of Fred addressing the barmaid whose name was Adele as Lorella!) we moved some meters up the road to the servo for petrol and air. Colin’s bike had trouble starting with hardly any fuel left in it!
We met Robin Morrit and Chris Grice from Perth and arranged to re-join and camp with them 20 kilometers north of Bedourie. We were up for some fairly mundane riding for the next several hundred kays, or so it would seem. That proved to be the case until the” big event” 40 kilometers south of the town.
On the bitumen section my bike developed a horrific weave that I just could not ride out of. As the weaves amplified the bike started using more and more of the road until it hit the loose stuff on the edge and it was over the bars I went. My gloves came off, the Savanna 2 jacket wore through as did the riding pants. Once that occurs it’s the skin that wears through and that’s exactly what happened.
Pain, oh the pain……..and I didn’t present too well with the “claret” pissing out as Belly rolled up having observed the whole performance from a safe distance. He was relieved to see me get on my feet so it was out with the bandages, mummification procedure and drugs then into the nursing post on the back of the KTM. Pain, oh the…….as Bear says “pain is a very personal thing”.
It wasn’t long before I was on a flying doctor plane cruising into Mt.Isa with another motorcyclist, Tony, who had sustained a couple of broken ribs. I was looked after like royalty in a hospital run by dedicated and professional staff. So, there it is, “game over” for me.
Looks like a bit too much text so here is an image to break up all the words.
The nursing post in Bedourie-I had a little lay down in the garden here!

I have now seconded Belly to help identify photographs and add some relevant comments.
With my disappearance from the scene the boys rescued my bike and set up camp. Next morning they were at a bit of a loss as to what to do but the day was saved when two couples in 4wd’s that we had met in Birdsville rolled up. They offered to help out and so the motorcyclist amongst them, Bronte, ended up riding Fred’s bike to Mt.Isa.
He got into the spirit of the adventure and dirt station tracks were followed to spice things up a bit. An overnight camp turned into a bit of a party with the two wives having a big cooking competition. Everyone enjoyed the food, drink and stories I am told. I also believe Fred virtually had to lever his bike out from under the cheeks of Bronte’s bum to get his bike back!
4wd camp.

Bronte on HIS bike.

I was pleased to be visited in hospital by Fred, Colin and Belly, also Robin and Chris who must have realized that something had gone amiss when we failed to arrive at their camping spot north of Bedourie. The lads cheered me up a bit and organized some stuff for me before departing.
My helmet having prematurely reached its use by date.

Unfortunately a bit of time had been lost so the Lawn Hill/Adels Grove area had to be bypassed on the way to Lorella.
The following is a sort of pictorial account of their ride to Lorella.
Cape Crawford.

The double crossing b……

Airing out the socks.

More bog please – checking out John Mckinnon’s injured 1200.

Apparently the ride into lorella was a bit of an eye opener with some carnage in the form of toppled pigs and gear strewn over the last 30km. I know that my brother and Belly can be a little irresponsible at times so I hope they weren’t doing anything stupid like riding side by side in the loose sand.
They were surprised to see John and Andy Mckinnon arrive soon after, John having passed many others on more fancied machinery. The word from John is that in order to get your big road bike in on street tyres, at least 80 kph is required.
The rally site turned out to be a nice place, and I can see from the photo’s that people enjoyed what it had to offer and the camaraderie of each other’s company.
Fred re-acquaints himself with the pudding. He took it for a ride in last years Aus Safari.

In the pool.

Lorella camp.

View from the helicopter.

The helicopter.

Tomorrow I will finish the story outlining Colin, Belly and Fred’s ride home through some excellent country on some great tracks. I vaguely remember some words from the theme song of an American TV show of the late sixties or early seventies that went something like –“there are many trails, adventure trails winding through the land, trails to adventure”. Can anybody remember it or is my memory just a jumbled concoction of random childhood images and sounds re-invented in the form of some little rhyme?
Cheers, Andreas.
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Old 09-09-2008, 05:01 PM   #24
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Homeward Bound

When you live in the South West of W.A. then there is three quarters of a continent to cover in order to get back home. As the years go by a greater percentage of our roads become straighter, more engineered, surfaced with bitumen and boring.
We planned to avoid some of this by travelling down through Hatches Creek, McDonald Downs O/S then Cattlewater Pass and the East MacDonnell Ranges to Alice Springs. After an oil change and new rear tyre the trip would continue west through Papunya to Kintore and down the Sandy Blight Junction road, the Great Central Road through Warakurna and Warburton, then the Connie Sue Hwy to Neale Junction. From there it was to be west to Lake Rason and onto Laverton, the Kookynie hotel and Kalgoolie. The final dash home down the Holland Track would complete an almost epic journey of around 10000 km with the greater percentage being on dirt roads and tracks.
So with a bit of a mission ahead of them the fellas decided to give it shit and blasted out of Lorella in formation. Get those 650’s floating on that sand lads!
Two middle aged hoons on a pig hunt.

There was some good riding to be had on the way down to the Alice. The Cattlewater Pass track was brilliant with fast, predictable and sweeping corners –fun, fun, fun.

Belly on the cusp of a lane swap lining up the camera man.

Added protection against kangaroos, emus, sheep and camels.

When it comes to a good thing excess is never enough.

Stonework and a bit of orange.

Yellow and blue too.

Really, they are a polite bunch of lads. Here’s Farmer Fred doing the right thing.

Here we have Fred on the black piglet, suspension nicely compressed after crossing the dip.

Now it’s the orange 640’s turn with a more bulbous rider on board. Just thought I’d put these two shots in for comparison.

Fred creates dust. When riding in the Australian outback creating lots of dust is an enjoyable pursuit.

Man and machine at one with nature.

When seeing scenery like this, I ask the Question; Why would you land in Sydney, have a look at the opera house, fly to Ayres Rock, fly back to the east coast and have a paddle around the reef and then piss of out of the country saying, “been there done that”?
East MacDonnell Ranges road.


A significant portion of the journey west from Alice Springs involved travelling through country owned by the aboriginal people who live east of Papunya around Kintore and the Sandy Blight road. Permits are required and travelers are expected to follow certain requirements.
Fred, being a good advocate for the traditional owners of this land, challenged some 4wd tourists who just rocked up into the community and started videoing the people and surrounds without any sense of respect for where they were. Things could have got a bit ugly but apparently the special strategy for dealing with situations that get out of hand didn’t need to take its full course. Apparently the plan goes something like this (according to Belly) – Fred, the little Jack Russell gets things going with the yap, yap, then if help is required Colin moves in for a bit of physical presence and finally as a last resort Belly steps in as mediator and diffuses things with his negotiation skills!
As I wasn’t privy to such plans, having bailed out days before and therefore not being able to sit around Belly’s campfires beer in hand putting my two bobs worth in, I didn’t have the opportunity to say, “I’ve seen plenty of that and the success rate is pretty low”.
Anyway, in support of Fred, people are given permits to traverse freehold land so it is important that the owners are not given cause to be offended. Permits in future can be easily refused.
The country was indicative of Australia’s red centre with plenty of sand, variations in the landforms , ghost gums and desert oaks. After joining the Great Central Road and travelling through Warakurna and Warburton the next stage of the trip involved following the Connie Sue Hwy south to Neale Junction. I think that there is an image or two that serves well in supporting the view that descriptions such as highway may bit a bit of a misnomer.

One of Belly's camp fires. Note Fred's hand reaching down for food.

Desert Oak country.

A bit of variety in the landscape.

Bush camp shot; Colin and Belly relaxing after a day in the saddle.

Flouro light is good light.

Well, like a true politician I’ve failed to live up to my promise of finishing this report today. I’ll now have it finished tomorrow – promise.
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Old 09-10-2008, 05:51 AM   #25
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The Final Leg

Neale Junction is the cross roads of the Conne Sue Hwy and the Anne Beadell Hwy. From here the three headed their trusty steeds westwards before turning south and following the track past Lake Rason and on to Laverton. The plan was to camp at the shooters hut on the edge of the lake but unfortunately the sun set a bit early that day.
The hut is a bit like an inland seaside shack that has been added to over the years. An artist would probably describe it as having been constructed from found materials.

Generally you have to expect a flat on a big ride. This time it was Fred’s turn.

In Australia motorcyclists with any experience accept the risk that you may hit an animal at any time. These animals can vary in size from microscopic to, well, very bloody big. I’ve hit insects, birds including emus (eagles on road kill are to be avoided also) and of course kangaroos. Fred has cleaned up the odd roo and also managed to fly over the bars when hitting a cow near Fitzroy crossing. Belly has notched up a recent history of emu, kangaroo and sheep hits.
Colin, who has a bit of a history of cleaning up plants of various size on his 1150(pig) had a go at an animal on this trip using the DR 650 (piglet) as the weapon of choice. Although making contact the goat escaped having left two gouge marks in the road from its horns. Here we see Fred and Colin examining the evidence.

No doubt it was also a chance for Colin to check his undies and let the pulse rate drop a little.

I’m not sure where this is but hey, it’s part of Australia so why not show it?

Fred doing his helmet up.

From altitude the country at times can appear endlessly boring. For a motorcyclist riding through it though, the word boring doesn’t enter the psyche.

When arriving in Laverton the bitumen becomes an option. But why choose the civilized route when you can still get most of the way home to Albany, Perth or Jerramungup on the dirt? A graded road led to Kookynie and an overnight stay on the back lawn of the pub. Word has it that the beer tasted pretty good there.

The journey from Laverton to Kalgoorlie still had its points of interest with some rocks and hills to take in; either actively or passively.

We’ve all heard the Question; Why does a dog lick it’s balls? Well here is Belly riding up a steep, gnarly hill just because he can. Um, actually, now that I’ve enlarged the thumbnail we can see that he’s walking his baby. Still, not a bad effort.

Kalgoorlie was a chance to have a bit of a rest before taking the Holland Track towards home. Fred stayed another day in town to catch up with some of his mates from the Australian Safari. This included blokes from the early 80’s such as Steve Riley (who won the auto section this year) and also fellow competitors from last year’s event.
The Holland Track can still throw up a few surprises even after 9000 km of finely honed cross country touring. There are some tight sections and other hazards that can catch you out but mostly it is steady going.

Some nice woodland to ride through.

Those sticks are out to get you.

So after the Holland Track it was only a few hours of riding and everyone was safely back home.
Belly is happy to have completed the loop safely back to Albany.

It’s been a big ride eh boys!

The End.
1. Thankyou to my riding companions Fred, Colin and Belly. All good blokes and very helpful to have around when you have a big off. A gutsy riding performance from Colin who had to nurse an injury from last year and keep up with enduro riders like Belly and Fred.
2. Thanks to our farmers near Ceduna ( the Bergman’s) who fed, sheltered and helped us with tyre changing and key searching.
3. Thanks to our 4wd helpers (Bronte’s crew) who helped with my bike recovery etc.
4. My mum has advised me to give up bikes and take up painting. What do you think – acrylics or oils?
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Old 09-11-2008, 02:20 AM   #26
Pants....That is all
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Top read boys
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Old 09-11-2008, 04:36 AM   #27
Richard H
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Great story and pics.
Thanks for posting.
Tell me, How does the KTM go on the juice fully loaded?

"Never pick a fight with an ugly person.....They've got nothing to lose!" ~ Robin Williams.
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Old 09-11-2008, 07:38 AM   #28
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Fantastic ride report fellas, some awesome photos and really makes me want to go and see some of that country that I havent been to. And Andreas, if you take up painting, better have an easel built into your bike cockpit mate so you can ride at the sametime... how could you give up experiences like this! I am sure you never would mate!
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Old 09-12-2008, 01:05 AM   #29
Dave Ward
Not enough riding...
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Originally Posted by A
My mum has advised me to give up bikes and take up painting. What do you think – acrylics or oils?
A, you're considering your mum's advice re motorcycles? Why this time & not the previous many times?

You'll have to combine both & finish off that big tank & do another landscape painting on it, like the old bike...
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Light travels faster than sound, which must be why when I meet some people they seem bright - until I hear them speak.
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Old 09-12-2008, 01:12 AM   #30
Aussie BM rider, West Oz.
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My thoughts exactly Dave.
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