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Old 12-24-2008, 05:28 AM   #1
Joe Watson OP
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Location: Sunshine Coast, Qld, Aus.
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Longest Day Ride - Coast2Corner

Well, having only been on one adventure ride, reading about this longest day ride thing intrigued me. Seeing as it was leaving from very close to my home town, I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity. What I didn’t realize is how serious this all was!

This is a tradition that has been going for a few years with a crew from NSW having many attempts to leave from the east coast of Australia and make it to Camerons Corner (the meeting point of NSW, Qld and SA). The aim is to do so on the longest day of the year and do all the riding between sun up and sun down.

Bike Prep: I fitted up a set of Mitas E-09s because the thought of sand riding on 50/50 tyres freaked me out. Not only due to the lack of grip, but with my lack of experience in the sand (basically none) I needed all the help I could get. Airhawk was fitted up to the nasty DR seat (helps out a lot, but still not the best). Lastly, got myself a Zumo GPS.

So with bike all prepped it was time to prep myself. I was getting to bed gradually earlier in the weeks leading up and fully hydrating myself for the three days prior. Mind and body ready – check.

The night before: Went to bed around 8pm and got in about an hours sleep before the nerves kicked in, then I was getting rather frustrated at waking up every 5-10mins looking over at the clock and rolling over again. About 11:30 I would say I got to sleep again properly.

Up at 3am ready to head down to sunshine beach, bike was packed, loaded and fueled up so it was time to hit the road.



The route for the day



Pretty long way in the grand scheme of things!




Got down to the Surf Club carpark but no one was there. So waited round. Then Dave turned up. He was going to do a bit of photography for us on some of the way.







The other two soon arrived, there was Mark on his 640 who had done the Aus Safari and Linford on his 525. With introductions and small talk out of the way, it was time to gear up and hit the road! Leaving at 0452.












We headed out through Cooroy then out towards Nanango via the Amamoor, the first bit of dirt we hit, with Mark in front of me, he stood up on the pegs and LET RIP! Within one corner he was already out of sight. As I rode as quick as I could I couldn’t help thinking; how is someone with very very little dirt experience supposed to keep up with someone who has raced in a Safari??? Dave was supposed to meet us at Nanango for a pic but we were 10mins late and he had already pushed through. Up through the Bunya Mountains and through to Dalby for our first fuel stop. By the time we hit Dalby we were 20mins late and again Dave had already passed through. Quick bite to eat and back in the saddle. We were on bitumen for many hours to come so we could make up some time………..

Linford behind me



Mark in front, resting his legs.



Me!





When we rolled into St George we were something like 30mins behind and Linford needed some more fuel to make it to our next stop so put us behind again, things were looking grim!

Still had a smile on my face though, I was still having fun!




Whilst actually on the bikes, we were averaging about 120-130kph (even with my insane speed wobbles at anything over 118kph) but it just wasn’t enough. Bollon for a fuel stop and again, getting further behind. When we got to Cunnamulla, spirits were very low. We stopped off in a park for a re-think. It was 2pm and we were WAY behind schedule, something like an hour or two. Linford was getting very fatigued and in his words “was not having fun anymore” and Mark was not feeling it either. I think their goal was to do it properly and make it from the Coast to the Corner in the daylight hours, which is fair enough. Me on the other hand, I just wanted to make it there, I didn’t care if I rode all through the night and made it there in the morning, I was going to make the corner in one ride.

So I left the boys at Cunnamulla and smashed the bitumen some more all the way to Noccundra and made it there by 18:30 or there abouts. I still had an hour of daylight, but something like 250 odd ks of dirt, sand and dunes to go and with my absolute lack of offroad riding experience, things were about to get interesting.

Leaving Noccundra and racing the sunset I was able to make a decent average speed on the dirt. By the time the sun had set at about 19:30 I had done just over 1300ks. This is where the fun really began. I still had about 150ks to go to the corner. So off with the sunnies and on with the glasses, the goggles came off at the stage as they were rather filthy. It was slow going, making my way through the dark with a candle for a headlight (thanks for nothing Suzuki!), not having riding on sand properly before and navigating over dunes which I had DEFINITELY not done before. A lot of rabbits and a lot of roos. Speaking of, Kangaroos really are the dumbest animals ever created, us Aussies know that if there is one on the side of the road, it will, without a doubt jump across the road in front of you, they NEVER jump off into the bush on the side of the road that they are on. Anyway, the one did the usual and jumped across in front of me, he must have thought how much fun that was and tried it again. By this stage he is basically beside me so I twist it to the stop to get in front of him, but he turns back for another ago and is heading straight for me and the side of my bike. So out comes the boot and with a size 11 to the face he was down and smacking his head on my panniers and what felt to be under my back wheel.

Sunset



The time.



The distance traveled



As time passed by and the Ks hardly rolled on due to my slow going I wondered if I was ever going to make it there, 8pm, 9pm, 10pm and still not there. I had all sorts of thoughts going through my head but I knew I was going to make it there no matter what. As I rolled on the throttle once more around a bend I could see lights, LIGHTS! THE CORNER STORE!!! I HAD MADE IT!!!! At about 10:30pm I had made it, 1465km all up. I hadn’t made it there in the daylight, but bugger me I had made it!











Only four of the NSW crew were still in the pub, the rest of the pikers had hit the hey earlier (I am sure some of them will tell the story). Many many brews were sunk with stories of the days riding being strewn across the bar. Bill the legendary owner of “The corner store” runs a bloody good show there and I was able to get a room for the night.

In the pub that night was Craig, Tony, Borris, Dan and Myself. Of course Bill the legend was behind the bar.







So that is it. About 17 odd hours on the bike 1465kms with my first real desert riding experience being in the dark, but boy did it feel good knowing I had done what I set out to do.

P.S. There is more to come, the ride home report will follow soon.
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Old 12-24-2008, 05:47 AM   #2
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Day 2 and Day 3

With only three or four hours sleep and FAR too many beers under the belt we were up and getting fuelled figuring out our plans to get home. I personally prefer to ride solo as not to hold anyone up. I went into South Australia for a poke around and look see and then through the dingo fence into NSW heading for Tibooburra. From there, across to Wannaring and up to Hungerford into Qld again and through the dingo fence once more. Up to Eulo from there to camp the night out the back of the pub.

Day 2 Route:






Bill the legend!


Fueling up



Some sore heads I am sure.



The corner!



South Australia



"The Corner Store"



From South Australia into NSW - The dingo fence.



Through.



Looking down a section of the fence.



Into the Sturt Desert



A lot of sand, with the sunlight and my confidence up I was able to hammer the sand pretty hard! Mostly 100kph and straight to the stops if the bike got unsettled.



The average dunes with expanse of flat earth between them.



Same again.



Big dried up lake.



Road trains.......about to hit the dunes.......:shrugs:



Some funny characters out in the desert!



Some salt lake.




Tibooburra to Wannaraing, hard packed sand with some softer bits.



Me!



Looking back where I had just came from - NSW



Into QLD again and a break at Hungerford.



All set up at Eulo behind the pub.



My DR looking more and more like a dirt bike these days.



With a nice shower and great pork chops (not to mention a few ice cold beers) I was off to bed at about 7:30. Only to be woken an hour or so later by gale force winds trying its best to bring down my tent.

Day 3 saw me hitting the bitumen in a big way. 1000ks all up to get home. I had a boring, but good days riding, rather fatigued though, it was all starting to catch up on me. Some NoDoz tablets (100mg caffeine tabs) later and I was ready to roar. I made it home in just under 10hrs. So an overall average of 100kph for the day which was nice.

Day 3 Route.










Overall, I did 3023km in the three days. Had an absolute blast too and met some great people. I will definitely be up for it next year, with better planning and should make it there in the daylight!

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Old 12-24-2008, 06:03 AM   #3
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Good on you Joe

Sorry I didn't make it this year. Will be up for it next year though

What happened to Mick?
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Old 12-24-2008, 11:57 AM   #4
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Nice ride!!

Good to see the DR doing what those orange boys couldnt complete
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Old 12-24-2008, 12:04 PM   #5
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Well done Joe......Ps. Can lend you an "airhawk" seat next time

oops mybad... looks like you had one
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Old 12-24-2008, 12:06 PM   #6
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Nice long ride! The weather looks perfect too, thanks for sharing it
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Old 12-24-2008, 12:49 PM   #7
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Great write up and pics! My DR gets the wobbles at 120kph as well (on private land undercontrolled conditions, .......naturally).

Thanks for posting up your pictures and ride report!

PS Were you happy with the E09's?
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Old 12-24-2008, 02:04 PM   #8
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Bloody good effort Joe. Well done for sticking at it.

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Old 12-24-2008, 02:16 PM   #9
auRoscoe
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Gez good work, thats iron butt stuff!
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Old 12-24-2008, 02:37 PM   #10
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Nice report.

I went through the last stretch of road from Noccundra to the corner a few hours earlier.

I'm pissed of I didn't stop and take some photos, it was the classic desert tracks mostly sand, but because of resent rain there was quite a few rutted out mud holes with detours around them.

I had enough trouble with some sections of the track during daylight on my 640 so I'm really impressed you gave it an attempt in the dark, and even more impressed that you made it.

It was a great ride but you should have joined me for the run up the Strzelecki track the next day...

Anyway I managed to take some spy shots of you at the corner...


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Old 12-24-2008, 03:15 PM   #11
Detlef in Oz
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Top report & good for you to keep going

I'm looking at doing a trip to the corner as well but from the south.

Let us know how those E09's went as that is my next choice. I have E07 at the momnent.

Did the Zumo perform ok, I trust you had other software & maps besides street maps.
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Old 12-24-2008, 04:25 PM   #12
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Great effort Joe. Thanks for the report.
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Old 12-24-2008, 04:35 PM   #13
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awesome! thanks for taking us along
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Old 12-24-2008, 04:39 PM   #14
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Well done Joe.. Valiant effort mate and you did us DR owners proud
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Old 12-24-2008, 05:01 PM   #15
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Big Effort !!
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