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Old 08-03-2009, 03:56 AM   #1
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Adventure Initiation - Ayers Rock 1984

I was cleaning out the spare room and found some old photos that I figured should be scanned before they deteriorate any further. Some of you may find them interesting, they are from what I guess was the ride that hooked me on the whole Adventure riding caper and just travelling thru our magnificent country.

I was in my second year apprenticeship with a large company that closed once a year for holidays over Christmas/New year. Now I know it wasn't the best time for outback travel, but at the time I had this new Honda XL600 and I was 18. I had 2 weeks and looking at the map reckoned I could make Central Australia and be back in time for my brothers wedding. No idea why I chose the Centre, but I'm glad I did.

No summer trip from Melbourne would complete without riding along the coastal Great Ocean Road toward South Australia.

Probably the most photographed man made object on the road. The hills behind still showing the aftermath of the disastrous Ash Wednesday bushfires in Feb 1983


and of course the mandatory picture of the 12 Apostles....some of the stacks have collapsed in the mean time


Next highlight was crossing into South Australia...soon after crossing the border I fell asleep on the bike. No idea for how long and it's never happened since, but I woke as the bike ran onto the dirt on the opposite side of the road. Scared the crap out of me.



I don't recall the exact route but it went thru the Barossa Valley, then the Flinders Ranges to Marree and my first taste of an outback pub. Not many people about during summer so no trouble getting a room.


The new plaque commemorating Marree's centenary, 1883 -1983.


I started up the Oodnadatta Track. The heat was incredible, and I often contemplated what the heck I was doing out here. Not far along I learnt lesson number 2.....don't take your eyes of the road. I was having a good old gander at a water tank dating back to when the original Ghan Train came thru here, the road gently crested followed by a short bit of soft stuff, bulldust I learnt. It caught me out and I had my first tankslapper and went down at about 80kmh. No injury in spite of the jeans as riding pants......you can see the nice snaking track I left behind. Somehow the bike ended up facing where I came from

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Old 08-03-2009, 04:11 AM   #2
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Despite seriously considering aborting the whole thing I somehow convinced myself to continue, passing Lake Eyre South.

Arrived 250km later at William Creek, the clouds had lifted, I felt a whole lot better and was keen to continue.
I don't think this place has changed much. The owner was continually chasing the donkey out of the bar...it probably wanted to get out of the heat.


The good thing about summer travel I discovered was the length of the day....none of this dark by 5.30pm
I spent an eye opening night in down town Oodnadatta......


I obviously didn't stop too often for photos, probably worried the bike wouldn't start again ....the next one is on the junction with the infamous South Road - as the Stuart Highway was nicknamed.


.........more to come..........
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Old 08-03-2009, 04:07 PM   #3
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Excellent! Looking forward to seeing more of the past!

(At least I know what you old blokes were doing when I was 14...)
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Old 08-03-2009, 05:04 PM   #4
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The long day meant I could push on crossing into Northern Territory, I was stoked but at the same time noticed I had fractured the rear subframe in my off.


Arrived at the rock just after dark, I don't know how many kilometres it was from Oodnadatta, but I needed a drink to celebrate. The new campground at Yulara had just opened but the only food was still at the pubs near the base of the rock. I met some fellow Victorians travelling in Suzuki 4WDs and struck up friendships that have continued to this day. We had a good night in the pub that found fame when a truck driver drove his road train thru the front door


Next day was devoted to sighseeing around the Rock, really is a special spot.




Don't you love 25 year old fashion......and the view to the Olgas from the top.


Another day trip out and around the Olgas....it was so frigging hot I elected to wear shorts rather than the jeans, and succeeded in sunburning my legs like never before. I am sometimes amazed as many young blokes survive their teens as they do

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Old 08-03-2009, 05:35 PM   #5
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Left the Rock and rode up to Kings Canyon, spent a couple of nights there before continuing on to Alice Springs. Managed to find a bloke who welded up the frame before it completely fell off.



If I thought the fun had already started, then I was in for a shock riding down to Palm Valley....it started raining. I very quickly learnt that tracks out this way turn into the greasy, sloppy red muck that was worse than bulldust - but at least it was still hot





I was now travelling with the Suzuki 4WDs and somehow they talked me into attempting the loop track via Gosses Bluff. Somewhere along this track the rain went torrential and little creeks fast turned into raging torrents, one Suzuki was washed downstream before managing to struggle back onto higher ground. I was experiencing two conflicting emotions at once....both excited and shitting myself. This went on for numerous hours as we headed for Glen Helen. Just as it was turning dark a 4WD tour truck came from the opposite direction and said there was no hope in crossing the Finke. I was totally shagged and should have camped, in hindsight the rivers probably would have dropped by morning, but at the time we thought we were going to die Anyway backtracked in the dark, how the heck I never dropped the bike I'll never know and arrived at Glen Helen from the east side near midnight. Unfortunately I didn't think to take pics, bit of a bugger really.

This is the Finke next morning, the flow rate was astonishing even though it wasn't that deep anymore.


Riding into Ormiston Gorge later - at least the mud was being continually washed off by the water crossings


Couldn't walk far into the Gorge due to the volume of water coming out, very spectacular though

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Old 08-03-2009, 06:54 PM   #6
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Great photos bring back memories...

Your photos remind me of some of my rides here in the States 25 years ago. Amazing how fast the time goes and in the end it's the memories that count.

In those days we called it trail riding or enduros. Now it's "adventure riding" even when it's on a Harley and taking photos from the pavement. Go figure?

I still like doing the great off road adventures where there is at least some challenge in getting away from the asphalt and to the scenery.

Thanks for sharing!

Ride safe

Taz9

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Old 08-03-2009, 09:02 PM   #7
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Stopped in on some of the other gorges on the way back to the Alice...Simpson Gap


I parted ways with the 4WDs, they were bound for Qld whereas I had my brothers wedding to attend. Soon after crossing the border the Stuart Hwy turned to dirt, it too having seen rain.


This stuff was ridiculously slippery and it went on for km after km. I spent a fair bit of time off the road as it afforded more grip. Arrived at Marla as more rain came down and happened to meet the driver of the Adelaide - Alice bus, he reckoned keep going as it was only going to get worse....even offered to stick my bike in the bottom of the bus. By this stage I was invincible so politely thanked him for the offer, but I'd spend the night and continue in the morning. Nine inches in the old scale fell overnight, my tent flooded and we awoke to this...


No chance of going anywhere as the rain continued on and off for the next 2 days. It ended up being one of the most entertaining 6 days of my life stuck at Marla. No one could get in, no one could leave, much like the Hotel California . One day the road crew working on the yet unfinished new Stuart Hwy before the rain, brought out a crane to give us a birds eye view of the area.....looking south down the Hwy...


The crane...


Road north from just over rail line......a couple of equally stranded blokes launched a tinnie here one day and were gone all day....apparently they never found where the road came up again


Just north of town is the Ghan railway which also suffered....


Three days later the sun came out so at least we had nice beach weather....can't say I have swum the Stuart Hwy since...


It took another 3 days before the road south was dry enough for me to continue. It was interesting watching peoples reactions, I think there were about 60 odd stranded souls, some really started freaking out blaming everyone including the Pope. The real panic started when we all started running out of money....loans were organised. But this was nothing compared to when we had to ration the beer

Anyway by the time I could get out I had 4 days before my brothers wedding in Melb. The road to Coober Pedy was a combination of flooded sections, washed out sections...some of the best riding and didn't see a soul.

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Old 08-03-2009, 09:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TaZ9
In those days we called it trail riding or enduros. Now it's "adventure riding" even when it's on a Harley and taking photos from the pavement. Go figure?

Taz9
Spot on Taz!

RPN, Do you have any other 'olden days' rides you need to share? This rates, for me, as one of the better reports I have read on this forum. Great stuff, thanks for taking the time to scan and post the pictures as well as add the story... AWESOME!
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Old 08-03-2009, 09:25 PM   #9
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Great job -- Thanks for the peak into the past!
-Chris
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Old 08-03-2009, 09:34 PM   #10
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Coober Pedy is still the same now I think


Somehow made it home in 3 days, the long summer daylight hours certainly helped. Was quite chuffed crossing the Vic border again...


My chain broke just down the road, luckily I had a spare link - only to find it was the wrong size . So I walked up and down the road till I found the broken one, discovered that it was intact except the locking clip was gone. I managed to fit the new clip onto the old link and made it home with a day to spare .

That XL600 went on and did quite a few more trips including a 3 month around Oz adventure. But as far as adventure travel was concerned, I was certainly hooked on bikes as the mode of transport

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Old 08-03-2009, 09:43 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by jtb

RPN, Do you have any other 'olden days' rides you need to share? This rates, for me, as one of the better reports I have read on this forum. Great stuff, thanks for taking the time to scan and post the pictures as well as add the story... AWESOME!
I was debating whether anyone would find it interesting, so thanks

I have slides of the 3 month trip which was in 86, one day I'll scan them. Must be other inmates with old bike trip pics? A mate showed me some slides of his father who went on an outback trip albeit in a car, with some mates in the late 40's....now that was awesome.
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Old 08-03-2009, 09:53 PM   #12
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Old 08-03-2009, 10:03 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RPN
I was debating whether anyone would find it interesting, so thanks

I have slides of the 3 month trip which was in 86, one day I'll scan them. Must be other inmates with old bike trip pics? A mate showed me some slides of his father who went on an outback trip albeit in a car, with some mates in the late 40's....now that was awesome.
C'mon all you old blokes! Let's see your 'olden days' trips!

RPN, Get scanning mate! Looking forward to your next write up...

Oh and you can do a write up for the 40's outback trip as well. Love the old stuff!

Thanks again for taking the time, really was worth the effort
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Old 08-03-2009, 10:15 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by jtb
Thanks again for taking the time, really was worth the effort
Seconded. Thanks heaps for putting in the effort!! Was a great read.
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Old 08-03-2009, 10:43 PM   #15
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Loved the blast from the past , for mine this pic below is one of the best I've seen on this site , I just love the colours and contrasts .



Thanks for taking the time to scan and post this trip . I enjoyed it enormously.

Cheers Alan
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