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Old 10-15-2006, 06:28 PM   #1
Mototrans OP
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I went to Darwin and all i got was this lousy lighter.....

So i'm not sure if my story counts... as i don't ride a BM or a KTM, b ut here goes.. so after watching the long way round 16 times and in a fresh fit of irrationality i wanted an XT500, the same steed i rode to work and back when i was sixteen and hoped that once again i would feel sixteen.
So the bike of my dreams pops up in Darwin NT some 4,300kms away and the fantasy starts to evolve into a "i'll ride her back, like an adventure rider, like a real Ewan McGregor" and i set out to proove that the fantasy is far removed from the reality...
A quick pic of the route
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Old 10-15-2006, 06:30 PM   #2
Adh007
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You have my attention.
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Old 10-15-2006, 06:38 PM   #3
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so here we go....

i jumped on a Virgin flight with two soft panniers and a swag, helmet and Camelpack.... i had organised to call my brother everyday as a check in and a to raise the alarm if i go missing... stranger things have happened....
So the flight is left on the tarmac for two hours while they try to fix a computer glitch while Mic the brickie (my neighbour) seizes the opportunity and sets about trying to break the record for beers consumed on a Domestic flight.. within 6 beers (or 15 mins) he has the Japanese girl on the other side folding Oragami out of napkins with way to much patience for my liking... well you know what they say ...when in Rome

...i stagger off the flight close enough to 3 in the morning in Darwin....and its off to the backpackers inn...
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Old 10-15-2006, 06:48 PM   #4
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Eh? i wake up in Darwin...

with a face full of backpackers .....who are way to relaxed for my liking ...so i'm off to pick up my bike... i'm full of anticipation... 500cc of thumper and just me and the road....
The first thing i learn is that Darwin is well spread out.. a couple of blocks in Darwin is a hellavu lot bigger than a coupla blocks in Sydney... they like room up there and alot of it... The second is that the buses are cheap.. i'm used to paying $5 bucks to jump on public transport in Sydney, so you can imagine my surprise when i try to hand over a $10 note to the busdriver and he promptly tells me "you've got to be kidding", the fare is a measly $1.80 all the way to the other side of Darwin.."get off my bus and go get some change"... "catch the next one"... Eventually i arrive to see my big bewdiful girl

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Old 10-15-2006, 07:04 PM   #5
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so heres Darwin...

the bike runs around Darwin fine... its had a mechanic inspect it who says its a good thing *qualification* (its 28 years old mate)... so i confidently set about setting up my packs and gear on the back preparing for an early morning departure the next day.. so its time for some sightseeing..
The Vic Hotel, typical of an older building in Darwin, beautiful old stone building that survived a tornado not only in the late 1800's but the modern day Cyclone Tracy (70's?)... in the basement i learn a bit about Darwin... in the Goldrush days (mid 1800's) Asians outnumbered whites by 10:1, by the 1900's it was a gateway to the rest of the world for Australia, all mail used to fly out through here so it had a huge aviation history, it was also the gateway for communications out of Australia to Java. The early 1900's saw it a declining centre. War came and soldiers are tributed to rebuilding Darwin economically. Darwin was a fuelling point for the Brits and many American planes were stationed here or within 600kms at offsite airstrips.
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Old 10-15-2006, 07:07 PM   #6
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underground oil storage...

air raids in the 40's saw 11 subterrainian tunnels planned for Darwin of which 8 were completed for oil storage depots. Originally they had 11 tanks which were all but destroyed by the Japanese...
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Old 10-15-2006, 07:09 PM   #7
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Darwin today

Darwins new future depends on its Port of which milliuons are being invested.. its a gateway to Asia and completion of new rail links across Australia provide a more affordable and cost effective distribution network

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Old 10-15-2006, 07:18 PM   #8
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Wink time for some tarmac....

so i get up before sunrise the next morning.. its about 6 and i'm already sweating.. its so humid up here you can't help but sweat without batting an eye.... but finally after 6 stops to get my luggage sitting right.. i see a long road ahead... the most dissapointing aspect is that the bike ticks over comfortably on about 90km'h... so some quick math tells me i'm in for a long ride. I only have 120km's under the belt and the ole girl dies.. real quick like an electrical fault... i pull the plug and i have heaps of spark... hmmmm..... don't know what it was but switching the fuel tank onto reserve fixed it.. must be a technical glitch.. so i'm back on the road again...
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Old 10-15-2006, 07:21 PM   #9
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oh dear...

at 120km per tank i work out i have a mere 40 fuel stops ahead of me... that fantasy is quickly becoming a reality.... the termite hills out here are bloody huge... and my ass is sore... the XT wasn't really built for touring and i've only done about 200kms...
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"Ignorance of the law will never save you. Good suspension and a full tank might." - Sundowner

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Old 10-15-2006, 07:26 PM   #10
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Ewan never mentioned....

the fuel situation.. the speed situation or the other bikes blowing past at 180kmph..... thats 90kms over and above me.. and it doesn't take long for me to work out that at hit from behind is going to be as bad as a run off the road.... this place is dangerous....
All the way down the road is remanants of the war, airstrips, machinery and fuel stores.. they are bloody averywhere.. Darwin once thrived with soldiers and i imagine she was a wild town....
This is an old steam (?) engine used to mill timber... shes seen some history this old girl..
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Old 10-15-2006, 07:27 PM   #11
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May I have some more please?
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Old 10-15-2006, 07:36 PM   #12
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Mataranka..

the thing that amazes me is the way the landscape changes from point to point... things are getting drier, after just 400kms we are still just within Kakadu... just when you think your out of it, up pops Mataranka and the thermal springs.. its was to good to resist, i had a quick splash in this soft water running out of the ground. Get a load of the clarity of this water...
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"Ignorance of the law will never save you. Good suspension and a full tank might." - Sundowner

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Old 10-15-2006, 07:53 PM   #13
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some famous bloke named Dr Gilruth

built this homestead (1916).. as part of a experimental cattle station, he was actually a Administrator for the NT and notoriously hated by all which ended in him being run out of town to the tune "for he's a jolly good failure" He was apparently very arrogant and was tributed as having grown a 10,000 pound pumpkin and a owned a $20,000,0000 bull. The truth behind it was the pumpkin was grossly exadgerated (while it was a big pumpkin). The bull was another story.. in an attempt to have the biggest bull this gentlemen imported some big critter from Overseas and onboard was Cattle tick.. the 20,000,000 was the estimate cost to Australias cattle industry...
Note the enclosed but ventilated verandah running all the way around the house in an attempt to keep the inner areas cooler.
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"Ignorance of the law will never save you. Good suspension and a full tank might." - Sundowner

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Old 10-15-2006, 07:58 PM   #14
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time to explore....

just like Ewan.. i tried to piss off the beaten track to explore this Airfield a bit.. i followed the tracks noting my position in relation to the sun, marked my odo and off i went... only to emerge 45 mins later scared shitless of ever leaving the highway again... i got lost in such a small area, i was marking my corners and screaming for my mum....but she wasn't there to wipe my tears....
Made me realise how easy it was to get lost out here in such a relatively isolated place.. and i was only 500 klms from Darwin..
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Old 10-15-2006, 08:00 PM   #15
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inbound on sunset

i can taste the beers at Daly Waters pub

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