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Old 09-12-2010, 02:17 AM   #31
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Location: was Kununurra, now Carnarvon, Australia
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Great pics, ride and bike.
Some men like the fish'n,
Some men like the foul'n,
Some men like to hear........
to hear the cannonball a roar'n!
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Old 09-12-2010, 04:21 AM   #32
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It's mid afternoon and I head through Parachilna Gorge and into Glass Gorge, looking towards tackling the PAR (Public Access Route) however the Glass Gorge road is quite muddy in places. The closer I get to the PAR turnoff, the more apparent the recent heavy rain is.

Low rain bearing clouds are also making their presence known with obvious rain falling within close range. I bail on the PAR route, as it's too late in the day to tackle it with rain coming. Shame, because it was at the top of my "To do" list for this trip.

But the area through Glass Gorge is still interesting with plenty of wildflowers that add vibrant colour to the rolling hills. These are Ruby Dock plants, another introduced plant. The unusual three sided red "flowers" dry out to become a fibrous seed pod which can compress like foam packing balls and because of this, it was introduced into the arid regions of Australia by Afghan Cameleers. They used it inside the saddle packs of their camel teams, to pad the load against the camel's hide. However constant rubbing of the packs by the camels walking great distances eventually saw great trails of the seed pods distributed across the desert country. Since then it has thrived in a climate similar to it's North African/Middle Eastern home, similar to the camels themselves. Huge areas turn this maroon red for months in Spring.

Minnie Daisy bushes.

Not sure what species these are. Any botanists in the house?

I continue on through the Gorge, eventually reaching Blinman township. First stop, the pub.

With it's amazing "ripple rock" verandah paving - a drying shoreline many hundreds of millions of years old, captured like an ancient photograph.

My short, dark and good looking companion.

How bloody rude...I almost forgot a self-portrait shot before making it disappear.

Something across the road at the Post Office catches my eye.

It's an old red phone box hiding behind the new solar powered one.

From back in the days when telephones were simple and you spoke to a real operator if you wanted to make or accept a call. I forget what the "A" and "B" buttons were for. Something to do with adding coins to extend a "trunk" call from memory.

While we're up, may as well stretch the legs and have a quick wander around this old copper mining township.

An early settlers style "Pug and Pine" hut, made from the local cypress pine trees with a sand, clay and straw "pug" pushed between the gaps to keep some of the rain and draft out. The roof is a modern corrugated iron job instead of the earlier shrub thatching and whitewashed interior cloth common in the 1860's when this area was settled. The large rusty square tank on the left side is a water tank. Salty bore water, pumped from deep underground by windmill, quickly rusted these out. The advent of corrugated iron allowed the collection of more palatable rainwater. The shed to the right is clad with recycled fuel/kero containers. Early chimney's were often built with the same recycled tin. In this case, the chimneys are built of local sandstone and a lime mortar made in wood-fired kilns near local limestone outcrops. Very few buildings like this still exist.

Next door, the old school house. The township had a population of 1500 people during the copper mining years but now it's down to about 22 permanent residents.

These stone building were all built with protruding cornerstones, allowing later stone extensions to strongly bind with the initial building. Farm houses were always built like this, to allow extensions as good financial times and needs allowed. To save on costs, all extensions had a flat corrugated iron roof and the rear windows and door were simply removed and relocated to the back of the new extension. Prosperous farmers also often extended the front of the building in an identical manner. If a place was abandoned for structural or economic reasons, the corrugated roofing tin was removed and taken to the new location for reuse. This causes most early buildings to rapidly deteriorate into a pile of stone block ruins as the weather attacks the weak mortar.

Looking back up towards the hotel end of the street, the (Soldier's) Memorial Hall is still used for community functions and regular dances. Almost all towns in Australia have similar halls. Some areas simply have a hall as the official township, with farmers nearby gathering for any local function.

One of the locals comes out to check me over. This is a Whippet, obviously in training to be a racing Greyhound from the flash jacket and quick gait. I think it's a city dog. There's no sign of mange.

Some of the old mining equipment, on display in a local's yard.

The house next door. An old bloke lived his whole 94 years here, apparently, before dying recently. Not sure what the place was previously, but it doesn't look like a normal house, as it's long and narrow. Maybe a hotel, shop or stagecoach building? I didn't want to dig too deep.

Returning to the pub, I find it's also become yuppified (competing with Parachilna Pub for the well to do tourist dollar), selling mainly white and red wines with no sign of decent beer or Stone's Green Ginger Wine amongst it all. I leave and head back west into Parachilna Gorge. The roos and Euros are already out and about in the shadow filled gorge. My camera batteries are dead again and I can't find my good reliable replacements. They're not in the tank bag or solar charger. Damn! I drop into the Angorichina store half way down the gorge and find a huge 1 litre bottle of Stone's for $19 - city prices . That'll keep us warm tonight and the following night. At least the freezing gale has subsided. I follow the gorge through the ranges and back out onto the road where I met the guys. I figure I must have dropped the batteries while I was there, so I start looking for them. To my amazement, the spot is easy to find as there's sticks sitting on the well used dirt roadway where Desert Dogs kelpie was playing fetch as we stood talking earlier. Too easy. I find my lost batteries in the dirt nearby, just as the sun sets.

Just enough power left in them to shoot these photos.

And proof of why I love this countryside.

The slight falling rain turns the scene briefly completely bright orange as the sunlight hits it. Off to the south-west, heavier rainfall is hitting the area near the salt lake, Lake Torrens and reaching up towards the Parachilna Hotel area, my next destination to catch up with the guys again.

I wait a little while after sunset so my eyes adjust to the dark and to let my headlights work better. This is Red Kangaroo country and I don't need to tangle with one when they're most active.

A photo of the Parachilna Pub, thanks to PBee, so you know what it looks like. I meet the guys already settled under the verandah. The bar robs me of $6.50 for a stubbie (That's $156 for a $40 carton. That's not profit, it's robbery.) but it's the last one I buy. Yep, I'm cheap...but I'm also on a bloody tight budget. The Stone's comes out later, accompanied by some excellent, fresh Port Lincoln and Coffin Bay oysters that Desert Dog has brought with him. They're an unexpected luxury. Good on ya, DD. . The evening rolls on with good company until the guys call it a night. I head off back into Parachilna Gorge to a campsite I picked out earlier. Within a few minutes at camp, I've got the swag off the bike, a small cooking fire going and my camp oven cooking a nice damper bread. Not much to do but sip Stone's and enjoy the surroundings beside the fire. What a top day it's been.

To be continued....
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Old 09-12-2010, 04:36 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by LC8TY
Great pics, ride and bike.
Thanks mate. Not a patch on yours but it's country I've known for 26 years and it keeps dragging me back. I already have to return one day to ride the PAR and explore the Arkaroola ranges area.
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Old 09-12-2010, 09:53 AM   #34
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To be continued......................................... ....

classic so far.

cheers matty
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Old 09-12-2010, 10:19 AM   #35
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Good stuff Been a while since I was in the area and it certainly wasn't as green then. I see the Prarie Hotel is still looking to attract the "Gold Card" end of the traveller market.
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Old 09-13-2010, 03:57 AM   #36
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Heya Matty. Cheers to you, mate. Looking forward to our next adventure. When do the salmon run out west? How's that beautiful dog of yours going? This RR business takes ages. More good bits to come.

G'day Phil. How was your summer? It's a big treat for us desert dwellers to see so much green life where it's normally brown and wind-swept. Will be even more amazing soon when all the wildflowers are in full bloom. What season did you visit the Flinders? September and April are the prime months - not too hot, not too cold ( Says the bloke who thinks 36 celcius is just nice and 14 damn freezing).
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Old 09-13-2010, 04:51 AM   #37
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Great ride report. Unreal photos .
Thank you for posting.
I know it takes a lot of time to do them.

Cheers Ian.
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Old 09-13-2010, 06:25 AM   #38
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Hey sundowner I went and stood in that same phone box,

oh and the new 1200 Teneres are in Bills motorcycles
I dont like it much
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Old 09-14-2010, 07:40 AM   #39
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Waking up to another blue sky morning, I stoke the fire and prepare breakfast.

This basically involves finding the right kind of stick to skewer nice thick slices of damper with, so I can toast them over the fire as a cup of water boils for some tea.

While I'm doing this, I take in the scenery around the campsite. A pair of adult Emus walk along the creek towards me, feeding constantly on ground level shrubs as they approach. With their heads down, they seem oblivious to my presence. Finally the thin, wafting smoke from the fire gives my presence away. The pair take a wide berth around me, still casually grazing. As I finish breakfast and start breaking camp, my attention is drawn to the southern side of the creek valley and a herd of wild goats calling out to each other as they graze along the ridge.

The four white goats amongst the twenty strong herd makes them easy to spot, except in this photo . Last nights conversation included discussing "Men Who Stare At Goats" - guess that's me today. I can't help but think of the old days with a WW2 .303 bolt action and a dialled in 'scope.

Another introduced pest, the feral goats are perfectly happy and at home in the rocky terrain and steep mountains, surviving off the native plants and young saplings. They were once shot at random by farmers decades ago when they were worth only 50 cents a head at market, now they're mustered annually with the help of motorcycles and Ultralight aircraft and shipped south to the markets and abattoirs for an eager immigrant driven market.

I head east, back through Parachilna Gorge to Blinman. Just south of town I find this.

It's an early model road grader. Exciting as this is, I don't bother with the plaque to find out any details.

I continue south on the new bitumen road that twists and winds onwards towards Wilpena Pound and then Hawker. I'd travelled north on this in the dark the first night. Looks much better in daylight and if I wasn't paranoid about the hundreds of lurking kangaroos, I'd rate it the best motorcycling bitumen road in South Oz. After a short but engrossing ride, I reach the "Great Wall of China" area.

I find a great track that promises to take me to a hidden gorge shown on my GPS. Unfortunately it terminates (for me) at a locked steel gate. But it's an enjoyable chance to practise some low speed trials riding skills over the washouts, sandy creek beds and gullys of the unmaintained two wheel rut track.

I finally return to the Great Wall of China lookout and enjoy the scenery in relative solitude, not counting a pair of Wedge Tailed Eagles working the towering ridge line or the family of Euros hopping away into the valley below.

To be continued...
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Old 09-14-2010, 08:35 AM   #40
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Amazing pics and a great ride report.
I am coming with you next time for some mud training

Cheers Tony
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Old 09-14-2010, 12:07 PM   #41
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Great ride, You have lovely sense of appreciation of the countryside and the flora and fauna.I can't believe you are making dampers i havn't heard of such things since I was in the Army Cadets in the sixties.
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Old 09-15-2010, 05:28 AM   #42
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Thankyou, Pops. You're comments are high praise indeed, considering you're a local.

Heya Tony, Certainly enjoying your Canning Stock Route RR. We'll have to catch up on a local ride soon so you can tell me about the countryside. Looked brilliant.

G'day windspirit, love the desert country, so learning about the flora and fauna is a pleasure - it makes the journey more rewarding because you notice and appreciate more of what you travel through. The damper turned out okay - it's a new pressed stainless steel camp oven so I was pleased with how well it turned out for a late night effort. After crackers and porridge the previous days, the fresh bread was great.
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Old 09-19-2010, 10:26 PM   #43
roughing it :)
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Sundowner, great ride report mate, I didn’t know you were such the naturist. Anyway by the looks I shouldn’t have turned back and kept heading north with you for a fantastic ride.
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Old 09-20-2010, 01:47 AM   #44
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Fantastic stuff Richard. You've got a way with words mate.
Great pics too.
Well done.
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Old 09-20-2010, 06:50 AM   #45
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Thanks Mike. I've been thoroughly enjoying your latest RR as well. I promise I'll finish this RR this week. Still got some good photos and story-telling to go.

Rich, I'd have been stranded and stuffed on the first morning if you hadn't joined me. Would have been great to have you along for the full ride. Shame you had to work. After our mud baptism that morning, I found the remaining fairly easy, although I reckon I held my breath the whole way down that flooded road north of Clare. Actually had to remind myself to relax my grip on the bars numerous times that day. Top little adventure though. Big bonus was nobody tried shooting at me or reporting me to any of the Authorities this ride. I was a bit worried somebody might arc up while we were tackling that hill above the first gorge.
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