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Old 11-10-2010, 03:29 AM   #76
Nathan OP
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9/11/2010, Plenty Highway

It rained during the night with big lightning bursts that lit up the sky. I had intended to take the Plenty Highway to Alice Springs, so the rain had me a bit worried. I got up early-ish and went to the visitor information centre to get some road info. Unfortunately, it didn't open until 8:30am, and I was too impatient to wait the 20 minutes required.

I did meet a real glue-sniffer Aborigine dude outside. He had crusty bits around his eye, nose, and mouth, his belt was undone, and he was wobbling worse than Nordieboy's DR. I could barely understand him. He asked me where I was from and when I told him, he said "I'm from Australia!"

Another Aborigine guy then came over and started haranguing the poor dude, letting me make my getaway. The rain was still threatening, and the blackest sky was in the south-west, right where I was heading. A lesser--or more intelligent--man would have waited the 20 minutes for the information centre to open, but not me! Elena and I headed out of town.

Here's a pile of rocks. The Outback contains huge amounts of uniformity broken up by bizarre things at random intervals. The sudden contrast of these oddities gives the Outback an unhinged quality that seeps into the people who live here.




After 90 kilometres of bitumen, I was right in the middle of the darkest clouds and it was raining. The road to Urandangi was wet but since it had a decent amount of gravel I decided to try it.




After about 10km, it became apparent that the road wasn't as gravelly as I had hoped and was also wetter than I had thought. I was making my way down it okay, but I was quite worried that someone would yell at me ruining their road.




Here is more flat land. Or maybe it's the same flat land...




I arrived at Urandangi covered in mud even though I had been riding like a nana due to my overburdened "don't ruin the road" conscience.




The lady in the pub asked me how the road was and I admitted it was a bit wet. I asked her if I should have been riding down it, and she told me that bikes can get through worse stuff than 4WDs because they can choose better lines. She didn't seem to care in the slightest that the road might get rutted. When another local took off down the road in his 4WD, I decided to stop giving a crap about the road.

The Urandangi hotel and my mud-splattered bag.




Urandangi is essence of Outback. Check out this little saggy-pants guy. He was running around with the animals, free and unfettered, when a big white guy with a lazy eye came out of the pub and yelled at him to get inside. The little scamp ran under the diesel tank, so the white guy walked over, grabbed his arm and hoisted him off the ground. White dude then proceeded to tell him to "get inside because I've got fucking work to do!"




Meanwhile, a little horse was a silent bystander to the commotion. Those blue steel struts are what the little kid "hid" under.




Oh, there was a friendly cow too. I scratched him behind the ears, which he seemed to like.




Yes, Urandangi is awesome. Check out their welcome sign. What a breath-taking vista.




The flatness... It haunts me.




The lady in the Urandangi pub told me to watch out for the typo on the border. Road sign fail.




Then it was onto the Plenty Highway, which runs to the Stuart Highway, 70km out of Alice Springs. The road had dried up now and the sky was clearing.




A few kilometres after that sign, I saw this. Now, it's pretty bad, so if you're squeamish, don't click on the link. I have no idea what went down here. Aliens maybe?

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_guF3w-1XHdk/TN...0/PICT0051.JPG

I was going to inform somebody at Jervois Station, which is a fuel stop, but totally forgot. Then I was going to show the police today, but I forgot again.

Anyway, as I said, the Outback is a strange place, full of contrasts.




And earthmovers! They were making a section of road so awesome. It's going to be amazing. Of course, a few kilometres down the road, it's still rutted, corrugated crap, but we'll let these guys make their little spot of dirt-road nirvana in the middle of nowhere because it makes them happy--like little Outback Oompa Loompas.




Check this out.




And I camped for the night a few kilometres from Atitjere. Over 600km in one day, most of it on dirt.





Nathan screwed with this post 11-11-2010 at 02:59 AM
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Old 11-10-2010, 09:19 AM   #77
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Some nice pictures mate.

That pile of dead cows mate is pretty standard when a stock truck rolls a trailer or two.
Probably just after a bend in the road or a decline. Some of the kinks in the Plenty road sneak up on ya.
Even seen em' dead like that after a lightening storm on the downs country.
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Old 11-10-2010, 12:06 PM   #78
Nathan OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bikerooter
Some nice pictures mate.

That pile of dead cows mate is pretty standard when a stock truck rolls a trailer or two.
Probably just after a bend in the road or a decline. Some of the kinks in the Plenty road sneak up on ya.
Even seen em' dead like that after a lightening storm on the downs country.
Well that explains it. It was on a bend after a small slope. I wondered if it had been some stock truck mayhem, but it seemed odd that the cows hadn't been moved to a... more discrete location.
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Old 11-10-2010, 12:11 PM   #79
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Old 11-10-2010, 02:17 PM   #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nathan
Well that explains it. It was on a bend after a small slope. I wondered if it had been some stock truck mayhem, but it seemed odd that the cows hadn't been moved to a... more discrete location.
Nah.
It's dropbears mate.

Vicious bastards, they'll have a go at anything once they've had a few drinks...
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Old 11-10-2010, 03:57 PM   #81
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Don't worry. When I see a dropbear, I'll run him over. I've had lots of practise.
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Old 11-11-2010, 02:57 AM   #82
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10/11/2010, Alice Springs

Morning brought sunlight and the realisation that I had pitched my tent on a bunch of dried prickly plants. My tent now has a few more holes. Lucky it's old and crappy!

And that segues me into a small philosophical discussion. My philosophy when touring is to think carefully about the items I really need to be high quality. Anything that doesn't need to awesome should be old and crappy. My stuff gets really beaten up on the road, and I would be very sad if it was nice stuff being busted and abused. Also, don't buy Beemers. They aren't awesome, but they are expensive, and you'll cry when your fancy, expensive bike breaks.

Hills!




Dust!




I found a 4WD track that goes from the Plenty Highway to Aritunga. It was 60km, and I wussed out after 7km and turned back to the Plenty Highway. I just couldn't be bothered manhandling Elena along a 4WD track in the heat. My worn rear tyre was also worrying me. So my first wimp out of the trip. Good to get it out of the way.

I knocked out the last kilometres to the Stuart Highway, and crossed the Tropic of Capricorn.




The speed limit on the Stuart Highway was 130kph. With a slight headwind, Elena managed an impressive... 130kph.

Alice Springs!




My rear tyre had made it. I bought a new one--slightly more road orientated this time. The Dunlop D606 did well, but felt really sketchy on corners once it had worn a bit. Here are the guys at the KTM shop fitting it. The guy in the blue and white shirt decided to get Elena off the stand by doing a He-Man impression. Very impressive, but he dropped her down really fast and the sidestand nailed me in the big toe. The Sidi Crossfires took the brunt of it and none of the guys even noticed that my toe had almost been squashed flat. I now wear ATGATT even for trye changes done by trained mechanics.




I also swapped to a 15 tooth front sprocket. The Outback craziness is winding down, so it's time to get Elena a bit more road orientated. After that, I found a caravan park that only wanted $15--much more reasonable--and went for a swim in the pool. Easy-peasy day all done.


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Old 11-11-2010, 03:13 AM   #83
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Great RR! Keep it rolling!
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Old 11-17-2010, 10:54 PM   #84
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Surely you must have another update by now?! Don't leave me stuck still at work at 8pm with nothing to do but work.
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Old 11-18-2010, 04:05 AM   #85
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Oh yeah, I was doing a ride report.

Some technical issues are preventing me from posting an update right now. However, they should be all sorted out tomorrow.

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Old 11-18-2010, 05:22 AM   #86
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Nathan's murderous rampage through the Australian outback! You need to get a kill count on the side of the DR's tank, maybe with a little shape of each animal you have hit.

Good ride report!
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Old 11-18-2010, 11:09 AM   #87
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Lovin this report....the kill count is a GREAT idea! All I have ever hit is a jackrabbit and a hawk. We don't have anything cool and exotic.
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Old 11-18-2010, 01:30 PM   #88
Nathan OP
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You know, I was considering that. I've actually stopped telling you guys about the birds I kill now because the little guys have a deathwish.

Anyway, updates will be coming today when I get all my photos transferred to my new netbook.
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Old 11-18-2010, 03:16 PM   #89
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Ah, another successful day spent at..."work"


What a great RR! Thanks for the wonderful pictures, curious information relaying and hilarious narration!


"...stopped to "render assistance"

This was seriously cracking me up 'tho I comiserated with ya for the majority of the poor wee critters early leave-taking.


btw, how the fack is one supposed to "render assistance" to a pissed off and limping Kangaroo out in the middle of nowhere, anyway?
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Old 11-18-2010, 04:32 PM   #90
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Originally Posted by L.B.S.
btw, how the fack is one supposed to "render assistance" to a pissed off and limping Kangaroo out in the middle of nowhere, anyway?
303 and BBQ?
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