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Old 08-08-2014, 09:06 AM   #1
blackcap OP
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Oz to Ice

Ok so this is my first attempt at putting together a proper ride report and it probably wont be very good. The reason for that is that ive also got a blog going too (http://oztoice.wordpress.com/) and I have a feeling that maintain both a ride report and blog will end with me getting bored of sitting in front of a computer and give it up altogether.

So a brief introduction is in order I guess. My name is Rob, im from Wollongong in Australia and my bike is the venerable DR650 named Emily. Shes a 2003 model that I bought second hand from a guy in Melbourne that had only done 1800km before deciding to get rid of it. My first ride was straight back home, some 1000kms and the start of a beautiful long distance relationship. Since then shes not only took me to university and work from day to day, but has also taken me on a 4 week, 10 000km ride to Cape York and a 4 week 9000km ride through central Australia and across the French line through the Simpson desert.


a little digging ahead of me


theres a lot of sand dunes out there

Cape York on a DR650 from Rob Armstrong on Vimeo.



Now im attempting to ride from Australia to Iceland. No set time frame, im working as I go when needed and the only limiting factor is my interest in the whole trip. So far its been 2.5 years since leaving home and counting. This isnít a race around the world, nor visit as many countries as possible. Its just travelling, but with a bike, and mainly so that I donít have to follow the crowd and get locked into a 30 year mortgage just yet.

Right now we are both in Malaysia, trapped here while sorting out some financial issues, but more about that later. Emily has 140 000km on the clock, 38 000 of those km attributable to this trip. For now ill leave everyone with a few photos from the trip so far and start catching up on the blog entries. Ill try to stick to photos and videos on the forums and leave all the wordy parts for the blog site for anyone that interested. Theres a facebook page for those that prefer to follow along on there too https://www.facebook.com/oztoice















































The first year Part 1 from Rob Armstrong on Vimeo.



The first year part 2 from Rob Armstrong on Vimeo.



The first year Part 3 from Rob Armstrong on Vimeo.

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"One must die sometime and to die with ones boots on is very noble" - Carl Stearns Clancy, first RTW motorcycle, 1912-13

Australia to Iceland on a DR650 http://oztoice.wordpress.com
and facebook https://www.facebook.com/oztoice
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Old 08-08-2014, 01:05 PM   #2
micko01
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Great photos!
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Old 08-08-2014, 05:42 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by micko01 View Post
Great photos!
thanks mate! still learning as i go
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"One must die sometime and to die with ones boots on is very noble" - Carl Stearns Clancy, first RTW motorcycle, 1912-13

Australia to Iceland on a DR650 http://oztoice.wordpress.com
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Old 08-08-2014, 09:24 PM   #4
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This trip started like most trips; stressful and unorganised, taking a few days to settle in, get the packing just right and get comfortable on the bike. After that it felt like just another ride minus the plans for a return trip.

I met up with some friends in Sydney and rode with them until wisemans ferry , just north of Sydney before they headed back and I continued on north. Another stop in at casino to see an old uni friend had me washed and well fed again before he joined em for a day of off roading through the Richmond range national park which was a good test of the bikes capabilities to handle offroad while fully loaded.


one last beer at st albans pub with Sean and Kai



Ross and Lorraine, complete stranger to me from northern queensland also showed unprecedented hospitality when Ros, who was volunteering at the local tourist information centre that I had set my tent up behind for the night, offered me a bed back at his place. Both of them are horticulturists and slowly building an ‘off the grid’ house for themselves and homestay with solar panels and wind turbines, a whole flock of hens and ducks, large vege patch and fruit trees filling all the spaces inbetween.


queensland has the right idea about rest stops


Ross and Lorraine


Preparing a homegrown dinner


Ross and Loraine loaded me up with eggs and avocados when i left

The rest of the run to Normanton was along long, straight and boring roads as the midday temperature steadily increased to 45 degrees C and the jacket got stowed. Also visiting Normanton was Pam and Kev an Irish couple now living in Australia and were making a TV series about travelling around the country with their two young kids (more info atwww.somewhereoutthere.com.au/). They even let me join them on a free tour of the Gulflander museum in town the next day, which is dedicated to documenting the history of the Gulflander rail system, a diesel engine powered narrow gauge rail system that connected the Croyden gold fields to the river port of Normanton.


the gulflander museam


view from the drivers seat


roadside views


big buckets


wheat country


beautiful skies after a breif and vicious storm passed through






normantons infamous purple pub


apparently the biggest croc ever shot was killed just up the river from normanton. great news considering i was about to head onto a road with multipule river crossings

more here: http://oztoice.wordpress.com/2011/10/16/queensland/
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"One must die sometime and to die with ones boots on is very noble" - Carl Stearns Clancy, first RTW motorcycle, 1912-13

Australia to Iceland on a DR650 http://oztoice.wordpress.com
and facebook https://www.facebook.com/oztoice
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Old 08-08-2014, 09:43 PM   #5
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I agree on the photos: good composition, cropping and an interesting variety.

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Old 08-08-2014, 10:06 PM   #6
USMC_Engineer
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Damn Brother,

This is gonna be one hell of a ride. Good luck, God speed and I will echo the beautiful pictures comments. Take care.
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Old 08-08-2014, 10:55 PM   #7
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Excellent start Rob
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Old 08-09-2014, 01:04 AM   #8
rider911
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Great photos and good luck
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Old 08-09-2014, 10:01 PM   #9
blackcap OP
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thanks guys, ill try to keep the standard up
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"One must die sometime and to die with ones boots on is very noble" - Carl Stearns Clancy, first RTW motorcycle, 1912-13

Australia to Iceland on a DR650 http://oztoice.wordpress.com
and facebook https://www.facebook.com/oztoice
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Old 08-09-2014, 10:27 PM   #10
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So this is where I start getting into the real guts of the trip. One thing that I noticed while pouring over ride reports while dreaming of doing my own ride was the sheer number of people doing RTW trips these days and how many of them are taking fairly similar routes. For me, the idea of riding around the world has always been that it would be a massive adventure and following the major highways (or what passes for a highway) never really appealed to me. I was inspired and amazed by people like Carl Stearns Clancy who rode around the world in 1912-13, before petrol was even a readily available commodity, let alone motorcycle tires or spare parts that could take 6 months to ship, or alternatively, you would have to get made from scratch like he did in spain. These are the heros of motorcycle travel for me and their modern equivalents are the guys that choose the path less travelled into places that most of us have never even heard of.

Now I doubt im ever going to be considered a great adventurer but I am going to try to stay off the main routes as much as possible on this ride, which is why from Normanton to Darwin, I would take the gulf track. At over 1000km in length and much of it unsealed with the odd saltwater crocodile infested river crossing, it was adventure enough without the physical problems I was about to encounter. The gulf track has everything you could want from an outback Australian road; flat endless plains pockmarked with termite mounds, road trains kicking up bulldust, the odd unchecked bushfire burning its way through the scrub and river crossings filled with saltwater crocs while giving a sense of extreme isolation throughout.

Some of the river crossing had causeways across them that were both a blessing and a curse, smoothing out the rough riverbed underneath but slipperier than a steel plate covered in grease. I found out just how slippery when the front end washed out on me, dumping the bike on top of me in the shallow, still water. The thought of massive reptiles with big teeth being attracted by the sounds of splashing had me out from under the bike and running for the shore like a little girl faster than anyone in history.

As for the special physical challenge, it turns out I am prone to having my sciatic nerve getting pinched around my hips. For those that arenít physiotherapists, the sciatic nerve is the big one that runs down your spine and splits into two slight less large nerves to run through your hips and down the back of your legs. What that means in the real world is that when it gets pinched, its no longer free to slide around when you bend at the waist which includes walking and standing up from a seating position. The pain can range from being slightly uncomfortable to pain that stops you from breathing. I had the breath stoping kind. Walking meant stopping every 50m to let the pain subside and even more dangerous was moving from a sitting to standing position on the bike. As I stood up the pain would take over, blurring vision and halting my breath just long enough to see me fly into deep sand or rocks with my eyes closed and arse only inches off the seat. Not ideal.

The gulf track wasnít going to let me go that easily though with the day before hitting the Stuart Highway threw up a few more challenges. The chain oil container split, covering a lot of my spares in the sticky mess, the sidestand broke in two and the GPS screen stopped working properly. After getting the sidestand welded I decided half a day spent swimming in bitter springs was well deserved before heading to Darwin.


long, straight and empty


in the wet season this crossing is full of crocs chasing the barramundi that come in and out with the tides


a field full of small termite mounds


hitting this cattle grid in the centre would give you good little wakeup call


gets hot out there too


camped out along the Gulf track somewhere






ordering some pizza for dinner


outback voyeurs


where i went down, you can see the marks the front tire left in the slime




somewhere along the gulf track


my daily camp shower




first casualty


second


third


getting the sidestand welded up


Bitter Springs




the remains of a winnebago on the side of the stuart highway. not everyones road trip goes according to plan


more here: http://oztoice.wordpress.com/2011/10/23/the-gulf-track/
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"One must die sometime and to die with ones boots on is very noble" - Carl Stearns Clancy, first RTW motorcycle, 1912-13

Australia to Iceland on a DR650 http://oztoice.wordpress.com
and facebook https://www.facebook.com/oztoice
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Old 08-10-2014, 01:23 AM   #11
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Nice report.
What is your engines history, has it had a top end rebuild or is it still original?
The reason I am asking is that I am looking at an extended trip next year and my DR will have close to 70,000 on it when I leave.
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Old 08-10-2014, 01:37 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Portly View Post
Nice report.
What is your engines history, has it had a top end rebuild or is it still original?
The reason I am asking is that I am looking at an extended trip next year and my DR will have close to 70,000 on it when I leave.
i had 5th gear explode at around 64000km and rebuild everything. ever since then ive been kinda spooked about the DRs transmission, particularly 3rd gear. i pulled it apart again at about 84000km and replaced the transmission just before i left. it was still fine, but more of a 'just in case' kind of thing. its not hard to do and as long as youve get everything lined up nicely, can almost be done in a weekend

DR650 Engine Rebuild in 48hrs from Rob Armstrong on Vimeo.

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"One must die sometime and to die with ones boots on is very noble" - Carl Stearns Clancy, first RTW motorcycle, 1912-13

Australia to Iceland on a DR650 http://oztoice.wordpress.com
and facebook https://www.facebook.com/oztoice
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Old 08-10-2014, 02:20 AM   #13
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Oz to Ice

Amazing undertaking - I salute you - as others have commented 'great pics' - respect ! Cheers Oaters - an old fart behaving ridiculously :)
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Oaters screwed with this post 08-10-2014 at 02:21 AM Reason: missing word
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Old 08-10-2014, 05:17 AM   #14
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In. This looks like an epic report in the making.
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Old 08-10-2014, 09:24 PM   #15
blackcap OP
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Darwin was a great place to relax, wash some clothes, collect some spare tires for timor leste/indonesia and get my back into proper working order again. The hostel I stayed in was 90% german backpackers so good times were assured while the acts of the seedy hostel owner provided a constant talking point as he regularly attempted to get the girls to come to his house and wash his BMW in their bikinis for money.

I was more interested in trying to find a yacht that might be willing to take the bike and me to timor leste, some 800km to the north. Unfortunately the encroaching cyclone season hampered my attempts, but I did get to spend a few weekends with some awesome people, racing on their yachts and learning to sail. I found one couple quite inspiring as they were not only NOT wankers like most yacht people ive come across in the past (in fact, if you are ever in Darwin, get down to the Dinah Beach yacht club where there are some of the most down to earth people ive ever met; a genuine and friendly bunch that just happen to love being out on the water). This young family live on a yacht, a $60 000 house and Ďlandí package, with very little annual taxes, waterfront views, seafood restaurant right below your feet and if you donít like your neighbours, just pull up the anchor and let the wind relocate you. Sounds a lot better than having a half million-dollar debt and being stuck in the one place.

While waiting for a few leads to make a decision about weather they could take the me to timor leste, I took off into nearby Kakadu and litchfeild national parks for a fairly uneventful few days. It not only allowed me to kill some time, but also saved on hostel fees while I was sleeping in the tent despite almost getting washed away by the monsoonal storms that were slowly increasing in intensity as the days ticked by. The yachties noticed it too; in the end everyone had already pulled their boats out of the water or sailed for calmer waters, so I was left to deal with perkins shipping to take the bike and a flight for me to Dili.






swimming in the waterholes of kakadu NP before the wet season raises the water levels enough that the crocs can swim upstream






how do you find the gold when theres no end to the rainbow?






darwin sunset


the wet season announcing its arrival


messing around with the germans

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"One must die sometime and to die with ones boots on is very noble" - Carl Stearns Clancy, first RTW motorcycle, 1912-13

Australia to Iceland on a DR650 http://oztoice.wordpress.com
and facebook https://www.facebook.com/oztoice
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