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Old 12-08-2011, 12:54 AM   #1
llewdaert OP
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Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Newcastle NSW Australia
Oddometer: 273
RR Dirt Riding a Vstrom - Newcastle to Dargo

Apologies because I dont have many photos. I will post some soon so dont get too cranky.This RR will be mostly talk.
The game plan was to ride from Newcastle down into the Gippsland high country doing maximum dirt and minimum of tar, with total abhorrence for freeways......

Day 1
3 Riders on a 955 tiger, one on a dl650, and me on my dl1000....depart Newcastle after work Friday[around 5.00pm] heading for a motel at bomadery[near nowra, NSW].
An exuberant start that takes us through sydney... onto the M's....and for dinner at bowral. Down through kangaroo valley in the dark, I wonder where it got its name from??? methinks as we chortle down. down. down.....

Day 2
The plan said to ride from nowra to nelligen by a circuitous route, all dirt[mostly], on through to the merricumbene fire trail and pop out at bodalla. The destination was flexible but cobargo was the best outcome
The alternate plan was to ride up through nerriga and into braidwood, over to snowball [on the back road to nimitabell] turn east down through wadbilliga/deua national park, through the belowra valley, try to find reedy creek road and pop out at cobargo.
Recent rain and some local info from the bike shop had us executing' plan b'.

Plan b was looking good......nowra to nerriga is mostly sealed, has plenty of scenery, and is an absolute must for anyone riding in that area. It is a fast road, with good surface, and plenty of fanging bends-or a slow road with lots of nice views and good places to stop and take photos[I selected the former!]. We stopped for smokho at braidwood where we added an extra rider on a dl1000 [from canberra], and then on into the' nadgery' proper.
I was testing out a 'hitherto untried' modification to my bike. [The mod was 18" and 21" spoked wheels from a KTM 950 including the white power forks and brembo brakes] I was hooting along listening to a song when it became obvious I was too hot for the next corner... I braked and washed off as much speed as possible while still cornering but to no avail. The corner was tighter radius than I was turning so off the edge I go. Turned out the edge was around a 3 or 4 foot drop off, with a nest of large rocks backed up by plenty trees. As I was passing through the thin stip of bracken fern lining the apex of the track, I failed to see the ski jump rock till I was half way over it, causing the bike to jump like a bucking pig, arse up into the air, and onwards.[Mulga bill would have been proud] into the large rock pile, I landed the jump, but bailed left off the bike instantly leaving the beast to decide its own fate. I have plenty of experience crashing off my trials bike, a kinda knack, of not getting injured, and so it was here. I sprang straight up, and the bike was parked upright in the rockpile. I was expecting it to be bleeding, dented, and for my ride to be over, but NO BLOOD, nothing spewing out, the vstrom had survived. There are some photos of it on another camera that I will post when I get them. The other riders arrived presently and expressed concern for both me and the bike. I checked it out, started it and trials rode it up the bank and out... Inspection revealed a bent crash bar[fixed with some help to drag the crash back to straight 'ish], the footpeg hanger was bent and cracked but still in position, and one soft pannier was disemboweled. Rather than attemt to straighten the hanger it was decided to leave it alone so I could have somewhere to rest my foot, though it was obviously not strong enough to take my weight standing up. I do all my dirt riding -standing.

As good form dictates, a slightly less application of vigorously applied throttle was attempted from this point... but only lasted around 50 meters... till I was back in speedway mode again. The ride down over the scarp here is excellent and one of my favourites[still]. It goes from the high tableland, and twists down into the belowra valley. The surface can be a little slippy, but is a joy to ride. The scenery is awesome, pockets of rainforest, big trees, ferns, fast mountain rivers and beautiful green rolling farmland. Its kinda a hidden valley, with a great farm road right through the guts.

On top of the hill [east] out of the belowra valley we turned right down cadgee rd, river rd, old eurobodalla coba rd,morts folly rd, and onto reedy creek rd. We got a bit bushwhacked here, but all roads come with a good outcome 'en route' to cobargo. We ended up at Wandella up behind cobargo, and easily cruised down to our destination. All riders agreed the ride was drop dead brilliant. I could have called it quits here and I would have had a brilliant ride. I think around 450km all up, great mates, high drama, adventure,plenty ales, pub grub, showers and reasonable priced accommodation, does it get any better than this???

I think so but you will need to judge and wait for the next 4 days RR.
This will be forthcoming, but not now.

I was dubious as to whether the wheel/suspension modification may not have contributed to the crash, or if it was even a positive modification. The bike felt different. It had however performed well and passed the first acid test.

PPS This is also written up on the Stromtrooper forum-sorry if any offence taken
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Old 12-08-2011, 10:28 PM   #2
llewdaert OP
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Day 3 RR

Day 3 Cobargo to Omeo
A gentlemans breakfast was followed by some rather excellent riding -east from cobargo toward Yowrie, twisting tar turned into slightly wet gravel and thence into the Wadbilliga crossing. The twin track was a little wet and slippy in places, but passes through tall timber forests and climbs up to a concrete crossing over the wadbilliga river. A road closed sign with warning of locked gate ahead had some of the crew dubious, but onward and upward. The climb up to the tableland is a little steep in places, and I have been reliably informed not suitable for novice riders. The track was washed away so cars could not pass, but the bikes had no such problems. At a couple of points the track doubles back on itself and is arched over with tree ferns to form a pretty as a picture. This is perhaps called conroys gap??
On the top is an 'alpine heath' looking low scrub and considerably lower temperatures, the twin track gets more rock based, and has a couple of gates, but none were locked.
I call this area 'kybean' but I could be wrong. A river crossing is required here and I think it is either the numeralla river or the kybean river.


I entered the river with a 'devil may care' attitude when I saw the other riders baulking, as the example of how its done, but the vstrom soon seemed to be behaving more like a submarine. It cut to one cylinder and I was very glad when I chugged out the other side bank. The group was suitably impressed at what a dickhead I was proving-and decided to bulldog their machines through he shallows [now I had found the deep route- which is on the right side of the photo].


At this point the canberra rider [as planned]exit the ride- stage left- back home for working , and the group was back to three hard core adv riders.
We rode along a nice smooth and winding dirt road towards nimatabell, and tuned left onto [i think] steeple road, [well out of town]. This was nice gravel, and comes out to the tar road between bega and cooma, at the top of the brown mountain.
A tar ride was required from here over to bombala, quick lunch, then more tar to delegate. From delegate a bit more tar and we were lookin to get onto the road to mckillops bridge. What a road it turned out to be, I had no idea how good it is. Like manicured 'pea gravel' winding through and climbing up and over the snowy river. big scary cliffs and fast mountain streams makes this a ride absolutely worth paying for.Its that good.... Up the top we stopped at Daves petrol station, and he told us we missed the turnoff if we wanted to ride to omeo by dirt.
A little 1km double back toward mckillops bridge, and we turned left up the barry way- heading toward suggen buggen. A further 15km from that turn was another left turn toward benambra, dave had said something about brumbies on the road. What he should have said was every brumby in the district did a shit on that road. There was great piles of it. The road started as the black mountain road and turned into limestone road. It was getting very late in the arvo at this point and speeding through brumby infested dirt roads at ***kmph felt a little foolhardy. So we amped it up some more for good measure, the road was a speedway sliding delight. By the time we got to omeo it was dark [around 8.15pm], but the pub kindly cooked us a 'parma' each- and the day ended with beer and sleep.

This ride is getting better and better.
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Old 12-10-2011, 12:01 AM   #3
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Did you wash them while you were at it?

And I see someone told you about my Aldi cycle bags trick for the crash bars.

Waiting for more of the report.

Windsor [near enough] NSW

"All roads lead to now."

I love snatching kisses..... and vice versa.
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Old 12-10-2011, 03:59 PM   #4
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nice report so far.....
looking forwards to more.
Glad you and the big storm survived the off.

whats that navigator morphed into??
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Old 12-13-2011, 01:17 AM   #5
llewdaert OP
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Day 4 Carnage

Day 4 commenced with me organising to get my footpeg hanger welded- the guy at omeo was good -and I was able to resume standing on the pegs. The other riders planned this days ride with destination -Dargo. We rode out of omeo on tar, and turned right up cassilis rd then turned again up Livingston creek road ,then up birregun road, past seymours hut, the road was nice and wide and with good grip dirt, plus lyre birds everywhere!
Next turn was onto dinner plain track.... now this is a bit more like it! It went up and down and turned this way and that, twin track, and glorious, as we climbed there was a few more puddles here and there but good solid bottoms and no nasty surprises. As we got to within 1 or 2 km of the dinner plain resort, one of the riders [dl650] made an oopsy- and crashed/fell over breaking ribs. No damage to the bike though. He was assisted in righting the bike and re- mounting decided to POQ... and head for home on the smoothest tar he could find.
The remaining riders[2], followed the mornings plan, and rode from dinner plain, on the tar, up and over Mt Hotham, through the ski village and down to the dargo high plain turnoff. This was spectacular, and I did not mind being on tar one bit.
The dargo high plains road was, big and well maintained- in places resembling a dirt superhighway- wide and fast. It got cold as we hit what looked like the actual high plains, and i was wishing I had the liner in my jacket. Nice riding but we had high expectations, and it was OK... but not great!
Dargo was somewhat of an anticlimax as well, I had heard so much postitve information about the place, dirtbike’ nirvana’ i thought .Great pub, great riding, great place.... Indeed dargo is beautiful, but the pub was under new management and the barman seemed standoffish when I asked for a schooner.
The ‘coup de grace’ [for an old tightarse that I am] was the $60 each to stay. What the? we spluttered, its only $45 at omeo. Well go back there he says....So it was to pass that we headed back after phoning, and booking our rooms at the hilltop hotel. But a different route needed to be decided and it needed to be quicker as it was late in the arvo and we certainly did not want to be out after dark in them there mountains.
We headed out of dargo -back toward the dargo high plains road[the way we came in],and shortly turned right onto the upper dargo road. Things were going good until we turned next right onto the jones road and were heading in the wrong direction [not knowing]. A couple of kays down this road the big tiger had a compression lockup and spat its occupant down the road, nasty really, then managed to lose its oil[the blood] out through a hole in the sidecover.


Crap on a crust, it was around 5pm and the shop at dargo shuts at 5.30, we had tools but no epoxy putty, and no oil. So the tiger was pushed off the track into the bush,


the gear all loaded onto the big vstrom, the fallen rider perched on the pillion seat and off we go 22.6km back into dargo for help. The shop was shut but the people were inside and curious as to why we were back? so soon. The owner has a small bike repair setup out the back, and was sympathetic to our plight. He soon had us fixed up with the resources to attempt a repair and back into the scrub we rode. He also told us we were on the wrong track and gave instructions to the short way to omeo. The repair was straight forward, and the epoxy putty applied to our satisfaction, but it said 2 hours for minimum cure time, and it was getting real late by then. After ½ an hour it was still as soft as when give it another 15 more minutes, fill er up with oil and hope the heat from the engine will speed up the hardening.
It did , but it did not stop us from taking a succession of wrong turns, that culminated in alot of pitch dark dirt riding in conditions that were horrific, we must have climbed up high and it became freezing cold, and visibility dropped to less than 10meters. The road was sopping wet and slippery as an eels back. We needed to be back at omeo at 930pm- latest as the pub shut then. I was relieved when we finally emerged form the scrub, but we were at swifts creek, not omeo as anticipated. Double crap on a double crust...the big tiger pointed up the tar road , and proceeded to travel at .... well ....way too say here- all the way to omeo.
I was riding rear guard and thinking that this speed seemed like a bad idea, given the amount of wildlife I suspected lives in that area, and given we had seen a couple of deer earlier in the day. But some stuff you just do and get away with, and this was one of them.
We arrived at the pub at 9.30pm sharp, we missed dinner , but were glad of the beer. Whew what a day...
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Old 12-14-2011, 02:56 AM   #6
130km open roads!
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WOW... great ride report. Looks like an absolute blast despite the problems. Thats what makes the adventure, an advanture. Doesn't it?

Great to see other Strom riders out and about, taking on the hard tracks and giving it a good go.

Well done, boys.
"You do not need a therapist if you own a motorcycle, any kind of motorcycle!" - Dan Aykroyd

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Old 12-14-2011, 03:29 AM   #7
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Good stuff. What tyres do you run for the dirt?

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