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Old 04-12-2007, 02:04 AM   #241
Burren Rider OP
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Originally Posted by StihlRigg
Great thread, Your eye for the photos is fantastic.
I ride mostly in the desert, so seeing all these great rainforest pics really gets me going. I am quite lucky to live where I do but, I have little opportunity to ride elsewhere. Your contributions are greatly appreciated.

Have you found the pics of de-watering the 950? I'd be very interested to see that. I have only crossed one river that was a bit scary and really wasn't looking forward to the prospect of drowning the big Bully.

Thanks again
Thanks, glad you enjoy the thread.

Still looking for the photo. It was taken by Advrider Turbo Bob so hopefully he can chime in here with it. The sight of a 950 on it's end with two spouts of water running out the Akra's was one to behold.
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Old 04-12-2007, 05:10 PM   #242
Neil Claydon
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Thanks for latest report Danny, yet again up to your usual high standards.
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Old 09-12-2007, 10:18 PM   #243
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Touring the Top End

"Bugger me, it's warm up here". The look on Rod's face said it all.

Earlier that night we had boarded a plane in Brisbane, a few thousand kilometres to the south east, where it was freezing cold and rain was blowing in sideways. Now we were standing at the Taxi rank of Darwin aiport at 1.30am and it was a balmy 29C. Welcome to the Top End.

Since I was a kid, I have long held a fascination with the Northern Territory, and after a couple of failed attempts to get there, it was finally time to tick a box.


We picked a couple of BM hire bikes the next morning, paid a visit to Repco to stock up on all the things we couldn't carry on the plane (CO2 Cartridges etc) and headed south. It wasn't long before we were on the dirt backroad heading for Litchfield NP and I began marvelling at BMW's idea of a front end . For me it was an exercise in passive control as the big girl and I came to terms with one another, but after a while I learnt to trust it and we started to get along. Rod on the other hand had no trouble adjusting to the BM (an 1150GSA at home and a heap of riding talent will do that) but he was slow acclimitising to the heat. It was now 10am and the mercury was up around 37C. Coming from a New England winter, where daily maximums are still in single digits it was an understandable delay.


We called in to Wangi Falls, lured by the idea of a swim and a break from the dry scrub but were soon on our way, hastened by the volume of tour busses.


If our time at the top is anything to go by, it is the road less travelled that reaps the reward. I guess that is almost a universal truth for Adventure Riders though. Unfortunately, due to time restraints (8 days to do 5,000km's) we would not always be able to accomodate this motto but we would try.



Termite Mounds - It takes a very industrious ant to make a loaded 1200GS look small

Through Litchfield and onto Katherine, it occurred to me that the Northern Territory is one of the few places where it seems normal to be cruising at 140kph on a GS and get overtaken by a dusty old ute. A quick loop through Katherine had us heading out of town to find somewhere to camp and we lucked out at Springvale Homestead.




For a few extra bucks we scored a barbie up the river with the resident watchdog Mouse .





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Old 09-12-2007, 10:54 PM   #244
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The next morning we headed west after initial concerns over a weeping final drive seal on Rod's bike. It was later attributed to an overfilled shaft drive which was a great relief.

Long days on the bike meant there was a bit of time to think and ponder the important issues in life, "Do you reckon that wedge tail eagle would actually try to sweep me away if I was on a smaller bike". The heat and straight bitumen roads do strange things to a riders head.




Victoria Downs proved to be highlight of the days travels and I would love to return and explore the area someday.








We called in to see the Gregory Tree and were humbled by the fortitude of those that had left their mark 150 years ago.


I also puzzled at the miniature traps in the adjoining fenceline which seemed at odds with the kinds of pests that might frequent the area. Further investigation later on indicated that they were for funneling Cane Toads .

We completed a quick loop of Hidden Valley prior to performing some overdue maintenance on the hire bikes in the carpark of the Auto store in Kununurra.




Niggling hassles were threatening to turn sour so we thought it best to keep them in check before tackling the isolation of the Gibb River Rd.

After a long day of chasing the sunlight and Time Zones west we were finally turning off onto the gravel and heading for El Questro.




It was a brilliant ride, railing flowing corners on the pegs as we enjoyed the serenity of a setting sun, watching as it replaced the fading light with the sunburnt colours of an ancient land. It was hard not to smile when we pulled up to the sound of an accoustic guitar and happy hour signs at the Bar.



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Old 09-12-2007, 11:52 PM   #245
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Packing up in the morning we tried to shrug it off, but I will admit one thought rolled around in the back of my head like a distant thunder storm. The Pentecoast crossing. My brief attempt at demographic analysis the night before showed Rod and I as the only bike riders in the camping area and as a result there were plenty of east bound travellers eager to tell us of the dangers of the conquered Pentecoast Crossing and it's estuarine inhabitants.


Conversation starters ranged from "We had to drag a stranded motorcyclist out with a winch yesterday" to "Are those boots Crocodile Proof?" and it seemed as though there was geniune concern for our safety. Bravely shrugging it off, I secretly wondered if the Tech 6's were capable of withstanding a toothy onslaught as I flailed beneath the water and 250kg's of Bavaria's finest.

Leaving El Questro we tackled two smaller creeks which gave us an opportunity to gauge the effectiveness of the BM's in the water, and while a DRZ it ain't (despite the colour of the tank), the BM's were surprisingly capable on rocky crossings. This at least gave me hope for the future of my limbs in the main crossing ahead.

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Old 09-13-2007, 06:59 AM   #246
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as per usual - an excellent update (hopefully more to come...)
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Old 09-13-2007, 07:56 AM   #247
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Laugh

Quote:
Originally Posted by oziexplorer
as per usual - an excellent update (hopefully more to come...)
+1 !
terrific !
/thierry
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Old 09-15-2007, 05:16 AM   #248
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And here it is, the Pentecoast Crossing. Might not look like much but when you realise that little speck on the far bank is a 1200GS and that the floating logs here have teeth, it begins to take on a new dimension.

Rod went first hoping to catch th crocs off guard and in his usual fashion lulled me into a false sense of security by making it look easy.


The big yellow sub took to the water and in a surprisingly simple minute or so we were on the other side. Relieved that we were across but still somewhat surprised it wasn't more difficult. There'll be no 4WD propoganda to spread here today matey .




Indeed it was post-pentecoast that things started to get interesting. The oil light in my bike activated within a kay of the water and took an hour to dissipate. Despite repeated stops to confirm a safe level, it is still disconcerting to have a flashing oil can glaring at you on a lonely dirt road.


Because of the dust we spread out a bit with a regroup every 50km or so. It was not long after a quick stop in the shade of a lone gum tree that our day started to unravel. Exiting a corner I suddenly felt the bike scew to the right and stopped to see an anticipated flat. I was greeted by two round tyres and was a little perplexed until I noticed a void on the left hand sidecover. I looked back up the road to see a Gobi neatly parked on it's side and my prized bottle of pasta sauce (all the way from the east coast) splattered over the gravel. I rolled the bike back and began piecing together a solution with a Rok Strap and some industrial strength Zip Ties when it occurred to me that Rod should be here by now . So I sat, and I waited. Concern was setting in when I heard a distant rumble, for a while it was a relief but then it got louder and as much as I hate to admit it, it sounded good. This was no stock piped BM.

A rumbling 990 crested the rise riding alongside a 640 Adventure. When the riders pulled to a stop (the first bikes we had seen since leaving Darwin) it was Arti from Emerald who I had been riding with at the start of the year. Small world hey!

They were quick to let me know that Rod had lost his top box and was waiting for a 4WD convoy to bring it through. After a chat and a rough plan to catch up further down the track they were off and I looked for respite from the searing midday sun.

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Old 09-15-2007, 05:25 AM   #249
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ha bloody BMW luggage !!! they still havent got it right after all these years
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Old 09-15-2007, 05:28 AM   #250
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Two hours, and half as many cars, passed before Rod caught up. The top box had been graciously picked up by a 4WD behind us but it would appear their speed might not match our 100-120km/hr average , resulting in a bit of a processing delay.


The next issue to present itself was fuel range. We had calculated a safe buffer of at least 60km with the bikes full and an extra litre in the backpack. Unfortunately my bike was running a little rough due to big dint in the left header (not my doing thankfully) and Rod had just back tracked 30km to meet the 4WD's. Economy mode was called for which was all well and good until the track turned sandy about 75km from Mount Barnett Roadhouse. In my experience sand on a big bike requires momentum and acceleration so I figured I would roll the dice and take my chances with walking rather than risk crawling after an inadequate throttle application. After a couple of unscheduled delays to reacquaint myself with a missing Gobi, we rolled into the Roadhouse 5 minutes before it shut. At least my bike was running at the time, Rod's had stalled at the final creek crossing, virtually within sight of the bowsers.
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Old 09-15-2007, 05:31 AM   #251
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Beautiful photos and story Danny.Keep it coming.

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Old 09-15-2007, 05:48 AM   #252
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Great report, keep it coming.

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Old 09-15-2007, 06:02 AM   #253
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We took a moment to compose our thoughts. Although we had made it one piece, neither of us were real fussed on the manner in which we did so. Even in challenging times, I find I draw confidence from knowing the bike will get me home if I can ride it. Foriegn bikes on a faraway track add another element to the mix and it was one I was taking a while to come to grips with.

Enough philosophy then, time for a Paddlepop. I stocked up on tie down straps (these should come with Gobi's) and we filled the backpacks for a scheduled rendeveaus with a pair of KTM's. The store owners were adamant that they would be waiting for us at Saddlers' Spring so against our better judgement we paired up and made tracks for a campsite down the road.


It was soon dark so we rode side by side at 60km/hr looking for wildlife in whatever form it may take. I really don't recommend riding in the dark out here but if you have to, pairing up to share lights and eyesight can be a blessing.


78km's (yes I was counting) later we crossed Saddlers' Spring and turned left, just as instructed by the Roadhouse owners. We rolled along a rutted twin track to be greeted by a fully fledged Wilderness Camp complete with 4WD tour bus (in stark contrast to a couple of dusty Kato's). We were soon told that this was a private camp available to pre-booked tour customers only. With little option but to turn around we re-traced our steps back over the creek looking for a vacant spot to camp.

Rod got a small fire going so as to remain inconspicous from the road while we discussed the intelligence of Roadhouse staff so far and the likelyhood that the bullet holes in nearby croc-warning signs were from last night.


Sure enough, as the conversation struggled to come up with any logical conclusions we saw a set of headlights approaching. We knew what was coming. Although we had been told by the Wilderness camp guide that it was acceptable to camp here we had our doubts. After a long day we were readying ourselves for an eviction notice.

To our surprise it was one of the managers from the camp who had overheard the earlier conversation and bought us some left over tucker. Faith in mankind was restored. We had a chat and after a bit of swift negotiation we had a warm shower and a pair of beds in a Canvas Safari tent waiting for us. Beauty .

After a quick tub (bloody BMW's are corrupting me) we settled back for some sticky date pudding and a few jokes around the camp fire. I think we may have been a bit of a novelty for the aging contingent on tour but they were a lot of fun and I am sure by the odd spark in the eye they may have had a few tales of their own to tell in years gone by.
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Old 09-15-2007, 06:18 AM   #254
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Dawn came and went with merely a flutter of the pillow and the faint chirp of a nearby parrot. So this is the life of a BMW rider. Rod had warned me I may become accustomed to it.


We continued our chat with the managers in the morning and gained a couple of ideas for the days route together with an interesting insight into another way of life. Even without a gourmet breaky, the camp fees were money well spent .


Lenard Gorge was one of the recomendations and although it is a fair climb, the isolation meant we had it to ourselves.


Heading west the road improves and the country dries out. Even the rocks appear to have been burnt black by a scorching outback sun.




We crossed the Lenard river and followed a makeshift sign that promised cool drinks in a parched land. An eclectic assortment of generators and caravans was waiting and it turned out to be a great place to enjoy a cool popper by the river.


I did have to wonder about the merits of swimming in the supposedly croc free Lenard Gorge though, when the River that shares the same name was so obviously inhabited by the robust reptiles.
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Old 09-15-2007, 06:19 AM   #255
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Originally Posted by oziexplorer
as per usual - an excellent update (hopefully more to come...)
Thanks Dave. It is a bugger things didn't line up a bit better while we were over there. I think we must have been in Karratha only a day or two before you.
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