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Old 12-24-2013, 02:10 PM   #136
Hoonatic Ty OP
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Joined: Apr 2011
Location: Exmouth, Western Australia
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Pimp My Ride

Now let this be a warning to you all, if you are going to stay at or hang out with Steve "Wolfy" Smith of AdventureMoto for any length of time you will be tempted to furnish yourself or more importantly your steed with "needed" bling, horsepower inducing bolt ons or ride improving adjustments…

I happily fell prey to the experience and not for one moment regret it. Steves wealth of experience and advice is gleaned from years of personal or customer testing of all manner of goodies that come his way through the AdventureMoto shop.

My bikes steering had become scary at low speeds, its "notchyness" disturbed me with ease of movement one moment then it sticking at others. Describing this, Steve immediately recommended Nick Dole from Technic Motorsport. I had heard about his suspension packages through Trailzone Magazine and had Steve get my bike sorted out whilst I was away at work. Both the forks and rear suspension were overhauled and new head set bearings were fitted. This transformed the bike incredibly and am stoked at the undeniable improvement it has made to bikes handling!

Next was I admit something I didn't really feel like I needed but again, I don't regret at all, a new exhaust. Steve recommends and rides with the Australian made Barrett Exhausts from a mate of his Jason Barrett. I requested the twin system design for my bike instead of the single the Steve runs on "King Kenny Junior" I just like the look of twin pipes out the back of both bikes and my V8 cars! This exhaust certainly looks the part, weighs a whole lot less that the factory unit. I was shocked at the weight of the Yamaha one when I unbolted it and it fell into my hands, it weight a bloody ton!

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At this stage I will have to tell you about "Shed X" On authenticating my motorcycle lifestyle and beliefs Steve allowed me a rare glimpse of this fabled underground establishment… Now I consider myself a bit more than the average motorcyclist. Although I don't race them, I certainly live, breath and experience a fair bit of my life from the saddle and behind the handlebars of them. The exclusive sect of riders and mechanical eccentrics that frequent this shed take 'motorcycle enthusiast' to a whole new level…!

After the blindfold used to keep "Shed X"s location secret was removed, I walked around a crazy selection of vintage, late model, modified and extensively customised bikes in total awe. I was snapped out of my visual stupor as my own bike was wheeled in by one of the guys giving me the gratifying acknowledgement I was permitted to work on my bike amongst all these others.

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Exhaust comparison, out with the old and in with the new.
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Surrounded by bike porn everywhere.
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After fitting my exhausts under the watchful eye of MT, we found it necessary to go out and test the bike. The Yamaha Tenere and Triumph Tiger blasting away through the twisting roads out the back of Sydney to Wisemans Ferry and back. My new exhaust note startling all including myself!
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With all the new bits on, tested and bike fully serviced it was time to roll. A new geographical milestone and destination firmly set in my sites of adventure. Cape York!!!

All packed and ready to go!
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Old 12-24-2013, 04:28 PM   #137
mudmonster
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Great report Hoon,just been reading about your adventures,you've certainly lived some.good luck livin the dream.
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Old 12-24-2013, 10:17 PM   #138
Hoonatic Ty OP
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Sydney to Tamworth

I left Sydney early in the morning, a week day and the feeling was reminiscent of when Hydro and I had gotten off the Tassie Ferry and left Melbourne headed for Phillip Island.

Watching all the commuters heading in the opposite direction to me, gave a deeper sense of appreciation of what I was doing and where I was going. I don't believe I am "lucky" but consider myself more fortunate, putting in place things in life to achieve your ultimate goals a little later. Anything is possible if you want it enough!

Getting to Wisemans Ferry down the road that MT had led me a few days earlier for the 'test run' I rolled onto the waiting vehicular vessel. The cool feeling of venturing into the absolute unknown kicked in as the ferry pulled itself to the other side of the river.

I don't usually have a particular destination when I head off in the mornings, just a general direction...

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These type of ferries are always quite a novelty for me to use. In Western Australia we don't have them, maybe because we don't have the sheer amount of water crossings as they do in the Eastern States! My first one I used in South Australia. It had startled me as I came over a small hill and rolled onto the ferries open decks. I was alone with no other vehicles and assumed I had to pay a fee. The bemused look on the ferry operators face as I pulled my wallet out was explained later, "Don't worry mate, it for free".

I followed the winding and scenic St.Albans Road that tracked beside the Macdonald River. The morning sun slowly warming the awesome day that was ahead.

I saw humour in this kangaroo sign, all others I have ever seen previously in my life had the roo in full flight, mid bounce. I guess the ones around here are a bit more chilled, happy to sit back on their hind quarters and watch you go by…
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The first of countless old one lane bridges I crossed for the day. St Albans Road/Wollombi Road.
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Settlers Arms Inn (1836) Still a bit early in the morning for a coldie…


The Wollombi road north, was a great start to my day and I couldn't think of a better way of opening my account for the next 5 weeks ahead. Up on the pegs on a winding dirt road on a big dirt bike through a native bushland and tucked away farm setting is certainly a way of enhancing ones mood, mine anyway…

Rustic farm houses along the way.
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Coming onto the Great North Road the bitumen appeared, still though the scenery and the twisting road battled each other for the most attention.

Easy does it…
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They have a large ant problem in Laguna…
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Another river, another one lane bridge.
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Paynes Crossing.
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Signs of yesteryear…
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Cars of yesteryear…
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I wandered north towards the Barrington Tops National Park, soon it became obvious why Steve Smith and MT had recommended the area to check out, also why it has featured in so many motorbike magazines as a "must do" ride!

All morning I rode down huge hills to cross another river using another single lane bridge. Then I would weave my way upward on the side of the next hill/mountain to discover majestic views out over what I had just ridden or what I was about to decend into next.

They reckon "pictures say a thousand words", as far as I'm concerned, my following photos don't say enough for the majestic area…
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The freedom of following your front mudguard without a certain place and time to be at is liberating to say the least. Many times for no apparent reason I find myself cracking up into hysterical laughter inside my helmet. This isn't due to insanity (or maybe it is?) but just overwhelming happiness from really enjoying myself and what I am doing.

Some how during my meandering, I found myself on the Thunderbolts Way, this also is one of those rides I had heard and read about many times. Once again, recommended by all and I can see why…



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As the shadows got longer in the afternoon sun, I checked my laminated tank bag map and realised the town of Tamworth wasn't too far away. I've always heard about this place with its annual celebration of country music and decided to go check it out. I had on my boots but was pretty sure I wouldn't be doing any scooting', yeee harrrr giddy up, lets go!!!!
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Old 12-25-2013, 02:39 AM   #139
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Tamworth to Byron Bay

I got going early in the frosty morning that greeted me. Luckily, as the "Golden Guitar" that I planned to quickly find and take a photo of and bolt, proved to be elusive! Once found, I wondered how I had missed it so many times riding around in circles swearing at my GPS.

A Golden Sunrise on a Golden Guitar…
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Directly across the road from the golden feature was something that kept my attention for a bit longer. A Monster Truck!!! This was my first up close inspection of one of these oversized boys toys. The immense Merlin Big Block V8 under the fibreglass shell had me drooling. As proud as I was of the the Teneres' new exhaust and suspension I was clearly out gunned with the set up on this mental beast…
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Whilst checking out my map I gave thought of reaching a geographical milestone, Australias' Eastern most point Byron Bay. Leaving Tamworth I tracked north east and towards the ocean. The New England Highway scared me with its high speed bitumen and traffic, I needed dirt and as soon as possible! The Point Lookout road seem promising and I was rewarded with deserted dirt tracks that led to a ghostly National Park.

On the way out to the lookout I came across a strange aeronautical guidance device in the paddock. Naturally because it had a Danger High Voltage and other warning signs I had to take a closer look... I probably won't be able to have babies anymore, but may be able to communicate with a range of aircraft telepathically due to my exposure.

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The New England National Park was empty, giving what I was to find, an even more erie effect. The Gondwana Rainforest was like nothing I had seen before. These forests are the living 'link' of evolution of Australia. What remains are the most ancient vegetation in this country. Other living stuff that was around at the same time as these plants are now extinct stone fossils!
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I could imagine a creepy scene of a full moon, fog, howling animals and these moss/lichen covered trees…
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The Point Lookout was stunning…
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I went back out to the highway and continued not much further on to the Cathedral Rock National Park. Again this was a situation where I was laughing in my helmet at my predicament. The typical scenario had me cruising down the road and with seeing a sign indicating a National Park I would immediately down shift a gear or two, slide into a turn onto either a dirt or twisty road (usually the two together!) and see what it had to offer. More often than not, I would soon be saying out loud to assure myself what I was witnessing "Oh wow!" "Wholly shit" "Man thats amazing" "Faark"

Sometimes you would be denied entry and then have to turn around and ride the track back to the main road. What ever happened I considered it a win, win, situation… Now knowing the return "course" I could push the bike a little harder and test my courage.

Denied…
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With this many locks it sure is tempting to go look…
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A little further down the road another natural wonder. Ebor Falls.




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Going bush near Billys Creek/Clouds Creek State Forest.
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Nymboida grass tree gully.
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As I made my way closer to the coast I could smell the salt air in my helmet, wet earth of a damper environment than what I had departed from earlier that day. It was strange as I have only smelt that same smell when getting close to land after being out at sea on my ships for extended periods of time.

The last few kilometres riding into Byron were chaotic with traffic jams due to road works involving what looked like a new bypass. Even the roads that weren't affected were in shocking condition, pot holes, narrow and congested. I was surprised that once reaching Byron Bay itself how big it was considering the roads that lead into it…?

Once in town I followed signs towards the lighthouse. I had in recent years watched all the DVDs of the "The Motorbikin' Lads", Phil and Tugboat Bill leave from this very place to set new records of crossing the Australian Continent from the furtherest point East to the furtherest point West.

I know I spend a fair bit of time at sea or out bush, but as I got closer to the hill up to the lighthouse it became clearly obvious to me that this town called Byron Bay is where all the beautiful live! The gorgeous girls, all out doing the power walk afternoon accent of the hill was mind boggling! I had to verbally tell myself to "Bloody focus on the road Ty!" after a couple of very near misses with cars and kerbs. "Focus Ty, focus…"

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Yeap lights are on…
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The sun setting on another unreal day and a very happy adventure rider.
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Made it!
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Mmm nice power w..a..l..k..e..r, I mean lighthouse…
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Marine safety.


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I later rolled down the steep hill taking in the beautiful surroundings and reflecting on my last few days after leaving the packed metropolis of Sydney. It took less that an hour to be out of the cities limits and getting lost, then only a few days to be what seemed a million miles away from anything.

Australia, I love the place.
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Old 12-25-2013, 04:39 AM   #140
Not the Messiah
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Hey Ty,

Thanks for sharing again some more. Love your work.

And the hell with lighthouses, show us the power walkers.......
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Old 12-26-2013, 07:55 AM   #141
Hoonatic Ty OP
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Byron Bay To Brisbane

The rise and shine was a little delayed on my exit from Byron Bay Of Beautiful Babes. I had a rare night of getting right into it with the locals and visitors like me.

Its strange, or maybe I am showing my age…? I thought before I set off on this journey of adventure and discovery that I would be partying a lot harder at every other town, this hasn't been the case at all… Even with Hydro as my crazy riding padre, the nights were mostly early (A standout exception would be Port Lincoln but Hydro has made me swear to secrecy on that one!).

I can only put it down to getting up with the sun, then the wear and tear of riding a dirt bike all day long except for a few fuel/food stops until just before the sun goes down! The challenge to have a counter meal and a couple of beers at the local pub and remain awake seems all to much. Before you scoff and laugh at my weak explanation, remember this isn't a weekend/overnighter with the lads. Most of the miles are large, some very remote and with me, very alone (My voices in my head do keep me company most times) and not to mention the riding is well over a month at a time.

Thinking deep here, but maybe the constant state of euphoria experienced while riding all day is enough and that the inferior substitute feeling that drugs and alcohol may bring, pales in significance?

Anyway, I didn't hold back in Byron... Finding one of those fine establishments with the windows that fold right back, that let you drink, eat and people watch unimpeded was found on the main drag and I settled in.

Fielding questions from inquisitive crew that had made the connection of the big hairy bloke with dusty riding gear on and the big black dirt bike with the rolled up residence on its tailend that we were looking over out the front was cool. The audiences were amazed at the life less ordinary undertaken. I will admit the ooo's and ahhh's encouraged the raconteur within. Also the ego was stoked when other folk walking past out on the footpath would stop to take photos of the strange looking bike with a numberplate from a faraway land. Others would stop and check out the bike in detail, some identifying things like the GPS or spotlights, pointing them out to their mates or partner.

There came a point where I had to get going to my accommodation down the road before total inebriation took place. Plus the place was starting to fill quickly with super ultra trendy sorts. Most probably to listen to the cool dreadlocked and bone wearing three piece band that had been "One, Two, One, One, Two-ing" in the far corner for the last hour.

One of these super ultra trendy sorts confronted me as I was stepping down from the doorway out onto the footpath. He was having a smoke out front with a couple of his mates and seeing a lone, out of place target thought he would show off his muscular and verbal prowess… With a slight flex of his gym chest, shot out a smart arse comment "What do you think you are doing mate, the Dakarrrr..?"

Now, I'm not usually one to have a quick reply (It comes about a week later), but I got to feel what it is like to have one when I immediately and faultlessly replied "Na mate, I'm doing something better, I'm doing the Australiarrrr" The speechless look on his face was gold! Both his mates got stuck into him, one with a pistol hand sign at his head coupled it with a BOOM! and the other clipping his foolish friend across the ear and saying "You cock, you just got told!"

I swaggered off without missing a beat with my helmet under my arm. Luckily mister tough guy didn't see me and my confusion moments later just around the corner. I struggled for what seemed like 30 minutes (It would have probably been only 15!!!) with my new, unfamiliar KLIM jacket and its opposite zippers and fastenings. Then, after finally tucking myself into my You Beauty GORTEX costume I couldn't find my bloody key! Rarely I take my key out and usually when I do, it results in the same scenario… Since that night, (After I finally found the key in pocket 17) the key now has a dedicated place.

Byron Bay Beach
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Belongil Creek
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Brunswick Heads
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The local holiday park had primo positioning, boat harbour, launching ramp and camping metres from the protected water.
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Not a bad day for it…
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Crabbes Creek Beach looking back to Byron Bay
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Coming from Western Australia I smile when I see strange signs like these. Pottsville Bears
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Soon after this last photo I crossed the border north into Queensland. This achieving a personal milestone of riding in every state and territory in Australia. It is, by no means an end to my travels. In fact the further I ride, the more I realised how much there is to see! I am regularly wondering when am I ever going to finish riding around this amazing country of mine? The dreams of riding overseas seem to be getting further and further away when I look at all the other places I haven't yet explored here in Australia, and this compared to where I have been!!!
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(Hoon) Any person who drives or rides in a dangerous and/or fast manner which is anti-social towards the standards of modern day society.
(Lunatic) A person whose actions and manner are marked by extreme eccentricity or recklessness.

Hoonatic Ty screwed with this post 12-28-2013 at 02:42 PM
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Old 12-28-2013, 03:58 AM   #142
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Brisbane To Noosa

Once across the border I dropped into a work mates place in Surfers Paradise. Oddvar our Chief Engineer on my ship and his beautiful wife Janice had me for an awesome lunch out on their decking overlooking the tranquil Mermaid Waters canals. It was great to relax with friends, making our own custom meat and salad rolls whilst sharing thoughts and experiences.

I was wondering out loud to Oddvar and Janice about why there were no people enjoying a swim off their jetties in the more than agreeable weather conditions. They shocked me with the reply that years earlier all the local kids used to swim and play everyday in the waters until their son was attacked by a shark, resulting in over 120 stitches!!! Since then the water was reserved for boats and other safe water crafts. Mmm… as much as I like the water I decided against the temptation to grab my board shorts and go for a quick dip!

Whilst out on the road by yourself the simple things like a home cooked or eaten meal is relished. Counter/Pub meals begin to seem the same, service station sandwiches or the usual culinary fare they provide all become repetitive. Obviously the lack of refrigeration and the lack of storage has me living simply in regards to the culinary delights I can create. I usually only carry compact food that can provide a good energy boost. Musesli bars, fruit leather, beef jerky, the odd dehydrated meals to use with boiled water and of course some lollies like jelly snakes for treats and midnight swag munchies.

I left Surfers Paradise without much else of a look around, the traffic lights and tall buildings had me feeling a little out of place. My destination before dark was another work mates place on the outskirts of Brisbane. Nick and his fiancé Amanda wouldn't hear of me using my swag and I received a photo message indicating that my bed was made and ready.

Nick and his son Blake, the ever gracious hosts...
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The next morning I had a few 'must do' chores in the city before my intended exodus from society for some time. Afterwards I joined the throng of motorists going north, passing more of those specialised "Theme Worlds" that promised adventure and excitement of a manufactured sort.

I couldn't go past this establishment though, as it brought back memories of the old "Post" magazines as a kid and the cartoon within it. (Also the scantily clad ladies!)

This fella frighten the life out of me. With my posturing to get a good shot of him I set off some movement activated, vicious barking. Luckily no one saw me back peddle to some imagined safety…
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The inside was as unique as the outside…
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With a couple of nerve settling ales I joined the masses once again on the concrete and bitumen track north to Noosa and to another mates place.

Kelly and his wife Charmaine would not let me use my swag either. As I pulled into their place in the late afternoon, I just caught Kellys old man Greg next to his Triumph as he was putting his helmet on. We were all soon catching up and talking bikes. Greg mentioned that a previous mechanic, that he had employed for his business "T Boat Hire" on the Noosa River was into "These adventure type bikes" Also that he hung about some other strange guys that did and filmed crazy adventure trips… My suspicions aroused I enquired more about who was this mechanic that he was talking about? Kelly confirmed his dads statement and said that "Joe" was like the crazy/nutty professor of all things bikes and/or mechanical. Greg then added Joe had in fact started his own adventure bike modifying business. This had me very intrigued now, as not long previously I had heard that one of the "Motorbikin" lads had started, what I was sure Greg and Kelly were talking about…

Greg pulled out his phone and said "Hang on I'll call him right now and see what he was up too". A short conversation was exchanged, with Joe acknowledging he knew of me due to my chance appearance in one of the Motorbikin' DVDs (#10) when I stumbled upon Phil Hodgens (aka Philth) and Bob Condon (aka Turbo Bob) on their bikes, in my home town of Exmouth just hours before I set off on my own adventure! Joe then added to the freaky 6 degrees of separation moment by saying "Can I come over to meet Ty in person? But is it alright to bring Bob? He is right here beside me in my shed…"

15 minutes later Joe and Bob rolled up with beers and chips and we were all amazed at the chain of events that had taken place! If I had been 1 minute later I would have missed Greg as he rode past to go home to his place…

I got to meet Joe who I had particularly remember in a Motorbikin' DVD, doing a crazy East to West crossing of Australia with Philth on 'Postie' bikes!!! His changing of his bikes piston and rings on the side of the road, somewhere near the Ayres Rock, with Phil annoying him with a video camera impressed me to no end. To meet Bob again was awesome. He in particular is the catalyst for this Ride Report being written! Just before he and Phil left my yard, suggested "Ty, you should do a Ride Report on ADVrider"

What are the chance hey? Meant to be???

Kellys and my Black Beauties, Noosaville…


Before the lads took off later that night, Bob suggested because he wasn't working tomorrow, that he would like to take me for a blast out around his backyard. With an offer like that, how could you refuse?

Yeap, I reckon it was all meant to be… Awesome.
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HOONATIC
(Hoon) Any person who drives or rides in a dangerous and/or fast manner which is anti-social towards the standards of modern day society.
(Lunatic) A person whose actions and manner are marked by extreme eccentricity or recklessness.

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Old 12-28-2013, 10:14 PM   #143
foggyred
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fantastic report ty, thanks for taking the time and effort, have a great new year,
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Old 12-29-2013, 01:03 AM   #144
Hoonatic Ty OP
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Cheers!

Thanks crew,

regie308, shippy, mudmonster, Not the Messiah and foggyred.

I'm really glad your all enjoying the ride and taking the time to read it.

Even if I'm mostly riding alone, its feels good to at least share the experiences some other way. Having never done anything like this before (Riding and writing) I sometimes wonder if I'm "doing it right" or not….?

Your words of appreciation keeps me putting it into gear on the keyboard not just out the track!

Regards,

"Hoonatic Ty"
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HOONATIC
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Old 12-29-2013, 05:45 AM   #145
Hoonatic Ty OP
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Ty and Turbo Bobs Excellent Adventure

Bob was around early as promised, his immense KTM 990 Adventurer thundering through the quiet Noosa morning announcing to one and all he was coming...

I had never actually seen one of these giant bikes in the flesh, only in magazines and DVDs. Their presence is commanding, the massive tank, the detonation of the V twin engine through the aftermarket Barrett Exhausts kicked my nervous anticipation into overdrive! This coupled with the well used look of Bobs bike had me wondering what had I got myself into. This was made clearly evident moments after take off.

We weren't on the bitumen long and Bob had us off into the dirt back blocks, local tracks and and byways. Now I can go on about that I had panniers and a swag on the bike but the connection of the name "Turbo Bob" and going very fast was identified immediately. Most of the time I was thankful enough to catch the dust still settling on the track to make educated assumptions of where the Big Orange Beast and its rider had gone.

I was constantly battling the need to ride well outside my skill level (or balls size), take in the new amazing surroundings, guess where the thundering KTM had gone and enjoying myself at the same time!

While wondering about my ability to keep up and also my, as it seemed, shortened predicted life span, I realised that Turbo Bob was only the second rider after Hydro that I had ridden with on this journey. I have never been a fast rider, to tell the truth I haven't ridden much with anyone to actually compare! It was obvious to me now, because of my long time of riding alone, often in remote places I had developed a conservative approach. It probably didn't help with the poppy outy shoulder and knee constantly reminding me of the results of taking a tumble or putting a foot wrong.

In any case I was getting a cool, different "buzz" than normal, the one where riding with mates pushes you to try harder, to keep up, to race, to push your abilities and discover new capabilities. I liked it. Here I was searching for a better line to take on a bend, better gear selection and timing, improving my skills and saving time (and face!) to keep up. I can only imagine the benefits of regularly riding with mates on various terrain and conditions. Not only do you get to share the experiences but it improves your riding and also having the safety in numbers. Well… I wasn't feeling too safe chasing after Bob, but I sure you know what I mean!

Pulling up at a old fire lookout that had been closed due to is deteriorating condition. These orange bikes seem to be everywhere!
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Apart from scaring me half to death with his pace, Bob was linking up different State Forests that encompassed vastly different country. One moment we would be descending down into steep tropical palm lined tracks, ducking under fallen trees then next minute, blast out into dry, swooping fast grassy farm land.

Elgin Vale Sawmill
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Bikes and big shed.
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Steam driven sawmill machinery from days gone by
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I reckon these old girls would have had a hard time back in the day...
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Bob reading out the instructions for use.
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Instructions for use!
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Back in the day when men were tough and the wheels were wooden!
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Bob and the bikes, preparing for take off.
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Bob took me further into his amazing back yard and its forever changing scenes. I needed to change my underpants after over shooting a corner and somehow coming to rest on the other side of the deep and wide drainage ditch unscathed. That feeling you get when you know you are going to fast into a corner, the locking up of wheels and the slide to an uncontrolled fate as you say, oh shit, oh shit. oh shit never seems to get easier… I later found I had snapped off the base bracket to a pannier rack.

It was awesome to have a guided tour through places I would have never found by myself. It makes you realise and probably not in its full capacity of how big this Australia really is. Out of nowhere a farmhouse would pop up and I would be thinking "fancy living out here…" then a town would appear on the horizon giving awareness of a whole lot more going on out here than I originally thought. With our tummys rumbling we pulled into one such town for a few cleansing ales and a feed.

Burnett Hotel, Gayndah.


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Sadly Bob and I parted ways here, he had to get back home and to his family and me to continue into the unknown. I am stoked to have literally bumped into Bob and the ride we had, if I can help it there will be more to come! I have said previously about how big the country is but its crazy moments like the one I just had can also confirm "It's a small world…" Go figure?

On the road alone again. This valley shocked me, confirming what Bob had mentioned as we drank, ah, ate our lunches. The towns in this area had suffered greatly during the flooding with loss of homes and tragically lives. As I road through here on the newly laid bitumen imagining the force from the water required to push over the big trees, I then realised how far up the banks the water had reached! Where the bike is parked would have been at least 30 metres under water…
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More signs that I have never seen before.
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A town called Cracow, in the Banana Shire?
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Riding into here was erie, a ghost town with and the windows boarded up.
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If Bob hadn't mention while we looked over my tank bag map whilst washing the dust from our throats, that "There is a really cool pub in this town". I would have motored right through it and found a place to swag it up the road somewhere. Luckily I pulled in, the empty carpark ominous like the rest of the empty town.


To walk in and find that an Australian living legend, Fred Brophy of boxing tent fame was the owner of the establishment was amazing. He had purchased, pretty much the whole town, saving it from certain disappearance. The place is a museum of all things weird and wonderful collected by Fred during his extensive travels of Australia and abroad.

Not only the decor took me by surprise but the friendly French barmaid Emily…


After a few beers I decided to go no further for the more than eventful day and book in. Once again as I walked into my room I was stunned at the decor… Very Africana! Zebra print bed spread and pillows, black african lady lamps on ancient bed side tables, old african animal prints shared the walls with actual animal skins, travel battered trunks from days before air travel or its requirements for 20kg restrictions, tribal spears and weapons that looked deadly doing nothing. As I got talking to some mining lads out on our upstairs veranda they too spoke of their strange but comfortable "themed" rooms, one was decked out like a japanese brothel with wall to wall silk hangings and interesting prints!!!

The places you go and the people you meet, I guess thats why they call it an adventure...
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Old 12-30-2013, 04:14 AM   #146
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Onwards and Northwards

I left Cracow in the morning light for a place that caught my eye on the map, Banana. This is another instance where, with only a general direction to head, things that either catch my eye like a name or a place recommended by others I am happy to wander in that direction and check it out. This, more often than not, results in being rewarded with seeing something different, special or thankful I made the 'deviation'.

I breakfasted here with all the truckies and decided it was too early to take up Turbo Bobs suggestion to drop in on good mate of his and one of the Motorbikin' crew, Tim Larsen, the Farmer from Banana and weld up my crash damage. It's amazing what you can do with some flat straps and zip ties. I had another mate further up the road I could bother later.
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With my curiosity quenched I road on in a Easterly direction up into the Queensland Central Highlands.
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Just out of Springsure I came across a unique natural formation called Virgin Rock. The photos don't really do it justice but when you are there, even with a critical eye, you couldn't deny the likeness of the Virgin Mary and Child within the rocky cavity.




I continued North up the Gregory Highway and came across something that I had (rarely) only seen on T.V. or read about in novels, about old pastoralism practices. Evidently this still happens when farmers are walking domestic livestock from one paddock to another. Travelling stock routes are collectively known as "The Long Paddock".

Grazing The Long Paddock.


Riders of different steeds.
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This cowgirl and I had an inquisitive, amicable stand off, both identifying similarities of a life lived in the saddle. A knowing smile and wave was shared. Another time we would of happily chatted but we had things to do.


I cautiously idled past to not scare the stock with the twin Barrett Exhaust bark and soon discovered another aspect of life lived or done a little further up the road. Sounding naive, coming from the mineral rich state of Western Australia it didn't occur to me that anything would compare to our giant mining industry.

Massive coal train being loaded.


Another immense industry in the irrigated paddock of Emerald. Hundred of acres of amazing wheat. The bike is on its side stand here making the 'ears' of wheat up too and above the handgrips!
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Going bush… This place on the banks of Police Creek, was literally in the middle of nowhere, but by goodness it had beautiful cold beer! I really think that when I walked into the bar covered in gravel dust, drenched in perspiration and said "G'day lads" in my gruffest voice, only then the hardened cow wranglers, roo shooters and other tough locals decided I could drink with them… It is sometimes quite plain to see in remote places like these, my presence is greeted with agreeable acceptance compared to if I had bounced out of a luxury air-conditioned 4WD in my Gucci clothing.
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Across the road, remnants of gold mining booms long ago.
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I got going before too many of the lovely lagers impeded my progress and followed the dirt track north from the pub into remote station country.

Dusty cows in a dry creek bed. You have to keep your wits about you riding through these areas! Cows, snakes, brutal cattle grids, hidden bull dust sections and washed out creek crossings!
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The rewards of being out in remote places can be immeasurable. As I pulled up here beside this billabong and made camp I felt truly alone, this was getting away from it all, just me, the bike and the most very basic of necessities. Eating a few snacks while watching the "Bush T.V.", the sun slowly gave way to a moonless night. It had the most amazing star filled ceiling, making me feel even smaller in the whole scheme of things.

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I will always fondly remember camping by that distant, far-flung water way. To me, it epitomised what adventure riding is all about. It is really hard to describe without sounding cliche… The word obscure comes to mind, ~far from public notice, worldly affairs or important activities, remote.

Yeah, I felt obscure and loving every minute of it…
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Old 12-30-2013, 04:37 AM   #147
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Terrific stuff,would of felt like riding in a blast furnace up that way,ride and enjoy......nice senic ride if you take the rhs turnoff after the clarke river river bridge,good shortcut to mt garnett on dirt.
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Old 12-30-2013, 01:20 PM   #148
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Fantastic ride ty! You have really inspired me to get a few mates together and do a ride like this, though most are to busy saving for a houses or writing themselves off on weekends. So I think I may have to do it solo.
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Old 01-05-2014, 12:41 AM   #149
Hoonatic Ty OP
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Cheers!

Thanks Johnno950 and BJ4x4,

Glad your enjoying coming along for the ride.

Johnno, I appreciate the suggestion, It's amazing what you find, especially with both local or previous knowledge!

BJ, mate, I understand what your dealing with. All I will recommend, is to get out there! So many times throughout this ride I have wondered away in my helmet, why the heck didn't I do this earlier!? The fun, the dramas, the people and everything in-between is an awesome experience. I'm sure you don't have to do the mega miles either to enjoy whats out there to find…

I saw a cool quote the other day,

"The most dangerous risk of all - The risk of spending your life not doing what you want, on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later…"

Yeah BJ4x4 and anyone else considering, wishing, hoping, dreaming about doing a similar trip. Get out there! I'll guarantee it will get you grinning...
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Old 01-06-2014, 02:49 AM   #150
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Billabong dreaming to Golden Gumboot Territory...

Waking with all the waterbirds announcing the start of another glorious day to go riding, it felt good to be alive. As I type this I realise I have developed some what of a cool habit each morning (Some dire circumstances excepted!)

This habit or experience is as I wake. Slowly I pull back my sleeping bag, push back my canvas roof and look out to my surrounding, unfamiliar world. Some sort of what I imagine, as my cheeky grin grows on my face until it cracks with a laugh. I then ask audible questions or make obvious statements like "where the hell am I? Wow, this place looks awesome"

As I then look further around and spot my bike with riding gear draped over it, dusty riding boots beside it, I smile again and I then think or say something along the lines of "Good morning or Hello there! Cool, I'm going riding today! Mmm, I wonder where I end up today…"

There is certainly no need for motivation to get up, or to press some snooze button especially when adventure beckons you and it is only a start button and throttle/clutch movement away…

A bike, a lonely dirt track and the long shadows of the rising morning sun. Time to go riding!
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You never know whats around the corner.
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Burdekin River
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Burdekin Falls Dam.
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Fishing pelicans and shags
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From the other side.
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Ravenswood, days of old...
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The Railway Hotel
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The Imperial Hotel, another sign of the past grandeur. The only other pub left other than the Railway Hotel. Originally 48 of them serviced the nearly 5000 folk that once came here to find their fortune in gold.
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More old smelter chimneys.
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Timber windmill.
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Top Camp, Ravenswood. A fuel bowser with a difference!
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I road on north coming to a T junction of the Flinders Highway. Here I saw a sign saying that Charters Towers was 50km further inland. This stirred a memory of mine from before I left on this adventure. I was visiting an mate of mine 'Muz' in the Exmouth hospital, with old age and a hard working life his body was slowly giving out on him. Of the many things we joked and spoke about, my trip and travel was a favourite of them.

His recollections of being a young man and travelling to far away places with a mate of his in their holden ute had me as an eager audience. I will never forget though, how his dull and weather beaten features change so dramatically, it was truly amazing to witness. His blue eyes sparkled to life, their intensity burned fiercely as he recalled a story of coming into a town called Charters Towers and getting a job with his metal fabricators trade. "Ty we didn't have welders back then! We bent a riveted stuff in those days…"

Unfortunately Muz passed away a little while later in the year but that vivid memory will stay with me forever. How those eyes lit up with the experiences he shared with me. Maybe one day I will tell my dirt bike travelling tale to a young fella by my hospital bedside and I too will come alive to the cool memories recalled. I turned left and headed to a town that old man once told me about…

The old and the new rail bridges heading into Charters Towers.
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As I lunched and wrote on post cards telling of my latest geographical location, I also decided on my next one. It would be Tully and another work colleagues place. Just before I left the town with its exquisite old style buildings, I received several nods and grunts of approval from members of a local bike enthusiasts club as I conducted my pre-launch checks. I remounted my dusty steed and rode on out. It felt cool to be cool with their admiring stares following.

I rode north up the Gregory Development Road and just after crossing the Gregory River I turned onto the fast, dry and dusty Blue Range Road that cuts over to Mount Fox.

I didn't see another sole on this road, that is except cows and 3 rather large snakes! One was about 9 feet long but skinny as my thumb!? We frightened the life out of each other with our very close and unexpected meeting in a dry creek bed. I have seen some snakes in my time but this one was so long and thin I thought it was a twiggy branch. When it sat up to 3/4 of its length with no apparent wind to account for its sudden movement my brain recalculated its initial comprehended sight. I will admit to reactionary squeal and lifting of my riding boots to handle bar height!

Another reminder of my amazing mate Doug Swift, everyday life is a battle with his illness. He rides with me everywhere and we share my experiences during my "check in" calls when I am in phone range. He is one of those mates that always leave you grinning when you hang up the call.
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As I came over Mount Fox, the change of environment was stunning and immediate. One moment I was riding through dry dusty cattle station country and with the blink of the eye I was riding down a green, jungle like mountain! for the last few days I had been riding through dry outback territory and now I was descending down into wet steamy tropical lushness.

The steep switchbacks of Stone River Road had the Barrett Exhausts crackling with engine compression in attempts to give the brakes a rest.
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I didn't take too many photos down through here as I had mistaken my allowable time and distance to reach Tully and the actual reality of achieving it. The high speed outback miles enable big distances to be comfortably made. Now the twisty turning mountain road slowed up progress immensely. My speed was also hampered with the new visual surroundings of something I had never seen in 'real life' before, sugar cane.

Again this is something I had only seen on the TV and now I was riding through it on my dirt bike from Western Australia. The GANGgajang song 'Sounds Of Then' (This Is Australia) started playing in my head "Out on the patio we sit and the humidity we breathe, we watch the lightning crack over cane fields, laugh and think, this is Australia"

This country Australia blows me away, so big, so vast, ever changing. Its hard to comprehend it all, especially when you live and breathe it through a helmet visor hanging onto a set of handle bars… Mmm I laugh and think "this is Australia" often.

I got into Tully on dark, passing the massive sugar cane processing plant belching out what I thought were thick plumes of polluting smoke. I wondered how on earth could they get away with it!!!? (I was later informed by my local hosts Peter and Jan that it was only steam from the sugar extracting process.)

My balding rear tyre giving me one last bike fright for the day nearly slipping right out from under me on the slippery driveway rocks of "Three Bridges Farm". That could have been an embarrassing entry in front of my friends as I waved and casually dodged the barking dogs. I could have guessed Peters ever sharp wit as between cackles of laugher he would have asked me "and you rode from where? Western Australia? bloody goose" Lucky save that one...
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Hoonatic Ty screwed with this post 01-06-2014 at 03:48 AM
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