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Old 10-15-2011, 06:16 AM   #1
bull600 OP
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Mid North Long Weekend (South Australia)

Day 1

With the final long weekend for the year upon us, a quick few days up in the mid north was a good tonic for some hectic times at work.

The weather in the few days preceding the weekend was rather wet, with over an inch falling in some of the areas we planned to pass through.

Sounded like it could be fun

So, we loaded up the DR650’s




and headed off to the north via Lower Hermitage




and Hannaford Hump Road




then past Para Wirra Recreation Park



Once past the Barossa goldfields we crossed the Barossa Valley Highway and found the first of the dirt roads that I had planned to follow north



Things started out fine with not a lot of recent rain evident



It was a wonderful morning with excellent views across the plains on either side



However, it wasn’t long before the track started to show some signs of water



As we moved further north we skirted the edge of the Barossa Valley wine region




Before the familiar feeling of slippery mud and no traction became apparent!



With a bit of effort we cleaned off some mud, got a little traction and headed up onto the verge



The grass along the edge gave us some forward movement and we ended up doing quite a few kilometers before we reached some more sandy ground.



Riding the verge took quite a bit of concentration because as well as looking for hidden rabbit burrows, ditches and drains there was always bits of loose barbed wire to keep you on your toes. At one point I noticed a long bit caught under Paul’s rear wheel when we stopped.



Soon we hit some more all weather roads



And it wasn’t long before we passed Map Kernow the “Giant Miner” as we approached Kapunda



Where it was time to do what one must - when there is a bakery in sight



From Kapunda we picked a route that took us through some farm paddocks



Some off the way tracks



Before picking up Taylors Run Road towards Marrabel




Once into the more open country it was obvious that this was a good year for the farmers with canola and other crops as far as the eye could see




We had now reached the foot of the Tothill ranges and found some tracks that took us up to the top






From there we picked up Scenic Rd and ran along the ridge with great views out over the eastern plains towards Robertstown



Before cutting back through Webs Gap and then north once more towards Burra



After a quick stop to refuel we picked up a track north once more but found more verge riding was required



We soon passed the grassy expanse of Mokota Conservation Park along White Hill Road and saw the hills towards Mt Byran East in the distance



Now, the plan had always been to try and make camp early and sit down, relax with a few beers and listen to the AFL Grand Final on the radio. I’d sussed out some good likely stealth camping spots on Google Earth and now it was just a matter of having bit of luck in finding them. Thinks were very quiet with no sign of any other vehicles as we passed through various gates



But then, lo and behold, just near were we needed to duck off a couple of 4x4’s appeared out of nowhere. After exchanging pleasantries we let them through the next gate and waved them on, only to have them do the same for us a short time later! Finally, we arrived at the spot we needed to turn off but decided to cut into some trees and let them pass. Sure enough they came along only to stop at the same spot and wait for what seemed like forever before heading off.

With them out of the way we made our way through (around) a few more gates and found the area we were looking for



Off with the helmets, out with the chairs and on to with the radio



To catch the last half over some nice cold ones




After a close game it was good to see Geelong run away with it over the Pies in the last quarter. The bad news was that 3 of the beers hadn’t survived the trip up and had leaked from the top. They don’t make cans like they used to



Dinner was then underway with the traditional first night BBQ on the menu



Once done we settled around the fire, reset out clocks for daylight saving and then had an early night


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Old 10-15-2011, 06:26 AM   #2
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Day 2

Next morning it was quite brisk with a light fog hanging over the plain near our creek side campsite



Soon we were up and into the bacon and egg sandwiches



Then it was time to get packed. No small feat for Paul who I think models his rig on those of Austin Vince’s crew in “Mondo Enduro”



The last, and it must be said most difficult task, was to make sure the fire was out with our flat beers that had opened on the way up




The next obstacle was getting out of the sandy creek bed. I popped out and stopped to get a shot of Paul on the way through.

Ready



Set



Go



Perhaps not



More like - dig the bastard out




Finally at the top! (maybe I shouldn’t have left such a big hole when I went through )



Then it was time to explore some of the surrounding countryside



We followed some quite a few interesting tracks that were a little washed away in parts




and came across some excellent creeks with fantastic views




Soon we were travelling through the Caroona Conservation Park



And the main track that runs west/east across the park





On the eastern side we stopped for a break at the ruins of Thomas Hut




Before refilling our water supplies at the camp area



It’s a bit sad when you can’t drink rain water



It was then back off to the west



Where we hooked onto Dare’s Hill Summit Road which has great views out towards Collinsville




Rather than head down off the hill we took a track north that joined up with Scrub Road



After a nice run through the mallee and more farm country we popped out on the main road at Hallett




We were now on a course east with a plan to make it to a camp in Wirrabra Forest. It wasn’t long though until some water logged tracks reappeared



Once past these obstacles we dropped into a valley and then crossed the range




With hunger pangs on the rise we then spotted this sign and decided to deviate off our course a little



And ended up here for lunch



After a few toasted sandwiches we hit the road again and decided to do a lap through the Broughton River valley



Nice dry twisty roads



led us through the valley until we picked up some farm tracks that took us through to the Bundaleer Forest




but there was always the odd obstacle to contend with



Some easier to get around than others



After hitting the highway near Laura we found both petrol outlets closed (it was a Sunday) so we had to zip down south to Gladstone to fill up before returning past Laura and onto some tracks that led us towards Wirrabra Forest



By now it was getting late in the day and we were keen to get to camp but I thought I’d get a shot of Paul coming through a deepish water hole. Unlucky for him I did




Once I’d stopped laughing (which was several minutes) I returned to find a rather sheepish Paul righting the bike and wiping the mud off



After mumbling about low blood sugar levels he was soon back on board and we hit Block 9 Road and headed for our camp




Having used this spot a few times it wasn’t long before we were set up in what really is a nice out of the way location



Dinner was less salubrious with the old faithfuls on hand



With our beer quota now out of whack we were forced into sharing mode



Now, Paul and I have been camping out for close on 35 years together (no Brokeback Mountain jokes* please ) and I must say he excels in many aspects of bush craft (having spent a long time in the army reserve no doubt helping and that’s his excuse for wearing those pressed green shirts see * above).

However, he is a dedicated technophobe. Over the years despite the advent of new gizmos to help in camping he has remained stuck in the dark ages (literally). This leads me on to the subject of torches. I have for many years been encouraging him to use a head torch around camp. Apparently though he “doesn’t like things on his head” (including hair by the look ) so continues to use an old army hand held torch which has the output of a yellow firefly.

This would all be fine if he was

A) able to find it when it got dark and

B) able to use it with both hands.

Neither happens too often and generally lead to the rather loud statement “HEADTORCH ME” which roughly translated means “come over her and shine your headtorch so I can see what the fuck I’m doing”. Begrudgingly, I generally comply (as it often means food is burning) but the call on this occasion was due to him dropping his beloved torch during a minor campsite ablution and not being able to find it. This time I let him go and enjoyed his cursing as he crawled around looking for it




It was a pity the flash going off enabled him to spot it

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Old 10-15-2011, 06:33 AM   #3
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Day 3

The next morning saw us up fairly early to start the run home




We picked our way through some forest tracks




And then weaved our way carefully through Port Germein Gorge avoiding the many early morning roos by the roadside. We then swung south down Top Track which runs along the western side of Mt Remarkable and Terowie Gorge.



Past Napperby we watched as a giant loco swept north with its load of cargo



Then it was over the River Broughton



And across the railway line just in front of the Ghan which was heading south from Darwin



Once past Redhill we crossed the range to the west at Hope Gap and followed the wind farm south



Once we chose the right track it was then a fast run past the South Hummocks towards Pt Wakefield



At Port Wakefield we dodged the long weekend traffic (no mean feat ) and hit the bakery (of course)




before hitting the blacktop for home.

Another trip done and dusted

Thanks to my partner in crime - Paul. I just wish that one day he’ll learn how to put ear plugs in properly so I’m not always searching for them when he takes his helmet off (it is a modern invention after all)



Cheers

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Old 10-15-2011, 07:29 AM   #4
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Nice

I love reading your RR good to see lots of photos.. def going to check out some of the places you have seen in this

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Old 10-15-2011, 08:04 AM   #5
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Great RR Men

Looks like great fun , some of the mud definitely had the skid demon in residence by the look of it
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Old 10-15-2011, 02:22 PM   #6
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Man.. what a great trip and excellent RR and pictures.

Well done!
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Old 10-15-2011, 03:14 PM   #7
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Top report as always, well done once again.

One thing I don't understand "West End Draft" most people stopped drinking that stuff years ago.....Along with Paul's torch I guess !!! LOL

Cheers Terry
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Old 10-15-2011, 03:33 PM   #8
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Love travelling your rides with you, if only in words & photos

So close yet so far apart, everyone riding the mid north together that weekend.

Isn't it time Paul got his own back & got a camera to your exploits, Bully

Great job, thanks for sharing

Cheers

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Old 10-15-2011, 05:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TerryK View Post

One thing I don't understand "West End Draft" most people stopped drinking that stuff years ago.....Along with Paul's torch I guess !!! LOL
I think he buys them only because Southwark Longnecks went out of production
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Old 10-15-2011, 07:44 PM   #10
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Enjoyed that, thanks.

Many of the roads looked familiar.

Must start scouring Google for out of the way places/tracks.

Thanks again.
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Old 10-15-2011, 09:54 PM   #11
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Love travelling your rides with you, if only in words & photos

So close yet so far apart, everyone riding the mid north together that weekend.

Isn't it time Paul got his own back & got a camera to your exploits, Bully

Great job, thanks for sharing

Cheers
Hey Kym, saw you this morning on Leslie creek rd, you were by yourself, I was in a group of approx 40 bikes...Twisted1 was leading & no I didn't have the helmet cam.

Cheers Terry
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Old 10-16-2011, 12:52 AM   #12
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Yet another top notch report that shows how much fun can be had in good ol' SA.

I must go and re-visit Taylors Run. That is one hoot of a road ( or at least was a couple of years ago)

After reading this, I raced over to the TAT website to have a look at the GPS file and.......

Lift your game Greg.

Cheers,
Graeme
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Old 10-16-2011, 05:59 PM   #13
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Great RR, thanks. Awesome country through there, a combination of your pics and route advise for our last trip has me hungry for more riding between the Spencer Gulf and Victorian border. Thanks to you I found out just how slippery that red SA clay can get.
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Old 10-19-2011, 02:46 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by senfiddy View Post
Yet another top notch report that shows how much fun can be had in good ol' SA.

I must go and re-visit Taylors Run. That is one hoot of a road ( or at least was a couple of years ago)

After reading this, I raced over to the TAT website to have a look at the GPS file and.......

Lift your game Greg.

Cheers,
Graeme
Sorry mate... I'm on to it

Cheers
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Old 11-06-2011, 01:57 AM   #15
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Sorry mate... I'm on to it

Cheers
Just picked a very valuable GPS route from TAuT.
Planning starts now.

Cheers,
Graeme
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