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Old 10-10-2009, 05:57 AM   #1
crackin OP
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Highway, Road, Track

(other acceptable names for the ride report, “A bit of a strap around the Middle bit and the North Western Bit of Aus”, “6 Blokes go for a motorbike Ride”, “How to Prove a KLR is just as capable as a KTM 640”, “Observations of a DR and its funny engine noise”

Pre Trip

The origins of the trip are thought to lie in a conversation over a few beers between Damo and Mick, eventually the willing participants grew to include 4 more. Never did the fact that only 1 person had a bike, only 2 had valid licences and only one had done anything similar before come into it in the initial planning. We were set for success

The willing participants were

Mick – DR. Privateer


Damian / Damo. Team Kawasaki – KLR 650


Nick. Team KTM. KTM 640


Pete. Team KTM. KTM 640


Corey. Privateer. Super Tenere (Super Tanker)

Jack. Team Kawasaki. KLR 650


Lots of time was spent prepping, talking bullshit, learning how to ride and setting up a bike for this sort of trip, oh and purchasing bikes and getting licenses.

Numerous iterations of when and where we were going to go evolved and how we were going to do it. The options ranged from riding about 12000kms and crating bikes all over the country to eventually the final route and rough timetable.

Route

Eventually a route was settled on starting and finishing in Alice Springs. Getting to Alice was a logistical challenge as we were spread out all over the country. Mick was driving from Perth in WA to meet 4 of us at Port Augusta (after travelling from Melbourne, Bendigo and Adelaide). Corey was getting a feel for his rebuilt (the week before) Super Tenere and was riding to Alice... keen.

From Alice it was planned to do a quick detour to Ayres Rock via the back way (Finke Gorge, Ernest Giles Rd) before heading up to the Tanami Highway via the Mereenie Loop, Papunya and Yuendumu. From here it was direct to Halls Creek then on the Blacktop to the Tunnel Creek Rd and on to the Gibb River Road to Kununurra. From Kununurra it was effectively following the Binns Track (more or less) back to Alice Springs

Outline of the Trip (The planned one turned out to be the one we actually completed)


Alice to Yulara
We’d all travelled a bit prior to Alice but Mick took the cake with his 2 day drive from Perth to rendezvous in Port Augusta with us. We trailered the bikes to Alice

Packed up ready to go (part of the group anyway)


Parked at the NT Border



We managed to catch Corey about 30km south of Alice on the Monday night so we all arrived together.

Tuesday was unload, last minute packing and load up day with the intention of getting somewhere near Boggy hole that night. It became evident early that we would be late departing but no one was too concerned and everything eventually came together about 3pm

Getting pur shit together


Damians (aka Kermit, Shrek) highly tuned fashion sense







The ride out from Alice had a good feeling about it with 5 motorbikes in the rearview mirror and views of the Western Macs up ahead. In no time at all we were in Hermansburg – we missed the turn off but were led in the right direction by some locals and checked the bikes before we hit the dirt for the first time


It was straight into it with a skaty sandy road that later in the trip would be rated as good and fast. Most were finding their feet and taking it easy. In no time at all we were into the gorge and sand.... like a slap in the face we sobered up and got some practice at picking up the bikes.

Jack


Mick


Damo



Pete


Corey






An early camp was called as everyone was knackered and it was getting dark. The fact that we’d only covered about 4-5km in the sand was in our minds as we had about another 40km to go..... the camping and campsite was great.





The next day everyone was looking forward to finding their feet in the sand we were to have had plenty of opportunity. The route changed from deep sugary sand to loose deep sand to red sand to gravel and rocky crossings. Most found their mojo at some point – Pete and Nick didn’t drop the KTM’s but everyone else had some more bike lifting practice. Biggest improver for the day was Damian who after dropping his tire pressure and giving it more gas managed to rail most tracks. Later checking revealed Damos front tyre pressure was 7.5psi, rear 10psi......






After a small navigational challenge we exited the gorge and the riding got faster. The last 10km to the Ernest Giles road was difficult to find but the track we took was a highlight and a crossing of the Palmer River with no other wheel tracks in site confirmed how little the track is used.









Camels beating us over the Palmer River

The Ernest Giles road delivered us to the bitumen and with fuel reserves hitting low levels we filled at Curtain Springs before pushing on to the rock. 1.5 days of riding felt like a week and a couple of blokes we thinking that it would be a long 3 weeks if this kept up.....

Pumping tyres up before hitting the bitumin

Yulara was touristy but provided beer and steak and a place to clean air filters and other bits and pieces.

More to come......
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Old 10-10-2009, 05:49 PM   #2
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Yulara to Halls Creek

Yulara to Halls Creek

Nick and Pete got up early and climbed the rock. Everyone else took the chance to sleep in and do some bike maintenance


Gratuitous KTM shot

Packing up in Yulara


A quick detour for a photo opp was taken before a full day on the blacktop to Kings Canyon.


Rest stop on the way to Kings Canyon



Kings Canyon was the site of another great (expensive) steak, a crap live show, attractive German backpackers and gear wrecking dingos. Mick had his food, gear and sleeping bag molested by Dingos. It was also the site for the first tank of Opal fuel, something that created a fair bit of discussion for the next few days

Kings Canyon Campsite


Micks Dingo Friendly gear





The plan for the day was Yuendumu via dirt. The day was an awesome ride starting poorly with a rear flat delaying us by a while – certainly no expert tyre changers among us...

Damo getting off in style to lower tyre pressures



First flat of the trip


Not a bad view to fix a flat


The highlight for most was the run from the Mereenie loop to Papunya followed by a road that doesn’t appear on any maps from Papunya to Yuendumu consisting of Red sand, small dunes, peaceful groves of Desert Oak and a pace that was crisp without being rushed with Central Mount Wedge as a backdrop.

The ride into Gosses Bluff (meteorite crater) for Lunch


Camels on the way into the Gosses Bluff


Mick


Lunch at Gosses Bluff


Mereenie Loop Road


First Lookout of Gosses Bluff


A lookout (Tylers Pass) viewing Gosses Bluff


Riding into Papunya


Checking the Map




Refuelling at Papunya



Local Dog at Papunya. Pete wanted to out it in his Panniers and take home for a pet


Magic Road between Papunya and Yuendumu




The store at Yuendumu was closed so we zipped up the road to camp and rendezvous with Pete and Nick’s dad and Damians dad who at last minute had decided to “go for a drive” on roughly the same route as us. The Steak (again) and beer were better that the noodles we had planned.

The Tanami Highway was the plan the next day with a small stop at mine and Micks previous workplace The Granites Gold Mine. Interesting to have a look around after 5 years and the coke hit the spot.

Renahans Bore – morning break prior to The Granites


Tanami Highway


A quick Stop at The Granites Gold Mine (Mick and I both worked here at different times)


Rabbit flat was the camp place for the night and the shower / beer and opal free fuel was good.

Sunset Beers and Romantic rides on the DR at Rabbit Flat


A big day was planned starting the following morning – cross the WA border, have a sticky beak at Wolfe Creek and roll into Halls Creek

Smoko on the Tanami Hwy at the WA Border




It was evident early that the temperature was surely rising and shade became a valuable commodity – a theme that would continue for the rest of the trip.

Short Break to re group


We ran into this bloke riding his bike on the Tanami from North to South (Had previously done the Gibb river road)


A small shadeless interlude was taken about lunchtime with an innovative solution devised.




The delay cost us some time and we limped into Billiluna – however it was Sunday and the store wasn’t open. Luckily we were able to grab some fuel from the trailer and stopped only to snack on some bikkies. We were joined briefly by one of the locals who had an intimate attachment to bread, metho and and his right hand. We quickly got back on the bikes and enjoyed the improved road to the north. Wolfe Creek was bypassed due to the delays and we aimed for Halls Creek.

Nick had the luckiest 3 seconds of the trip after hitting a roo but staying upright and with no damage to the Orange Machine. I thought I had mis heard him on the radio when he said “I’ve just hit a roo”, “Just checking the bike for Damage”

Roo v KTM. Ktm 1, Roo 0



Halls Creek was welcomed with some premium fuel and quick shower. It was reasonably surprising to see the Blue Ford Ranger appear with the trailer not long after we had arrived. The Roast at the Pub was a ripper, the beer was cold and it was a short walk back to the caravan park. Bloody noisy at night though.... and hot.
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Old 10-10-2009, 06:14 PM   #3
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sorry to interrupt

i'm at work taking a break at the moment. this sounds like an awesome trip. i'm enjoying the read.
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Old 10-10-2009, 07:25 PM   #4
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Great RR

Great RR. I have bogged a L/C in the finke gorge, Very soft sand sneaks up on you. Bloody great place to be though.

You guys are doing great, Hard to organise such a big ride.

Well done, Great RR>
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Old 10-11-2009, 06:03 PM   #5
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nice pictures

great pictures and a good read... I loved Boggy Hole, it was one of the highlights of my trip last year.

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Old 10-11-2009, 07:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mortaygo
great pictures and a good read... I loved Boggy Hole, it was one of the highlights of my trip last year.

Joe
Yep, Boggy Hole aptly named with very good reason
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Old 10-11-2009, 10:50 PM   #7
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great RR cant wait to read the rest of it. Good stuff.
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Old 10-12-2009, 12:39 AM   #8
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awesome!
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Old 10-12-2009, 02:51 AM   #9
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Luv it!Never been out that way,looks gr8!
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Old 10-12-2009, 04:05 AM   #10
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great stuff,,reading with interest,plan on doing similar ride

keep it coming

Rowdy
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Old 10-12-2009, 04:12 AM   #11
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Halls Creek to Kununurra

A bit of shopping in the morning, some new shoes for me (found a stunning pair of KT26’s) and we were off for a lazy day down the black top to Fitzroy Crossing where a mid arvo arrival gave us a bit of time for more bike maint (Pete managed to clean and degrease his KTM to show room standards......) and a bit of washing.

The Fitzroy bar happy hour was well patronized and the burgers were a treat, tricky dodging the cow shit on the dark half cut on the way back to the tents though.

We met and had a bit of a chat to this family on the way to Fitzroy crossing – a great story, great people
www.sparkyourdream.net


Fitzroy Crossing Campground


Pete packing up in the morning – note the cleanliness of the bike...



A cruise through Geike Gorge in the morning had us up early in the morning then a run to Bell Gorge on the Gibb river Road. It was likely to be our longest stretch without fuel, with my inconsistent fuel economy I was keen to get ahead of the pack and take it steady...
One of the locals in Geike Gorge



Mick and I waiting at the turnoff after cruising for fuel efficiency out of Fitzroy Crossing. Mick was not required to be too conservative with his huge tank.



The day included Tunnel Creek and Windjana Gorge. The first water crossings were encountered but navigated easily at this time of year. Bell gorge was closed for camping so we made ourselves at home at Silent Grove. The heat was pervasive well into the night...

First water crossing of the trip


Tunnel Creek





Windjana Gorge locals



Gibb River Road



Turn off into Bells Gorge


Silent Grove Campsite


Bell Gorge was a welcome relief. Even at 7am the water was cooling and refreshing. We managed to get going before the heat had really set with aspirations of swimming at Manning Gorge in the early afternoon.

Bell Gorge



Riding between Bell Gorge and Manning Gorge. Probably worth noting the difference in spray over the river crossings. KLR's are hard to slow down....






Manning gorge was awesome after a bit of a stroll to the main pool. A good couple of hours there was the perfect way to spend the arvo.

We spotted a F800 in the campground but he was off and away before we could go and have a yarn


The walk to Manning Gorge involved a river crossing


Manning Gorge



Manning Gorge Campsite


Corey managed to pick up a few snags (sausages for the international contingent), a bag of ice and some soft drinks for a poolside dinner. Obviously the softies were in lieu of beer – none available for the last couple of Days...


Manning Gorge to El Questro Station. The temperature was definitely on the hot side of warm even before we got away. On paper it was a pretty simple run down the Gibb river road to El Questro station. Perusing the map a couple of water crossings were expected culminating with the Pentecost river (so we thought).

For the last week or more the morning ritual had involved push starting the Super Tenere. An undiagnosed problem was preventing the big girl from starting in the mornings under her own steam. The plan was to take her to bits and correct the fault in Kununurra

Mt Barnett Roadhouse (Waiting to get some juice in the morning)


GRR between Mt Barnett and El Questro




Fuelling up (and taking off a clogged filter skin)


Looking out to the Cockburn Ranges


Pentecost River







This little fella was going ok until team Kawasaki unleashed the awesome power of the KLR’s across the Pentecost River


Damo reasonably happy to be across the Pentecost



A couple of river crossings on the way into El Questro


Nick managed to stop the 640 in its tracks after trying to overtake Mick on a water crossing heading into Elquestro. I laughed hard in my helmet when the call came through “Guys – My bike has stopped, and won’t start”. Made especially funny as I was following them and watched. We made it to the “Village” just after Midday and found a suitable camp site. The rest of the day revolved around drinking cold beer – in the restaurant (yes, we went to a restaurant for Lunch), the lawn, in the pool (river), at the bar for happy hour, at the restaurant for dinner and then back at the bar while where the nights entertainment was a Paul Simon “Graceland” concert. GOLD!

Best lunch of the trip


Heads were a touch proppy the next morning but another trip to the restaurant for brekky assisted in getting us on the road – real adventure touring....

Heading off from El Questro with slightly lumpy heads


The required photo at the end of the Gibb River Road


Documenting the moment


We went for a spin up to Wyndham for a Barra Burger




Damo getting on the mighty KLR . A mixture of Karate and Ballet


We eventually rolled into Kununurra and were lucky enough for a mate to extend some hospitality to us and make his house and yard available (while he went to Bali....)

We promptly exploded all of our gear around his front and back yard.
We had managed to organise a scenic flight for early the next morning and then it was on to maintenance, the DR and KLR’s were all done and dusted in about half an hour, the KTM’s required a few hours and the super tanker received about 14 hours of loving attention from Corey to try and get to the bottom of the Tenere’s troubles.

Micks DR


KTM oil change


The mighty KLR


Corey working like a demon on the Super Tanker




Pete happy with his work at Kununurra


The end of the self propelled road for the Tenere. It was a sad moment indeed when the Super Tanker was loaded on the Trailer. 6 would become 5 and the big twins engine note would be sorely missed


crackin screwed with this post 10-13-2009 at 02:17 AM
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Old 10-12-2009, 06:44 AM   #12
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Enjoying this one
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The Ride Reports (links)
Reccy/Charity Ride 24OCT10
Dorrigo 13-15 August 2010

Ride With My Kids 24OCT09
Ravensbourne 18OCT09
Orange & Green 03OCT09
Duck Creek Road
Head Gate rd and more
Almost Border Ranges
Monsidale Rd

The Bike Collection

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Old 10-13-2009, 05:22 AM   #13
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Excellent stuff, pity about the super ten
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Old 11-02-2009, 10:08 PM   #14
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More to Come

Work went crazy half way through this RR. Should get more up soon.
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Old 11-02-2009, 10:25 PM   #15
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Kununurra to Tennant Creek

It took a “rest” day to realise how much of a rhythm we had settled into over the last week. The simplicity of waking up with the Sun (Birds), packing up and hitting the road was being enjoyed by all. The “helmet time” was peaceful and the important issues were receiving the reflection they deserved. Number one throughout the group must have been “What is the perfect Bike”. Personally I followed this up with “When can I get one”

Thanks to good friends in Kununurra we were able to fully spread our shit out and pretend to get re-organised. It was with a touch of reluctance we got back into the riding gear to head off – and it was not only because it was stinking hot....


The first leg was a spin down the highway to Timber Creek. I’m not sure if it was real or imagined but the KLR felt like a million dollars with some new oil and a clean air filter.

Rest stop on the Vic Highway


We ran into a chap at Timber Creek who was travelling on a KLR 250 – 12,000km so far and still going strong, L plates and all. I thought I was carrying a bit of gear until he came along...


Out of timber creek we passed the 1928 car and gave it a salute as we all went past, soon afterwards it was a right hander to head into the Gregory national Park and effectively follow “Binns Track” all the way back to Alice. Binns track is not new but effectively joins existing 4wd tracks or roads together to make a route.

The ride into Bullita Homestead was fast and enjoyable with some dry creek crossings that needed a fair bit of pace washed off to get across them without damaging the bike.... all good fun in the late afternoon


We had a good look around Bullita homestead – lots of info inside – I happily read through this while Mick returned to his bike to realise his whole rear bag was missing..... oops.


Mick and Damo took off to find it while Pete, Nick and myself set up camp at the campground. As it became dark we figured Mick and Damo were back in Timber Creek – hopefully successful at finding Micks bag. Well after dark we heard the bikes approach and by pure luck apparently Mick had spotted his bag amongst the grass well off the side of the road. As a celebration Damo, Nick and Mick got stuck into a couple of bottles of wine, I tried to control an upset stomach I developed in Kununurra and Pete tried to get some z’s. We didn’t get much sleep as the wildlife provided a bit of entertainment..... fuelled by Nick


These little bastards are in the Gregory Nat Park. We did our best to cull a few of them...


Brekky the next morning - Bullite Campground.



We were away reasonably early to go and have a look at Limestone Gorge and get a swim under our belt...

Limestone Gorge


Unfortunately the swimming hole was closed as it hadn’t been surveyed for salties... Nick filled his water without getting eaten.



There was a bit of a walk as the road had been obliterated by floods



From Limestone Gorge we thought it would be a reasonably easy / short day in the saddle to the Wickham River, all of about 130km. We weren’t really prepared for what the heat would take out of us. The riding was great – slow 4WD track that snaked through the park. The downside was that without any pace up there was bugger all breeze to cool ourselves. It didn’t help that it was over 40 degrees and everything was HOT. We stopped at probably the trickiest water crossing of the trip for what could be best described as a dunking....
The approach









After the stop it was counting down the k’s to the river. In my mind we were in a bit of strife if there was no water. I had a bit left but it was stinking hot and my internal temp gauge was on the warm side. Some great
views on the way








Re Group on the way



It was ridiculously good and a bit of a relief to come across the Wickham River. Crystal Clear, cool water flowing strongly.... I almost dropped the bike getting off it as quick as possible to get in the water. I reckon I drank about 6 litres in the first 20min bby just lying in the current and pointing my mouth upstream...





Mick didn’t move far from this position the whole afternoon...



The only thing not perfect about the campsite were the March Flies that were keen to bite at every opportunity...

A pleasant evening was spent around the campfire discussing the next day. We decided we would make a push for the Daly Waters pub – meaning an early getaway and dingoes breakfast.

We were on the bikes the earliest so far for the trip and felt good riding in the cool of the morning. Some of the glow came off when Nick punctured a front wheel.



It took a while to change and our precious time was ticking away. We kept at it through tight 4WD tracks and finally hit some open station tracks.






Kalkarindji was only 100km from where we camped but it had taken us the best part of 3 hours to get there. A bit of fuel and some tucker from the store and we were on the single lane bitumen to Top Springs



About 15km from Top Springs Damos Rear tyre started looking a bit doughy – we stopped to have a look (we had also waited while Nick investigated a shitload of oil coating his bike a bit further back....)




Turns out Damos tyre had given up the ghost and decided to fall to bits – the small hole from Kings Canyon had turned into a bit of a tear.....
It was still stinking hot and cool drinks were required prior to attacking the tyre. A bit of assistance was on hand when we did..





It was reasonably late by the time we got away – a busted arse fix on the tyre had fingers crossed as we started off at a steady pace along the Buchanan Highway to conserve Damos rear tyre. This quickly went out the window as Damos patience disappeared and we set a cracking pace towards the Stuart Highway. This slowed just after the Railway Line when Nick got his second front flat for the day... we weren’t able to get Damo and Mick on the radios so the group was split. Given the practice earlier in the day the change was quicker but put us in the predicament of riding in the dark...




I was bored so kept taking photos, Pete fixed Nicks Radio.


The last 30km in the dark on the dirt was not much fun. No wind = dust, dusk and dark = Kangaroos, Darkness = not having a hope of picking a line on the road.

At the Stuart Highway a decision was made to keep riding in the dark to Daly Waters, a few prayers were uttered that they served food well after 8:30. We arrived with plenty of time to spare for meals and heaps of time before the bar closed. We didn’t bother about organising a camp but rather perched ourselves at the bar in our gear – that we first put on 13.5 hours earlier that day....



Micks Grin says a fair bit about how happy we were to be sinking piss at the Daly Waters Pub







It was a fairly interesting night that finished up at the pub about 1. Quite possibly the best singer I’ve heard in a while (a young Irish lass) put on an impromptu performance out the back that blew everyone away.

It was reasonably entertaining getting the bikes from the pub to the campground with Damo coming unstuck at the final hurdle. Tents were put up in silence and in a hurry. I enjoyed a shower after dodging a little king brown chasing the green tree frogs in the showers.

Camp the next morning


We returned to the pub for brekky and enjoyed an awesome feed. Nick took the cake with his big breakfast. Yes that is a rump steak on his plate... for breakfast.


Wellsy had organised another tyre to be bussed to Dunmurra so it was a brief stop to change it out. Not a quick process with limited sleep and too much boozing the previous night


Mick took the opportunity to rest...


Resident BBQ advertisement


The remainder of the day was spent on the Stuart Highway heading towards Tennant Creek. Lunch was at Renner Springs – possibly the most efficient service on the trip.

Tennant Creek was a chance to do some washing, except the washing machines were on the blink and relax... pizza and beer for dinner.

Pete and Damo became acutely aware of the drop in Temperature and froze during the night..
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