Archive for August 2007

AUS TRIP Day 48 (17 Aug 07: >13 000 kms)

August 17, 2007

Dear All .. ( cc NSW PiRiders; Jane Daly)

We have just completed the Nullarbor and landed in Ceduna SA.

All is going well, although we have had one riding day with no rain
since leaving Geraldton, north of Perth. This of course was on the
cards when riding in winter into the winter rainfall zone of AUS (the
bottom third). However, there have been reports of record or near
record low temps in the places we have been through.

South west WA (Busselton, Augusta, Margaret River, Capes Leeuwin and
Naturaliste, Pemberton etc) was great – despite the weather (11-13
degrees and steady rain) and a very close encounter with Skippy. Not
surprisingly, some of the roads in this area are listed in Peter
Thoeming's '100 of the Best' motorcycling roads in AUS (There are quite
a few in our home patch as well).

Though long distances were involved – and continuing scattered showers
(aka 'shattered scours' (B O'H., pers comm))- and day time temps of ~
10-14 – the Nullabor wasn't hard going, and we thought the last two days
in the west Kimberleys were harder going (exacerbated by warmish
temps…~ 36 degrees). Some of the distances in the Kimberleys between
services…eg 300 kms…are longer than on the Nullabor as well.

All, in all, we found the Nullarbor interesting, not least this morning's
detour to the 'Head of the Bight', where we saw Southern Right Whales at
relatively close quarters, and the magnificent Bunda cliffs of the

We only saw two motorbikes on the Nullarbor – and three cyclists. All
other two wheelers are keeping away it seems 'till warmer times. The
cool-cold/wet conditions have kept us out of the tent most nights for
the last week or two – and also some nights there was nowhere halfway
decent to camp..(unless you like, mud, rocks and tussocks to camp on,
coupled with near zero overnight temps).

We didn't see much wildlife on the Nullarbor – apart from 'grey nomads'
🙂 (Even they were few in number on the Nullarbor compared to the Top
End of AUS, where they were in plague proportions. 🙂 eg ~ 350
caravaners /day were passing through the checkpoint into WA from NT).
There was the odd roo on the Nullarbor (all roadkill), two lots of emus,
no hairy nosed wombats or camels, one dingo, and no Nullarbor Nymphs. We
did also see several Southern Right Whales, but none of these were on
the road…

'Must go. We hope this finds you and your's well.

(Excuse the typos…the clock is ticking…and time is money as Ben
FRanklin said).

S & J


AUS TRIP Day 41 (Fri 10/8/07; > 11 000 kms)

August 10, 2007

Dear All (cc NSW PiRiders et al)

Greetings from cold Augusta, WA!

We hope this finds you and your's well, and warm.

Since leaving Geraldton for Perth several days ago, we have struck rain
most days, which I guess was 'on the cards' as this is a winter rainfall
part of WA. (That's 'Western Australia', David, not 'Washington State').
Before that we struck no rain at all, except for a light shower on the
tent at night at Tennants Creek, NT.

The first part of the ride from Geraldton was pretty wild: VERY strong,
gusty cross winds – which had us riding at ridiculous and variable
angles just to keep straight – and lashing rain. My neck muscles got a
very good workout.

We stayed in Perth for 3 nights – in a friend's unit at Cannington
(thanks John and Kate C)(not that far from 'Armadale' 🙂 – mainly for
the purpose of getting a 20 000 km service and new front tyre for the
might R1200GSA (which seems to have a front disk slightly off kilter,
which created some pulsing through the front brake. A new disk might be
in order). But, apart from that, the mighty 'Gebrselassie' is going
great guns, and doesn't mind at all the change from hot/dry (~ 34- 36
degrees by day, cool by night) to cold/wet. (It was 11-12 degrees today
and rainy).

(Aside: John C – of Karratha – mentioned above – has ridden around
Australia 8 times, mostly (or all?) on BMWs, and has ridden the Nullabor
25 times. I guess if you live in Karratha you have to do this sort of
thing to go anywhere. 🙂 I met an elderly (aren't they all?) Ulyssian
at Auto Classic (the BMW place in Perth) who had ridden the Nullabor 60
something times).

Last night we stayed in Busselton which we really liked. We opted for a
cabin (cold/wet weather) rather than the tent. We think we are
'heroic/adventuresome' enough [ 🙂 ] riding two up and
camping/tenting most nights, rather than punishing ourselves overly much
by camping when the weather is bleak and we have a warm/dry alternative
! 🙂

On dusk yesterday we walked the Busselton Jetty (into a gale). This
jetty is the longest wooden jetty in the Southern Hemisphere, extending
1841 metres out from shore. The walk back was easier, and we positively
sailed along with the wind at our backs, but still walking with care
lest we trip and get lost at sea. We really enjoyed it!

Today we rode from Busselton towards Cape Naturaliste, and then down the
Caves Road (the coastal rode to the west of the Bussel Highway, which
goes south to Margaret River and Augusta). Part way down we detoured
inland to the Margaret River Chocolate Factory, then to Cowaramup,
Margaret River, and Augusta, which lies at the mouth of the Blackwood
River, located at the meeting place of the Indian and Southern Oceans
(not far from Cape Leeuwin). [There are bucket loads of wineries here
too -which we gave a miss – and quite a few Range Rovers, Audis etc on
the road].

It was cold,wet,miserable riding conditions, but still enjoyable, and
there were only 160 kms in the saddle today anyway. Given the weather,
we eschewed the tent again, and found cheap digs here in Augusta.

Tomorrow, we plan to ride to Cape Leeuwin, complete the southern section
of the Caves Road, through the Karri forests, then start heading east,
though possibly not as far as Albany.

By the way, as many would know, every second place name in this part of
the world ends in "UP", which is aboriginal for 'the place of'. If you
say to a local, 'what's up?", they will probably give you directions to
some hamlet in the hills nearby. 🙂

This is a big country but a small world. A number of times we have met
people who know people we know. Today we met someone (the owner of the
holiday unit we are in) who is closely related by marriage to a
veterinary colleague at CSIRO Armidale, and whose father was my cattle
medicine prof. (Prof Trevor McClure)in veterinary science at Sydney

We have met lots of interesting people, including the Danish cyclist who
is riding around Australia on a recumbent (and averaging 200 kms a
day!). We have seen a number of cyclists on the road). And the Dutch guy
on a BMW R80 who had ridden through Europe, Asia, the Middle East and
India…now Australia, then NZ. And the Pommy from NZ on a 1957 Triumph
Tiger…. Or the couple from Geelong riding around Oz on mountain bikes
with trailers…(and they brought their dog with them!…)

Well, that's about all I have time for. It might be some time before I
get net access again.

Bye for now…

S & J

e&oe (ie, excuse the typos)

AUS TRIP – Day 36 – Sun 5 Aug 07 – (10 000+ kms

August 5, 2007

Dear Friends and Family ( cc NSW PI Riders et al)

A very brief update due to limited internet time…(and mostly illegible
keys on this key pad)

We are in Geraldton; safe and sound and having a rest day.

Tomorrow we head for Perth where were we will 'camp' in some digs some
friends in Karratha very kindly lined up for us.

We are back to cold nights in the tent after hot days and mild nights in
the Kimberleys.

Must away: the coins are running out.. ($1.00 per 7.5 minutes: value!)

S & J
(and 'Gebrselassie' (R1200GSA)… getting a new rear tye
tomorrow…and a 20 000 km service Wednesday)