Finally D day after all the months of planning it’s finally here. Left home at 10am heading to Masterton to pick up Carol & Daveo thinking like every time you leave home for any holiday, have I done everything, Have I got everything??? Arriving at the Davison’s thinking that Daveo being as cool and calm as he normally is was rushing around like we were 45 min ago.
All loaded ready to go to airport for flight at 3pm still thinking that we are actually doing this a Dream coming true. Unloaded at the airport and our first group photo to go on this site.
Plane flight went quickly and being able to all get off the plane without it being contained by Swine Flu, Customs was a breeze with 10 min to spare to get tickets and out to the train platform to head down to Malcolm & Louise Cade at the Gold Coast area. Getting to Malcolm & Louise’s we were all feeling the length of the day by gaining 2 hours and all not getting much sleep the night before with anticipation
Thursday May 28th group input
We went into Brisbane and got our bikes today. Just out of the freight depot and David nearly hit me on the first intersection. Then Jo forgot to get the carnet papers.
We eventually all got back and Carol wanted to start cooking dinner and asked if the oven was a hot oven or a cold oven.
Brian likes to stir the Pot! As we all know, are we all going to last the 4 months?
As for the walk to the shop!! Well that a whole new story. “Just around the corner and down the road, about 1km” was what we were told. Nothing about the #*@#%’n hills that we had to walk up and down for actually 2km each way.
Carol wants to go home now! Fitness is not her strong point, and she wanted to know where the taxi was.
Jo was attacked by a leaf and shat herself. This was after we were all having a chat about who was going to be scared of spiders and snakes.
Malcolm got let off getting the hire trailer back late, as we took a bit long trying to put the bikes back together.
Teuila (Malcolm and Louise’s daughter) got a lesson on boys and men from Carol and Jo. David had the best advice to keep males just as friends and no means no. Who wants to be a teenager again!!!!
Where does one start to describe the bureaucracy of Govt, particularly in Aus and I thought NZ was bad enough. We arrived in Brisbane with all the necessary insurances except CTP (compulsory third party) which we are legally required to have to guard against being sued if you happen to injure another person. Now the fun starts, after visiting two motorcycle shops to obtain a RWC (road worthy cert) and basically being told to go somewhere else because they couldn’t or wouldn’t do it we ended up at Gold Coast Bike Tech and finally a very friendly helpful chap who did the job, $50.00 each please! Then of to Qld Transport to sort out CTP, just down the road (about 15 minutes away!!) walked in the door, explained the situation to a jovial lady behind the counter. You have to go round the corner to RACQ to get your CTP then come back here and see me OK. This next step actually went quite smoothly and there was a lady from Levin behind the counter oh that’s right half the population in Brisbane are Kiwi’s and round the corner really was round the corner!! $146.00 each for 6 months cover thanks very much. With CTP documents in hand, back to the lady at Qld Transport, with 14 service counters and heaps of people waiting. Here’s a number (A084), take a seat until you are called. Two hours fifteen minutes later after supplying our carnet’s, passports, proof of NZ registration and WOF, drivers licences AND CTP documents and ANOTHER bike inspection we left with a letter from the Queensland Govt being an Overseas Vehicle Permit, to carry around the country with us at all times giving us approval to use our vehicles on the roads for a set period of time, success at last. And just to finish off a fantastic day it pissed down on the way back to Malcolm’s.
Saturday May 30th from Jo
Washing day today, but Carol had a bit of stretching to do to reach the clothesline.
We went down into Pacific Fair Mall so Brian could go and get a phone from Telstra (04 18753959) (0061 4 18753959 NZ). I went and got 2 pairs of thongs (NOT G strings boys!!!). So we now have contact with the outside world again.
We had Josie from the postie bike ride come down to see us and we went out for lunch for a good catch up before we see her again in 4 months time when we go pass.
Malcolm then took us for a bike ride up into Tambourine Mountain – awesome views of the coast from up there and the ride was hilly.
We have discovered that Dave and Carol will not be leading at any stage of our trip, as neither of them can get their bearings. Even going around the block and they have no idea where they are!! Or where they have been!
Not a long day but I think we are all getting a bit tired as we have been full on for the last couple of days. Just an easy night tonight, relaxing.
Our first fuel stop after filling the bikes out of a 20 litre container cost me $25 and Dave $18.50, the container cost $23 to fill and it was a guess to get half in each bike. Fuel over here is cheaper during the week and can be up to 10c difference by the weekend (91 approx $1.19, 95 approx $1.31, diesel $1.12 with no road user charges)
My apology today goes to Carol, she was having breakfast on the balcony looking for moving things in the grass, looking so intently I had the cats toy a feather on a stick and lightly tickled her neck, Well Carol and Jo are now even on the scale of feel of the Australian outback, a feather on a stick and a leaf falling from a tree. Wait for the update on the ants, spiders, snakes, etc (or me and Dave playing more jokes on the girls!!!). Dave showed Carol his trouser snake last night and she didn’t even scream (she said later she thought it was a worm) HAPPY BIRTHDAY again DAVEO
My birthday highlight by Daveo
Once again Malcolm took us out to do some more sightseeing via the back roads, approx 160km today South to Tweed Heads then inland to Murwillumbah , where we were turned back by heavy rain just before Uki as we headed into the hills. So back tracked a bit and went through the Natural Arch (Bridge) which is one of the border crossings between Qld and NSW then down the Numinbah Valley (don’t you just love these Aussie names!!! A brilliant ride through some awesome high country roads and managed to get back without getting back, just!!
Now for the main highlight of the day. We decided to go to the supermarket in the 4wd to get some supplies to replenish the cupboards. Were heading down the motorway to Nerang when this tosser on a noisy HD V Rod dressed in all the safety gear (jeans, black tee shirt, safety german helmet and jandals of course) went screaming past us like we were standing still getting the shakes trying to decide what he was going to do as a car ahead changed lanes, then disappeared into the distance lane swapping still passing everything in sight. A few more km’s down the road on a slight downhill stretch here’s this same guy hard left drifting along at walking pace with his drive belt hanging on the ground with a long push ahead of him to anywhere, Ahh I thought what a dick, so there is justice in this world after all !!!!!!!!!
Firstly a special big thanks to Malcolm, Louise and Tueila for their hospitality over the last four days it has been awesome to catch up again. Shame Louise you had to fly out to NZ the day after we arrived, but hope to spend some time with you on our return in four months time.
A great day in the saddle with all types of landscape, ranging from flat pastoral to steep high altitude rain forest and temperature from hot to quite cold, with sunshine and some rain. The storms and flooding here in the last few weeks has really done some damage in places. We also got to ride our first section of gravel today.
Well were do i start with a bike thats fully loaded and i mean fully loaded, We had set out our route the night before and thanks to modern technology with GPS we managed to get from A to B with all this countries silly place name without getting lost. The bikes went well but the girls had to put extra effort to get on over the panniers which we had left off up until now, Daveo and I really have to make sure we are on good ground not to have our feet slip out as i think it will take all 4 of us to pick a bike up.
I slept really well last night, until Brian’s cell phone alarm went off at 4am which did a brilliant job of waking everyone. Apparently it absolutely hosed down during the night and I didn’t hear a thing which is amazing because I am normally a very light sleeper. We stayed at the Ballina Central Tourist Park in a four person unit which did the job nicely. We had to help each other to push the bikes backwards of the grass beside our units as they had sunk overnight and wouldn’t budge.
It was quite cold this morning and looked like rain so we all put warm full gear on which stayed on all day. We tried to stay off the main roads as much as possible once again. Brian’s GPS is brilliant for this, it works really well on the back roads for plotting routes as the roads never really change, but we have had a few problems in the cities where there is road reconstruction or road closures due to the same.
Stopped for lunch at Coffs Harbour by the beach, the beaches and dunes have been really badly damaged by the storms of late. A train went past loaded with rolls of steel. It had three loco’s pulling it and it seemed to go on forever, pretty impressive.
From Carols diary without her permission
David had this bright idea of riding up a rather steep grassy hill to get to the footpath to get out of the picnic ground the boys keep parking in for lunch and smoko’s. What he didn’t count on was the soft ground leading up to the concrete ramp, we made it but he got a very sharp jab in the ribs and a 2 swift hands across the helmet, NOT IMPRESSED
The highlight of the day for me was the roads from Bellingen to Dorrigo were we are staying tonight at the local pub. This road passed through a river valley ravaged by extremely high flood waters, then climbed steeply through the bush clad mountains with water falls on the way up to Dorrigo pop of 1100 at 760m altitude which almost seems to sit on a plateau. This part of the day reminded me a lot of the West Coast back home.
Today is overcast but last night did it rain, Well it pissed down about 11 and Daveo didn’t even hear it (Must have been the alcohol he had with dinner). Thanks to Mark Taylor we joined a club which gets us into the RSL clubs over here and we can get The Roast of the Day for about $12.50 for a large and I mean it’s a large, but the drinks can be a bit pricey
All loaded up once again and heading out for the back roads where the real country is, it can be a battle but thanks to my Tomtom it gets us on the right roads most of the time. It’s good in the country but in town areas that have had road works in the last year or two it can get a bit confused, but what’s a U turn in Australia most of the guys recon they can make her eyes pop if they go in dry
Have been trying to upload more photos but having trouble so please be patient and thanks to all the people who are checking us out it’s good to see, 35 to 40 people are reading our diary entries each day, it’s so easy to put it off until tomorrow to update it but you are obviously interested in what we are doing and how we are going so we will be updating as much as possible. But we are on holiday
Author Daveo Editor BB Script reader and moral adviser Carol
Our room last night blew Daveo’s budget at $85 per couple including breakfast, so we took advantage of the free breakfast and had cereal, yoghurt (Daveo * 2), fruit toast normal toast, tea and fruit juice, if that wasn’t enough Jo filled her pockets up with the single serve jam’s especially marmalade for Carol but she refuses to use them as she considers them as stolen goods !!!
Bit of a late start this morning, it’s raining and cold as, so a bit hard to get enthusiastic. Rode 150 m down Main Street to a small cafe called Juan Del Fuego (World Smallest Motorcycle Museum). It was the Ulysses flag in the window that the girls noticed the night before whilst shopping (window shopping is all they are allowed to do) Juan was a very friendly chap who was passionate about motorcycles and was a Ulysses member and even wore Ulysses club apron. His cafe had old bikes and heaps of memorabilia etc, as well as great food and coffee, apparently very popular with the motorcycle fraternity as they pass through Dorrigo riding this awesome stretch of road. Left Dorrigo at 10.30 heading toward Armidale (Masterton’s sister city and the highest city in Oz at 1000m). We stopped at Ebor waterfalls, very impressive. Met a young chap by the name of Paul (from Sydney) who was on a Yamaha endure all kitted up on his way to Cape York by himself as his mate was allowed the 5 weeks off but would not have a job when he returned(a keen solo pilot). We were intending to turn off prior to Armidale to head back to Kempsey on the coast via a gravel road back through the rain forest, but it was 35km in due to rain damage. Plan B if we can’t go east we go west!!! We stopped at Armidale for lunch at the park and rode bikes on the grass right into the middle to get to a park bench, what a great city. Very English with all the deciduous trees and huge old English churches all built in brick. After lunch we toured the inner city on the bikes we noticed a high Police presence apparently due to a fatal shooting the day before of a man trying to attack a Police officer with a knife.
Next stop Bundarra (the locals Sheppard’s call it Bun daaaaaara, lots of wool in the fences) for coffee after the bumpiest tarsal road yet. 74km to Bingara for the night, time was marching on, so we were getting concerned about Roo’s not to mention the cattle wandering the narrow roads that were lined with the standard bush and gums most of the way. Then we dropped sharply down to Bingara by a river. Nice meal at the local RSL, the club was flat out with all 4 of us and Daveo got lost going to the toilets and found himself with a bit of a wet spot. We are staying at a camping ground by the river in a little cabin (double and two singles) and not even enough room to swing a cat but within Daveo’s budget tonight. Dave and Carol get the double tonight as BB and Jo had the double in the last cabin however we all fought over the singles
If you read yesterdays diary please re read as it has been changed a bit Thanks
Sitting in the kitchen at Tamworth this evening and I am not going to leave till I get some more photos uploaded for you guys to see. Mark thanks for the advice about the movie theme but I think I will stick to farming.
Today we left Bingara at a leisurely time of 9.30 again, By the time we get up, shower, have breakfast, wash up, fill thermos’s and finally pack and load up it does take a while but I think we will get more efficient the more we do it. This morning Daveo and I also fuelled up and checked tyre pressures before 9.30 as well, whilst the girls did their makeup, The guy at the servo was impressed with my Auzzie safety bike clothes I wore to go full up(was only 1.5km down the road), the usual morning attire T shirt, shorts and Jandals(thongs).
The morning road was supposed to be 90% unsealed and turned out to be 10% unsealed but still better than the highways, plenty of cattle grazing the long acre to avoid. With a brief stop at glacial formations (Millions of years old when this country use to be cold). Nice windy road to the summit to Mt Kaputar where Jo and Carol went and did the 750m walk to see the old Lava formations. Lunch at Narrabi where the trucks didn’t stop coming and going. A quick ride out to the Australia Telescope where 5 huge satellite dishes run on a 3km rail track and are used by remote by countries all around the World. Down to Gunnedah for afternoon tea where we found out about a Rodeo on the weekend in Coonamble so a quick group decision to back track tomorrow and go see a real life Rodeo. Last run for the day down to Tamworth with yet again Daveo being lucky only wearing his draggin jeans all day as the roads were all wet and we had just missed the rain all day in some areas by only minutes. Tomtom got us straight into the camping ground just on dark at 5 O’clock rush hour traffic across the middle of town(Tamworth is actually a city so was quite busy).Red Rooster for tea and Jo didn’t get her free desert so will not be going back any time soon!!!
Happy Birthday Cuz you know who you are others can only guess!!! Thanks for all your help with things before we left.
BB’s input Well, tonight we finally got to Coonamble but a bit late, it’s all my fault as per usual for going on a road that the Tomtom didn’t want us to go on and we probably shouldn’t have but time was getting on and it was supposed to be a short cut by about 50km. We had rung earlier for a tent site but said they had a caravan so we said yes. But when we got there it was dark and the camp owners are worse than inbreeds’, and I think some of the other locals have extra ears growing on their necks and wear pants made out of bed spreads. Asked if we could possibly stay two nights but really confused them(may have something to do with the daughter asking her father which was also her brother if caravan 13 was cleaned up yet).We ended the day as per usual down at the local RSL for dinner which was all you can eat for $15, we are finally getting through to Carol as she packed it away as you can tell by the photo of her eating desert, ”Free breakfast and All you can eat means take and eat what you can fit in without getting caught”. Our caravan tonight is not No 13 but 11, it’s well um small to say the least and I think it’s going to be a cosy night as the temperature is dropping fast. The girls have gone to shower together, they don’t trust the locals or the door locks but have taken a thick book each as there is a queue and only 2 showers. Apparently there are visitor books in the toilets and the comments column makes for very interesting reading which if repeated may offend. The reason we are at this Hicksville town is there is a Rodeo on for the weekend and being Kiwi’s want to see Australian’s getting hurt riding bulls. Back to the last 60 km of road to get here well it was dirt but had been freshly graded then it rained, the 4x4’s had left two deep ruts full of slop and the high ground was soft enough to lose control of the front so it was a battle with a bike fully loaded and the ruts also had soft spots so made very interesting riding. The last 30km was tar again and made the girls happy as they were getting sore legs and butts from clenching on the dirt. The lady in the RSL said that the road we took should have normally been shut after the rain that they have had in the last couple of weeks.
Daveo’s input Many thanks to the guy at Quirindi tyre shop for the two valve stem bends so that I can use the standard tyre inflator ( He was telling Carol he wanted to be a baker but couldn’t raise it until now (oops I missed the word dough fit it in where you like) Carol thought he was quite funny.
Today was a day off the bike but we actually spent just as many hours sitting on our arses or as Carol would rather call them bottoms watching the Rodeo all day. It was awesome the pictures say it all and we have many many more that didn’t make the cut but are still worth a look at when we get back. Not really much to write about today as we were at rodeo from 9 till 4.30, The photos of our caravan set the tone of the locals and the camp ground. Change of venue for Dinner was the Bowling Club not the RSL as the RSL had a Rodeo function.
Woke up about 6.30 after a night of loud rolling thunder storms that started about midnight and kept us awake for quite a while, we were anticipating rain but the thunder passed with very little rain. With the usual shower, breakfast, packing etc yes 9.30 on the road again. The road down to Gulargambone and Gilgandra was uneventful as it was 98km on the Castlereagh highway but it was the first time we got the 110 sign and was actually one of the bumpiest highways yet. Coffee at a rest area at Gilgandra and chatted to a couple from Victoria who had just picked their travel pod (a mini caravan designed for a small vehicle).Got talking and they both rode BMW bikes but we won’t hold that against them as they invited us to stay with them if in their area. Next stop Dubbo, well got into town and it had got colder and colder, came to a train crossing and the train had stopped for some reason, while waiting noticed a hot bread shop so jumped the median strip and went had a warm pie for lunch (the first pie for the trip). The Shop was insanely busy as it turned out to be voted the best pie shop in Australia. A ride around the main streets of Dubbo and on our way home to Wellington but it was only a town not a city, Jo & I got caught on the steps of the Shire building reacquainted as we had single beds for the last two nights, last stretch down to Orange and Daveo and I made an decision to take a back road which was supposed to have dirt but had been tar sealed all the way which disappointed us but the girls none the wiser. Telling them at breakfast the following morning they replied in unison “IS THAT RIGHT”
Brian and I decided to go to the supermarket and get some supplies and look for something for tea leaving the girls hovering over the heaters as it was as cold as a witch’s tit outside and they weren’t moving. We decided that fish and chips are the go, so found a chippie went up to the counter. What you like Doll was the greeting. Three fish, half a scoop was my reply, you want lemon with that Doll? Yes thanks. The guy cooking was a loud American, who was quite proud to say that Aussies think Americans are a loud arrogant race, but then made it very clear it was the other way around. Where do you guys come from he asked, NZ we said. Well what do you think he said, no comment I said as the shop was full of people!
I ordered before Brian but he had his and I was still waiting and the American guy kept yelling out, order for Lemon. The woman who took my order finally clicked and said that’s for him you dope he wanted lemon, that’s not his name!!!
When we took the tourist route from Wellington to Orange, we took a look at the Burrendong Earth Dam which I must admit was quite impressive and would have been a mission to build. The final 30km to Orange got really cold and was just like riding down the Desert Road mid winter, not impressed we came over here to get away from that rubbish.
BB’s input. Well today it was easy to pack and close our panniers as we were wearing just about all our warm clothing as the weather might as well be New Zealand weather, long john’s, draggon jeans and bike pants . Carol is on the winning side of things as I seem to be banging my head on just about everything low in our caravan we had and in the last cabin, she is short enough to miss things and thinks she is cold but the air is colder the higher you go so I keep telling her that I am colder. When we got to Bathurst we went to Mt Panorama and did the mandatory lap around the track which seems different to what it looks like on TV, the track is quite steep and some very tight corners which are just manageable at the limited speed of the town/track of 60km. The oil spill on one of the down hills had Daveo’s butt clench quite a bit as the tiger skipped sideways quite a bit
Daveo’s input. Carol said to me why don’t you go through the Bathurst Racing Museum for a belated birthday treat, I felt a bit guilty because of the time it would take, but Brian was a starter so that was all it took to say yes. Walked through the entrance door and right in front of me was this menacing looking dark green XJS V12 Jaguar race car, I’m sure everyone else in the museum heard my enthusiasm (I love these cars) After about an hour and a half we emerged, what an awesome collection of past winning race cars, memorabilia and old video footage I could have stayed in there all day.
Next we headed for the Jenolan Caves; we climbed to approx 1250m above sea level. It was as cold as any trip I have done mid winter through the Central Plateau back home. Then next was a very steep decent down a very narrow road to the caves at the bottom, this was well worth the effort but I couldn’t get over the crowds of people there. We thought we were in Asia!! (Tourist’s)
You can drive right trough the caves (which we did) and then climb all the way back out again to 1250m then head down to Lithgow and just to top the day off we were sitting on duel lane traffic lights and two V8 utes had a drag of the lights across in front of us. I am pleased to report an old HJ Holden blew the socks of a late XR8 Falcon!! (I suspect the Holden may have had a healthy Chevy lurking under the bonnet)
The Girls are on strike once again with writer’s block, so they can do the dishes even though they cooked tea.
Jo’s input Well, last night I decided that my butt has now hardened up and is not sore every night anymore (at last! It has only taken a week!!).
Today was a great day of winding up and down through a couple of national parks. It would be great roads for the bike on a warm sunny day, which we didn’t have. We left Lithgow at the usual 9:30am only to find that the temperature was 2 degrees and starting to rain, what’s new!!! Straight up the Blue Mountains National Park right up and over the ridge and the temperature dropped quickly to minus something, we were all freezing but we carried on.
Up the top and the sun came out to help warm us up and give us a bit of a tease. We carried on and then went through Wollemi National Park which was more of motorbike heaven, apart from all the road signs about how slippery it can get for the bikes or the Police signs advising the bikers that they enforce bike safety on the roads. Fantastic scenery until you got a dickhead on a bike coming the other way at full snot.
It was a great day with not a shop in sight. Amazing for me, I know!!! Finally we arrived at Scone, and will be leaving with a few tomorrow for our lunch.
Carol’s Input Happy Anniversary Darling David, 30 years today
BB’s input Well today was interesting to say the least, we had a really good night’s sleep next to the New England Highway and I mean next to, Our cabin was only 2m from the road fence and the kerb was only 1m wide with 2 lanes each way as traffic was slowing down to go into town and speeding up going out. Poor Dave and Carol had the single bunks which were closer than Jo and my double bed but the noise from the trucks all night kept us all a bit weary in the morning. One of the reasons we headed to Scone was to get a scone but I think you would have more of a chance getting a date with a horse than a scone with a date in Scone as it is one of the horsey areas of Australia as it is in the Hunter Valley, But we were told that one of the cafe’s did nice scones but couldn’t find one.
The road that we decided to take, Jo looked in her book of Oz that it was supposed to snow up in the high road but we as males reckoned that snow in Oz, Yeah Right . Well yet again Jo was right, the higher we got the colder it became and yep sure enough this white powder started appearing more and more, thicker and thicker, deeper and deeper, slipperier and slipperier, colder and colder. We were lucky a 4wd had been through before us and had left us a track to ride in. The going was slow and slippery but finally found a toilet at the summit which was useable for the girls but didn’t have a heated seat. A bit of fooling around in the snow then off again to a lower rest area for a warm cuppa. The rest of the track back to tar had been graded but the driver needs a kick up the arse, could do better with a fergie and a 3 point linkage blade. Time had passed quickly and we got on to Oxley Highway after 4 and still had 140 km till Wauchope so we got our skates on and the road was a recommended ride in the Australia Motorcycle Atlas and it was awesome with all the corners flowing and the road the best we have ridden on yet. Finally in Wauchope at about 6 and started looking for a caravan park but cruising the main street found nothing so the Girls won and grabbed a room at a Hotel (Yep blew the budget again). A room each and after a hot shower to warm ourselves up, yes we went to the RSL for tea yet again to be different and the special for the night was chicken or veal schnitzel for $10.
Jo’s input – Off to a late start after doing some well needed laundry services. Our aim today was to get close to Newcastle, BUUUUT Brian’s bike need a new screw for the windscreen after it rattled loose from the dirt roads (GPS is a bit heavy) yesterday. So off to Port Macquarie we go, only to end up staying there until after 2:30pm BECAUSE Brian’s bike decided to piss it’s self!! Possibly radiator problem? So off goes all the gear for Carol and Jo, and Dave takes them into town one at a time, without getting lost, for some retail therapy.
They guys at Port Macquarie Motorcycles were very helpful and let us use their yard, they also found out that tigers have a tendency to stuff the radiator caps!!
It’s a warm one today and Brian’s bike isn’t the only thing that has a water problem! Brian is sweating away in the sun pulling apart the bike to try and get to the radiator to look at the cap. Checked the thermostat and topped up with antifreeze. All OK for now.
Conclusion-we need a new one and can only get one from Sydney, should be there on Saturday morning.
Finally about to get going only to find that there was a major truck fire blocking the road at a major road junction. So plans changed yet again.
We started going around the tourist route only to come across a near miss collision, which both vehicles just kept driving after the incident!!!
Driving along and got to Laurieton to go and have a look from the top of the lookout. All still talking about the slow day that we have had THEN Dave went and got on his bike only to slide off the other side and dump the bike on it’s side. Damage: 1 right side front indicator lense, dented thermo and a dented pride as no one else at the lookout saw what had happened accepted for us.
BB’s Input Today we went about 5 km back to Tuncurry to have a quick look at the town (yes a drive by) then headed down to Bulahdelah and across to Booral. The road was hilly and windy and the tar had patched with patches over patches over patches (a rocky river bed would be smoother). Booral had a service station and a school, we wanted to stop for a cuppa but nothing to look at so popped down the road to Stroud which Jo had remembered as a Historic town from her book about Oz. From there down to Newcastle for lunch but as we got near we had 4 fighter jets fly over us which actually gave me the shits as i didn’t see them just hears their loud roar, they looped around and became lower and lower then we saw their airstrip 500m ahead so it was a quick stop and into the jacket to get the camera out to try to get a close up as they crossed the road and landed right in front of us. Into Newcastle to Nobbys Beach for lunch with the usual parking on the grass beside the picnic table in the middle of the park with the locals looking at us as if we were idiots. Down the Coastal route to The Entrance and our biggest cabin yet with two double beds and a cool view of Tuggerah Lake. After fueling the bikes before tea we headed to the Old Diggas for dinner which is yes yet again another club with meals from 12.50 for the roast of the day and lots of other good meals, Then back to the cabin to try and remember the day to bash the keyboard once again to keep you keen followers updated
Hi all followers, sorry haven’t updated over weekend but just relaxed and quite frankly couldn’t be F...ed updating as we dropped Dave & Carol off on Saturday afternoon at John & Barb’s place at 5 Docks in Sydney and Jo & Myself went to our friends at Penrith till this morning. On Saturday we went through Wisemans Ferry from The Entrance where we stayed on Friday night to Hornsby to the Triumph agent who had got me a new radiator cap. The road to Wisemans Ferry was a slow narrow windy road which follows the Hawkesby River system which was good for the bikes. The Vehicle ferry was free and ran 24 hours a day, the road through the Gaulston Gorge was one of the tightest windy roads so far. The corners were 5 km/h and the inside corner vehicles couldn’t get around within their side of the road causing some interesting traffic manoeuvres. Tomtom got us into Hornsby, 5 Docks and out to Penrith without any fuss, if I had to try and read a map book, the road, other traffic it would have taken a lot longer and lots more stress
Over the weekend it was good to catch up with friends and to have a day off the bike on Sunday. On Sunday morning I took off the tank again to replace the radiator cap with the new one, the bike had been good over the last day or so not dumping any water but not wanting to take the risk replaced it anyway.
On Monday we left Crow & Dea’s place in Penrith to go to 5 Dock to pick up Dave & Carol from John & Barbs place as Dave couldn’t even find his way out of a paper bag. We headed down the coast to the Royal National Park and down to the Sea Cliff Bridge. Lunch at the lookout of Bald Hill we meet up with quite a few other motorcyclists from all around including other Kiwi’s. Down to Wollongong and out to Port Kembla to the lookout then down to Shellharbour for our cabin for the night. A walk into town for tea and settled for a fresh fish & chips & burgers which were the best to date. Then back to the cabin to bash the keyboard to catch up over the last couple of days.
Crow and Dea thanks for the hospitality yet again and next time we see you I hope it will be on our side of the ditch.
To John Barb Emma and Daniel a special thanks for putting up with us once again, we really enjoyed catching up an spending time with you once again, Barb hope your chest infection improves soon. David & Carol.
Another easy day on the bike but through some very interesting roads which gained us quite a lot of altitude very quickly on very narrow and windy roads. Went to the Tree Top Lookout but at $22/person and what I hadn’t mentioned yet was about the weather. It was a nice starry night on Monday but yet again pissed down during the night. It was a morning of full gear on and once in the hills, cloud and fog it didn’t help with the views so the Tree Top lookout got flagged and it was off to Robertson to the Best Pie shop that just about every motorcyclist we talked to told us we couldn’t go passed without having a pie. With the rain and cool breeze we actually stopped at 11.30 for lunch at the pie shop which were awesome and got a good coffee and warmed up before heading down to Fitzroy Falls. The rain had stopped but the fog was thicker and after about 20 million photos of the falls the fog lifted a little so Dave deleted the first ones and took some without fog. Off down to Kangaroo Valley which was a cool down hill with tight windy roads again, stopped at Hampden Swing Bridge for another photo shoot and waiting for a truck to go over to really see the bridge swing, waited for at least half an hour and only a empty truck so off into town for afternoon tea at the pub and yes the big full trucks started coming through (just our luck). The weather cleared more and more during the afternoon and the ride through Berry to Nowra was sunny but still cool. We rang Crow & Dea’s Father (Brian) from Nowra to see if he was home and went into Jervis Bay to catch up with him. After a coffee we were offered to stay the night as Brian was off to visit his lady friend for the night. The home brew then came out as we didn’t have to find a cabin and Brian got us the number to the St George’s Country Club courtesy van to get a lift down for tea later. The Legendary home brew tasted as good if not better than what i had remembered it to be from several earlier occasions. Brian headed off about 7 with a big smile on his face so we were off to the club for dinner. Chinese was the main dishes which was a nice change to the usual Roast of the Day. Another free ride back to Brian’s house and the home brew was kicking in so that is why I am doing Tuesday’s diary on Wednesday night and trying to con Carol or Jo or Dave to do Wednesday’s diary.
After an awesome night’s sleep at Brian’s we were all showered up and ready to go at the usual time of 9.30. Brain had arrived home from his sleep over at about 9 after also going to his doctor to get the results of things that hadn’t been working properly checked out( Heart not what you guys were thinking about). With the good bye’s done off around the corner for gas then down the highway for about 5 km to a short cut. Yes the boys wanted some more dirt roads and with the rain over night had made things a bit slippery, The first part of gravel was cool, Hard packed with no or very few pot holes then back to some tar only to find some more gravel. Brian had told us he had been this way about 5 years ago and was all hard gravel with no red soft dirt, well we got on to some famous Australian red dirt that had been graded a couple of days ago and it had been raining which made the road slippery and sloppy. Slow going and we got to the end of that section still upright, 10 km down the road was roadwork’s and we had to wait for a escort through the roadwork’s as they were redoing the road for about 5km and also a new bridge. The project of roading was into its second stage and was costing 80 million to upgrade the road between Nerang and Canberra, with one stage left we had more dirt then stopped at a cool little pub at Nerriga for a well deserved coffee. Whilst waiting to get the escort through the road works earlier we talked to the Stop/Slow man and he told us that they didn’t do any concrete on the new bridge today as the truck got stuck coming in the way we had also come with the bikes which explains the slop and ruts we had to contend with. All the workers had also come in that way so for a freshly graded road and the rain it couldn’t have been much worse but it was enjoyable to ride instead of a highway. After the coffee at Nerriga were the girls warmed up by the fire and Dave tried to decide whether to go to the Jackaroos or Jillaroos to go to the toilet. With our lunch stop at Braidwood then off to Canberra to go through the Australia War Memorial, 2 hours was not enough to see what our predecessors had done to give us the life and freedom we have today. At closing time every afternoon they play The Last Post on the hornet which always sends a shiver down my spine. A couple of photos and off to find a cabin for the night, Tomtom could only find one in Queanbeyan so we decided to back track 10 or so km and follow him than try to find one around Canberra in the fast darkening skies. Straight to the first one and yes it was fill so reprogram and 2 km up the road and a nice room with 2 double beds (1 in living area and other in room with a single bunk on top). Yes you guessed it down to a club for dinner and we found a League club which was busy which to me means it has a good feed. With the getting in behind with the diary I done Tuesdays and loaded two days photos and checked E mails and that was me for the night.
During breakfast Dave remembered that George Pender from the Postie run was in Wagga Wagga so I checked My old E mails from the postie run and George had made a video and had left his address on one of his E mails so I went on to the White Pages and only found 1 G Pender with a different address and a phone number so I gave it a call and it was Wife and yes it was his place. We told him we were on our way through and would give him a call when we got closer. We didn’t get away till 10 as Dave just couldn’t get his sheep skin seat cover on only to find out at morning tea that it was on backwards, I won’t even tell you the panic on his face when his bike didn’t start only for me to tell him to check his kill switch( the Panic on his face was unexplainable)The route planned for the day was hopefully going to save us about 50 km but Tomtom got it wrong and the road no longer excised so it was a U turn and up to Yass then down to Wee Jasper for lunch. Dave said that if we found an Atm anytime today that he would get some cash out. We thought that it would be good if Dave got it at Yass so we could have said that he got cash got cash out Ya ASS but there was no Atm’s that we could see from the main street. The road to Wee Jasper was cool the trucks don’t use it so no pot holes and the corners flowed nicely with only 10 km of dirt which had had no rain and was smooth it was easy to get along at 80 to 90 km/h. The road after Wee Jasper was a bit different with a road plant sign on the corner that meant that it was getting graded. We headed up for about 10km till we caught up with the grader who was doing an awesome job with a set of roller wheels on the back leaving it near perfect to ride on with only the occasional soft spot. Whilst riding on the newly graded road I wondered how bad it would be once we got past the grader. Once past the grader the road only had the occasional bumpy corner and mostly didn’t need a grade. Once through the forest the road opened up a lot and a option of 27km gravel or 31km tar to Tumut so we took the short cut and once in Tumut it was 100km of highway to Wagga Wagga, thinking we were tough and hadn’t been saddle sore yet kept going till about 30km out of Wagga Wagga and just had to stop. We hadn’t stopped since Wee Jasper so it had been at least 2 hours nonstop, with a quick stretch we were on our way again. Found a place to stay just out of town, the girls did some laundry and I gave George a call. He came to see us and gave us both a DVD of his filming of the Postie Run. After the girls had finished the laundry George kindly took us all out to his local for a meal “2 4 1” night, a nice cheap meal, which Dave thought was great (cheap, cheap, cheap!!!). After dinner we then went around to George’s place and watched the Postie DVD, which went on a little bit too long for Carol as she went to sleep for a moment or two. It was good to see a different angle of the run and of all the stuff that had happened that we missed out on as we were too busy stuffing around. Finally arrived back at the cabin just before midnight, all of us have our eyes hanging out ready for some sleep which happened quickly.
Thanks to George for the great night, especially as we didn’t have to get onto the bikes to travel around in the cold night air. It felt really strange to be back in a car and we told the girls not to get to comfortable
We had a late start to the day and a short day of about 120km. We had a bit of a stuffed up morning when we dropped off the girls in town at a mall and went to fill up with petrol and get a few groceries and was then waiting for them only to find that we were waiting for them at a different part of the mall!.We had dropped them off on the main street and went around the road to gas up and check tyre pressures, when we returned we went into the underground carpark of the mall. We got a few things from Woolworths and took them to the bike then tried ringing the girls to tell them we were done only to get the answerphone, left a message then waited 5 min and tried calling again only to get answerphone again. Thinking the phone may have turned itself off Dave stayed were we said we were on the first message we left and I went wandering around looking for the girls. Out on to the main street then into the other entrance doing the lap of the mall only to find Dave and the girls waiting for me (was only about 10min at the most) It was all our fault that we were in the second half of the mall across the road that the girls hadn’t found, But we found out that someone had actually dropped the phone and it died and they had to remove battery and sim card to finally get it going again. So who do you think was in the wrong ??? Please some reply as this is still not resolved. We stopped and had lunch at The Rock (town) which is a wheat cropping area. We didn’t quite make it to Albany as we stopped at Ettamogah Pub for a look and then decided to stay there the night in one of the cabins.
Dave turned heat pump off last night as the noise kept him awake and when we all woke up it was freezing, he was in the bottom bunk with both his and Carol’s motorbike jackets on top of him. We had a coldish long day ahead of us, but not as bad as Barrington Tops. Heading out of Albury we came across Lake Hume, what we saw at first was only about 30% of the lake and talking to a local that said it was only about 3% full ( 97% empty). Once leaving the rest area and followed the lake up the valley the full size came apparent and it was huge, it was a manmade lake and all the old trees that use to grow on the land had died and were still in the lake now exposed and dead with a high tide water mark about ¾ of the way up on the big trees (this would have looked good full, with the tops of trees poking out of the water). Great riding, fantastic roads to a little town that we had lunch in called Corryong, After gassing up the bikes we headed up the road to the Snowy Mountains with awesome views of the Mountains and back into the snow again. A quick stop at the summit of Dead Horse Gap to play in snow and get a few pic’c we started our decent down through Thredbo which is a ski field town then to Jindabyne and off to Cooma for the night Staying at Snowtel Park were we blew a fuse in the cabin when I plugged in the power supply for the laptop (just as well it wasn’t actually plugged into the laptop!!), so no “The Lap” diary for a few days. We went to the Alpine Hotel for dinner (no roasts this time for any of us) very cheap meal of $49-00 for all of us, including a shared desert but yummy homemade food and lots of it
The road from Cooma to Bega was through open country at first with long sweeping corners then we got to Pipers lookout where we could see right out through the western valley. The road from there changed for a bit going down the side of the hill with some tight corners and steep declines, the rest of the way we saw a few dairy farms and some nice rolling farm land. We popped into Bega to try to find a power supply for the laptop but not a computer shop in sight so up to Central Tilba to get some speciality cheeses for lunch, Once again taking over the park bench with our lunch spread all the people looked at us as if we were the ones from Coonamble, Some of the friendly people come over when we are having lunch and ask where we have been and where we are going and tell us what there is to see in different areas which is cool to get good information from the locals, some people just want to talk about motorbikes and their bikes from their past but everyone thinks we are set up well on the bikes with all our extras. From Tilba to Eden down the costal route was cool and we stopped at the old wharf at Tathra for afternoon tea on the edge of the rocks. Down to Eden where Tomtom had found a caravan park called The Garden of Eden, we got to the point only to find it called Fountain caravan park but we are not fussy and got a cabin for $110 which had Two Queen beds in separate rooms, with a huge lounge and kitchen and was new for us with all our dirty panniers and boots. The girls were off to do washing and Dave and I did some maintenance on the chains (our first tighten so far).
Dinner at the Fishermans Club we met a lovely lady at the reception with a front tooth missing only to find out her name was Juanita (one eta). The meal was a Pork roast yet again with leaving no room for desert. Down the staircase to the lobby to get our bike gear off one eta only to find she had just dropped her guts and didn’t want to get up to help get our helmets so we suffered till we made it outside to the fresh air trying to not to gag or laugh in the same breath (Guess she had the pork roast for lunch) An enjoyable ride of fresh air back to our Cabin of luxury
Carol – I must apologise for not contributing sooner to the diary. I have not been functioning well for the first few weeks; however I am now into a routine and hopefully getting ride fit! A good night’s sleep in what is our best cabin yet – plenty of room. Laundry done for the night before we were ready for what the day would bring. Great morning we decided to go to the Killer Whale Museum, well worth a look if you are down this way. Great stories about the orcas helping the whalers herd the whales so the whalers could harpoon them. On the way to Mallacoota there was lots of evidence of bush fires on the way coming very close to built up areas – very scary!!!! Arrived at Mallacoota which is a seaside summer spot where we had lunch and David and Jo had great delight in feeding the seagulls anything and everything. We then went to see a WWII bunker, intelligence and communication operations. Unfortunately it was closes, however Brian and David got very excited when they found scratched into the concrete the word “triumph”. Afternoon tea at Orbost which is the floodplains of the snowy river before it heads to the sea. Finally arriving at Lakes Entrance, which is a fishing town we picked up at cabin at Woodbine Tourist Park for $80, small and cosy with the Bowling Club over the road for dinner.
(6166kms to date Daveo) (3934miles to date Brian @ 1.6km/mile = 6295km)
Carol – Jo and I watch a boat dredge sand out of a section of the marina while the boys fuelled up. The seagulls loved it as the force of the water broke up the shells at the bottom of the marina and threw them out with the sand all ready for them to eat. Destination today was to get Phillip Island, green farmland to view for a change along the way. Stopping at Bairnsdale to finally purchase a new power supply for the computer. Off to Sale we had lunch in the cold fog. Lots of good dairy farms on the way to Meeniyan where they had windmills on the hill tops but yet again the fog took over. Going through Wonthaggi (30km from Phillip Island) Brian spied a cool mine sign so we decided to stay the night and visit it in the morning. Motel rooms for the night $65 each couple, and dinner over the road at Miners Diner where David offended the cook who took our order when he asked her how old the roast lamb was. She had just cooked it at lunch time!!! But we did get some free garlic bread out of her.
Went to the Coal Mine Museum in the morning and ended up spending nearly two hours there just talking to the locals who are all volunteers restoring the mines and buildings. Finally off to Phillip Island and after a quick stop at a chocolate shop we were off to the race track. What a letdown!!
As we got into Phillip island both our fuel lights came on, as we headed out we stopped at a freedom fuel station after we had ridden all the way around the island and all their fuel had E 10 in so we decided to go a bit further down the road which Tom-tom said about 18km till a BP, cruising down road the bike didn’t even spluttered just died. Knowing I was low I shook the bike and away it went again for a few seconds doing this a couple of times as I knew we were only less than 4 km away from gas, it finally had enough and we coasted to a stop, Looking in the mirror I had seen Dave’s lights but when slowing down and going around a slight corner didn’t see them anymore. Yes the worst we had both ran out of gas but I had got about 1.5 km further by shaking bike. Jo hoped off and I gave the bike a few good shakes then on the starter and it fired up, leaving Jo behind I got as much speed till it died again and coasted to within 300m of gas station so pushed the last bit and had a big drink of water then emptied the bottle and filled my bike and filled up the bottle then back down the road to Dave & Carol. Dropped them the bottle and as it was a two lane road with a median rope had to go about 2 km up the road to turn around and back to pick up Jo on the corner that I had left her. Dave had tried to ring us but when I pulled my phone out when we first stopped it had turned itself off and when turned on asked for sim card which was already in and wouldn’t work. Once all at fuel station had a bit of a laugh but had to keep moving as we were heading into Melbourne to catch up with Jenny a lady that we meet and rode with us on the Postie Run. The ride into Melbourne was interesting to say the least, I thought there were different people in Coonamble but that’s not the only place if you know what I mean. Once at Jenny’s we found a cabin down the road for the night and Jenny picked us up in the car and we went out for tea.(Not to a club)
BB & Jo input; Got up this morning and tried to plan the next couple of days and decided to go to Tassie as were able to get onto the ferry tonight and the ferry was fully booked for Friday. We had the day free to go into the city. As we were able to leave the bikes and gear at the place we stayed last night, so off we went onto a bus and then a tram right into the CBD. An hour later we finally got there; as we hoped off tram we heard a very loud shouting and us and the rest of the city looked around only to find a guy walking and shouting to himself several times which was our first taste of central Melbourne, next stop is to find a Telstra Shop to see if we can get the phone fixed. Easy – sim card was faulty (So everyone can stop asking about who dropped the phone and why it was off, as it was playing up before that!! And Jo dropped the phone) Dave was very interested with all the strangely dressed people and was taking photos of everything in the streets, worse than the Asians. A quick look around the markets and a few motorbike shops then it was back onto the tram and heading out to pick up our bikes and get organised to go to the ferry in rush hour traffic. Good old tom tom once again to the rescue and it was reasonably easy to get there, and on time. Quite a big ship. Got on with a group of other bikies and then headed up to find our cabin (huge, Not!!), which was at the front of the ship. Sitting down for a feed and we were off on our way. Had a good look around the ship after dinner and then watched a bit of TV before going back to try and get some sleep. Apparently a calm sailing, but we could all feel the ship rocking and a rolling, pounding and shuddering.
Just a quick note, we getting behind again as phone craped out totally as dave tried to ring me as we both ran out of gas within 100m of each other but i managed to shake bike and get enough to get 1.5km down the road then push bike 500m to a petrol station,that was on wednesday and on thursday took phone in and got fixed. Hoped on ferry last night and got to tasie this morning,done a small loop and stoped for the night early to do washing and catch up on diary and things.
BB input Dave had talked to a guy on the ferry this morning and was told that we wouldn’t get off till 8.30 but the ferry docked at 7 so we weren’t in a hurry when they call everyone to vehicle deck, then the second call 10 minutes later we started to move, having to get to other end of ship and Dave still finishing packing Jo and I decided to head down. Once at vehicle half the cars were gone and vehicles behind our bikes were waiting for us to move once we had untied our bikes which we had to untie as the shipping guys tied them down when we got on ship. Once off ship we went through a Quarantine to see if we had any fruit or honey which we didn’t so off to find somewhere for breakfast, Some of the other motorcyclist were at a cafe around the corner so that was us. All you can eat hot breakfast for $12. We decided to take the long way to Wynyard we headed out to Cradle Valley but couldn’t see much with the fog so we had a coffee and went to Wynyard for lunch, during lunch we enjoyed the area so decided to stay the night as we had washing to do and wanted a early night as didn’t get much sleep on the ferry. A nice little camp ground with a indoor heated pool and a spa pool. I headed back into town and got groceries and enough for tea of spaghetti, eggs, sausages and coleslaw so the girls had to cook (which Dave supervised)
Off to a good start with a look at the local lighthouse then started heading towards Stanley when we had to stop as Jo had a reaction to the tablets she took as she has had the shits for the last 4-5 days. Giving her severe stomach pain we let Dave &Carol carry on and to catch up with them at Stanley. Jo & I waited about 10 min then took off only to have to stop 2 more times with her having her stomach attacks. Caught up with Dave & Carol Stanley and decided to head to Edith Creek for lunch, with no rest areas we stopped at the local school and had lunch under a shelter with a picnic table. The rest of the road to Corinna was gravel through the back blocks of the North Western Tasmania with a ferry crossing at Corinna call the Fat Man. The road all the way was rough and had some steep hills negotiate. Once off the ferry the gravel carried on for about 15 km then tar to Zeehan to try to find a room. It was a slow sleepy town with only a couple of pubs and a motel with a restaurant. The first pub wanted $59 per couple, the second didn’t have any accommodation and the motel wanted $97 per couple. Jo had had enough; it was cold, dark and getting late. Dave wasn’t prepared to do the motel so he and Carol went back into the town to the pub and Jo & I stayed at the motel. Dave & Carol came back at 6.30 to the motel for dinner as that was all that was open. Jo had a shower and went to bed without any dinner as she was not feeling well.
Daveo’s input : What a cold night, Zeehan is in a valley surrounded by hills so is prone to fog and heaps of chimney fire smoke. The dew was that heavy you would think it had rained during the night. Carol and I had a great night’s sleep in the pub with 18 rooms as we were the only ones there and the publican locked up and went home at 8 PM. This town in a past life was a booming Zinc and silver mining town, not sure how much is still being mined. It was an easy ride towards and down the coast, through similar country as yesterday to Strahan a very touristy destination on a huge inland harbour.
Queenstown our next stop, quite similar to Zeehan surrounded by hills also a mining town with the biggest copper deposits in the southern hemisphere. We climbed up a very steep winding road out of the valley cut into rock full of mineral deposits of different colours particularly the yellow of sulphur. The smell of which was very strong, apparently the hills were once covered in dense bush, but are now bare due to acid rain and sulphides leaching from the disturbed ground due to the mining process, bit like a moonscape. All the swampy areas we have seen yesterday and today often have had this strong sulphur smell leaching into the air. After the areas we have seen to date I have come to the conclusion a fair chunk of Tasmania is swampland because of all the underlying bed rock giving no drainage at all.
The climb from here over the Franklin Gordon Rivers Nat Park was a twisty ride through the forests very very cold and slippery road, that often never see the light of day. Then down through the Wentworth Hills with some impressive hydro lakes, canals and powerhouses.
The plan was to stay at New Norfolk a big town on the edge of a wide and calm Derwent River. There was a small tourist park on the banks of the river that claimed it had no vacancies ( think she didn’t like motorcyclists actually as it looked pretty damn empty, oh well her loss eh!!!!) so on to Hobart in the dark to end another interesting day on the road
Jo stayed at the cabin today as she now has the flu or swine flu ??? I went to the chemist and got a hand full of drugs for her to swallow and suck on while we are gone and also left her with my dirty washing. Heading out through Hobart traffic was easy compared with other cities but still managed to be in the wrong lane as motorway divided into 4 separate lanes at the same time. Got to Huonville and gassed up then headed down to Southport were we stopped for lunch. The road was dewy and slippery but flowed okay with only minor patches of road had been repaired. After our feed back up to Huonville and around the next bay through Cygnet then down and around to Snug and through Kingston to our caravan park. Jo had had a good break so we went for tea where we had organised to meet up with a couple of guys that Dave & I had met when we did the Postie Bike run. We had a good catch up over dinner and went back to cabin as Dave & I both forgot our cameras to take a few photos of the reunion. Trying to keep diaries short as it’s been hard to catch up with only one finger typing and slow uploading through phone. Sorry about the delays in diary but we are getting caught up
It was nice to actually spend 2 nights in one cabin without having to pack up but moving on today it was a usual morning but we must be getting things sorted now as we were off at 9 sharp and its getting easier to close the panniers. Up to Sorell were we gassed then around to Port Arthur were everyone said was worth a visit, once there it was a minimum of $28 per person with extra add on tours with all tours being about $100 per person so we felt that for the time we had to spare it was a waste of money. Jo with her flu was still not the best and Carol has caught her cough so we kept moving to get to Swansea early so as not to be out in the late afternoon/ evening air. On the way we stopped at Fossil Bay for lunch then up to Swansea were we got a cosy two bedroom cabin for $110. I popped down town for bread, milk etc as the girls kept warm and Daveo done the diary for a couple of days. Found a nice restaurant for dinner and had wood fired pizzas that we couldn’t finish so it was for lunch today.
Carols input; Woke up to a sunny morning in Hobart the order of the day was up to Sorell then down to Port Arthur, A nice ride out to Port Arthur but it is so commercialised now $56 per couple for an hour or two was not a option for us. 30+ years ago when I was young and single I came over to Tasmania and visited Port Arthur with my Uncle so it would have been nice to have had a look around again. We headed for the Blow hole at Fossil Bay were we had lunch. The sea was quite choppy and the bashing of the waves on to the rocks were quite impressive, the blow hole was a bit of a letdown but in stormy conditions it would be very impressive, it was cool to say the least, I had a funny throat so wasn’t taking any chances (kept rugged up). Off to Swansea, looked like rain so we stopped and the boys and Jo put their wet weather gear on as I already had mine on to keep nice and toasty, at this point David took some photo’s of some transvestite looking mermaids sitting on a fish. We didn’t get wet but it was very windy just like the Wairarapa, The roads took us through rolling hills (beef country) and gum trees for a change which led us to a stone bridge with spikes on the top of the side rails which was built by convicts back in the 1840’s. Um are not sure whether the spikes were for looks or for deterrent for stock, arrived at Swansea and got a cabin with two room and two double beds so no bunking it tonight
Daveo’s input; Port Arthur sucked I don’t know how they can justify charging so much to view such an historic spot and that the average Aussie family who has every right to view part of their natural heritage would struggle to afford to do this.
BB’s input again; Once again we must be getting sorted in the mornings as we were on the road shortly after 9 and headed for Bicheno and went past a motorcycle museum which didn’t look to be much for the $9 entry so carried on to St Mary to gas up and find a chemist for Carol to get some drugs. The girls already had their wet pants on to keep warm but at St Mary Dave decided to put his on as rain was in the air, I decided to keep moving as i was already back on the bike so if it started to rain would I stop. Heading out of St Marys was St Marys Pass and yes some smart person had removed the P so the sign read that you are now entering St Marys ass !!! Once through the pass and about 10km down the road I spotted a bus shelter and stopped and put my wet weather pants on as the rain was catching up with us. Once in the shelter the clouds opened up then Dave & Carol turned up only 2 minutes behind us and had had rain all the way. I hate stripping of jacket and boots to get wet pants on, as we did it yesterday and the rain didn’t catch up with us so it was a waste of time. Dave took off before I was done to go find a spot for lunch at St Helens, we found him in a park shelter just on the outskirts of town which had two tables and a BBQ. Perfect for lunch but the rain didn’t stop during lunch so decided that the men would go find a cave for the night as the girls stayed dry at the shelter in the park. Decided on the Hillcrest Tourist Park with a cabin same as last night for $105 so booked in then went back to pick up the girls. The Hillcrest Park also has fuel, dairy, takeaways so it was a one stop shop for the rest of the day even though it was only 1.30. A easy afternoon to catch up on diary and to dry out from the mornings rain. The rain stopped about 4.00 so went outside for a walk then finished off the diary. Just about to decide on the Blokes burger or Steak sandwich with the lot for tea of course with chips. Well a short day on the road but why get wetter if we don’t have to and now my throat is starting to get a little scratch so guess I’m the next to go to the chemist for drugs (watch out Daveo your next)
Well yes things were not feeling better in the morning so it was me off to the chemist for the drugs as my head was about to explode and coughing up a storm. The morning was fine but cool as we headed inland; we turned at Herrick and headed towards Gladstone where we stopped for morning tea. It was a quiet place with a corner store and gas pump. After the stop we headed out of town and came to a dirt road which with the rain they had just had and the fully loaded gravel truck that had just come through made the road a bit of fun to ride on as the truck had left wheel ruts so when trying to avoid pot holes and wet patches the bike would get rail roaded and not feel the best as trying to get back onto a better line. The dirt only lasted for 20- 25 km then back to tar only to find the corner we were looking for to go out to Tomahawk where Cameron said was worth a visit. Once out at Tomahawk the breeze of the coast was cool and there was not a lot to see so it was back down the road and headed to Bridport for lunch. With a strong cool breeze all the way it was a stop at the local cafe for a warm pie for me and a hot vegetable soup for Jo. There were some other bikers silly enough to be out and at this cafe so that’s what made us pick this cafe, only to find that the three bikes were ridden by 1 guy and 2 girls. A good strong, big coffee and was warmed up ready for the next stretch to Scottsdale but not after the good at least ½ hour talk to the cafe owner about the region and his history of the district. Didn’t take long to Scottsdale and by this part of the trip and the way I was feeling with the flu it was just another town so off to Launceston to find a cabin and crawl up and die. With the only close park to town was next to motorway but managed to get a back cabin but that didn’t make much of difference to the noise of the motorway all night.
Well this would have to be one of the coldest nights that I have had for years, my back and feet were cold and no matter what I tried to do was not enough. Finally I went into kitchen and turned the heater on and curled up on the little sofa with all my blankets and still cold. About 7.30 everyone got up and as we were staying two nights and I had had no sleep from shivering most of the night jumped into the top bunk and put all of Jo’s blankets and mine and some more Dave had got from the office and went back to sleep for an hour or so. Woke up with still cold feet but the rest of me had warmed up a bit. Just lying in the bunk with my head throbbing I started to sweat and before I knew it the pillow and sheets were wet but still felt cold. Got up and had a shower at about 10.30 after Dave & Carol had gone for a walk into town. The shower warmed me up and now the fog had burnt off and the sun was shining through so decided to have my morning cuppa outside in the sun. Jo had been doing the washing and feeling better we went for a walk down the street to get some lunch. As we were eating our lunch Dave & Carol passed and were heading back to the cabin after walking into town and looking around. As Jo & I got back it felt that I had walked to the moon and back so as you could guess I did not get up to much for the rest of the day
A Quick note that yes I got the flu and Daveo hasn't yet Both Girls are 95 % better with me at about 70 % We jumped back on ferry last night with a good swell and Daveo got 2 hours sleep as the rest of us slept like babys. Will be catching up on last couple of days tonight. Sorry about the delays
Well after yesterday I was feeling on the top of the moon, Jo & Carol still had the chesty cough but were feeling pretty good. Carol had a cousin in Launceston that we had E mailed several times but had no reply so we decided to do a drive by but her cousin was no were to be found. Carol had last seen her cousin about 31 years ago so was very disappointed that we had tried to e mail and done the drive by but still didn’t manage to see her again(Their paths will meet again someday I hope). Off down the road to Carrick were we fuelled up with gas and Dave got a photo for Ian & his family. Trying to keep off the motorway as we would be in Davenport within an hour we followed the back roads through to Deloraine were Jo spotted a farmers market so with Jo and her markets we had to go and have a look at the local produce. A lot of fresh fruit and veg meant we came out empty handed as we had enough for lunch and were getting on the ferry tonight so couldn’t take any fruit across the border. We stopped back in town and had our lunch on the side of the river that went through the middle of town. A nice sunny spot as the air was still cool when on the bike, sitting on the park bench as per usual we were looking at all the locals that went by as different as they seem but they look at us in the same way to just pull all this stuff out of the bikes for lunch and the way we just park in the park as if we own it. It was a slow ride through the country side and into Davenport were we found a board walk at the mouth of the port. The offshore breeze was cool to say the least so after a photo or two it was off to find somewhere to have a coffee inside and to kill time till boarding the ferry at 6.15. The only thing that was really open was the Mc Cafe at Mc Donald’s so that’s were we sat for the next 2.30hrs killing time till the ferry. Jo & I went for a walk into town but all but 1 shop had closed. I was looking for a chemist to try to get some more drugs but all were closed. Once back at Mc’s Dave had asked about a weekend chemist so gave me directions which didn’t get me to the chemist but with perseverance found it 2 streets away. At 5.45 we headed around to the ferry and booked in only to have to wait out in the cool nights air with quite a breeze blowing till 6.30 till we were allowed to board. Once on board being the only bikes we parked in an out of the way place by a trailer. Up to our room of four bunks for the night to drop off jackets then down to the restaurant for dinner then sat down in the theatre and watched a movie. Between dinner and the movie I popped out side and watched the ship do a u turn in one spot, quite a sight to see a 190m ship spin around and to do a 180 degree turn in the port with less than 100m to spare at each end. During the movie the crossing started getting rougher and rougher and by the end of the movie the ship was getting a good roll on. Dave didn’t like it but with Carols last trip across the Cook Straight she felt at home. Carol & Jo went to bed as Dave & I watched the second movie which finished at 12.15 and we had had a lot of good waves and a good swell. I went to bed and Daveo stayed up till 4.30 as he couldn’t stand the ship rocking and rolling.
Carols & Jo’s Input; A very rough ferry ride back to Melbourne getting in at 7.00, headed out to St Kilda and tried finding somewhere for breakfast but all were still closed being that early on a Sunday morning. Decided to head out to Kingslake, to the area that had some of the fires and would stop on the way if we found something for breakfast. We came across a lot of Kangaroos in a sports ground and vineyard. Took us nearly an hour to find a little store/ bakery and stopped for a cooked breakfast. It was a popular spot as there were several lycra cyclists stopping for coffee and food. It was nice and homely with the fire going in the eating area which warmed us up as the morning air had been fresh. Then off to Kingslake to see what damage the February fires had actually done, well five minutes of riding and we were into it. Burnt trees as far as you could see, passing a few places on the way that had burnt down and the people were still living there in tents or caravans. What was amazing though, was that the trees and bush were starting to rejuvenate already. Once into Kingslake, which was full of fog we then discovered what was left of the town. Some of the shops had been rebuilt already in a different location. All the damage had been cleared away from the businesses and houses. With lots of “for sale” signs around we decided to leave and go over and see the other town that was hit – Marysville. The drive there was in and out of fog and burnt bush. As we approached the town it was very clear how devastating the fires had been, with burnt out vehicles and cleared up sections and a motel and bakery that were the only businesses left standing in the town. Only 33 houses remained habitable in the town after the fire and a few sheds. As we came into the town there was an old lady tidying up what was left of her front garden with a sign saying “I’m coming home”. There were a few marquees in the town for information and food services for the visitors that were coming through as the ski resort and ski shops also got burnt down so they based a ski shop in Marysville. You can’t put into words really what it felt like going through these places knowing what had happened and that a few hundred people died trying to get away. There is no wildlife around so it is very quiet, almost eerie. A very sombre experience for all of us. We than headed off on our way up to Shepparton through mostly flat land
Daveo - Another very cool night with a very heavy dew, but clear skys. Woke up frozen during the night once again as not very good blankets and had turned the heater off as I thought it was noisy. Headed towards Benalla on straight roads lots of flat pastoral land with healthy looking sheep with big lambs on them. Through the back roads to Glenrowan which is where “NedKelly” had his last stand before he was taken to Melbourne Jail to be hanged. Stopped and had a look around the small town which was a bit of a run down tourist attraction. We are actually doing a big circle today via Wangaratta to get to Echuca for the night and hopefully catch up with big Dave Engstrom for the Postie challenge. Coming into Yarrawonga we saw the mulwala lake/storage dam, which isn’t that far from the hume dam really but looked the same, empty, and for a few years. Yarrawonga looks a very affluent place and the amazing thing was they were putting in this huge new subdivision on the lake front which wasn’t there with huge prices for sections. Onto Cobram like Shepparton has huge orchards surrounding it and as we headed west there were alot of dairyfarms. Went passed a huge beef lot north of wangaratta and it appeared to have it’s own abbatoir and it smelt like it too! As they were irrigating the effluent etc onto pasture. Also went pass a dairy shed and feedpad close to the road there we hundreds of cockatoos stealing the grain from the troughs on the feedpad. A bit of a short cut to Echuca via Picola, population 110. Consisted of Pub, store- closed, town hall, crewd public toilet and a few houses. Had a cuppa outside town hall and listened to a guy have a full on argument with someone across the road, was quite entertaining, as he didn’t seem to mind the audience. Got to ecucha about 4:30, which is in 2 halves, the old which we are staying in and the new and modern. Brian and I went and saw Big Dave from the postie run, who owns the readheeler bookshop, dealing in secondhand old books. He now also owns a 350 ci v8 motorcycle as well as 2 harleys, good to catch up again.
Jo - We all had a look around the town and also the Holden Museum before heading off. Dave was fascinated in the Museum taking photos of every car that there was. Well it was an interesting ride today as all we had were straight flat roads.
Dave – Another clear blue sky this morning, but a cool wind all day. Carol walked into town for a look at the shops and I went to the National Holden Museum for an hour (not enuf!) The best $6.50 I have ever spent, next to the Bathurst Museum. Umm, immaculate presentation of original low mileage to fully restored cars, utes and panel vans, stationwagons. From 1949 to present day. Displays of motors and transmissions with some cut down for a look see inside. A fantastic private collection with the 1 millionth holden produced, a 1962 EJ Sedan, manufactured on 25 October, 1962, as new. The 2 millionth car produced, a 1970 HT Brougham, V8 5 lt. The 4 millionth car produced was a commodore. Down the flat main roads all day today, main highways the shortest route to Torquay, lunch at Bendigo by the lake, police were having a traffic blitz, so I went and asked an officer if it was ok to ride my bike up onto the grass and up to a bench, even though Brian had already done it!!! No point both of us getting in the poo ah! “that is fine” was the response. They had a plan clothes policeman with a backpack on at the traffic lights with a radio letting the guys up the road know what cars had no seatbelts, running lights etc. Through castlemaine, a streetrod capital of Australia. None today! On to Ballarat for a cuppa on grass concrete median area with our bikes of course, right in the middle of the city. Boy did we get some looks from the people waiting at the traffic lights. It was nice riding with the sun on our backs instead of our faces in the late afternoon and it is really noticeable haw late the sun is setting compared to Tasmania.
After a freezing nights sleep cuddled up to Jo in one of the bunks as someone again turned off the heatpump, (Daveo!!!). The bikes actually had frost on the seats this morning. We were off on a beautiful sunny morning to do the great ocean road trip to Warrnambool. Stopped and looked at a light house at Spit Point and a few lookouts on the way. We went and had a look at the 12 Apostles, (actually more like what was left of them) and all the Asians that were there being the normal tourists, first time we have come across so many of them all at once. The whole day was slow riding with a lot of scenery to take in but hard to explain in words. Afternoon tea was at a little port called Port Campbell with the sun shining but a cool sea breeze blowing. The rest of the afternoon to Warrnambool and around to Port Fairy saw a lot of dairy farms with 2 big dairy factory’s at Warrnambool one of them being a Fonterra factory. Once in Port Fairy we tried to get a cabin at 3 caravan parks with answers from full to $189 for a cabin. The first one that was full had said about apartments just down the road so decided to give them a try. $120 for double and two singles with separate kitchen and lounge so that was us and to top it off there was a dairy/takeaway just across the road for dinner. A free wireless internet connection got me caught up with the diary and the photos and updates for the computer apart from today.
As we left Port Fairy this morning we did the usual tour around town and on the fore shore we could see a whale in the bay which we had been told about the night before as they were seen yesterday as well. Off to Portland were we took a ride out along the wharf to protect the port, we could see 3 big ships being loaded with logs. One of the cranes was lifting a digger from one porthole of the ship to another porthole. We took a ride around to the aluminium smelter and came across several rows of ingots ready for shipment. We had passed 3 or 4 trucks earlier in the day loaded with ingots and also a big wind farm from Port Fairy to Portland. There were 2 big pipes from the port down to the smelter which would be at least 4 km away which must be used for bringing in the bauxite. Off down the road to Nelson for lunch were we had seen a couple of emus on the side of the road going through the forests. From Nelson to Mt Gambier and a quick drive through town then off to Beachport were they use to have the longest wharf but now is only 750m long as it used to be 1200m long It was built in the early days so time had taken its toll and had been shortened as it was not safe any more. It was never a big port I think just needed a long wharf as the bay was very shallow
Jo - Tonight Dave is starting to get very paranoid about how much time we have left and that we don’t have time to stuff around(Like he wanted to do in NSW!) so he just wants to ride and not do anything else. Brian thinks we are on plan as to what was planned before we left NZ. Brian kept him at bay by writing down everywhere that we have yet to go with the distances and the amount of time frames and it worked out that we would still have a few days at the end, so hopefully that has given Dave some peace of mind.
Jo - Have travelled in rain all day. It started as we were about to leave this morning. Dave is getting very paranoid about petrol so we had to fill up first thing. A very uneventful day of riding. Although it hasn’t been cold it was wet and then got very windy in places. Stopped at Salt Creek for a loo stop then we went through Policeman’s Point, both places consisted of a shop and a few houses as a town. Stopping at Meningie to wait for Dave & Carol to catch up as he was riding at a granddad pace! And then we had to wait for him some more as he then had to go to the toilet. Decided to have lunch at the next town, Tailem Bend, which was quite a nice small town. Brian and I went and got a pie from the bakery as we were all feeling a bit cold while Dave and Carol went to find a sheltered picnic table to have their packet of soups. Fantastic pies, well worth spending some money on warm food when cold, unlike someone. Brian ended up coming across the couple that had just purchased the little pod trailer that we meet a few weeks ago, they were travelling around for the week following the Murray River down to the sea and all they have had was crap weather. Back on the road and then it formed into a freeway and then that is when it started to get really windy, with us waving across the lane a few times and heaps of trucks started to appear on the other side of the road. Finally got into Adelaide, wow, what a great city as it looks easy to get around although Dave thinks it is as bad as Melbourne(he is just city phobic!),would love to spend a week or more here, fantastic old buildings. Stopped at the Triumph shop to get our tyres organised, what a mission! They have yet to arrive, but they should be here on Monday and so the guys went and got some oil and paid for all of them and have arranged to get the tyres sent to Port Augusta next week for when we go through there. Found a cabin just out of the city hopefully for two nights but only confirmed for this night as the old English lady got majorly confused when they boys asked for a cabin with linen and her computer said they had no cabins with linen, I think they have a bit of a strange computer programme. Brian has gone back to the Triumph shop to try and get a new chain guard ordered for his bike as it has broken it again, (a new one put on before the bike was shipped over), 2 hours later he returns only to find that he had riveted the guard and that he tried to find a supermarket only to get stuck in the city traffic just after 5pm. So what are we doing now – Dave and Carol have been writing in their diaries while I was doing this diary. Carol is having a nana nap while Dave is being annoying as per usual trying to fiddle with the heat pump and the TV. Brian is finally back from getting some groceries and it is now pouring down with rain and he is dripping wet. So Dave suggested that we have peaches and weetbix for dinner tonight so he doesn’t have to get wet! We only had to walk maybe 300m down the road to a pub for dinner which we did and of course back to the roast of the day
After a good night’s sleep we discussed whether to stay another night or keep moving as we still have a long way to go still. Got some oil yesterday when we went to the bike shop and paid for our tyres which are going to be bussed up to Port Augusta as they weren’t their yet and we want to get the last kms out of them by doing Broken Hill, Flinders Ranges, Port Augusta. As I was saying about the oil we got to change our oils we still hadn’t figured out where to put the old oil. I ended up going to the supermarket and got a 5 litre water container to full up our water bottles then cut a hole in the side to catch the oil. As I got the water I dropped Jo off in town so she could have a look at the shops while Dave & I changed the oil. We brought oil filters over with us so it was to be a easy job. My bike first as it was warm from getting the container and we caught all the oil without spilling any on the concrete pavers of the caravan park. Next was the filter which Dave had brought his oil filter remover strap but my oil filter was tight and couldn’t get it moved so out with the screwdriver and tent peg hammer and a hole through the side of the filter to get it moving. Caught 99%of the filter oil with only a few drops on their clean pavers and on with the new one and in with the drain plug then pour the oil in. The spare toilet roll came in handy from the cabin to clean up the spilt oil and clean hands. Next Dave’s bike as we had poured the old oil into my empty and drained his oil, his filter came off easy so not as much of a mess on the concrete. Once done we decided to move on and go to have a look at Hahndorf then head north towards Burra and see how far we would get. Lunch was at Hahndorf and a look around the town as it was supposed to be a German theme town. Then off to Angaston through Birdwood, Mt Pleasant and Eden Valley and a stop at Eudunda for afternoon tea. We actually made it to Burra at about 5.00 and driving through town saw what looked like miners cottages that were one building all the length of the street and thought that it would be cool to stay in one of those if it was accommodation, we found the caravan park was full and the lady said that the old miners cottages were now accommodation and they are good value for money for their size. It was $110 for the cottage and extra $10 if we wanted fire wood for the open fire. Once inside it had a separate kitchen, lounge with two single beds and fire place and master room. It was Dave’s & Carols for the double bed so I decided to get some firewood and put the two single mattress on the floor and have a night in front of the open fire. A walk into town for tea to a local pub was the order of the night then back to the open fire for an early night!!
Well today we or I knew it was to be a long day as we had over 400kms to do to get Broken Hill and there would be no fuel or town stops and nearly 300km of dirt to take the back road to Broken Hill. The Tomtom couldn’t find the road I wanted to take so when gassing up I asked the guy about the road and got all the right info. About 5km out of town was the road and it started as it meant to go on which was dirt. 297km later was the next bit of tar but in the mean time we had soft bull dust, hard dirt and soft dirt. It was better than some of the tar roads we have been on though and we got along easily at 80 to 90 km. The first stop was about 40km in just for Dave & Carol to catch up then stopped after the junction to Yunta for lunch at a Telstra communication tower. Carol was a bit under the weather with all the bumps and wobbles and also having to find a toilet in the bushes which didn’t help. The flies found us in about 10 minutes of stopping for lunch so we made the Aussie wave to each other during lunch. Back on the track and we found the first of about 10 gates we had to go through so it was back and forth opening and closing gates for the afternoon. One gate was for the Border so got a photo of both sides of the Border again. Carol was feeling a bit better by now and was getting use to the bumps and the bike slipping and sliding in the loose dirt underneath her. The track was mostly good with the occasional soft bull dust and wet patch from the rain a couple of days before. Finally we made it back to the tar seal so had a well deserved coffee break then 98km of 110km/hr road to Broken Hill for the night. The first stop was the toilets then to two camp grounds which were both full so we had spotted a Ulysses sign on one of the pubs so tried there for a room but the young blond girl looking after the place for her dad was not quite with it as she had had a group of uni students in last night and there was also no hot water so off to a motel or two to find one in our price range. Got 2 rooms for $80 each so it was more than we had been paying but that’s what we settled for. We decided to do our own thing for tea so Jo & I went and found a restaurant and I had Pizza and Jo had wedges with sweet chilli sauce and sour cream. Dave said he felt like KFC but ended up with Subway as he couldn’t find KFC
Yet another good night’s sleep for me & Jo but Dave moaned about a headboard banging the wall during the night, we were ready to get going about 9.00. Off to the information centre to try to find out the highlights of the town. We decided to go our own way till 11.00 then would meet back at the information centre and grab some supplies from the supermarket for lunch and headed out to Silverton for lunch. Jo and myself went out of town to the statue symposium only to find that you needed a key to get in available from the information centre were we just were and not knowing this till travelling 8 km out so headed back into town to have a look around. Silverton is where the car used in Mad Max is outside the local pub for photos as the film was made in this area. It was also a historical mining area with only a few buildings left standing. After lunch we followed the road out of town to a lookout and could see for miles towards the Flinders. Back towards town was a sign to a Historical mine so decided to follow the road out there only to find you had to pay for a guided tour. Back to the main road via 2 closed gates and off toward Yunta but hoping to get a bit further. From Broken Hill to Yunta is 199km of straight roads with only 2 little settlements on the way. 110km and it was time to let Dave catch up again and a stop for a cuppa at Olary were there was only a pub/ store and public toilets with a picnic table outside. I think there was only 2 houses but that was it, the wind was from side on making riding fun and tiring and time was getting on with the occasional rain shower just missing us and the fuel gauge dropping fast with the wind now from the front as well and doing 110km/hr we needed to stop in Yunta for gas the only time we have had to gas up twice in one day as we gassed up this morning from yesterdays ride of 411 km and only $1 less for today’s riding of 307km (Head wind and 110km/hr today and 80 to 90 km/hr with a tail or no wind yesterday)
With the rain today an early stop at 2.30 so I can catch up on the Diary and Jo & Carol can do the washing. Took 3 ½ hours to do 4 days diary then stopped and went out for tea, well that’s another story but about this morning first. We stayed at the pub at Yunta last night as it started raining heavy as we fuelled up with gas so decided it was a day. $60 per room and with a menu for dinner we stayed. This morning I went to pay for the room and the guy said make it $50 as Daveo was a Ulysses member as was the pub owner and gave me $10 to give back to Daveo As we left it started to rain so it was heads down to Peterborough for a grocery stop only to find the most expensive shop yet. Off through Orroroo to Carrieton with rain showers all the way. For me it was head down and 105km on the 110km straight roads and for Daveo it was 85 to 90 so it wasn’t too windy. A bit of a wait at the intersections to make sure we were still together and a lunch stop at Carrieton. Jo & I popped over to the local store for a warm pie again as Dave had just said that it was the coldest he had been so far in Australia. The weather cleared up a bit during lunch and we finally took off heading for Hawker. This would be our day as we are heading in to the Flinders Ranges and wasn’t worth going further with rain as we wouldn’t see much of what is supposed to be awesome views. The first caravan park was full so headed out of town to the second. Lucky we got the last twin double cabin for $90 and $10 for each bed for linen. As we later discovered that this doesn’t include towels. As I said earlier I spent some time doing The Lap diary then Jo & I went down the road for tea. Dave had gone and got some bacon & eggs and potatoes & pumpkin for dinner from the store which closed behind him. We walked into the restaurant and asked for a table for 2. He asked if we had booked and I said no and he replied that all his 2 seat tables had been taken and we would have to sit at a table with four seats, No problem I said. He was getting stressed as two more couples arrived and neither had booked. We offered to share our table with one couple but he didn’t want that as it would be too hard to keep account of what we had. Now he was really getting stressed as another booked couple came in and were seated and it went all pear shaped for him. He gave everyone that came in after us little bread rolls then took our order then forgot to take others and what a shambles as he brought out meals to a table that had been waiting to order for 3/4hr and hadn’t ordered yet and so on. The food was excellent and heaps of it at good prices just the owner couldn’t handle stress but had been there 21 years in August Go figure !! Once back at cabin another 1 ½ hours to upload photos and title them and upload diaries and plot maps then check E mails
What a lovely morning to wake up to with the rain gone and the sun shining but the cool morning air still about. Bit of a late one last night for me updating things but up, showered, feed and loaded ready for the day by 9am.Off into town if you can call it that with only one food shop/ Post shop and 2 fuel stations then out of town and on to the Flinders Ranges only to stop 3 km out of town to go and look at a lookout. Dave, Carol & Jo walked to the lookout as it was about 750m away from the car park as I waited. Didn’t want to get hot walking with all bike gear on then hop back on bike and ride into the cool morning air. Up the road were a series of lookouts looking at different parts of the ranges with the morning cloud preventing us from getting to many good photos of the rock face’s. Jo & I came across 6 wild Emu’s next to the road but as we stopped they took off into the bushes. With a ride into the Wilpene Pound then back on the road to Blinman we were able to ride on tar seal most of the way as they had just about finished sealing it for all the tourists. Some of the workmanship of sealing was a bit to be desired as it was lifting in one section quite a bit. Most of the new seal was 60km so it took a while to get up to Blinman. I think that this being a National Park that that was the speed limit anyway. A lot to see and take in through this awesome area with it being hard to describe in words just a lot of history uncovered in these ranges with the way nature has treated them over the Billions of years. With our lunch stop at Blinman then decided to take the Glass Gorge road through to Parachilna, the road was gravel and took us through a gorge and we actually rode in the base of the gorge most of the way. With the rain from yesterday we could see the high tide mark from the water and some places would not have made it through. Once through the gorge we headed to Parachilna which when we were about 4km from the main road we stopped to take a photo of a road sign to say what was on the menu at the Parachilna pub and heard a rumble and decided it would be a truck on the main road. Once about 2 km from main road saw a train appearing in front of us and remembered about Jo telling me about the coal train in the area. It was the longest train in Oz pulling 151 carriages of coal and was about 2.8km long with 3 engines; it carted coal from Leigh Creek to Port Augusta to power a power station. I managed to get a video of most of it so if you want to see it catch up with me sometime. From Parachilna to Leigh Creek was about 70 km of straight tar, we got going and started to catch up with a rain cloud so stopped and had a coffee while it carried on, when we took off the road was wet for about 20km then was dry, the rain cloud had gone to the right as the road had gone to the right but at the time I still think it was better to stop for a coffee than to ride into the rain. Once at Leigh Creek could only get a bunk room at the caravan park so went to the hotel in town and got a adjoining cabin for $110 with a double and 4 single beds, 2 bathrooms, 2 kitchens,2 TVs’ and 2 tables and chairs.
Off to an early start this morning as we had 2 bathrooms and didn’t have to wait for shower or toilets and had heaps of room for breakfast. We went to the only town shop for bread etc then headed out of town to fuel up only to find that the Mobil garage was out of petrol. The fuel tanker had just arrived and was fulling the 91 first so waited till he had started the 96 as the bikes don’t really like 91 much. So our early start was now a normal start as we headed to Lyndhurst stopping off to look at the coal mine that they get the coal for the power station from. After Lyndhurst the road had sections of seal then un seal as they were attempting to seal the whole section but were doing it in parts, I think they were doing the worst areas first then the better as they had 8km sealed then 8 unsealed all the way to Marree. With our lunch stop at Marree we still had a wee way to go and it would be all gravel to get to William Creek. The 204km of dirt from Marree to William Creek took a fair bit of concentration as it took in all kinds of road from soft bull dust to hard packed dirt to full on corrugations. With a coffee stop at the old Margret Sideing train station on the old Ghan train line. The amount of 4wd’s and camper vans never seek to amaze us as they just kept coming, the amount of dust from these and their repair bills as the speed that they travelled through the bumps I would hate to see their air cleaners and suspension at the end. We finally got to William Creek at 5.10 and the only accommodation was a tent site so it was now that Dave had to christian his new tent. We had 45 min to get setup as the only booking left for tea was at 6.00, what we saved by tenting we payed for in our meals at Dave and Carols mains costing $57 with no starter or desert or drinks and ours being $52 then $17 for two cans of beer and a apple juice. The meal was what you would call out back as it was at the pub which was the only thing there apart from two other houses. The amount of people at the caravan park was amazing to be in the middle of know where and at least 40 campers were staying the night, once finished tea it was a shower for me and Jo then off to bed for a early night. The night got cool and instead of using the sleeping bags as blankets we zipped them up at about 11 into their normal bags to try to keep warm. In the early hours of the morning I was woken by the noise of the air pump blowing Dave’s air bed up as it was going flat (new airbed too). In the morning it was still cold and once up and dressed noticed ice on the bike seats so it was a frost, Dave got up to tell us about his pumping session in the night and how cold he was with just about all his clothes on in his sleeping bag to keep warm.
After having weet-bix and fruit for breakfast with no hot tea or coffee or toast as there was no camp kitchen and also the showers were cold this morning so the first nights camping was not on the top of Dave’s conversation list, we gassed up at the fuel pump at the pub at $1.80/ litre for 91 as there was no 96 just diesel. Had a good look at the inside of the pub as it was a pub that when most people visit leave a piece of memorabilia behind. There was business cards everywhere, shirts, hats, and even quite a few bra’s and G strings all signed and pinned to the walls, ceiling etc. Once finally getting going our next stop was Coober Pedy 166km of dirt road to tackle again, it started off for the first 5km good then hard exposed rock and corrugations then came the soft bull dust so at the sign 100km to CP we stopped for a break and to stretch the back. It was interesting that we stopped for about 15min and 3 vehicles passed and all stopped to see if we were ok, but none with campers but when we got going again they started coming again. After another 50 km the road I stopped again but we decided to keep going as the road had improved and we were getting along at a good 90 to 100km/hr. We stopped at the Dog fence which is a fence from the Gold Coast to..... and is 9600km long to keep foxes on one side. After this it was a short 20km into town to find a toilet for the girls then a cabin for the night and unpack to have a late lunch. At the Stuart Range caravan park we got a corner room and were able to park the bikes undercover for the first time. After lunch we went back to have a look around town as this is were they build houses underground. At the museum we did the tour which showed us a short video of the history of the towns Opal Mining. There was a group of collage kids also at the museum and I thought I recognised one as our neighbours sons, Dave approached him as I was paying for our tickets and sure enough it was one of Leos and one of Gerard Vollebregt sons all the way from Kahutara, Wairarapa, New Zealand and we were to meet them in an underground museum in the middle of Australia. Once the tour of the museum finished we did a drive around the town looking at all the underground houses and all the Opal mining equipment parked around town. Back at the caravan park the owners also had a pizza restaurant so that was tea but it was w popular place and had to wait 45minutes from ordering to get the pizza but it was worth it. After a bit of TV it was off to bed as The Lap diary could wait another day as we were tired from our first nights camping experience in the outback.
Jo & I had the double bed last night with Dave & Carol on the bunks with carol on the top again (bunk that is), our bed was soft and had a lot of roll together so made for an interesting night’s sleep. Our route for the day was from Coober Pedy to Woomera and the first stretch was 252 km to Glendambo with nothing but straight roads and beautiful Australian country side. We cut it into 3 with a toilet stop and stretch at about 100km at a rest area then another 100km were we had lunch at a rest area. After lunch it was about 50km to Glendambo where there was 2 road house’s and a couple of houses, I decided to top up with gas as Jo wanted a Ice cream and cruising at 110km causes the bikes to chew through a bit more. It was the first time we had 98 octane fuel for a while so was good to add a bit to get things more economical. As we were eating our ice creams a couple of road trains turned up for a coffee break, these road trains tow 3 trailers and can be up to 55 meters long that’s over half the length of a rugby field. One guy we talked to the other day had 1 fuel trailer on that could hold 35000l of fuel, we had passed a couple these towing 3 trailers that’s 105000liters of fuel at about 1kg/litre means 105000kg (105ton) plus the weight of the truck and empty trailers (in NZ we only allowed 44 ton max) over here it must be about 120 to 130 ton that’s a lot of weight to stop or get moving. Jo counted all the wheels on a truck with 3 trailers and got 62 without the spares (and not the steering wheel). That’s a lot of tyres to check and keep air in, feel sorry for the guys changing tyres when needed. After our ice cream we headed for Pimba then around the corner to Woomera were they use to do weapons testing back it the 50’s and 60’s. Woomera was built in the late 1940’s for the British and American to do weapon testing. On the road to Pimba we stopped at a rest area overlooking Lake Hart which had some water in but not much. Most lakes in this area have been dry and to see water for our first time in about 10 days. Once in Woomera we stayed in the caravan park which uses one of the many old barracks from the air force base. It was $50 per room and had joint toilet/ showers 2 doors down. There were many old barrack buildings in the town and when we walked to the other end of the town for tea came across many old weapons in parks for show. The Hotel we had dinner at also used some of the barracks for accommodation but had been given a paint job and tidied up. The walk from the caravan park to the hotel which went from one end of the town to the other and took less than 15 minutes, the walk back was nice in the evening air after a good feed. Back at the camp I sat down again and got 3 days caught up with the diary with my one finger typing.
Jo and I went into town and I dropped Jo off at the park to get photos of the weapons as I went and posted some post cards then went into the local store and got a loaf of bread for lunch, went back to caravan park and Dave was nearly ready to leave so went back to park and picked up Jo and went for a ride around town which didn’t take long as it was very well set out and with nobody around. There were a lot of empty houses and most of the barrack buildings were empty. I don’t actually know what the town has to offer anyone but it had all the services including a hospital. In its day it would have been a busy town but once Britain and America left after their weapon testing the town is dead with a lot of housing empty. We meet Dave & Carol back at the park by all the old weapons then headed for Pimba for Dave to get fuel. The road house was full with old number plates from the vehicles that had passed through over the years. Heading to Port Augusta our first stop was at a lookout/ rest area were we had a cuppa as we had done 110km. The road was a highway so travelling at 110km managed to get there in an hour. The rest of the road to Port Augusta was the same and once on the out skirts of town stopped at the Botanical Garden for lunch. A ride into the town centre then to Tomtom to find a caravan park, we decided on the one on the shoreline as the other was next to the main road through town. The usual cabin of a double and bunks was the ticket for the night and it was time for me & Dave to give the back wheels a clean as we are getting our new tyres tomorrow. These tyres have done well with Dave’s at about 12900 and mine at about 13100 km, a ride into town for some supplies and cooked our own tea at the cabin tonight of a cooked chicken from supermarket, potatoes, pumpkin, mixed veg, pasta salad also from supermarket.
This morning we were up a bit earlier as we were getting our new back tyres fitted and the girls were hoping to get a haircut. Jo & I were ready at 8.30 and went into town to find a hair salon open and able to do the girls, Jo managed to get her and carol booked in for 9.30 and 10.30 while I went looking for a new plug for the stereo music on the Tomtom as I had lost the old plug and unable to listen to any music for the last week or so. Sorry Kent I must have got it caught somewhere and lost the plug but thanks again for making it work as the long roads are shorter with music. No luck at the first shop for a plug so caught up with Dave & Carol and Dave & myself left the girls in town while we went to the bile shop to get the tyres changed. Once at the bike shop Dave asked if he had baby powder for in the tyre but didn’t so he went back into town and got some. While he was gone I took my back wheel off and fitted the new tyre and was just putting the axle back in when Dave returned. Gave Dave a hand to put his bike on the centre stand then finished my bike and replaced the little hose that runs on the chain on the Scott oiler. With my bike ready to go waited and gave Dave a hand to put his tyre back on then left him and went to look for the plug for Tomtom. Went to a car parts shop with no joy the guy directed me to a place that might be able to help, went there and for $10 he would solder a new plug on( Cool music again). Left it with him and went back into town and found Jo with her new hair cut then found Dave. Dave & I went and fuelled up then back to Jo to see how long Carol would be. I decided to get a quick trim and went to the same place Jo & Carol did and was in and out in less than 10 minutes for a No1 for $15. We moved our bikes from the Mall car park to the main street park just outside Subway for lunch so we could see our gear during lunch. After lunch I went around to the guy that was doing Tomtom and he was done then met Dave & Carol at a lookout of the coal power plant that is at Port Augusta. Once done at lookout it was off to Kimba for the night, the road from Port Augusta was windy so we took a stop at Iron Knob for a coffee, this place has been mined for iron ore over the years and is now another very dead town. After the coffee it was off to Kimba 90km down the road, it was a good ride as I had the music playing in my ears which made the long straight roads seam not that long. Once in Kimba a quick ride through town then down to the caravan park for a cabin but only had motel room so got 2 rooms for $65 each. The Motel/ caravan park was also the road house which done food so it was burgers and chips for the night then into the room to upload photos and do today’s diary.
Jo- Had a 10am start to the day as Dave didn’t want to leave early. And then tonight when he found out what time we got up in the morning (8am) he was surprised (well, why get up early when we don’t have to!) Fuelled up and went for a little look around the small town and then Dave wanted to go up to a lookout that he saw a sign for but didn’t read it. So off we go trying to find the sign so we know what direction to go in. It wasn’t really worth the ride out there for me. 10:30 am and we are finally on our way. More green crops and silo along the way with the occasional small settlement where the silos are built. Got to Wudinna where Brian and I wanted to stop for the previous night only to find that both fuel stations had closed, one due to a fire and the other was re-opening soon under new management, but it did have a bit of accommodation. Stopped at Poochera for lunch, which had a lot of fascinating facts about ants at the rest stop, even the toilets had an ant theme to them – Anthony (boys) and Anthea (girls). We got to Ceduna just after 3pm and got a cabin then Brian and I went for a walk through the town and beach (finally!) then when we got back Dave told us that we can do whatever we want for dinner as they were going to cook their tea (savloys, spaghetti & toast). We decided to go for a ride around the town and ended up heading out to the point which had a wharf for loading grain, salt and gypsum onto ships. Then we went next door to the restaurant and had a decent meal, as we don’t know when we will have our next decent one.
I have been having a fantastic time in the outback, loving every moment of it. The remoteness doesn’t bother me. It is such an interesting area to ride around as the scenery changes quite often. You can see for miles and I don’t think that you could never get bored of it. It is so amazing how beautiful nothing can be, just a vast space of sand, sometimes with scrub or a few spindly trees. I wish we could have stayed longer up there for a better look around. William Creek was a great place and I had no problem being in a tent for the night and I even managed to get a hot shower! It is certainly a different sort of place up there. Coming into Port Augusta was really weird as we hadn’t seen traffic or a real town for a while and I had to adapt to being back into reality (only briefly for a few days). Both Brian and I enjoyed ourselves and hope to come back in a few years to do this area and more of the outback, so if any of you jealous folks at home want to come along for the ride I advise you to start saving those precious coins.
A short day again today with only just 0ver 300km then parked up for the night. We woke to rain this morning but the time we were ready to leave it had cleared a bit but had the wind. Decided to put wet gear on as it looked like rain the direction we were heading. Dave filled up with gas while Jo went to the supermarket to get some hair conditioner as she accidently got two shampoos the other day thinking one was conditioner. We gassed up yesterday as we got in early from only doing 300kms so first we went into town to have a look around town and get groceries for the next day or so then went for a ride out to the grain port for a look and around the rest of the town. Left town this morning and got 2 km out of town and Dave wasn’t in the mirror so stopped and waited a few minutes then he went passed. He had left a zip open on one of his side bags and stopped to do it up, followed Dave to Penong at 95 -100 km and the open road speed is 110 km. After a toilet stop I led again at 110 km and stopped at Yalata for a photo at the sign of the start of the Nullarbor. We decided to find a rest stop for lunch as we had done over 200 km this morning and was only 11.45. Found a rest stop about 30 km down the road and stopped for lunch then went to the Head of Bite to have a look at the whales. $12 to go for a walk to see the whales which they are there every year to me seemed a rip off to see a natural thing in or on the ocean but they want $12 per person to go have a look. Dave wanted to go see the whales so we went and got a few photos and seen we had had a good morning I thought we could actually get a bit further today as it was only another 180 km to the next town/ roadhouse. Dave wanted to stop at Nullarbor for the night so we got a room for the night. It was only 3.00 so Jo & I decided to go and try to find the road out to the train tracks. Asked the guy at the roadhouse and said that it was just out of town so headed out only to find one road that headed to an area of stone ready for resealing, which is the old Erye Highway. Rode down this road for about 30 to 35km then decided as we were on the wrong road and it was more of a small track we stopped for a coffee. As we were having our coffee a 4wd went passed, 2 minutes later it came back as they had been on this track all day and we were the first people they had seen. Talked with them for about 20 minutes then they were off and we headed back to the Nullarbor roadhouse. Tea was at the roadhouse tonight as that was the only place to get food, we didn’t have toilet or showers in our room so had to go across to them and the showers were $1 for 5 minutes.
Got up and going a bit earlier this morning as we had a big day ahead of us trying to get to Cocklebiddy for tonight which involved about 480 kms. When we left the first 100kms we had a thick fog and could only see about 200m ahead and a lot of water forming on our visors, once the sun warmed things up the fog burnt off and it became a wonderful day. Our first stop at about 150kms was at a closed rest area that was blocked off with dirt but with bikes we rode around and went in down to the park. It was closed as the sea cliff edge had been caving into the sea but to me seamed to be safe enough. After our stop it was another 30 or so km to the Border where we got asked about fruit and honey but had eaten our fruit at our earlier stop we only had a little bit of honey left in one of Dave’s containers so we lost that. Around the corner to Eucla as we were told to get petrol from their as it was the cheapest as the petrol station before the border was about 15 cents/ litre more. We managed to get a loaf of frozen bread as well from Eucla for lunch so did another 50km till we found a rest area and hoped that that was enough time for the bread to thaw. Still slightly frozen but thawed out quickly in the sun we realised we were having lunch at 10.30 not the 12.00 we thought it was as we crossed the border we gained 1.5hrs. After our early lunch we managed to get to Cocklebiddy at about 2.15 and decided to push on till the next roadhouse as we had gained 1.5hrs for the day and it would make Fridays ride a bit smaller. Once at Caiguna we got a room and unpacked and it was only 4.00 but our body clocks said 5.30 so once the kitchen at the roadhouse opened up at 6.00 we had dinner then it was off to our room and off to sleep.
Up early this morning as our body clocks we stuffed up we were ready and on the road by 8.00 and our first stretch of road is the longest straight in Australia at 90 miles or 146.6 km. This road was not flat so with the ups and downs we could at times see quite far in front of us and but the time we came to the end of our first straight to our first corner for the day we were ready for a break. After our stop we did about 50km then passes through Balladonia they had just done the road up in the last year or so and it was a good road with a lot of ups and downs, They had tried to take the tops of the ups and put in the hollows to try to keep the road trains flowing as the long hills would slow these big trucks down. From Balladonia to Norseman it started getting cooler so stopped about half way for Jo to put her wet pants on to keep the wind out as she only had her Draggon jeans with long johns on underneath. The last 50km into Norseman it started to spit and I was hoping it wouldn’t get any heaver as all I had on was my Draggon jeans as well but no long johns or wet pants. We made it into Norseman with no rain and found the supermarket for a loaf of bread and went to the park and had lunch in an under covered picnic table but the clouds passed and we didn’t get anymore showers. After lunch we went to the information centre to find out about the Super Pit tour at Kalgoorlie and managed to book in. The ride from Norseman to Kalgoorlie was different as we saw a couple of small lakes and the roads had corners which we were not use to as the Nullarbor Plains were very straight. Once in Kalgoorlie we went and paid for our tour tickets then went to the information centre to look for accommodation in town. Talking to the girls in the centre and they were interested about our trip then we said that we had our wives on the back didn’t believe us. We got a couple of rooms with adjoining bathroom at an old Aboriginal rest home that was closed down and turned into overnight accommodation. Still getting in nice and early decided to go to shops and get some supplies and cook for ourselves as the old rest home had a communal kitchen for us to use. It was another early night as body clock still trying to adjust.
Today we were up early to go on our gold mine super pit tour. It was freezing cold with the icy wind blowing around. We had to be at the store that run the tour at 9.30 and as we were riding down there we went past a temperature display sign reading 6 degrees. With the breeze it made it feel a lot colder. Once through our safety brief we got on the tour bus with about 15 others and headed up to the mine, we had the driver and tour guide but both were very informative about the mine and it past and the future. After a good look around at the Super Pit we went through the area they get the Gold out of the rock which is just as impressive as all the big trucks and diggers. After the tour we went up to the Super Pit lookout early as directed to watch the blasting of the rock for the next couple of days digging. The blasting time was supposed to be 1 o’clock but was 10 minutes early and we managed to get a couple of good photos. As we got their there was a couple of vehicles leaving and as we were leaving they were back again at about 12.55 to see the blasting at 1 but had missed it (Bugger). We went back to the accommodation for lunch then to bash the key board for a couple of hours to catch up on the diary. Dave & Carol went for a walk around the town and when my eyes got sore Jo & Myself went for a walk down town. As it was our Wedding Anniversary we went out for tea to The Loaded Hog, but went back to the Super Pit lookout to see all the action in the dark which is quite interesting in the dark as they go 24 hours a day 7 days a week and everyday of the year including Christmas and Easter
Left this morning and Dave wanted to get a couple of photos of something he saw as we came into town on Friday and as we were heading out of town in a different direction went and got his photos while Jo & I went to Boulder to find the markets which are on every third Sunday and this being the third but as I just realised as typing this out it was the fourth Sunday so as you guessed we were a week late (Oh to be a female and never be Wrong). Um we meet up at the old railway museum then went to get some bread and fruit for lunch only to find out that Coles and Woolworths both don’t open on Sundays. We also found that they close at 6 every night including Friday. So we fuelled up with petrol and headed out of town towards Coolgardie and it got quite cold, went into Coolgardie to try to find some bread for lunch only to find it all closed up apart from a roadhouse. We then headed back to Norseman stopping about half way for a stretch only to be told by Carol to keep going as she was cold and just wanted to get to Norseman for lunch and hopefully some sun to warm up. The day was sunny but as we went through Kalgoorlie the temperature was 4 and us travelling at 110 to 115 km and being surrounded by trees on each side of the road it was very cold. For me with a extra few layers of meat didn’t feel it as much as Jo, Carol & Dave. So far our trip we have been cold on quite a few occasions, more than we thought we would, we knew we were coming over in winter but Australia is supposed to be warm, talking to the locals they reckon that it has been the coldest and wettest winter for a long time and they are not complaining because rain in Australia is always good just not if you are a Kiwi travelling around on a motorcycle. We got into Norseman at 11.50 and managed to get a loaf of bread and some fruit from the supermarket before it closed at 12.oc’clock. We found a picnic table in the sun and warmed up during lunch. Our ride from Norseman to Esperance was a lot warmer as the day warmed up in the afternoon and we were getting along quickly and stopped for a stretch at Salmon Gums then off again. Once in Esperance we went to Rhys & Amy’s place only to find them not home so rang them and headed around to the caravan park Rhys had booked us a cabin at. Got unpacked then Rhys, Amy and Mike Slater came around for a coffee and we went through all our photos. Rhys had put a roast on so it was off to their place for dinner which was better than any roast we have had yet and with heaps of well done crackling. A few beers and time ticked by fast and Rhys had to work on Monday so we got back to the cabin about 11.30. Many Thanks to Rhys & Amy for feeding us and it was good to catch with you again, Sorry we couldn’t stay any longer but time is ticking by for us.
Got packed up this morning and went and took the key back to get our $50 key refund (first time we have had to pay a key deposit), then it was Dave’s time to have a moan at then as when we got back at 1130 last night he found that he & Carol had no towels left in their room. We left Dave trying to get an apology or discount from them and went to say good bye to Amy as Rhys was supposed to be at work only to find Rhys and his boss drinking coffee at Rhys place. Finally left Esperance for Albany as we had about 500 km to do today, As we headed out of town we took the scenic road which was about 25km only getting us about 5 km out of town, looking for a rest stop we stopped at Munglinup for lunch only having done about 120km of the 480 from Esperance to Albany. The sun was out so it was warm riding as we got going after lunch and stopped at Ravensthorpe for petrol and a quick stretch then down to Jerramungup for another stretch and a toilet stop. We found a rest area for a coffee break between Jerramungup and Albany. When we were about 20 km from Albany we stopped at an old bakery that was closed which had motorcycle sculptures on their road verge, (Jo & I had seen these last year as we visited Rhys & Amy). Still amazed by the time and thought of these and seeing all the old tools & farm parts to make these awesome sculptures only to find by the lady that run the bakery that her late husband had made all of these. Headed in to Albany only to be diverted to the other side of town as there was a accident blocking the main entrance. Finally got into town to find the information centre shut as we have found to go their first to get the best and cheapest accommodation, We followed Tomtom to a holiday park and got a cabin then Dave & I went and got some food for dinner.
We ended up in Pinjarra as Dave had talked to yet another stranger that told him there was a 200ft tree in this area so we went to the information centre yesterday as it was closing and the lady didn’t know about it, she said to come back today and she would call another local information centre to try to find it. We had no luck only to find out that we had passed it 2 days ago (Bugga). After finding this out it was 300km back we decided to carry on forward and head up to Fremantle, once there we went for a quick look at the Fremantle Prison, we left our jackets, helmets and everything with the bikes and went and looked at the prison, we were gone for 20 minutes and when returned went to get a drink from our drink bottles that we carry on the front of the bikes only to find that both Jo’s & mine and Carols had gone only leaving Dave’s which was nearly empty. After this we went into the town centre then went and found a park table for lunch. It was interesting watching people during our lunch as we were next to the train station and people were coming and going all the time. After lunch it was a look around the wharf at all the sail boats then into Perth. A couple of wrong off ramps then we went through the main streets and down to the Bell tower in Perth. A nice Ice cream then off on our way to find a place out of town for the night. Lancelin was on the radar then we got talking to a guy and said that Guilderton was nicer so that was the plan. Once at the corner to Guilderton there was a sign saying that the caravan park was closed so back to plan A Lancelin. It was another 45 or 50 km so we got there a bit late only to find the caravan park very um unpresentable so noticed a place across the road and had to pay $180 for a room with 2 singles and a double bed. Paying this much it was quickly down to the super market for some food to cook for tea.
The reason we chose this place in the first place was that from here up along the coast was going to be a good scenic ride. Fulled with gas and got the instructions out of town to find this road and found it easily but it was sand dunes which started out with a hard base then we went the wrong way into a huge sand dune area for all the local boys to play in. A quick U turn and off down the right road only to look in the mirror to see Dave drop his bike again. Jo jumped off and I went back to help lift it up but Dave & Carol had got it up already. Off again only to find the track get into softer sand and us unable to carry on so had to turn around and go the long way back to the main highway then up all the way along the boring highway to Geraldton. With the weather now warming up we were taking clothes off left right and centre. We rode through Geraldton then found a supermarket and stocked up on a few groceries. Once the groceries were packed Jo & I went to the Post Shop and got some stamps for post cards and 2 big bags for sending unwanted warm clothes back to Malcolm & Louise. We were heading to Kalbarri for the night as our first thought was Northampton but were told the caravan park was not that good. We got to Northampton and saw the caravan park and decided to see what they had as time was getting on and it was still another 100 km to Kalbarri. The caravan park had a big caravan for $65 and on Friday nights the local RSL come and cook a BBQ for $5/ person for dinner. This was us so unpacked and across the road to the pub for a couple of takeaway can for dinner tonight. Jo & I went for a walk up town only to find it was late night till 6 so had a look at the 5 shops in town. Once back at park Dave & Carol had finished their things and the BBQ was ready so off to dinner and to meet the locals and all the other travellers. A good night and for me the few beers helped keep the noise of the road away as the park was right next to the road (not as close or busy as Scone).
Our ride for the day was out to Monkey Mia to have a look at the Dolphins, it was 280 km to the Overlander Roadhouse to the turn off to Monkey Mia so that was our lunch stop. The weather is finally getting warmer now and we are looking for not places to stay dry but places to be in the shade to keep out of the sun. The Roadhouse was so busy there was a constant line of cars, 4wd’s & campervans. We finished lunch then fulled up with gas to find the queue inside as long as the queue outside. The guy once finished with me looked at the queue behind me and shook his head and asked if nobody had any jobs to go to. Off to Monkey Mia to hopefully get some accommodation as it is 155 km out there. On the ride out we stopped at a couple of tourist stops one being at some stromatolites in the sea and then Eagle Bluff. Time was getting on so we now headed for Monkey Mia and managed to get a room with double bad and single bunks for $128. Once fulled the guest card in he asked for $140 so we had to remind him that he had just quoted us $128. The room had a joint bathroom with the room next door and our room was just a room with a small table. There was a kitchen around the corner and a bar with takeaway meals. We went for a walk down the beach and to the wharf as the sun was going down. The water was not the warmest but nice to just wade in while walking to the wharf. Once at the wharf we walked to the end and Dave got some sunset photos then we saw some dolphins appear at the end of the wharf. About 10 went past jumping in and out of the water then off into the sunset only to turn around and come back 10 minutes later. It was back to the bar for dinner of burger and chips and a few beers for me while sitting overlooking the sea foreshore.
We were up early this morning to be down at the wharf for the feeding of the Dolphins when they arrived anytime between 7 & 9.30. We showered and went down and about 10 minutes the dolphins were there so Jo walked a bit into the water and they came right up around her. More and more people turned up and then the rangers came down and told us about them and lined 5 of the older ones up for feeding. Once all the feeding and the dolphins showing off we headed back to the kitchen for breakfast which was now busy with everyone coming back from the dolphin feeding. By the time we managed to finish breakfast and get packed up it was 9.45 before we hit the road. It was the same 150km back to the main road but we wanted to have a look at Denham on the way out which took very little, we managed to get the 155 km done with the drive in and out of Denham in 1.5 hrs being at the Overlander Roadhouse at 11.15 to see the queue of cars still there, (it must be a good business having one of these for petrol, food & accommodation). Our plan A for the day was to get to Coral Bay so we had to keep moving, the next 200km till Carnarvon was yet another good ride with a lunch stop at just over halfway. Once in Carnarvon Dave needed a ATM and Jo & myself found the post shop and packed the clothes we think and now hope we don’t need and sent them off. The day was getting really warm and we needed to keep moving just to keep cool. Yet more petrol and off towards Coral Bay with a rest stop at a rest area just before Minilya Roadhouse. A quick coffee with still70 k to Coral Bay then Carol got talking to a couple that just come from there and said that there was no accommodation left at Coral Bay not even for caravans or tents. We decided to see what the roadhouse had which was a single room for $55, a double for $95 and $10 per person for a tent site. Tent site it was then with plenty of sunlight Jo went off to start doing some washing as I put the tent up. With the tent up, air bed pumped up, sleeping bags done etc it was time for dinner. Oh once Jo had done the washing she found that the drier didn’t work so it was onto the clothes line for them to hopefully dry before the morning. Dinner was the usual roadhouse food of burgers and chips or steaks @ $25 to $32 so burger and chips for me and Jo had clod meat and salad
Sorry about the delay in the diaries as nobody else want to do them so it’s quite a job with trying to plan the days route and were to stay and also to do the photos on to the diary as well as write the diary while on holiday. Anyway now this morning with a good night’s sleep considering that 75 m away was a generator going all night and only a tent to keep the noise of the diesel engine out which didn’t do much. I actually put my ear plugs in that I usually wear on the bike to keep the noise out and that really worked well for me. Into the shower then breakfast, it was standing at the back of the bike whilst watching the sun come up and then start packing everything up again into the bike. All packed up and ready by 9 with the petrol tank full and tyre pressures checked it was off towards Coral Bay. Once there it was a quick walk to the beach to talk about how busy this place is and how full all the caravan parks were. With still a long way to go we were off to Exmouth which was 155 km and Dave wanted a stop at 100km as 155 was too much for him. After a 10 min stop under the only tree that had shade at about 95 km it was to Exmouth for lunch. Riding into Exmouth we could tell it was or is going to be a very expensive place in the future as they are just finishing building a big marina for boats. We found a nice spot in the middle of a park in the middle of town for lunch with shade and toilets only 100meter walk, all the things to lookout for when entering a strange town park, shade, toilets, table etc. After lunch Dave & Carol went to the supermarket for supplies while Jo & I had toilet turns as we didn’t want to leave the bikes alone again as in Fremantle. On the way out we took a look around the new marina and boat docks then back to the corner to head back to the main highway north, a stop at the corner which was about 85km then another 80km to the highway for a coffee break. The last stretch of 110km was the longest as it always is at the end of the day but keeping a sharp sys out for wandering stock as the last two days especially today there has been heaps. We have had to dodge everything today from sheep to emu’s, cattle, Kangaroos and even goats. At one point there were two 2year old bulls dead on the road that had been hit by traffic (glad not us on bikes). Once at Nanutarra Roadhouse we got a family room with two singles and a double for $100 so the tents stayed packed up. Talked to a couple of guys that had been out surveying in a helicopter for Uranium for a bit then as I am now have been in the roadhouse for 3hrs trying to catch up on a couple of days with my one finger typing
Well today started out the same as the rest but ended very different. We left the roadhouse for those who don’t know what a roadhouse is yet it is a petrol station generally out in the middle of 2 large town where you wouldn’t make it without getting fuel or needing to stay the night as its too far to go in the dark as there is heaps of wandering animals as you will get to see in photos, dead and alive. We headed towards Tom Price and it was 140 km on tar seal or 70km on gravel so we took the gravel road and ended up at Tom Price for lunch with a few stops in the morning. After lunch we headed back out towards Wittenoom and followed the road for about 85km then I slowed down for Dave to catch up and as I was slowing down Jo herd a hissing noise and said we might have a flat, I looked down to find it very soft which only happened as we slowed down. Off with the seat to get the push in patches and found hole which was quite big. With 2 plugs and about to pump up with the little air bottles a van stopped and offered me his little compressor. As we were talking Dave came around the corner only to stop 50m from us and get off and come walking up to say he also has a flat tyre (BUGGER). The guy in the van offered to lend us his pump so we unloaded my bike and took Dave’s wheel off and I headed back to Tom Price with my tyre only just staying up with 3 plugs in. A slow trip back into town trying to keep going but not wanting to lose the plugs by going too fast got in to town at about 10past 5 and know body wanted to fix our tyres after going to 3 places and ringing 2 afterhours numbers so went back to the first place who I managed to let me fix them myself. Took me a while as it was hot as and looking to find the right patches, tools etc, also had to remove my wheel from bike etc. Got both done and wheel back on and headed back out at about 7 after fuelling up with gas and getting a pie thinking if I should take anything back for the others but they had a full loaf of bread and milk and weetbix and I had no bags and 85 km of gravel in the dark with animals being a problem in the day let alone the dark. Took me nearly 1.5 hrs to do the 85km as I wanted to make it back in one piece. Got to the others at about 8.30 to find the tents up and they had had some weetbix and sandwiches for dinner.
After a average nights sleep up at the crack of dawn and we put daves tyre on then packed up and had breakfast then Dave wanted to go back into Tom Price and take the tarseal way around which was about 180 plus km so we finally ended up at the Auski Roadhouse for lunch then I had to go into Wittennoom to drop off the pump to the nice guy who lent it to us. I said that I would have a quick lunch and go and drop it off which was only 80km which should only take me 1 to 1.5hrs. Jo decided to come so left panniers behind and we were off. 20km of tar then 20 km of gravel then we got to Wittenoom which is a town that use to have an asbestos mine and got closed down and the mine burnt. The town now has about 30 houses and only 4 or 5 people living there. We dropped the pump off and took a couple of pic’s then headed out. Got about 10km down the gravel to get another flat tyre. Thought it was the big hole from yesterday leaking so plugged it again and luckily didn’t use my 3 little bottles yesterday so put 1 in only to find another hole. Plugged that and put last 2 air bottles in and we were off only to get about 10 down the road to the tar seal for the big plugged hole to let go. Parked off the road and waited, we would have been back in 1 hour if it didn’t go flat again, the day was hot and no shade it must have been at least 30 + degrees. We had a couple of cars stop all going the wrong way so waited for Dave hoping he would come looking if we didn’t turn up after 1.5 hrs. Finally after 2 hrs a guy going the right way stopped and asked if he didn’t see another bike on his way in to find Dave and let him know we were stranded. 45 min later another car stopped so I took my tyre off and Jo went with him into the Auski Roadhouse to fix it. I waited with the bike and finally Dave brought the tyre back with just enough air to hopefully get back to the roadhouse. I rode sitting on the petrol tank at 40km/hr as Dave could only get the plugs to stay in at 20psi. Finally at the roadhouse and it was to be another tent night so it was unpacking then went dark so the tyre could wait till tomorrow(What a long 2 days).
We are now at Port Headland have been out of coverage at nights to update diary and had to spend a night in the bust due to 2 flat tyres one on each bike 50m from each other. Sorry about the slow update will put other diary entries in tonight. I know some were getting conserned about us as we hadn't updated but we are all fit and well and still moving forward
Got up this morning and went to get the tyre fixed and the guy doing tyres had never done a motorcycle tyre so yet again I fixed it myself. They didn’t have the right patches so ended up putting Dave’s back tyre on my bike and mine which had the worst cut on Dave’s as he has a tube and would not go flat. By the time we had changed and fixed tyres then had breakfast then packed up the tents and ready to go it was heading towards 11 but with only about 280km to get to Port Headland it was a short ride then lunch. The weather is now getting very warm making the afternoon nice to ride in. A short stop for a drink of water then into town and to look for accommodation for the night. 2 camp grounds were full so we went to the information centre to try to find something. We got two mine workers rooms at the Hamilton Resort but had to pay $220 per couple which hurt BUT we had our own washing machine & drier, A/C in our room and it included all our meals of dinner, breakfast and we could pack a packed lunch the next morning. We made use of the washing machines as we washed everything we had including jandals and shoes as they too were getting smelly. Off to dinner were we could get a steak cooked or fish then help ourselves to all the salads, veg’s, cold meats, soup, and desert also with cheese and crackers. I know it was expensive but if this is how the mine workers are looked after I want to be one. It was interesting watching all the workers come in for dinner as the resort had over 450 rooms so a lot of people had to be fed.
Breakfast this morning was served between 4.30 and 7.00 so we were up and in the restaurant at 6.10 and it was all laid on for us again with about 10 different cereals then bacon, sausages, tomato, bake beans, spaghetti, poached eggs, fried eggs and even scrambled eggs and as for the breads it was everything including crumpets and croissants. Once we were done with breakfast we were able to pack ourselves lunch with all the meats and salads even pies or sausage rolls and fruits to finish off. We got ourselves as much as we thought we could carry on the bikes and then went to go and try to get all of our freshly washed clothes back in our panniers. I also rang Darwin to get two back tyres sorted for us when we get there hopefully by next Friday. A drive back into town to get some photos of the salt lakes and salt pile then down to the pile of iron ore ready to be loaded on to the many waiting ships. I could write a lot here as got talking to a few people about this port but it will have to wait till I get caught up with the diary. If you want to hear more let me know this is a big port and a very busy town with high paying jobs and high cost of living, 3 bedroom house $1500/week rent. Off towards Sandfire and we stopped at some termite mounds that some miners had put safety hats on then down the road to Pardoo roadhouse for lunch in the little shade we could find. After lunch it was down the road to Sandfire Roadhouse and when we arrived we found out that the roadhouse had burnt down 18 months ago and not rebuilt yet only a shipping container for a office and the only food they did for dinner was toasted sandwiches. We got a room for $100 but was small and very hot so it was to try and get cool then toasted sandwiches for dinner then a chat to the people in the next room for a bit then bed.
Jo- Packed up the tent as was gone as soon as we could get out from this place. It was a warm morning and I knew that it was only going to get hotter as the day progressed. Another day on the road travelling the tarseal nursing the back tyres. The landscape is continuing changing around us, but is still very dry. The termite mound that I have seen today are small and thin with quite a few all in the same area. Reminds me of looking at a cemetery with the termite mounds as head stones. Got to Halls Creek for lunch and since I was sick of having the same boring thing for lunch I went over to the roadhouse and bought my lunch. We were parked up by some public toilets which were touch button controlled and we all found it quite funny to watch the tourist try and work out how to use them. At this stage Dave and Carol were starting to find to heat a bit too much so for the next 180km we have to stop every 60km for them to have a rest and a drink, which we did as well to keep the fluids up. It was really warm, even the wind was warm. Finally got to Turkey Creek after riding through a beautiful Gorge with sweeping corners. Set up our tent, then off to the pool for a dip to cool down. Dinner and then off to bed for another early night as we are crossing the WA/NT border tomorrow and we will be losing 1and a half hours because of the time change.
sorry about the slowupdates as we have been traveling the north west and accommodation is very expensive and the town are far apart so have had trouble getting to power points for laptop and signel strenght for uploading diaries and photos. We are now in Timber Creek which is on our way to Darwin, we have been to Broome for a night and to change our oil thanks to Warren and the use of his work Air Fire Service workshop. We stayed with Warren & Maree and other house guests. We were having a good catch up with Warren when his phone went and he had to go put out a house fire as he is in the Voluntary fire service as wellas being in the airport fire service full time. We have done about 22500km so far and are getting new back tyres at Darwin due to the puntures and also the heat and extra speed we have been doing on the highway compared to the first tyres of dirt and backwards and forwards and up and down getting to Port August. We have spent the last few nights in the tents as rooms have been over $200 for the night and only $10 per person for tent. Tonights is $90 so tents stay packed away and I,ve got power for the laptop
Jo – Well don’t know what happened this morning but we were all up very early and packed and gone by 7:50am! This stretch or road to Kununurra is majorly being upgraded, and about time with all the crosses that are on the side of the road. Got to Doon Doon Roadhouse by 9am and it was already quite warm, a water and toilet stop(which we had to get a key) and we were on our way again, although when riding it was still cool, just. Kununurra was a fuel and supplies stop with a very quick look around the town, Brian brought a thermometer. This is where the diamond mines are located and there were a few good shops to go in but apparently no time for that! Dave and Carol wanted to buy some fruit, which we told them they couldn’t as we were going across the border in about 35km. They had no idea or that there was a 1 and a half time loss! We got to the border and didn’t even get checked, so we could have got fruit, but better to be safe. Lunch at the rest stop there and the heat was quite hot, so Brian took the temp, shade – 33C, open - 40C. Dave and Carol both looked like they were about to melt into a pile. Brian and I were feeling it a bit too, but not as bad. After lunch we had to do the 50-60km stops again, I will have to get use to it I suppose, so it takes forever to get to our destination. Finally at Timber Creek, and we got a donga(cabin), Dave and Carol went and got changed and straight into the pool. Brian got onto the Laptop to try and get some of “the lap” diary updated. Asked Dave and Carol if they were prepared to put some entries into the diary, Dave – “you wouldn’t want to read what I have put into my diary” as he said he only writes the high lights and intresting bits and it doesent flow for the days events
Jo - Another day of leaving one place to get to another in the heat. We got to Katherine and stopped for lunch under some much needed shade. Dave is starting to get worried about the back tyre as the hole seems to be getting bigger and the patch is starting to bulge out. We had a quick look around Katherine to see if we could find a motorbike shop with a tyre to put on but the Honda shop that we found had nothing available. So we fuelled up and with only 90km to get to Pine Creek we were on our way slowly as the heat of the day was 35deg. Finally arrived at Pine Creek, stinking hot man! And our cabin was even hotter! 3:30pm START OF THE DISASTER Brian off to do some laundry as I go to the ladies to get changed into some well needed cooler clothes. I was all of a sudden hit with a piercing pain in my lower abdomen so I went back to the room for a lay down on the bed and some panadol to see if it would go away, it didn’t. By 5:30pm I was back on the bed in major pain and very lightheaded pleading with Brian to go and find some help. Luckily there was a clinic nearby and one of the nurses came around to check me out. Onto the stretcher I go and taken to the clinic to be assessed. 1st – Bad colic was what they thought, but that soon passed through me and still the pain, so I had to give a pee sample, which was hard work when you have major abdomen pain. To our surprise the sample was used for a pregnancy test which came back positive! Ectopic Pregnancy was diagnosed (married for 17 years, tried fertility treatment which ended in Ectopic pregnancies previously, who thought that this would happen naturally!!!) So I was rushed off to Katherine Hospital in the back of their ambulance (Toyota Landcruiser). It was the most bumpiest ride I have ever had, it was smoother when she hit a Kangaroo just before getting to Katherine. Brian was following on the bike, by this time it was mid to late evening, everything was dark. Reassessed in ED and made into a pin cushion with all the needles trying to go into me, with a very hard bloated stomach I am close to passing out as no pain relief has been given at all. Not only have I been diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy, but a ruptured one that requires emergency surgery to save my life. I remember being wheeled to theatre and seeing the lights and my eyelids closing.
Thursday 13th August
Jo – I am alive! Lucky to be alive! Apparently, they removed 2.5 litres of blood from me as well as my right fallopian tube. I woke up to see stars, planets and rockets in my room. I had been put into the children’s ward as they don’t usually deal with intensive care patients at the hospital. I had needles and drains all over me. Another 500ml of blood was drained out of me today and a central line was put into my neck as I am like a rock to get blood out of. Brian returned from Pine Creek with all our gear and found a room in town while Dave and Carol carried on to Darwin through the Kakadu National Park.
Dave & Carol Heading for Darwin today via Kakadu NP, taking it easy as the rear tyre is looking very sad. The first 210 km to Jabiru for lunch was through undulating hilly country, gums and some rock formations, nice after lots of straight roads . Had lunch at a park / playground by a lake in the town with croc warning signs everywhere - would you even want your kids to play there????? Phoned Brian, he said Jo has had abdominal surgery as she was haemoraging, so she won't be back on the bike again, so they will have to decide what they are to do in a few days time when Jo is discharged from hospital. Looks like we will be finishing the trip by ourselves. The 220km to Darwin on the Arnham Highway was straight going, with lots of areas recently burnt. We were really in croc country here passing over the Aligator and Mary rivers and a number of other smaller ones that looked like they would be full of them. Got to Sth Darwin 4.30 hot and bothered, refused to pay $105 for a cabin so back in the tent tonight under big trees. 451 Km
Friday 14th August
Jo – Had a blood test and a scan in the morning only to discover that my blood levels where still dangerously low, but no sign of any leaks in my abdomen. Blood transfusion was in order and I am being transferred to Darwin Royal Hospital by plane. So Brian is off to pack up and ride the road for 3 hours to get to Darwin Hospital. By the time everything is organised and I get to the Hospital we arrive at the same time and then proceed to spend 15 hours in ED, as no one knew what to do with me until the night shift came on and realised how long I had been there as a transfer patient. A bit of a stressful night. Dave and Carol had also got to Darwin and got a new tyre put onto the bike and then left again to stay about 50km out of the city, not knowing that I had been transferred.
Dave & Carol Well our tent was pissed on by the bats and my boots which I left outside had possum shit in them, great start to the day. Went into the city to get new rear tyre fitted, had a good look around. Posted our winter gear back to Brisbane to lighten the load a bit. Phoned Brian, he said Jo was flown to Darwin Hospital this afternoon. Could'nt be bothered with another hot night in a tent so relented a booked a $105 / night cabin for two nights. 82Km
Saturday 15th August
Jo – In the wee early hours of this morning I was transferred up to a ward Brian ended up staying with me and later on in the morning went and found a place to stay. He also got hold of Dave and Carol and told them where I was, so they came back to see me before continuing on their travels down through Lietchfield National Park. We hadn’t told family or friends what had happened at this stage, so Brian started to do some phonecalling, and everyone was just as surprised as we were as to what had just happened.
Dave & Carol Relaxing day today, went to the Royal Darwin Hospital to see Jo, she was looking very bright considering, had a long lunch with Brian, had a good chat about life in general and the crap it can throw at you at times. 82Km
Sunday 16th August
Dave & Carol Darwin to Pine Creek 342 Km. Lousy nights sleep, combination of the heat and all the going's on over the last few days, so we are heading of by ourselves and will keep in touch. On te road by 8.00 heading through the Litchfield NP loup via Berry Springs. 39km of freshly graded loose gravel, scenic though with bush and palms and lots of east / west facing thin termite mounds looked like a grave yard. Stopped at the Wangi , Tolmer and Flourence Falls with clear and safe luke warm swimming holes under them, then the Buley rock pools, a series of deep pools in solid rock created by water cascading down over the rocks over time. All these areas very popular with heaps of people swimming. Lunch at Rum Jungle under a tree by another one of those famous pubs. Back on the Stuart Hwy Sth to Pine Creek once again. Sat on 130km / hr ( the legal limit in NT now!!! ) all the way with a brief drink stop at Hayes Creek to escape the heat for a bit. Even the locals are moaning saying this heat is unusual this early as is the humidity in the build up to the wet season.
Dave and Carol have gotten to Katherine and are going to do the Katherine river Gorge cruise tomorrow for Carol’s Birthday.
Jo – Starting to get mobile, very slowly. All my needles and tubes can come out. Unfortunately the whole ward heard the tube come out of my stomach (the blood draining one) a good 12-15cm was poked in making me nearly pass out as it got pulled out, as Brian just stood there watching.
Monday 17th August
HAPPY BIRTHDAY CAROL
Dave & Carol Pine Creek to Katherine and Katherine Gorge 150 Km Slept like a log, must have been stuffed, on the road before 7.30 arrived Katherine at 8.45, to late for the 9.00 gorge boat trip so went on the 11.00 instead for Carols birthday treat, a great way to fill in the day. Hard to believe the gorge fills with water when it floods. Brian phoned Carol to wish her happy birthday which was appreciated. Staying at Katherine River Lodge Motel with a nice pool for a mid winter swim.
Tuesday 18th August
Jo - I am released from hospital, tired and put into a cab to be taken to where we will be staying.
Dave & Carol Katherine to Elliott 425 Km
Had a great run first thing in the cool morning air, 320km by 11.30 when we pulled into Dunmarra. Stopped at the famous Daley Waters Pub for a coffee & cake on the way. Staying at the Carlton Pub in Elliot,a cabin out back along with a large Rotwellier guard dog but seems ok. Burger and chips for tea once again form the only shop down the road as the pub looks a bit dodgy. There is a large lake (Lake Woods) not that far from here that was empty for many years but is now full hence the boat in the yard!!!
Wednesday 19th to Saturday 22nd August
Dave & Carol Wed 19th Elliot to Wauchope 368km
As the tempurature has been climbing the further Sth into the centre we travel we have decided to get on the road by 7.00 to get to our destination by mid day, but have to take it easy for the first hour or so because of the wild life. Tennant Creek for a 3/4 hour coffee break. Lots of Aborigine people sitting around in groups on the ground or just wandering. There was a manganese mine prior to here and the town was also founded on gold mining. There were some reasonable sized hills prior to and after the town which was a nice change as we have spent days travelling straight undulating roads. Stopped at the Devils Marbles a large group of huge round rocks just prior to Wauchope on flat plains, a great sight to see. Got to Wauchope R/H around mid day and straight into the pool out back, it was like an oasis in the middle of know where.
Dave & Carol Thurs 20th Wauchope to Alice Springs 406km
There were five people in swaggs on a small grass area this morning, the two so called guard dogs met us at our door at 6.00am, then went and proceeded to lick the lawn dwellers to death which was quite entertaining. Tavelled 47km this morning before we saw any vehicles. Passed through Wycliffe Well know as the UFO watching centre of Austalia, you can see why with the awesome clear night skies in this area. Made really good progress, got to Ti Tree (the most central R/H in Aussie) 200km in 1hr 40, stopped for fuel, drivers coffee and a bacon and egg toastie, was feeling quite hungry for some reason. Onto Alleron with these huge Aborinal statues over looking the small settlement. Alice Springs is a large centre surrounded by large hills and the Macdonnell Ranges with the dry Todd River and the Ghan railway passing through. Went up to a war memorial lookout over looking the centre that night to watch the sun set, awesome view.
Dave & Carol Fri 21st Alice Springs to Uluru (Ayers Rock) 526km
Jo – I am on the road to recovery, slowly improving each day. On Thursday early evening I managed to get to the markets and have a bit of a look around and had to buy a couple of dresses as I can’t wear pants. Dave called to let us know that they had made it to Alice Springs. Friday we went and had a bit of a look around town, but with the heat being between 32 and 35 degrees it doesn’t take long before I get tired. Saturday and off to some more markets (getting back to myself – shopping, shopping, shopping!) and then a look around the area and wharf. Darwin is actually a great place if you don’t mind the heat.
Dave & Carol Sat 22nd Uluru and the Olgas and surrounds 152km
Well, the shopping only consisted of purchasing some dresses for me to wear as I am unable to have anything tight around the waist or abdomen, yes I know, me in a dress! Nice and cool though. Had a bit of any easy day today. We went again to a night market, which was smaller than the other night, had a good look around this time and watched a few performers that were there. It was by a beach and we couldn’t get over the amount of people that were sitting on the beach at sunset, it was just about shoulder to shoulder. Fantastic sunset.! Great cheap food, Brian had a lamb shank with damper and potatoes for $9 and I just had some fresh sweetcorn smothered with butter and salt for $2, both were delicious
Dave & Carol Uluru to Alice Springs 449km
Time to try and organise how we are going to leave Darwin. Well it has become a bit harder than we thought. Brian tried to get some quotes form a few different rental companies for a 10-14 day one way ute hire, just to Cairns. All quotes came in around the $3,000-00 price!!!! Priced up renting a car, no difference in the prices and a motorbike carrier was going to be $900 to Cairns. Ah Na! So now we are looking at flying me to Cairns for $210 and booking some accommodation for a week while Brian rides his bike there, he thinks he will be able to do it in 3 days, Yeah right! So off around to the motorbike shop to see if they still have the tyres there, which they do.
Dave called tonight, and they are now only in Tennant Creek, we thought they would be over the border by now. They have been down to the rock(Ayers or Uluru) but didn’t really say much about what they thought of it. Brian hopes to catch up with them on the way to Cairns and then hopefully again in Cairns. They still haven’t adjusted to the nice hot weather!
Dave & Carol Alice Springs to Tennant Creek 505km
Jo; Didn’t have much sleep last night as my legs wouldn’t stop being itchy. Our alarm sounded at 2:45am and we got up and started to get the bike all packed up ready for Brian to get going after he takes me to the airport. The airport is a lot like Wellington, but has a lot more security machines. I got booked in and that was as far as Brian could go as the rest of it was for flying people only, so I went through the metal detector and my hand luggage through the x-ray machine and waved goodbye to Brian then up the stairs I go as he leaves to go back and put the rest of his gear onto the bike. I line up to go through another set of metal detectors and x-ray machines then through customs as it is an international flight, even though I am a domestic flyer. I am flying with Jetstar, which is basically like Freedom Air, you have to pay for anything that you want onboard. The plane wasn’t very full at all and I ended up having the exit seats all to myself for the 2 and a half hour flight. By the time I got to Cairns it was 8am and I now know why I had itchy legs last night as I now have a hot red dotted rash all over my legs and feet and it is really itchy. I dropped my bags off at the accommodation as I was unable to book in yet and off for a walk down town to get some breakfast and to have a look around. It is just about as hot as Darwin!! But it didn’t take long to get use to the heat. Had a slow walk around the town stopping a few times for a rest. What a great place, easy to get around by foot and lots to see and do.
BB; Well just like Jo I didn’t get much sleep and it was a bit of a late night last night trying to pack everything again plus all the stuff Jo had brought at the markets at Darwin. The alarm went off at 2.45 so up and shower then get the last things into the panniers and get the thermos’s sorted with hot water, cold water and milk. Put Jo’s bag on the bike and off to the airport at 3.20 for her early morning flight. Once at airport and booked in she headed through customs then it was back to the place we were staying to throw the last bits on the bike and double check the room. Finally off at about 5.10 and down to the first open fuel station to fuel up. Always amazing the amount of people around from the time I took Jo to the airport till now, off to Cairns I programmed Tomtom and his estimate was 2950km but I decided to go through the Savannah Highway which took about 450km off the trip. I took it slowly till the sun came up with the amount of stray animals around and the Kangaroos. Still managed to get to Katherine before 8 which was just over 300km, once the sun was up it was the speed limit of 130km plus a bit and thought I was getting along fine till I got passed by a Mazda BT 50 ute like I was standing still so followed him for a bit till we got to Katherine. Once at Katherine it was a second fuel stop and around to the Honda shop for a bottle of Scottoil for the chain oiler. Off yet again and 275km down the road to Daly Waters for yet another fuel stop. Had fuelled up and had a leek and cleaned the visor and headed off towards Cape Crawford by 11.00 so had clocked up nearly 600km by 11.00 (Good going I thought). Yes you guessed it another fuel stop at Cape Crawford which was a 270km stretch and it was 1.30 and time for a quick pie and cold drink. Travelling at 130+km/hr and its a gas stop every 300 to 350 km so at Cape Crawford 270 away and then Borroloola 110km away I didn’t want to risk it. The stretch from Cape Crawford to Borroloola was easy and over before it began as my only time off the bike was to fuel up I wasn’t even getting sore by the time I got to Borroloola. The next stretch was 260 km to the border then fuel at Hells Gate then another 240km to Burketown and it was ALL dirt. So far today I had done about 100km/hr since I left at about 5.00 including fuel and lunch stops, off to Hells Gate and boy what a road. Some bits were good going and getting along at 110km with other areas of bull dust it was slow going. A couple of water crossings and quite a few floodway dips one very sharp dip and the topbox broke the bracket and was hanging on till I stopped. 5 min later managed to get it back on and tied on hopefully tight enough and kept going, not many vehicles coming the other way but a vehicle transporter truck went passed with a bike on the back and thought to myself someone has broken down or fallen off. Time was getting on and finally got to Hells Gate at about 6-6.30, it was getting dark and I started wondering how far I should be going today. It was still another 200km or just under till Burketown so when paying for fuel asked if they had any rooms for the night and if they were doing any evening meals. The answer to both was yes so a Donga for $30 and steak and veg for tea at $25 was me for the day having covered 1300+/-km.
Brian got up earlyish, 8am. And off to the bike shop to put new tyres on the bike, he got them even cheaper than the first set that they purchased in Adelaide. Then when he finally came back we were off into Darwin CBD to go and book my flight and accommodation for Cairns. Great accommodation right in town and very reasonably priced, but the flight was a great price with a catch – 5am flight and a check in time of 3:30am as it was an international flight from Singapore that had a stopover in Darwin. And I needed to produce my passport, which we had with us. Then we were off down the road to a shopping mall to try and find a bag for me to take onto the plane. Finally found a descent backpack that also had wheels, as I am still unable to lift anything heavy. Our plan now is for me to fly to Cairns with accommodation booked for a week and Brian is going to zoom through on the bike. Hopefully in a week’s time I will be able to get back onto the bike and then we will have 3 weeks to get back to Brisbane, which is about 1600km away.
Dave & Carol Tennant Creek to Camooweal 479km
A really good nights sleep after the feed of steak and veg then a good hot shower, I was up and had some weet-bix then on the road by 6.00 took it slow at first till the sun came up then stepped it up as the road let me still being gravel/ dirt. Came to a river crossing which had a concrete base with water flowing over the concrete and halfway through one slab of concrete had been broken so had to go into the deeper side of the road, once passed the hole headed into the shallower water and whilst crossing the middle of the road went for a bit of a skid and ended up sliding through the water with the bike on the right hand side and me in about 6 to 10 inches of water splashing everywhere. Once stopped got up and tried to lift bike but wasn’t thinking and a bit shocked then took my helmet off and took a deep breath and lifted it easily once thinking about it and lifting in the right places. Off again wet and pride broken but nothing broken on bike and was only about 20 km to Burketown for yes yet another tank of gas. It was off to Normanton next and as the day was warming up it was quite cool riding in wet clothes. The road to Normanton was about 30km tar and the other 200km gravel/ dirt. With yet another gas stop at Normanton I was heading out of town by 11.30ish and of towards Croydon then Georgetown. The 300 km from Normanton to Georgetown was all tar so made good time and stopped for lunch while re fuelling at Georgetown at 2.00. With Tomtom showing less than 400km to Cairns I finally thought yes I am going to make it and probably get there about 6. The roads through this area are all single lane with big edges so everyone has to move over to pass anyone and when a road train comes you get out of the way of then as they are 53m long and weigh up to 150 tons. The next gas stop was Mount Garnet and another cold drink then the final stretch through Ravenshoe then through to Gordonvale and right on after hour traffic it was a slow trip into Cairns. Stopped for the last tank of gas in Cairns and to program the address of Jo’s motel and to ring her and surprise her that I was 5 min away. Got to the motel and nearly couldn’t get off the bike as my arse was as you would guess sore. 1200km today and 1300km yesterday it was time for a walk so we headed into town for a good meal and a few beers before heading back to the motel for a shower and a good nights sleep.
Dave & Carol Camooweal to Cloncurry 324km
Dave & Carol
Dave & Carol
Dave & Carol
Dave & Carol
Dave & Carol
Hi all A quick note will do more tonight .All good have left Darwin and spent 6 days in Cairns, Jo flew and I rode 2500 km in two days, have left Cairns and caught up with Dave & Carol in Cooktown, They are taking it slowly back to Brisbane with no dirt and Jo and I will take a look at the road to cape york or head back inland for a few days then might catch up with them a bit later on. But All good Jo has made a good recovery and isgetting ichy feet to get back on the bike. Cheers thanks for all your wishes for Jo to get well it has worked BB
Daveo : Well I have got my hands on the laptop, Brian has asked me to do an update of what we have been up to so here goes, since we left Darwin with a much needed new rear tyre, the old one was so close to failing with the case splitting open by the time it was changed, it was a real worry. We are on our second day in Cooktown and are here for three nights at the Big 4 Tourist Park. We headed South down to Katherine from Darwin via the Litchfield National Park and did the Katherine Gorge boat tour (it was the day of Carols birthday).We have since been to Ayers rock and the Olgas, both impressive to see. The price to pay for the trip to the centre to see the rocks was the 1450km return trip back up the same road to Three Ways to head east towards Queensland for the final leg of the trip back to Brisbane over the next few weeks. We were not prepared to take the shorter gravel route through from just above Alice Springs due to the fact we were by ourselves and the isolation of this area, so common sense prevailed and we have stayed on the main sealed routes since and intend to continue doing so. We have been through Mt Isa, Cloncurry, north up to Normanton and Karumba at the Gulf of Carpentaria for a couple of relaxing days, then back East through Croydon, Georgetown, Ravenshoe then back North to Cooktown. The heat has been extreme, even the locals are complaining, so we have been getting on the road by 7.00am and off by mid day covering anything from 300 to 500km. Thank fully all the tourist/caravan parks in these areas have good swimming pools which we have been living in. I must admit we were both really surprised to see Jo back on the bike at all, after what she has been through, but it was good to catch up with them today 1st Sept in Cooktown after a couple of weeks apart. We were planning to catch up with them when we reached Cairns in a few days time. Brian has indicated they intend to continue further north towards the cape and we will continue to head south towards Brisbane as planned.
Tuesday 1st Jo is back onto the bike today as we have decided to start to travel again, slowly. Not an easy day to start off but we wanted to head North to try to catch up with Dave & Carol. We could have taken the long boaring tarseal road up to Cooktown but wanted to do the Dantree and Port Douglas and the Bloomfield track. Most of the day we were on seal with a section of about 70 km of gravel before Cooktown. Heading out of Cairns we followed the coast along the beach and nearly stayed on the beach with the tent as it was picture perfect up the coast. We popped into Port Douglas for a look but it looked to up market for us so carried on to Daintree for lunch. After lunch it was across the ferry and up to Cape Tribulation through some of the most awesome rain forests. From Cape Tribulation it was gravel with 3 water crossings and Jo handled the bumps well. Took a bit longer than expected but enjoyed every minute of it. Once at Cooktown we headed for the camp ground and caught up with Dave & Carol. They were staying 3 nights, Having already stayed 1. We booked for 1 night with the intention to head more north if Jo felt ok. Got Dave to tap the keyboard for a bit to let you guys know what they been up to. Wednesday 2nd Today we headed further north to Laura but the road was very bad and took us quite a while to get through,also we helped fellow motorists with their troubles. First we came across someones tent poles spread all over the gravel road so stopped and gathered them all up and put in one spot. About 5 km down the track we came across a couple we had seen earlier heading back and stopped and found out they had lost their poles so told them were we put them. We carried on for about 30 min then stopped for lunch in a shadey spot and enjoyed the peace and tranquillity, just packing up and the people had returned with their tent poles only to stop and talk to us with a very hot hub on their camper trailer. Gave the guy a hand to pull wheel and hub off to find the brakes dad all come loose inside the hub not the wheel bearing as we both had first thought. The road didn’t get much better towards Laura and once there found that the road all the way up Cape York was much the same so decided not to go further north as it was a bit too rough for Jo at this time. We headed south to Palmer River road house and got a tent cabin for the night (see photo, quite cool). Got a good feed and a few beers for the night and Jo enjoyed being back on the road again.
Dave & Carol Cooktown and surrounds 16km
Today we headed south still but didn’t get too far as the bumps yesterday took their toll on Jo. We actually stopped at 1.00 at Innot Hot Springs and spent a few hours in their natural heated pools. We had stopped at Ravenshoe for lunch and decided to call it a day
Jo - We woke up to a day of overcast cooler weather with a few greyish clouds in the sky. Good for riding. We got going just after 8am and it soon became clear that we were possibly going to get a bit of rain somewhere today. We went through a bit of a drizzle, maybe 2 minutes at the most! I wasn’t having a good day today, I think the ride yesterday was a bit too much and I was getting that cold that I had to put another layer of clothing on!(blood levels must still be low) We came across a dead snake on the road that the crows were attacking, so they must be about now, and somewhere else we just about ran into a tree kangaroo on the road, which was just sitting in the middle of the road, we think it may have just been missed by a car and was a bit stunned, hopefully it got to the other side alive. Mareeba and Atherton are reasonable size places, bigger than I expected. We stopped at Ravenshoe (which has the highest pub in Australia) for lunch and it started to drizzle again, very light for maybe 5 minutes. I wasn’t feeling any better so Brian thought we would just go down the road a bit to Innot Hot Springs where they stayed last year on the Postie Run and we could relax in the hot pools. Fantastic pools, nice and warm. Off over the road to the pub for dinner, which had just been taken over by a couple a week ago after being shut for quite a few months. The locals are a bit of an interesting bunch of characters to say the least. Back into the pool for a last dip and we watched the fog roll in over top of us.
Dave & Carol Cooktown to Mossman 281 km First rain since 24th July!!!!
Jo – After a good night’s sleep we finally got going and it was a bit breezy but the weather was clearing. The roads that we took today were good in most places and the rest were one lane of bitumen with road trains coming through all the time. As the day progressed it got hotter, basically back to the hotness we were use to! All the roads were full of dead kangaroos in different stages of decay and the smell to go with them, either on road or the side, so we had to dodge a few and sometimes at the same time move off the single land road to get out of the way of a road train. Finally getting to Townsville we didn’t actually realise that it was so spread out. It is a city that has some nice beaches, but the CBD is not that great, the suburbs are better. We found a place to stay right on the beach front and what do you know there was a market on. Had a look around and found something to eat then we went for a walk along the beach and being a Friday night all the eateries and bars were packed. Back to where we were staying to try and do a bit of updating of the lap diary for you people out there. Our plan was to stay a night here and then go over to Magnetic Island for a couple of days, but when we got here we found out that there was a sailing race on at the Island and that it would be extremely busy all weekend, so we decided to flag it, next time as it looks like a great place to spend a few days.
Dave & Carol Mossman to Cape Tribulation and return 174 km
Jo – We didn’t go far today, only about 90km to Ayr, but we spent most of the day looking around Townsville before we did the big ride south! Brian wanted to go to the Triumph dealer and see if he could get a new front sprocket for his bike, the parts guy was surprised that they even had one in stock! They were also the Honda and BMW dealers so as you guessed it we spent a while there looking around, the best motorbike shop we have been into yet. Finally, I got him away and we went for a ride up to the lookout which has fabulous 360degree views of the city and a great view of the island. We now know just how big and spread out Townsville really is and it also has a race track which is partially made out of some of the streets. We went a got some lunch then off for the big ride down to Ayr amongst all the Mango plantations and more sugar cane crops, which were getting burnt before they harvest them, the smell from them is amazing and sweet. We got to Ayr to find that they had a Water harvest festival on tonight. Found somewhere to stay and we went into town for a look around, very busy with all the locals, and this town is different to what we expected, we thought it was only little, but it’s not. We are staying at a Holiday park and it is full of backpackers that are working for the local farmers –it looks like tent city here, just full of them everywhere!
Dave & Carol Mossman easy day 10km
Jo – We were off to ride past more sugarcane plantations and mango trees today, taking in the fantastic smells that come from the many mills or recently harvested crops that we past. Went into Proserpine and got some supplies from the local supermarket and then we were off out to Airlie Beach, the last town by the Whitsunday Islands. Great place for the young, we felt quite old! Went and had a look at some of the islands at the harbour, but could only see maybe 5 of the 74 out there. Would have loved to go and do an overnight sail and snorkel but not up to that yet. We went back to the beach and found a holiday park to stay at. We decided to stay in one of their tepee tents, which were off the ground and had power.
Dave & Carol Mossman & return via Port Douglas, Kurunda, Mareeba, Mount Molloy 215km
Jo – Had a great day today, even though it wasn’t a long ride today. More sugarcane but we decided to do a mill tour in Farleigh, just before MacKay. What a great tour, very informative for me as I seem to have required a major fascination with sugarcane! I want to know everything, maybe for future use. This mill makes molasses and raw sugar, it also recycles all the remains of the sugar cane and uses it to fuel the mill. We finally found a cabin to stay in MacKay and ended up in the pool to cool down as it was a hot day and the mill was hot inside as well. We decided to go and see what was on at the movies, as we hadn’t really done anything at night yet, so we ended up going to see Charlie and Boots, a new Australian movie starring Paul Hogan. Great scenery of Australia.
Dave & Carol Mossman, Sugar Cane Tour and in the pool !!! 6km
Dave & Carol Mossman to Cairns 93km
Jo - Another good day for me. Wow inland Queensland is soooo dry, everywhere you look. We decided to go out to the gemfields for a look around and ended up doing a tour and the museum. They mainly find sapphires down there. A bit of a mugs game like at Coober Pedy with the opals. They have to dig down and tunnel around their claim of land, all by hand tools and sieve out the rocks by hand, still old school for this century. Very close to buying a ring but I don’t like sapphires or ruby’s and the yellow ones looked horrible on the finger, damn! Back to Emerald for lunch then we were on our way to Blackwater. Once we got down to Rollerston we took a back road, dirt of course, to Blackwater where the dirt texture and colour kept changing. A pretty good road and it gave Brian a good view of the coal fields and some of the machinery. Trains, all the coal trains, they just keep coming and going down the tracks. Got to Blackwater which basically is a mining town and found a place to stay for the night, then we went to the Country club for dinner, just a short walk around a corner, but Brian wasn’t sure if he had heard the instructions right! He had, luckily and we had a good meal and a lovely walk back in the dark.
Dave & Carol Cairns - Tropical Zoo 51km
Dave & Carol Cairns - Botanical Gardens 17km
We had booked in for 2 nights as we had to do some washing and Jo wanted to spend 2 nights in one place without packing up for a day. We got going and headed out to Yeppoon which is a nice little place by the coast. The foreshore has been all done up with a nice swimming beach and the parade has heaps of seating in shaded areas and very well maintained. We admired the water and were keen but not keen enough to go for a swim so headed around to Emu Park where the town had just had the foot paths re done and all looked very nice. We found a hot bread shop for lunch then headed back to Rockhampton to do our washing and have a look around the shops for Jo to drool over thing she can’t fit in the bike. We headed to the Bowling club next to the caravan park for dinner and a few beers.
Dave & Carol Cairns to Cardwell 205km
It took a while to pack up this morning as we stayed 2 nights here and also had done all our washing again so everything was unpacked. Once on the road it was a short ride to Gladstone but when there was amazing to see the scale of the coal loading facility on to ships. 4 ships are docked at once and three loaded at once and these ships are all super tankers so are very long. Gladstone is a place of a lot of things happening from the coal loading to Aluminim smelter to coal power station and other big industrial things going on. After Gladstone we headed to Miriam Vale for lunch then out to Seventeen Seventy and hoped to take the Deepwater National park road to Bundaberg but it was very soft sand and as the bike was loaded up would have had to go 1st gear all the way as not to fall off so turned back and took the long way around. We got into Bundaberg about 4ish with the fuel light on for the last 40 km so fuelled up at the first station then headed to find a caravan park. We tried 2 but had no cabins so headed for a motel and was actually cheaper than the cabin we had had the night before at $85. Talked to a couple on Harleys for a bit then went for a walk down town for a Chinese buffet board dinner.
Dave & Carol Cardwell to Ayr 284km
Today as we stayed in a motel last night it was easy to pack up and get going and we had decided to do a tour through the Bundaberg Rum Distillery. The first tour was at 10.00 so we got there at 9.30 and had a look through their interactive area of how the place had evolved over the years with all its history. Once through the tour we got to sample 2 kinds of their rum each. As Jo doesn’t drink much it was up to me to have hers as well as mine not to waste any free alcohol. After the tour it was a early lunch then off towards Gin Gin, it’s a nice ride through some Sugar cane country and market gardening land. From Gin Gin to Mt Perry it changed to some nice hilly and winding roads and a small detour to a old tunnel that was dug in the early days by hand through solid rock for the train. Once in Mt Perry we had a stretch the headed out towards Gayndah but didn’t make it as we came across a lovely little lake with a nice camping area so decided to put the tent up for the night. Only having muesli bars, weet bix and a couple of slices of fruit bread it was a simple dinner but the peace and tranquillity of this place made it worthwhile.
Dave & Carol Ayr to Sarina 398km
Took most of the back roads today just for a change, with a bit of dirt mixed in. There should have been more from Taroom to Roma but as we got to the road there was a sigh saying that they were upgrading the road and of the 160km only 23kmis still gravel (bugger!!) but we still did it anyway. Came across some cropping farms, and citrus, lots of oranges and Mandrins. Saw a big snake on the road, dead, just as well! And the big birds are back, emus mostly, as we saw a couple of ostriches roaming around. So we now have to look out for the emus again and snakes. Roma is smaller than we thought it would be, and a typical country town.
Dave & Carol Sarina and around 56km
All through this area is cropping of all sorts, they have recently finished the cotton and it looks like snow on the side of the road. A bit warm and sticky today with clouds in the sky. Goondiwindi or Gundiwindi to the locals is another country town, they export 80%of the cotton and the rest is locally made into clothing.
Dave & Carol Sarina to Rockhampton via the inland route 363km
The ride today had a lot of changing scenery. And somewhere on the road we had to stop to let a wide load pass us, a giant crated box (secret?) with Mitsubishi looking logo on the sides. More cropping around the area and a few dairy farms. It was a bit hard to find somewhere to stay in Toowoomba as they were about to start their flower festival on Friday so it is a bit busy. There seems to be no tent spaces around, but a few rooms in motels and cabins.
Dave & Carol Rockhampton to Emerald 282km
Another fine day but a bit cool to begin with. We only travelled about 50km and we had to stop for Jo to put a jersey on then maybe another 30km and we had to stop to warm up by having a warm drink. The landscape kept changing today as we continued through all different sorts of farming. As we approached Kingaroy (peanut capital) all we could see was the paddocks all being worked up getting ready for planting in October. We still managed to get a couple of bags of different flavoured nuts after trying to decide what to get (25+ flavours!). It was heating up and after having some lunch we carried onto Gympie which is a very spread out large town.
Dave & Carol Emerald to Theodore via Springsure 338km
Dave & Carol
Dave & Carol
Dave & Carol
Dave & Carol
Dave & Carol
Dave & Carol
Dave & Carol
Dave & Carol
Dave & Carol
Well it's only three day's off one year ago that we were winging our way across the Tasman to Brisbane to start The Lap. The past eight months since we got home have flown by so fast, actually the last year just seems like a blurr really. Have been rushed of my feet with work and other commitments so my intention of writing up Carol and my dairies from the point we finished the journey by ourselves as you can see has not happened and is not likely to as the site closes in a few days time (we both wrote detailed hard copy dairies for every day of the trip which are good to read back through to relive the memories), BUT all is not lost as I have downloaded some 250 odd photo's from the 12th Aug onwards in the photo gallery and as they say a picture tells a thousand words so enjoy.
Well only 2 weeks to go. Bike gone and brain nearly gone trying to get things sorted
Yep only 2 sleeps to go thats if we can actually sleep. Had a number of e mails this week reguarding the bike. It is there but not sure if its actually been cleared yet. We finally booked 4 nights in a motel .8 of a mile from the shipping firms address so will get a taxi from LA airport. Its only about 10.6 miles to motel.
We have had an long and boring flight to LA, the flight crew were all over 45 years of age and were too efficient at times taking away my drinks before they were even finished, just whipping it away before I even had a chance to say I wasn't finished.
Anyway, arrived just after 10am Tuesday 24 April, along with 2 other international flights and it took over an hour to clears customs as they only had 3 officers on to deal with non US passports. So we eventually got through with no problems and got ride to our cheap motel around the corner from where we will pick up the bike.
Motel is a bit of a Burt Munroe place, but it is clean and the light switches are backwards , and strange toilets. We are also close to a hospital so we have sirens going all day and night.
We were both extremely tired and hungry so we went to find some food for lunch, ended up having something normal - Subway. Walking back to our motel I had a little incident with a concrete kerb, like tripped over it and hurt my foot, managed to limp back to room with no help from Brian (my caring husband,not!) Ended up elevating my foot with a cold flannel and passed out, more likely fall asleep.
Six hours later woke up in major pain and ended up in hospital for 5 hours in ER with a suspected broken foot. Man the hospital system over here is crap, you have to go through security before you even get to ER, then line up to check in at a booth then go to another booth to register yourself and then go and wait with about 80 others that are all in the same situation. After your name is called you go through and get assessed by a nurse then go back out and wait, then you called again and go and see a doctor then you go back out and wait, then you get called again to go to x-ray, and then you guessed it go back out to the waiting room to wait some more.
Well the good news is it is not broken but badly sprained, but will be on crutches for a few weeks.
Not a good start to our trip!!
crutches and I just don't agree. I'm a bit of an unco, and just angry at myself for being so stupid, but we will have to work around it.
Bike is ready to be picked up, so off went Brian to go and pay for the custom clearance fee and get the bike only to find that it is in a different depot and will be delivered tommorrow.
So a really boring day where we both ended up slleping for most of the day and nothing else.
Tommorrow it is all go. Get the bike and go and try and get a phone and set ourselves up ready for takeoff. Oh and how to attached my crutches to the bike!
We have storm weather warnings here tonight - 40-60mph winds and rain,(normal weather for us!)but it is still warm.
well we waited for most of the day only to find out that the bike still has not been delivered to the depot and they are unable to give us any info as to when it will arrive. Stupid thing is the warehouse where the bike is stored is only 5 miles away from the depot and we are staying only 1/2 mile away from the depot.
So we have spent the day looking at maps and trying to arrange a few routes as to where we are going to go.
Yep, our bike is not going to be delivered until Monday! Yanks and their paperwork! Its in the system!!
By the way the time difference here is 19 hours behind NZ time!!!!! It is taking a bit to adjust to but since we have no place to go for the next few days we should be well adjusted by the time we finally get the bike.
Brian went for a walk today back to the hospital to pay my medical bill ($140 before 7 days or $2500 afterwards!) then went and got a phone. 10 km later in the middle of the day he came back by taxi extremely red and hot, but not as sunburnt as I got yesterday.
Bugger it we are off to get a rental for the weekend, total price $60 US, then we can both see a bit more of the area and try and get use to driving on the other side of the road.
Went and booked another couple of nights accommodation and because Brian paid in cash all the notes were checked to see if they were counterfiet, this guy had a pen like a felt tip that he was putting dots on all the notes - it goes brown on legit notes and black on paper notes. Have learnt something new today
So we are off to explore a little bit over the weekend, and I mean a little bit as I am still an unco on these crutches.
Got a rental car so we are going to use it, so sick of not being able to get far.
Went and found some bike shops today, not really any different to home apart from the prices. We can get a new 4 wheeler for half the cost of a NZ price and we spotted a new Honda XR650 for $6500 US (hmmm might have to come home with us!) $21000 US for a new BMW 1200GS Adventure.
Driving is different, especially trying to drive on the right hand side of the road and they have some interesting road rules like turning right on a red light if there is no traffic. We have been keeping to the speed limit, but feel like grannies with everyone passing us. The freeways can be up to 6-8 lanes wide at times and they are just filled with vehicles, amazing how many people there are here. A GPS unit is definately compulsary over here! Didn't have a argument all day.
At 8am we have an earthquake, small at 3.8 and we didn't feel it. Jo has improved on her sticks but is still a weakling but did well today going everywhere, she even went and got her glasses fix (yep, slightly broke one of the nose pieces, nothing serious).
We managed to find a beach and go and have a bit of a perve, sorry no photos otherwise I would have looked like real pervert!! .crutches and sand don't mix well so we only go to the side walk and then sat and watched the volleyball and everyone ride or skate pass on the boardwalk.
It is sooo hard to talk to these people, we both speak english how hard can it be! Apparently our accent just doesn't do it for them.
Went down to Santa Monica and then to malibu.
Santa Monica looks like a great place and will be having a good look around when we come back before we leave as Jo is not up to hopping around everywhere.
Malibu was totally different to what we thought it would be. Full of canyons (valleys/hills) and lots of lttle beached areas, but man there are some awesome housse up in them hills.
Getting use to the roads and traffic and can't wait to get the bike tommorrow, pack it up and set off down the coast. It bloody better turn up tommorrow!!
.the bikes here, the bikes here, the bikes here!!!!!!!!
Brian woke all ready to get going then started to get annoyed by 11am when we hadn't heard anything so off we went for a drive to see what we could come across in a direction that we hadn't been in before. Well we came across an awesome view of the Port from the top of some hill and then continued around a coastal road to find some very impressive and expensive houses and "Trump" golf course, the road is rough in one part where it looks like the side is moving and continuiously slumping the road, really bumpy and cracks everywhere. a bit rooted actually.
We carried on and ended up back at a beach we were at on Saturday, so knew our way back to motel. This drive was all done with no GPS, just a map and with me giving Brian directions!
Got back to motel and within 30 mins guess what, (no I haven't hurt myself again!) The bike was ready to collect, Brian couldn't get out of the door quick enough, only he forgot about me being a bit on the slow side.
Have unpacked the bike and it started first pop, Yes! I drove the car back to the motel with Brian behind me on the bike. After returning the rental car back he is now with the bike hard wiring the GPS.
And best of all the crutches fit across the back of the bike!! So it is all go for tomorrow. USA here we come!!!!
Here is some info for you:
Since we have been here in south LA, there has been at least 6 murders in the surrounding suburbs. We feel safe in the area that we are staying in. It has been 20 years since the LA riots, which happened a few blocks away. And it is 1 year since Bin Laden was killed so all international airports are on high alert.
Gas (petrol) is $4ish US a gallon which works out to be just over $1 NZ per litre and food seems to be really cheap over here too. We are starting to get use to the "plus tax" and tipping.
Our phone number is 310 292-8698. International area code is 001 or +1
Well, Jo is unable to get her foot into her boot so it got forced into her sneaker.
Had fun getting out of LA - GPS unit kept wanting to take us on the freeways but we were wanting go along the Pacific Coast Highway after going through a toll road and finding our way back to Laguna Beach we stopped and played with the GPS. Finally kind of got it to do what we wanted and off we continued to San Diego off the interstate freeway.
Got to San Diego but didn't get to see alot, by the time we got there we were both pretty stuffed and sick of the constant traffic so ended up staying on the outskirts of the city, just 8 miles from the Mexican border.
San Diego is definately worth a revisit when Jo can walk properly, will come back to it at the end of our trip.
After investigating our maps and GPS last night we decided to go onto some minor roads to start to travel down to wherever. Awesome motorbike road we got upto 3000ft and 13C, cool temp.
As we were getting close to the Mexican border we thought we better get back onto a main road, glad we did with all the border control areas that we went pass.
Got down to -20ft and up to a temp of 35C cruising at 75 mph on freeway. Amazing scenery of the countryside, this is what we are want to see the real US of A.
Staying in a small town called Gila Bend tonight. A bit tired from the heat but we will have to quickly adjust. My foot has swelled up from the heat, now there is a desert breeze so we should get a comfy sleep tonight.
Hope to load some photos tonight.
Two green kiwis in this big country just winging it by the hour!!!!!
By the time we opened our door this morning, 8am all vehicles were gone from where we were staying and it was already 25C. We were abandoned!
Trains, mostly freight with double containers on each carriage and about 70ish carriages long comes through this place at least every 30 mins, even through the night, but we managed to get some sleep.
Off to Tucson today and taking some more back roads. We came across a small town called Ajo, great old buildings and it use to be a copper mining town, had a look around and then off we went. Turn at Why (exactly!!) it should be where, what and why. We found Kitts Peak Observatory and headed up only 6850ft with fantastic views over Arizona on one side and Mexico on the other. We just seem to not be able to get away from the Mexican border!
Finally we get to Tucson where we are lucky enough to be able to stay with Brians' friend that he met on the Aussie Postie Bike Ride - Bill and his wife Brenda for a few days. Dinner tonight we were treated to babyback ribs, mmmmmmmmmmmmmm!
Bill and Brenda live in a earth house which is partially built in the ground, absolutely different to what we have in NZ. It stays so cool and is very unique, but as were told tonight they do have problems with the gophers digging tunnels by the house and then when it rains (eventually!) the house ends up having leaks.
Nice relaxing morning just planning out some routes to take when we continue on our way.
Then it was off for a look around Tucson in the car, Jo will Bills kindly donated moon boot on. Another lovely hot day. Went around the city then up to a lookout, a very spread out city. We went into an amazing old church which is slowly being restored then we set off the have a look around a National Park that was full of cactus, wheile we were there we purchased a Year pass which gives us access to all the other parks in the US $80 well spent, do a bit of camping and hiking, when Jo can walk properly again.
Had a nice relaxing evening with a few beer under the trees outside.
I forgot to tell you yesterday but we have photos. We did a pass by of where the planes get stored after the have been retired from use, thousands of them as far as the eyes can see from ground level. Defence forces and airline companies use planes.
The gopher trap worked last night! Little things, they are, just look a bit like a rat but with big front teeth and claws.
Today we went on a small trip on the bike up to Mt Lemmon, 9035ft high, 30 miles to get to the top, stunning views, and we even found a few patches of snow t the top!. The small town that is up there was destroyed by a major bush fire a few years ago and is slowly being rebuilt, mostly as log cabin structures. Up the top the temp was 16C when we came back down it got up to 37C.
That is when we started to head back to Bills place, we then found the car/ute thing which we just had to go and look at, Chevrolet SS-R, hard top convertible, 5.3 V8 auto. Red one (2003) had done 71000 miles, but the silver one (2004) had only done 26000 miles, they also come in 6 litres. Got back and then spent the rest of the afternoon cooling off in the pool.
In the evening when it was a bit cooler we headed back outside to watch the moon come up, (special night where it is at its closes to the earth). As we were sitting there we heard the coyotes howling close by.
back in the car today. Went and had look around Tombstone, you know, OK Corral and Wyatt Earp stuff. It's an old western themed town, saw some cowboys. we then went into the mddle of nowhere to a caravan which has snake skin handmade products and a very interesting yard! We continued on to Bisbee, which is an old mining town with lots of history. On our way back to Tucson we came to a sudden halt on the road after swerving to avoid a snake, Bill turned around and got out to show us the rattlesnake on the road, then proceeded to throw rocks at it, yes, it was alive and it slivered off into the bush.
Jo is starting to slowly walk, still with the aid of crutches.
Left Tucson today, back on the road again, and leaving behind a bag of stuff, that hopefully we wont need, overpacking?! Went some back roads which went through alot of mining country and some interesting named town -Oracle, Globe, Mammoth.
Went through an Apache reservation and then we started to get into some "cowboy country", where you have water, you can grow grass, crops. Strange to see lush green areas amongst the dry desert looking ground.
Went over the border into the New Mexico state and within 10 mins the scenery had totally changed and there is a time change, we are now on " central time", we lost an hour (now 20hrs behind NZ).
It has been a long day travelling through backs roads, not seeing to traffic and now getting very restless, with both of us having numb butts, we feel that we are in the middle of nowhere, but we keep moving on and finally come to an actual town, Silver City, which is "Billy the kid" country.
Had a quick look around the town before we took off up into the forest park. Came across a broken down security van (money van!!) broken down on the road with red & blues flashing everywhere and the sheriffs all surrounding the vehicle, sorry no photos was a bit of a serious situation!
Went through an alpine forest where the weather got cooler and then colder, down to 9.5C, but what a great ride, fantastic windy road and no traffic.
We took a little detour to a town called Truth or Consequences,(T&C) where we had lunch and started to warm up, finally can feel our fingers.
After leaving T&C the sky was looking a bit black infront of us, sure enough it started to rain a bit, so here we are on the side of the road on the highway putting our rain gear on. Just as well we put it on when we did as about 10 mins up the road it really started to rain, then it turned to hail and it got heavier, harder, bigger, and it started to hurt. It was heavy enough for traffic to pull over and stop on the side of the road, man was it bad and here we were stopped on the side of the road, (it was like trying to ride on ballbearings!!!) getting pounded by all this hail and it was hurting not to mention freezing cold. Then there were a few trucks that kept going and since we were on the side of the road when they went passed we got splashed with the trucks wash from the water on the road. .we weregetting some interesting looks from everyone, but hey what can we do - laugh, laugh and laugh and take photos while we wait it out.
Finally it stopped after about 15 mins! Off we go, two drowned rats on the bike, both freezing cold and down the road the road wasn't even wet! We carried on slowly drying out and then the wind picked up, so had to deal with that all the way passed the NASA Missle center, white sands area and am now staying in Alamogordo, where the storm has followed us, this time only with thunder and some big stricks of lightening.
Back into alpine mountains with 6.5C temps a cool start to the morning. The car infront of us suddenly stopped, why?, deer running across the road. Finally out of the cold and off to Roswell to see the aliens, very tacky place. But they do have a lot of feed lot farms around the area, stinky things they are.
Going along the road out popped a border control person from a drain, just checking to see if there was anyone in there! They are everywhere close to the border, scouting around the area, even on the motorbikes.
Had a few tiny issues with the phone, got it sorted in Carlsbad, very helpful girls at the store.
Close to the state border on both sides are small jack pumps (oil pumps) dotted along the roadside.
Now crossed the state border into Texas and another hour lost for us (right, we have worked out properly the time difference this time - 17 hours behind NZ). The bad weather has caught up with us again as we travelled a very lonely road into Van Horn.
Brian was up a 1am moving the bike under the veranda because of the major downpour of rain that was going on.
A late start to the day, I think the time changes finally caught up with us!
Just rode some straight quiet roads today with very cool weather and just keeping behind all the rain showers.
Got to Del Rio and decided to stay the night, then the thunderstorm came through, another one!
A none eventful ride into San Antonio. Then we got a bit confused with all the one way streets. Tried to get to see "The Alamo" (Davey Crockett), but unable to find any parking and it was getting just a bit hot (30C) so we zoomed pass on the bike and tried to take photos, (didn't work!). Found a market, and stopped to have a look around, it only got hotter and humid, bugger this, so we decided to head out of the city as get some air around us.
We ended up staying a Weimar for the night, where they had a BBQ Competition going on. Amazing BBQ smokers, but the people weren't very freindly. Them folks take that BBQ'n very seriously, we were watching one guy prepare his brisket and he saw us watching him so he moved so we couldn't see what he was doing!
Weimer had a small tornado touch down yesterday and we saw the damage, heaps of trees broken, greenhouses demolished, power lines down, roofs damaged and the school fooball field and fences were all damaged. You could see the path it went.
Went into Houston, right into the CBD (totally dead!) Full of really tall buildings and didn't look like there was much retail. Most of the retail seems to be in the out lying cities.
On the way out of Houston we found NASA Space Center, so off we go for a look around for a few hours - the tram tour takes you around the area but you don't get to see much, most of the buildings have no windows, top secret stuff. But the interactive center was interesting and very commercialised.
By mid afternoon we took off again out of the city area and the GPS took us through some real back roads that ended up being a toll road ,by vehicle tag only, oops don't have one of those! Nevermind, we just continued on our way.
We are now at Winnie for the night and have been having a chat to some friendly folk, who have a BBQ stand at the local market tommorrow. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm, yes I'm in, and I can go shopping too! (this is Jo, by the way).
Hopefully no more Border Control inspections. Since heading out of San Diego we have lost count of how many times we have had to stop and flash our passports!
Spent the morning looking around the market, quite a big one and very good. We both could have spent a few hundred of $$$ if it wasn't for us being on the bike and it being a Sunday so no postal shops were open. We didn't spend a cent!! Very good self control.
Met back up with the BBQ people- Gary & Margaret and they gave us lunch and were great to chat to. Brian tried to pay for our food and they wouldn't take it, so it was put into the tips jar, only for her to come back out with it and tell Brian to take the money back or she will give him an arse whop-pin in public!!! We have all their details and hopefully will keep in touch with them.
By mid day we thought we better start heading off, so we decided to follow the coastline around - Gulf of Mexico. This area has been majorly devastated over the past 6 years with some deadly hurricanes. There has not been much recovery to these areas, not many rebuilds at all.
Into the Lousianna state, jumbo shrimp and "gator" country with canals on either side of the road, makes you feel a bit nervous knowing that they are just right there. Saw one eating fish heads as we turned a corner into a beach road, shit! they are really just there!!! Ahhh, but it turned around and swam away.
Crossed over lots of bayou's and canals by drawbridges or ferries, was a bit quiet on the roads today, but just kept going until we finally found a town, Abbeyville, that had accommodation and both looking forward to a feed of fresh seafood - we were highly disappointed as the restaurants are all closed on Sundays, so it was just boring pizza for dinner, hopefully New Orleans will make up for it.
Went to the Tabasco sauce factory before New Orleans, free factory tour and tastings. Its the only factory in the world, you can smell it going down the track to the parking area. They were bottling for Dubai when we went and looked in the factory, they bottle up to 750,000 bottles per day. 26 different flavours, not like NZ where we only get the original. We tasted most of the flavours, even the ice cream! Burning hot stuff!!(Jo the wussy even tried them). Since we don't have room on the bike we didn't buy any, but can do international orders from the website, www.tabasco.com. Check it out as we will be putting in an order soon. You can even buy the sauces buy the gallon.
With hot burning mouths we headed off into New Orleans (Nawlins) where we will stay for 2 nights. Met up with Bill again, as he is there visiting his daughter. We all went out to dinner to try some local food - fried frogs legs, alligator, gumbo, then a walk around the riverfront area (Mississippi river) to watch the city nightlife.
Had a lazy day today, got up late and then decided we better see some of the city, well I think we travelled about 20 miles today just riding around the city and surrounding areas. Went for a walk down the french quarter and the river front areas, great for people watching! Musicians everywhere playing jazz.
Getting ourselves organised for an early start tommorrow as we are going on a swamp tour.
Up early today to get into town and have breakfast with Bill and his daughter, Sara before we set off the the swamp to become gator bait. Hopped onto an air boat and we were off on the adventure into the bayous, easy to get lost in all the little waterways. Saw quite a few and they would come up to the boat and jump up to get a feed of raw chicken and marshmallows! (apparently they look like birds on the surface of the water.) The boats are really loud, but so much fun. Jo held a baby gator that was 8 months old, but can still give you a good nip.
Back in town after the tour bus drops us off and it is time to head off again. We take the causeway out of New Orleans, which is a 26 mile long bridge over a lake,(and it took forever to get over it). Went into the state of Mississippi and along the way saw some prisioners on the roadside, tidying up around the plants, they were in their green & white stripes.
We ended up staying at Biloxi(or as Brian calls it Botox). This place is on the coastline and has been hit hard by the hurricanes, but is slowly recovering. Went to Hooters for dinner, saw all the young girls in their tight uniforms.
Continued following the coastline today, but was slow going with all the traffic lights from the towns as they kind of all roll in together.
Went through the Alabama state - thought we should do something since we were not going to stay the night anywhere in the state. We went into Mobile and took a look around the USS Alabama Navy Ship, impressive for it's time.
We entered the Florida state and continued along the coastline going through some very high end areas, shows how much money is around this area. Part of the road we were travelling on were just sandbanks, 100m on one side is water and 50m on the other is water, just surrounded by white sand.
Staying a Fort Walton for the night.
More coastline today and going through some more expensive areas that are so prim and proper, including a town called Seaside, which was where The Trueman Show was filmed starring Jim Carrey.
All through the coastal area that we have travelled, they are trying to rebuild after the hurricanes, you can see where some of the large businesses were as the foundations have been left there, signs from some are still up, but no building is there. They are recoverying but it looks like a slow process. There are a lot of empty sections that are for sale as people have not rebuilt.
All the coastal areas are getting ready for the summer season and it is alreadly getting busy on the beaches and not to mention hot.
Another time change today, another hour lost somewhere around a Airforce Base, (now 16 hours behind NZ)
we were told that Friday/Saturdays are the most expensive nights so we thought it might be a bit cooler to head inland for a few days and see the other side of Florida, not just the beaches, so we are staying in Tallahassee for the night.
A bit of a boring ride today mainly through forests with interesting little towns on the way, great weather in the late 20's, nice and cool.
Had grits for lunch, its a ground corn thing, similar to porridge, with lots of melted butter, yum.
Decided to go back to the coast as there is more to see, well what a mistake that was talk about hot! 37C what a shock, and then we had a bit of trouble finding somewhere to stay, but got there in the end after leaving one place that was a bit of a dive to fine somewhere better just around the corner. Staying at Tarpon Springs.
These days our accommodation requirements are a swimming pool and A/C. A quick change and into the pool as soon as we have off loaded the bike, oops forgot sunscreen! And now I am suffering a bit of sunburn where sunshine does not see very often.
Went to a steakhouse for dinner, what massive meals, Brian didn't even finish his! We had fried green tomatoes, I had a lobster tail, and Brian had Steak & chicken - a big massive slab of meat and 1/2 chicken came out, OMG, but wait there's more - our drinks, Brian had a beer, 32oz glass and I ordered a strawberry Daquiri ( 2 large glasses came out to me). Just as well we walked down the road to this place because we were 2 happy people walking back to the motel.
Oh by the way I am off crutches and slowly limping around, but we still have them with us for another week or so.
Travelled back through beaches today, still lovely and hot, 32C before noon. Just cruising today to get to Sarasota to try and get new tyres fitted tommorrow. Yes I am quite sunburnt, but it will fade, as I never go tanned for long.
Weather in Florida for this week is going to be Thunderstorms and mid 30's - hot & sticky, can't wait!!
Got new tyres today, yes!! no more bloody annoying humming noise. As we have found, so far, there are not many dirt roads, apparently you have to know where to find them, and we aren't in the know. So the noisy knobbly tyres have to go.
Finally we are back on the road and back along the beaches, same scenery, just different towns until we get to where we are staying tonight. Naples, the snottyist place we have ever come across so far and our m/bike looks so out of place amongst the highly priced vehicles that are all around the town.
Found somewhere to stay and went for a swim - water temp was warmer that the air, so after doing some laundry we went to the beach, still full of people and we into the water there, umm same thing - water warmer than the air temp.
Did discover that I am not able to walk on soft sand that well. I can walk if I have my shoes on, hobble in jandals but not walk in bare feet, still unable to put any pressure on the ball of my foot or the toes.
Went out to Key West today , going through the everglades or "Alligator Alley" , it is appropriately named, as we saw one massive one that had been earlier run over, a few small one's on the side of the road and a few dead squashed one's as well, also dead snakes, and one massive big turtle along the side of the road, saw a smaller one and we turned around to get a closer look, but the noise of the bike made him run back into the water(yes, run! shit they can move fast when they want to). Oh and there were rabbits too, then there were state prisioners working on the side of the road. This is a road that has water both sides and is very narrow, you don't really want to stop, because you have no idea what is lurking in the water or grass, a little bit creepy!
Finally got to the start of the keys, and it took forever to get out to the end, Key West, 120ish miles one way, and what do you know a thunderstorm hit one the way out, tough just ride through it, it was great to cool us down.
We went to the end of and start of North/South Highway. Had a good look around the area with all the other tourists, definately a tourist trap!! Had key lime pie at Key West and then left to go back to the mainland.
There is only one road in and out of the keys and I don't recommend riding a bike when it is low tide, man what a stinky area!!
Back into the mainland and it started raining and we got drenched as we were try to get to Homestead. Travelled over 600km today and it took us 10 hours in the rain and stinking heat.
It rained for most of the night.
Went to Miami and more thunderstorms. This city has over 5.5m people in such a small city. It is so busy and they are the worst drivers we have come across, they just pull in right in front of us, no indicating, tooting, road rage and running red lights. Got a bit of a fright as someone pulled infront of us and nearly took us out!
Shall we go and look at the beaches, no because it it going to rain there, look at the clouds! We go anyway, and got totally drenched as it bucketed down, nothing to see here so finally we head inland up to Orlando and get out of the rain into some sunshine to dry out, very refreshing riding in soaking wet closes! Not.
There is quite a bit of farming going on inland, especially dairy, oranges, corn and turf(or sod as it is called here).
Because we are avoiding the Toll roads we have taken an interesting drive into Orlando and we are not to sure where we are until we see the signs for Disney World.
Get to our accommodation, just 2 miles from Universal Studios and across the road from Wet n Wild, $50 + tax per night, so we are staying for 3 nights.
Spent the day at Universal Studios - both theme parks, the Island of adventure has most of the cool rides.
I spent the day screaming on every rollercoaster that we went on, some of them I did not like at all, a bit on the rough side for me, and I have the bruises to prove it. Brian, on the otherhand, enjoyed every minute. Some rides were a bit of a wait, (30mins) but all under shade and A/C. The water rides were the best, got totally soaked, which helped keep us cool during the day. We arrived at 9am and didn't leave until 8pm!!! Yes we spent the whole day just going up and down, around and around, left and right, twisting and spinning and a whole lot of walking.
well after all the walking around we did yesterday, our feet are still a bit sore, so we are having a bit of a rest today. Hoped on the bike and went for a cruise around the out skirts of the city, looked at a few bike shops and a few shops then back to finally update this blog and be domestic, more laundry. Actually a good time to be out of the stinking hot sun.
Brian has made me go through all the soap and shampoo I have taken and forced me to throw most of them away, as we don't have enough room, umm 20ish packets of little soap and shampoo might be a bit too many! He stood over me with his hands on his hips and watched as I put them into the bin. Brian has just counted them - 25 in the bin, plus I was allowed to keep five of each, just in case!!
Will venture out again early evening to see the sights at night.
Roads are really busy to day as it is a holiday weekend. Taking the interstate to try and get somewhere today.
Time for food and we go off the interstate for 2.5 miles to try and find some only to get stuck in bumper 2 bumper traffic all going to the beach. 35mins later! food then back onto the interstate to get some distance away from all that traffic.
Finlly got to Daytona and decided to stay the night and do a speedway track tour in the morning, meanwhile, we looked at a few motorbike shops, Indian one in particular, wow some nice new machines in there, maybe we should bring one of these home as Brian took a liking to the most expensive one. Got a card from the shop for reference.
Tropical storm warnings when we woke up this morning.
Went on a tour around the racetrack, there was a car club doing a 14hr teams race, so we were able to see something zoom around the track. It was the junk club where they are allowed to race a $500 car, man were there some crappy noisy cars!
Continued on our way and into the Georgia state with a bit of wind and rain. As we didn't have our wet weather gear on we decided to stop before we got too wet and cold. Brunswick for the night. Went out to dinner at a little diner and was served by this little blonde girl who had the sweetest georgian accent, she was such a cutie. She was laughing at our accent.
Where we drove through yesterday was hit by the storm, but we are on the outer areas. Wind and rain, but not too cold.
By the time we got to Savannah we had dried off. What a fantastic old city with lots of historical districts. Had a good drive around then decided to head inland because of the weather.
Great farming areas - peanuts, peaches, corn and grain. Great roads for riding. Nearly squashed a squirrel but it turned around and darted back with us just missing it's tail, I don't even think that Brian saw it trying to run across the road!
Stayed the night at Macon, and of course the rain followed us, so much for trying to avoid the weather.
the weather seems to be following us. Went up to Atlanta to Coca-Cola World, got to be a tourist sometime! Was interesting and got to taste 64 different varieties of flavours that are made from around the world, not all coke but fanta, sprite, etc. Some were really nice but there were also some disgusting ones. All that sugar went straight to my head and needed some food to soak it up. Atlanta is a small city, while leaving we got stuck in traffic, bumper to bumper because of a car accident, finally got through and took a side road off into small towns and farms.
Enjoying Georgia countryside and roads, seeing the occasional deer.
staying at Augusta/ fort gordon tonight
heading back down to the coast now that the weather has improved. Augusta and Charlston are both old cities.
Entered into South Carolina and found a UPS to send off a load of stuff back to Bill in Arazona.
Now back on the coast line and you would not believe how many golf courses there are along here, at least one every 5-10 miles.
Staying at Myrtle Beach, which is like a mini Gold Coast, OZ. Party central, if you are between 18 and 25.
Found a AAA office to get some more maps, no cost because we have our NZ AA card. Realise we had left our thermos behind, so back we go. Changing into another state - North Carolina. All through Myrtle Beach and up to the state line there are heaps of fireworks shops but as soon as you cross the state line, no more, different state, different laws
Neither of us could get comfortable on the bike all day, (dehydration?). Sore butt syndrome.
Followed a road only to find that it ended up at a Marine Forces Base and were unable to carry on, so we turned around and had to go back, bugger!
Bike needs a service so Brian rang a shop in Raleigh and left a message, then tried again latter and told that they might be able to fit us in, so off we go inland again. Got up to the shop to make sure we were alright for tommorrow only to be told that they were fully book! But they did ring ahead to another shop and got us booked in for tommorrow mid day, great.
So we decided to keep travelling for another hour or so to get a bit of a head start on tommorrow, it was so much better riding in the early evening compared to the stinking hot heat of the day.
Stayed at Rocky Mount for the night.
off to Chesapeake, Virginia to get the bike serviced, 2hr ride. Done within 2 hrs, so off we go again onto the Chesapeake Bay bridge-tunnel to take us over to the bay where we ended staying at Onley.
This is a bridge that goes into a tunnel under water back onto a bridge then another tunnel and finally another bridge to complete the trip from one side to the other. The reason that it goes into a tunnel is so feighter ships can get into the harbour onver the tunnel(Brian has just told me, and watching the ship I knew that but it just didn't click that we had a ship above us as we were in to tunnel, yep I'm a bit blonde!!) A bit of a up and down ride, not to mention how extremely windy it was on the last bridge, so not many photos were taken as I was more worried about holding on, keeping my helmet on and wimpering about how the bike was getting blown sideways into the other lane.
Well it wasn't until we got to where we were staying and turned on the TV that we found out that there were Tornado warnings for the areas that we had been riding through in the morning and for the are that we are in now. Oh Shit!
A tornado touched down where we through in the morning and we had thunderstorms. Had McDonalds for dinner as it was next to our motel and since it was pouring with rain with flashes of lightning and roaring thunder just didn't want to go far. Just got our meal when there was a flash and a roar then the power went out for a few minutes, the thunder was so loud right above us.
It continued all night, but it wasn't cold.
If we hadn't done the bridge/tunnel yesterday we would have stayed at Hampton, which also got hit by a tornado last night. How lucky are we! A bit of damage from what we saw on the TV.
There was a cold wind all day as we continued up through Maryland and Delaware (which takes 3 hours from one end to the other) states. Stopped at a farm to have ice cream and then back into the Maryland state to stay at Aberdeen.
off to Washington DC.
On the way we stopped off in Baltimore at a outdoor equipment store (Bass Pro) - massive place with anything and everything you could think of. Isles of crossbows, a small shooting range and it had heaps of tree ladder shooting stand things. A hunters paradise!
Got to DC only to find it was extremely busy, touristy, but not very parking friendly. And, if you wanted to see something you had to walk a few miles or take a tour bus. Not parking anywhere close to anything.
We were watched by police as we had parked in the wrong spot until we moved. So we didn't get to see the white house(got a postcard) or Lincoln memorial, but saw some beautiful old government buildings and went over the river to Arlington Cemetery where the presidents and soldiers are buried. Has a walk around and then watched the changing of the guard at the unknown soldiers memorial.
Had enough of the heat so decided to head off, and being a Sunday afternoon the roads were packed, so it was slow going. Finally stayed at Front Royal in the Virginia State. Ready to set off into the mountains for a few days.
spent the day up in the mountains through Shenadoah Nat Park, 120 miles, and then blue ridge parkway road, which goes for 469 miles.(not all in one day!!). This all goes on top of the ranges, but has a speed of 25 -45 miles, so was slow going as it is really windy and we have to watch out of all sort of animals.
Stopped and helped out a guy who had crashed his bike into a bank, trying to avoid a SUV on his side of the road, bike a bike banged up but he seemed OK.
Ended up at Roadoke for the night
carried on the ridge road today, slow going with lots of deer everywhere. It was actually quite nice to see them standing up on the side of the road instead of dead on the side of the road in all sorts of decaying composure.
Freezing cold up here today with a bit of a drizzle, stopped to put on some more layers of clothing at a picnic area and watched the squirrels running around all nutty for a few minutes.
Great being out of the cities, no traffic lights or bumper to bumper roads, nice and peaceful, apart from all the motorbikes up here. This road is motorbike paradise, aprt from the speed.
Crossed over stateline into North Carolina and decided to stay as Ashville.
Continued to rest of the parkway today where it finished at Cherokee - a commercialised town, (supposingly Indian, but not really!).
Onto Great Smokey Mountain, another 30 miles of low speed roads and into the state of Tennessesse. Came into Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, even more commercial than Cherokee, just trying to make a buck out of such a natural area, but they were all falling for it, people everywhere, same stuff, different shop.
All the riding we have done in the last couple of days has camping and hiking throughout the area.
Saw the signs to go to Dollywood - Dolly Parton show, but it is too touristy and busy so we carried onto Knoxville where we stayed tonight.
taking a few backroads today as we start to head back up north. All day we spent in the hills and entered the state of Kentucky after going through a tunnel, guess what the first thing was that we saw when we came out of the otherside - KFC! The area we rode through is all coal mining.
Part of the road that we were travelling on kept changing states - Kentucky and West Virginia every couple of miles, then it ended up staying on West Virginia.
Since we were having a great day of riding out final destination kept changing until we decided to stop in Charleston
still amongst hills and trees, didn't realise it was going to be like this around here. Haven't seen too many hillbillies.
A lot of backroad riding today and going through a few states - Virginia and Maryland.
Staying at a fantastic historic town called Hagerstown.
Went to Gettysburg, great to see it is not too commercialised, had a quick look around but not too keen on having a good walk around the hills, (having enough trouble just walking up and down steps still). Went over another state line to Pennsylvania and decide to see if we can find some of the Amish areas - yep, we did. Some of them live with normal houses next to them or schools across the road from them. Watched them working up their paddocks with horses towing implements. They were everywhere, especially at a small town called Intercourse, which was a bit tacky with lots of cheap and nasty souvenirs.
Came across the New Holland factory that was producing baling machines.
Mostly riding today and not getting off much at all,
Went through Philadelphia and now are staying at East Brunswick in the state of New Jersey.
Brian was sick for most of last night and I am also feeling a bit off, so neither of us are 100% today.
New York , GPS and the tall buildings don't mix!!!!!!!
Well we ended up winging our way to a carpark building by the statue of Liberty ferry, then as we were off to find the ferry we saw the helicopters, so decided to do a fly by of the city area instead of trying to drive around a few areas. Clear day, great views and starting to feel a bit better.
It worked out really well as a lot of the roads in the city were closed and we ended up going around in circles at one stage, but ended up finding a Brooklyn bridge sign and followed that out. Phew, we could have been in there for a while otherwise!
The traffic was amazing, I thought it was bad in Miami, well that was nothing compared to here! The streets in the city are completely rooted for a start. Then you have vehicles darting in and around you all the time, but the honking is the worst part, ($350 fine if enforced),if you don't go on a green light straght away, honk, if you try to change lanes,honk, if you are driving too slow, honk, just honk,honk,honk. And that is just going from one set of traffic lights to the next! On some road you need to go into a service land to make a turn, but not many people abide by that law either. It is just absolute chaos and we were in the middle of it, just utter madness, it was so funny to experience it.
As we were away from the buildings the GPS is now working, so off we go. Would have been nice to stay a few days and have a look around, but since we were both not too great thought it would be better to keep moving away from the hustle and bustle to somewhere a bit less lively.
Over the state line into Connecticut and staying at Stamford.
we have both had a good nights sleep and are feeling a lot better.
A day of mostly riding, but did manage to get Brian to stop at Newport in Rhode Island, where we had a look around the town, a historic but touristy old port. We had lunch and then back on the road. I ended up being sick again, (must have been the cupcake I had!) and flaked out on the back of the bike for a while, missed crossing the state line going into Massachusetts and finally woke up just before coming into Boston, (mini New York) to enjoy the GPS lose satellite around the buildings and us going around in circles.
Finally got away from the buildings and headed north again. Staying in Middleton.
Finally caught up on our sleep, well we must have it was 8:30am when we looked t the clock this morning.
Off to find some witches at Salem before going back up into the mountains through New Hampshire state and then into Vermont State. Up in ski areas and great winding roads with maple trees and now we have to watch out for Moose on the road.
Maybe it's a good thing that we didn't come across on as we went passed a good set of skid marks with a massive splatter mark on the road that look like in was only a week old. I have a feeling that moose and motorbikes don't mix too well.
Not the warmest up in the hills tonight, staying at Brattleboro on the Vermont stateline.
Some replies to your comments:
There will not be many photos of us in places as apparently we don't have time to stop!! This is a bike trip not a holiday, and yes we do need time out from the cities!!! The country area is so much better riding, just like home. We have yet to use couchsurfing as we have no idea where we will be from one day to the next, but we hope to use it when we get further around.
Might be able to find time to do some postcards, later if your lucky.
A wet cold start to the day and had to dress up like we were back home in NZ. Got even colder up in the mountains and a complete fog whiteout in some parts, a bit slow going for a little while.
Came across a couple of guys with BMW bikes, one of them couldn't turn his bike off as it had a flat battery, and guess what he had been to NZ a couple of times and knew exactly where Martinborough was!!!!!
The roads were still through skiing areas and still good winding roads but man were the snow damaged, bumpy as and full of cracks and potholes.
Went through a few interesting towns that had big rivers running through them and the old buildings must have housed hydro plants at some stage, but now abandoned and falling to bits. Amazing infrastructure back in the day.
Back through New Hampshire state and into Maine where we ended up following some harleys for a while with one dick just revving up as much as he can at every stop light we came to, this went on for about 20 miles until they finally turned off.
It was getting quite cool and very low clouds so we decided to stay at Lewiston.
Early start to the day today. Sun is up by 5:30am and a great clear blue sky. Took off into Bath where they build frigates for the Navy. Found the area but not allowed to take photos and most of it was in sheds so we were unable to see much.
Gave Brian instructions out to a pottery place that was not too far away, and he took me there, amazing so I took advantage and spent a bit, even had it shipped to Tucson (yep, there is another box coming, sorry Bill, but will take a few day from Maine).
Back on the road and on our way until we stopped at a set of traffic lights somewhere. The van in front of us started rolling back and then the bumper ran over the front wheel of the bike. He didn't even know what he had done until we tooted at him, he didn't see us. After he drove forward and we all pulled off to the side for a look, Brian took the bike for a bit of a ride to check for damage - all good, no damage done to the wheel.
Off we go again and we think that we will get over the border to Canada today so we decide to stop and get some Canadian money and then through the border.
That was easy getting through, no problems just needed to put our passport details into the system, hopefully we will be able to border hop.
Lost another hour in the time difference, and now back to distances in Km. Staying in St Johns, New Brunswick state.
Rode through to the Nova Scotia state, Canadian government are spending some big dollars upgrading the highways, some massive infrastructure going on.
A cold atlantic wind all day today while riding around the countryside looking at all the farms everywhere.
The tides around here are very dramatic like king tides but all the time.
We stopped somewhere so I could put on some more layers of clothing and Brian was complaining that something was scratching his stomach, up went the shirt and found that he had been stung by some flying insect, not once but at least 5 times and all had punctured the skin and were bleeding, but he is tough enough for it not to bother him.
The low clouds are rolling in and it is getting even colder, typical weather apparently for the area. Strange accent the people in this area have - Canadian/scottish sound. Makes sense about the weather now!!
It is lobster season and even McDonalds have go in on it - McLobster Roll, it is being advertised everywhere.
Finally staying at a small town called Antigonish for the next 2 nights as we are going up to do big loop road tomorrow that has been recommended to us by quite a few bikers.
Earlyish start to the day. A quick 5 min look around the local market and then fill the bike up, we were off to do the "cabot trail" ride, up around Cape Breton Island.
Well if I thought yesterday was cold, then I was sooo wrong. This morning was bone chilling cold. With 3 layers of thermals, draggins and bike jacket and pants, and feeling like a marshmallow, it was still freezing. It was just like being at home.
It was a long ride with low cloud again for the morning, but by the time we actually stopped for lunch - peanut butter sandwiches and water, the sun had decided to come out which made it a little better riding.
Came across the police doing a license check just out of a little fishing village, all good, he couldn't understand Brian very well so just let us through.
We were told that 5-6 hours to dot the whole ride, well for us it ended up being more than 10 and 640 km all one 1 tank of petrol!! A long day.
The road is suppose to have some very scenic sea views, but we were a bit disappointed, no where as good as the east coast ride around Gisborne, at home!! We are so spoiled when it comes to some great roads in NZ.
Today we are heading back up to get to the rest of Canada. And guess what, a beautiful warm day!
Just riding today, with the GPS ((Gary, we have called it!) Garmin) being stupid. Kept trying to take us on side roads that just loop around for 500m and then back onto the main road we should be on. It was close to being taken off the bike and jumped on!
Had a long day riding and finally got into Marimichi, New Brunswick about 7:30pm. 700 km today, and we have both discovered that riding in the early evening is really great, especially if you have a few km to do.
I can now finally fit my boots (I think that was why I was so cold the last couple of days, with only my sneakers on).
Decided to go back over the border to the finish the USA North route then back into Canada (border hopping!) to get to Quebec. That was our plan.
It was 300km to get to the border and the road we were taking was mostly straight for the first 250km with a few roadworks along the way, so speed was quite good and it didn't take us as long as we both thought, stopped at a fuel station for a toilet stop and then continued on our way through a small town called Grand Falls, where they had a hydro plant and a good water fall, so we thought we would stop and have a look. This is when we discovered our tent was gone!! Our house had fallen off somewhere in the las 250 km.
Brian was so pissed off because he remembered that he thinks he didn't tie up the tent after my boots came off the bike. Do we go back and look, umm, yes, no. Na, we have no idea when it came off or what condition it will be in and we have a quite a few more km to do today. So after a moment of silence for the tent.......................................................... And a wipe away of a tear or two we were back on way to the border only to miss 3 turn offs as Brian was still worried about the tent, finally after giving him a nudge to make the turn we were actually back on track.
Went across the US border, and we did have the correct paperwork for the bike, but the officer hadn't come across our rego plate before and didn't know how to input the info, but eventually got there, so he learnt something new today, then we learnt something new today - our US Visa expires 2 weeks before our flight leaves (shit!!) so we will be ilegally in the USA if it is not renewed. He told us that the last time we leave Canada we will need to reapply (phew!) will put that in our memory bank for later.
Carried on our way, lost and hour and back into miles again. Up the last piece of the North 1. Stopped at Madawaska for lunch at the Four corners park (we have done 2 corners already). Great place, and there was a reporter there from the local paper who go chating to us and took a few photos and notes, so we might get to be in the local newspaper. Found the place in town where you can get four corner stickers and ended up meeting the man who founded the park, mostly funded by donations, sponsers and volunteers. After about an hour or so of chatting to everyone and it getting a bit hot we ere on our way again.
Fort Kent, the end of the road and Canadian Border crossing, which we had a bit of trouble with, questions, lots of questions. Not a good thing to go back and forth over the borders in the same day! Since we didn't look like drug dealers we were allowed back in. Lost an hour in time again and back into km.
Into Quebec and it is totally in french with no english subtitles!
Travelling along and came across this car being stupid on the side of the road. It turned around behind us and then zoomed pass us swerving onto the side of the road into the gravel and slowed down just in time to pass a cop at normal speed then they were off again onto the other side of the road going up a blind hill then back onto our side and into the gravel again, thankfully it stopped and when we slowly went past, discovered that they looked a bit drunk, and were changing drivers.
Carried on and stopped for an ice cream, she spoke no english and we spoke no french, but we got something, by pointing.
Another long day of riding around and little things happening to us on our way. Finally went to find somewhere for the night and hopefully speak a bit of english, but then we had red and blue flashing lights behind us. International number plate just stands out! All she wanted was Brians international drivers licence, but it wasn't enough, so she wanted to look at the NZ one as well. A few questions later and we were free to go.
Finally at Montmagny, Quebec, and a bed for the night, but not in the tent!
Booked in the bike for a service in Toronto for Thursday afternoon.
Rode into Quebec and had a bit of look round, going around the narrow streets on the bike. Couldn't go into the old town as motorbikes are banned in that area.
So we left and continued on our way to Montreal. Wow there are certainly some farms in this part of Canada. Hardly saw an animal, they are all in the barns with between 2 - 5 silage towers attached to them. A lot of silage being made at the moment, there should be it is summer here. We even saw some milk tankers today, only knew what they were because they had a picture of a cow on them!
We had been told not to go into Montreal because it is just chaos, did we listen, no, and yes they were correct. Used our last $30 to put petrol in the bike just in case we were in slow traffic.
Tried to go into the city but the road we were in went into 2 tunnels that went under the centre and out the other side into bumper to bumper traffic, well it was after 4pm and it didn't help that there was road works every where.
Yep, getting petrol was a good idea, better than actually trying to go through the centre in mid afternoon.
This has been the worst traffic to date!
Have just been riding today and not getting off the bike only for lunch and toilet stops.
Finally out into the open and found a shopping centre that had a bank and ATM, umm, we are still in Quebec state where everything is in french and the ATM is as well, but it had an english button, yes we are saved. Carried on for a little while and with sore butts we finally found a place to stay in Casselman over the state border in Ontario.
Off into Ottawa, what a facinating place with amazing old government buildings and bicycle friendly streets, a great little city to get around. Great to see some signs in english. We survived the french language and writing by trying to interprete with pictures and some things look similar.
Anyway, we headed inland up to North Bay. The road is full of forests and small villages, and there are camping areas everywhere but with no tent we keeping going.
A hot 34c sunny day today and it has been classed as a heat wave, it was hot but we have been in hotter, so different to a few days ago when we were in Nova Scotia with 12C!
Decided to stay on North Bay and Brian has gone off to do laundry (he is getting domestic!) and I am finally updating the blog.
I got Brian to go to a Japanese restaurant for dinner and on the way back to the motel, he thought we may have a soft tyre. Parked up the bike got the flash light out and sure enough there is something in our back tyre, so a quick trip to the Service station just down the road and removed a roofing nail from the tyre, plugged the hole up with a tubeless tyre plug and pumped it up, this was all at 10 pm. Then he forgot his helmet and had to go back for it.
Brian woke up dizzy and then got up and prceded to be sick - Either the squid or chicken we think, so he is on water for the day.
Got about 15km down the road and the back tyre was flat, the plug pulled out. So on the side of the highway and fixed the tyre with more plugs. Got going and found a small town with a garage to patch the tyre up, which Brian had to do himself. Poor man sweating away and just wanting to be sick all the time and it was now about 23C at 10am.
Finally done and away we go again - 100km later, down it goes again, so here we are back on the side of the road trying to fix up this tyre. Off we go, but it didn't stay up and we pulled into a petrol station to put some air back into it only to discover that the nail must have gone in at an angle and had split the inside of tyre so there was no way that hole can be repaired.
We only had 250 km to go to Toronto where the bike was going in for a service. What to do, what to do!! We were recommended this guy down the road about 3 km away and he had tubes and a couple of old tyres. Managed to creep the distance and within 20 mins we were back on the road. $20 for the tyre that had enough tread for what we had to do.
We were back on the road and finally able to Toronto, better late than never. Brian is feeling better until we got to the BMW dealer where he started being really sick again, and turned a lovely shade of grey. We had pre arranged a rental car and accomodation, and were lucky enough that the car was delivered to the BMW dealer and the motel is only 5km away.
A quick drive down the road and after being checked in Brian went straight to bed and is now a sleeping beauty.
Brian is still sick this morning and slept for most of it. So I made the most of it by doing a few business things on the computer, and trying to do more laundry (as our draggins are just about standing up by themselves), obviously I have been having a few blonde moments lately because I couldn't even get the washing dry - fed the dryers money, clothes in the bottom dryer but I turn the top one on! I didn't discover this until I tried the 2nd time to try and get our clothes dry and saw the top empty dryer going! So a quick change of machines and yes they dried.
I had to amuse myself somehow this morning.
Our motel is next to a major highway and in an industrial area, so nowhere to walk to. Just as well they have a few vending machines to at least get something to drink and eat.
By early afternoon Brian was feeling a bit better so we decided to go for a drive about 6 km down the road to look for a new house (tent), well we were there for 5 mins and he became sick again, so he went out to the car for some fresh air. will go back tomorrow to get one.
Feeling better we decided to head off to return the car, with a whopping big 20km clocked up, got a call to say the bike was ready, so made a detour there and Brian started to perk up a bit. Loaded up the bike, so now it looks a bit strange - clean bike with dirty panniers. They only work on clean bikes! With a new set of tyres, yep front and rear, both got replaced in the end. And a nice $1100+ account to go with it, but it was a major service. $108 per hour is the charge rate on a motorbike.
Brian rode infront as I followed him in the car to the rental company, dropped the car off then we went back to the motel where Brian is back in bed snoring his head off.
We were going to go to Niagara Falls today and try to stay another night here, but wll leave tomorrow (with $20 CAD, enough for some petrol) to go through there and then over the border again to go around Lake Eire for a week or so crossing off a few more states.
By the way we made it to print , if you want to read the article here is the link: -http://www.sjvalley-times.com/view/full_story/19052120/article-New-Zealand-couple-tours-the-Four-Corners-and-beyond?instance=home_sports
Brian not feeling too flash this morning but decided to leave as the bed was way too hard and the fresh air might make him feel better.
We got about 40km and he pulled over, luckily it was by an information centre. He sat down for a while then got up only to become very dizzy and wobbly while trying to walk. Got to the bike where he was extremely sick. So an ambulance was called and he was taken to the local hospital.
We were luck enough to have a couple of guys stop and help us out with the bike. They both had licences and one of them rode the bike to the hospital for us. At least all of our stuff was in the same area.
Our hospital visit would have been worse if Brian had lost control while riding on the road.
He was offloaded into the hallway of the observation unit in ER and that was where he stayed for the 14 hours we were there! No available beds, so he was treated there. It took 11 hours before a docotor even came to see him. Worse than my experience in LA.
He has a an inner ear infection(but with not pain) that has caused vertigo and nausea. So it wasn't the food after all. And that is way he is unable to keep anything down. So after a couple of bags of saline and anti nausea drugs given to him by iv and a bill for $1190 (yes, another insurance claim) he was discharged.
2am and here we were in a town we don't know in the dark trying to find a place to stay. Brian very wobbly riding the bike, after going to 3 motels that were full we finally found a place to stay. I don't know why they discharged him, knowing that we were travelling on the bike!!
we both slept for most of the day. I managed to book us in for another couple of nights and went a got Brians prescription.
Where we were staying is right by a shopping complex, everything is within walking distance, not that we knew that when we arrived in the middle of the night! The motel was really good to us by giving us a cheaper rate and checking up to see if we needed anything.
By late afternoon Brian was feeling a bit better and had started to keep food down, and his dizziness was nearly gone.
Brian feeling heaps better today and wanting to go out. Not feeling dizzy at all.
So he decided that we should try to go to Niagara Falls as it is only 20 km down the road.
After a late light breakfast we slowly went on our way, only problem was when he moved his head too fast.
Got to the falls and had a fantastic, relaxing day. The falls are a very impressive dribble of water. Mesmerizing, I could have sat and watched them all day. We even did a boat ride around the bottom of the falls, he wanted to and he felt OK, even though he looked pale. So we got our sexy blue smurf poncho to put on and got onto the boat. A bit wavy when we got up close, not to mention wet! But he survived the boat so he must be coming right.
Went for a walk around the town, which reminded me of the side shows at a A&P show. But was away from the actual falls so didn't distract from it's beauty.
The Canadian side is the place to be for the full view of the falls, and the boat ride was not over priced, Brian was good all day. So have decided to continue on tomorrow and eventually get a new tent in a few days time when he is fully recovered.
Went back over the border today to go around Lake Eire, and to tick off some more US states, as there isn't much to drive through in Canada.
Came into Buffalo, NY and rode passed a Ford car plant. This city is very industrial and has a lot of old factories around the lake.
The city of Eire has a coal powered Electricity plant .
Travelled along the lake for most of the day, going through small towns and am now staying at Willoughby, Ohio, just out of Cleveland.
This lake is filled with ghost ships - sunken ships, great for divers to explore. A bit choppy today with the wind. Just looks like you are looking out at the ocean.
Brian still feeling a bit tired, but had a good day back on the bike.
Had a quick drive through Cleveland, a small city right on the lake. We then followed the lake to Toledo where we spent most of the afternoon looking for a tent and getting some bits & pieces.
Didn't find a tent, but found one online at a store in Michigan state, gave them a call and are holding it for us.
The weather is very warm today and Brian is still no right when he is looking sideways.
Decided to stay in Toledo and next to the motel was a hairdresser, so Brian went and got his head shaved, $10, great price.
Went into the Michigan state to Ann Arbor where we went and got our tent. 10:40am and 32c already and high humidity.
Off to Detroit, even though everyone we talk to says don't go there, we did! Use to have a population of 2.5million, now at last count was 90,000. Easy to get around as it is like driving through a ghost town. Right in the centre of the city they seem to be trying to rebuild and beautify it. The outskirts of the city is a bit scary with burnt out buildings, massive graffiti everywhere and abandoned damaged buildings. An area where you don't want to stop at red traffic lights for too long. A very dodgy area. Even Brian was a bit unsettled.
Decided not to hang around so took off and continued to drive around the lake. Great blue coloured water and some amazing "lake houses".
Staying in a small town called Bad Axe, which is surrounded by cropping and dairy farms.
Temp got up to 38c today and made Brian feel a bit off.
continued riding around the lake today, coming across more farming areas - corn, sugar beets, grains, potatoes and something else that might be peanuts.
Not as hot as yesterday, but still very warm.
Stopped in Alpena for an ice cream and got talking to some air force guys, who ended up paying for our icecreams and gave us a bit of info about the lake.
Continued on our way and are staying in Mackinaw City, a resort town at the top of the lake. Very busy place for such a little place, I count 12 fudge shops and 10 T Shirt printing shops. Very much a tourist spot.
Over the last couple of days we have been passing a few dead animals on the road. Skunks are the worst, man they smell rank, that smell would be twice as bad if it was alive and sprayed I'm sure. Better dead for sure.
Going back over the border to Canada, again!
But, the bridege at Sault Ste Marie crossing was closed in the morning because of the 50th Anniversary of the bridge, they did some special bridge walk, but the didn't have the notification signs until after the last exit road , so we were stuck in a line of one way traffic.
A 40 min wait then the traffic started to flow, slowly. Finally over the bridge and a quick visit to customs and we were off with the rest of the traffic to go around yet another lake.
Well, it is the only main road around,but has nice hills and winding roads with fantastic views of the lake. But the wind was very chilling. The towns that we passed to day are all small and very run down, shame really as there are some great spots around the lake to canoe, hunt, fish and hike. Just not promoted enough?
Staying at Marathon, Ontario.
More of the same wonderful scenery today and still fantastic roads. A bit cool in the morning, but by the afternoon the temp was enough for us to ride with no jackets, naughty, I know, it did feel sooo wrong, but so nice and cool.
Brian feeling better today, I think, as he is getting a bit of road rage with not being able to pass. 90km max speed limit with double lines most of the time and not many passing lanes becomes quite tedious after a while. And the truck drivers try to pass other vehicles even though there is a long line of traffic behind them! Arses!!
It is Canada Day today, not that we saw any celebrations for it on our travels. The roads were not very busy and the towns were very quiet. Public holiday tomorrow, so it will be a quiet day again tomorrow.
Had a look at a waterfall, that was rated 2nd to Niagara falls. It actually looks as if beer was flowing over it, brown water with a nice froth to it. Impressive, but no match to the famous Niagara falls.
Saw a few splatters of moose juice on the road today and a real moose on the side of the road, freshly dead from the night before. Quite a big size animal with a crow sitting next to it ready to start feasting.
Went and had a look around an Amethyst Mine and then went foraging around for a few rocks. The mine has been going for nearly 50 years, and have not blasted for 2 years as the granite is very soft and brittle, they just scrap with a digger and wash the rock and the crystals are everywhere.
Went over the time line again, so now in central time, and gained an hour.
I can't believe we had been on the road for 2 months already and that we are actually on our way up to Alaska.
Managed to do 600km today with all our little stops everywhere and are now staying in Dryden tonight.
Cool riding this morning with more riding in the hills for a little while. Went into a town for a toilet stop and I saw a deer wandering down a footpath, just minding it's own business. Crossed the state line into Manitoba, where it is very flat and full of crops, wheat and canola. Went through Winnipeg, today is a public holiday so the city was not busy.
The weather has turned a bit - into thunderclouds and a red/pinkish coloured sky, a very eire feeling as is was only 2:30pm and it was dark and all the vehicles had lights on.
Continued on our way through the Prairies where it became very hot and sticky, and very humid. A strange weather day.
Feeling a bit dehydrated and tired, not to mention hot and wet, we decided to stop at Minniedosa for the night and realised that we had actually done 670km and no sore butt. Would have kept going if it didn't feel like we were riding with a hair dryer on high heat blowing right into our faces! Reminded me of riding in Australia.
Just after we took off this morning we came across a buffalo farm, with the beast right by the road. Then it was back into flat to rolling country full of crops again, mostly canola and machinery everywhere. came across a few potash plants, but were a distance from the road so couldn't have much of a look.
Went into Saskatchewan state and gained another hour of time. By the afternoon we came across more thunderstorm clouds, but this time the sky opened up and it poured down, not to mention the big roars of thunder and amazing flashes of lightening! Yep, we got wet!
The roads are very straight and most of the side road are just dirt, but would be a nightmare in the wet, actually they are if you saw some of the trucks that are around, all the same colour - dirt brown.
Finally got some sunshine and arrived at Lloyd-minister, on the Alberta state border, fueled up and then decided to stop for the night. Watching the weather channel on TV we discovered that there was 48 tornado warnings for the storm that we went through. I believe it, it just looked like at any moment a funnel was going to form!
Raining again, but no thunderstorms. Rode to Edmonton and found the famous mall. It had undercover parking, so we stopped for a few hours to get warmed up and have a good look round. It has a water park, ice rink and roller costers as well as mall shops. Amazing place to walk around and people watch.
Wanted to go ice skating but they had ice hockey junior champs on, so we watched them play instead.
The weather was trying to clear so we decided to head off back into dairy land and small oil wells.
Staying in Whitecourt tonight. We have a lovely motel room with a fireplace and a jacuzzi, very romantic!!!
lots of oil and logging in the hills and more oil and cropping on the flats.
Went across another state into British Colombia, plus another hour gained.
Saw a few moose today, 1 alive one and the rest were dead on the side of the road, Black bear and her cubs just wandering down the side of the road.
More rain, but what can you do, harden up and carry on!
Staying in Fort Nelson, and we managed to do 870km today.
had an early start to the day as Brian's phone hadn't changed time zones! we were gone by 7am. Changing timezones so much in the last week has got us all confused.
Had a great day today, the road was fantastic to ride and the scenery of the hills was amazing.
saw lots of wildlife - bears, bison, moose, deer, caribou, and sheep(but not like NZ have, more like mountain sheep, maybe a sheep/goat mix) and some other things but I don't know what they were.
saw lots of adv m/bikes going pass, so Brian is finally feeling like he fits in, instead of being around all the HD's.
Went through Watson Lake where they have the Signage Forest. (assortment of road signs screwed to poles) over 74,000.
Staying at Whitehorse after doing 970km today.
rode through lots of forest today.
Helped some brothers from Texas (John & George) with a flat tyre. Met a few fellow bikers today, it is interesting to here all their stories.
Staying at Dawson City - a gold mining town that has tried to stay authentic. Dirt roads old style buildings and even some of them dress up. when you walk through the streets you just feel like you should have cowboy boots and a hat as well as having you pistol ready to draw from the waist. Daylight was for 20 hours.
today started with a ferry crossing over the river, which in winter forms an ice bridge that they drive over.
rode the "top of the world" highway. Bits of snow and was bitterly cold, 6C. 1328m in elevation and a gravel road for some of it with the small border crossing at the top. Great road and scenery.
So now we are in Alaska.
Followed the Texan boys all day and with their help have arranged accommodation and Prudhoe Bay bus tour. for the next couple of days.
Staying at Fairbanks, in the University dorms. Where we have met up with Dick Hubbard (Hubbard Cereals in NZ) and his wife who are traveling with another couple, Ken and his wife. Ken is a Ulysses member and has Brian's bike pannier frames on his bike! He sold them back to motomart when he got the touratech gear and Ken purchased them for his bike. Small world!!
Started off in fine weather to go to Wiseman, half way up the Dalton Highway to Deadhorse/Pruhdoe Bay.
Road a little bit sloppy in places, especially with the road works and the water truck going over it all the time. A few delays, as we had to have a pilot vehicle take us through in a couple of places.
The road is sealed in quite a few spots, but can be very rough, snow and truck damage, feels like you are on a kids roller coaster at times or even a boat!
Went through the arctic circle and stopped to get a photo of the sign when all of a sudden this dude comes roaring in on this bike and wants his photo taken too, not to mention his certificate. What certificate, we didn't know anything about it, so he took off again the same way he came in.
We carried on to coldfoot where we went to the visitors centre, and guess what - arctic circle certificates, so we got one! Ha-ha, he missed out. Went and fueled up, had a quick beer, even I had one!
Wiseman was only 12 miles away, so not too far for the sore butt to stay seated. Stayed at Boreal Lodge, great place. Very remote area out here, it is a mining community.
Daylight for 24 hours at present, very strange, you have no idea what time of the day it is.
Very early start today, (well it is daylight all the time so how can you sleep!). we left just after 6 am with cold drizzle and low fog, it made great scenery, but slow going on the road. Took us 5 hrs to do 420km.
Freezing, freezing cold, it is soooooo cold.
Finally got up there, totally different looking to what we expected, a lot of container buildings that are on skids for being pulled out onto the ice in the winter, mostly the accommodation.
This is where ice truckers was filmed.
Found a hotel where we went for lunch and to warm up. $15 per person for whatever you wanted. Soups, salads, warm buffet, beverages, cakes, cookies and ice cream and then - you can go over to the other side and take away fruit, sandwiches, yogurt, chips, juice boxes, so we took advantage and stocked up. It was similar to the mining accommodation we stayed at in Port Hedland.
No cheap fuel here, we paid $5-40 per gallon!! And this is where they get it from!!
Did our bus tour around the gas fields and went and dipped my feet in the dirty arctic ocean. Had a security guy for our tour guide who thought he knew it all, he was so funny to listen to as he was trying to brag about himself, but some interesting info did come out of this gob occasionally.
we had decided not to stay up here so after the tour we headed back down to Wiseman. Yes another 5 hours, but why not, it is not going to get dark!
It was still cold but the weather had improved a bit. Totally different on the way back, there was snow right on the road, didn't see that going up, not to mention the mountain tops.
Came across a trucker who had stopped in the middle of the road, as we passed him he had just finished having a pee out the door. He got caught out!
Got back to the lodge and found something to eat, then to bed, I think it was close to 1 am, but felt like 9 pm. It didn't take long for the zzzzzz to start once the head hit the pillow.
Slow ride back to Fairbanks, enjoying the sun and the scenery.
It looks so different going the other way.
Staying back at the uni and need to do more washing, especially the bike as it is covered in mud.
Didn't realise that there was so much sealed road, thought it was all dirt. And from what we had been told by all the other riders that we had seen in the past week, it was going to be a real challenge for us to do. Dusty. if dry, sloppy and slippery if wet. Wont do it on those road tyres, not two up.
We we did it - in the rain, road tyres, two up and ll our gear!!!
A bit of a relaxing start to the day. Sent off another box of stuff to Arizona. Tried to arrange to get the bike serviced in Anchorage for next week but they had no time available, but there was a dealer here so went around and finally got it sorted for Monday.
Didn't get far, as we came out of the dealer carpark, we got told that our back tyre was soft. Yep, another puncture. This time a big long as screw! Back into the carpark and fixed it up.
We finally left Fairbanks just before 1 pm. a short day of riding today. We went to Denali National Park for a look around, where we was two big bull moose, but could only see the antlers amongst the bush.
Staying in Healy for the night.
more cold rain and low cloud as we took the Denali Highway, a gravel road. A bit slippery, especially in one part as we slide from one side of the road to the other as we got to the bottom of a hill and lots of pot holes in the road. This road closes in the winter, and I can see why.
Slow going but a busy road, mostly full of RV's. Got down to 6C without the wind factor, and the wind was icy cold.
Found a BMW fender on the side of the road, second one we have come across in the last few days.
Brian couldn't get comfortable in the saddle today so when we got to Glennallen we decided to stop for the night, not to mention try and warm up.
Went to Valdez and on the way We got a warning siren blast from the local cop for riding a bit too fast.
The view is stunning with all the snow still on the mountains, and we are in summer! Stopped for a short walk to a glacier then off to the town to try and see if we can go on a cruise.
Well, with 5 mins to spare before the boat left we went and got our tickets and boarded for the 6.5 hr cruise to view one of the glaciers.
The cruise was amazing, seeing the broken ice from the glacier floating around was pretty cool! But we actually didn't get to see the glacier because of all the ice that was floating around, it kind of got quite compact in a few places.
But we saw a humpback whale, seals, sea otters, bald eagles, mountain goats, porpoises and a few different kinds of birds. A really enjoyable trip.
Now back on land, where to stay the night. There is a cycle race that finished in town today so not much around. We found the last room in one motel, as all the others we fully booked.
Basically we fluked the whole day today, and had a wonderful time doing it!
A cold and damp ride back to Fairbanks today with the bike temp recording 4C and no wind chill factored in, no wonder I couldn't feel my fingers!
You have to be really tough to live in Alaska with summers like this!
Got to Fairbanks that had a temp of 20C, not that I can feel it! Discovered that the Tyre has a slow leak in it, so we are lucky that it held out. Went back to the uni to stay for a couple of nights while the bike gets serviced tomorrow. Brian went around to get a new tyre fitted at this place that was recommended - back yard guy who does tires on your schedule. Adventure Cycleworks
I am finally updating the blog (Yay, finally you can find out what we have been up to!)
Brian has returned so we can now go and pick up the car for tomorrow, and this time we will be using it while the bike is being serviced. But he still has to go and clean the bike, otherwise we will have a $35 extra charge put on our account for cleaning.
got the bike serviced today.
had a look around the town, just as well we had a car as it was wet and cold.
did a bit of shopping, bit of a slow day.
a cold start to the day with a bit of drizzle in the morning but by the time we got to Anchorage it had warmed up, we even saw some people sunbathing! It wasn't that hot, though, maybe 20C.
Pulled into a motel to stay for a few nights and ended up parking in front of a German couple, Paul and Kathy, that we met in Dawson City, and had also seen them on the road when we were coming back from Wiseman. Had a good chat and ended up going out for dinner together.
went out to homer for a cup of hot chocolate!
Great ride out to Homer, through the mountains and trees. Saw some people on the side of the road cutting up a moose that had freshly become road kill.
It is salmon season and there are hundreds of people fishing in the rivers all lined up and occasionally having to fight with the bears for the fish!
Homer is a great fishing town, but the wind was freezing cold. Lots of fishing charters available and you can even get your fish filleted ,vacuum packed, smoked, cured and freezed. Cool place.
Rode 740km today
said our farewells to Paul and Kathy, maybe we might bump into them again, you never know.
Went into town for the morning to have a look around. A small city that is easy to get around. We were tourists for the morning. Had a really nice reindeer hot dog for lunch.
In the afternoon we went to Whittier for a milkshake. 200km return trip. This community is where the ferries dock and has a 2 1/2 mile (4km) one way tunnel that has a road and train tracks through it.
Brian needed all his concentration to stay within the tracks while driving in the tunnel. You try driving in a straight line for 4 km, its really hard to do!! And we had to go back through as this is the only way in/out.
Lots of glaciers around and a really nice warm day.
Time to move on and start to ride back into Canada.
A bit of a cool day for most of the day.
Stopped in Glennallen and met up with a group of Germans who are riding around on a escorted tour.
Staying at Tok
a long slow ride today.
Lost an hour going over the border back into Canada.
Crappy road for so long, it felt like we were in a little boat bobbing around int the sea. they have no idea how to make nice smooth roads.
Back in Whitehorse for the night.
Sad to leave Alaska, even though most of the time the weather was wet and freezing cold, it was such a great place to ride around.
I had a tear in my eye when we went through the border, but we have left a few roads undiscovered and have a promise to return in 3-5 years for a longer tour around and will try and bring some extra people with us!!! Hint, hint, to some of you out there!
we had a really slow start to the day, with losing 1 hour yesterday and talking to a few people we finally left just before noon.
We still managed to ride 460km before we found an awesome little camping spot in the middle of nowhere called french river recreation site. It had toilets, tables, fire drums and wood all set up, and even had rope, ladder for storing food up in the trees from the bears.
Free camping and our first time on this trip, so why not try in the middle of nowhere, where there are bears!! Oh yes I forgot to mention the millions of giant mozzies that thought we were fresh meat!
The tent was easy to put up but is slightly smaller than the other one we lost.
Brian put his last can of beer in the river to cool down and we went for a quick dip and I mean quick, very crisp,refreshingly cold water, which didn't stop those bloody mozzies from eating us. Brian never got to drink his beer as it had floated away, so maybe the fisherman downstream got a freebie.
Up early and those mozzies pounced on both of us as soon as we were out of the tent.
We have both been severely bitten by the mozzies and our legs and feet look like we have chicken pox. They get you through your clothes, even jeans!
Packed up and we were on the road by 6:40am, 5 mins later we saw a brown bear on the side of the road.
The cassier highway is a very remote road with a few small gold mine/jade stone communities.
In Smithers we caught up with a group of kiwis that are travelling around as part of their Sturgis trip, Ken & Jan O'Leary from Lower Hutt organise the trip every year. They have shipped their bikes over, a mixed bunch of bikes - Harley's, BMW, Honda, and even a Suzuki V Strom!!!!!
Staying in Smithers tonight.
went and visited Gerard Vollebregts' cousin in the morning before we headed off again. She is a nurse and was working in Darwin the same time I was in hospital over there.
Theresa and her husband Bryan have recently built a house in a great spot just out of town. It is still work in progress but looks great so far! Theresa was great to talk to.
Took off on the road again and ended up at Prince George for the night and meet up with the Kiwi Sturgis group again. Had a good chat with a few of them.
The area we are in has had a few people missing in the last six months and 1 has been found, dead, apparently there is a serial killer on the loose. Big signs have been posted on the side of the roads.
we checked where Dick & Diana and Ken & Shirley were and discover that that could be around the same place , so left a message to see if we could try and catch up in the next few days.
Took off and had a look around the town and saw two BMW bikes going the other way, sure enough NZ stickers and rego plates, there they were!
We all caught up at the small town called McBride, where we stopped for lunch, and also bumped back into a few of the kiwi Sturgis group.
We ended up riding with Dick, Ken and ladies to Jasper and ended up arranging a place to stay for all of us and we all had dinner together.
Actually it was nice to have some company as we are always by ourselves!!
As we were sitting down to dinner Dick sneaked off and had ordered champagne for the table, very unexpected, but much appreciated. We had great food and even better company. Thanks for the great company guys.
after breakfast we had a look around the town before heading off through the national park.
Amazing views of the mountains and glaciers(more!!) We saw our first grizzly bear(,and yes they are different to a black/brown bear), longer hair, different face, bigger.
Went and had a look at lake Louise, what a beautiful spot, then the black thunder cloud appeared so we thought we better try and keep in front of it, but it didn't work. By the time we got to Banff it was raining and we stopped to put our pants on.
Carried on to Calgary on the freeway. This part of the road out of the park is all fenced off so the animals don't go onto the road, but have special bridges for them, so we have driven through a few tunnels where the top of the tunnel has been fenced on the sides and is all planted on top.
Staying in Calgary for the next 2 nights
Calgary is a great city to get around as it seems to be spread out.
Yes, I know we missed the stampede (100th year!), but we thought it would be very busy and since we are enjoying ourselves in this area we have decided to come back here and to spend some more time in Jasper Nat park and do the stampede.
Went to a couple of bike shops and had a good look around, then hit the markets and a cowboy boot factory shop. I tried on a few pair that kind of fitted but they didn't have any my size and the factory is on holiday after the stampede so I am unable to even order a custom made pair, oh well, there is always next time. They have close to 8,000 pairs to choose from and they are beautifully made in all sorts of colours, even bright lime green!!!
It was a nice relaxing day and I didn't even buy anything, I just can't believe how good I am being with shopping!!
finally I am updating the blog and have had to rewrite 3 days as they disappeared before I could save them.
a bit of a late start to the day, didn't leave Calgary until 9:30am. Off to travel down some forestry roads that has freedom camping everywhere. The amount of campers we came across parked up in the bush or by a river was amazing, actually most of them had ATVs with them hooning around.
The road was on the side of the rocky mountains, (appropriately named)
Out of the forestry and we were back on the road to cross the border back into the US - very official officers this time, wouldn't even have a conversation with us. Finally we were allowed to go and off we go into the outskirts of the glacier Nat park, Montana state.
We had decided that we would try to camp in the park, so we went through the entrance only to see that all the ground were full, bugger! So we kept going through the park anyway.
What amazing views, not many glaciers to see, but what a road winding on the edge of the mountain with cascades showering over the sides. There are hiking trails everywhere. You know I am not that into hiking, but over the last month with what we have seen I am seriously considering to give it a go!
We decided to stop at Hungry Horse for the night, just out of the park. This place has a lot of Huckleberry shops, and it is huckleberry season - they are similar to a blueberry, but smaller.
we had another great ride today through forest then into open rolling hills of nothing but crispy brown looking grass with ranches everywhere.
There seem to be deer everywhere on the sides of the road today, even when we came zooming around a bend and Brian had to hit the breaks quite hard to avoid them, but for me I went sliding forward and gave myself a wedgie!
Staying in Grand Falls, where there is a state fair on for 10 days (like the A&P shows), they even have a rodeo on, so we are off to have a look and see if it is worth staying here another night.
have decided to stay for another 2 nights so we can go and watch a rodeo tomorrow night.
Went to the fair and had a look around, not much different to our A&P shows, maybe slightly bigger. looked around for a few hours and then went back to our room for a bit of a R & R (hasn't been much of that!). In the early evening we went back to the fair to watch a concert - Chris Young, a country rock singer. Didn't cost us anything as we already had entry into the fair! He was pretty good, well the teenage girls thought so with all the screaming that was going on. After wards the sideshows were still going strong, so we stayed for a while to watch everyone have a bit of fun.
had a look around the town in the morning and then back to the room to do a couple of hours of farm business on the computer (I haven't had to do to much, thanks Iona).
Early evening we were back at the fair, this time to go and watch a rodeo. Wow, it is so quick, I had a few troubles trying to get photos, but good to watch and people watch too, all the boys dressed like cowboys and calling me "ma'am", now the men, especially the older guys, they still dress like cowboys but walk all bent and crippled, like they have had a few to many rodeo accidents!
Great falls has been a great place to have a few days rest.
Wow, we are half way through our trip already. Can't believe it, we have done so much and still so much to see. I guess this next 3 months will go so fast, so we will be seeing you all really soon!! Some places are just becoming a blur, but I'm sure it will all come back to us.
Off down to Yellowstone Nat Park through some really nice minor roads - great for riding and the scenery.
Had lunch in Livingston, a beautiful country town that is thriving and still uses the historic buildings as the shopping area.
Have seen lots of pivots and other irrigators, its the only way to grow crops in this desert area.
Decided to stay in Gardiner, which is just at the top of Yellowstone, and did a loop around the top roads in the early evening (since we have a Nat park annual pass, we can go in and out when ever), just as well we decided not to camp in the park, all campgrounds were full, anyway we were in a log cabin for the night, nice and cosy.
The ride around Yellowstone was nice but slow, full of tourists trying to get a glimpse of the animals. Very surprised to see alot of Asian people, as we haven't seen them anywhere else. We saw more bear, black with cubs and another grizzly being harassed by everyone trying to take photos, but they didn't see that there was a bison just sitting about 100m away from the bear! More bald eagles, elk and a coyote running down the road with his dinner in it mouth (rabbit).
100 km loop ended up taking us 3 hours! Finally back in town and we found somewhere for dinner - pizza, where we watched a 12 yr old boy tossing pizza dough in the air like a pro (owners son, apparently!) great to watch, even better to eat, tasty!
going down Yellowstone today.
Got to the visitors centre and there was a family of elk just hanging around in the shade of the trees in the round about.
Saw some deer as they crossed infront of us then further up the road a coyote tried to do the same but turned around as there was more traffic than he thought. Came across a herd of bison with a herd of tourists blocking the road trying to take photos of them all, when all of a sudden one big boy decided to come up onto the road in front of us, stopped and then proceeded to walk towards us, away from them annoying tourists, so we just swerved over to the other lane and let him walk on by trying to get away, but out of the cars they came running after him, idiots!!!
So with the motorbike revving we pushed through the human and metal herd to continue on our way.
Yellowstone is a geothermal area, geysers, steam, mudpools, hot pools and the smell to go with it, but not as bad as Rotorua!!! Got sun burnt sitting and waiting for a geyser (old faithful, not so faithful!) to shot its load, finally it happened, man do I feel like a tourist today, doing everything like them.
Went down to Jackson, through Teton Nat park, which joins onto Yellowstone. Decided to continue on as it was very busy and touristy, into the state of Idaho where we ended up in Ashton.
went up to west Yellowstone and then through Yellowstone Nat park again, basically we have driven through most of the roads. Yes we are taking our time. Basically we have been killing time over the last week as Brian wants to go to Sturgis. The motorcycle rally starts on Monday and so we have just been mucking around for the last week.
After leaving Yellowstone, we followed the buffalo bill highway to Cody, where we stayed the night. What a change of scenery - from mountains and forest in Yellowstone to big rocky hills along the highway. Stopped and had a look at a dam before going through a few tunnels and then into the wild west town of Cody - a small country town that has a country western style to it. They have rodeos and gun slinging in the street, a bit of a tourist trap but not as bad as some other towns we have been through.
Found some amazing roads today. Great motorbike country out here and the scenery is "wow", actually the whole ride and scenery was just "wow wow wow!!!"
Went up on top of mountains with elevations of 11000ft, breathing was a bit hard at this height, snow still up here in places. The road just winds around the side of the hills with lots of tight steep zig zag roads. You can smell the burning brakes form the vehicles towing trailers.
This place is like a desert and then you come across crops of corn and a corn sugar refinery in the middle of nowhere that has water to irrigate.
Decided to stay in a small town called Ranchester.
took some minor roads and ended up seeing over 60 deer today, even had to stop for one to bounce across the road and over the fences. then we must of came across at least a couple of thousand Harley Davidson motorbikes.
Went through Custer City, which was full of bikes - they are just everywhere!
we are staying at Rapid City, about 30 mins away from Sturgis. Will be based here for the next few days.
got parking ticket this morning for not parking in a designated area - $5.
Rode into Sturgis, very busy and our bike was so out of place parked next to all the HD, but too bad.
Very hot day, at 4pm it was 38C, so not to sure what is got up to in the early afternoon.
Did lots of walking around looking at all the bikes and the shops that were selling so much bling for the HD's, man you could spend some money here if you wanted to put a few accessories on your bike, not us though we only have a dirty BMW.
Lots of interesting sites to see, including some older ladies dressed in not much more than a few bits of string hanging across them or they were wearing nothing but body paint.
we had a bit of a spend and purchased some air hawk seats, hopefully they might make a bit of a difference.
the atmosphere is amazing and hard to describe, you really need to come over and experience it for yourself.
had a bit of a relaxing morning then decided to go back into Sturgis for the night. It was a lot cooler in the early evening than yesterday.
There is definitely some biker slappers around, and not pretty ones to look at either!
Went and watched some extreme boxing - one guy lasted 40 secs and was KO in the first round!
Bikini bike washing is everywhere around the area.
discovered that our bike had been broken into overnight! Think it was the indian wine-o's. All they took was some stale muffins and muesli bars, so it wasn't too bad!
Went for a ride to Mt Rushmore, since it is in the area, Very impressive carved hunk of rock, but I thought it was going to be bigger! We then went to see another rock carving (unfinished) called Crazy Horse, this is going to be unbelievable when it get finished. An Indian on his horse pointing to his tribe.
Great riding around the roads here, even with all the bikes around.
to date there has been 4 deaths and a couple of hundred injured and in hospital since the rally started.
A few days ago we bumped into some more kiwi bikers, this time form Kapiti, well, we bumped into them again in the afternoon when we came back into rapid city. I don't know, we kiwis seem to flock together.
on the move again
went to the local HD store and ended up purchasing a intercom system and motorbike video camera. I have resisted all the HD clothing and fantastic accessories, and the bikes, even though I did sit on one for a couple of minutes. Sooo tempted by the price, cheap as chips!! But no, I will not join the cult!
Went through Badlands Nat Park, which was extremely baron with some interesting rock formations, then into a small town called Wall with an amazing drug store (basically it is a small shopping centre), great place but full of sturgis riders, so after having a quick bite of lunch we were off again to get out of the rat race.
Took some straight roads in to nothingness to Mobridge, right on the Missouri river and a time zone change, so we have lost another hour.
rode some more straight roads into North Dakota. I don't recommend coming up here, not too much to see!
More straight roads with hay, grain, corn and sunflower crops everywhere amongst the baron dry hills. The sunflowers always put a smile on my face, just a bright, happy looking flower.
Staying in Fargo for the night. It seems to be quite an industrial looking town. There is one place here that looks like it builds crude oil train carriages and windmill towers.
went on more straight roads to the other side of Minnesota state. Road into Duluth, which looked really interesting, so we thought we would stay the night. But we couldn't find any accommodation as there was a blues festival on, so 130 km later we finally found a town that had space. Hayward, Wisconsin.
Rode through mostly trees in the morning and came across a few farms.
Carried onto Wisconsin Rapids, which ended up being a coal area and a bit stinky.
Carried on to Burnsville for the next 2 nights
not much to report today, bike got serviced again. So while we waited we went into all the bike shops in the area, basically every bike you could just about think of, apart from KTM. There were even a few new Urals to look at!!
Rode the Great River Road (Mississippi) scenic route. Garmen ended up making us go from one side to the other, in and out of Wisconsin and Minnesota all the time.
Lots of corn and soy bean crops and also dairy farms everywhere that you can smell before you get to them. Fonterra would not be impressed!!
Came across a factory that smelt so good before we got to the sign saying what the factory actually produced - Purina cat food!!!
The small country towns are great to drive through, with all the old style buildings.
Rode into the Iowa state to a town called Waterloo, famous for the green machines (John Deere) and there seems to be plenty of them around the countryside.
Something was going on in the town, so we went and did a drive by. Lots of police everywhere. The crowds were gathering in the early evening to listen to President Obama make his political campaign speech on the river front. And there were police on and under the bridge, flying over the site, traffic being diverted.
We didn't stop to go and have a look or listen, don't want to get mixed up in that stuff, so we went and found a room for the night, flicked on the TV and here he was live on one of the channels, listened for a couple of minutes and then switched him off.
Spent most of the day in Waterloo doing 2 John Deere factory tours. Assembly in the morning, where we saw them putting the tractors together. They only make to order, and the factory has enough parts for 2 - 3 days at a time. One part we couldn't go through because they were putting together some secret thing.
Engines in the afternoon, where we saw them making a fully completed engine. Starting with the machines trimming out engine blocks. If they are don't pass inspection or unable to be repaired then they get melted down and made into weights.
By late afternoon we started to head off to Madison, Wisconsin, where we ended up racing against a thunderstorm that was looming in the distance, got a bit of a cold shower and then we were ahead of it again for the rest of the way.
Thunderstorms took over in the early morning with lots of flashes of lightening and noise that lasted for about 4-5 hours. So while we waited for the rain to stop we planned our next few days, finally just after 9am it stopped, so we took advantage of it as got on our way.
Off to Milwaukee - but not to do a HD factory tour as we did some investigating and found the better one to go to was in Kansas City. A very industrial, dirty city.
Continued on our way and came across a Nestle chocolate factory, mmmmmmmmmmm! what a great smell, not too sweet, actually I can't remember the last time we have had any chocolate.
Within 70km from Chicago we were in s l o w moving traffic, basically it took us 2 hours to get into the centre of the city, a mini New York, where we found the start of "Route 66". And again garmin failed us with the tall buildings, so were on our own for just a little bit trying to navigate the narrow streets, but we found a gap in the buildings and we were away again.
We continued on our way and ended up staying in Merriville.
Off on our way down the Indianapolis, stopped of at Lafayette (another one! I'm sure there is one in nearly every state of America) and got some more road maps after we went through another time change and lost an hour again. And discovered the MotoGP was on this weekend at Indianapolis.
Great town full of old building that look like it is part of a movie set. Just after we left the town we came across the "CAT" machinery factory and then the Subaru factory.
Not only was the MotoGP on, but also the state fair and something was going on at the convention centre, so a very busy city for the weekend.
Stopped at the race track and went for a look see at the MotoGP, just practise racing, but still very impressive and noisy(I must be getting old!). Crowds weren't too bad, but it did start to get very hot, especially while walking around for a few hours in our draggin jeans.
Had enough of the heat and crowds and we knew that it would be hard to find cheap accommodation in the city with everything that was going on so Off we went again on our merry way and ended up staying in Shelbyville.
Into the state of Ohio and Cincinnati where there was a big baseball game on and lots of people on the road corners trying to sell tickets. The city is not as big as I thought it would be.
We carried on to Columbus and then onto some country roads that took us through some Amish country. The roads and the farm scenery was great., you can see the wheel marks from the horse & carts on the road. We came across a covered bridge that the Amish are allowed to ride through, but not for vehicles.
The countryside is always better that the cities.
Staying in Millersberg.
Riding through more Amish country today, and they do seem to hold their own in the community with their own bakeries, furniture and other stores in all the small towns that we came across. Being a Sunday none of those stores were open. Funny though to see the designated areas where the horses can be parked and tied up to the railings.
We ended up riding back into Columbus to Iron Pony, a motorbike accessory store, massive place, bigger than the Masterton Warehouse full of just about everything you could think of for you as a rider or for a new bit for the bike. But they didn't have what Brian wanted - a new helmet. An Arai like mine is $600 - $650 over here, basically half the price!
Carried on our was back on the interstate for a while and ended up staying in Maysville, Kentucky.
We had some fantastic riding today in windy tree lined roads, just like we had when we came through part of Kentucky earlier on our travels.
Came across a light bulb factory (osram) somewhere in our travels.
Went to get some cash out of an ATM in Lexington and it short changed me! Went to the local bank branch and they tried to help me but due to not having an american bank account I can not get a credit, so I have to lodge a dispute with my own bank. Arses!
Carried on our way in a bit of a grump until we found "Wild Turkey" Distillery - free factory tours and tasting. Such potent stuff when you have to sample it straight and at barrel proof rates! Not for me, but we did buy some anyway.
After drinking a few big cups of water to get rid of the burning sensation down my throat we left to go and stay the night in Louisville.
Walked out of room this morning to discover 4 police cars everywhere, an officer with a little 2ish kid walking around trying to tell him that they are going to try and wake her up find out what is wrong with her. Then the fire department and the ambulance arrived (no siren though, not a good sign!) Then another vehicle arrived, all official looking person with what looked like a medical bag (coroner, maybe?).
Didn't want to know what the hell was going on, so we finished packing up and quickly headed off.
The police theme continued through our travels all morning with a few car accidents ( going through red traffic lights at intersections) and for speeding vehicles.
Pass the time line again, this time we gained an hour ( wasn't it just a couple of days ago that we were in this time zone!)
Found the Jim Beam distillery - quite disappointed. They do not do tours, but are in the middle of construction so they can start to do them, so we didn't get to have much of a look around. But did get to do some more yummy tasting. Lots of different varieties to what we get in NZ. It is still not for me.
Have been seeing lots of different crops in the last few days and today we finally found out what the one we couldn't identify was - tobacco.
Made our way into Nashville, Tennessee where we are staying for the night.
Had a look around Nashville, but because it was still early it was not very busy. Flashy light and neon's everywhere, actually it looks like quite a nice city. As we were leaving the city area we came across a doe and her 2 fawns at a stet of traffic lights, just having a munch on the side of the road.
Found a great road to take us down Lynchburg, the town of Jack Daniels distillery where we did a dry tour, no tasting this time. Actually the whole county is dry not a liquor store in sight. An like Jim Beam there are quite a few different flavours that we don't get in NZ.
found out what the difference is between the bourbon and whiskey, not much actually. Aging and JD whiskey filters through charcoal, which they burn at the distillery.
The town stores surround the town hall in the middle of the square, quite quaint actually.
Went into the state of Alabama and staying in Huntsville.
It is going to be a hot day today, 9am and already 26c, found a recommended road to ride on today, the Natchez trace parkway. Not much traffic and a well maintained road, but got a little boring after a while so we decided to get off earlier than we planned and head up to Memphis for a early day off the bike.
When we arrived just before 3pm it was 37C.
Have spent most of the afternoon updating the blog, emailing the bank about the ATM dispute and updating our maps.
tomorrows destinations is yet to be decided.
Did a drive through Memphis, it was 31C by 10 am and Brian was already hot and bothered as he went and shipped some stuff off and tried to find AAA to get some more maps, but they had moved so by the time he came back he was in a bit of a grump.
Anyway, neither of us were interested to go and see Graceland, the home of Elvis, so we did a bit of a circuit around the city and headed out to get some air.
Rode on some nice roads in the heat of Arkansas and saw some cotton crops, lots of barley being harvested and a dry area that had a bit of a hillbilly look to it.
Went down through some mountains with great views and windy roads, now staying in Russellville.
continued down the windy mountain road and came across a wee motorbike accident. Young guys going for a ride and 1 didn't make it around a bend, he is OK, but the bike is a bit beaten up.
Came to a town that has hot springs. One side of the street is full of shops and the other has bath houses lining the street. This place use to be famous for where the mobs and gangsters use to vacate way back in the day.
The rest of the warm afternoon was spent on straight boring roads and we then decide to stay in El Dorado
did s bit of computer work in the morning so didn't leave until 11am to go through the top of Louisiana , the "Baptist Belt" where it seemed like there was a baptist church every 15 km down the road.
Because of the weather (hurricane Issac) we decided to go across a bit of Texas. So off we went into the extreme heat of this state. We decided to go and catch up with a couple we first met when we came across the bottom of Texas in Winnie at a market, Gary and Margaret from Lufkin.
On the way we went through a lot of area that has small oil jacks every where.
There are some great small towns on our travels and it is really strange how a lot of them are in a square with the town hall or court house in the middle.
Still hot and humid not to mention sticky. Travelling down the Austin to catch up with John, one of the texan bros we met up in Alaska.
A few thunderstorms today but it didn't alter the temperature and we seemed to be behind them all day.
This has been our hottest day yet 40.5C was what was recorded on the bike as we were slowly travelling through the middle of Austin.
Stayed the night with John and his partner Terri, great to catch up again, and to met Terri who likes NZ wine!
Took some country roads to Fort Worth, just out of Dallas. Came across some farming areas - goats, dairy and a few long horns and horses.
Stopped and had lunch at Hico at a diner that specialises in pies (sweet) we shared strawberry -light and not sweet at all, after dissecting it to try and find out if I could make it when I get home, it was very yummy!
With a full tum we carried on in the heat ( I'm sure there was someone sitting on the front of the bike with a hairdryer going straight onto our faces!!!) to Fort Worth, where we are staying for 2 nights.
Went into Forth Worth to the historic stockyards area, which is a tourist spot and had a look around the shops and the old yards. Watched the cattle (texas longhorns) walk through the streets.
I ended up climbing onto one that was out of the street, he was 14 years old, so his horns were quite long, man they are big animals.
After having a bite to eat we took off to go and find some bike shops to look at, but couldn't find any good ones. So went went back to our room for a well deserved dip in the pool to cool off before we tried to plan for the next week, trying to stay out of the way of the storm.
It took us nearly 3 hours to get through Dallas and that was just riding in and around and trying to get out of the gigantic concrete city, it is just full of white concrete, buildings and roads, so much sun glare.
Another hot day as we rode into the Oklahoma state farming area - flat, dry, windy, and red dirt and hot, I don't think I mentioned hot.
For the last week or so we have been a bit naughty, not wearing our jackets but the temps have been in the mid to high 30's, so we have been working on our sun tans!
Staying in El Reno.
Went into Oklahoma City where we got some more maps and info on Hawaii (might end up going there for a few days at the end, prices way cheaper from here, than when we tried to add it onto our return trip!). A small spread out city which has a lot of oldish buildings from the 60's.
Found some old "Route 66" roads to ride into the city, not much of the road is actually there, but still some signing in places.
Carried on through the flat straight roads into Kansas state which is dry, hot and flat and the crops that we saw were struggling or the corn had the top harvested and the rest was being bailed up. Lots of crap crops. Must have been the day for burning the stubble, as we came across quite a few blackened paddocks, and we were even able to smell the freshly burnt ones as we approached them.
In the middle of somewhere we came across a hydrocarbon plant and pipeline.
As we were going into Wichita we came across the Cessna factory, which is in about 10 warehouses on both sides of the road, next to an airport, which is where we ended up staying and of course all you could hear was planes taking off for most of the rest of the day.
Wow, 4 months have gone by and we only have just over 2 more to go!
Autumn is upon us and for the last 2 weeks we have started to see the tree leaves starting to change colour.
The temp is slightly cooler today, so makes for good riding as we took some country roads which were all cattle ranch's.
Came across some more of the famous "66" road as we went into the Missouri state in the welcoming rain. Got wet but it was still really warm and decided to have an early day so we wouldn't catch up with the storm that is now inland and in the same area as we want to go.
Staying in Springfield and after putting our wet clothes into the dryer it is time to update the blog, finally!
Sorry it has been a few days, but the heat is kind of wiping us out each day and all we want to do is cool down and have a swim, eat and then sleep, boring I know but exhausting.
Rode "Route 66" for most of the day when we could find the old road up to St Louis. Saw lots of squashed/dead armadillo's on the side of the road and there were quite a few little turtles that we avoided on the roads, must be the overcast damp day that made them try to cross the road.
Stopped a lot to look at a few on the way. Brian found some leatherman multi tools that are very cheaply priced compared to what we pay for them at home.
we are now staying at Eureka, just out of St Louis.
It is Labor Day today, so it is a public holiday.
Front tyre is a bit low (slow leak?) pumped it up and it seems to be holding.
Warm weather today with thunderclouds. Went into St Louis and saw the big arch after detouring around half of the city as there was a protest march on so a lot of the roads were blocked off. Lots of old industrial buildings along the river and heaps of barges parked up, actually surprised to see how many barges are still used in the river.
Travelled up the Mississippi river, once again, to Hannibal where we stopped for lunch, and watched as a paddleboat came pass.
It became hot as we got closer to Kansas City, and we was a paddock of pumpkins, the big orange one's that are used to make jack o lanterns at halloween. They were about the size of a soccer ball, so still some growing to do.
We are now staying in Independance, just out of Kansas City.
Tyre managed to get us there, but is still going down.
Brian fixed tyre in the morning, found 1 hole and thought that there might be another one but couldn't find it.
Went to the Harley Davidson factory and did a tour, this is where they assembly the V rods, Dyna and Fat Bobs ( I think that is the names of them!) Was interesting to have a look around and yes, we both succumbed to getting a HD Shirt!
When we left we found that the tyre is still slowly losing pressure.
Travelled up to Des Moines, Iowa. Wow, what a clean, tidy, pretty city with lots of trees and big flower planters everywhere.
more thunderstorms overnight and managed to rescue our jackets off the bike before it started to rain in the early hours of the morning. The storms are so much louder than home!
By the time we got up and got ourselves all ready to go the weather had changed to a beautiful warm day.
Pumped the front tyre up again and left to ride to Omaha, Nebraska where the bike is going in for a service and a new front tyre.
All we saw today was corn and soybean paddocks, everywhere. And a bit of havesting going on.
Got into Omaha and went a got a rental car then dropped the bike off for servicing tomorrow.
Really strange driving around in car for the day, but it was great to have air con. Went and hade a look at a couple of motor bike shops and watched some people ride around for part of their motor bike training.
We both got our hair cut, Brian's took less than 5 mins to clip all his off. And after the hack job I got in Fairbanks, Alaska, that left me with a big chunck of hair missing off the back of my head, I was very cautious about getting mine cut, but they did a good job.
We tried to plan out a few routes for the next few week as time is going by way to fast now and we still have lots of places to get to.
While we were having our dinner we got chatting to a guy and ended up buy us some cookies for us to munch on while on our travels. Random act of kindness! And we don't even no his name.
Rode up to Lindsay, where the Zimmatic Pivot irrigators are made. Since we have 3 of them on our farm we thought we would go and see of we could go and have a look around. They were great, we got to have a good look around the factory, where they make a lot of the pipe and most of the parts themselves, even the wiring for the electrics are all assembled there.
The factory is in a very small town and basically the factory employs most of the town. 3 hours later we were back on the road and off down to Grand Island, where all we saw along the way was more corn and soybeans and Pivots everywhere. If you don't have water and irrigation then you don't have crops.
Went into sandhill country and lots of small settlements everywhere. Somewhere along the way we went through a time change, so gained and hour.
Saw a racoon as it ran infront of us on the road, Brian thought that it was a wild cat, but it was a bit big for that and since we had seen lots of dead ones on the road in the last few days, it must have been a racoon.
Saw more pivots and crops, then we started to come across a lot of beef feed lots and there was more corn being harvested along the way to Cheyenne, Wyoming.
With the extra hour and the straight roads of nothing we managed to do 750km.
As we left Cheyenne we saw some camels.
Rode down to Colorado, and started to ride into the rocky's. went through an area that had a fire and most of the homes had been rescued, the trees right beside some of these house were all burnt, but the houses were saved.
Rode througha few canyon with great winding roads and amazing scenic views of the rocks and the trees. It is definately autumn time through here as the trees are changing colour.
We stopped for lunch and Brian got talking to someone and the next thing he had paid for our lunch as he was so impressed as to where we had travelled in the last 4 months.
Went through Rocky mountain Nat Park where we saw a few elk on the side of the road and a couple of young ones trying to commit suicide by running infornt of the truck that we were following!
Finally go to Longmont at about 6:30pm, a bit of a long day, we managed to ride 600km.
Went to try and find something for dinner and saw a pizza place, so off we go and order a stuffed pizza pie,mmmm sounds so nice only to find that they only make them, not bake them! They prepare them for you to take home and cook yourself. So we ended up getting a refund and end up going and getting a burger. It was so funny, not realising that they don't cook them, actually a bit weird. What pizza place makes them and doen't cook them.
We could spend a few weeks riding around this state, on the map it is highlighted with scenic roads everywhere. And we have to chose only a few to go on!!
Did a quick drive through Denver as we wanted to get going up into the mountains as there are thunderstorms coming in the next few days.
Great winding roads and fantastic views of the autumn trees and rocks. Lots of ski resort towns, some of them are very high end resort towns. Great to come back to in a few years time to stay for a white christmas!!
It is a bit hard to breath way up here, 10,200 ft high. I thought I was feeling a bit unfit but it is just the elevation. Stopped in Leadville for the night.
Having a bit of a early day to try and catch up with the blog and some other computer work.
a bit of a cold start to the day as we made our way up and over Independence pass to Aspen. Met some bikers at the top of the pass and then carried on to Aspen.
A very high end resort town - Gucci, etc, no cheap tourist shops here!!
Stopped for a bit to eat and caught up with one of the guys from independence pass, Kevin. We then rode together for the rest of the day and ventured onto some dirt roads, one of which took us into this amazing little ski resort town in the middle of nowhere - Crested Butte. Much better than Aspen.
Back onto the dirt again as it start to rain again, but while waiting for road works it stopped. Carried on our way through the roads where we came across a dam and after a little while we didn't see Kevin behind us anymore, so we turned around and found him not too far back hanging onto the bike as it was balancing on the side of the road. He came around a bend and got into the soft edge of the road and it pulled him right over to where we found him.
Pulling the front wheel round and revving the snot out of the bike, we got him out and went off our way again to Buena Vista.
Saw a few deer on the way and as we came into town there were a few mowing down someone's front lawn.
Heavy rain, flash flooding and snow warnings greeted us in the morning as we were having our breakfast and watching the news. Great!!
It has been raining since last night and hadn't let up. Put on our wet weather gear and saddle up not knowing how far we will get, as where we want to go all has weather warnings of some sort.
Where are we? In the rocky mountains. Made of what? rocks! And that is what we had to dodge on the road for most of the day in the rain. Just washing them onto the road, We watched one come rolling down towards us, the size of a basketball, I don't know how we managed to avoid it, we both watched it as it rolled onto the road beside and somehow managed to narrowly miss us.
Went to Royal Gorge Bridge, where there is a massive bridge across a very deep gorge! fancy that!
We rode across it and then took a incline railcar down to the bottom of the gorge for a ground view. After coming back up we then did a skyline ride to try and get a better view, all done in the rain, but with great views.
Feeling quite damp all over we decided to call it a day and rode to the next town, Canon City to stay and try and dry out, hopefully tommorrow will be a bit of a better day.
Weather had improved a bit over night. It had stopped raining, but was very cold and lots of low cloud.
We took a dirt road, which was amazing, narrow windy road through the rocks and tunnels carved out of the rocks.
Went through Victor, an old historic gold mining town, which is still commercially mining today on the edge of the town. Then to Cripple Creek, another gold mining town, which is more known for gambling. This little town has at least 14 casinos and I think they are all attached to eateries and accommodation. Amazing old town.
We found a cafe to get a hot drink and try and warm up. The low cloud had lifted and the sun had finally come out, but it was still cold.
Off we go to try and ride up Pikes Peak, a mountain that is 14,110 ft high. And it has snow on it from a dumping last night. We find that the road is open, so since we already have all our gear on off we go, it can't be that much snow or that cold! How wrong was I.
The road up the mountain is full of switchbacks (staircasing road) and lots of snow, which had just been ploughed.
The clouds started to roll in just as we were getting to the top, and it was getting rather cold, well the bike was reading -1.5C, yep, it was cold!
But we weren't the only bikers up here! Started to try and go for a walk in the snow, which was halfway up my calves, yep not just a sprinkling of snow!
Went into the summit store to try and warm up, then the clouds decided to leave and it becme a beautiful scenic view.
Out back in the snow I tried to make a snow angel, I had all my wet weather gear on, anyway, so why not.
Then Brian started a snow fight, which I lost! Man, he is such a big bully - I got covered in snow!
After having a bit of fun in the snow it was time to keep moving and go back down to the mainland and hopefully some heat, the bike was recording -3C when we left the summit, but it didn't feel as cold as it did coming up!
Back down the bottom of the mountain it was quite a bit warmer. As we slowly warmed up we went through Manitou Springs and Colorado Springs, had a look around both towns before continuing onto Raton, New Mexico.
We met up with a fellow BMW GSA rider - Mark, a firefighter from Chicago. He was happy to have some company, as were we. So we all went out to dinner and had a good chat for a few hours, mostly about bikes and travelling!!.
cold start to the day and not much sun day all day. Went to Amarillo to see Cadillac Ranch, which was a bit of a dissappointment. Most of the cars were covered in water as it had rained a few days before. Anyway, Brian managed to find a spray can with some paint in it and off he went to spray our name on one of the cars.
After getting some photos a bus load of teenage girls came along and stated to paint over it! So much ffor our tagging lasting a lifetime!
Went through a grain belt on the way to Amarillo, didn't realise that it was so productive up the top of Texas. It was full of feed lots, grain, corn and dairy farms.
We lost an hour going into Texas but gained it back when we went back into New Mexico.
Rode through the empty roads full of nothing, but the occasional rock mounds.
Now staying in Las Vegas after travelling 700 km today.
New Mexico state, not Nevada state.
This is a small town with no big hotels or casinos.
We have decided to stay another night here and do some exploring in the hills. Started with a lok around the town and then off into the hills to Taos, a great town with fantastic art and craft stores.
Great roads up in the hills, nice and windy.
It was a nice and relaxing day
Went to Pecos Nat Park to look at some Indian ruins in the cool of the day, it is interesting to see how they lived 300 years ago.
Continued on to Santa Fe and through Albuquerque which are both great places, especially the historic area that are similar to Taos, but was full of tourist so decided to carry on off the interstate and take a small road which was called the Turquoise trail, well, it ended up being and interesting road indeed!
We came across a town called Madrid, the town that the movie "Wild Hogs" was filmed in. As we were riding down the street you could just visualise it in the movie, they even had Maggie's Diner which is a Wild Hogs souvenir store.
We stopped and had a look around the town and came across a lady that we chatted to and she ended up buying us a motorcycle bell to put on the bottom of the bike to keep the road gremlins away. This town is a great bikers hang out, bikes everywhere.
We finally carried on our way and ended up at Grants for the night.
We came back from dinner to be told that a person who had checked into the motel knew us and he had met us up at Sturgis. Well, we met a lot of people there, so had no idea who it would have been. We managed to get hold of him as the receptions remembered his room and he came and caught up with us.
Yes, we finally did remember who he was, and he even had a photo of us on his phone! Small world! We met Dave in Black Hill HD store while the Sturgis rally was on and amazingly bumped into him again here, what are the chances. He was so excited to see us again, so Brian showed him our map of where we had been since seeing him, he was surprised to see where we had gone.
a cool start to the day again. Took a small back road and came across a lava bed and craters. While I was taking photos of the rocks we had a bobcat run in front of us across the road.
Came across a little community of prairie dogs, they were just running around and standing up everywhere, I'm sure they have made tunnels under the road to safely cross the road.
Just after we past the state line into Arizona, and gaining another hour, we were zooming through a forest looking at the snow fences when we had to stop. Stop for what - a speeding ticket! Yep, we were going a little bit too fast and we are now in the "system". We were doing 72 mph in a 55 zone, but he reduced the ticket to 65mph. $78-75 inc tax. Actually, it was for "waste of finite resource"! Oh well, I am surprised it didn't happen sooner.
Back on our way and for the rest of the day Brian rode like a granny, it didn't help that we had a bit of a bald tyre, we just had to get to Tucson.
Rode through a few canyons and the temp got up to 35C, nice and warm.
Finally got back into Tucson and back to Bill and Brenda's for a few days. Discovered the pile of boxes that we had been sending to them, I'm sure we hadn't sent that much! Brian unpacked the boxes to find that some of the we only partially full with our stuff and the rest with packing beans. Phew, I was so sure we hadn't got that much stuff.
This time while staying here we have to watch out for scorpions and rattle snakes!
Talking of rattle snakes - Bill found one in his garage and of course it had to be killed! So Both Bill and Brian go out and Bill shoots the snake. Apparently it usually takes a good 12 hours for a snake to die properly. So no touching it until tomorrow.
the snake is still alive! When you give it a poke is still wiggles around, so the boys got the pliers out and manages to get the head and break the neck, so it should die now.
got a new back tyre for the bike today and then had to go shopping for some suitcases to pack all our stuff in. There wasn't that much after we had taken all the packing foam, air bags and bubble wrap away, but still enough to pack up a box and send home to NZ.
Quite nice to be off the bike and actually doing no much for the day.
sent our box of stuff off home and did a bit more shopping. Planned out our route for the rest of the trip, well most of it with a few gaps here and there.
Went out to dinner at a wild west tourist town. Bill and Brenda made Brian wear a tie! But the place we went to had a "No Tie Policy", so out came the scissors and it got chopped off. With a business card attached to it, it will be stapled to the wall, along with hundreds of others. Part of the theme of the restaurant.
After dinner we had a look around the stores and then went and watched a stunt show. A very enjoyable night.
back on the road again.
And a very warm day, indeed, as we rode into Phoenix the temp got up to 43C! OMG it was sooo unbearably hot!!! But it soon dropped as we made our way to Flagstaff, where the temp got down to a nice 24C, just like home.
Not much to report - mainly straight roads, just a cruisy day.
Very grand, actually WOW grand!
The views were fabulous, but I think my photos wont do it any justice. We were there by around 10am and it was already packed with thousands of people.
Quite different to what I expected, from what we have always seen on TV, I didn't realise that it was surrounded by a forest. The drive through the national park was great. While taking a few photos I turned around to see an elk creep through the trees and just sit down for a rest in the shade.
After driving through grand canyon nat park we went rode up into the state of Utah, but on the way our garmin keept changing the time, so we had no idea what the real time was.
It had become another hot day, but we kept going as we couldn't find any accomodation any where, and went riding through "Monument Valley", these rock formations are just amazing to see, its just like watching the coyote chasing the roadrunner cartoons!!! Actually, we did see a coyote but there was not blue bird in sight!
The sun was going down and it was cooling off pretty fast so we decided to stop at a place called Bluff for the night where they had this cool steakhouse filled with cowboy stuff and a few humourous cemetery plots.
It was a great day, even though it was hot, long and we were both tired, from seeing so much.
took a little detour this morning to go to the "4 corners" - this is where Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona meet on the Navajo Reservation. Got a bit of turquoise jewellery and one of the guys knew that us New Zealanders love eating mutton.
So we had a few time changes today, but only for an hour or so then we found what the real time was.
Rode back into monument valley and then up this road on the side of the rocky hills that looked a bit like a glorified goat track, with some great switchbacks. Found a big rock on one corner, then an oil track up the road, we thought it was the truck infront of us, but we came across a carload of young boys in an old beatup car on the side of the road with the bonnet up, yep thats the vehicle with the oil leak, how could you not know you hit a big rock!
We just kept on riding by and ended up going to see the natural bridges, great to see from the lookouts but would have better if we were able to go down and see them, but 35c and bike boots on smooth rock aren't a good mix.
We had another long day as we got into Torrey for the night.
We had different scenery today, hills and cropping farms, mostly lucerne hay and a few feedlot farms.
Back into the autumn colours of the leaves as we went through the hills, a bit cooler today as it was overcast for most of the day.
Does Utah actually have any real towns, because it feels like we have been in the desert for months and haven't seen any real civilisation for a while. The places that we have passed in the last few days are real small communities and run down and look deserted, especially today being a sunday, what shops there are around are not open today.
Finally got to Provo and Salt Lake City, and then after a quick strip of clothing, as the sun decided to come out we went in search of the salt flats.
Found them, the bright white strip in the distance. Apparently they are receding quite rapidly and don't know how much longer the Bonneville races will be going for.
It is like walking on hard snow and very salty! Surprise, surprise.
Staying in Wendover, on the Nevada state border, and it is a little neon lit casino town.
it rained overnight and snowed on the mountain tops.
the salf flats now look like brown sludge, but we went out to where they hold the races and it was still mostly white out there. Just a big flat area.
Went into Nevada state and gained an hour, it was raining and cold for most of the morning and every town we went through had casinos in it.
Went back into Utah and lost an hour, the rain had stopped but it didn't get any warmer. continued back to Torrey for the night. Glad to get there and have a spa to warm up.
very cold and misty, foggy as we rode down to Bryce Canyon Nat Park, but due to the weather we were unable to have a good view of the red rock formations because of the white blanket.
we carried on and finally the sun came out as we went through Zion Nat Park, which is another rock formation area, where we saw some mountain sheep.
Utah is so different, it is like beeing on a different planet or the moon. Might be another place that we need to come back to and do some exploring.
Staying in Hurricane for the night. And finally are able to update the blog.
a warm day today as we rode down to Las Vegas.
We went through the valley of fire state park, which is full of these big bright red rocks in different formations. they are just in the middle of nowhere.
We thought we would go and see Hoover dam before we got to Vegas, well by the time we got there it was really hot and full of people everywhere. The dam wasn't as big as we thought it would be but still amazing to look at and walk over. if you wanted to get good photos you needed to pay $16 per person to get into the tower and visitors centre for a better photo opportunity and the gift store had no a/c working, so were a bit sticky, along with the 1000's of other people.
Finally we got to Las Vegas, where we are staying for only 2 nights (time is flying by and we have to keep moving!) We are staying in the Stratosphere. Which like most hotels in Vegas has a casino in it as well as retail shopping, this also has a sky tower which you can jump off and a few thrill rides on top, 2 that go over the edge and another that catapults up on top. The top of the tower has a great view of the city. Apparently staying in Vegas Monday - Thursday is really cheap, less than $50 per night inc tax.
went to the BMW dealer and had a look around, quite a big and busy place.
We then went back to the strip and spent the rest of the day just wondering around the streets and shops, mainly people watching.
This is such a busy place and of course is full of people, it was a bit overwhelming, actually.
Did a bit of shopping, a day off the bike can be so expensive, especially when you find the victoria secrets store, and they are reasonably priced too!
After walking through the other side of the road where Armani, Gucci, Ralph Lauren etc were we decided it was time to go and rest our feet back at the hotel and go up the tower to watch the night lights.
You might be surprised to know that we didn't even spend a cent at the casinos, but we did walk around and watch for a while.
Early to bed, boring I know, especially in this city where it never sleeps. But we need some as we need to get up and go early to get across Death Valley before the heat sets in.
Well, that up and early plan didn't go too well. But we finally left a 8am.
Crossed over the state line into California.
With a bit of a cool breeze it was bearable until we stopped at the visitors centre to have a look around. Out came the neck coolers and into the water fountain to soak through. Well, they served there purpose after we got going. 38C was the temp now as we went through the worst part of the valley and the GPS showed that on the road we were 80m below sea level, but the bottom of the valley, which we can see is even deeper.
Not much grows here, but there does seem to be alot of death in this area, as we saw at least a dozen memorial crosses on the roadsides, mainly straight road car accidents.
We stopped at Bishop for the night, a bit of an early day, but the heat has got to us a bit.
After a good sleep and feeling refreshed and revitalised we were awake reasonably early so up we get and off we go. in the cool crisp morning, very nippy.
Rode into and around Yosemite National Park, unbeknown to us, today was a free entrance day, so it was extremely busy. But we rode around anyway. What a great place, big massive rock mountains (rock climbers heaven!) and the roads are fantastic to ride on.
They had signs out on the road where there had been bear deaths involving speeding vehicles, we saw 5 of these signs throughout the park, but no bears today. I think we have been extremely lucky seeing all the different wildlife that we have come across.
Staying in Sonora tonight. This is a little historic town, that seems quite a busy touristy day spot.
We rode through the mountains for most of the day. Up in the nice cool roads which were winding all over the place. They were narrow and unable to see around the bends as to where the road continued because of the trees or the massive hunks of rock. Great motorbike roads if it wasn't for the cars infront of us slowing us down. Im sure at one point that Brian forgot I was on the back as he was hooning down the side of the mountain around the tight switchbacks.
Carried on down into the heat of Sacremento where we stayed for the night.
Just after we left Sacremento this morning we had a guy in a van stop us on the highway. He recognised that we had a NZ plate on the bike and wanted to just have a chat as he too was from NZ, but had been living over here for the last 20 years and wanted to know what we were up to!
It is so amazing to have so many people just want to talk to us or help us if we need it.
we went back into the mountains as we went up to Lake Tahoe, a great big lake with lots of private coves. There are resort areas everywhere around here, by the lake and up in the hills around the lake.
Crossed into the Nevada state and of course the casinos and neon reappear.
Staying in Reno to get the bike serviced tomorrow.
Had a look around Reno this morning, a very mini Las Vegas but not so blingy.
Went and dropped the bike off and they were moaning that they were busy and didn't really have time to do it. It is actually booked in so they will have to, instead of dealing with their local guys broken down bikes.
We are both feeling a little bit homesick as we are getting closer to the end of our trip. Can't wait to come home and see everyone again.
The red licorice over here is shit, it is like eating plastic and no taste, have occasionally found some RJ's NZ red licorice. Pumpkin over here is very cheap at the moment because of Halloween coming up. You can get 4 for $1 + tax. The big orange pumpkins are everywhere. They are not just used for Halloween, but for the Autumn/harvest festivals.
Reno is full of trucks everywhere, it is a major truck stop area, even at some of the casino's they have truck parking. Trucks every which way you turn. Have seen quite a few distribution centres and factories as well.
Finally the bike was finished, just before 6pm. So we can carry on our way again.
a fine day, but cold all day as we rode through Nevada, calfornia and then into Oregon state.
Rode around lakes and hills all day with not much traffic or civilisation around. Saw a large feed lot, this time it was farming horses, not sure if it was for meat!
about a 12C drop in temp, well autumn is here, so it is suppose to get cooler at some stage.
We managed to ride 650km todday as we finished up in Burns.
A chilly day all day today. A bit of a detour today.
It was 4C when we left this morning to travel to the other side of Idaho. It didn't get to double digits until after lunch as the temp is still dramatically dropping. Lost an hour as we went back through to mountain time.
We went through a large farm belt of onions, potatoes, grain, corn, hay and wind farms, with lots of irrigation everywhere and a few dairy and beef feed lot farms. Every one is busy harvesting and trying to get the last of the feeds all ready for winter.
We travelled 700km today and are now staying in Idaho Falls.
Went to Rigby where the Klim factory is, to look at some motorbike clothing, they make gortex outerwear as well as other bike clothing and snow mobile gear as well.
Had a look around and tried on some clothing, a bit on the expensive side, but good weather proof gear. 2 hours later we had found out what size fits us and what model we wanted. Didn't buy anything today, but we are seriously thinking about it.
Finally on our way and we went through the Craters of the Moon - lava rock area and then into the mountains. The temp didn't get into double digits until the late afternoon when we were coming down off the mountains.
Very cold all day, I couldn't even get my teeth to stop chattering. With a 20C drop in temp over the last few days, this was a shock to the body. I can't believe the temp at the moment when you look up at the sky and all you can see is the sun and not a cloud in sight!
Staying in Cascade.
well and truely!
A frost welcomed us this morning and with a temp of 20F (not too sure what this is in celcius) and a wind chill of 20F. Hmm, yep it is #@! beep beep freezing!!!!! The bike showed -6.5C when Brian tried to start the bike, after about five goes it finally roared into life. The bike was very sparkly with the frost all over it.
After putting all our layers of clothing on and looking a lot like giant marshmallows we got on the bike and off we went into the freezing cold mountains.
Holly crap it was cold, I couldn't even feel my fingers as I was huddled in behind Brian and wishing that we had on the klim gear ( knowing that it would have been better, but we still would have been extremely cold).
Another fine sunny day with no clouds, but still cold.
Went back through the time zone and gained an hour (hopefully for the last time!) and then saw some smoke in the distance. Came across a firefighters camp, as there was a fire in the valley somewhere, it was full of tents everywhere and then across the road was where the helicopters were based. So we ended up riding through smoke for about an hour and then came across a grain area as we crossed into the washington state, our 49th state of USA.
All we saw for 250ish km was rolling hills of harvested grain fields.
Finally as it was warming up we got to Spokane, where we stopped for the night.
our bike has been violated over night again, this time they took muesli bars. No big deal, but it still pisses us off that it happened!
Went around and had coffee with a lady, Kristy, who was managing the motel that we stayed at. Her and her partner, Brad, are into motorbikes and just wanted to have a chat before we headed off. a couple hours later, and with the temp warmed up a bit we set off to ride through the mountains and into Canada.
Came across a lot of apple orchards with a few stone fruit trees. The apples are starting to get harvested, it just went on for miles and miles. It reminded us a bit of the Hawkes Bay and Marlborough areas. The orchards went right up to and through the Canadian border area.
No probs getting back into Canada, for the last time. The apples started to disappear after a Little while and were replaced with grape vineyards, but there wasn't any wineries around, not like at home.
We thought we would go back into Canada as tomorrow is Columbus Day, another holiday, well, what we didn't realise was that it also was a holiday here in Canada - Thanksgiving Day!
We carried on to Princeton, where to deer seem to rule the town. They are just everywhere, mowing down the lawn. We came out of our room in town to go for a walk to see them grazing in the centre road island, not even worrying about the cars driving past.
Rode through more mountains and then followed a river all the way to Vancouver for most of the day, through valleys. Very scenic and windy roads. We watched some idiots go white water canoeing, it was really rough white water!
Since today was Thanksgiving, Vancouver wasn't very busy as we did a ride through.
Rode out to Tsawwassen to stay the night.
Early night as we have a 7am ferry to catch, as we are going to Vancouver island.
Early start this morning, as we had to be at ferry terminal at 6:30am. 90 min sailing and we we at Vancouver Island surrounded by fog.
As we rode into Victoria the fog finally lifted and became a nice sunny day with some warmth in it.
We are only here for the day, so we are unable to have a good look around the whole island, but did have a look around the city and found the local BMW shop, where we met a few of the locals and ended up chattiing for a few hours, soaking up the sun.
Time to go and see if we can catch a ferry to Port Angeles, Washington, USA, yep we can get on.
The US customs officers were there to check us out (along with the rest of the vehicles and passengers) We had a smartarse officer (he is a motorbike rider himself, so was giving us a bit of shit!) who let us renew our visas for free, so now we wont be illegal visitors.
After another 90 min ferry ride we were back in the USA and decide to stay here for the night.
Found a motel and while we were waiting in line to be served the Aussie couple, Jeff & lynette. infront of us were having trouble with the receptionist - first they couldn't understand here (neither could we!) and then she told them that they had two reservations, but she would not refund them for the other room, bit of a heated discussion was starting to arise. We asked them if we could take the other room and pay them the cash, so in the end it was sorted out between us and the stupid receptionist was happy with it. We just think it was too hard for her to try and work out what to do, she didn't have blonde hair, but she should have!
We ended up going out for dinner with them, and we were all happy to have nother couple to talk to, they had spent 6 weeks over here travelling around and were heading back up to Vancouver to fly back to Sydney.
A cold and overcast day all day aw we rode around the coast to get to Seattle. Didn't see much of the city as it was all under fog! What a cold damp place.
Nice roads around the coast, with lots of trees, just like home.
Came across the Boeing Airplane area, where we had a couple of very noisy jets take off just beside the road. It seems like the runway is right in the city, but it isn't.
Well , we found the Tourtech warehouse, which also has a retail store. As most of you will know, Brian has a few acessories from this company on the bike. Now we have even more! They have some really good riding gear, so I had a bit of a try on, nice and light, great stuff, should be for the price, extremely expensive. This gear is made in germany and needs to be made by your body mesurements, so we were tough out of luck to buy any off the rack.
Finally I dragged Brian out before he could find some other things to buy (there is always online shopping!) and we went and found a room for the night just out of the city and away from the tangled up roads.
Another great cold, damp, foggy Seattle day!
Found BMW shop, where we ended up getting a new back tyre put on (this one must be the last!!)
Back on the road and we headed back out to the coast line to start our travels down towards LA along the Pacific Coast road, couldn't see much with the fog, but we have been warned that it could be foggy and cold, well it is autumn, so we will just have to take our chances.
Staying in a small town called South bend, a fishing village with oysters and a very fishy smell to it. Brian is busy, putting all his new bits on the bike as I am updating the blog.
In NZ, tomorrow will be the 13th,(20hrs ahead of us) and my 40th Birthday,(OMG I'm going to be an old lady!, Iv'e certainly developed some new wrinkles on our travels!!), so have a drink to celebrate without me. As I will be definately celebrating here on saturday! Then when we get back home we can all celebrate again, together!
South Bend is an Oyster fishing village, where they are on the menu for Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Watched them being off loaded from the boat by conveyer belt. This village smelt quite fishy!
It was fog all day with rain that had decided to settle in for the day, lots of cyclists around, so we weren't the only ones getting drenched.
The roads were quite nice, shame about the weather! The view out to the coast would have been gorgeous on a nice clear day.
Got into Tillamook, a dairy farming area, where they had a cheese factory, so we took refuge for a while and had a look around and tried some of the cheese on sample. Mmmmmmm, real cheese.
We ended up staying at Tillamook for the night, so it was a short day. Most of the afternoon was used to turn the room into a sauna to try and dry al of our clothes and gear.
Yep, I am now in the naughty forties, maybe I will live up to it too!
The rain continued all night and is still here.
Foggy, wet roads that were a bit slippery with the autumn leaves on the ground. Went through a lot of little fishing villages that all seem to fish for crabs, clams and oysters.
Finally got out of the rain and into a town that was having a kite festival, so we stopped for a look and to dry off a little. There were some massive kites, if you could call them kites and then they were having competions with them doing syncronised kiting to music, very skilled people. Some of the kites looked like they were dancing to the music as they darted around and bounced up and down off the beach.
Thought we would take off and ride a bit without the rain, (didn't last long!) and we ended up coming arcross a car accident, the car had hit a bank and ended up on it's roof in the middle of a bridge, so there was a bit of a back up of traffic, but we didn't have to wait long. Looks like they lost control coming down the hill in the wet.
Had enough of the weather we decided to call it a day and ended up in Coos Bay for the night. We weren't too wet today, mostly drizzle for the last hour.
Went out to the steakhouse next door for dinner and had a huge cocktail, served in a glass cowboy boot, very strong. The food ws great - babyback ribs, just slid off the bone and the steak was cook perfectly for me. Brian ended up telling them that it was my birthday and I ended up getting a desert with a candle and the waitresses singing to me. I went a bighter shade of red than I already was with the cocktail that I was drinking.
I had a nice day, and Brian even was nice to me all day!
thanks everyone for the birthday wishes.
the weather has improved a bit, but not by much!
We came across some cranberry farms. The bushes are grown in a pond, so we saw ponds of these bushes all over the place and then we came across the Ocean Spray factory, where the juice is made. Not the time of the year to flood the plants for the fruit, so they were just being irrigated.
Rode into the California state and had a quick vist through quaratine, so quick that they didn't even want to stop us and just waved us through!
Started to get a bit warmer as we rode through the Redwood state park. Wow, these are some big old trees and so close to the road. We came across place where you can drive through one of the trees. so we did about five or six times!
We carried along to coast for a bit longer and ended up staying at Arcata.
We both slept in! Looked at the phone to see that it was 8:17am and we had just woken up!
We didn't have anywhere to go in a hurry, so we ended up doing a bit of planning for the next couple of weeks (because that is all we have left!) and changed our visit to Alcatraz.
Decided to do a couple of days inland and then carry on back down the coast.
We found some narly twisty roads, which were great nd I think that Brian forgot I was on the back as we swayed from side to side zooming up and down the road, that is until we got to a couple of tight switchbacks which made him slow down in a hurry!
We ran over a big squirrel and felt him hit the bike, I turned around to see him rolling down to road. of all the road he had to use, he decided to use the 6 inches of the road that we were needing at the same time. Size and speed won (Brian's comment). At least it wasn't a skunk! Or deer, or Elk!
We are now staying in a small town int e mountains called Etna.
Rode back road, one lane sealed twisty small road that was crumbling on the cliff edge. We rode around a mountain that has a "Bigfoot" history, but we saw no signs of the big hairy dude!
By the afternoon we were back on the coast and it was clear of for so we took a small coastal road, OMG what a rough, twisty, off the grid, piece of road. Bumpy as hell, especially with the top-box hitting me in the back for most of the afternoon.
Saw a couple of zebras, just haning around the paddock with a goat.
We were definitely out in the sticks and discovered a hippy area and of course what else but a few marijuana plantations growing in the open, there were also quite a few green houses dotted about the place with lots of green plants in them!
Finally onto a better road and we ended up riding through some redwoods then into civilization, well, kind of! We are staying in Garberville, which is a pot head town, absolutely full of them wanting a handout for their next fix.
While waiting for our dinner we read the newspaper to find that there had just been a $4 million marijuana bust in the area in the last week(well they didn't get much of it, from what we saw riding around!) and then on the next page there was an advertisement from a lawyer - Marijuana defence lawyer, yep, pot head town!
You couldn't breath too deeply while walking down the street, especially past the hemp shop, yeah right!
A nice wram clear day as we rode down the coast to San Fransisco.
met up with two guys, Roger and Greg (cousins) on BMW bikes and ended up having lunch together.
Now it is a clear day it is amazing to see how rough the coastline actually is - not good for swimming or sunbathing, hardly a beach in sight.
Got into San Fran and since there was no fog around we went up to the lookout to view the city, Alcatraz and the Golden Gate bridge. Nice warm clear night.
Staying in San Fran for a couple of nights.
Early start to the day as we had to get right into San Fran to take a ferry over to visit Alcatraz.
It is not a very big island, but big enough to just hold the prison. A great clear warm day to look round. What a cold sterile place, but very interesting to go through and learn about the history. It is very much a tourist attraction, and busy with people, so we were in and out quite early.
Back on dry land again and spent the rest of the day walking around fisherman's wharf looking at a few tourist shops and people watching.
Found that the local BMW shop was not too far away so we took off and had a look around there before going through the city, up and down all the streets (definitely built on the side of a hill!) and back out to our motel.
We were just at our off ramp and only 1.5 km from out motel when the bike died. We had ran out of petrol!!! Brian was in a grump because the bike was calculating that we still had 10km to go before an empty tank, but it didn't take into consideration that we had been travelling like snail for the last 15km. So the pushing started and luckily we were about 500m from a fuel station, so not too much huffing and puffing. The bike was pushed to the end of the off ramp and then we used the pedestrian crossing to cross the roads (we got a few chuckles from people passing by!). The bike was fuelled up and it started straight away.
With Brian still a bit pissed we got back on and went to our motel.
Went back into downtown for the morning, after booking in for another night at the motel. San Fran is living up to its name today - Fog City! We went over the Golden Gate bridge and couldn't even see the top of the bridge, let alone the other side. It was like driving in pea soup.
Went on the cable car up into the centre of the city, man are some of those streets steep. We went right into the main area, mostly full of tourist, and we were one of them.
After we finally got back down to the wharf and having another look around, especially at the bakery that makes these amazing sourdough sea creature creations we decided to go up to Lombard street and drive down the "crookedest street". 5mph s bends, very steep, so steep that I had to really clench my legs down on the foot pegs, a bit too hard as I ended up getting muscle cramp in both of them before we got to the bottom.
The fog was finally clearing in the early afternoon so we took off out of the city and went and rode over another bridge to explore the outer sides of San Fran.
Brian found Adventure Design, a motorcycle accessory store, he ended up getting a few more bits for the bike.
This time we managed to get back to the motel without running out of petrol.
Being a tourist can expensive, especially when in San Fransisco!
We rode around the Napa Valley, through all the wineries and a few orchards, but mainly grapes.
Nice roads, but busy, well it is the weekend, so a lot of people are taking advantage of the weather and are having a day out in the country!
Went through the Delta area, which is a cropping area and full of dried corn getting harvested and lucerne about to get baled, I just love the smell of freshly baled hay.
We decided to stop early and catch up with the blog as well as try and plan out out way back to LA, so we are staying on Modesto.
Daveo The bike did say 10k fuel left have been as low as 5k left before and still made it. Nobody brought ME gas back HaHa See a all soon Neariy done 70,000km now
took some great windy roads, which were filled with nut tree farms (not too sure what kind of nuts) and got passed by a group of crotch rockets, with one of them passing us while doing a wheelie (I was sure we would find him and the bike in pieces down to road shortly!)
went to back to Yosemite Nat park, but this time did the eastern side of the park, which had nice roads, if it wasn't for the slow arsehole drivers in front of us that wouldn't pull out onto the slow lanes. We came across two more bear death signs on this road, so in total we have see 7.
We ended up at Fresno for the night and went to the diner across the road for dinner, while we were there this guy trying to pay by cheque, which they don't accept, so he said he would go and get some cash, well, he never returned while we were there for the next 30 mins or so. This diner has a electronic counterfeit detector machine, where the notes go through and get scanned (apparently, they are printing over real $5 notes so they are harder to detect!) California is the only place that we have had our notes checked.
It rained overnight and is still drizzling. We got all rugged up in our gear and headed off up into the mountains to go to Kings Canyon and then through Sequoia Park.
It was quite cold as we went up the hills and then saw a few cars coming down with white stuff on top of their cars, hmm, looks like snow. Couldn't see any on the hill tops so we kept going and then came across a snow plough coming down the hill. Yep, must be snow somewhere up there.
The rain changed to this white flaky stuff as we got to the entrance to Kings Canyon, and it was a light sprinkling of white (looks like someone has been out with the icing sugar!) We were asked a few questions - Where are we wanting to go (through sequoia park), do we have snow chains (umm, no!), sorry, but we highly advise that you do not go any further as there is still another 1000ft of elevation (by this time it was snowing quite hard), but you can go to the visitors centre and then return down the mountain. (Bugger!!)
We did listen to the advice, went and got a hot choc and sat outside and watched the snow falling, quite mesmerizing seeing all the different sizes. A few photos later and about 10 mins of putting all our layers of clothing back on we were on our way back down the mountain, 1C, so no where as cold as when we were in Cascade!
The snow stopped and changed back to a drizzle of rain and as we got back down to Fresno it warmed up. We kept riding as we wanted to get back to the coastline and came across lots of cotton fields that we trying to be harvested and then further on we came across a garden market area that was full of lettuce, tomatoes and strawberries, sweet smelling strawberries. And more nut tree farms, this time there were factories near them, so I found out that they were almond and pistaschio nuts.
We have ended up having 4 seasons in one day.
Staying in Watsonville.
Went to wunderlich, a motorbike accessory business, and we came away without parting any money!
Overcast and cool today
We then travelled down the coastline for the day on the nice windy roads. Came across more market garden areas, this time it was strawberries, artichokes and brussel sprouts.
Stopped for lunch and sat in the sun overlooking the coastline, trying to warm up.
Saw heaps of elephant seals lapping up the sun on a beach, actually this beach was designated especially for them.
The coastline has been quite ruggered from Seattle down and when we got to Pismo Beach, where we are staying we finally came across a decent beach.
received an email from my bank to let me know that I have been credited $20US back onto my credit card, so after being ripped off my an atm machine I finally go my money back.
rode down the pacific coast again and saw more strawberries, cauliflower and lettuce crops came across another upside down car on the side of the road.
the weather was nice and warm and as we went through Santa Barbara we ended up seeing 15 oil rigs off shore.
Carried down the coast line and ended up back in LA!
We are staying in the same place as we did 6 months ago, so familiar surroundings, or not! It is amazing how much is around where we are staying, but since we didn't have wheels or my left foot to stand on, we didn't discover all the stuff that was around us.
The staff at the motel remembered us and couldn't believe where we had been.
Had an easy day just riding around and having a bit of a look at the shops and motorbikes during the day and then found out there was a "bike night" a few miles away, so we went and had a look around. It was held at Cycle Gear, an accessory shop. Quite a few bikes turned up and Brian had a chat to a few people.
A nice cruisy day
we had an early start to the day as we were off to Disneyland for the day/night.
We were there by just after 9am and it was already packed full of people, mostly little ones.
Disneyland is definatley more for the kids, but who cares we went on the rides anyway, even the tea cups! Did lots of walking around and people watching as quite a few were dressed up because of Halloween.
People, people, everywhere you turn you see a wall of people coming towards you. Some of the queues to the rides were over 1 hour long wait time, so we found that they single rider lanes, so we went in them instead and rode a few separately, but cut the waiting time to 20 mins max for 2 ride and the rest were less than 5 mins.
Saw Mickey Mouse, pluto and Goofy and some other disney characters.
Disneyland Castle is quite small and it is not a big park area (has 2 small theme parks), but still took us 12 hours to get around and have a look at most things at a nice gentle pace, basically the wait time to the rides killed most of the day.
We had lots of fun and a few scares from the rollercoaster and the tower of terror. it was a good day, a long day, and with sore feet we got back to our bike and rode back to the motel.
Man, we had sore feet, could hardly walk around once we got back to the motel
feet still a bit sore this morning, but they got to move around they came right.
Did some washing this morning, and after 6 months on the road we managed to lose one of my socks! Travelling throughout all of north america and it is not until we get back to the start that we lose a piece of clothing. Those washing gremlins better not try and get any more.
Rode around nd went and had a look at a few motorbike shops today. It took us all day and about 250 km radius, all we came across on the roads were breakdown and some nasty car accidents. One of which happened one the other side of the road in front of us causing all the traffic to stop suddenly, all we saw was the smoke/dust and once we got going and went past we saw the smashed up car and a dazed driver standing on the side of the road. Speed was definately a factor and he got air borne somehow and took out a few signs, basically the sedan now looks like a compact. He is lucky to be alive, must have had his seat belt on!
They certainly hoon on the freeways, and we are going at least 10 - 15 km over the speed limit and we are getting past as if we are a turtle!
Went to this motorcycle store. OMG what a store, it was massive and full of just about anything that you think you might need or want. Amazing, and the price of some of the plastic stuff for our honda bikes at home was $20 - $30 US (home about $100+).
Finally, after waiting for about 40 mins after Brian said he was ready to leave, we were on our way back to our motel and the heat, still between 28 & 32C.
we went for a ride around the hills around LA today. Dry area, actually most of California is dry.
we have past several Tractor Supply Co stores in our travels, which are full of farming supplies, hardware and manly stuff (Brian's candy shop!) So we found one around LA and we did some shopping in there, even for a farmers wife!
Saw more vineyards around the place and lots of broken down cars on the side of the road, mostly flat tyres and bonnets up.
Just riding around today with more nice warn weather. as we came back through LA it got up to 35C for a short while, but then decreased to a bearable 28C.
Thought we would update the blog just to let y'all know what we are up to. Will try and get Brian to update the map and the photos in the next few days.
We are both ready to come home and begin a normal life again!
we went downtown into LA and had a look around. Quite a dirty city, was not impressed, didn't even get off the bike, we just rode around the streets looking to see if it was worth while stopping, it wasnt.
We then went up to Hollywood Blvd and had a look around there. Same thing - dirty and not very impressive. But this time we stopped and had a look around. Walked up and down over the "walk of fame" and got some photos of the different famous stars. There was a "red carpet" event happening in the evening so a lot of the roads were blocked off as they were setting up for it. Premiere of the movie - Wreck it Ralph.
We were both getting quite pissed off with all the people approaching us to do a tour, at least every 50m of walking we were getting asked. So in the end Brian kept telling them that we had already done one, and they stopped annoying us.
It was getting quite warm so we decided to go down to Santa Monica Pier, well, by the time we got there it was cold and full of fog!
I'm glad I didn't go here when we first arrived, as it is wooden and it definately not crutches friendly! The fog was so thick, you couldn't even see the beach, although you could hear it. After wondering around for a while, it cleared up and the sun came through, it looks totally different without that white stuff around. Quickly took some more photos, this time with a view, just as well, the fog came back and was thicker than before.
Slowly made our way back to the motel. Afternoon traffic, actually anytime of the day traffic, it is always the same - bumper to bumper.
Spent most of the day washing all our stuff. Jackets and pants, bike bags and our boots were all put through the washing machines and then dried out in the sun.
Found my missing sock! It was hanging on the tub in the laundry, someone found it. So no missing washing.
Packed up alot of our stuff to try and pack back into the bike, we have quite alot of extra stuff to squeeze in!
And of course, the bike need to have a good clean for NZ customs. That took a while! Every little area has to be soooooo clean, well, we have tried our best. Got the bike back to the motel and did another wipe down and sprayed with WD40 and then put all the bags back on.
We managed to squash all our stuff in to most of the bags,but still have more to collect when we go down to San Diego to catch up with Bill and Brenda.
We spent the morning packing up the bike, trying to put it back in the crate. It fitted back in, just like a glove, just. Although it has a few more exta kg's of our stuff packed in.
Went and did the paper work only to be told that to export the bike out of the US, customs now need to view the original title of the vehicle, not a copy, which is already on file, (hmm, NZ only has a Cert of Registration, which is not a legal document!). If we knew that before we came over we would have it with us, so once we get home and find it we will have to send it over and then our bike and all our other stuff can be sent back home, that is if they accept the Cert of Registration as enough proof! Can't be too much of a problem as everyone else gets their bikes back!
Went and got our rental and did a few last minute bit of shopping and then back to the motel to pack up the rest of our stuff.
went for a drive around tonight and saw lots of people, mainly kids, dressed up for Halloween, walking around the streets. They really get into it! On TV, on the news they were showing that there were people lining the streets on Hollywood Blvd and the Santa Monica Pier.
drove down to San Diego, a bit of de ja vu going on as we went the same way as at the start of our trip, but with no crutches!
Was a really nice sunny day, but the water was freezing cold.
Finally found the house where we will be staying with Bill and Brenda for the next few days. Umm, we do have a lot of stuff to bring back.
Drove around a bit of San Diego today, even the americans can end up driving on the wrong side of the road, as we found out when Bill turned a corner and converted to us, New Zealanders driving.
After lunch we went and had a look through an aircraft carrier, which was full of all sort of flying things.
Picked up Brenda from the airport and tried to find something to eat for dinner, what a mission that was as we went to and area that was having a festival, very busy with over an hour wait anywhere we went. So we went somewhere else and ended up having cuban food.
today we went to Seaworld for the whole day.
It was a fun cruisy day, with lots of laughs at each other and our accents.
Brian and I sat in the "wet zone" of the killer whale show and yes we got a bit wet from the whales splashing the crowd with their tails, but it kept us cool for a little while. Watched the dolphin and seal shows as well. Speaking of seals, I decided to buy some fish and feed some of the seals, which was going really well until I decided to make one beg a bit too long and then a bird came swooping down and swiped the fish out of my hand, bloody bird. Well I was a bit pissed off after that, then I couldn't get the fishy smell off my hands for the rest of the day!
did some of the rides that they had at the park, which were cool, very cooling in fact. The last one we went on was a water one - watching the ride, it didn't look like you get too wet, how wrong was I, yep we got a bit wet, but didn't realise that at the end of the ride (which we couldn't see) had another slide! So we were wet, so what do we do, go again, this time we switched sides, well, I didn't have a dry spot on me by the time we were finished, we got soaking wet this time.
But we had a lot of fun!!!
Daylight savings finished today, so another time change to add to our list.
We had a look around the city today on a trolley tour, which gave us some history of the area. Saw some beautiful old buildings and lots of people everywhere. Due to the fumes coming from the trolley I got a bit sick, so we didn't get to have a good look around.
A bit of an early night as we had to finish packing up all our stuff. Yes, it did all fit in our bags, but I wouldn't try to pick up our carry on bags, definitely overweight.
our last day here!
Did a last bit of packing before heading off back to LA. A sad farewell to Bill and Brenda as they drive back to Tuscon and us going in the other direction. A few tears were released, but we have made some lifelong friends. Thanks guys for all your help.
Got back to LA to find it stinking hot. we packed a few extra things into the bike crate and then headed off for a last quick drive around before heading off to the airport.
What a mission to get to the rental company, they are all so far away from the terminal, and not signposted very well. Finally found where we had to go, then had to wait for a shuttle to take us to the departure terminal.
We were a few hours early, but due to our packing we thought we would book in early just in case we had problems. We had problems! You are only allowed to have a weight of 50 lbs per bag - ours - 35 & 64, so we had to go and repack them. It only took us 20 minutes and three goes at trying to equal them out. Finally, we got it right, so no more holding up the line anymore!
We were treated like we were going on a domestic flight - not much security, just a little x-ray unit. It was great, and harmless, not like last time when I got patted down.
A few hours waiting with the floor shaking every time a plane took off and just before we were boarding we discovered that our flight is going to Melbourne with a stop over in Sydney, where we get off.
Our flight finally left at 10:20 pm, so a long day and now a long flight.
up in the air, somewhere, flying high above the clouds.
Watched some movies, had a few minutes sleep, waking up with a crocked neck, eating plane food. A bit of a quiet flight.
as we were getting into Sydney we were told that everyone has to go through customs, except the Melbourne people, which just need to transfer!
Wrong info!!! We got through customs and were waiting for our bags, no bags, so I asked someone and apparently we had been told the incorrect info. We shouldn't have gone through customs, just transfer instead. Well, we weren't the only ones, most of the plane did the same thing!
Finally got ourselves all organised correctly, and now waiting to board to go to Wellington, listening to all the boarding calls for people that haven't boarded their connecting planes, wonder where they are, maybe still at customs instead of transferring!!
A big line waiting to go through x-rays, but we were detoured around it as I declared all the food that we had, so it saved us a good 30 minutes of waiting. Just as well, we might have been there a bit longer with the white powder stuff that i brought back! Harmless powder, salt & vinegar flavouring.
Great to be back home! Until we went through the doors of wellington airport and got blasted by the lovely cold wind. Some things never change!
We got back to our house and as we were getting our bags out of the car Brian started being sick. He was very sick for the rest of the night. What a welcome, food poisoning from the plane, one of the flights anyway. I was fine as I had totally different food to him.
found our original copy of our Certificate of Registration for the bike and have sent it off to the US, so we are just waiting for that to arrive and then we can get a date for when the bike can come home.
Brian feeling a little bit better.
Wow, go away for 6 months and Little old Wairarapa are has changed so much!
Sorry it has taken us so long to finish updating the blog.
It has taken over a week to get our phone and broadband up and running. Finally all back on line and have some time to spare, so I am quickly updating this.
It is great to be back home and sleeping in the same bed all the time. Slowly catching up with everyone.
Now back into it reality!