Saturday dawned windy and cold but there was a full complement of riders at the Tavern eager to be on their way, also well wishers and a few members coming for a short ride. Heading up the highway not far from Albany Jack Rowe struck trouble with his throttle cable breaking and decided to return home to get his other trike, the BMW, he'd join us later in the day. Despite the cold it was a good run up through Cranbrook, where we picked up John Gillam. Ian Jury joined us at Wagin and then onto Narrogin and Northam to Goomalling. The caravan park were charging us $6.60 per site - cheap. It also had an excellent campers kitchen. Joining us at Goomalling for the trip were Warwick, Chester & Trudy and Ron & Fran with their well equipped camper. Huw Jones rode up on his R9OS and joined us for the night.
That evening several of us had to go to the pub and watch Wales and Australia play in the World Cup - most entertaining. Next morning Robert Boyes joined the group on his R1200GS BMW. Ron Allen who had just come up for the night from Albany was turning around and heading home on his R75/7 BMW. There were now 23 bikes on the trip! The morning's ride took us through Dalwallinu where a bloke came up who had bought Frank Cooke's bike, small world. Huw then departed for Perth. We had managed to stay in front of the rain during the morning and in the afternoon we had a brilliant ride to Cue, stopping at Paynes Find where Tony & Diane Moor run the Tavern and fuel, quite a few of our group hadn't seen them for years, so there was a bit of catching up to do.
Then on through Mt Magnet to Cue where we were staying the night. Out in front for most of the trip were the Police: Cohn, John and Jim on their white ex-police bikes. John and Jim also have white helmets to complete the image!
Cue caravan park was basic, but what else would you expect in this part of the world, although the caretaker had reserved us a piece of grass and made sure no other campers took it - much appreciated. He was also a bit taken aback by the number of us, it had grown considerably since I'd initially rang. Some of the group had a meal in the pub, but most dined in style at the Queen of the Murchison, a nice old ex-pub, that now only provided accommodation and meals - thanks to Raelene who had arranged it. They also had a private collection of motorbikes on display, old Harleys and British bikes, most in excellent restored condition, including some rarely seen models. There was a joey hanging in a bag off the handlebar of one bike!
Next morning we were heading off to Newman, the day nice and sunny, but the wind was picking up. While we were taking pictures of the bikes and old buildings of Cue we noticed Russell go down the wrong way down the dual lane, before he shot back over to the correct side. Didn't know you were spotted did you ha ha. About 60kms down the road my sidecar outfit started weaving strangely, can't be the wind? Stopped by the side of the road and the back tyre was as flat as a pancake!
I hadn't brought the jack with me, but with plenty of helpers we lifted the bike up to get the wheel out. Chester had found a rock to rest the bike on. The ladies set up chairs across the road under a tree and made themselves comfortable. We couldn't find a nail or anything, but found the hole, something had gone in and out of the tyre and tube. Luckily I had a spare tube. After refitting the tyre to the bike we then used Phil's compressor to pump it up, before long we were back on the road. Thanks everyone for your help, especially Chester, Phil, Clive, Garry. The wind was now getting stronger and stronger and hotter as well. Just before Kumarmna we passed Ron and Fran who had run out of petrol.
Robert had got a can from the roadhouse to get them going. More of our group were recovering from the wind and heat at the roadhouse where we joined them, enjoying a great sandwich for a belated lunch. I put 22.14 litres in my bike (it's got a 22 litre tank!). Filling up both mine and Chris' BMW cost $60! Off we went again, the wind had dropped off a bit and 80kms from Newman the girls, Ron & Fran had stopped for a break stopped as well, but couldn't get the bike to go - it would pop, but not fire. The girls and Ron then gave me a push and after changing from 2nd to 1st it fired, so off I went, puzzled as to what was going on.
Went to the wrong caravan park in Newman, the police, Warwick and Barry were there, but no Garry. Tried to start the bike, wouldn't go, but went with a push. Arrived at the other caravan park where even though I'd rang them they reckoned they hadn't heard of us. Garry had paid for our camp and had a site reserved for us. Went to the pub that night, sat outside, had a great meal and we were brought free jugs of beer - great. Next day Phil helped me check the sidecar over, cleaned all the wires on the ignition circuit, changed coils from Chris' bike - still my bike wouldn't start. Spoke to Munich and they thought it might be the black box under the tank. They were going to send one up that night.
I have been told this has to go in: when I told the other riders what was happening to the bike, we all thought it was in the ignition system. Chris(tine) was the ONLY one who said, "Check the tappets". Des and Rob from Bruce Rock had arrived on their Gold Wings and trailers, which was a bit of a surprise. That night we had a BBQ at the camp. Robert had been talking to a guy with a GS in Newman named Pilbara, that jogged my memory. There was a bloke in the BMW Club who had his name down for assistance in case of a breakdown, I thought I'd ring Huw in Perth and see if he could get his number.
Huw, Lefty and Mike all tested me back with this guy's name and number, Lefty giving me other names that have worked in Newman. It turned out to be a different bloke to the one I was thinking of but Pilbara (Kevin) sounded positive on the phone and said he'd bring his mate Mick along as well. they arrived about 8:30pm and went through all the ignition electrics before discovering there was no compression, as well as a weak spark.
Checked the tappets and although the inlet was OK the exhaust had closed right up, so much so that there was no adjustment left! Mick offered the use of his workshop and to stay at their place. They left at 1O.3Opm. Kelvin by the way had entered in the recent Australian Safari, crashing his KTM on the 4th day resulting in fractures to his back, he was walking a bit stiffly! Next morning we said goodbye to the rest of our group before Mick came and towed us to his place.
Luckily he had the day off and also a superb workshop. He and his son rode enduro/motocross, so it was well equipped. Mick also has a Norton Commando and R9OS BMW. We took off the sidecar to get the bike into the workshop proper before taking it apart. Luckily I had the correct exhaust nut spanner with me, but do you think the right nut would come off - the other side was easy and I always coat them in copper grease. We got the oxy onto it and still no luck, so decided to hacksaw it off to save the thread on the head. It took about 90 minutes altogether before we managed to get it off, and yes the nut had welded onto the head, but with a bit of cleaning the head was OK. Mick generously took the nut off his BMW which fitted exactly, to replace mine.
The rest came apart easy. The valve was OK and the face of the valve seat was OK, but the valve seat itself had been sinking into the head! We shimmed out the exhaust rockers and that gave us plenty of tappet adjustment. Put it back together and it started first pop. It had taken us all day, we then had a BBQ. We're deeply indebted to Mick & Joyce for their help and generosity and their two boys - great people.
Next morning we said our goodbyes, topped up the oil, fuel etc and started to head out of town, next thing smoke is billowing out of the headlight and handlebar wires, it looks like it's on fire! I switch everything off and pull over to the side of the road and nearly swore ha ha. Rang Mick to use his workshop again and pushed the outfit back to his place. He's an electrical supervisor at the mine and so his workshop is fully equipped for the job in hand. I bought some automotive wire and set about rewiring all the burnt wires from inside the headlight to the stop switch on the handlebar. Finished it all, figuring there must have been a short between the melted wires. Started the engine up and more smoke, switched it off. Take the tank off and notice that the wires from the kill switch are the same colour as the ones to the coil, but I'm out of ideas.
I gave Mick a ring at work to see if he had any thoughts, he said he'd pop around. He worked his way through the wiring coming up with the idea the coils were wired up the wrong way. They are 6 volt coils in relay and I had them wired negative to negative, plus to plus. Mick was sure they should be negative to plus. I take the tank off his BMW and had a look at his coils, he's right I've wired them wrong after swapping them with Chris' bike at the caravan park. Changed them around - no smoke, Then changed Chris' around the right way, put Mick's bike together and then put his workshop back in one piece, by which time it was 4 pm. Joyce insisted that we stay another night, we didn't like to impose ourselves, but gladly took up the offer. Chris and I then took the bikes for a long test ride around Newman. Chris suggested we go to the pub for a beer - great idea and everything seems to be running fine, no smoke, no problems starting. Another great night with Mick and Joyce and boys. Sadly we have a message on the phone from Clive to say that Marilyn's mum was not in good health and Marilyn flew to Perth from Paraburdoo, Clive riding down south through Carnarvon with the Webbs for company.
The black box that was sent from Munich by TNT never arrived. Munich had done the right thing, but the part was sitting at the TNT depot in Perth instead of being sent to Newman. As it turned out we didn't need it and told them to take it back, but I thought it was shoddy service. We left at 7am from Newman after getting some ice, and had a beaut ride though to Tom Price and the bikes were travelling fine. It started to warm up quite dramatically on the way to Paraburdoo, but we decided to ride on through to Nanutarra (about 66Okms from Newman). We got there about 4pm it was another 230kms to Coral Bay and although tempted, after seeing cows wandering on the road decided to stay at Nanutarra the night. Murray King (from Albany) and three of his mates on Harleys pull up. It was a nice grassy campspot, but at $6.60 for a beer we were pleased we had our own in the esky. Next morning we were up early, but so were the cows, plenty on the road - one wasn't going to move - a bit threatening! We were amazed at the size of the free campsite at Yannarie River, and the number of caravans on it.
Alter turning down the Coral Bay - Exmouth road two emus ran across the road in front of me. Missed the first one, and had to brake hard for the second, just clipping it with the sidecar, he tumbled over before running off. What next I wonder? Coral Bay at last, most of our crowd are down the beach. We put the tent up and then sorted out the camping fees as we had paid half deposit. The people there were very good and we got a good discount. Time for a swim. When we got back to camp Ian arrived and then Chester and Trudy. Everyone was there except for Des, Rob and John Gillam who had just left. Fish and chips for tea and time to relax and socialise.
Whilst sitting back relaxing Garry noticed that the back tyre of the sidecar outfit was flat again - Bloody hell - have another beer. Next morning took off the tube with help from Chester, Garry and friends. Chester checked the tube and it was the rubber around the valve that was leaking. We put the spare repaired tube on. All was looking good. I thought I'd check the tappets again, and the exhaust valve had tightened up once more, so I adjusted them again, so both exhaust valve seats were still sinking! I'll check again further down the road. Next a snorkel from the glass bottom boat, then a late lunch with garlic prawns bought by Chester & Trudy on the way from Exmouth and cooked by Trudy and Chris - and a beer - this is more like it.
John sliced his foot quite badly putting the side stand down on his police bike, but got treatment from the attendant nurses. Fran thought it was raining, but realised it was Russell giving the KTM a squirt close to their camper, he was looking a bit sheepish, but went and made sure Fran was OK. That night some went to the pub for dinner and others to the cafe. We were given a feed of fish - very nice too. The wind had dropped off and it was a very pleasant evening.
Next morning we watched the Three Amigos, the police and Jack and Warwick head south. We were sitting in the campers kitchen and our phone, which was on charge, rang. Chris jumped up to answer it, but her foot was stuck in the runners of the table/bench seat and she fell heavily on her elbow on the concrete. There was a loud crack, Chris said it was her bracelet that made the noise, but we could see a hole the size of a 10c piece in her elbow. The nursing post told us that she needed to go to Carnarvon to have it X-rayed, Chris reckoned there was plenty of movement and not much pain, saying it's just a bad bruise.
We all hurriedly packed the tents etc and set off for Carnarvon 22Okms away. Chris said that she was fine to ride, although was having trouble taking off and one of the trucks coming the other way caused her a bit of pain with wind blast. We went straight to the hospital where the X-ray showed that her elbow was badly broken and needed pins in it. The doctor and staff were great. A specialist was arranged to do the operation in Perth at Hollywood Hospital. And a plane was to be booked for the next day. Raelene and Garry had booked us a unit at the caravan park where the rest were staying. I rode ahead with Chris in a taxi following. Incidentally it rained while we were in the hospital, first time since Albany.
I got to the park, no taxi. I was getting worried, had she been abducted? Five minutes had passed, no Chris, I thought I'd ring the hospital to see who the taxi company was. Next minute the taxi arrived! Apparently he was an ex-biker and took her to his place to get the address of a transport company to take Chris' bike to Perth, this was amongst a lot of colourful language. It was hilarious when Chris relayed the story. Next morning the rest of the crowd took off after giving her a lotto ticket - hoping our luck would change, it really was most appreciated and lifted our spirits. I then finalised organising forms to get her on the plane to Perth that evening, so with Chris sorted, I needed transport for the bike.
The taxi's contact was $480 for the bike to Perth, interestingly, $240 for a car. I went to the local bike shop and they said they'd used a 2nd hand shop. I went to the shop, great people, and they had a furniture truck going to Perth the following week and would deliver the bike to our daughter's door for $155, said they'd wrap it up in removalist blankets. We moved to another unit closer to the town centre and within walking distance of the airport. We had a great lunch and a slack afternoon before seeing Chris off on the plane at 7 pm. I wandered back to the park picking up a curry and rice, settled down with a couple of beers and wondered what tomorrow would bring?
Next morning I'm off early, nice ride, plenty of goats and eagles on the road to Northampton. Bike's going fine, but to be on the safe side, I only stop at roadhouses. Spot Raelene & Gany's bikes at Northampton and pull over and have lunch with them in a nearby cafe. I could stay with them and friends in Geraldton but decide to press on, eager to get to Perth. I ended up stopping the night at the Three Springs pub, nice meal too -steak with prawns on top! The bike still seems to be starting fine, it's only another 33Okms to Perth so I'll check the tappets there.
Incidentally the right muffler had decided to start failing apart and is now extremely loud!!! The ride to Perth along the middle road (I kept off the Brand Hwy as I was only travelling at 100kph and trucks were becoming a pain) was brilliant, no traffic, good surface and wind behind me. Got to the first traffic lights in Perth and the bike started playing up, not iding. I lmanaged to get to my daughters house - just, I think the tappets had tightened up again. Chris was there, as well as Katrina and grandson Griffin, the operation was good, she had two screws in it and Chris was looking much better. She was booked onto a flight to Albany and looking forward to coming home.
I did the tappets once more, they had tightened up again, topped up the oil and was ready for the last leg nothing else could happen could it? Except 10ks from Williams the throttle went slack and the bike slowed down. Oh no - broken throttle cable. Took the throttle assembly off, but it was the end had just come out of its groove, thankfully. Put it back in and arrived home just as Pt Adelaide were getting flogged by Geelong. What a trip, not what we had in mind, not quite relaxing and stressful, but a big thankyou to our various helpers. All up about 4500kms.