really began for me after I'd ridden
from Albany, then to Bakers Hill. Map of
the ride here. From Pete's place we took all back
roads, lovely gravel tracks to the road from Mukinbudin to Bullfinch.
The weather was cool (about 18 degrees) and sunny. Click on the
pictures to the left to view them larger. All pictures taken on
Panansonic Lumix TZ7 9 megapixel resolution with Leica 12x zoom lens,
which proved an excellent compact travel camera. It can also shoot HD
the country opened out into large wheat fields, and the tracks became a
little more sandy but still no problems to ride.
arrived just on sunset to stay in a spare house on a farm. If it's a
large wheat crop you're going to put in, I suppose you need a large
tractor to do it. It was very cool that night, with a totally jet-black
sky highlighting crisp stars.
we were on the Bullfinch - Evanston road. Again excellent condition
roads and no problems. The distance without fuel is 441 km, since there
is no fuel at Bullfinch. We both carried 9 litres extra to get to
Menzies. Mine was in 2x 4.5 litre plastic jerry cans above the pillion
pegs and Pete's was in a bladder strapped on top of Mount McGrath.
Going along this road felt like going back in time to what parts of the
lap around Australia were like in 1973 on my first BM. Video file 6MB
m4v format riding with a redneck
on the Evanston Track. Video will play with VLC player if Quicktime
doesn't work. Download VLC for Mac, Widows, Linux here: http://www.videolan.org/vlc/
even open water in the Lakes Deborah and evidence of recent rain on the
roads between them. The small section of windy sand between the lakes
was well-damped and pleasant riding. A good change from the straighter
drag north to Evanston.
turnoff, you could go west to Diemels and then north to the Mt
Magnet-Sandstone Road, but we were headed east to Menzies (165km) and
then off the main road again after 45km towards Kookynie and the Grand
we were, ready for an evening of wining and dining with the host Kevin
and chef, Margaret. Pete recommends the rib eye steak and I recommend
the Shiraz. Sadly missing were our companions of last year, Bob, Mole
and Adrian and our sons Andy and Jesse. Also gone were the world's
largest shower heads. They are now replaced with more conventional
flash were our accommodations next night, as we headed up the back dirt
road towards Laverton, turned north through Leonora, fuelled up at
Wiluna then out to 50km from the beginning of the Carnegie road and
up with a group also travelling to Carnegie when the chain of one of
the bikes spat its joining link. Pete had a spare sideplate that
fitted, and I suggested using the glue I carry to replace the missing spring clip.
We left Lang hammering the bent bits together. I heard his precision
description: "We'll just belt the fuck out of this.." We travelled a
little further and caught up again in a nice dry riverbed were we had a
spot of tea and a chat, very British-style.
was very firm most of the way. There were a couple of other road users
to watch for, though. Not the usual little old men in hats but eagles,
roos, emus and cattle. There were a few boondies on the road to damage
tyres and rims if hit too hard, at least one rock ledge - but I was
watching for that - the odd wash-away gutter after a gravel
down-sloping dip (always good to get the heart started that one) and
just a couple of corners had rutted sandy patches in them for steering
experiments at speed.
it seemed, we were at Carnegie Station. It was Friday and only a
handful of people were there yet. When I registered I was given 007 as
my raider number and went around calling myself James. My BM R1200R had
set a personal record for lack of fuel consumption because I was taking
it easy. My bike was so little dusted that one guy acused me of
cleaning it. It was a Pythonesque conversation to have: "You've cleaned
that bike!" "No, I haven't!". Repeat. At 80 - 90 km/h in 6th gear on
the dirt with a load of 9 litres extra on board, it was doing 66 mpg or
23.3 litres/km or 4.3 litres per 100 km. It would have done well past
400 km on its own tank at that rate. But it's always better to have too
much juice than too little...
afternoon and evening and next day bikes and chairs kept arriving until
there were 72 registered entries (from proven faulty memory) and tent
spaces around the main building were getting short.
for longest fuel range without having extra bits strapped onto the bike
must go to Lloyd with 39 litres on his 650 Dakar giving a theoretical
range of 1000 km.
for the best t-shirt of the weekend would have to go to this one,
modelled by Greg from Albany, freshly arrived from that fashion capital
on his KTM 950.
points for best chair streamlining would have to go to Tom Toad, which
streamlining also had a bonus feature in that it flashed at night.
Surely worthy of a safety award too...
Carnegie, Pete and I headed north to Karijini. Along the way we had to
overtake some big shockies on a truck. But there were lots of lovely
hills to look at.
camping ground at the Eco Retreat had a lovely view from just outside
we just tootled around the Weano Gorge road and soaked in the fantastic
scenery and lovely temperature - about 25 degrees. The day after that
we began the long trek home. By the time I got back to Albany I'd done
5000 kilometres in 2 weeks. Video file 4.6 MB m4v format puttin' with Pete in the Karijini