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August 2013 Club News

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Around Oz on a 32 year old BMW in 5 Weeks

by Guy Davies

A couple of months off work coming up and being a motorcyclist living in this great country, shouldn’t be too difficult to come up with a plan. "Might as well chuck a lap" - I have the machine for the job, my ‘81 R100 so gave her a new clutch, saw Vince for a carby balance, compression test, 150psi and 150 again; doesn't get any better he says.

Mount a satnav, learn how to work it (invaluable bit of kit), new rear tyre, a "Surefoot" sidestand, (excellent!) some thoughtful packing, get everything at home organised, mow the lawn, then on Sat 30th March, headed off.

Took the more scenic southern route to Norseman and a couple of days later rolled into the lovely little coastal SA town of Port Wakefield. A shower, a 3 min walk to a great old pub and all you can eat for $10.

Giant cray.
Next morning I felt that my trip had now really started. Next through Adelaide, then a night at scenic Victor Harbour and on to a surprisingly desolate coastal ride to Kingston. Was most impressed with their "giant crayfish" (nearly as impressive as Wagin's Giant Ram) that night spent at scenic Robe.

Through coastal Beachport next morning, Mt Gambier, Port McDonnell and followed the coast to Whitecliffe on Port Phillip Bay where I spent a few days with my sister and her family. Then through Ballarat, Halls Gap and a ride up the Grampians, Castlemaine, Bendigo, Echuca, this part of the Vic countryside is going through an uncharacteristic dry period with its dry fields.

Into Melbourne, Saturday morning catchup with the BMWMCC lads at their cafe in Albert Park. "Jack Schmidt" a bit of a character wrote down a list of places I should ride through, old "Dominic" turned up on his immaculate R90/6 with sidecar, "was a couple of hours well spent". Later on to the MCG and watched Collingwood get their bums kicked by Hawthorn (ha-ha).

Next day through the heavy fog and rain, left Melb for Phillip Island, a quick look around and then headed on along the Vic coastline. This part of Vic was very green in contrast to further west. Sale, Lakes Entrance, then to Orbost to do "Jacks" highly recommended ride to Delegate, a mountainous windy road that crosses into NSW (was good).

My main interest on this ride was to see the NSW coast, so that’s what I did, taking in all the coastal towns. This state really has it all scenery wise, so many places for a motorcyclist to head. At Moss Vale I met "Graham" from the NSW BMWMCC upon his 80GS, he is a serial rallyist. Last year he attended 32 rallies; there’s so much happening within easy riding distance in all directions.

Through the Blue Mountains national park tourist route and into Sydney, that night with some rellys, next morning, checked out Lake Macquarie, through Newcastle, then the coastal towns of Port Stevens peninsula. Spent a day there sitting out the heavy rain.

Next day, great weather, took the Tara tourist route "very scenic" (I’m sure that all the NSW tourist scenic routes would be great), up the coast, then into the old mountain town of Nimbin and two nights there amongst the herb people before heading on to Brisbane, where I caught up with old army pals from 30 yrs ago on Anzac Day.

Though understanding a bit more about NSW was my main intention, a month just touring that State is what is really required. I was happy with what I had done though, having spent time in QLD before, it was time to up the tempo giving the inland road from Townsville a miss, as did that in ’88 on my Honda.

Mulgildie’s fearsome Bunyip.
Started heading west at Hervey Bay, I felt that Gayndah’s "giant Orange" could have been bigger, though was mighty impressed with the Bunyip at Mulgildie, wouldn't want to bump into him during the night. Biloela, then Emerald is where the heading west gets serious, into Longreach where the Stockman’s Hall of Fame wanted $30 a ticket and over the road the Qantas museum was $50 a full ticket . . . I thought no and back on the road I went.

At Winton I met up with seven riders in their 50's on their fast Jap bikes. They were hurtling through four States, and knew the trouble-free roads to take, doing speeds well over 200kph. They put me on to the southern road to Mt Isa. I found a 5 ltr water container in a bin by the garage, fuelled it, strapped it on and headed off.

The lads quickly overtook me. I just made it to the halfway town of Boulia and caught up with them at the pub after. Next day I ran out of fuel 5 k's before Mt Isa but a couple of shire workers passing by helped me out - caught up with the lads later at Barkley Homestead roadhouse. The next day they were hurtling up the road north on their way to Darwin.

I took the more commonly used route to Threeways, before heading north. Plenty of carcasses covered with hawks and eagles, had to honk them off so as not to have them smack into me. (throughout the whole top end) A night at Katherine, then to Darwin - lived here as a kid before the cyclone, had a look around, visited some relatives and then headed south again to Adelaide River for the night (nice place).

Giant crocodile at Wyndham.
Next day made it to Kununurra and the next day to Wyndham for a quick look around... most impressed with their "giant crocodile" (Well done WA) That night at Fitzroy Crossing, the pub hasn’t changed at all since I passed through in ’88. A few chats with the interesting locals and the Kiwi barmen.

Next morning a chat to a French lady who was packing her pushbike and continuing her ride around Oz (not my idea of fun) then into Derby, where I lived a bit as a kid, climbed the huge old boab tree that I climbed a lot in 70’s - hadn't changed a bit.

I was looking for work here in ’87, had spent a few interesting evenings within the old Spinnifex pub, (even got locked up), unfortunately that has been replaced with a modern structure, I guess that’s progress. That night at the CP by the marsh.

Bike and rider.
From Derby onwards I was in go home mode, just wanted to knock this big home straight over. Found a great camp spot by the De Grey River, north of Hedland, next night the Yannarie riverbed, north of Carnarvon - early start Tuesday 7th May for a 14 hour charge home.

In just over 5 weeks I covered 17,000kms and averaged a daily 450k's. The main intent was motorcycling and I certainly did that. I did take in and enjoy the places I went, the people that I met, locals at their pub, fellow travellers at caravan parks, with a few past catch-ups along the way.

My ’81 Airhead was faultless - that aeroplane motor with gearbox, loved the 130kph roads. A lazy gear change, pick a cog, and she's ready for anything that Oz can throw at her. I wouldn’t tour on anything else.

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