This story will have a lot of great, beautiful, amazing,
wonderful, nice and fun bits in it because that's what this
Ronnie and I had been really looking forward to this trip. The idea had been there for a lot of years already, instead of doing a week long ride through the south west of WA we would like to take the old bikes across on trailers and base ourselves in different areas of South Australia to explore towns and roads.
We were keen to start early and left Torbay at 6 am to meet
Colin and Leanne at Baker's Junction. We were pulling the club
trailer behind our Toyota Troop carrier that had been fitted out
as a camper van. Ronnie was going to ride the Indian and I was
keen to ride my BMW once we arrived at our destinations. We also
had my Moto Guzzi Le Mans Mark 1 on the trailer. It had been
sold and we were going to drop it off in Adelaide so it could
get trucked over to Sydney.
We got some messages along the way that most of the people who
were going to come on this holiday had left Albany or Perth
already. We decided to meet at Gibson Soak, north of Esperance.
The weather was nice and we had decided to drive through the
Stirlings because it is a much nicer road.
We stopped for a cuppa in Jerramungup and caught up with Robert
Boyes and John McKinnon. Robert was riding all the way on his
BMW and John had his R75/5 on the trailer. In Ravensthorpe we
had another stop and caught up with Warwick, Kim, Garry,
Raelene, Bob and Chris.
Lunch was in Gibson where Phillip and Bronwyn pulled up too. Huw send a message that he was somewhere west of Coolgardie and that he was going to meet us wherever we decided to camp for the night. Most people were going to stay at Fraser Range sheep station so we decided to join everyone there. When we arrived we spotted Guy who had ridden his BMW across from Perth. Huw arrived later on and we all caught up with drinks and nibbles, celebrating a great first day.
Fraser Range is a great stop along the way when you're travelling over east, good facilities, quiet and beautiful to watch to sunset with all the salmon gums and hills. Our stop for the next night would be Eucla or somewhere in the bush near the border.
Warwick had organised for us to have a look at the Mundrabilla
homestead. We all gathered at the front gate in the afternoon
after making our own way there. Some people can travel faster,
especially on the bikes. We had full-on head wind so the Toyota
with three bikes on the trailer went through quite some diesel.
This was the first big trip we did in this car. It was very interesting to have a look at the homestead, lots of history and old buildings. When we arrived at Eucla we filled up and said goodbye to most of the crew, they had booked into the caravan park or into the motel rooms. The weather didn't look too flash, windy and cool.
Huw, Colin, Leanne and us decided to travel across the border and find a spot in the bush. We were lucky to find a nice area and in no time we had a small fire going. We were in South Australia now so the clock had to go forward 2Ĺ hours. I woke up and waited for the sun to come up, I was laying there for ages waiting and in the end I got the torch to check the time; 7.15 am! And it was still really dark! Totally confused we got up and got breakfast organised.
We had quite some tomatoes, garlic and onion between us and we
decided to make a big omelette to use all the veggies. We were
going to get past Ceduna today and that's where the quarantine
border is. Leanne, Colin and me were peeling all the garlic we
had brought from home, we put it in a container with oil so we
could take it with us. Tummies full with omelette and coffee, we
packed up and hit the road. We had some stops along the way at
the different road houses and would wave to other people form
our group if they travelled past.
After leaving Nundroo road house we were all quite close
together. Garry and Raelene had stopped in a different spot for
lunch than most of us and Ronnie had thought of a trick. At the
quarantine stop he asked the guy if he could say something to
our friends travelling in a black Toyota with Albany number
Please tell them that there is a new rule: no beers are allowed
to be brought into SA. I was very surprised the guy was happy to
do this. Apparently he had a very straight face when he told
Garry and Raelene that beers had to be handed in too, ha ha.
We got to Streaky Bay and got ourselves organised at the caravan park.
Bill O'Hallaran (with Triumph Tiger 100) had arrived before us and we all got together to celebrate another good day. We woke up to a beautiful morning, most of the crew got up quite late because it got light so late. Most were confused like we were yesterday so we just had a nice and casual breakfast and enjoyed the view, the caravan park is right on the water.
I had decided to ride to Coffin Bay where our next stop would
be. The weather was beautiful and the roads great. Our first
stop was at Murphyís Haystacks, big red boulders in the middle
of a paddock on a hill. We had our morning tea stop in Elliston
and got to Coffin Bay just after lunch time.
We set up camp and most of us went for a ride into the Coffin Bay national park. Beautiful roads with amazing views and lookouts. The next day we celebrated Bob Reesí birthday in Port Lincoln, coffee and cake followed by a ride up the coast and then lunch at the pub.
A small group had gone for a longer ride up to a museum, the
last 10 km or so was a gravel road. John McK is so used to
riding his GS and will often take photographs while he is riding
but today that didnít really go too well while riding his old
BMW. John came off but was lucky he landed on his camel-back
full of water. He did ride the last couple of kilometres to the
museum but was pretty sore.
There they found out there was a big hole in the rocker-cover. Bike on the trailer and John in the back up car with Warwick. John was limping quite a bit when they caught up with us in Port Lincoln.
His ankle was very sore and he had it checked out at the
hospital, they found out it wasnít broken which was great news.
John took it very easy and booked himself into a cabin and
rested with bags of frozen peas on his sore ankle. The rest of
us went out for dinner to the pub, celebrating Bobís birthday.
Got up early the next day to pack up before taking off to our
stop for the next 3 nights: Moonta Bay. We said our goodbyes to
John who was hopefully going to catch up with us in the next
couple of days. We all made our own ways to Moonta. Everyone is
travelling at different speeds and people want to stop and have
a look at different places. We had our morning tea stop in
Cowell, where we caught up with most of the other members.
It was pretty hot by the time we got to Port Augusta and there
were big thunder clouds in the sky. By the time we were heading
south it bucketed down, I was happy to be in the car. I had
decided not to ride to Moonta because it was a big day, lots of
kilometres. The weather didnít get any better; lots of rain,
thunderstorms and wind but not cold.
There was a bit of chaos at the caravan park. A big storm had
raged through the park and trees had come down, they had lost
power and lots of sand had washed down the hill. I felt very
sorry for the managers having to clean up and having to deal
with complaints from customers.
The park was right on the water and we had a nice spot, time to
set up and time for another happy hour while talking about our
adventures of the day. The campersí kitchen was nice and roomy
and there was also a very nice undercover barbecue area right
next to the kitchen. That night we were in for another storm.
The wind was unbelievable. Lucky we were camping a couple of
rows away from the waters edge but Colin and Leanne had the wind
straight into their camper. Colin stayed up all night holding
down their awning while reading his book.
Todayís ride went down to Port Victoria where we had lunch at
the pub. Still pretty windy and pretty cool. We took the road to
Port Vincent and I kept thinking: these SA roads are absolutely
shocking! Kim was riding in front of me and his indicators were
shaking quite a bit too. I felt sorry for Ronnie on the Indian,
no suspension at all. Better not complain too much I thought.
Along the way the Indian stopped, oh dear . . .
Now most of you know that there has been this stirring up for
years about bikes breaking down. Ronnie always stirs up people
whose bike breaks down and has to go on the trailer. I have been
telling him for years to stop this because one day this will
happen to him.
We all thought today was going to be that day, we all stopped and got our cameras ready. The Indianís carby came apart, all the dirt was removed from the float bowl and the Indian came to life again. Off he went yelling Indians never die! Well I guess he got away with it again. A nice and calm afternoon tea stop in Port Vincent, some people went to get an ice cream and others went for a walk while enjoying the sunshine. On the way back to Moonta most of us had a look at the beautiful coast line at Ardrossan.
By now my shoulders were aching a bit from the rough roads so I
was happy to stop and wander around a bit. We went to fill up
before heading back to the caravan park and suddenly Ronnie
yelled at me to turn the bike off and to hop off. He saw the
block of wood he had stuck between the forks was still there!
This block is there when the bike is on the trailer so the front
suspension is not fully compressed.
We had done about 200 km today, no wonder I was aching. Ronnie couldnít believe I hadnít said anything. Anyway, we had a good laugh. When we got back to the caravan park we saw John had arrived. He was still pretty sore, especially his neck and shoulders but in good spirits. The boys got together to get Johnís bike back on the road, some quick steel was used to fix the hole in the rocker-cover.
The next day after having coffee at the little cafe in Moonta we set off to have a look at the Kadina markets before riding through Bute to Port Broughton where we stopped for lunch at the jetty. Back in Moonta Kim and Ronnie bought a fishing rod at the local shop.
Off we went, Huw, Kim, Ronnie and me to get some squid for tea. Huw and Ronnie were lucky and caught some. Raelene came over to the cleaning station to show the boys how to clean and prepare the fresh squid. There was enough for everyone to have a taste that night.
Our last morning in Moonta, it had been very nice to explore the area here and it was great the boys were able to do some fishing, they had been looking forward to it. I rode my bike to Clare with Ronnie following me, we rode through Snowtown and Ronnie spotted a guy on an older off-road Kawasaki. Of course he had to have a chat to the bloke and asked if he wanted to sell the bike. There would be a spot free on the trailer once my Le Mans had been delivered in Adelaide. Iím getting rid of my bikes, he wants to buy more, how does that work, hey?
We arrived nice and early in Clare and the weather was very
nice. Setting up our camp for four nights this time. There is a
huge area for unpowered sites so we had lots and lots of room.
Some washing and shopping was done but the rest of the day we
relaxed and we enjoyed once again a nice happy hour.
The next morning we all took off to Burra where we had our morning tea stop. A nice and historic town with lovely buildings. The next stop was the motorcycle museum in Peterborough, which was very interesting too.
We rode to Jamestown where most of us had a cold beer on the veranda of the pub featuring a crocodile above the door. We all thought it was another successful day.
A very cold night and morning, some hadnít had much sleep so
decided to invest in blankets and warm clothes. Ronnie cooked us
bacon and eggs for breakfast and we had a nice day of riding
through Balaklava where we had smoko before travelling to
Kapunda where we had lunch and had a good look around town.
Itís great that Warwick is driving as back-up every day, not
only because he is towing the trailer but also because he can
take our packed lunches with him in the car.
That night was pizza night at the caravan park. There is a huge undercover area with three pizza ovens. Everyone had bought supplies and we were all busy chatting and making pizzas, great idea and lots of fun. Afterwards we had a sing-along with Bob and his guitar. Nigel and his wife who were members of our club years ago were camping in Clare too and they joined us for the evening.
Warwick had told us we should pay Martindale Hall a visit, a very interesting old building which has all the furniture still in there. Itís a great place to visit, a lot of scenes of Picnic at Hanging Rock have been filmed there. Some of us had lunch at the Magpie Stump Hotel, Ronnie and I had the most amazing hamburger, all the food was very good so it is worth it to go back there one day.
On the way back Colin, Leanne, Bill and us took a nice scenic
gravel road back to Clare. We celebrated our last night in Clare
with more nibbles and drinks.
The next morning it was time to pack up and time to head to
Victor Harbor where we would be staying for five nights on Pete
and Loylaís beautiful property. We had only just left the
caravan park when I could smell something burning. I was riding
behind Colin and Leanne and saw smoke coming from their car. I
tried very hard to get their attention, beeping, flashing my
lights, waving and yelling but nothing worked.
Lucky Raelene and Garry noticed it and got Colin and Leanne on
the radio. One of the springs had broken and the tyre had been
touching the guard of the trailer and had nearly burned a hole
in the guard, oops.
The boys fixed it as well as they could for now and Colin and Leanne took off to get some parts before we all met in Birdwood again to have a look at the National Motor Museum and at Bill's Bits and Bikes.
The temperature had gone up quite a bit today so I was sweating
in my motorbike clothes, time to keep moving. We took more nice
roads on our way to Victor Harbor and rode through beautiful
Hahndorf where it was very busy because of Easter. The last hour
it got pretty cold though, the temperature had dropped and I
didnít have a clue how far it still was to Pete and Loylaís. In
the end I stopped to put more clothes on.
After that it wasnít far, I was glad to see the property and meeting Pete and Loyla. They live in a beautiful area, overlooking paddocks and looking towards a huge hill/mountain. It is so nice and very generous of Pete and Loyla to have us for five nights. They promised to show us some beautiful places around the Fleurieu Peninsula.
The next morning we all met at one of the coffee places in town, a central point to meet every morning. We took some very hilly and scenic roads along a beautiful coastline to Second Valley, Rapid Bay and to Cape Jervis where the ferry from Kangaroo Island was just arriving.
we arrived back at Pete and Loylaís place after a great day Guy
had some sad news, he had to leave us to go back home: his BMW
was stuck in second gear. Lots of talk and lots of trying to fix
it, the only option would be to try and get it in fourth gear
and he would have to ride all the way back like that.
We had a very interesting time watching the boys chaining the
BMW onto the bucket of Peteís tractor. Then the bucket was
raised and the bike was flipped upside-down to get it into
fourth gear, it went all a bit too fast and suddenly it was
stuck in fifth gear! This is how Guy would have to ride home. He
was a bit nervous but also excited to get home, he really likes
a challenge that guy called Guy!
The next morning we missed seeing him off, everyone else was
there but Guy was so keen to get going, before we realized he
had taken off. We had another great day of riding to do so at
10ish we met again at our coffee place.
Today Pete and Loyla were showing us an area to the north: Mount Compass, Strathalbyn with great antique shops and back towards Currency Creek and Victor Harbor. The next day we celebrated Raeleneís birthday.
Ronnie and I had enjoyed riding the big dipper the other day, a very steep dip in the road so we decided to ride it again before we would meet the others. I thought we had missed the turnoff but later realized we were still going okay. Ronnie had stopped though because he thought we had to go back.
When I arrived at the corner I was looking back to see if he
was still following, I also kind of turned off already to turn
into the road where we supposed to go. I ended up too close to
the kerb and hit it with the front wheel. I couldnít hold the
bike any longer and came off. A big scare and a bit painful too.
Ronnie was still waiting for me down the hill and couldnít see
me, he had no idea what had happened. Petrol was leaking out of
the bike and I got worried so tried to get the bike up by
myself. Itís a pretty heavy bike but after two goes it was up.
Ronnie finally arrived wondering why I didnít come back. Itís
not a good feeling to come off and I was pretty scared to get
back on the bike but told myself I had to.
Very carefully I rode back to town and had a big mug of coffee to get over the shock. The rest of the day was a great day. We rode up to Aldinga beach where you can drive/ride on the beach, it was a great experience and so much fun. We ate scallop and prawn pies at the bakery and rode along the beach on the way back.
The next day we celebrated Ronnieís birthday. I had decided I
wanted a break from riding because I was pretty sore. We were
also going to catch up with Ronnieís mumís cousin from Victoria
and it was our last day at Pete and Loylaís so time to get ready
for our trip back to Western Australia. We had a look in Port
Elliot and that night we sang along with Bob playing the guitar
and Ronnieís cousinís wife playing the ukulele, lots of fun and
I think our AVCMC choir is getting better and better.
The next morning we packed up and said our goodbyes to
everyone. We really appreciated Pete and Loylaís hospitality. It
was perfect staying at their beautiful property exploring this
amazing part of the world. Guy had sent Bob and Chris a text
that he was back home in Perth, all was well. What an effort
Guy, well done!
Colin and Leanne drove into Adelaide with us to drop off my Le
Mans and to do some other things. We said our goodbyes because
we wanted to go back via Clare. Colin and Leanne wanted to get
home quicker than us, as they had other places to go to next
week so would travel a bit faster than us. Ronnie tried to get
money organised to buy the Kawasaki but it didnít happen.
We stopped in Melrose for the night and walked through the
beautiful town in the evening. The next morning was cold but the
sun was out so it turned into a very nice day. Horrocks Pass is
one of my favourite drives and we enjoyed every moment.
We camped bush the next two nights and caught up with Warwick, Kim and John McKinnon along the way. We camped at Quagi beach near Esperance before going home.
Thanks to everyone for an amazing holiday, it was so much fun
and I thought it was a great way to explore the areas by camping
in different places. I think itís worth to do it again one day.
Thanks to Warwick for doing back-up and a huge thanks to Pete and Loyla too.