Saturday, July 30, 2011

Day 9 - Taking of the Putty

After removing myself from bed with a crow bar, Dad and I packed up our things, said goodbye to Jim who hung around to see us off, and we left Sydney. After suffering through another detour, we jumped onto Windsor Road and headed toward Windsor, surprise surprise.

We fuelled up at Vineyard, and they have Dr Pepper, so I did as well as dad checked the air pressure in his bike.

Dad and I took off for the Putty Road to head to Muswellbrook. It was a pleasant day for a ride. Fuelled up again at Windsor and the trailer started to feel a bit funny - Funny funny, not funny ha ha. We thought it just needed repacking.

Cruising through the putty, the sun was shining, the bike was bottoming out every now and then, but it was shaping to be a good day.

60 kilometres out of Windsor, between Colo Heights and Mellong, the trailer went bang! I head butted Dad in the back of the head as he starts breaking heavily. We pull over to the side of the road; the trailer is missing a wheel, and we were pretty sure we left with two.

Next to us a guy in an empty Ute pulls up and gets out, “mate, did you see where that went? I saw your wheel jump off, bounce off the side of the mountain, and took off down the valley about 5 meters from the Amco railing.”

Dad and I were still in a state of shock/pissed-of-ness and could only nod. The guys shifts the lose tie downs in his Ute, “thought I better stop and tell ya, otherwise you would have no hope.” Then he jumps in his Ute and then takes off!

Thanks for offering to take the trailer into town arsehole.

We have a quick look for the wheel, but there was a lot of valley to search. Not a chance, so we decide to call RAA and transfer to the RMTA for roadside assistance. After convincing the operator that motorcycles can have trailers, they tell us it is going to take an hour at least for the tow truck to come from Windsor.

With an hour to kill, dad and I decide to keep looking for the wheel. If we at least find that, it would be one less thing to buy. We looked for half an hour in the area where the man pointed, to no success. Dad then thinks that maybe the guy was a knob, there was much evidence of that so far, and the wheel bounced more square off the wall then in line with the road. 20 meters from the road, square to where the wheel came off, we found the tire sitting against the tree. You can just see Dad in the photo below.

We put the tire back on the trailer and dad went for a walk up the hill to look to see if he could find one more wheel nut. He found both the bearing cap and the last wheel nut to fall off. Dad took two wheel nuts off the other side, 5 stud wheel, and was doing the last wheel nut up when the tow truck pulled up. Thanks for coming.

Having the wheel back on, the trailer still needed some repair, and obviously more nuts, so we turned around and headed back to Windsor. We pulled into a tailer repair brake/clutch place. Parked the bike and noticed the trailer had a heavy lean. It was not meant to.

We put it up on a jack and saw that the Flexi-torque on the suspension on the left hand side had died and collapsed. That caused the trailer to shake the nuts lose. It was cactus. Back to Sydney we go.

The plan was to now leave the trailer at Auntie Chris’ house, find some throw over bags, and continue without the trailer. We stopped at couple of motor cycle shops on the way back to Quakers Hill, dad tripped into a shop and hurt his knee again, he was ropable, and there was nothing. The only thing we could find was a “throw over bag” that could only fit a sneeze. If I tied two of my shoes together, and put them over the bike, it would have more storage. Yuppies on the new sport tourers only pack hair products it seems.

We were ready to pack it in and head home. I told Dad that he should at least continue on and pack his stuff in the gearsack bag and finish the trip solo while I’ll wait in Sydney. Then pack light and head back to Adelaide together. Dad would not hear a bit of it. He called around to see what we could do, and found that Kevin, his cousin in Wollongong, had spare flexi-torques in his shed and could come pick the bike up on the weekend and fix it for us, and then we could pick it up on the way home. The local supermarket near Auntie Chris’ house is selling backpacks, we bought two and Dad made throw over bags out of them. Genius.

We got to spend another night with Auntie Chris, apologised to her for it, and did a load of washing. Tomorrow would be the Putty Road, take two.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Day 7 & 8 - Syd-d-d-d-d-ney!

And what a winner it is, if you are selling GPS units that is.

If you are, sell one to Dad because we manage to take a scenic route through Sydney without seeing anything. Many a times we passed a sign pointing to the direction that we wanted to go, but the bike was pointing otherwise. Many a times we had a team sigh as we went around the block to u-turn.

We pulled up at Auntie Chris' place around 4:30pm Monday afternoon, to an empty house, but with a full bladder. The back gate was open and we pushed the bike behind, and the backdoor was open. I had never seen Dad move so fast, if it wasn't for the bungee pasty earlier in the trip it would have held the land speed record, he was in the back door with a bee line to the toilet.

Jim was having a nap inside, so it was all cool.

We spent Monday evening talking and drinking tea. Auntie Chris and Jim came up for Dad's party, so we re-lived some of the moments. We had cake and biscuits, more tea, and eventually dinner. My cousin came over and we all hung out more.

On Tuesday, Auntie Chris had a day off work and we went to the pictures. In 2D, the way movies are meant to be, we saw the last Harry Potter. A satisfying end to a good series, but this is not movie review sight.

Tuesday afternoon, Dad went to work paying our rent. Every time Dad visits Auntie Chris he does odd jobs around her house; fixing things here and there. I walked down to the train station and went for a trip into the city to organise a birthday present, and to learn a few new swear words from the kids leaving school. Oh yeah, I talk street with the kids.

A roast dinner for, let’s say dinner, and strudel for dessert, and then we spent the evening looking up clips on YouTube. It was very modern. The next few days we were planning on seeing some family around the Hunter Valley; it didn't go quite to plan.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Wollongong rest time

A good night sleep was all we needed to catch up and get over the aches from resting the bike on its side. Well may be.
Not caught up with Kev and Shar for some years. It is always good to chat with them, Bloody sidecars thinks Russ.

Well I enjoyed myself plenty.
We were late to rise and eat and slowly made me way to the shed to repair the damage to the gear lever that was bent by my foot when we laid down, lubed the chain and checked the oil.
This was finished and the day was ours.
We (I) was privileged to watch some sidecar video, I have always been a fan of this type of racing having been on side cars since 18, any idiot can drive a car and lean a bike.
Saw Shar’s mum and dad, it’s been a while.
At night we watched the old ozzi movie The Sidecar Racer with Wendy Hughs flashing her bits. It shows the old speedway at Sydney show ground. The acting was not great but a good movie with the cream of ozi actors.
Monday was again a slow start and get ready for the trip to Sydney. This was a great delivery of mirth to those present after being given an old set of leathers that I used to own and the boots from Nyssa. With a sore knee and leg trying to get them on was quite a tyre fitting exercise, but they still fit.

These could have been useful to have when the temperature was low on the trip. So we suited up and headed for Blacktown and away we went for the short ride.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Day 4 - Swan Hill to Wodonga

A long day.

It is the only way to describe what Friday was. A trip of almost 400 kilometers, Friday was going to be the longest day for me so far, and the coldest.

We woke up in the Swan Hill Hotel to a breakfast delivery, microwaved poached eggs and toast, but could not remembering ordering the side of fog. Outside it was foggy and cold.

The dreaded temperature gauge pushed 8 degrees when we were still, but we were not brave enough to look on the move. It was not so bad on the back as I got to hide behind a large fairing, namely Dad.

People in Victoria take note, people who live in glass houses should pull their blinds before taking off their pants, and people who drive white cars should turn on their lights when in fog.

We stopped at Kerang a little up the road for fuel, and there I made a friend. From the shop came a bounding black Labrador. At my feet he dropped a stick and looked up at me with sad and hopeful eyes. My heart melted, or at least defrosted from the cold, and I threw the stick. Then again, and again, and again.

We left Kerang and got lost. The road to Echuca was closed and detours were not well marked. We found ourselves in Koondrook, after checking against Google maps on my phone, and we turned around and headed back. This ended up being a blessing in disguise as the road to Echuca from Koondrook stayed closer to the Murray and the scenery by the State Forrest was scenic. We stopped for lunch and there was much rejoicing.

Rather than going through Shepparton we took a left and headed toward Yarrawonga. Another detour, this time better signed, took us off down a narrow back street that only had enough asphalt for one car. Not to mention the four or five trucks that went pass us. The locals thought it great to drive on the dirt shoulder next to the road regardless of oncoming traffic or not. The dust reminded me of home.

Dad pulled up at Corowa for a rest and my arse was rejoicing. This time it was Dad’s turn to make a friend with a black Labrador. He threw the stick this time.

Wodonga welcomed us a little before 5pm, and it welcomed us as a loan shark welcomes extensions – our greeting turned out not that welcoming and the day once more turned to the dogs. Looking for a place to stay, we approached a few new round-a-bouts and people were darting in and out. As we came up, someone in a ute flew in the entry to the right, we had to give way, grabbed too much front brake for a trailer, the front wheel slipped away, and we dropped.

We fell to the right, I sling shotted into the back of Dad, and we scraped a long for about half a meter. We were not going that fast, and we were lucky enough not to be pushed into the round-a-bout. The cars behind us just indicated and went around. A man walking his dog, two ladies from a house nearby, and a young bloke helped pick us up and moved us off the road.

Checking the damage between us, Dad came off the worse. There was only a bit of skin missing here and there, and Dad picked up a few bruises. The bike only suffered cosmetic damage to the fairing, exhaust, and engine casing. And it lost a cable tie. Dad was very upset and took a long time to calm down.

We limped into a nearby hotel, The Black Stump Hotel, both of us not keen to stay in a tent, and grabbed a cabin. We piled in, turned the heater on and reported the incident back to base camp. Dinner took place at a pub near us, where I had a very nice marinated duck salad. Dad had schnitzel. We lost a meat raffle.

Showers took place, and we watched an episode of QI on the Internet. There was no rejoicing.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Day 3 - Swans to the Hill

Well we had our wagon facing the sun as it yelled over the trees "you idiots know its half passed winter?" Wipe the due and condensation off the tent and Tetris the trailer, again with different positions for the items.
We decided for me to wear the new boots after I talked with Russ how I should fit them on, this was a major foot in the door for me as at the end of the day my footsies were not hurting.

Away we went again after fueling up the bike. With the weight and the winds, with an 18 litre tank we get 220 K's per tank, I am very happy with this and it allows us to rest a bit every 2 1/2 hours.
The day was sunny and breezy but we were travelling well and wanted to get to Swan Hill about lunch time.
At one of our little stops we were talking about the bike and I made the comment that I was getting a lot of vibration through the handle bars, we checked it out before we mounted up and found the right side of the tyre was scrubbed down to passed the tread, we put this down to some of the surfaces and the constant wind from the right. The tread was good before we left.
We arrived in Swan Hill and found the local Honda shop had a tyre to fit, so after some currency was exchanged we had a new tyre fitted and balanced.
Next stop was The Pioneer Village.
Russ said that we will see the rest of the village before we annoy the blacksmiths.
We had a look at all the old engines and tractors. Russ found an old Harley in the shed with an old single Triumph, these need some work done on them.
Russ got a wanted poster done for me, but its all lies I tell you and I've been framed.
We called in and had our photos done in some old clothes (they came from my cupboard?)

We left the village just before closing time and sought us a bed for the night that didn't come with flies. The room we got was just up from the village and across from a Laundromat, so we washed some clothes, had tea and went to our room that was not bellow 20 degs.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Day 2 – Kensington-on-Murray to Robinvale

 Another pleasant sub zero Wednesday greeted us in the morn of the Kensington-On-Murray departure. Pack up was quicker than Tuesday, but we were still slow in getting our arses into gear, or at least the gear into the trailer. I felt remarkably better after removing myself from the nauseating mercy of the day before; little did I know what was in store for me.

Dad fuelled up at the caravan post office (there is little choice in Kensington-On-Murray) (and why is it Kensington-On Murray? Did they think that people would be confused with the suburb? We don’t say Newcastle-In-NSW or Maitland-On-Boot-Shaped-Peninsula) where the bungy pasty made its return, and I starred guiltily at my record breaking attempt. The dog behind the fence was barking at me. I could not tell if was a territorial dispute or that it thought I was about to cut its lunch. You know what puppy dog, you can have my seconds.
We jumped the border in Victoria, to no who ha, and started the long slog that is the Mildura Sturt Highway. Sigh.
It was after lunch when we arrived and adjusted to the Victorian time, and my arse was caning so an extended rest was in order. I directed dad to the Mildura Microbrewery for I had fond memories of the place. It took a long time for our food to come out, and I had to go and remind them about our drinks. Sigh.
We went hunting for a heater, with no such luck, but not if such luck was bad, then we had such luck. Stuff it, let’s keep going. We headed south through Red Cliffs (no cliffs) towards Ouyen (70% vowels – way more than necessary), but took a left at Hattah (not a sound from a karate movie) so that we could join up again to the Murray.  This road saw the return of the bumps and my bum got a hammering once again. We had to stop. Just outside of Wemen we pulled over into a rest area and it was magical. A look at the watch told us that we would be pushing to make it as far as we hoped, but neither Dad nor I could care. After a couple of nights under canvas it was time to relax under a roof.

The next biggish town without banjo playing freaky kids on the porch was Robinvale. Even then it was pushing it. Some dude in a V8 was just doing laps of the main street that would put beachies to shame – he needs a hobby.
We bought a heater from a store about to close, got directions from an army surplus store that had only recently erased “rifles” from its list of specialities, and headed to the first caravan park they suggested. The caravan park was right down by the river, if a kid up stream sneezed it could make the wheels of your van wet, and had beautifully manicured lawns but all of their cabins were booked out (suspiciously unattended at the time mind you). A “No Vacancy” sign was up at the Motel, and the last caravan park could only offer us a powered sight. We had no choice, it was already getting dark and I was buggered.
Then another bout of sickness struck, but this time I would not be breaking the helmet off record, I would be pushing for the getting the key in the toilet door record. Dad thought it might be just my body going into shock after doing labour type activities putting the tent up, but my bottom would disagree.
And can I say caravan parks, having a timer on your toilet block lights may save you power, but it does not help if I have to check my wiping technique with the torch app on my phone. Sigh.
The heater in the tent was pretty awesome though. Very happy with that result.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Day One Tuesday My first blog

What can I say but after all these years I slept in past 7.
I woke up at 9:30 and the sun had not hit the tent as yet, so we had to roll it up a bit soggy.
Russ and I think that by the end of this trip we will have 18 ways to pack the trailer.
I had to wind the pre loadup to the max on the bike and all the rebound and dampening as well and we still bottom out on some of the bumpier sections, this will happen all the way.
I asked the lady at the park if the A frame was the same and she said that it was but they don't use the upstairs area any more. I told her that my wife and I and a mate (Taylor) stayed there in 1981 on our way from the Worlds End rally to the first Big Desert rally near Kaniver in Victoria.

We set off and crossed the river at the Talem Bend Ferry and followed the highway along the river to Murray Bridge and had lunch. When Russ got off the bike he said that he was feeling a bit yak as he was when we left Wellington.
QUESTION are all the people from Murray Bridge always unhappy?
We wandered off towards Mannum the temperature as we rode along fluctuated when the clouds in their spaced dissorder hide the sunny sun from our frost bitten apendages.

Next stop on our willy-willy tour is Swan Reach, this we think is were Russ takes in a bungie pasty (as we found later) my pie was great it was a plane non oral returning type.
We sat with our attension on some well feed persons trying to catch their staffy that had excaped from the vehicle as the atom enhanced boy was slow to react when he opened the door.
There was much chuckles.

We left the great Populated area and headed for Blanchtown, a bike with more suspension would have been great.
We wound our way along the river with glimpses of it over the rolling hills and through the scrubby trees.
The ares around the river have some cultivation, but the extent of watered areas dose not look like farming from other parts of the country.

We motored through Blanchtown and on to Wakerie, we were going to stop there but had missed the carravan park so we travelled on to Kingston on Murray, which is a few k's off the left of the road.
We had no sooner pulled up and Russ broke the "shit I have to get me helmet off" record as the bungy pasty made it's visit.
We set our tent up and got settled in for an evening of country frostbite, We had tea and was just sitting about discussing the way atoms play in the world and we just happened to glance encouragingly at the thermometer and it was sitting there with a smug look knowing that it will not be affected b y the information it was relaying to any that cared to look. It was 0.5 deg C
Russ had a very long sleep and woke refreshed and looking forward to trawing out cause it was F*^%#%G cold.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Day 0 - To wellington

Dad arrived at my house in Adelaide around 2pm; we spent the next hour piss farting around finalising packing decisions and a game of 3D Tetris with the trailer. When we were set, we were off, and off to a flyer we were. We made it out of my driveway and already we needed a pit stop for another hocky strap and to put air in the rear tire.
Stopping for air put us in the best position to start catching traffic along the Prices Highway. It was the first time ever for me to be on a motorcycle on an expressway exposed to all the morons surrounded by metal cages. People drive closer than they think to bikes. Good times.
We followed the expressway to Mount Barker and then headed toward Langhorne Creek. Nice rolling flat country. They could do with a few more vineyards though; I reckon I saw one or two paddocks yet to be converted.
Then down along Wellington Road through Mulgundawa, pass Boggy Lake where the wind picked up a little, and then on through to Wellington and got in just as the sun was going down. No time for photos, best to get the tent up in light not from a torch. Less likely to not forget pegs that way.
Dad and I had dinner at the Wellington Hotel and chanced across schnitzel night. Jackpot.
The evening started giving us dew at 6. It is going to be a cold one tonight, but it will probably be the warmest for a while... it is 9 degrees in the tent.

Let the fun begin... stop snoring Dad...


Welcome to this slice of the blogosphere. On Wednesday the 14th of July Andy turned 50. On Thursday the 15th of July Andy turned 50.0027. When it became Monday the 18th of July, and Andy was 50.011, and took off on a “feeling the breeze” motorcycle tour. Dad and I left Whyalla on a 1991 750cc Zepher (Kawasaki for those playing at home) and hope to finish with something that resembles the same.

The point on the trip to spend dads 50th birthday with the people he knows and loves in his home town and then go for a ride to see the people who could not make it. Me being the type who loves to jump onto coat tails thought it would be a fun to hand out with my Dad for three weeks.

Nine months ago when we (i.e. Dad) started planning this trip, I did not have a motorcycle licence that I could call my own, and after a little research, we found out that if I booked the next weekends availale to do the Rider Training, I would still be on my L’s during the trip. I was either going to have to putt alone beside him, struggling through the Snowy's, or I could hope on the bike with him.

Riding Bitch sounded like less work to me.

We have no plans or itinerary set in concrete for this trip, but we are going to follow the Murray River for some time and see where it takes us. Will bring you updates when they come to hand...