The End

I don’t think I shall be owning another bike.

This may be my last entry in this blog. It is well over a year since the last one.  My arthritis is worse.  I also have spondylosis of the spine.  I suspect there will be no more riding.

When Steve rode away on the Silver Lady I thought to myself that by the time he has completed the journey back to Perth, he will want to own that bike.  She’s a beauty.

Sure enough, after a period of not being able to sell her, he made me an offer.  It was less than half of what I paid, but I was not in a position to quibble.  At that time I believed I might soon be unemployed, due to funding cuts, and I had committed to buying a used Landcruiser, a series 80, with which to carry off my stuff and depart Halls Creek.

As it turns out, my position was defunded, but I was offered another and so I am still here.  With a Landcruiser I barely use, having the use of the work troopy.  But that is another story.

Anyway Steve has just posted a picture of my – now his – bike.  He has customised her to his own taste.  She looks pretty.  But then she always did.

It is difficult to see the one you love with another.  but I should be used to that by now.

I thought a photo of her might be a good way to close off this blog.

Bye!

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The End?

Is this the end of my riding days?  Since I have been in Halls Creek I have taken the Silver Lady out only a few times. There is but one sealed road that is rideable on cruiser, and two directions to ride.  Nowhere to go in either direction except Kununurra 360 km to the northeast, and Broome, 760Km to the west.  To go anywhere else around this beautiful country I need a bike that can better handle gravel, sand, rocks, dust, mud and the occasional river crossing.  The Silver Lady is not that kind of girl.  I had to buy a 4WD and now I need a few dollars. So with the greatest of reluctance I concluded that the only prudent thing to do is to sell my bike.  Steve has come up from Perth to ride her back and sell her there for me.

Farewell and Adieu to You, Fair Silver Lady

Goodbye Silver Lady.. Thanks for all the rides…..

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Steve rode her away today…
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Feeling Sad.
 Really Sad.
And that’s all I have to say about that.
Farewell and adieu to you, fair Spanish Ladies
Farewell and adieu to you, Ladies of Spain;
For we’re under orders to sail for old England,
And we’ll never see you fair ladies again…
Now let ev’ry man drink of his full bumper
And let ev’ry man drink of his full glass
We’ll drink and be jolly and drown melancholy
And here’s to the health of each true-hearted lass.
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Explore The Tanami Road? – Just a Thought!

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The Tanami Road runs 1,015 km from a turnoff from the Great Northern Highway, 16km west of Halls Creek in the Kimberley region, in a south and south eastern direction to a junction with the Stuart Highway, 19km north of Alice Springs. There is a symmetry in the location of activities along the road. There are cattle stations and tourism features along the initial segments of the road coming both down from the north and coming up from the south. In both cases, there are then relatively large Aboriginal communities. Coming up from the south is Yuendumu. From the north there is the Lake Gregory group of Billiluna, Mulan and Balgo. Next along the road are mines; from the south, the Granites and from the north, Coyote. In the middle is the stretch passing the turnoff to the Lajamanu community and Rabbit Flat Road House.  The first section of the road winds south through approximately 35km of low hills. It then flattens out to pass Ruby Plains Station just off the road to the west at 40km from the turnoff.

Road surface in this section is stony and can be very rough. It has a reputation of being one of the worst sections of the road if not graded. The road then travels through flat country. At 71km from Ruby Plains, a turnoff runs east 16km into the old Carranya Station/road house (now in ruins), then turns north 7km to Wolfe Creek Meteorite Crater. This is the current major tourist attraction along the road. Apart from being visited by through traffic travelling the Tanami/Canning Stock Route roads, significant numbers of visitors travel out from, and back to Halls Creek to view it.

The next major feature along the road is the group of three Aboriginal communities grouped around the Lake Gregory area at Billiluna, Balgo and Mulan (with Balgo being the largest). Geographically, this area is a key focal point in the region. Sturt Creek flows south east out of the Kimberley area east of Halls Creek but ‘dead ends’ into the Great Sandy Desert area in a series of freshwater lagoons, waterholes and Lake Gregory itself. To the immediate east of Lake Gregory are the Balgo Hills (peak height 358 metre Mt Wilson). Historically, this area was the junction of the stock route coming down Sturt Creek, the Canning Stock Route to the south and Tanami Downs Stock Route to the east. It is believed that these factors have influenced the location of the three Aboriginal communities in the area.

Apart from the population in the communities and the needs to service them, this area is of growing tourism interest. Attractions include extensive birdlife in the lakes and waterholes, outstanding Aboriginal art of Warlayirti Artists at Balgo and availability of Aboriginal cultural experiences in general. The area is at the junction of the current Canning and Tanami 4WD tourism routes.

Balgo Turnoff to Coyote Mine/WA/NT Border (84km)

The road travels across flat terrain with occasional low hills, 64km to the Coyote Gold Mine which is about 20km east of the Western Australia/Northern Territory border.

Border to Granites Mine (181km)

The road continues to be flat with occasional low hills across into the Northern Territory side 79km to the Mt Tanami area (height 489 meters) where there is a turnoff to Lajamanu 238km to the north east. The Tanami Mine nearby was operational until a recent closure. The old mine is of potential tourism interest.  The road continues 48km over flat terrain with occasional low hills in the distance to the long established Rabbit Flat Road House. The access road to Tanami Downs runs 52km south west from Rabbit Flat.  The major Granites Mine is 54km further on from Rabbit Flat. An access road to Mt Davidson outstation runs east.

Granites Mine to Yuendumu (254km)

The road from the Granites Mine continues over flat country with spinifex the dominant vegetation. About 60km out from Yuendumu, in the Mt Doreen area, ranges come close to the road to the east and to the west. There are various roads and tracks leading off to the west to an old mining area and to Vaughan Springs Station.

Yuendumu to Stuart Highway (272km)

The road from Yuendumu to Tilmouth Road House is flat terrain with substantial presence of mulga forests. Large sections are in the process of being sealed. From Tilmouth Springs the road is sealed to the Stuart Highway with the Macdonnell Ranges coming up as an increasing presence to the south.

2.3 CLASSIFICATION & JURISDICTION

The Northern Territory section is classified as an arterial road under the jurisdiction of the Northern Territory Department of Infrastructure and Planning.

The Western Australia section is classed as a local road under the jurisdiction of the Shire of Halls Creek.

There are no indigenous community or national park constraints to movement along the road.

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The Long Ride Pt2

This gallery contains 12 photos.

Originally posted on Hodophilia:
I was so exhausted when I arrived in Port Hedland on Sunday evening that I knew I had to  do something.  I seriously considered abandoning the bike and finding some other way to get to Hall’s…

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The Long Ride Pt1

The Long Ride Pt1

My plan initially was to make the 3,038 km ride from Katanning to Halls Creek in a leisurely 8 to 10 days.  That plan was scotched, first by the revelation that having been employed for more than three years, I was expected to give three weeks notice instead of the two weeks I believed, and secondly by my employer’s refusal to allow me to take any leave during my notice period.  I would have taken it anyway (as I believe they hoped I would) had it not been for a friend tipping me off that if I did take leave without consent, under WA law, I would be considered to have abandoned my position and would lose all entitlements.  That amounts to almost nine weeks holiday pay. A not inconsiderable sum.

So I stayed.  That meant that I could not meet my commitment to start at Halls Creek on Monday 10 November.  I was determined to get there as soon as I could, anyway. As my stuff was already packed up and despatched, sold or given away, I dossed with Andrew and Smudge for a few days, and with Jennifer, Miranda and Matt for the last night before I left Katanning.

Dave tried to arrange things so he could join me on the ride again, but it was too short notice.  Just as well really, because the ride was not as much fun as it should have been, due entirely to the sense of urgency.  Something that is not conducive to a pleasant carefree holiday ride.

The first day was as joyous and carefree as such a ride should be. I did not leave as early as I had planned, but I was on the road by 8 am.  By early afternoon I was in Dalwallinu and pleased with my progress. I stopped there for half an hour or so to chat with Debbie, a colleague who also came over from NZ and who also had a Vstar 1300.”Had” being the operative word as she has been forced to sell it following her knee operation.  Sad.  I know how much she loved it.

I did not make it as far as I thought I might, the late start meant that I had only got to Payne’s Find with only an hour left before dark. Dave and I camped there on our last trip up this way, so I stayed there that night.  619 km was not a bad effort.  If I could keep that up, I would be there in 5 days. On Tuesday rather than the Monday I promised.  Surely that would be ok?

The next day I rather ambitiously planned to get as far as Newman. Once again I did not make it, I rode only another 616 km and spent Saturday night at Kumarina. I was determined to stay on schedule and decided to try for Port Hedland the next day.  I rode hard all Sunday, stopping in Newman for breakfast, then pressing on.  I crossed the Tropic of Capricorn late morning and raced on, covering 848 km in the day and arriving in Port Hedland exhausted and suffering from the heat.  I carried plenty of water with me, and had poured as much over myself as I drank. Nonetheless I was decidedly buggered and beginning to think I had bitten off more than I could chew. I was not sure I was going to make it.  The heat was intense in my jacket.  I knew it was only going to get worse from here on.  I was going to kill myself with heat stroke.  I needed a plan.

Hodophilia

My plan initially was to make the 3,038 km ride from Katanning to Halls Creek in a leisurely 8 to 10 days.  That plan was scotched, first by the revelation that having been employed for more than three years, I was expected to give three weeks notice instead of the two weeks I believed, and secondly by my employer’s refusal to allow me to take any leave during my notice period.  I would have taken it anyway (as I believe they hoped I would) had it not been for a friend tipping me off that if I did take leave without consent, under WA law, I would be considered to have abandoned my position and would lose all entitlements.  That amounts to almost nine weeks holiday pay. A not inconsiderable sum.

So I stayed.  That meant that I could not meet my commitment to start at Halls Creek on Monday 10…

View original post 451 more words

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Planning the Trip to Hall’s Creek

The Silver Lady has a new rear tyre and has been fully serviced in readiness for the three thousand kilometre ride next week.  She feels as eager to go as I. As I will be camping out on the way, and as I want to be well rested and alert, I gave a lot of thought to my sleep problem.  I learned that a battery to power the CPAP machine for just two or three nights would cost me about $580.00. However for just $140.00, I bought a transformer that will power my schnozzle nozzle from a standard 12v battery. I tried it out using an old dying car battery from my Camry that I replaced earlier this year.  I have kept it charge against a possible emergency. The system works fine.  But I was not enthusiastic about lugging an old car battery on the back of my bike. So I bought a small motorcycle battery, less than a fifth of the mass of the car battery, and which will fit into one of the side pockets of my pack.  I also bought a solar panel, which, mounted on my swag, will trickle charge the battery as I ride.  One thing I am expecting is plenty of sun.

The battery cost $70.00. The solar panel $45.00.  So for less than half the cost of a ResMed battery I have rigged a system that should give me similar or better results.

I hope.

I shall report in due course, with pictures.

 

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Perspective on the Road

Interesting thoughts of an Irishman driving home at night.  The road is great place to develop one’s philosophy, especially for a motorcyclist. The environment seems to be so much more a part of the experience when one is outside a box.

Driving across a land as vast as Australia, there is even more time to think and a far greater connection with primal nature than one might enjoy crossing many other parts of the world.  Every trip further than the next settlement (and sometimes even just that) is a potential Easy Rider epic experience.

The immense sense of the depth human history that I felt when driving across Ireland, for example,  is replaced here in Oz with a powerful feeling of the depth of natural history, and with wonder at the vastness of a land that could contain a thousand Irelands.

And here, of course, the snakes have not been driven out.

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