The West Australia Trip - SV1000 Portal
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 25th February 2017, 01:11 PM Thread Starter
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The West Australia Trip

#1 The Plot

In 2008 I hired a little V-strom and had a wander around the Eastern part of Australia, documented on this site. In 2012 my nephew Robert and I did a country swop. He used my house and car for touring around the British Isles while I stayed at his patch at Laidley and used his Holden to wander around visiting family in SE Australia. That just leaves a gap. Western Australia. Sounds like a plan.

So after Christmas I began planning. At first there was a possibility that I would have the company of DC (Dove Cazzo) for the first week or so but he found he could not make it fit in with his other commitments so I am travelling alone.

Etihad is going to fly me to Perth and back for a very reasonable 667.The hire of a BMW F800GS has been arranged with BikeRoundOz. It was their Suzuki I used in 2008 and they provide an excellent service.
The route really plotted itself, based on recommendations from family and friends. From Perth head South and then East as far as Esperance and then turn North to Port Hedlund via some pretty sparse looking bits of the map. Broome is as far North as I plan to go. Then I have to retrace my steps for about 390 miles because there is only one road. Then I wander back to Perth via anywhere that looks interesting.
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Every time I start thinking the world is all bad, then I start to think there's people out there having fun on motorcycles, then it makes me take another look.

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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 14th March 2017, 03:48 PM Thread Starter
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14th March 2017

This is all starting to get a bit serious. The accommodation bookings are made and some of them are paid for. Most of the stuff I want to take is in the suitcase and I haven't had to jump up and down on the lid yet. I get a bus from Weston to Heathrow at 03:00 tomorrow morning. That's a God awful time to be up and about, but they only charge 23 so it's a no-brainer really. Takeoff is 09:00. Plenty of time to catch up on sleep once we are airborne. There is a couple of hours stopover in Abu Dhabi and we get to Perth around midday on Thursday. That's the time that I usually realise what I have forgotten.
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Every time I start thinking the world is all bad, then I start to think there's people out there having fun on motorcycles, then it makes me take another look.

Steve Mcqueen - On Any Sunday
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 14th March 2017, 06:59 PM
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Fascinating trip have fun and hope it goes well


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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 17th March 2017, 05:58 PM Thread Starter
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Arrival

17th March

The flight was less painful than usual. Both the A380 and the 787 were only about half full so most of us were stretched out over 3 seats. Still didn't sleep very well. I never do on long hauls.
On arrival at Perth I took the shuttle bus into town which dropped me within walking distance of the Miss Maude Swedish Hotel. Having checked in I had a quick walkabout before the jet lag finally got me.
This morning I got the train over to Armidale. Mark, the gaffer of BikeRoundOz picked me up and took me out to their depot at Bedfordale. The chosen BMW F800 GS was already to go and so after sorting out the paperwork I was off back down the road into Perth.
Back at the hotel I took the panniers off and took them to my room. The bike was taken to a secure car park just around the corner and I offloaded my suitcase contents into the panniers. The hotel will look after my suitcase until I get back.

Every time I start thinking the world is all bad, then I start to think there's people out there having fun on motorcycles, then it makes me take another look.

Steve Mcqueen - On Any Sunday
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 19th March 2017, 12:29 PM
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Wish I was there!

Hi Dave,

Sorry I couldn't make my trip happen, it would have been great to keep you company.

I'm glad you have arrived safely and the flights were empty enough to provide you with some space. Sleeping on long haul flights is something that people can either so or they can't - I, like you, am a non-sleeper. I'm sure you'll gradually catch up on sleep, one or two tinnies prior to bed will help, as will the many hours spent in the saddle most days.

Good luck and ride safe, looking forward to more updates ....

DC

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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 22nd March 2017, 06:50 AM Thread Starter
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Saturday 18th March

The first day on the road was a 200 mile run South to Augusta. The last two warm days have been replaced by a definite chill, even a bit of drizzle for the first twenty miles or so. I started out on the A20 to get me out of the urban sprawl around Perth, but as soon as it was feasible I transferred to the coastal roads that were much more fun. The scenery alternated between thick forests of gums and eucalyptus and fields of grape vines. The roads were winding enough to be fun, even at the 80/90 kph limits. Most of the vinyards had notice boards inviting the passing traveller to come in and try the product. Very tempting, but knowing how severe the local police are on drivers with any trace of alcahol on their breath, I reluctantly gave them a miss. This halo is getting to be a rather loose fit.
I am in the Georgina Molloy Motel. This is perfectly adequate except for the fact that, despite the best efforts of the manager I could not get hooked up to their WiFi. So this blurb will have to wait to sent from another spot.
The GS is proving to be a vey nice little beast. The major aspect that I am only slowly getting used to is the seat height. My tippy toes just make contact. This can be a problem on sloping or rough ground, not helped by the need to lean the bike well to the right before there is enough ground clearance on the left to swing the sidestand all the way out.
The world is still shrinking. As I write this there is a live match on the TV between Arsenal and West Brom.

Every time I start thinking the world is all bad, then I start to think there's people out there having fun on motorcycles, then it makes me take another look.

Steve Mcqueen - On Any Sunday
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 22nd March 2017, 06:58 AM Thread Starter
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Sunday 19th March To Albany. Wbe

When I was preparing to leave Augusta it looked like a nice shiney morning, but once I got under way it became obvious that it was quite chilly, about 12 degrees in fact. I pulled over and put on my Wyse jacket. Later on still, I added a fleece underneath. It was not until nearly noon that it climbed back up towards 20. As per yesterday there was a mix of forests and vinyards, but with some stetches of rolling farmland thrown in.
Last night's hotel did not do breakfast and so I kept a lookout for a likely source along the road. It was about 11:30 before I found one, by which time I was seriously peckish. Fortunately the cafe believed in both quantity and quality so I was well sorted. Very little traffic on the backroads that I was using, but that may be due to it being a Sunday. There was a bit of entertainment for myself and a few other passing motorists in helping a very harrassed farmer to get a very lively bunch of about a dozen bullocks back through the hole in the fence that they had come out of.
Tonight's dinner at the Dog Rock Hotel (honest!!) was terrific but pricey. Mustn't have too may of those.

Every time I start thinking the world is all bad, then I start to think there's people out there having fun on motorcycles, then it makes me take another look.

Steve Mcqueen - On Any Sunday
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 22nd March 2017, 07:08 AM Thread Starter
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Monday 20th March. A fairly long haul today, to Esperance

By the map it is about 300 miles via the rather grandly named South Coast Highway. But it is not that grand. Twice I got diverted onto dirt tracks, one diversion of about 50Km and one of about 10Km. The surfaces were fairly well graded, but you had to watch for the occasional berm thrown up by the trucks. There were also long stretches of washboard ripples, the frequency of which rattled everything in the panniers, not to mention my eyeballs. The extra mileage endangered my fuel plan too so I had to ride as economically as possible.
Esperance is on the coast and is as far East as I go. The Best Western Hospitality Inn is right on the coast and the sea looked pretty rough when I rolled in. It was quite late after all the diverting so I did not have a chance to wander along the front. I will try before I leave tomorrow.

Every time I start thinking the world is all bad, then I start to think there's people out there having fun on motorcycles, then it makes me take another look.

Steve Mcqueen - On Any Sunday
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 22nd March 2017, 07:14 AM Thread Starter
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Tuesday 21st March. J

I had plenty of time this morning because the trip is only about 130 miles. So I went for a walk along the shore line before breakfast It was what you might call 'bracing'. So, thoroughly braced, I was in need of a hot breakfast.
I was surprised at how quickly the weather improved as I headed North. By the time I got to Norseman I was in hot sunshine. It must be pretty standard weather because there is hardly a blade if grass to be seen. It is either the standard red dirt or gravel paths. I think this place is a second home to the local service crews on the roads, railways, power lines etc.
On the walls of my room you can see the moulding marks where concrete has been poured between shuttering and then painted. That does not mean that it is primitive. In fact I am as confortable here as any place in the trip so far.
I must remember to be more careful when ordering meals. Portion sizes here are huge compared with their UK equivalent and I finish up having to leave stuff or, if it is suitable, asking for the leftovers to be put in a 'doggy bag' for consumption along the road.

Every time I start thinking the world is all bad, then I start to think there's people out there having fun on motorcycles, then it makes me take another look.

Steve Mcqueen - On Any Sunday
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 22nd March 2017, 07:21 AM Thread Starter
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Wednesday 22nd March. Another short trp

The aim was to get to Kalgoorlie and have a good look around. There was a warning of more dirt road miles, but it was only a few stretches and only involved half the road's width at a time. The road trains in this part of the country do not have the shock effect on one's sense of smell as those I found when travelling on the Eastern side of the country. Perhaps they don't carry stock here. I have quite got out of the habit of taking and holding a deep breath whenever one approaches, without getting seriously zapped once.
The weather has been, not unpleasant, because it is around 21 degrees, but gently drizzling every now and then. Not enough to require a stop to don waterpoofs.

Every time I start thinking the world is all bad, then I start to think there's people out there having fun on motorcycles, then it makes me take another look.

Steve Mcqueen - On Any Sunday
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 22nd March 2017, 09:34 AM Thread Starter
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Sorry, I give up on this blog for the moment.

Thursday 25th March
I am not doing very well with this weather business. It is supposed to be still hot and dry in this part of the world at this time of year. Not so. The 234 km run to Leonara was completed in continuous rain, varying only in intensity. It must have been raining for some time because there were many places where streams were flowing strongly across the road. At the deepest one there were a couple of lads on big traillies who gave me a pointer through the shallowest bits. This bit alone justified the choice of a GS for this trip. I am just glad that there were no off-piste sections on today's run.
I am at another of those places which is more work camp than motel. Whatever! The rain is still beating hard on the roof but I am warm and dry and well fed. The bike is just outside the door under an awning.
They start serving breakfast her at 4 a.m. They finish at 7 a.m. I can't see me making that.

Friday March 24th
Today has been one of those days that you would rather forget. Right from the off the rain poured down. Lots more flooded roads, much deeper than yesterday. On some I think I was really pushing my luck. On one stretch I got a round of applause from some oncoming truckies who had the decency to wait for me to get out of the water. Good thing too. Their bow waves would have sunk me.
Eventually I got to Wiluna and set about finding the Gunbarrel Laager. The local coppers were very helpful because they were going out there anyway. Soon we ran out of tarmac and there was no way I was going to ride that ooze. The rozzers gave me a lift for the rest of the way, where I was able to arrange for a couple of blokes to come out with a ute and trailer to bring the bike in. My best rozzer mates also said that the 115 miles of dirt between Wiluna and Meekathara was going to be impassible for at least a week. I am now plotting how I can adapt The Plan to handle that.
At about 4 o'clock in the morning the rain stopped at last. 3 days of that. Not drizzle but hard continuous rain.

Every time I start thinking the world is all bad, then I start to think there's people out there having fun on motorcycles, then it makes me take another look.

Steve Mcqueen - On Any Sunday
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 21st April 2017, 05:02 PM Thread Starter
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Saturday 25th March. Gunbarrel Laager

The original plot was that I would stay here for three days then cut across to Meekathara on the dirt road. Now the only way to stay on anything like a schedule was to go back South to Leinster, East to Mount Magnet then back North to Meekathara. So I decided to leave today before the local flooding got too bad. So I packed up and along with my panniers and all my gear, the catering lady in her 4x4 gave me a lift to the end of the dirt road. One of the guys, who was happy riding on all that crap, brought the bike down. After loading all the stuff onto the bike we set off down the tarmac. We were getting along nicely until we came to a stretch about 500 yards wide. The water was really pouring across. I tried to keep to the middle of the road, but eventually the force of the water plus the strange effect you get from being surrounded by fast flowing water, brought me down. Between us we got the bike up and tried again, but it was no good. She went back to base to get more help and eventually we got back to where we started, a lot wetter. One of the panniers was full to the brim with muddy water.
Later I found out that just after we left there was a phone call. to say that the road into town and the main road to Leinster had been closed to all except 4WD trucks.

Sunday, Monday -26th, 27th, March Gunbarrel Lager.
These days were spent getting my stuff dried out, talking to Mel, listening to the weather forecasts, annoying the geese and recovering from the worst of a wrench that I gave my right side ribs and muscles when I was fooling about in the water. Mel is a nice old boy and we share an appreciation of the works of Terry Pratchett. I was a bit concerned that the water had contaminated the bike's engine oil, but careful examination showed that I got away with it.

Every time I start thinking the world is all bad, then I start to think there's people out there having fun on motorcycles, then it makes me take another look.

Steve Mcqueen - On Any Sunday
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 21st April 2017, 05:04 PM Thread Starter
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Tuesday 28th to Sandstone.

Back on the road again in perfect weather. Still a lot of water about but not much of it on the road. So I had an excellent run down to Leinster, refuelled just in case, and the due West to Sandstone. This is a very tidy, pretty little town whose prosperity comes from the surrounding mines.

Wednesday 29th at Sandstone
Spent the day just mooching around in the sunshine, talking to the nice lady in the library and using one of their PC's to check on my finances. There is no other wi-fi in the town. There is a museum, but it was closed. I am staying at the pub, which is a bit of a museum piece in its own right. It is run very efficiently by a couple of little Chinese girls, who have the locals completely captivated.

Thursday, 30th
A long day spent heading North with no problems. Just clocking up the miles and enjoying the ride. Mount Magnet and Meekathara got me back on track geographically.

Friday 31st March
Another long slog to Newman. The very nice owner of the Rivergums Village had been quite concerned when I was a no-show three days earlier. The English cook/bottlewasher was happy to have somebody from UK to talk to.

Every time I start thinking the world is all bad, then I start to think there's people out there having fun on motorcycles, then it makes me take another look.

Steve Mcqueen - On Any Sunday
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 21st April 2017, 05:08 PM Thread Starter
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Saturday 1st April

Another long haul. Refuelled at every opportunity but still came close to running out. The weather continues to be very hot and cloudless. Lots of sun cream slathered on the arms, but they still felt very sore at the end of the day.

Sunday, Monday 2nd, 3rd April To Broome.
A very relaxing couple of days at Broome. The Oaks is a very posh hotel. They had earlier refused to cancel my booking, but were happy to reinstate it when I finally showed up. A very restful stopover was needed after some very full-on travelling. A short walk along the seafront during the afternoon was very pleasant but restricted due to the high temperature.

Tuesday, Wednesday April 4th/5th to Port Hedlund.
Heading South again along the Great Northern Highway, 567km of red hot tarmac. Fuel stops at the Sandfire Roadhouse and the Pardoo Roadhouse were very welcome. Finally pulled over at the Cooke Point Holiday Park. It turns out that the there is no catering on the site at all so I will soon have to go out to get some supplies. A quick trundle around the countryside produced some groceries and a very therapeutic stroll along the beach. It had cooled off a bit by then.

Every time I start thinking the world is all bad, then I start to think there's people out there having fun on motorcycles, then it makes me take another look.

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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 21st April 2017, 05:11 PM Thread Starter
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Thursday April 6th to Karatha

A fairly short run today, about 150 miles to Karatha so most of it was done before the day got very hot. A very busy site containing a hotel, a big bar, a bookies, a bottle store and a restaurant. The only part that I got to sample was the restaurant and that was excellent. Far more than I could eat, but top quality.

Friday April 7th, 8th, 9th. at Exmouth
A 340 mile run today on National Highways. In spite of the fact that this road is a major connection between South Western and North Western Australia it is still possible to drive for an hour and only pass another two or three vehicles. There are plenty of warnings about the animals that you might meet, But so far I have seen only emus and wild cattle alive, but plenty of dead 'roos. I think most of them get zapped at night.
This place is a sort of holiday camp. I have got a cottage to myself and there is a restaurant, bar and entertainment centre on the site. All very relaxing.

Every time I start thinking the world is all bad, then I start to think there's people out there having fun on motorcycles, then it makes me take another look.

Steve Mcqueen - On Any Sunday
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