There and Back Again. A motorcycles tale.

Apologies to tolkein for the title but it seemed appropriate.

Some things about the trip I wanted to write so here goes.

In total it was 10756k long. My shadow, travelled about 2m further than me as I started in the morning, ended in the afternoon. I was riding for about 133 hours, averaging about 80kph

Highlights from the trip for me were

  • Riding to uluru
  • Spending time with the family at night stops and tourist attractions.
  • Spending time with my brother
  • Seeing mt Isa and where I stayed many years ago
  • being able to say I’ve done it :-)
  • being self sufficient on the bike
  • soverign hill
  • flagstaff hill
  • 12 apostles on the pretty good ocean road
  • working out the waving protocol once and for all
  • Riding through all the places I had looked at on google earth while planning the trip
  • got to see how fast the bike could go (well, as fast as I was game to push it)
  • getting uluru photos at night with stars out
  • riding from 2 degrees to 34 degrees
  • crossing the tropic of capricorn
  • taking the kids on the back of the bike around uluru
  • having Libby on the bike for some short rides

Things that are not highlights are

  • running over a kangaroo’s neck
  • hitting budgies at 130kph
  • freezing cold mornings
  • getting lonely when by myself at nights and at attractions (the last 2 weeks)
  • cleaning bug guts off the visor every night
  • a sore ass, back and neck

Overall I am very glad to have done it. I wouldn’t do the same trip again but am still happy about it. The bike worked perfectly (It would suck to not have cruise control) and all the preperation seemed to work out very well. Of all the stuff I took, I inly used about 50% of it but as there was spares and emergency tools/supplies etc, I would probably still take them again.

I think I would have to be really careful about travelling with someone even though by myself had lonely times. Theres proably a very smal set of people who I could travel with I’ve decided. I also think I may not be the easiest person to live with either.

So overall, I’m really happy. I’ve learned much about what I want, what I do and what I think is important. I had lots of time to think and blogging it made me remember it more than I otherwise would. I think next time, I would probably use a voice recorder and podcast it instead. That way I could rant while on the bike and would be more verbose. On second thoughts, this may not be a good idea as I probably rant enough already.

Also, as I went clockwise and we drive on the left, I think, all other things being equal, I travelled about 7.53m further than if I had have progressed counter clockwise so its true to say I went the Long Way Round.

Homeward Bound

Leaving Nambucca Heads at about 7:30 in the morning, after a cold night where the bike was soaked in dew, was not pleasant. The bike was reporting 4 degrees, and it felt colder. I had the down jacket on under the bike jacket and the heaters on full and was still freezing. It didn’t take long for the sun to warm things up a little and by 9am, it was about 12 degrees.

The day was pretty unueventful as I have ridden on these roads before and its all familure. The strange thing about riding was that it was a 600k day and this has become normal. In the “olden days”, ie before this trip,  riding 500k was a big day and a ride to newcastle would still be a reasonable ride.

Anyway, I got home at about 2:15pm and are yet to unpack. Its nice to see Rosie (the dog) and Libby (the wife). I walked up to the school to get the girls (with Libby and Rosie) and they were happy I was home too.

Now, its back to a normal life again.

Leaving Noosa

I was up and ready to go about 7am. My brother told me he goes at about 7:30 in the morning and I thought it would be good timing to get out at the same time. I had parked in the garage and had the bike packed and was using the computer checking out email etc when Marc told me he had just booked me in for a breakfast meeting. This sounded good to me as I like going to cafe’s for breakfast.

When starting the bike, the satnav didn’t start up. Now, this place, as I already mentioned, is really hard to find your way around in so I followed Marc (who uses occasionally but sparingly) to the cafe. I knew the satnav units should have a hold three buttons, turn around and touch your nose reset thing but I couldn’t remember it. I thought about removing the battery but its internal and aparently a real pain to get to.  So, without satnav, I just had breakfast and thought about it.

Marc ended up paying for breakfast too (thats two meals I owe him now) and I got to meet some other people and talk computer/bikes with them.

After that, I got the laptop out, plugged it into the satnav to try to get it to reset. No luck. Then I called the supplier and got an answering machine (it was 8:30) so I decided to use the backup satnav unit and go from there. This was difficult as its a different user interface, has no audio, and is harder to see.

About an 45 mins later, I was further down the road (at least I got out of noosaville) and had to get some fuel. I tried the supplier again and they answered me telling me to simply remove the battery. I was wrong about the batteries in this unit and it was a simple allen key to get them off. I now only needed a 1.5mm allen key to try that solution. As it turns out, I keep that sort of thing on my belt so 5 mins later, I had satnav, spoken prompts and music all back again. I really should know more about the technology I take with me and how to fix it.

On the way south, I saw a sign to Lismore and for no other reason than I was in Lismore hospital for a night when I was a kid, I decided to go there and look around. When I got there, I got some fuel for the bike, fuel for me and was bored in about 5 mins. Oh well, back to the main road (it was a 30k detour) and I was again heading in the right direction. When reaching coffs harbour, I really wasn’t tired, sore or bored so decided to head to Port Macquarie for the night. About 30 mins later, I was suddenlt sore, tired and it was getting dark (well, a little) so I stopped at the first vacancy sigh I saw. It was in Nambucca Heads and was quite a nice room. I then got to have a warm shower and try to loosen up some shoulder muscles before going to bed. I also got to have a $4 aero bar from the mini bar. I didn’t need to buy dinner as I still had lots of food on the bike so it was a cheap night.

Leaving Bundaberg

I’ve already done this and the next day but wordpress ate them.

I got up early but stayed in the room as it was really cold. My breakfast was delivered (pre ordered the night before) and I packed up and was ready to go about 8:30am.

The Rum tour wasn’t starting till 10am (I had to be there 15 mins early) so I had some time to kill. I went to a bookshop in bundaberg and asked for a short book just for a few days. The lady sugested, and I bought, a book called “Don’t tell mum I work in the old rigs”. Its really quite funny and interesting. I then went to a coffee shop. got some decent coffee and raison toast and started reading.

The book was so good, I almost forgot to get up at the right time but just made the tour.  I’m not really into rum (or any alcohol for that matter) much but am always interested in doing factory tours. It was quite interesting although I don’t think she (the guide) liked it when I asked if they get their timber from sustainable plantations. Aparently they are working towards it.

During the tour, they explained all their different varieties of rum and how they are made and how the differ. There was one that sounded interesting. its called “Royal Liquor” and was sugested for the people who don’t like rum that much. They only sell it there (you can’t even mail order it, it has to be purchased in person). Because I did the “Gold” tour, I got 2 free drink vouchers to try in the bar at the end of the tour. Bear (sic) in mind that its 10:45 in the morning when the bar opens and I’m not a drinker anyway but I asked for one of the royal liquor things. It was really really nice. I finished it quickly and wanted another but having no real tolerance to alcohol, and having to ride to Noosa, I decided to not use the other ticket.

In the obligitory gift shop at the end, I got some of the liquor, and while wondering how I was going to get it on the bike, saw a sigh saying that they have a postal service. I then got some more things and boxed them all up and freighted them home.

It was then time to go to noosa. My brother had finally sent me his address so I programmed it in and went there. Noosaville is like a maze. Without satnav, it would be really hard to get in or out of there. I got there at about 1500 and Suzie was there. Marc and the kids were not that far behind me and soon we were talking about old times and Marc was preparing dinner (apparently this is rare). I haven’t had a lamb roast for years so this was a nice change. I live in a vegetarian house and only get meat at work lunches etc. Even those times, I don’t eat pig, lamb or veal.

During dinner the family has a ritual called “happy/sad” where everyone gets to talk about what made them happy today, what made them sad, and what they want go get out of tomorrow. I really enjoyed this and would like to start something similar with my family. It gives an interesting perspective on what people think is important.

After dinner, I spent some time with Marc on the computer and hopefully solved some issues.