The End: Summary & statistic

Summary: 1. Statistics: 1.1: Length : 6,930 km in 16 days 1.2: 349 ltrs of fuel - AU$607 1.3: Avg fuel used: 5.09 ltrs/100km 1.4: Fastest daily speed: 99.5km/hr (Alice to Coober Pedy) 1.5: Slowest daily Avg: 57.5km/hr (Marree to Oodnadatta) 1.6: Longest day: 899km (bitumen from broken hill)

2. Weather: 2.1: Coldest: -3 deg c at Gunning 2.2: Hottest: 37 deg c; 4 days in SA & NT

3. Hardest dirt roads 3.1 : 211km from william creek to Oodnadatta 3.2: Last 30km of Meneenie Loop (200km dirt) to Hermansburg from Kings Canyon

4. Scenery highlight: 4.1: sunset on Ayers Rock 4.2: sunset 6km walk at Kings Canyon. At every turn the scenery is stunning. 4.3: any afternoon on the road in the outback as the shadows get long.

5. Riding highlights: 5.1: Arriving at Oodnadatta in the dark after 4hrs standing to cover 211km 5.2: bitumen to Blinman in Flinders Ranges : new, twisty and quiet, and a pretty village at the end. 5.3: Blinman to Parachilna: (Barndioota Rd): 30km of dirt through 3 river crossings. A good test for Oodnadatta Track.

6. What worked: 6.1: Camping . Camping grounds are full of adventurers, grey Nomads and tourists, all willing to swap advice either going to or from Central Oz. 6.2: VStrom. With Conti TKC-80 on front and my lack of red dirt powder skills, I eventually settled into gaining confidence. My rule on the soft stuff was to only travel as fast as I was willing to fall off in the outback. 6.3: Uniden 5watt UHF radio : all the truckies, miners , 4wd and hotels monitor for emergency calls. There are lots of repeaters to extend the range. Fortunately, I never made a call on mine, but was told by all travellers how important it is. Else, hire a satellite phone, especially if solo and not doing well worn tracks, but u probably are not talking to someone nearby. 6.4: iPhone/smartphone: my main camera was never used as iPhone quality for landscapes is excellent. Used Wordpress to update my blog over dinner. When no 3G Telstra coverage, wrote notes in native Notes app for use later. 6.5: MotionxGps app for daily ride stats and to sent periodic emails of location to home base location. (when service exists). Recharged from 12v socket on bike 6.6: 12volt socket on bike. Finished installing the night before I left. A must for phone, Gps and torch battery charging. 6.7: Going solo. A total selfish holiday, but u are very approachable and humans seem to have a characteristic to watch out for solo travelers. You travel to your timetable and all decisions, either right or wrong, are yours. 6.8: this blog. The intention was to reduce the number of emails sent. It kind of became more of a diary & due to ease of uploading photos I did that in low quality (minimize 3G data usage).

7. Would I recommend a Vstrom on Oodnadatta Track: Cautiously yes. It's big and heavy if u drop it; that was my main fear as I'm only 67kgs. Take it slow and it will handle it and u will improve your skills. Riding to other's pace may force you to exceed your ability window with loss of confidence or worse. Crashing is not an option as help can be a long way away.

....and finally: Outback Australia is a stunning place. The distances, scenery and changing landscape have to be experienced to understand the early pioneer's challengers. The Oodnadatta track is iconic due to it's close relationship to the old Ghan railway and original 1850 telegraph line, so there is a lot to see and it's well sign posted. Plan, read and research and like my trip you will enjoy the great rewards of outback travel on a motorcycle.

The end.

Day 16: Orange - Home

Up early for the final ride into Sydney. The ran had stopped, but I wasn't certain and due to the very cold conditions, I left my rain coat on. The plan was to ride the short distance to Bathurst, get some breakfast and do a lap of the famous Mount Panarama motor racing circuit. The first was achieved at a cafe in a lovely restored hotel. Due to next week's race, I could only ride along pitt straight, but stopped for a photo as everyone else was doing. Having watched the Bathurst 500 (miles in those days) all day on the b&w TV as a kid, the race and track has a certain fondness for me. That finished with the introduction of the uninteresting V8 Supercars.

It got way colder then expected, so I pulled over and used one of the hand warmers I'd carried over 6000km. The right hand (throttle) always gets the coldest, as the left can be put on the engine and feeling soon returns.

From Lithgow onwards, the road is very slow and limited to 60 or 80 km/hr in a lot of spots, I wished I'd gone via mudgee.

Arrived at 13:31 after 278km today.

Great to see the family!

Total trip : 6,933 km

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Day 15: Broken Hill to Orange

Departed Broken Hill at 7:05, with a lot of riding ahead. It was cloudy and I was about one hour ahead of the southerly front. The cross wind to wilcania was severe, requiring a lot of effort to stay traveling straight. I refueled with both petrol and another great bacon & egg roll at Emmdale Roadhouse 90km east of Willcannia.

The farming moved into more cotton and sheep passed Cobar and nyngan and the flat, treeless plains where now behind me.

The plan to refuel at Nevertire didn't happen,as the old lady that ran the general store had got out of petrol (according to the local watching the passing trucks at the general store). So with the gauge flashing almost empty (I think that starts at 4ltrs left), I rode the 30km to Trangie at 60km/hr.

After filling the tank, the rain came down. The road had been wet in places, with a few drops, but this was my first wet weather in two weeks, and a big contrast to the 37deg / 5% humidity when entering NT.

I stopped for a photo at Narromine airfield, which is world famous for gliding. Also, it is where we arrived a day late once to see Buzz Aldrin and a replica of the Kitty Hawk flying- I'm still reminded of my mistake.

From Wellington, I took the scenic and shorter route (according to google maps). Good idea on a sunny day, but not so today.

Arrived wet in Orange at 19:00, after forgetting to check for thunderstorms after deciding to push on from dry Wellington.

It was too wet to go out to dinner, so that was a cup of tea and breakfast bar, followed by an early night before final day into Sydney.

899km and 9:34 in the saddle today (includes 2:43 rest time)

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Day 14: Broken Hill

After a welcome sleep-in in a real bed, Terry gave me a great personal tour of Broken Hill. As he has lived here since 1965, he knew his way round. He also worked in the mines in the year after we finished Teachers College, when the Dept of Education decided they had trained too many industrial arts teachers. We all started our first careers in mines, quarrys, blast furnaces or on the council. First tourist stop was the top of the skip dump, which overlooks the town. There we looked at the memorial to miners who died in accidents. There was also a lot of mining equipment , which Terry explained to me. This is where I sat on the big seat.

We saw the remnants of BHPs first building in 1885. It left Broken Hill in late 1920's.

Next stop was a tour of the Royal Flying Doctor Museum, operational centre and hanger, which was well worth the visit.

By now it was 37degs, so the cool car drive out to the old Silverton mining town for lunch at the iconic hotel, was welcome. The pub has lots of photos of all movies and advertisements it has been used in.

We drove out the road where Mad Max was filmed and also went to one of the 3 water supplies for BH, at Umberumberka Reservoir, built in 1915.

We then viewed the sculptures at the sculpture park, which were impressive. Finally, we went to the magnificent 'Priscilla, Queen of the Desert' hotel, which was being restored to its original early 1900s glory.

Tomorrow I head east, with an eye on the weather. Today has been extremely windy.

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Day 13: Port Augusta to Broken Hill

Morning tea at a lovely little place call Wilmington. The area is hilly and some good motorcycling via Horrocks Pass. A similar, scenics town was Orroree, on the way back through Peterborough. Once on the Barrier Highway, I passed through a series of small villages, whose sole purpose seemed to be to supply petrol for the travellers and most had a pub for the railway station from bygone days.

I raced a goods train for a number of kms, until he got away as I slowed for the savage cross wind.

Arriving at broken hill after 434km at 15:30, I put 20 litres into an almost empty tank. Terry's place was easy to find and we had a night of catching up and retelling stories from 1977-79!

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Day 12: Coober Pedy to Port Augusta

Arrived just on sunset at Port Augusta, after 597km today.The morning plan at Coober Pedy had been to head north to look at the rock formation called 'the breakaways'. About 10k after finding out via google maps it was actually 30k north, including 8k dirt I bailed out, U-turned and headed south again. I did some laps of the town, found the highest spot and generally absorbed the place. In summary, Coober Pedy is unique, a mix of opal retailers, tourism and associated hotels & backpackers and lots (and lots) of miner's junked machinery.

Kevin the local bush mechanic stopped me for a chat about his sv650 (same engine as vstrom). I had not allowed for the number of people who seem to want to chat to a solo motorcyclist. They fall into three categories: 1. Ex motorcyclist, now married with kids. 2. Current motorcyclists (either grey nomad or on tour with family) 3. Would love to be doing what I am doing!

Next stop was Glendambo, population 30. The ride down was scenic, with the vegetation slowly increasing. The cross winds were very strong, so bike leaning one way and body the other. It changed direction further south, to be a little more comfortable

Took a detour into the previously restricted rocket town of Woomera (unfortunately aka detention centre 1999-2002). Every school age kid in the 60's learnt that australia was in the space race. We were the 4th nation to launch it's own satellite, so the museum was very interesting to me. Due American military presence they built a bowling alley and swimming pool.

Camping at Port Augusta tonight, on the least grassed site yet. PA is a metropolis compared to everywhere else. I'm tired from the long day on the bike and should sleep well with the full sized pillow I purchased for $5 at woolworths!

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Day 11: Alice Springs to Coober Pedy

Departed at 10:00am after a lazy start and posted some excess clothing home . Traveling souths the road, river and rail line all pass thru the one narrow gap in the MacDonnell Ranges. Probably one reason for the town's location. Going south to the NT/SA. border there were a number of interesting sites. There is the airport and it's solar farm, the Ghan train museum, and the dragstrip and dirt bike track which is where the famous Fink off road race starts every June. The locals I spoke to described it as a 200km insanely, rough dirt road lined with drunk spectators for 2 days and nights. The speeds hit over 160kph and serious accidents are common.

Further south, is the 1994 cannonball run memorial when two Japanese drivers in a Ferrari F40 lost control at very high speed and killed themselves and two checkpoint officials. The first race was the last, although the locals did say there was talk of trying again.

I stopped at Kulgera, which like most outback one horse towns, is the petrol station, general store and pub. There I met the Swiss motorcyclist, Lars, who was doing a big lap, having come thru USA , South America and then shipped his 600cc single cylinder Honda to Melbourne and was on his way to Darwin, then Indonesia. He was insistent on telling me how to camp for free in Coober Pedy , but there was no way to avoided paying the 20c for a shower. He was on his way to the bathroom to wash his pot from cooking lunch. So I understood the sign...

By Marla I needed both a rest and petrol and checked my emails as it has Telstra coverage. Being 16:00 there was only 2 1/2 hrs of daylight so I didn't waste any time on the 234km to cooper pedy. I passed the turnoff to the Oodnadatta track and was pleased I had done it coming up.

The very help camping ground & motel receptionist showed me the watered grass area for tents and I set it up in record time. I had not eaten since breakfast and had another good pub meal. I was told by the receptionist to Hugo back out the road to view the "the breakaways".

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Day 9: Kings canyon to Alice Springs

Early start to head down the 206km red, corrugated Merinee Loop road to Hermansburgs. About 40km along, I overtook a lone cyclist. I stopped ahead and took a photo and had a chat, to find he was from Germany and 17 months into an amazing round the world bicycle trip

About 100 km along I came across a family with a Nissan 4wd who were immobile, and had been forced to sleep on the roadside. The wheel and drum had come off and only 3 wheel studs remained. Fortunately, a mechanic from a local Santos oil & gas mine came along and was was confident of making it driveable.

The last 30km to Hermansburg was very tough corrugations, covered in red, talcum dust. I should have taken the extra bitumen and gone via Redbank Gorge and Standley Chasm.

The McDonald ranges were spectacular as I drove in Alice Springs. I arrived at 15:00, after 3,976 km (350km today) and was met in the driveway by Mark Gooley ( ex Casino high and Newcastle college friend : aka Stork) Great to see Stork and wife Sally again.

Dinner went on chatting late into the night and it was pleasant to see their son Ben after a number of years.

Tomorrow is a rest day from the motorcycle, with local sight seeing.

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Paul & Mark

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Day 8: Uluru to Kings Canyon

Day 8 Uluru to Kings Canyon Woke early and headed out in the dark to the Uluru sunrise car park. It was busy, but plenty of space for 6:40 sunrise. A lot of digital camera memory was consumed!

Next item was to climb the Rock and compare memories of my last climb 31 yrs ago. Unfortunately, due to high winds and predicted 37 deg temps it was closed. I located the plaques to those killed on the climb and I remember reading them last time and being very cautious.

So Plan B was to head straight to Kings Canyon, 305 km away. My water bottle had frozen in the camp kitchen fridge. I didn't think thru how to get a frozen water bottle into my camelback, so it end up on the luggage rack and was totally melted by Mt Conner. Having cold water in a camelback in these temps is almost a necessity, so I have sometimes paid the exorbitant prices of up to $7 for 1.5 ltrs cold spring water. Even petrol at Uluru at $2.26/ltr and $2.24/ltr at William creek ( expected as access is dirt) seemed a bargain.

The 305 km from Kings Canyon was straight and flat. These conditions continued once turning off Lasseter Highway onto Luritja Road, until the road become hilly and twisty as I entered the ranges. I thought the perfect motorcycle for this road would have been a Suzuki hayabusa,

Set up tent, again on grass ;$18. Then 10km back to the canyon and a 6km rim walk in 3 hrs. This was fantastic and I again met Tori & Tom from Adelaide and walked the last third together and a Belgium family. As it was almost dark, we stayed together.

Dinner was at the only hotel in Kings Canyon resort, and offered camel, kangaroo, beef or pork burgers.

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Day 7 Erldunda to Uluru

At 11:00 am after the final 249 km I arrived in searing heat at Uluru resort camp ground. After finding a shady, grassy spot, I've erected the tent and am lying outside trying to stay cool in 37deg (5% humidity!). The Rock is closed to climbing due to heat and wind.Plan is to do a shaded walk in the Olga's.

Passed two cyclist heading west. At least today, they had wind assistance.

I have not seen any motorcycles since the 3 guys taking 3 wks to do the same trip as me.

A story from another camper:

Last night a group of three 4wd vehicles in the camp ground had a partly disassembled Suzuki dr650 dirt bike on the roof. This group had crossed the Simpson desert via the French Line (roughest track) in their 4wd, so the motorcycle on the roof seemed an odity. Turns out they had come across 3 motorcyclists from Sydney crossing the desert. The younger of 2 brothers had to be helicoptered out after suffering severe hyperthermia and convulsing. It took many hours to get help and the eventual evacuation. The 4wd travelers said it was a very tough situation to chance upon, but had heard he was stable and ok. The two others continued ahead only to break the clutch level, so then scavenged parts off the bike on the following parties roof. Simpson desert & motorcycling is a crazy, crazy recipe for a trip.

In the afternoon, I rode the 45km out to Kata Tjata (The Olga's) and did the shorter Walpa Gorge walk as the other one was closed. We had not made it out the rough dirt road in the Kombi in 1981, as I decided to turn back to preserve the vehicle for the 1000km dirt to woomera. These days it all bitumen.

After the shorter walk at the Olgas, I went to the rock sunset viewing spot and took many photos.

Dinner was cooked at the bush kitchen. Lots of nationalities cooking including a Japanese and French couple

Had a chat over dinner with Glen (on a 2009 Vstrom), his son Sean (Honda CB400) and John (new 1200cc Yamaha Super Tenere). They were on a three week trip from Melbourne and were doing a loop back down the Oodnadatta track.

The plan is to be up early for sunrise and climb the rock.

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Day 6 - Oodnadatta to Erldunda

Wednesday, 19 September 2012 at 2:05:25 PM EST - Paul is in Marla. Day 6 - Wed 19.9.2010 Oodnadatta to Erldunda NT 466 km today (254km dirt)

After a good night's sleep in my room which was actually a converted shipping container, I tightened up a few bolts, adjusted and lubricated the chain and packed the bike. The oil was topped up with some synthetic motor oil from the Pink Roadhouse. The attempt to repair the gps bracket using loctite failed, so I 'fashioned' one with the versatile cables ties.

Farewelled Trina and Alan, who were heading towards the painted desert, and I headed north past the old Ghan railway siding.

The dirt road to Marla Roadhouse on the Stuart highway was better then the previous day. By the last 50km past welbourn hill homestead, it was easy to ride at 80km+. I kept meeting a family from Adelaide who had a Danish exchange student who was getting sunburnt quickly! They let me stay ahead of them.

The vegetation changed to more low bushes and even gum trees at the creeks and a number of grazing cattle. The 'dropped a gear & power through the sand' technique was working well in general, although I had a couple of "this is it" moments.

At Marla, the dirt ended, and the telstra mobile coverage started again. I had my first meal of the day and took in a lot of fluids as it was now 37 deg and a very strong nw head wind.

The ride to Erldunda was uneventful, other then the wind buffeting. The highlight was crossing the Northern Territory Border. No motherhood captions such as "garden state", just a sign showing a sensible 130km/hr limit, and road trains are a max 53.5m long. Like the vastness , both took a while to ponder.

I decided to camp at Erldunda, as it was 17:00 and still 260km to the rock. The camp ground is well set out for car & trailer/caravan. I found some grass for the tent. Also met Jun the 22yr old Japanese guy doing "big adventure". That is 3 mth cycling from darwin to Adelaide! I bought him a beer and listened to his story in amazement.

Other travelers tell me to go to Kings Canyon, so that is on the agenda after ayers rock tomorrow.

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Day 5 - Marree to Oodnadatta

Pats post: "Tonight Paul is without internet or phone coverage... He is using pay-phones to communicate as much as he can in 50seconds. He got the last room in the back of a small motel in Oodnadatta tonight, for the price of $65, arriving late into the night (i.e. 7:30pm) The road was twisted and very rocky, Paul is totally exhausted. Tomorow he plans to make it to Marla on the bitumen, which is 212km from Oodnadatta. The road from Coober Pedy to Alice Springs is sealed. Today Paul said that he could see some water in Lake Eyre." Pauls's post;

What a day! After an early morning walk around marree to get photos of the old Ghana train loco , the station & track that closed in 1981, the Lake Eyres yacht club, I packed up the tent & bike and headed north . I did not refuel as I'd only done 80km on the tank and should do the 204km to the next fuel at William creek with ease. Fuels usage has average about 5ltr/100km , up on the norm of 4.2.- expected with extra weight. Range on 22ltrs is about 400km.

The ride to Lake Eyre South lookout was interesting and reasonable dirt road with 80km/hr possible for a lot of it.

The old Ghan railway stations are passed regularly, with Wangianna 28km along being one of the better examples.

The craziest site is the Mutonia Sculpture Park, with two piper Comanche light aircraft buried tail first.

Stopped at the 9600km dog fence for a photo, then on to the many viewing points for lake eyre south. The most northern one is the best. There was water to the horizon, with a long crust of salt for a few 100m. It's about 25min walk each way to the salt, but I was too hot and had felt salt before. Apparently lake eyre north (big one) is now down to 12% full. There are lots of scenic plane flight at Marree, William creek & Oodnadatta , with varying reviews as to it's cost.

Next stop was a preserved Ghan station and tracks at margaret sidings, followed by Coward Springs, with it's 3x3m boxed in swimming hole. The water felt mild temp, and not drinkable. Last rain was 3mm on July 8th, 72 days ago. By now temp was well over 30 degrees. A German tourist gave me advice on relaxing of the arms in the sand, to stop the death wobbles, and I found it to be helpful. Riding standing on the pegs was the best for sighting a good line between the ruts & sand/stone piles that build up between the car wheels.

At William creek I refueled as it's 200km between fuel at max on Oodnadatta track. In the pub, I discussed the options of staying the night ( camp on dirt or $65 for a donga - bed in room) or pushing on. Wisely, I was questioned by the publican on having a sat phone or UHF radio (with UHF repeater station 6 monitored on the track). Topping the camel backing with 2 x600mm water (cheap really @ $4 ea) was a smart move as it was 15:00 and very hot.

I would recommend a telstra phone card for the few public phones found. There is no telstra 3G service although there are radio repeater towers regularly . I called home, looked at the rockets from woomera testing in 50s - 70s and left at 15:00 with 204km to Oodnadatta . I had crossed paths here again with Alan from wangarratta heading the same way.

The ride to Oodnadatta was the toughest I've ever done. Mostly rutted, sandy in places and corrugations ranging from mild to absurd. I passed Alan and he told me over dinner how tough it was for him in his van and he watched me sliding around crossing the ruts. I felt comfort that they stayed about 5mins behind , so someone to pick up the possible wreckage. Having a number of death wobble experiences in the lose sand and gibbers, I decided to change my approach. Every dip, floodway , corner or grid approaching, I learnt to slow early, drop two gears and hit the throttle to steer me thru. This consistently worked to my surprise and my confidence that I would make it grew. Even with a 60 dirt/40 road front conti TKC80 , i was glad i had swapped out the metzler tourance. I wished I had a new TKC80 on the back instead of the half worn tourance, as the rocks could easily cut it.

Entering the town limits of Oodnadatta about 15mins after dark at 19:00 was such a relief. I found a room at the pink roadhouse as it was closing. The Irish girl had worked there 3 weeks - the accent was out of place, but quite common in in the shops and pubs out here. She described 3 motorcyclist two days back, where one had written his bike off on the same road.

Alan and Trina offered to share their dinner (cooked at bush kitchen) and we had a memorable meal discussing our achievements. I wiped up and bartered my unopened breakfast cereal for sausages and veggies.

416km today @ moving avg of 57km/hr. 7hrs riding and 2hrs stopped.

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Day 4: Peterborough to Marree

Day 4 Peterborough to Marree479 km today. Dept 8:30 arrive 5:30

Early morning post with photo of overnight accomodation. Great pub food once again.

Expect to lose Telstra 3G Internet today as I head to Marree via Flinders Ranges and first dirt tracks.

Currently in Hawker, about 60km to entrance to flinders range natl park. Beautiful weather. More adventure tourer motorcycles then I seen along the way. Muffin and choco milk was premium priced, but just right for morning tea.

I met 3 older guts in BMW and ktm doing similar trip only with 3 wks and a wife in Audi awd support vehicle. They seem very organized and have a planned itinery

To blinman was all bitumen, contrary to gps saying dirt road to dirt road. It was a pretty little place with the mandatory outback Hotel, post office/general store and community hall.

The ranges looked spectacular and so far I was going parallel. Now it was time to hit the rutted, corrugated dirt and head thru a number of gorges and river crossings. The first river was a bit of a surprise, firstly there even being water, and secondly for the ruts in the river bed below. No film or fortage of the crossing as I concentrated to get across. It must really flood here when it rains.

Back on the bitumen to Leigh creek. Last Telstra 3G for a while. It's a coal mining town, all quite new, tidy and with good services. Apparently they r layer workers off.

The dirt started at Leigh creek. Then by surprise in the middle of no where there is 17km of bitumen. The 3 js out of Marree then is 8 more km of bitumen

Accomodation was $2 on a patch of grass next to the pub. Dinner was at the pub and then a call home via a Telstra pay phone . That takes me back to pre-mobile days of old fashioned communications.

Next stop is William creek and south lake eyre. From all reports the water has nearly gone. It's too far to the lake 130 km on dirt for me. Lots of plane and helicopter flights advertised.

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Day 3: Hay to Peterborough

Although I woke early, I didn't leave the motel till 7:45, as I am too slow strapping the gear onto the bike. I now fully understand why the more experienced just fork out the $$$ for the hard cases, top box and dedicated racks. They must save so much time on a long trip. The road out of Hay to Balrandald was no different to coming in, being same flat, straight uninteresting road. Motorcycles love corners, so hundred of km dead straight is a real test of concentration. With the help of the moulded ear playing Alice Cooper for the 30th times, the boredom was held away.I have worked out how to deal with the B-double truck. Get a run up, blast past at 120km/hr, wait for the airblast they pushing and then build a gap of some distance. Then relax back to 110km/hr, as at 100 to 105 pace they will catch up & even try to pass.

Mildura is a bigger place then expected. The change in landscape is amazing once there is irrigation. There is so much citrus fruit there r roadside stands with an honesty box for payment.

Finding a repco spares allowed me to get some much needed chain lube, which I applied in the car park. Also, bought some spare nuts and bolts, and gaffer tape, which must rival cable tires in versatility as a motorcycle problem fixer.

Lunch and more petrol at mildura. Next was another historical riverboat port town of Renmark, and i crossed the mighty Murray River a number of times, finally at the old riverboat port of Morgan.

So far I'd only seen a group of 6 young emu running along the side of the road out of Hay, but with many more on straight, uninteresting road from Morgan to Burra. Seems a simple life being an emu!

After Burra, the geography changed to rolling hills and green field. A big wind farm was on the hill around Mt Bryan. The last 2 hrs of rolling hills and fast corners ( limit 110) was very enjoyable, after a long day mainly on flat, straight terrain.

I arrived at Peterborough just as it was getting dark, found a room at an historic motel , gased up ready for tomorrow and enjoyed another excellent pub meal.

The dirt starts tomorrow in the Flinder's Rangers.

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Day 2 gunning to Hay

After 520 kms today, I found a motel in Hay at 16:30 to avoid kangaroos. as From all accounts it's one of the worst spots anywhere. Flat , no trees and little grass. Other then B-doubles trucks, there were few cars and no motorcycles for the last 2 hrs. I am very tired, having survived on 5-6 hrs sleep for last 5 nights. The V-Strom is going well and my bags are all packed, so easy to find nightly stuff.

Arriving early allowed me time to check the bike, whilst drinking one of the best cold beers I have tasted in a long time. Some loose bolts were tightened and tyre pressures set correctly.My DIY skid plate is staying on & the 12v socket is great as I can charge iPhone or aa batteries. The iPhone is becoming the primary camera as its easy to update the blog.

I spent 2 1/2 hrs in temora between a great bacon & egg roll and hot choco in an old 50s style cafe,and then watching the only flying vampire jet in oz at the airfield. I met an ex-RAAF Hercules flight engineer who regularly drives the 5 hrs each way just to watch the flying days, so i was lucky to see it.

Dinner is a enormous pub meal, then back to watch the Rabbitos.

The country towns have some great architecture and charm from the bygone sheep wealth. Temora was the pick so far, with it's statue of the famous trotter Paleface Adios!

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Day 1 - Randwick to Gunning

At last I am away at 20:30, heading down the Hume highway to Gunning, about 40km past goulburn. I'd phone ahead to motel gunning, which in a town of 580 people appears to be the only accomodation for travelers. Lots of B-Doubles on the highway, sitting on 110k/hr and their wind buffeting is not pleasant.

Arrive about 23:15 after 240km and had two very cold hands. It took me 15 mins to warm the hands to get my helmet off! This morning is a beautiful morning and there is a big frost with ice on the bike.

After a cup of tea, some repacking I'm heading west and hope to go past temora airfield and musuem.

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Day minus 2: almost ready to go

After some late nights adding an electrical 12v socket for charging the iPhone, the preparation is falling into place. The vstrom has had a lot added in last 3 mths after 4.5 yrs of being stock 2004 dl650. I bought it as one owner with 11k. It now has 33k km. I have yet to pack the bike. That's tonight's activity. Hopefully all the gear will fit. My notepad list has been updated daily at work as I think of new items to take and things to do. Headings are:

1. Camping 2. Tools 3. Food and water 4. Electrics (eg iPhone) 5. Bike clothing 6. Other clothing 7. Other/misc (eg maps & first aid) 8. Luggage 9. To do 10. Possible ( eg flip up helmet - not done) 11. Hints & tips (eg there is always a second emu if you don't hit the first one - thanks mark d) 12. Cost - incl rego & insurance $2400 before departure