Day 7 – Eucla to Balladonia WA

Wow, it is hard to believe that a whole week has elapsed since we left home. We have now travelled a total of 3,784 Kms after covering another 528 Kms today.

We decided to have a later start this morning as we had a slightly shorter distance to cover today and would pick up another 45 minutes as we moved from the Border time zone into the Western time zone.

We had a very loose arrangement with the fellow ST rider Johnny Whitehead to ride out with us in the morning unless he couldn’t sleep and had trouble adjusting to the time change. In this case he was going to set off early on his own. He didn’t  show so we assumed he did just that.! We heard news of him this evening when he posted that he was at Esperance and heading to Ravensthorpe over 1,000 kms from Eucla!. Wow, he certainly likes to cover some territory.

We had a fairly comfortable ride today with roadhouses the only points of civilisation along the way each spaced out, on average, about every 100 Kms or so. We passed by Mundrabilla roadhouse before stopping to refuel (both the bikes and ourselves) at Mandura Road House at the foot of the Mandura Pass. The road then climbed up onto a plateau which was the original ocean shore millions of years ago. You can look back from a lookout at the top and see where the ocean used to be all those years ago. IMGP8980We stopped at Cocklebiddy roadhouse for a break before heading on to Caiguna roadhouse for a lunch of Ryvita biscuits, cheese, vegemite and tuna.IMGP8986

Caiguna lunch stop

Caiguna lunch stop

After leaving Caiguna we encountered the longest straight stretch of road in Australia (146 km without the slightest deviation!). We passed a sign at the beginning of the straight proclaiming its claim to fame that David wanted to photograph. Don’t worry, There is another one at the end of the straight said I!. We can take a photo of that one. Famous last words as yours truly, who was in the lead at the time,  rode straight pass the second sign at the end of the straight without the slightest sign of slackening in pace. David was less than impressed!. Don’t worry David said I again, we can get it on the way back!. :o)

To top off my disgrace, I led our small convoy of two into what I thought was the turn in to our overnight stop at Balladonia roadhouse only to find it was just a rough bush track leading down to the back end of the roadhouse. After a heart stopping bumpy ride (with my pillion having kittens!) I finally found a track that led us back around to the front of the roadhouse. My ride leading credentials have now taken a serious turn for the worse!.

Overall, it was cloudy for most of the day with temperatures staying around the comfortable mid 20 mark. Every now and then we would ride through a very short period of rainfall that wet us and the bikes but did not seem to wet the ground very much. The countryside is green and obviously showing the benefits of the recent rain in the area. Overall, a very pleasant ride.

Dinner was in the roadhouse with their fairly basic meals served at top restaurant prices.

Off to the gold mining town of Kalgoorlie tomorrow.

Bye for now

Dick, Ros, David and Sue

Day 6 – Streaky Bay SA to Eucla WA

Hi again everyone,

Well we made it into Western Australia today,IMGP8975We rocked into Eucla (WA) this afternoon at around 4pm after picking up 1hr 45mins as we transitioned through Central time to Western Time via the funny little time zone they have near the WA border (Central Western Time) ???. Throw in daylight saving (or not if you live in WA) and it gets very confusing to keep track of the local time around here.

We left Streaky Bay in SA at 7am this morning (SA time) in cool and overcast conditions. It had clearly been raining overnight with a fair bit of water remaining on the road. We headed to Ceduna for our ritual coffee stop before heading out across the Nullarbor through Penong to refuel at Nundroo. We ran into a couple of short lived thunderstorms which the Farley’s were able to curtail by kitting themselves out with their full wet weather rig at Ceduna. True to form, after one further very short squall, the rain stopped for the remainder of the day with the sun shining for most of the afternoon. The average temperature for the day was a very pleasant 25c.

After Nundroo we motored on to lunch at the Head of the Bight whale watching facility just near the Nullarbor road house. where we got our first glimpse of the fabulous Bunda Cliffs.IMGP8972 After refuelling again at the Nullarbor Road House (David’s Hornet is feeling the effects of his non-aerodynamic luggage rig-out consuming a good 30% more fuel than our larger but very streamlined ST1300) we continued along the Eyre Highway to the WA border at Border Village before crossing into WA for our over night stop at Eucla.

We were fortunate to meet up with fellow ST traveller, Johnny Whitehead who hails from Picton in NSW. Johnny had travelled from Kimba in SA (which claims to be the mid-point between Sydney and Perth).

We enjoyed a pleasant meal with Johnny where he filled us in on his run-in with the local constabulary at Yalata ending up $730 poorer as a result  :o( .

He also briefed us on the delights (not) of the takeaway food service he experience at Kimba Caravan Park which left much to be desired.

Johnny is planning to ride with us tomorrow (as long as his body clock can survive the time change and can sleep in to a respectable hour in the morning).

I wonder if we will pick up any other riders as we get closer to Perth. We might even get ourselves pack which is what I believe they call a group of motorcyclists  :o)

By for now,

Dick, Ros, David and Sue

 

Day 5 – Clare to Streaky Bay SA

Hi again everyone,

Well one thing we can’t complain about this trip is a lack of variety. We set out this morning from our overnight stop at Clare (of Clare Valley Wine region fame) in overcast and cool conditions. A pleasant change to the last few days. Our journey today took us almost immediately out of the huge SA wine growing region into much more open wheat and sheep country. We passed through Gladstone and enjoyed our now ritual coffee break at a quaint little burg called Wilmington. We then had a short rush of blood as we enjoyed the winding road up and over Horrocks pass opening up to the flat vista of Port Augusta and the head waters of the Spencer Gulf off in the distance.

After leaving Port Augusta the landscape turned into very barren looking wide open country. We passed a recent truck accident with lots of cars and people seemingly helping themselves to the spilled cargo!. We had elected not to go down around the Eyre Peninsula opting for the more direct route through Kimba, Wudinna and Poochera to our over night stop at Streaky Bay on the coast.

Not long after we left Port Augusta we had the ” thrill” of a lone emu dashing across the road between our two bikes. By coincidence, I actually had the helmet cam running at the time and captured the action. When we reviewed the footage later we found it was really hard to see.

Not long after we left Port Augusta we ran into some steady but not really heavy rain. This continued for the next couple of hours until we wheeled into Wudinna for a pie lunch at the local bakery (very nice!) where we were treated to a very heavy downpour just as we came into town. Fortunately they had a little awning in front of the shop so we were able to get out of the deluge and remove our wet riding gear before entering the shop. The shop had their AC running which the girls thought was a little cool so David, in his inimitable way, thought he would oblige by turning it off at the switch!. Good one David! :o)

The rain eased and ultimately stopped on our final run into Streaky Bay. The day was topped off by a very congenial dinner overlooking the bay.

We didn’t take many pics today due to the rain and our desire to get some serious K’s under our belt but here are a couple.

Our dry haven and lunch stop at Wudinna SA

Our dry haven and lunch stop at Wudinna SA

 

Sheltering under the awning outside our Motel rooms at Streaky Bay

Sheltering under the awning outside our Motel rooms at Streaky Bay

We covered 606 Kms today which is our day record so far passing the claimed half way point at Kimba on the way. 2,806ms since we left home.

Bye for now

Dick, Ros, David and Sue

Day 4 – Mount Gambier to Clare SA

We had our usual 7am start this morning illuminated by the most spectacular  sunrise. The morning was a brisk 15c as we took a quick run up the hill to check out the famous Blue Lake before departing Mount Gambier. We immediately began passing through some of the huge SA vineyards with their laser straight rows of vines seemingly running off into the distance. None of us had ever seem such massive vineyards before. We passed through little towns whose names were familiar to us through the Wine Labels they obviously inspired such a Padthaway and Mount Pleasant to name a couple I can remember. We passed through a number of wine regions such as the Coonawarra region and the Wattonbully Region (a new one on me near Narracoorte).

We stopped for a very pleasant coffee break at a little place called Keith with the   temperature suddenly surging up to 35c as we rode out of Keith as if someone had switched on the heater. Not long after, we rode through a short rain storm which seemed to come out of nowhere. This lasted all of five minutes managing to cool us down (for a short while).

Roadside rest stop

Roadside rest stop

We had some difficulty navigating our way through the Adelaide Hills to by-pass Adelaide and had some rather unkind things to say about the standard of the road signs i this area. Thank goodness for Mr Google Maps and our Smart Phones. We would have been sunk without them. About mid-afternoon we struck another patch of 40c lasting for about 40 minutes before another short rain storm cooled us down again. Ah! the joys of long distance motor cycle touring.

We enjoyed a picnic lunch on the banks of the Murray courtesy of Woolies and Bakers Delight both of whom were obligingly nearby and open on Sunday.

A Paddle Steamer passing our lunch spot by the Murray

A Paddle Steamer passing our lunch spot by the Murray

Due to a couple of unexpected (and unwanted) detours we finally arrived at our digs at Clare SA about 5.30pm travelling 574Kms for the day and 2,200 Kms all up so far.

Our route today took us though Naracoorte, Keith, Tailem Bend, Murray Bridge, Mannum, Nuriootpa (of Maggie Beer fame), Kapunda and finally, Clare.

We are off to a place called Streaky Bay tomorrow on the far side of the Eyre Peninsula.

That’s all for now.

Stay Tuned.

Dick, Ros, David and Sue

 

Day 3 – Torquay to Mount Gambier via the GOR

Well, here we are in Mount Gambier after a spectacular days riding along some of the best riding roads in the country. What a contrast to yesterday in the weather. We set off from our motel at 7am under an overcast sky. The temperature was in the low teens warming up to the high 20’s making for a much more comfortable ride for most of the day. The ride along the GOR was exhilarating. We pretty much had the road to ourselves and the road surface was dry and mostly in good condition. By the time we arrived at Port Campbell for what turned out to be a rather ordinary seafood lunch by the water, David was grinning like a Cheshire Cat. It was all we could do to restrain him from back tracking and doing it all over again.

The obligatory tourist pic at the start of the GOR

The obligatory tourist pic at the start of the GOR

Some of the 200kms or so of spectacular coastal road.

Some of the 200kms or so of spectacular coastal road.

The afternoon ride after leaving Port Campbell was a bit of an anti-climax. It still took us through some huge tracts of pine plantations with clear signs that this was the key industry supporting the local economy. The temperature warmed up again somewhat in the afternoon and we were all feeling a bit worse foe wear by the time we lobbed into our motel in Mount Gambier at about 4.30pm. After quick shopping foray to the local Woolies just up the road, we enjoyed a self help dinner using the Motel BBQ facilities. Pretty soon after dinner we all crashed after a big day.

Our route today took us through Lorne, Apollo Bay, past the famous 12 Apostles, Port Campbell, Warrnambool, Port Fairy and Heywood into Mount Gambier.

460 Kms for the day and 1,626Kms so far for the trip.

Bye for now

Dick, Ros, David and Sue

 

Day 2 – Narrandera NSW to Torquay Vic

We arrived in Torquay on the Victorian Coast at about 4.30pm today after another roller-coaster day as far as temperature was concerned. When we set out at 7am this morning from Narrandera it was beautiful. About 18c, clear with a little country mist. The views along the road at this time of morning were fantastic. IMGP8898We were treated to huge flocks of pink Galahs rising up from the verge as we rode by, spotted some emus, also a couple of huge wedge tail eagles and a lone wallaby. As the morning wore on the thermometer began to rise hitting 35c by mid-morning.

After leaving Narrandera we stopped at Jerilderie for a comfort break enjoying the man-made lake in the middle of town.IMGP8905

We then travelled across country through Western NSW to Deniliquin before heading south to cross the Murray (and the NSW/Vic Border) at Echuca. By this time the temperature had stabilised at around 35c and we thought we were going to be spared the extremes of the previous day (not!).

After Echuca we continued south through Elmore and Heathcote pushing on to a late lunch in Kyneton. (David and I had visited there last year when we attended to BHA Harmony College just out of Kyneton at Campaspe Downs)

Lunch at Kyneton Vic

Lunch at Kyneton Vic

After leaving Kyneton we headed cross country along a great riding road (ie lots of bends) through a little place called Trentham to pick up the M8 into Bacchus Marsh. As we came down the hill the temperature suddenly soared to 40c in a matter of minutes. It was as if we had ridden into an oven. After crawling our way through the centre of town (Bacchus Marsh that is) we headed south again toward Geelong then Torquay. The temperature thankfully dropped again not long after we left town and, as we crested a rise en-route to Torquay we rode into a sea breeze which immediately dropped the temperature to a comfortable 26c (bliss!).

We topped off another great day’s riding by enjoying a great meal at Front Beach Café overlooking the ocean. We are heading along the Great Ocean Road tomorrow (or as we bikers like to call it, the GOR) and we are all really looking forward to this ride.

We did 586Kms today now totalling 1,167Kms for the two days.

Cheers

Dick, Ros, David and Sue

 

Day 1 – Sydney to Narrandera

Hi everyone

We made it to Nerrandera NSW arriving around 4.30pm. We met up with Sue and David as planned at Kurmond then enjoyed a fine and slightly coolish run up the Bells Line of Road and up over the Great Divide.

We partook of the cuisine delights at Maccas Lithgow before heading off through Blaney and Bathurst arriving in Cowra at around 11.30am. By this time the day was getting decidedly warm and our hopes of avoiding the recent hot weather crashed into a screaming heap. By the time we reached Cowra the temperature had risen to a very warm 35c and showed no signs of stopping.

After a rest stop in Cowra we headed for West Wyalong, our scheduled lunch stop. The countryside was rather dry looking although the white stubble from recently harvested wheat gave it an overly dry look.

By the time we reached West Wyalong the temperature had hit 40c. We forsook our planned roadside lunch stop in favour of a dried up pie in the local bakery shop which happened to be air conditioned. We set off for our final 130Km run to our over night stop at Narrandera in 40c passing a spectacular Willy Willy on the way which threw up a huge column of pinky coloured dust.

The clear skies changed to dark and threatening clouds off on the horizon and we eventually rode into an unexpected downpour dropping the temperature down to 20c in a matter of minutes. After getting a solid drenching we took refuge in a rather inadequate road shelter ’til the storm passed.

IMGP8895-001

When the storm cleared we set off for the last 30 Km run into Narrandera with the temperature climbing steadily again up to 35c by the time  we reached our destination. David had underestimated his anticipated fuel consumption and rode the last 25km at a greatly reduced speed with his empty light flashing all the way. He made it to town with about 1 Litre to spare. Lesson learned ! ;o)

A refreshing shower and dinner at the local Club finished off a great day.

581 Kms for the day.

Destination tomorrow is Torquay in Victoria 521 Kms away. We are planning to be on the road by 7am to try and beat some of the heat.

Cheers

Dick, Ros, David and Sue