CJB Imageboard Mk.II

Between July 30th and December 25th, 2013, yours truly rode his humble Honda CT110 “Postie Bike” completely around Australia…

In summary:

  • 20,000 kms (exactly!)
  • 149 days
  • 420 hours of bum-on-seat
  • ~$1050 in fuel… (and ~$7000 other costs)
  • met hundreds of great people (and 2 arseholes)
  • Three easily-fixed issues with the bike
  • One accident — and it happened 5 minutes before the end of the 5 month ride! D’oh… Rider and bike unhurt.

Preparing 5 months worth of photos (over 17,000!) and journal entries for this blog will certainly be a bit of a slog to get though… but in the meantime, here’s copies of messages posted through email and Facebook:

July 25 — “The Postie bike is now legal for another 12 months (had the bring the rego forward and get that out of the way before leaving the state) …and it’s looking like I’ll be starting the WA trip[*] on Monday morning.”

* “Postie Trip III: The Search for Crocs”

August 2 — “Currently in Yass! .. Spent the first (sleepless+wet) night at Belangelo, left early at 4am, then had a much better two days at Wingello S.F (great campground!). I’m now about to stay 1-2 nights at Juligong (depending on conditions..)”

August 7 — “Spent the last three nights at Orua Beach — got rained in yesterday … But Dad would be proud– I’ve now swam naked in the Murrumbidgee”

August 12 — “In Condobolin, staying at the outstanding Gum Bend Lake free campsite– and probably for a few more days… As I was riding out on Sunday, Postie popped a link in the drive chain! Luckily, walking the bike 3km got me to a Honda dealer, and she’s in hospital getting the chain repaired and an oil leak looked into. Then, it’s up to Broken Hill via Albert.”

August 19 — “Currently in Cobar! … Spent the last two nights at the Hermidale Hotel, and the two nights before that at the Rabbit Trap Hotel at Albert (..noticing a pattern here..), and previous nearly a whole week at Condobolin, where the Postie got a full service at the local Honda dealer. Now heading towards Broken Hill to meet up with Jack Absalom again!”

August 24 — “Now in Broken Hill… Stopping for lunch first (been living on rations and roadhouses for the past two days..), but then heading over to the Absalom gallery…”

August 30 — “First photo: The sunset at Pamamaroo Lake

Second photo: Teaching Postie how to fish at Pamamaroo– we caught a 40cm Carp! .. It got intensely Curry Marinated and was ated (it was carp.. -_-) I stayed three nights at different camps around there, and last night at a NPWS campground ‘River Rd’ near Lake Medindee. I’ve taught myself a lot about riding a motorbike on unsurfaced roads lately.

I’m now taking off for Adelaide, via Mildura”

September 3 — “Things Postie Bike Riders Would Never Do #44″

September 4 — “Something else from Broken Hill… When it was mentioned that I was camping around the country on a motorbike, Jack Absalom insisted on giving me a /free/ copy of his first book! He admitted that most of the book won’t be of much use to me, but he still insisted that it will save my life. ”

October 1 — “Now in Port Lincoln! .. This stage of the trip is to travel around the Eyre Peninsula. After leaving Adelaide made for the vehicle ferry at Wallaroo and taking Postie on an ocean cruse across the gulf. For the past three nights it’s been mostly beach-camping down the eastern side. Now going up/west to Sheralinga and Baird Bay.”

October 24 — “Pascal - had cycled down through Asia, and now into his 5th month of an anti-clockwise Oz trip.
We spent ages chatting! .. “Does the constant “OhMyGodWhatYoureDoingIsAmazingWriteABookDoItForCharity!!” annoy you as well?!”
So, he’s probably the first person I’ve met on this trip who -didn’t- ask the same standard questions. Instead, it was stuff like our packaging strategies, route selections, telling what’s the other way, etc.) He gave me a few more details about the Mysterious ‘SolarShifter’ guy who is currently going down the coast on a self-built solar-charged bicycle like I’ve been planning. It seems that I would’ve just missed SolShift at Geraldton.
Pascal had only 14 kms to his camp for the night on the Murchison river– and I told him exactly what he wanted to hear: it’s a great shady -large- site with a /flowing river/ …and also about the free Internet at the Geraldton public library.
(”Do you need water???” “No, I’m prepared and carrying plenty”
“Do you wanna lift??” “Hello no.”
“Have a Beer on Meeee!” “*groan* {..that’ll make me need to take a piss in 20 minutes..}”
“There’s Free Internet at such-and-such!” “OMGWTFYAAAAAAYYYY!!!!”)

Another funny part: he asked about my handing of the road-trains (actually one of the Standard Questions everyone asks)– and then one rolled past, while I was still stopped on the shoulder– and without flinching a bit, just casually said “Yeah.. like that.” (Since the Postie is small and slow, I can move onto the shoulders easily, and get a lot of buffer space; except for the huge livestock transports, the wind doesn’t affect me too much.)”

October 30 — “Karratha now! .. Last night had the excitement and mystery of a truckie trying to break my laptop and myself while standing up to the prick, but previously had a great campsite on the Ashburton river (full of Barramundi… too bad I tossed the handline ..oh, and more naked swimming, and a quick stop at a Exmouth backpackers…”

November 3 — “Tada! Made it to the Broome! (Which was the one ‘real’ goal of this trip.)
Much of the past week’s riding has been in hoon-mode, rather than camping, as there’s little choice in where to camp (access to water, etc.), and I’ve had to do 300+ kilometre days (7+ hours of riding per day) to arrive at an acceptable spot. The overnight temperatures are buggering me up a bit too, to the point that I’m gladly paying $10 to stay at a roadhouse with a shower than the usual bush-camping.. The temps during the day have also been a bother. Three days ago, I had to put up with 52 degrees on the road, and Postie’s hotter running temperature burned up a lot more motor oil.

Right after my last post while in Port Hedland, I rode to South Hedland to a hardware store to buy a spark-plug wrench (the old plug had a ~2mm gap!), and returning to the bike, there’s these two guys excitedly pointing out all the modifications on Postie! Would you believe they were actually Harley Riders?!? .. Colin and Dennis had a local Painting company, and they said if I was about to work on the spark plug stuff, I could go over there and do it in their shed– with an unlimited supply of iced water! They got the full advanced trip description (i.e: rider type Q&A) of the Postie and the ride I’m doing– and they loved it! .. I got to service the bike (plug, lubing, etc.), filled up the water bottles with ice, and after that I did my own Rider Q&A of Dennis’ new 110th-anniversary Harley that was also in the shop.”

November 11 — “Made it to Darwin! Staying at the little brother’s place… The previous night was at Edith Falls, just a bit north of Katherine, and before that the “roadhouse run” where the day’s riding was just to the next RH (…I’ve discovered in the kind of weather across WA, I /really/ needed a shower at the end of the day…)”

November 11 — “Postie Drama #2 of the Trip! … Was riding into Darwin along Tiger Brenner Drive to buy new riding and camping gear, doing about 70km/h or so, when the chain tensioner (and hold-the-rear-axle-and-wheel in place) part broke. AAHHHHHHHHHHH. Luckily the chain was unmangled, and I could push the bike– which I did for 3 kilometres to a place where I could discretely park, and then walked to a Honda dealership another 2k away. The Honda guys didn’t have the chain tensioner (they did 3 years ago when I was last there…), but gave me an address of someone who possibly would, and who might arrange some dead-bike-transportation. This 2nd guy (Maccas Motorcycles) didn’t have the exact part, but he then gave me the address of some former AusPost-postie mechanics, and Chris, a mate working in the shed next door offered to use his Ute to collect the bike and give me a lift across town. With the tensioner acquired, we returned to the 2nd guy’s shop, and I fixed up Postie.
It’s really weird how things like that come together to help get the bike going when things go wrong.”

December 1 — “Now in Mount Isa!

After leaving Darwin, the first camp was at Edith Falls for 3 nights, and it rained– the instant, random moonson kind of rain that happens during the Wet Season in the north. Still, did a lot of swimming (swam about 500 metres around the pool at one time..)

The next stop was the WWII town of Larrimah, at the Pink Panther Pub… that’s really a rather impressive private zoo collection with a pub attached. A lot of WWII-era artifacts along the old roads in the area, and a shut down caravan park across the road from the Panther that looks like it was just left and abandoned.

After visiting Daly Waters again (visited on the previous trip), it was across the Carpentaria ‘Highway’ (cheap one-lane quasi-bicycle lane for much of the way..) to Cape Crawford/Heartbreak Hotel (pigged out on the $22 buffet dinner..) There was a cyclone warning for the Gulf that evening, so a staffer suggested while I was searching for a tent site to just set up in a gazebo– a great setup!
No actual rain during the night meant I could then take the Tablelands Highway down to Barkly– another one lane cheap ‘highway’. At one time, a road train carrying mining equipment met a road train carrying 4 trailers of livestock: the mine truck won).

Along the way I reached the 15000 kms mark of the trip …so I made up a small memorial to the great explorer.

Barkly Homestead that evening– this was my first real roadhouse camp 3 years ago, but now I know that the place is excessively expensive compared to other remote roadhouses. Manged to camp at the same unpowered campsite as before.

The next day was heading straight east on the Barkly Highway (a real highway!) and 100 kms from Camooweal — MY FIRST FLAT TIRE on the road in 5 years or so of riding motorbikes. Got straight into the repair on a small turnoff road, and it was all done in under an hour (and surprisingly none of the annoying hassles) in the 40C heat. A few minutes before riding off, a caravan noticed me, turned around, and checked how I was going– it was Peter and Rose! ..the Gray Nomads I met at the DeGray River campsite in WA (just after Port Hedland). They invited me for a coffee at the next rest area (Avon Downs) that they were going to camp overnight at. During our coffees, there was some more of that instant monsoon rain, which called it for me stay there that night as well. (I would’ve arrived at Mt Isa around 9pm..)”

December 8 — “In Longreach! … The initial plan of heading for the Gulf (Normington, Kurumba) had to be nixed when that area got 90mm of rain in an hour and became a flood risk… so I headed south from Mt Isa to Boulia.. which got flooded out on the morning I was to leave for Winton, making me backtrack the 300 kms back to Isa. Now planning on going to Windora, Eromanga, Cunnamulla — maybe then into the top of NSW.”

(campsite at Boulia)

December 10 — “Still in Longreach– but planning to leave tomorrow. Odd thing about this place: all the cafes do Coffee Smoothies (never seen those in NSW..)

More random photos: (1) saw the Tardis just outside of Mt Isa! (2) on the ‘development road’ form Mt Isa to Boulia (3) the morning at Boulia, fffffffff. Just a few hours earlier a storm had flooded the road and channels between Boulia and Winton– so I had to backtrack 300kms to Mt Isa (4) luckily that was the worst flooding on the ‘escape route’ from Boulia– it was about 10cm deep.”

December 13 — “In Eromanga! (that claims to have the most distant from the coastline petrol station in Australia…

Previously I was at Windorah, a place that took me by surprise being unlike other outback towns, in not having the ‘aura of defeat’ about it– I can see that place lasting another 100+ years, certainly. A great cheap council caravan park there, too.

The Postie has just done 17,500 kms on this trip, so I’m thinking that taking another 2,500 kms on the way back to Newcastle is a Plan…”

December 14 — “1) The Solar power farm for Windorah (saves the town about $300,000/yr from the old diesel generators) (2) Camping at the Eromanga Caravan park– well, these places near Mining interests are all “Dongaparks” (3) near the Eromanga petrol bowser”

December 18 — “Having lunch in Goondiwindi atm– now heading for Warwick, where I’ll see what happens with visiting Brisbane, or going South from there. Previously at St George, Eulo, Nuccondra…”

December 22 — “Armidale! 19460kms on the dial… and looking dangerously like I’ll be back in Newcastle…for Xmas :V”