Archive for the 'Experiencing' Category
See my latest adventure at http://www.doherty.net.au/sgir
I’ll be riding my motorbike from Singapore to Ireland to raise funds for the Lotus Children’s Centre in Mongolia, which helps abused & abandoned children.
You can support Lotus by sponsoring me through a donation to Lotus here. Your contribution makes a huge difference to Lotus and the children of Mongolia.
Thank you for your support.No comments
With the Chinese New Year long weekend available, I decided to take off to Thailand on the bike. With the goal of riding to Chiang Mai and exploring some of the off-road trails of Northern Thailand.
After a stuff up with the early morning departure, and having to turn back home at the Singapore/Malaysia border to return home to pickup the cruise control that I had dropped on the driveway to my apartment…
I managed to set off on a 10 day adventure through Malaysia and Thailand. Brilliant riding, with fabulously friendly people and great sights. I’d love to go back again soon.
20th – 29th January 2012No comments
With the added bonus of a long weekend in Singapore (thanks to the Hari Raya Haji celebrations) I decided to set off on a ride through Malaysia.
The objective was Cameron Highlands, with a few potential diversions thrown in if time permitted.
As it turned out, I managed to ride 1600km covering Malacca, Cameron Highlands, Taman Negara and then back to Singapore on the backroads. Awesome trip, just too short.
Leaving on Friday afternoon, I made it to Malacca on Friday night, before continuing to Cameron Highlands on Saturday. Despite an absolutely filthy storm that dumped rain. The clouds were so black and low they looked more like smoke from burning tyres, than storm clouds.
So I ended up supremely soaked through, but no slip ups. On arrival in Cameron, I found all the hotels booked out, so I stayed in a dump called Nataysha Resort. A complete dump.
Despite the hotel, I found an awesome steamboat buffet which is demolished and then had a 1.5hr massage to relieve the tired muscles before bed.
On waking on Sunday, the fog was so thick that it was pointless riding so I waited until it burnt off before heading down the mountain to Taman Negara, where I had booked a hotel as it was quite remote. The problem was when I got there, I discovered that the hotel was on the opposite side of a huge river and there was nowhere to park the bike.
So I was left to find another hotel where I could leave the bike and stay on the same side of the river. It was another dump, with karaoke from hell, but it was a bed.
On Monday I started back for Singapore, and a 9hr ride. Made it back safe and sound and into a well needed shower.
Photos are in the Gallery
An absolutely magnificient holiday and a similar one should be planned at the earliest opportunity for the next break. I am very glad to have undertaken this journey.
After a good strip down and clean, the mighty F650 is off to Procycles for a service and a new front tyre. And I am off to the physiotherapist to sort out my back after a good soak & scrub myself.
Woke up early and met up with Dad for breakfast in Manuka. Then it was a quick diversion through Fyshwick for some chain lube on an old rattley chain before hitting the freeway.
The last stretch of the adventure was in some ways the most difficult. That section of freeway from Goulburn into Sydney is so uninteresting, especially given the number of times it had been driven previously.
The diversion through Bungendore was interesting and a great little country town (at risk of being swallowed by Queanbeyan)
Then onto the boring road, and stay awake for the last stretch.No comments
After packing up camp to a beautiful sunrise over Lake Eucumbene, I set out towards Canberra.
First riding to Adaminaby & Old Adaminaby, where I got a great coffee and muffin start to the day, then riding the magical roads through the Namadgi National Park. This area is so scenic and completely under-rated, with sites such as Brayshaw’s Hut, which are absolutely picture perfect. Flowing fields of flowers with mountain backdrops.
After a short amount of dirt riding (60km) it was onto the Barry Way and into Jindabyne for lunch. Always a great town to visit, and especially so in summer.
From there it was a short run into Canberra (the back way, more dirt) up through the national park, Tharwa and into Canberra for a RdV with Sebastien. After a great meal, a few reds and top conversation with an old mate, then crashed into a real comfortable bed for the night.
Set out from the beautiful camp by the Snowy River, and a few km down the road to see Mckillops Bridge. Massive bridge in the middle of the bush.
Made brief stops at Little River to view the gorge, and proceeded to ride out of the valley. A very big climb on dirt, with no guardrail and a drop of a few 100M, meant no mistakes today.
The views were absolutely stunning, looking down at the Snowy River in the bottom of the valley.
Once out of the high country, the road into Jindabyne opened up, and the riding was great.
Refueled bike and body in Jindabyne, and then rode onto Lake Eucumbene, at Buckenderra. A great camp, between the granite boulders, looking out over the lake. Tonight a thick mist has descended over the mountain and through the camp and lake. It is quite a sight.
Today has to be the shortest distance ridden, but one of the most intense and tiring.
I was awake at dawn, with the noise of the animals at around 5:30am.
Packed up camp, and began the ride out of the valley.
The track was actually much steeper than it looked coming down, and the fact that I couldn’t slow down on the descent yesterday, should have been a warning.
I rode out about 3km, before I hit the steepest sections, and the bike completely lost traction. Sliding backwards down the track sideways was not a good feeling, and I was saved from falling into the valley by some branches that had been placed very fortuitously. In the backwards slide I couldn’t keep the bike upright and I was now located in the brush in the middle of a very steep hill. After struggling for a while and moving some of the branches that were preventing me getting completely upright, I managed to pick the bike up, but in the process of turning it back downhill, the soft earth beneath, meant that the rear wheel was now bogged and the bike sitting on the bash plate.
I spent the next hour, digging it out, filling the hole with rocks and lowering the tyre pressure. Finally getting the bike out and riding back down to the flat area and turning around for the next attempt.
This time I gave it more gas, but was still thrown off at the same point, losing traction and sliding backwards, dropping the bike on my right foot. (and now sporting a bruise on two toes to show for it)
With the bike now completely on its ear, wheels on the highside in the air, it was near impossible to lift. I dragged it around as far as I could, to try to make the lift easier, but could raise it more than 45′ on the slippery slope. There was no traction for feet, let alone bike, so when the bike was on it’s wheels it would just slide down the hill, pushing me with it.
I struggled like this for almost 4 hours, before determining it was not doable, and sending an SMS for assistance.
The Police, Ray from Buchan station, was able to reach me at around 12pm in his 4WD, and quickly assessed that it didn’t look like it was rideable to get out, and we would probably need to tow it out. I said I would give it one more try to ride out, if he could help me get it upright.
So with the 2 of us heaving on it, we managed to get the bike facing back downhill and I rode it down to the next flatter area and turned around for the 4th attempt. After dropping the tyre pressure even further, I got a good run up and powered through the steep rocky section and up the rest of the slope. (300m)
Ray took my gear in the panniers in the Patrol.
At the top we did the formalities, licence, etc and rode back into Buchan on flat tyres.
I was wrecked, and rested with a hamburger, more water, etc. Refueled the bike and bought supplies and some beer for Ray. (Ray you are a legend!)
Then after pumping up the front tyre at the servo, the rear by hand & CO2, as the pump at the servo didn’t fit, I headed back down the road to McKillops Bridge and setup camp here, right by the Snowy River.
Went in for a wash, which was absolutely brilliant, so refreshing and cool.
Cooked dinner with my neighbours, who also gave me wine, and am now in bed, with a savage wind blowing the cheapo tent about.
I didn’t get much sleep last night, with the bogans playing death metal until 1am, (just to make a point)
But in the morning I woke and took the bike to Morwell BMW, where it was booked in for a service. The guys there were excellent, even giving the bike a good wash, so it looks a million bucks again
So after picking up the bike and packing up my tent, it was almost 3pm and it had turned into a really hot day. Really hot! The hottest I’ve felt on this trip, probably due to the humidity.
So made tracks through Sale & Bairnsdale, picking up supplies.
Craig from Morwell BMW had recommended Jacksons Crossing in the Snowy as a great place to camp and a good ride to get there.
But I had a substandard map, and got lost on the way, instead turning down what I now know is the New Guinea Track. The ride was through beautiful mountain country, but the descent down the dirt track was pretty hard core, very steep snd very slippery rocks. And at one point after a rapid descent that I just couldn’t slow the bike down due to gravity, she decided to have a lay down. I managed to control it, so it was more of a gentle resting on the panniers. A few small dents and some scratches. Took a photo and picked it back up relativity easily due to the slope. At this stage I was still thinking it would all be worth it when I reach this magnificent camp on the river, but I was on the wrong track. And when I reached the bottom, there was no direct access to the Snowy river, but s steep walk down 300m to the edge. I did this to see if I could get the bike down there. I couldn’t.
After climbing back up in the heat, I wasn’t feeling so good, and coughed and threw up the water I had been drinking. Probably heat exhaustion.
I rested for a bit and decided that riding out tonight wasn’t going to happen, as it was 7:30pm already and sunset approaching. So I setup camp here, in the middle of nowhere. It is completely silent of human noise, but plenty of animal sound, which changes every hour. First it was cicadas, then crickets at sunset, and now the noises I don’t even recognise at all.
I had a bucket wash and cooked dinner, now I’m ready to sleep, before the challenges of climbing out of here tomorrow. If it rains, I have no chance and will be here until it dries up. It is just too steep.
So starting the new year from a new and unknown location.
There is no moon tonight, and the stars are amazing. So many and so close. The milky way is right there, could touch it.No comments
After leaving Canunda and riding into Mt Gambier, took a look at the renowned Blue Lake and had breakfast.
Then rode onto the border, and took a side road through cultivated pine forest and into Princess Margaret caves. Some great sights underground for a change.
The bulk of today’s ride was through some beautiful countryside. In some ways reminded me of the west coast of Ireland, the combined smell of the sea and the country, cows & grass.
Although had plenty of wind again too, infact for a stretch it seemed as though the entire enviroment had been pushed sideways by the incessant wind off the Southern Ocean. Trees, buildings, fences, powerpoles, all leaning away from the breeze. Shaped that way over time.
Onto the Great Ocean Road, and the magnificent clifftop scenery that is so iconic of the region.
Tonight camped in Princetown, by the river on the hill. Lots of bugs, but soft green grass.No comments