Archive for January, 2011

Sydney Town

So after 9000km, and some amazing adventures and sights, I rolled back in the driveway home.

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.

There are lots of stories to be told and many photos from this adventure, some of the photos can be seen here: Photo Gallery and here:

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Canberra – Bungendore – Goulburn – Sydney

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.

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Buckenderra – Adaminaby – Namadgi National Park – Canberra

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.

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McKillops Bridge – Little River Gorge & Falls – Suggan Buggan – Jindabyne – Buckenderra

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.

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Snowy Mountains National Park (New Guinea Track) – Buchan – McKillops Bridge

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.
Dead tired.