no politics...just ridin'

30 days.....

Great Bike Awareness Campaign

Another fantastic awareness campaign. This one is a classic - very funny but very appropriate....

35 Days...

Here I am late on a Thursday night sitting in my apartment in Almaty watching videos of my rides - bloody hell I miss my bike! I need to ride, I really need to ride. This is the longest I have gone without riding since I started it all more than three years back - I REALLY miss my bike. I honestly don't know how you guys living in areas where you can't ride during winter actually do it!!

Anyway.....35 days.....and counting......

A pic of the crew to remind me of home

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Taking a Break...

I may not be posting anything on here for another six weeks due to my on-going work comittments in Kazakhstan, but please check out my travel experiences on my other blog here.

Safe riding to you all!

The Kazakhstan Experience - is glorious nation!!


Crossing Mt Jerusalem

What started off as a nice leisurely Sunday morning ride for breakfast turned into a mini adventure, complete with dirt tracks, water crossings and getting caught in one of the heaviest downpours I have ever ridden in.

Kat & I dropped into Steve & Denitta's place around 8:30am on Sunday to see if they wanted to join us for the scoot down the motorway to enjoy breakfast overlooking the beach at Byron. After allowing them a half hour to get ready, we headed south, crossed the border and in what was a first for me, rode the recently completed stretch of motorway between the Burringbar and the Brunswick Heads turn-offs (big deal - flat straight and unexciting, but better than what used to be there). After a slight hiccup with our leader (Denitta!!) missing the Byron exit, we eventually made it and joined the end of the line of traffic entering the town, but managed to jump a few spots whilst fast tracking to the Beach Hotel.

We pulled up and left the bikes parked right out the front - we ate brunch and sat for a while taking in all the sights, and there were plenty!! Once done, we thought we would take the scenic route back via the Coolamon Scenic Drive and possibly end up back on the highway near Mullumbimby. We managed to follow this road and really enjoyed it, riding through some tight curves and straights with awesome views out to the coast and other sections where the trees totally enclosed the road. The surface in some spots was a bit rough but we were not travelling at great speed so it was bearable. We made our way through Mullumbimby, but as we exited I managed to take the wrong turn (shhh - don't tell em - they thought I knew where I was going!!) - instead of heading straight out to the motorway we ended up on Main Arm Road, which took us through some beautiful contryside. We were also forced to cross a few of the flooded creeks on the many causeways along the way.

The further along this road we progressed the deeper the crossings were becoming and the more flood damage we were seeing, but we continued along to Upper Main Arm. It was here that we stopped and spoke to a fella who was clearing debris off the road - he told us that if we continued along this road we could make it to Uki, but we would have to ride through Mt Jerusalem National Park on dirt roads. I didn't particularly wish to return the way we came so we decided to continue. When the bitumen ran out and we were forced onto the dirt, I really began to think we should have turned back. The first part of dirt was deeply rutted from the rain that the area had experienced over the last week and where it wasn't, the surface was greasy from the wet clay like mud - not good on road tyres!!! After a quick chat, we again decided to continue, albeit very slowly.

A little further along once inside the National Park, the track improved heaps - it had obviously been well maintained by the NPWS and so remained pretty smooth. We made it to the top where the road branched off and stopped for a break - both Steve and Denitta were really enjoying the ride and so were we - almost felt like explorers as we had not seen any one else for a while. Off in the distance we could hear the thunder of an approaching storm so decided to get to Uki as soon as possible. The road running down was very steep in some places and Kat was holding onto me tighter than ever. I quickly learnt to use the engine (and not the brakes) to slow us as we decended on the loose surface - it worked really well. We all made it safely back onto the bitumen and thought we were ok for the short run into Uki and a beer at the pub - obviously we were wrong!

We didn't realise until a few km's further down the road that we still had a few flooded causeways to cross, with the last one being the deepest and the freakiest. On crossing the first of three, the thing that really stuck with me was the sideways force on the bike from the flow of the creek trying to pull you downstream. We finally came across the last and deepest and this was the time that I seriously considered returning the way we came over the mountain - it was probably about 400mm at the deepest part but was flowing fairly fast. Good ole Steveo thought bugger it and crossed first - he made it all the way, but just as he exited the bike stalled - that's what happens if you go too fast mate!! Kat & myself were up next - it was a battle trying to keep the bars heading in the right direction, but we made it no worries. Last was Denitta on her new Nightster - she took it slowly as well, but you could see her being forced towards the edge due to the lack of weight. She exited the water much faster than what she had entered, but we honestly thought she was going under for a few short seconds - not bad for someone who has only been riding for a short time - she is a trooper!!

We stopped on the other side and watched as a two cars turned around and headed back, not willing to cross what we just had. Steve's Speedmaster had swallowed a bit of water into the airbox causing it to stall as he exited the crossing - once we had removed the filter, it started fine. We got to Uki and had a quick beer at the pub before deciding to head for Murwillumbah and then home. Some of the damage caused by the flooding in the rivers was incredible - The Chef over on Motorcycle Paradise has posted some great photos which show the extent of the flooding and damage caused to roads in the area. After passing through Murwillumbah and seeing how full the Tweed was, we were diverted via Cudgen, due to the main connecting road to the motorway being flooded.

This is about when the rain started - it wasn't too bad until we were a fair bit further up the highway. When it came down, it really came down hard - so hard that I reckon it was about the worst rain I had ridden in. And you know what topped it off?? About 5 minutes after it stopped we were in full sun again and managed to dry a little before riding into Steve & Denitta's place. This was definitely a memorable ride and one I will do again, but maybe this time when the region isn't flooded.

Kat, me and Denitta overlooking Byron Bay at the start of Coolamon Scenic Drive

Up on top of Mt Jerusalem

You can see how good the roads looked

On our way down the other side

Kat & I on the GSX crossing one of the smaller causeways

Steveo crossing at speed....

...and Denitta following!

The water logged Trumpy after crossing the deepest causeway

Map showing the route we took over Mt Jerusalem

The section of dirt through Mt Jerusalem National Park


Happy New Year

Well some of us did make it to the Pickled Galah rally for New Years Eve celebrations and managed to stay dry, even though the weather in Brisbane has been wet and windy for over a week now. You see, we headed off on the 30th and set ourselves up for a couple of days of R&R whilst you others who didn't bother to show, got stuck at home because of the weather - it all comes down to the planning!!

Eddie, Lyn, Grasshopper and myself readied ourselves at Eddies place around midday on Sunday for the ride/drive up to Maidenwell. Only Eddie and myself rode - Lyn drove the ute with all the gear and because Grasshopper had stripped the sump plug on the V-Rod, he was forced to drive his car. We set off together beneath the darkening rain clouds but thankfully they held off long enough for us to avoid getting wet - we followed the Ipswich Motorway out west then onto the Warrego Hwy for the short run to the Esk turnoff. The road across Somerset Dam and all the way into Esk was very light on traffic which was a little surprising considering it was the middle of the day and lots of people were on holidays - but you will NEVER hear me complain about a lack of traffic, and so we just put up with it.

Rode into Esk and made a stop to call Steve & Denitta and check they were coming - this is when the rain must have started back in Brisbane/Gold Coast because they told us that it was really bucketing down and they may not now come. Oh well! From Esk we climbed the range via the road to Hampton, a favourite of mine and many others. Up top, we turned right onto the New England Hwy and headed for Crows Nest and a favourite little cafe of ours that sells these beautiful gourmet meat pies. You can imagine the disappointment that filled our hearts once we reached this cafe and were informed by the owner that they had run out of said pies - bugger!

We finally made rode into Maidenwell at about 4ish and, after paying our $20 entry, started setting up camp. Once that was completed we ventured over to the pub for a well earned ale and some tucker. The pub itself was a typical small country pub, more like granny's place - it consisted of a short front bar, three old style poker machines, a balcony out the front of the bar and a large room out the back for entertainment as well as dining which is where we seated ourselves. The meal on offer was roast pork/chicken/lamb and gee it was nice. Once we had finished, we moved out to the front bar for a few drinks. This is where I first noticed the publican, Mr Happy - he was a right pain in the ass. You would have thought he would be happy with all this new business parked in his back yard, but he just stood there with a real surly look on his face and didn't really make anyone feel welcome. What made it even worse was when a few latecomers arrived - they had read on the rally flyer (an arrangement between the Suncoast Riders and the pub) that food was available on site and so on arrival, expected a meal. Mr Happy refused to feed them - just told them that dinner is served from 6 till 8. All I will say is that after hearing about this I made sure I ate all meals at the small takeaway shop across the road and purchased all my beer at the pub in nearby Nanango. I refused to give this wank any of my custom purely because of his attitude - and I was not alone. We walked back to the campsite where we sat around the light chatting and playing with the spud gun. All this country air was working on me and I ended up heading to my tent early Monday morning, the last morning of 2007. I just could not lie in the tent while it was light outside, so I climbed out and began harassing the others just after 5am. I proceeded to shake, tap and bang my way around, making sure Iheard them either complain or tell me to shut up - even I reckon I am a pain in the ass to camp with! After about an hour and once all of us were out of bed, we headed across the road to the take away for breakfast. The people in this shop had gotten wind of how the publican had behaved the previous night and were busting their guts to serve everyone - let me say they did a great job and the food was awesome. From here, we headed back to our camp, had a bit of a wander around to check out some of the other set ups and then got ourselves ready for a short ride into Nanango.

After wandering along the main street in Nanango and checking out soem of the shops we rode the 30 odd km's back to Maidenwell. Before returning to camp we decided to check the Cooma Falls out and am glad we did. The "falls" (no water running when we were there) are 2kms from the pub and are like an oasis in the middle of nowhere. We walked the steepish decent down to the rock pool - the lack of noise down there was almost hypnotic. We spent a good half hour just sitting watching some guy try and rock climb the walls and then once he left, enjoying the serenity of the place. By the time we retuned to camp, the bike show and events were starting and so we spent the rest of the arvo participating in and watching it all.

That night we spent in the pub - we ate there, we drank there, we listened to the band there (and they were bloody good for a three piecer) and we welcomed 2008 in there. I spent a bit of time sitting at the front bar talking with a few people and I gotta say that I did notice that Mr Happy (the publican) didn't seem as bad as the previous night - he had a few of his mates there and was getting into the groove and even telling a few jokes. A little earlier, Kat decided to liven the balcony out the front up by showing off her tattoo - this then prompted a couple of other ladies to follow her lead, whilst the photographer from OzBike happily snapped away. I must say that good ole Kat really knows how to liven things up, that's for sure!! Midnight came and went and not much later we headed back to the tent to sleep the celebrations away.

New Years Day....all the drinking from the night before had taken it's toll!! There weren't many people out and about early.

Where we camped

Eddie showing Grasshopper the finer points of loading the tennis ball cannon

As Clint once said....."Go ahead...make my day"..or night

Lizzy enjoying Gatorade's latest offering...plasti-port!

Cooma Falls...although there were no falls, just a swimming hole

Grasshopper will do just about anything to get in a pic...

Trikes on show - there was a large group of them present

Nice custom HD - very subtle

Some of the colours on offer with HD's 2008 models really look the goods

Let the bike games begin....

...and continue...

...and end, with lotsa trophys for young Isaac and his lady!

See what I mean about Grasshopper?

The impromtu tat show that Kat managed to start on the front balcony

Kat and I enjoying the band

The band...

...and of course, Mr Happy, the publican!