When you need to know the news, read the Nulla-Noos
By now, most of you would have heard some of the stories of the trip to Tassie, and the events that took place. If you haven't, here's a short version of our travels.
Apart from 3 days of rain, the weather was brilliant, and the scenery was even better. The roads around the Island State would have to be the best we have in Australia for motorcycling.
I was hoping that someone else would've sent in a story so I could have a bit of a rest from typing but it isn't to be, so looks like it's going to be my version of events .. again.
Saturday 16/10 We all assembled at Greenmount, and departed for the trip at 7.15am under good skies on "The World Best Damn Motorcycle" according to Willy G Davidson. A bit late, but it was a long way, so time was on our side.
We picked up Stefan at Meckering and after a re-fuel, headed further east. through Merredin and into Southern Cross for food and fuel and making good time too.
Coolgardie for fuel and lunch, and then down to Norseman for our overnight accommodation stop.
I head back to the camp ground and find that Pop's bike doesn't want to start. The starter clutch has expired, so it's looking like a bump start all the way across the Nullarbor for the world's best damn motorcycle.
We head out of Norseman, into a strong head wind. This effects the fuel consumption dramatically, and some struggle to get into Balladonia. Some even have to do a roadside dump to make it in safely.
Norseman to Caiguna, and the wind doesn't drop in it's ferocity at all and fuel consumption is now a problem for most.
My granny has dropped from 260kms a tank to 180kms. The trailer follows nicely, but with the wind, the bike is very thirsty, and it's lucky I have a 5ltr Jerry can in the back.
But we push on and arrive safely at Border Village and to a couple of bourbons and a soft bed. All fed and into bed after around round or two of drinks at around 9.00pm local time.
The wind hasn't started yet, but it gets us again before we hit Nullarbor Station, upsetting the fuel economy again.
The sick people believe the food was bad at Border Village and they are suffering with a dose of food poisoning, some quite badly. We think it was the fish, not being cooked properly, although we're not too sure about that.
We refuel and continue on to Yalata and then Stefan's bike expires on the side of the road just before Nundroo, about 250kms from Ceduna and in the middle of nowhere.
The stator has gone, and he has no power for the EFI or the electrical system. We lose an hour on the side of the road whilst we strap my solar battery on the side of his bike and modify the electrics to get him going again on the worlds best damn motorcycle.
Into Ceduna, a couple of panic phone calls and arrangements are made for repairs to both his bike and Pop's at Cowley's at Port Lincoln in the morning, so all we have to do is get them there.
We push on to Wudinna for the night and recharge the batteries overnight at the bakery. Luckily, Dick the baker is a Nulla, or we would've been stuffed.
Kimba, 100kms on, is our first stop, and our next problem. Dom's bike won't start and needs a battery. The local tyre shop has a small battery, which will do until we hit Adelaide and can sort it out.
20kms out of Port Augusta, his bike dies on the side of the road too. Same problem, no more electrical charge, another stator gone. But with a bit of ingenuity, we get it going again and send him on his way.
We stop at Port Augusta for lunch and a head scratch and then send Dom off with instructions "Don't stop until it dies, and we will find you on the road somewhere".
He nearly made it to Adelaide, but it run out of sparks about 20kms from the end. More ingenuity and he's off to Peter Stevens H-D for repairs .on another one of the world best damn motorcycles.
After negotiating repairs to Dom's bike with the dealer, we arrive at the Caravan Park and check-in at around 4.00pm.
Springer breaks off early to stay with family at Strathalbyn and will pick us up in the morning at Tailem Bend, our planned first stop.
A B-B-Q at the park for tea is arranged, a couple of Adelaide friends in Greg and Kim arrive to join us for drinks, and now we start to relax at little.
Pop, Di, Stefan and Neville arrive at 10.30pm from Cowley's, cold, tired and hungry, but with the repairs completed the group is back together again.
Wednesday 20/10 The original plan was to head to Melbourne today, but with Dom's bike not expected to be repaired until late arvo, we decide to stay for the day in Adelaide and do some washing and have a lazy day.
9.15am and Dom finds the bike ready to go, but we're not and now it's too late to leave because we'd never make Melbourne before dark. So we stay in Adelaide.
Most wash the bikes, some go for a squirt around town, and the rest of us do nothing but watch and relax.
Springer meets us as planned, we have breakfast at Tailem Bend, and with the weather getting better, we head off again.
We arrive at Border Town, refuel and notice Pop's bike is breathing a little bit of oil from the air cleaner. Probably from the repairs we all thought, so we cleaned it up and headed off.
Horsham for fuel and lunch and everything is going well today. Nice weather, good speed, and did anybody see that speed camera back there ??
What camera ?? .hmmmm That'll come back to haunt us later, you watch.
We find Johno parked on the side of the road waiting for us at Beaufort, and after re-fuelling again, he leads us down the road.
Spider, Dom, Lorraine, Benny & Bev peel off at Bacchus Marsh as they are staying with family in Melbourne. The rest of us follow Johno through the back roads to Little River to a little reception at friends Scott & Mary-Anne's place. Thanks guys for the hospitality.
A BBQ and a few drinks are well received by all, and then we roll out heading for our accommodation down the road at Laverton, a bit closer to Melbourne.
We've made it to Melbourne safely, and in time for the boat tomorrow and that was part one of our mission Get to the boat on time.
We leave the bikes at Johno's work and catch taxis into the city, check out some leather shops and the new Triumph Rocket 3, have some lunch, and get back to the bikes at around 4.00pm. and then head for the docks.
A carton of beer in the esky, fish and chips on the docks, a bit of music from the CD player, and we've got a party happening whilst we wait for the boat to load us on.
All loaded, we settle in for a great night on the boat, a few drinks, a couple of stories re-lived about the ride over, many laughs and off to bed at midnight.
We unload the bikes and assembled in the car park and then a big 2km ride and it's breakfast. Beeeautiful
Then it's on to Launceston with a quick stop at Richardson's H-D for a look around and onto the Treasure Island C/V Park, our home for the next 4 nights.
The local patch club is having a Poker Ride today, so some disappear to attend the ride, and the after-party. And I believe that that was a big night too.
We went for a day trip over the mountains to the Great Lakes, stopping at the Hydro-Electric Power Station for a un-scheduled guided tour around its insides and then onto to the Great Lakes Pub at Miena for lunch.
And it was COLD on the top too. They had snow 2 weeks before we arrived and you could still it on the tops of the mountains.
And then it was down the hill to Johno's brother's bakery for afternoon tea, JJ's at Longford, then onto the haunted Clarendon House, Evandale and back to Launceston.
For the next couple of days, we just rode around checking out all of the sights, Beauty Point, the Batman bridge, Low Head, Georgetown, and of course Launceston itself.
Out of Launceston over more mountainous roads towards Scotsdale and it was wet and blowing hard. Shit of a day for riding, but the scenery made up for it, absolutely beautiful.
We stopped at "The Worst Pub in Tassie" - the Weldborough Hotel, had a couple of drinks and then onto "The Pub in the Paddock" at Pyengana for lunch, then onto St Helen's and more bloody sunshine.
It was still cold, but it was getting better every minute and tomorrow's report was looking good.
Back to Bicheno, and then up Elephant Pass for afternoon tea at Elephant Pass Pancakes, and for people who said they were full after lunch, they still found room for some of these little piggies !!
From there it was on to St Mary's and then down St Mary's Pass back to St Helen's again.
You can't explain how great these roads are. Twisty, windy, up-hill, down-hill and all good condition. You had to be there and have your bum on a bike, any bike, to experience and enjoy them.
Pop's bike was breathing a bit more than it should and we fitted it with a "Colostomy Bag". It was the breather pipes, extended, and then pushed into an oil bottle strapped to the side of the bike.
It worked, for awhile anyway, until the bottle filled up and we had to stop and pour the oil back into the motor. But why now was the question.
We had no choice, so we had to continue and arrived in Ross for a look around and a bite to eat.
Continuing on, with the occasional stop for the oil bottle problem, we eventually arrived in Hobart and our accommodation for the next couple of days.
We checked out Pop's bike, but couldn't find a reason for the oil spit, and with no dealers in town, it was decided to keep going, tolerate the problem and see what happens.
We went via Richmond, and stopped there for breakfast on the way, and it is a very picturesque little town with a lot of history.
Through Sorell and Eaglehawk Neck and into Port Arthur, and Johno, through another of his brothers, Ian, who has a tour company, arranged a good group deal for us.
Normally $60.00 I think it was said, we paid only $21.90 for entry, a guided tour of the site and a harbour boat-cruise.
Excellent value for the money and it proves it certainly pays to have good mates on the island.
But Port Arthur is a sad place, and the events that took place not long ago still feel very fresh in your mind whilst you're there.
After Port Arthur, it's was around the block to Tasman Arch, Tasman Blowhole and the Devils Kitchen, all great places to visit. And then back on the road to Hobart town again.
With no problems all day, now more oil spills from Pop's bike on the return journey. The World's Best indeed ..
We returned to Hobart to find Agony, Claudia, Doc & Loraine have arrived safely and caught up with us.
They couldn't spare the full 4 weeks on the road, they flew to Melbourne to have a week on the island and return home across the Nullarbor with us.
From there we headed to Huonville for lunch, but unfortunately, not all would make it.
Pop's bike decided to develop a very big knock in the motor. Believing it was terminal, we arranged a tilt-tray truck to return it to Hobart. Some of us opted to follow it back whilst the others went on for lunch at Huonville.
Returning to Hobart, we started the bike and "What The %#&@, the bloody noise has gone and the motor is running fine.
Now what ?? Do we go on, or send it back to Launceston for a check up. Believing it is a sticking valve or something similar, Pop decides to go on.
From there it's back onto the main highway and to Hamilton, then Tarraleah and another heap of twisty, windy roads to Bronte Park for a look.
So many great roads and so little time to ride them all. I think I'll be back one day to flog the guts out of everyone of them.
Bronte Park to Derwent Bridge got very cold, and it was only when we arrived that Johno informs me that we are at the top of the mountains.
Shit I thought we still on the flat lands down below, but apparently we had been climbing slowly all day and that's why you don't notice the height gain.
So that explained why I was bloody freezing and needed more warm clothes. Thanks for telling me earlier . mate.
We've only got a 114kms to do, but we have to be there by 12.00, as again, Johno has arranged a deal for a Gordon River Cruise and return bus ride from Queenstown to Strahan for us.
So 'the pace' is on today, and it's no place for the weak-hearted on this road.
Mostly fairly easy going, but then as you drop down from the top into Nelson Falls, well, let's just say that the ride down was bloody brilliant, even with the trailer behind me.
The scenery along this 114kms is breath-takingly beautiful, with high mountain ranges capped in snow, rolling fields, and forests with trees as big as buildings and lakes the size of some the great harbours in the world.
As you come down from the top of the mountains, you ride across a causeway, which spans across a huge lake and then you ride meters away from the base of a sheer-drop mountain range poking up from the ground.
But around a few corners, over a few hills and those feelings of peace and tranquillity you just had will stop dead in their tracks.
Everything changes within seconds here and the views of a devastated landscape that has been ravaged and raped by years of mining activity come into sight.
There's no trees, no mountains, no lakes, no nothing any more. Just a windy road carved out of the side of a hill that leads you down into an old, yet historic, mining town.
Welcome to Queenstown, Tasmania's own man-made equivalent to the Moon.
We check-in to the old hotel, and get ready for the 22 seat bus that's coming at 1.00pm to take 26 of us to Strahan for the afternoon boat cruise.
Hmmm, how's that going work Johno ??
The cruise up the Macquarie Harbour is beautiful, even if it is raining. We head towards the heads to experience what it was like for the sailors and the boats of yester-year.
No wonder I don't like boats much, it's as rough as guts out there and no place for a fair-weather sailor like me,
But our skipper is smart enough to stay in the calm waters of the heads, and then just spins around and heads back up the harbour a bit further and into the mouth of the Gordon River for a look around and our lunch stop.
Miles from civilisation, on a glass calm river with natural forests growing on giant hills on either side of you, it's no wonder it's a world heritage area here.
The only sign of life was just a couple of local fishermen in their aluminium runabouts. And they were proudly holding up some big fish too.
I'm not a tree-hugging greenie, but I can see what they're on about a bit more clearly now.
Back to Strahan, and back into the little bus for the return to Queenstown. We've got a couple of crook people on the bus so we need to stop a couple of times to make some burly.
This is a restored gear driven steam railway that was used to cart the ore over the hills to Strahan for shipping in the early days.The grading on the hills was too steep for a conventional steam train to climb them, so they purchased this gear driven system from another smart Swiss man named Frederick Abt, hence the ABT railway.
Cutting through the forest along the side on the Queen River, it must have been a hell of a task back then. No chainsaws and bulldozers, all done by hand with hundreds of men, women and children constructing the track.
A very interesting ride with magnificent scenery and a lot of history of the area, but again you could still see the river is suffering the damage of the 1800's mining era.
Cold and treating rain most of the ride, we went through more tree lined roads, hilly country and more winding roads.
The run through Helliyer Gorge was a great ride and very pretty too. Well it was until we hit the logging areas where the land-scape was butchered and left.
Into Wynyard and fish and chips for lunch at the fishing boat harbour and then to our accommodation for the next two days.
Out the front of the park is a small café and Johno made arrangements with Nick and his wife for a seafood extravaganza meal of curried scallops that night.
With a little bit of BYO Grog, it turned into a party, with the juke-box playing tunes from all eras and the group getting down and dirty with their dancing on the shop floor.
I don't think the place had seen a night like that before, but the owners didn't mind and actually joined in with the festivities and a great night was had by all.
Friday 05/11 It's pissing down outside, and there's no way we are riding in this shit. So what do big tough bikers do on a day like this ?? They hire a bus for $300 and turn into "Bikers in a Bus" for the day.
Across the top of Tassie, we head for Smithton and onto the Marrawah Pub for lunch. This place is at the end of the road, top northwest corner of Tassie, and you can't miss it.
It's a great place for lunch and, like Toodyay or York, would be a 'must ride to' place to head for on a sunny Sunday morning.
After lunch, it was along a dirt road to Arthur River and Couta Rocks. These are places we would've never seen on the bike, so the bus was a great idea.
Couta Rocks is a fishing village of sorts, squatters mainly, but they're not crappy little shacks. This is a place where you can see lots of money, big boats and even bigger houses on the edge of a wind blown harbour that looks out to the Southern Ocean.
And it's not a friendly place here today with the wind and rain howling in from the ocean.
Back on the bus, through Roger River, Edith, Irishtown and back to Stanley to climb the "Nut".
Unfortunately, it's closed today, probably due to the bad weather, but the Stanley Nut is a big rock on the edge of the coastline. A chairlift takes you to the top, and a walk track returns you to the bottom.
It's BIG so the scenery from up there would've been spectacular on a clear day, which it's not today. It hasn't stopped raining all day, this bus was a great idea.
Returning to Wynyard, it was time to pack the bags and do the last load of washing. Tea tonight was a simple affair with some choosing to go to town for Pasta, others having Pizza from the café out the front.
Saturday 06/11 Our last day on the island, and it's going to rain again. So it's pack the bikes and get going for our last look around at the places we haven't been to yet on the way back to Devonport for the evening boat.
A couple of photo's with the family of the Sea View Café out the front of the park and we're off towards Burnie and then onto Cradle Mountain.
Only a little bit of rain but it's enough for a road-side stop to put the wets on, and then into Cradle Mountain for morning tea and a look around.
From Cradle Mountain, the weather turns to shit and now we have to ride in the worst weather we've had since we arrived on the island.
We stop for an extended lunch at Sheffield, hoping the rain would subside for the last stint into Devonport and the boat.
But the rain didn't stop, or even slow down. The ride to Devonport was a shocker, heavy rains and howling winds, but we can't complain. The weather has been pretty good to us all the way around, but it would've been nice to finish on a dry day.
We arrive in Devonport and the rain stops, typical. We all look like drowned rats, and park ourselves at the Ferry Hotel to dry out and have an early dinner before lining up for the boat.
Sitting in the car park again, we've still got a couple of beers in the esky, so we have another little party to celebrate our island holiday, and then it's onto the boat heading for the "North Island", as the locals call it.
That night, we settled down to have a few drinks and discuss our time on the island. We also had a whip-round and presented Johno with a monetary gift for his efforts of arranging everything from accommodation to day trips to the special deals whilst we travelled around.
A belly full of alcohol and a smooth journey again across Bass Strait saw then end of the holiday on Tasmania.
Sunday 07/11 Arriving into Melbourne, the weather still looked shitty, and we expected to ride out of town in the rain. A bit of mist was all we got and although cold, it didn't rain at all.
We said our good-byes to Johno on the dock and he led us out of Melbourne and set us in the right direction for home.
Springer, Stefan and Neville wanted to do the Great Ocean Road, so they peeled off from the main group down the road a bit and hopefully, we would see them later tonight in Adelaide.
Continuing on, Johno peeled off at the Werribee exit and waved us on for a safe and enjoyable ride back to Perth.
All going well, we should arrive in Adelaide around 4.00pm. But unfortunately, it didn't all go well, with Pop's bike deciding to have a big spit 15kms out of Ballarat.
The problem with the motor was obviously getting worse and it blew the dipstick clean out of the oil tank, spewing oil everywhere down the road.
We never found the dip-stick, but a bit more ingenuity got him going again. However, the prognosis for the bike was not looking good.
Whatever was going on inside that motor was not good and it was most certainly not getting any better. We just hoped we could get him to Adelaide for the repairs.
When we stopped at Ballarat for fuel and breakfast, Pop & Di decided to continue on alone slowly towards Adelaide. If anything went wrong, we knew we'd find them somewhere on the side of the road.
And unfortunately, we did, at a service station on the outskirts of Ararat. More oil required, and a better way of keeping it in the motor too. The plug we put into the dipstick hole wasn't holding well enough to stop the oil blowing out, so another great invention was needed.
The bike readied again, we set sail and this time, we had it sorted. Apart from checking the oil level every now and then, things looked good for our arrival into Adelaide with Pop still riding the wounded unit.
Each stop, Pop & Di headed out earlier than the main pack and just travelled along slowly. The main group just hunted them down each time and then we would pull over at the next stop and check the bike over before moving along any further.
Eventually, we arrived in Adelaide, just a little bit later than planned, but we all got there and that was the main thing.
The G.O.R. riders arrived around 9.00pm, and said they enjoyed their windy road to Adelaide.
Discussions and decisions were made about who was leaving in the morning, and who was staying behind.
Monday 08/11 With the decisions made last night, Pop & Di would remain in Adelaide to have the repairs done on the bike whilst the rest of us would head from home.
As Stef wasn't feeling well, Grubby decided to stay behind too and ride home with Pop & Di when the bike was ready.
Radar was also staying behind, waiting for Spider to arrive from Melbourne, as he had waited with his family, who were flying out last night, bound for Perth.
So with 6 left behind in Adelaide, we waved them good-bye and set off at 7.00am for Wudinna, our overnight stop.
Stopping at Port Wakefield for fuel, it was onto Crystal Brook and the bakery for breakfast. All fed, we moved on to Port Augusta for more fuel and then further afield.
Even with a couple of minor problems with Lorraine's Sporty suffering a fuel problem every now and then, we still managed to arrive mid-afternoon in Wudinna for the night.
Phone calls back to Adelaide found that Pop's bike was totally rooted and needed a re-build. Broken pistons and rings, scored barrels, it needed parts and they had to be flown in for the repairs to be effected. He wasn't going anywhere for a few days.
Judging by the damage done inside that motor, I think we were very, very fortunate that he even got this far on it.
Hmmm, maybe these are the World's Best Damn Motorcycle after all .
Radar and Grubby would have to leave in a couple of days to get back for work, so Spider volunteered to remain in Adelaide with Pop & Di until the repairs were completed and they would then ride home together.
Tuesday 09/11 We set off at 7.00am and arrive at Ceduna for fuel and breakfast at the bakery as normal. The run across was cool, but the weather was beautiful and everything was going well.
Out of Ceduna, and onto Penong and then Nundroo for more fuel, the temperature was getting up there, so we had to strip some clothing off before going further.
We stopped at the Head of the Bight to see the whales, which I've been told are always there. Well, this was my third visit here, and I still haven't seen the bloody things.
I'm starting to think they're all dead or else they live somewhere else.
We arrived at Nullarbor to the usual slow service, had a bite to eat and rolled on to another photo opportunity of the Great Australian Bight.
As we leave, a couple of the boys decide to have a fang for the last 40kms into Border Village, our stop for the night.
We arrive to find them all gathered around Doc's bike, scratching their heads. This is always a good look, especially when you're in the middle of the Nullarbor, with 1500kms to go either direction for servicing and repairs.
Another bike, with another serious sounding knock in the motor, just what we needed. Thankfully, it turned out to be a lack of oil in a hydraulic lifter, which cured itself with a top-up in the oil tank and a bit of a cool-down.
Another feed, a few more beers, and another earlier night in the cot.
Wednesday 10/11 An early start today, we leave at 4.30am Perth time and the sun is already up. We arrive at Bruce & Jo's Mundrabilla Roadhouse a bit early as Bruce is still in bed. Jo has to call him down to the kitchen to get us fuelled and fed.
All done, we roll onto the lookout at Madura Pass for more photo's, and then to Cocklebiddy for fuel. Again the weather is kind, but temperature is starting to warm up again.
Out of there and onto Caiguna for a splash of fuel and then to Balladonia for an early lunch.
Arriving at Norseman, it was only 1.30pm so the decision was to ride on to Widgiemooltha for a 3.00pm drink and then onto Coolgardie for the night.
Stefan decided to head for Perth, and left with Neville and Springer in tow.
We were hoping we could convince the girls to do the same and continue on to Perth, earning ourselves an "Iron-Butt" award in the process, but it wasn't to be.
They were steadfast and it was Coolgardie or Death.
Tea that night at the Denver Hotel was a pretty ordinary affair, but it was tasty and quite edible.
Discussions were held on our departure time in the morning. I suggested 5.00am because the sun comes up very early out here, but the girls over-ruled and the decision was 6.30am.
Thursday 11/11 The sun was up when I walked outside at 4.15am.
Hmmm, oh well, maybe next time we'll leave early ..
Everybody was up and around at 5.00am so we left at 6.00am, under brilliant sunshine, although the report was for rain in Perth. That was something to look forward to I suppose.
Coolgardie to Southern Cross is a bloody boring road, and it's good to get it out of the way early. We stopped at the Cross for fuel and breakfast, and then on to Merredin and to Kellerberrin for fuel.
The sun was still shining, but the clouds were building in the distance, so we motored along until El Caballo before we stopped for the last time for fuel.
The original plan was The Lakes, but as it had started to rain, and we could see more in the distance, we decided to stop for fuel and wets and also to say our good-byes.
Doc, Loraine and Agony decided on another coffee stop, whilst Dom, Lorraine, Benny Bev, Luigi and myself decided to hit the road and head for home.
The run down the hill is always a good feeling after a big trip and you feel good knowing that you've made it home, safe and sound.
With all the drama's we have had this time with the failures, I think some of the group are considering a different bred of motorcycle for any future runs.
Personally, I think these problems are a good test of people's patience and ingenuity.
But Tasmania was still beautiful and regardless of the problems we encountered, I still thoroughly enjoyed the island, and I'd still be tempted to go back again for another look.
But next time, maybe I'd do it in a car . with a heater and wipers on the windscreen.
And remember the speed camera ??
Yeap, So far only Benny, Bev and Springer have received the speeding tickets. The rest of us are still waiting for them to arrive in the post.
I hope you enjoyed the read, because we enjoyed the experience .
That's it Nulla-Noos-16.
Until the next edition, safe riding and look out for motorcycles.