Checking the Boundary Fence

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Easter Shake-Down

Easter was the first chance we had to test out the gear we've been purchasing and bolting to the bikes. Only the two KTM's made the trip thanks to the late delivery of the BMW and a driveway(!).

Story by Jason.

Day 1 - Jason from Brisbane to Narrabri

Not a lot of excitement on day 1 after an early start. The rain gear went on from the get go as I left Brisbane, which was to become the norm for the entire trip. Warwick and Inglewood presented little more than a blind ute driver trying to take me out after not looking before changing lanes.

The UHF was running red hot with people spotting radars, and at one stage I was expecting to see a torrent of oil after a number of truckies warned each other of the pending disaster. The oil slick was nothing out of the ordinary and was dispatched without incident.

By the time I hit Gundy I was over highway travelling for the day. Time to hit the dirt. After a quick Subway lunch I did just that, west of Goondiwindi out towards Boomi.

A quick patch job was required to the water container at Dogelly Bore after it had started to rub against the footpeg. Another few hundred km's and it would have had a hole in it. This stint saw me pass through Garah, Ashley and into Moree for fuel.

This was the view on the back road between Moree and Narrabri looking towards Waa Gorge. It was a great ride through this area, except for a small detour through around 6 gates, only to find the road stopped and I had to return through all 6 gates again.

So far the Autocom teamed up with a walkman were pumping out the tunes thick and fast. It was a great run from here right through to Korey's farm south east of Narrabri.

I spent what was left of the afternoon helping with the cotton picking effort on Korey's farm, then working with Korey until about 1am drinking his bourbon, losing bolts off his bike and working out how to strap everything down.

Total Distance Covered Day 1: 700km
Day 2 - Jason and Korey from Narrabri to Penrith(!)

Little did we know it, but today was going to involve broken Autocom bits, bad pies, street markets, rain, slippery clay roads, a plane, wine and speed festival, nowhere to stay and more rain.

The Autocom button that activates the UHF lasted about 5 pushes before it gave up the ghost on my bike. We hadn't even hit Narrabri at this stage. After a bit of playing around we were back on the road after almost 2hrs.

The first pic on the left is the first bit of dirt for the day, which was an 80km run to Baradine through the Pilliga scrub. This section was a blast, except for a couple of overshot corners after the ABS refused to bring the 990 to a stop at full steam. Mental note: remember to turn the ABS off when taking to the dirt.

The second pic on the left heralded the start of some serious rain, just outside Dunedoo.

Rain gear is so sexy! Korey is seen here modelling his rain gear for the cows and a lone 4x4.

By the time this photo was taken near Lithgow we'd slid off a clay road in what was best described as synchronised dancing, got absolutely saturated and scoffed down a couple of Mars bars in Mudgee to keep us on the boil.

Our original plan was to stay in Mudgee but they just happened to have their Easter show on which had booked out the whole town. By now we had decided to take the soft option of a motel so we could warm up and dry out. We've both camped in the wet and were not keen in having another go at it..

We pressed on to Lithgow and after finding nothing of interest set out for Katoomba. Riding into Katoomba with a tinted helmet lense, at night in the rain was a rather interesting experience we don't wish to repeat. Katoomba resulted in another string of booked out motels.

We hid out in the K-Mart carpark at Katoomba trying to work out what to do next. It was still pouring down rain and the night was getting on. We added a layer to our clothing as it was getting quite cold at this point. The tinted visors were also ditched in favour of a clear visor for me and goggles for Korey.

We consulted the map and decided that going back the way we came towards Bathurst was out, so we went in the only other direction towards Sydney. Our theory? At the very worst we'd end up in Sydney City looking for a motel!

The theory paid off, by 9pm that night we had found a room at Penrith in a motel that was supposedly booked out. The 5 cars in the carpark made us think otherwise, but we didn't care, we were warm and dry.

Total Distance Covered Day 2: 650km
Day 3 - Jason and Korey from Penrith to Narrabri

Morning broke with some sunlight poking through the clouds. This pic is of the 'booked out' motel. It looks like the carpark of a booked out motel, right?

We packed up and got on the road by about 8:30. We trundled through the never ending array of traffic lights and suburban sprawl until we had finally escaped back into the bush just south of Lithgow.

By lunch we'd knocked off Bathurst, Sofala and had landed in Rylstone for some awesome crumbed cutlets and chicken schnitzel at the local pub. We also learned that the pub had plenty of rooms the night before, and was only about 50km's out of Mudgee...

We were tempted to just sit back and knock down another 10 beers each, stay the night and push on from there the next morning. Unfortunately that left me with too far to go in a single day if I had any hope of making Brisbane.

The next 3 hours of riding out of Rylstone was magic. We passed through Bylong, Merriwa and finished this stint at Willow Tree. The roads were fast, smooth and were too much fun on the big 990's.

We worked out the range on the UHF's were more then adequate to ensure we could still hear each other but remain out of the dust. We had also learned that we needed to switch the UHF's to their medium setting as they were chewing through the batteries.

At Merriwa we bumped into a couple who we had seen in Mudgee the afternoon before. They had covered the grand total of around 130km. They were shocked to find we'd covered around 400km since we saw them last.

We eventually pushed through to Quirindi, where we were planning on camping the night. We checked the weather radar and noted a rather large storm heading our way. The camping idea vanished, and was replaced with the idea of pushing on back to Korey's farm, with the promise of a warm bed and more bourbon...

By 8pm we were back at Korey's house, drying out and knocking back the bourbons.

Total Distance Covered Day 3: 650km
Day 4 - Jason from Narrabri to Brisbane

The final day saw me on a solo run back to Brisbane. I woke up a few times during the night and could hear the rain belting down. Morning brought more rain - this was starting to get predictable.

I took off nice and early and ploughed through some great storms. I passed through Moree, although I didn't really see it for the rain. It continued through to Goondiwindi where the rain mysteriously abated. Did anyone say 'The Sunshine State?'

I attempted to help a lady and her daughter with a flat tyre, but their spare was also punctured so they were destined to spend Easter Monday in Goondiwindi until they could get their tyre fixed.

The dry weather was short lived, and by the time I had pulled into Toowoomba it was foggy and raining heavily. KFC was in order.

I passed a number of accidents on the way home between Toowoomba and Brisbane, one of which I learned later that night was fatal. The rain continued to pour down, with the last hour been particularly heavy.

For the first time in the whole trip I had ended my ride in the daylight hours, safely home to more cold bourbons.

It was a fantastic 4 days which threw everything at us. The KTM's were faultless, with the only issues being easily fixed. We also checked how waterproof our gear was too - let's hope that's the first and last time we have to do that!

Total Distance Covered Day 4: 600km