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News from down under.

Honda V-Twin Adventurers
October-November 2000

Hi all,

Well have I got some stories for you all , as those on the club email list have heard my trip to the Kimberley's didn't go as planned, in fact I didn't even make it out of NSW. Below is a copy of the message I sent to the club email list;

"well I just thought I would let you all know that my big trip is over before it really started. About 60km out of Broken Hill I just happened to look down and there was oil all over my boot so I pulled over. There was oil all over the bike (heaps) and the engine has a good rattle in it. Rob rode into Broken Hill and got NRMA to come out and get me. To cut a long story short the engine has to come out of the bike and come apart to check for damage so NRMA plus are trucking the bike back to Sydney and I got a hire car and drove home. As you can imagine I'm not to happy at the moment and I'm not real interested in bloody motorbikes !!!!!!. As it stands at the moment I will be starting back at work on the 11th September, unfortunately I cant start any earlier than that as they have employed someone to replace me on a contract and they cant break it, at least I will be saving 3 weeks of long service. So what am I to do, I will probably hire a car and go up to Nimbin/Byron bay and sit on the beach have a few cones and contemplate my navel for a couple of weeks. My bike will be back in Sydney in about 2 weeks and I will have to get it pulled apart and see what the damage is etc. I'm not sure if I will fix it or just sell it as is. I guess the worst thing is that as you all know I'm pretty free with spending money on the bike and anal about maintenance and after spending the best part of $2500 on the engine getting ready for this trip it still fucked up. Unfortunately this has happened to me before when I did a Transalp rebuild and then 20,000km later something else stuffed up and I had to pull the engine apart again. Maybe your not meant to rebuild bikes or maybe I just give the buggers an extra hard time."

As you can see I wasn't a happy chappy and was seriously considering giving the whole thing away. I got lots of messages of support and quite a few kicks up the backside about spitting my dummy. Anyway I had basically settled down and started to cheer up when my bike arrived back in Sydney and things got interesting again. Here's another email I sent to the list;

"Well your not going to believe this !!!!!. My AT arrived in Sydney on Tuesday, 10 days earlier than the NRMA told me to expect it. Well in about 2 hours my mechanic has fixed it AAAAHHHHH !!!!!. It seems the rocker cover on the rear cylinder had come loose (bolts fell out)and that was where the oil and noise was coming from. It seems that the mechanic in Broken Hill would have picked it up with a bit more investigation. He had a look at the oil everywhere and heard the rattle from the engine and said it was dead. In fairness to him I thought the same as the rattle coming from the engine was very loud and certainly sounded like a death rattle but I've got the mechanical aptitude of an chimp. Well you may be expecting me to spit my dummy again(your right Nigel) but I'm quite jolly, I've come to the conclusion that the gods didn't want this trip to happen and I'm taking a very philosophical outlook to all this now I've got over my initial sulking. PS thanks to all those who sent commiserations or offered bikes or slapped me around the head via email , I really do appreciate having lots of friends out there."

So what did I do I hear you all ask ??, well by the time the bike arrived and it was fixed it was to late to head for the Kimberley's so I headed north to Byron and Nimbin for a week , then went out to Narrabri for a few days. I went to the TTT rally, spent some time in Wagga and then went south to the Dargo High plains Rally so I kept reasonably busy and the Kimberley's will still be there in a few years.

Africa Twin Owners Beware
When I was pulling the AT apart to fix it we found something that other AT owners should check out. The AT has a fuel tap on each side of the tank, the right fuel line runs around the front of the engine to the fuel pump on the left hand side. My fuel line was perished and melted even though it runs inside a metal spring. The line fell apart when we touched it !!. So if I had made the whole trip I might have ended up out of fuel somewhere or maybe even in a ball of flame, so I guess the gods really didn't want me to go on my trip. Africa twin owners should have a good look at your fuel lines, mine now has stainless braided fuel lines !!!.

Africa Twin / /Varadero Tankbag for sale
I recently got a pile of goodies from Germany , unfortunately they cocked up and sent me 2 tankkbags instead of 1. The tankbag is for an Africa Twin or Varadero. If anyone is interested, $160 and its yours !!!. Drop me a line if you would like some more info … 25 litre main compartment, can be reduced … 2 small side pockets … 1 large map pocket: 26x29cm Detachable map pocket …Two rear quick release buckles …Two front aluminium hooks … Carrying handle

Varadero Suspension Woes continued !!!!
Well the saga continues, as you will remember, Mac's Dero broke its rear suspension linkage on the Silver city hwy and the linkages on Rob's Dero were very wonky after he got back from the Corner. Honda has totally refused to cover Mac's bike under warranty, they took the linkage away for a metallurgical inspection and said he had abused the bike and then promptly lost the linkages when mac wanted them back for an independent study. Its funny when Mac only rode the bike on public roads, after considering legal action Mac has now gone through his insurance. Rob complained about his linkages and Honda has replaced them at no cost, not under warranty (admitting no liability) but because they just want to look at them. Sounds fishy huh !! So if you've got a Dero and you do a lot of dirt check those linkages and its probably worth getting your rear shock made a bit stiffer. Terry hay in Sydney has done a few and the results are amazing. About $400 will get a huge improvement to both ends.

Transalp manual
There is a master template for a transalp workshop manual doing the rounds of the club. If you would like to use the master template to copy a manual for yourself, Andrew Korr (03 9278 4343) or Trevor Cheney (02 4423 0729) should be able to tell you how to get hold of it.

Transalp bashplate and fairing/crash bars
Paul Dandy from Victoria has sourced a bloke in Melbourne to manufacture some alloy bashplates and steel crashbars. Costs seem to be ~$300 for crashbars and ~$200 for bashplates -may be cheaper if we do volume. If you are interested contact Paul for details on 03 5141 1935

Blasting to the Kimberley's by Russell Venn
Why don't we go to Broome? It seemed like a good idea coming from my friend Trevor. We had done quite a few trips together over the years , rallies such as Alpine, Worlds End, TTT and Dargo as well as trips to Innamincka and other semi outback destinations. These trips were on road bikes and what with pressures of work, family, mortgage, etc we hadn't been much further than Philip Island in recent years. We both organised 5-6 weeks off work and both decided that we should buy extra bikes for the trip. We both went looking for something that would be comfortable and able to handle some long off road stretches. I ended up getting a TA and Trevor decided on a four year old R1100GS.

The design parameters were pretty simple:
travel on the Oodnadatta Track, the Tanami Track and the Gibb River Road, spend some time in Broome, be equipped to camp when and where we wanted, have no mechanical problems, eat and drink well. We were told all sorts of stories about the horrors of the Tanami and the absence of fuel supplies. Both the bikes were set up to carry an extra 20 litres of fuel in jerry cans. The BM never needed any of it. The Honda ran short on a couple of stretches, especially when there were head winds , so it was handy to be able to carry 5 litres. On the Tanami though, we got fuel at four places between Alice Springs and Halls Creek , Tilmouth, Yuendumu, Rabbit Flat and Billiluna. The other major preparation we both made was extra luggage racks. To accommodate my 500mm wide rack I made up a solo seat to replace the standard item. It is wider, higher and softer than the original and is based on a KLR650 seat bought at the wreckers. The GS wore standard Michelin radials and I put a Michelin Desert on the front of the TA and a Michelin Sirac on the rear.

We set off from Horsham in the first week of July. It was still school holidays and there were a lot of 4WDs heading south as we got up near Maree. Travelling was fantastic: the country was looking great and the bikes were going beyond expectations. We had done a shakedown trip to the Snowy Mountains, McKillops Bridge, Hotham, etc at Christmas but this was the first time we had really loaded the bikes up. The most common question the tintops were asking was , how do you handle the corrugations?. They were the least of our worries. By doing 80-90 we were going straight over the top - as most readers would know. Went to the Alice Springs show and spent two nights on the Tanami where we met a bloke from Sydney on a KLR, two Belgians on Teneres and a DR 250 Suzuki from Broome. He was in the final stage of a 6 week trip down to Perth, Melbourne, Broken Hill, Alice Springs. He was rapt in the 250.

The only bikes we saw on dirt from then on were on the backs of trailers. We were on the Gibb River Road a week or so before the Off Centre Rally people got to Mornington Station. From Kununurra we decided to go to Darwin on the bitumen. My tyres were just about stuffed so got some more. Not much to choose from in my size rear in Darwin. We had not had any trouble at all with tyres, though both our backs were fairly cracked in the treads from the rocks and corrugations. Headed down to Daly Waters and Borroloola. The Daly Waters pub is a great night. The Barra and Beef is a fantastic meal and the entertainment and general atmosphere very easy to take. It was all the nicer because our meals and drinks for the night were paid for by a road making crew that had splashed a mix of kero and tar all over the fronts of us and our bikes. Spent a couple of days in Longreach where Trevor replaced his tyres. He had arranged it from a phone booth at the Heartbreak Hotel at Cape Crawford. We were pretty sceptical, but sure enough when we fronted at the bike shop in Longreach on Monday morning the mail truck was just pulling in with two Michelins from Brisbane. After camping near Emerald we put in a long day and got into Brisbane to stay with a friend, then headed down the bloody awful Gold Coast Highway before turning inland and having a real hoot riding through the mountains, through Nimbin ń where the hippies didn't know what to make of a couple of old farts on loaded down motorcycles still covered in tar ń and ended up in Byron Bay. I was keen to ride east over the divide from Port Macquarie. It was a longer day than we thought and we arrived cold and wet in the dark at Bendemeer. The last leg was down through Dubbo, etc, ending up between Benalla and Shepparton at Trevor's place. We were on the road for 32 nights and travelled about 13,500 km. Both bikes went over in the Pentecost River (on different days and in different places) and the GS went down in some deep sand an the Tanami and fell off its side stand and smashed a mirror while parked in a little town in central Queensland.

We bush camped 14 nights, caravan park camped 11, at friends places 5 and in pubs for 2 (the last 2). Most of the trip south from Darwin was on bitumen. We didn't go out of our way to find or avoid dirt. We achieved all our aims. There was not one bad day or bad camp. We had met lots of travellers and lots of locals who were all friendly and helpful , lots of women wanted to do our dishes and even bring cups of tea to the tent in the mornings. From the heat and dust of the Kimberley's to the cold and sleet of Walcha you had to ask yourself , Why arrant we doing this all the time !!!

TTT Rally by Jason Veale (Jason is from my touring club and this was his 1st dirt weekend) Thrasher's Terrifying Track wasn't exactly spare pants territory but there were some fairly hairy sections. Mike T(borrowed Transalp), Alan(900 Elephant), Greg(AT), Tom(Transalp), Spitzy(Varadero), Emma and I(R1100GS) met at the Casula Caltex (formerly Ampol) at 9.00am. Emma and I were there courtesy of Paul Hopkins who lent us the GS for the occasion. I was trying to sell the XJ and I didn't feel like explaining the caked on mud, port stains and explosion marks to potential buyers. Although the GS could be called a half-chook, there were only long distance chooks in the rest of the group. The freeway to Mittagong was completely boring and served only to enhance the contrast with the rest of the day's riding. We all stocked up on port (no pre-rally losses this time) and petrol and met Jim on his AT and Graham on the XLV750 .

We made it to the lookout to drop tyre pressures for the upcoming dirt to Wombeyan Caves. For those of you who haven't done it, this road is reasonable sandy, gravel dirt surface switching back on itself a billion times down to the causeway on the Wollondilly River and then up to the Wombeyan Caves. I can see why the cars go the long way around. But it was a lot of fun and I am told the view was good. It was a good lesson in throttle control and looking through corners. Thanks must go to Spitzy for helping us through this section. I haven't been to the Caves since I was very small but we just fuelled up on junk food at the kiosk and didn't look around so someone else will have to go back for a proper description of the actual Caves.

Some nice tar twisties took us up to the ridge line where we met a group of people on posties going in to the rally. These light bikes that you can pick up when it gets gloopy were probably one of the best options for the TTT. They were accompanied by a chick on a GSX250 with a dog in the tank bag who would show its disdain of the riders abilities by jumping out when the speed got too low. The fire trail across to the descent into the site was fairly fast with a few potholes and several interesting ruts that wanted to show you a part ofthe track you hadn't planned on seeing but it were luxury by comparison with the track into the site. You have to remember that I was two up on an unfamiliar and heavy bike that was better for hard packed outback dirt than slippery forest fire trails - and I haven't done much dirt. Mike and Greg's account would be: got there, had some fun around the fire, heard explosions and went home. Rode fast allthe way. So I am going into a little more detail and giving you my own view.

I had an almost dummy spit about halfway down when I couldn't get the front end to behave and promptly forgot all the things I had learnt about dirtriding. So Emma went with Greg and to their credit, he and Mike coaxed me down to the top of the hill of death to the point where I actually started to enjoy it. At this point Spitzy was workshopping dirt riding on a Guzzi with a woman who had come off on a particularly difficult corner and had decided to giveit up and go home. Her husband came along and she got in eventually. Mike had made it down this very slippery section with negative camber, Greg had gotten the back end out (photo to prove it) but didn't go down, and Jim had binned it but was smiling anyway. Tom finished the weekend with the telltale mud but I didn't see a crash. Alan had tractor tyres on the Elephant so he had no problem getting in. Check out the knobbies when younext get near the bike. Spitzy and I were escorted down using the clutch as a brake and we all made into the site without further incident. It had been a mentally andphysically draining few kms and we had to coax Rob off the Varadero (Ialways think of the Canyonero in the Simpsons when I hear that name) but the happy spirit of the rally soon got us in the mood.

Thrasher turned out to be a great guy, fairly eccentric and amazingly gregarious, just the sort of character that makes motorcycling so interesting. After all the warnings I thought the port was really good but perhaps it was a combination of the cold and my simple palette. The site was a new one apparently, on a bit of a slope but right in the middle of the beautiful bush of that part of the Range. As is the trend, the average age was high and bikes were a mix of really old and really new.

Back to the TTT, the explosions were very bloody loud, although they had been louder in some previous years. Of course they were. Thrasher said when he has nothing better to do he likes to explosion so the shock floods over him. Like I said, eccentric. I managed to keep a lid on the heavy drinking this time so there were no major events throughout the evening. Jim decided to tease a guy called Nanna who was blind drunk from about 5 in the afternoon, which provided substantial mirth.

We rode back the way we had come. We pushed the bikes up the same hill. Mike and Greg rode the 'dero and GS respectively, but even they will tell you the hill was buggered at that point. No incidents on the way home, returning whence we came. I even started to the hang of the mud on the way back up the hill. Mike decided that perhaps the back end of the Transalp could hide some of the scratches up the front so tried to ride arse first for a while. Other than this it was a pleasant run home. All in all a fun event and something I recommend to everyone. Its a cliche when you're home from a ride , but you've got to test your self every now and then.

Dargo High Plains rally

Jim(AT), myself(AT), Tom(Transalp), Craig(NX650) and Dave(a Canadian tourist on an XT600) came from all different ways and met at the Nimmatabel pub on Friday night . It was an early night for some but Jim and Dave had a big one and after the bar closed were drinking Wild Turkeys in the corridr at 1am !!!.

We heaed out about 8am on Saturday and had a fuel stop at Bombala, then it was onto the dirt and McKillops bridge over the snowy. As last year we all enjoyed the ride and the stunning scenery. This time we turned south on the Barry Way for Buchan, Bruthen and Bairnsdale befor turning up the Dargo Rd. We gpt rained on pretty heavily on this road but the sun came out again close to Dargo. Andy Korr and his Trannie were waiting for us outside the pub. After a few refreshing Ale's and shopping for supplies it was down to the rally. The track in was a little bit slippery but it never fails to take my breath away and bring a smile to my face with the great views. A couple of other V_Twinners were already at the rally, Glen Syrett(XLV owner but onhis R1100GS) from Melbourne and Trevor Cheney(Transalp) from Nowra. It was certainly good to catch up and many of our adventures from the Camerons Corner meeting were retold and enjoyed all over again.

Sunday dawned and Jim, Tom and I headed out early as were riding the 900km home to Sydney in one hit. Jim was getting a dose of the flu but otherwise the run home was quite fun apart from some clenched bums when we passed and cop WRX near Orbost and 3 XR8's between Nowra and Ulladulla. A great weekend again, see you there next year.

A great ride by Steve Green
At 8am on Saturday 6/11/99, myself and 4 friends left Tumut heading for Cooma for a 3 day ride. We were going to meet up with another 2 frinds on their bikes. We were on an XLV750, Honda NX650, Yam XTZ660 , and 2 Suzi DR650's. A 4WD carried all our gear.

We arrived at Cooma half wet from rain, we were greeted by our friends and before long we were heading out of Cooma towards the coast. We turned of the main road about 20km before Ando and went down through a ver spectacular valley with its winding , sandy road--heaps of fun !! The organiser from Queanbeyan (Willy) had a map that did not show us all of the smaller roads so mwe had a few wrong turns, but no worries as we got where we were going but a bit later. At one stage on the ride we had gone on a very sandyrough track which had gone into a dead end, Willy wasn't very popular but the ride was still fun.

We camped in Croajingolong national park at Wingan Inlet on the first night. It rained just when we were cooking tea, so there was a mad rush getting everything under cover with 7 people it diddn't take long. Bill had a good idea, the tarp was filling up with water, so he put a tent pole in the middle. It worked well, and was tied to a fold up table next to my swag. In the middle of the night a very strong wind came up and knocked the table over, I was covered with plates, knives, forks, and a gaslight!!. The noise woke some of the others but being good mates no one came to see if I was OK.

The next days ride was great, the roads were great and the views were even better, I saw some of the biggest tree ferns I have ever seen, 5 metres I guess, and lots of birds everywhere. After lunch and fuel at Cann river we headed west for 20km to Club Terrace and followed a windy road up a baeutifull valley. The road got a bit sandy but halfway up a mountain I saw the tallest and straightest mountain ash trees. The ride through the Snowy River national park was a hoot, with rock ledges and spectacular views. The last night we camped near Tubbut which was about 30km nth of McKillops Bridge over the Snowy River, now thats a well made bridge !!!.

The last day was very wet but still fun. We stopped on the Vic/NSW border for lunch, the next stop was Wallace Craigie lookout on the way to Jindabyne for more great views. We fuelled up at Jindabyne and said goodbye to our friends from Queenbeyan. As we got closer to Tumut the temperature rose, it was good to be home. The shower was great !!!.

All in all that was one of the best rides I have ever been on !!!!!

Coming Events
28-29 October--Meeting in Tibooburra the "Oz Adventure Touring" email list is having a gettogether at Tibooburra in the far NW corner of NSW on the Halloween (and Phillip Island GP) weekend, 28-29 October. All Adventure tourers are welcome no matter what type of bike you ride. Last year there were almost 30 Adventure tourers in attendance and this year we hope for more. There is not much organisation, riders just turn up on friday and saturday and have a great night of eating drinking and swapping stories. For accomodation in town there are 2 pubs, 2 motels, a caravan park and free campsite. Jim and I are heading the Africa twins out there, we just cant get enough of the desert !!!. drop me a line if you want to join us.

Sunday 12th November--Sydney Day Ride,Newnes and the Lost CityThis is a fun dayride to see the stunning rock formations of the "Lost City" and the ruins of the old shale oil mining village of Newnes.The ride is from Windsor up Bells road to the Zig Zag railway. From the Zig Zag its onto the dirt and via Bungleboori camping area and Blackfellows Hand trail to the main Newnes dirt road. On this section there is a good detour to check out the rock formations of the Lost City". NOTE- You will need to bring a picnic lunch and some drinks as there is nothing available at Newnes. Meeting--9am for a 9.30 leave at the Mobil Servo on Windsor rd at McGraths Hill

The Folllowing are rallies for next year that would be great to ride to and meet other V-Twinners. So keep the weekends free !!!!! More details as they approach

Karuah River Rally--10-11 Febuary 2001
A great rally in the Barrington Tops, 300km nth of Sydney. Great windy tar roads, some easy dirt and a great campsite in the forest with a creek to swim in are some of the reasons to come along

Cold Flame Rally: --10-11th March 2001
This rally is in a stunningly scenic area of the Snowy mountains and would be great for Vic and NSW members to meet. At the junction of the Snowy and Pinch rivers on the Barry Way (the Barry Way runs from Buchan in Vic to Jindabyne in NSW) 65km south of Jindabyne and 15km North of the Victorian border. BYO everything (water available from the river, firewood can be collected around the site) . If one of our Vic members wants to volunteer to leed a group to the rally that would be great !!! let me know.

Outback gathering 2002 !!!!
I was thinking of having our next big outback gathering around August 2002 at Arkaroola. Arkaroola is in the northern Flinders ranges in SA and is a private conservation sanctuary. Arkaroola has camping, bunkhouse accomadation and motel rooms so there is something for everyone including those that dont like camping. There are many great rides around the area and also some great organised 4WD trips. Arkaroola also has a good bar and meals are available as well as a general store to buy your own supplies, petrol is also available.
What do you all think ???


In August 2002 is the next "Offcentre Rally" at Urandangie in outback Qld. I was thinking we could have our meeting at Arkaroola the weekend before the "Offcentre" and then those that wanted to (Me, Me, me) could leave our meeting and head up the Birdsville track to the "Offcentre". LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK PLEASE, DROP ME AN EMAIL, LETTER OR PHONE.

I'm sure it gets better from here !!!!!!

Greg Aldis
Sydney Australia
Honda XRV 750 Africa Twin
61 2 9399-5285(H)
61 2 9385-2094(W)

Honda V-Twin Adventurers