View Full Version : Tri-State ride (old and long)

22-03-2006, 04:43 PM
OK, this was a little over five years ago, but hey! I still have the bike. ;D
The Tri State Netride Report. Mike O'Connor and John Lamp. Melb-Bris-Melb Dec 2000
GORider left Torquay about 8.30, I left Brunswick a little later, and we met up at the servo on the Ring Road.

Transport stage along Ring Road . Off the ring road up through Diamond creek to St Andrews, and a brief stop to inspect the world's strangest phone tower, badly disguised as a tree!. http://lamp.man.deakin.edu.au/riding/Qld/wtrip01.jpg The run up to Kinglake was everything you expect from the StAndrews-Kinglake road. A tight climbing road with no margin for error and some nasty drops. The usual sphincter tightening moments when meeting oncoming traffic confirmed once again that this is a road that can be enjoyed at moderate speed, but can turn nasty if you try to push it.. Nice fast run across to the Melba Hwy, and up to Yea. The transport stage to Mansfield was uneventful, with a short stop there for breakfast.

Mansfield to Whitfield took in the fast sweepers of the climb. We passed a gaggle of ancient bikes, mostly Harleys, going the other way. One rider was riding sidesaddle, I can only assume he had bump started his elderly machine, and was biding his time before swinging his leg over. The dirt at Tolmie was a bit rugged. Some smooth dirt, but lots of gravel patches, both rough and fine. I know it's supposed to be easy to ride on loose dirt, but I still can't relax when my front wheel wants to slip sideways. (update: the dirt section was sealed a couple of years back)
After the dirt was the descent into Whitfield. 21 k of tight mountain corners and fast forest sweepers. Need to stay alert, as the transition from one to the other can be abrupt, and the spectacular drops to the valley below don't look suitable for road machines. Whitfield to Milawa was a nice run down the King Valley. 40 k of good fast sweepers, but the police at the various small stations on the road prefer something closer to legal speeds.
Lunch at Milawa. The Cheese factory had transformed since my last visit from a cosy little shop with a wire screen door to a glitzy outlet with a licensed cafe, serving all sorts of trendoid foods. They still have the magnificent cheese platters, though, and one shared between two was a more than adequate lunch.
Then followed an enjoyable ride through the back-blocks of the North East via Beechworth to Wodonga. It was on this stretch that the Beemer began to display some disconcerting behaviour, faltering under load. Stopped at Wodonga and cleaned out the carbie bowls. The bike seemed to be going OK, then stopped altogether about 200 meters later. It seems that after you put the carbie bowls back on, you have to turn the fuel taps back on…. Shit! This lesson was to be repeated a couple of times before it sank in. Lost GORider, who continued on a bit, then turned back. We must have passed on the causeway. Stopped and waited, left a message on his phone, and eventually we found one another again. Wodonga to Wagga Wagga. Refreshment stop at the Ettamoggah pub. http://lamp.man.deakin.edu.au/riding/Qld/wtrip02.jpg Wall to wall bad taste, but the drinks (Lemon lime and bitters!) were cold. Onto the Olympic Highway, and the Beemer was playing up again. Wouldn't go over about 100. We pressed on, and limped into Wagga (doing the last 25k at less than 80) convinced that a diaphragm had torn. All the symptoms seemed right, and the problem had gotten progressively worse. It felt like the tear was getting bigger. Found accommodation at the William Farrer (? or some pioneering bloke) Hotel in Wagga. It was simply the first pub we saw with accommodation available. Took the $55 “twin room with breakfast” deal. In the bar, we got talking to a lady who turned out to be touring on a BMW F650. A short drinks session revealed that (among other things) she was an I.S. person from Adelaide Uni, and the only member of her School not attending the conference I was heading for in Brisbane. Small world. Publican locked the bikes up in the beer garden overnight. Nice breakfast. The screws in the carbie tops wouldn't budge, and I wasn't prepared to destroy them in a pub car park, so we decided to visit a local bike shop in the morning.

Day Two: In the morning, the bike ran sweetly on the way down to the local Yamaha dealer. He provided replacement fuel filters, and we checked the carbies again, finding a big black thing in a main jet. Problem solved?

Off up the Olympic Hwy to Junee, and on through Cootamundra, Young and Cowra, the bike ran well, and the roads were quiet, but a bit boring. The temperature was climbing. Just past Cowra, it started faltering again, then stopped altogether. Pulled up outside the Military Museum, and waited for John to notice I wasn't there any more and come back. Another clean out of the Carbie bowls and main jets revealed more black gunk.
Could it have been a bad lot of fuel? I had tried my first dose of LRP just before leaving Melbourne. Bike ran well again until we approached Bathurst, when it started misfiring and faltering again. Limped around Mt Panorama and into Bathurst for lunch. If you haven't ridden around Mt Panorama, do it some time. You really don’t get a good idea of the scale and layout of the circuit from the telly. The hills are much steeper than they look on the box. The S bends coming down from the top look especially scary: I would be nervous negotiating that stretch at 70, much less the speeds used by race riders/drivers. A good look at the concrete walls that line the track is a further incentive to moderate speed. http://lamp.man.deakin.edu.au/riding/Qld/wtrip04.jpg
After lunch in Bathurst, I decided the misfiring might be caused by the original looking HT leads on the '79 Beemer. This seemed easier to check than the after-market electronic ignition. A quick scout of auto shops failed to produce suitable replacements, so I dropped into a Suzuki dealer, and after chatting with a mechanic, I took the tank off and had a look at the electronic ignition components. Found nothing very loose, but cleaned and tightened all the connectors, and the bike seemed to run well. Off up the Western Hwy to Lithgow, then down through Bell's line of road to Windsor and Wiseman's Ferry. I hadn't heard of Bells line of road until I started planning this trip. I can see why you folk in Sydney keep quiet about it. Wouldn't want it to get crowded.

At Wiseman's Ferry we met up with Pisshead Pete, had a beer or two (or three) then set out to follow the Road Toad (Pete's magnificent HD Road King Trike) back to his place near Wyong. There was a short delay while GORider dropped his bike for the first (but alas, not the last) time on this trip. To be fair, it wasn't the beer in his belly that did it. It was the dip in the ground outside the pub. Picture GORider, on tippy toes, manoeuvring his Kwaka GTS1000 backwards, and suddenly finding the bike stationery, with a hole where each of his toes should be touching the ground. I must say... for a stationery drop, it was quite a spectacular slow motion event. I especially liked the way GORider rolled along the ground to avoid being squished. Well done that lad! No real damage to man or machine, so we set off behind Pete. Found out where his nickname comes from. We had to wait while Pete stopped for a leak.
Got to Pete's, and Pete did a pub run on the Road Toad, Handy the way it can double as a ute! My recollection of the rest of that evening is a little hazy, but it was a Champion do, and one of my last memories of the evening was GORider in mother hen mode, trying to talk me into sleeping on a bed, rather than the floor. I won't say we were in a bad way, but GORider now knows the true meaning of the expression “under the table.” At some stage, Pete's mate Steve (Marauder 750(?)) rang up, found we were heading for Brissie and points north, and resolved to join us. Steve woke us up at some ungodly hour the next morning.
Day three: 5/12/2000. After re-torquing the heads on the Beemer (a scheduled event, the barrels had been off a few days earlier to cure an oil leak, and it needed retorquing after 1000k... doesn't everyone carry a torque wrench on tour?) http://lamp.man.deakin.edu.au/riding/Qld/wtrip05.jpg and checking the Carbies again, http://lamp.man.deakin.edu.au/riding/Qld/wtrip06.jpg we set off for Port Macquarie and maybe the Oxley. Just short of Newcastle, the Beemer started playing up again. I was getting truly jack of it by now. Faltering under load, backfiring losing power and the tacho needle was doing a crazy dancethat had little connection with actual engine speed. Since it is an electronic tacho that takes a signal from the coil, suspicion fell once again on the electronic ignition. Stopped by the freeway, whipped off the tank (getting good at that now) and fiddled with the wires again..... what else can you do with a sealed electronic ignition unit. http://lamp.man.deakin.edu.au/riding/Qld/wtrip07.jpg
Bike ran OK again, so we headed for Newcastle to find a BMW dealer to chase down the problem.
Don't remember the name of the dealer, but he spent the best part of anhour going over the coils and stuff to check what he could. http://lamp.man.deakin.edu.au/riding/Qld/wtrip08.jpg The ignition unit is an after market item installed by a previous owner, so there was not a lot he could do. Didn't charge, because he couldn't find anything wrong. With hope in our hearts, and not enough of the day left to even think about the Oxley, we headed for Port Macquarie and the first caravan park we could find. http://lamp.man.deakin.edu.au/riding/Qld/pic011.jpg.
Taking the first Caravan park turned out to be not a good idea. After Pete had done the pub run for a slab, and we had part demolished it, we started thinking about food, and found we were way out of town, and not fit to ride. A few phone calls to local eateries and the local taxi service revealed that there might still be a pizza place open, so GORider and I spent an inordinate amount of our hard-earned on a taxi that took us to..... Pizza Haven. You know, the ones that deliver, and have a nice easy to remember national number.... D'oh!
Four blokes in a four-berth cabin is not so bad, after a Pizza and a slab. It can be a real bastard trying to get Pete out of bed. http://lamp.man.deakin.edu.au/riding/Qld/pic010.jpg
Day four: Since the Beemer had been running well, we set off up the Oxley Hwy. Now there is a road worth travelling to. 171 k of nice twisty mountainroads with a few stretches of open sweepers thrown in to give a break to aching arms and back. http://lamp.man.deakin.edu.au/riding/Qld/pic008.jpg
I must go back and do it again some time on a bike that doesn't lose power over 90 and backfire and stop from time to time. Yep, it was still playing up. Stopped and did the carbie clean and fiddle with the electrics thing, http://lamp.man.deakin.edu.au/riding/Qld/pic007.jpg then limped into Walcha, where we were served with quite magnificent hamburgers and egg and bacon rolls. http://lamp.man.deakin.edu.au/riding/Qld/pic006.jpg
Another Carbie clean didn't help much, and a stop to fiddle with the wiring by the road only helped a bit.
http://lamp.man.deakin.edu.au/riding/Qld/pic004.jpg Somewhere in my fiddling I had set the right float a little high, and so I also had a petrol-soaked right boot. Limped into Armidale, saw a bike-shop ute with a Police Beemer on the back, and followed him home, figuring he might know something about elderly Teutonic machinery. At this stage, we were miles behind schedule, so I sent the others on ahead, and decided that if these guys couldn't fix it, I'd use my RACV touring options pack to get the bike shipped home and get a hire car to get me home.
A mechanic spent an hour going over the bike, and we pulled the opto-electronic sensor can out of the front of the motor ('we' because he didn't know where it was) and checked it over. Nothing noticeably wrong. Since access to the sensor can had required removal of the front centre fairing section, and the problem seemed it might be heat-related (and there was room for it in the pannier) I left the centre fairing section off, and resolved to make one last try. If it even looked like faltering, I would be on to the NRMA.
Ran like a charm all the way to Brisbane.
The ride up the New England Hwy was 'interesting'. Thunder, lightning, driving winds, rain, and suicidal trucks. My new Dri Rider, an anti-fog wax stick, and a liberal coating of Rain-Ex got me through without too much trouble.
Just past Warwick there is a pass with a very steep, twisty descent (Cunningham Pass?) I stopped at a servo at the top to clean the shit off my visor. As I rejoined the road, I saw a semi coming up from behind, about 100 meters off. As I built up speed, the bastard caught up and went round me just as we passed the end of a passing zone. Shit... stuck behind a truck on a long steep winding road. In the wet. I couldn’t keep up with the bastard. He was using three lanes to get around the hairpin bends.... Two on this side of the double lines, and one on the other side.... The only one on the other side.... . I dropped back a bit so as to be able to avoid any debris. Somehow, this stupid prick managed to get down without killing anyone. I took it easy and let him pull away into the distance.
Got into Brisvegas at about 10.30. The Desk clerk at the Sebel Apartments (nice big suite, big separate lounge and dining areas, washing machine etc.... two tellys... no phone in the bog, but!) asked if I needed valet parking. When I seemed to be considering the idea seriously, he pointed out that it would be the first time he had ridden a bike, so I parked it myself. A colleague checking in at the same time saw me with full wet weather gear and helmet, fresh from a thunderstorm, and asked, “Did you ride up?”
Days five and six: Boring conference stuff for me. GORider, Pete and Steve had an evening in the pub with Julie and Deb and some others. GORider stayed the night with Julie and Deb and then went on up to Gladstone(?) to visit some friends. Julie and Deb had recommended a bloke called Tony Bogaart at Race Prep and Cycle Tune (or something like that) so I rang him up and arranged to drop the bike in on Thursday afternoon. Picked it up on Friday evening. Tony worked back til about 7.30 to finish rebuilding the carbies. Turns out that a choke gasket had got sucked in and ruptured, making the motor run too lean, and so overheat. The overheating had made the electronics play up. I suspect I am quite lucky to have made it to Brissie without seizing. Full rebuild: complete disassembly, clean jets, new needles and seats, all new gaskets, adjust floats, check and clean all components, $250 well spent.
Then it was off to Clem's to meet his family (nice) and sample his home brew (very nice). Just over the big bridge (Gateway?) it started faltering again, but this time I was confident that it was just a little tweak of the floats that was needed.
Day Seven. Setting off back home again.
A phone call to Tony in the morning, and he stayed back (again) and tweaked it, and took it for an extended run to make sure. From that point on, the Beemer behaved itself impeccably. All the way back to Melbourne. Just to be sure, I left the fairing centre section out for the trip home.
Clem accompanied us down to Tony's then out to the Cunningham Hwy. At the fuel stop, I had a short panic when I realised I had left my maps at Clem’s and would have to rely on GORider for navigation, but then I figured it shouldn't be too hard to find Melbourne. Out the Cunningham, and down the New England. The Cunningham Gap is much more fun going up, in the dry, without a suicidal truck to play with. The New England is quite an enjoyable, if unexciting road. The only diversion was watching GORider's left pannier and waiting for it to fall off. It seems he had had another stationery 'roll over' and broken the mount. Two 'Andy Strapz, liberal use of gaffer tape, and the all-important cable ties (don't leave home without them) eventually sorted it out securely.
Overnight at Tamworth. The Central Hotel, right in the middle of town.
Now I wasn't really concerned about spending Saturday night in Tamworth. The bar seemed populated with trios of girls dolled up for a night on the town and trios of blokes out for a beer. There seemed not to be any connection between the two groups.
Tamworth has a very tasty, if slightly pricey Indian restaurant, so we did ourselves some damage.
Interesting Hotel, no staff on Sundays, so we had to let ourselves out via the fire escape and retrieve the bikes, which had been locked in the yard.

Day Eight.
The Putty. Need I say more? Nice ride down from Tamworth to Singleton. Excellent lunch and coffee at a cafe at Muswellbrook. Can you go past a place that puts a sign on the Highway declaring, “Life's too short to drink bad coffee”!
The Putty itself was everything people have said. A magnificent road that demands respect. We passed an ambulance, and at the Servo near Putty, found we had just missed the spectacle of two or three bikers being air-lifted out. We were intending to stay with Craig, but he had done his back in and was in a bad way, so we dropped in for a quick visit, and called Hammo, who was able to provide alternative accommodation at short notice.

Day Nine:
Hammo and La Vickers guided us up the Macquarie Pass. An over-enthusiastic truck coming down the pass gave us all some memories to cherish. If you cherish sphincter puckering memories. Then on to Sutton Forest, where a bemused publican served us coffee. I don't think he had done so often before. 50c is not the usual price is it? We bade farewell to our overnight host and hostess and headed off on an uneventful ride down the Hwy to Canberra, where we met up with Gary. We were too late for lunch at the Wig and Pen brewery, so we got take away from the deli next door and took it back to the Wig and Pen. The constraints of riding meant that we were unable to sample all their concoctions. Must go back.
Called ahead to the pub at Tintaldra. Myah, the hostess had rooms available, and promised there would still be food for us, as long as we were not fussy. I assured her we were not. After a brief tour of the National Capital, we headed off down the Monaro Hwy. A pretty boring stretch with some painful and expensive memories for me. The Cop who booked me there two years ago noticed that my rego was a day overdue. Never mind that I was 1000k from home. That'll be $450 thanks. Straight through Cooma and on through the fast sweepers to Adaminaby. Ice cream and drink stop, and a brief inspection of the Giant Trout.
Adaminaby to Kiandra is simply glorious section of mountain road. Only problem here is the need to be on a constant lookout for the fine gravel used by the road repair crews. Left turn at Kiandra took us along some more magnificent stuff to the turn off for the Elliot Way. The Elliot is an alternative access road used to get to the underground Tumut power station in winter. The power station is a few hundred meters lower than the road level at the turn off, but only a few ks down the road. As a consequence, it is one of the steepest, longest twisty downhill roads I have come across. One day I have to go back and ride up it. (update-which I have since done a number of times and it is every bit as much fun as I suspected.) I always have more fun going up. (Hamish! Mind yourself!)
Rest stop at the power station. A huge hole in the side of a cliff with a roadway that seems to descend into the depths of the earth. Magnificent echo. You can take a bus down it and tour the power station, but we were too late. A group of us took the tour during a day trip from the aus.moto rally at Tintaldra last year. Worth the time and effort if you are anywhere nearby.
After the power station, the road drops a bit more, then about 70 k of winding forest road (good surface) and open sweepers took us to the pub at Tintaldra. http://lamp.man.deakin.edu.au/riding/Qld/pic003.jpg
Alf and Myah were waiting for us on the veranda. We joined them for a beer or three, and were told we were having steak and chips because that was all there was. If ever you stop at Tintaldra, and they only have one dish left on the menu, pray it's the steak and chips. It had been a long day, so a few more beers and a bit of star gazing on the veranda saw us through to bed time. http://lamp.man.deakin.edu.au/riding/Qld/pic001.jpg I discovered (a little late) that you CAN wear earplugs to bed.
Day Ten:
Breakfast was served on the veranda, but it was getting a little hot in the sun, so we moved into the lounge. Breakfast was interrupted for a quick tour of Alf's shed. Alf had departed early, so his mate Bill (who seems to be on a very slow journey around the country in a horse-drawn wagon) showed us around. Two stately old motor cars, a pre war Alvis and an equally genteel (help me out her John, what was the other one?) shared the larger shed, while the smaller held a collection that included an R27 250 Beemer (might have been an R26.. I can't tell) an early 50's Guzzi single, a Harlette (not a little Harley but a pre-war Italian bike with cantilever rear suspension working on a shocker mounted below the motor.. a la Buell. There was a Sunbeam, an early Honda 175, an old moped or autocycle, and something else.... The Vincent was away being serviced. It was time to bid farewell to Gary, who had to get back to work. Those Canberra folk sure take long tea-breaks.
John and I took the old Murray Valley Highway through Walwa and up to Tallangatta ("The town that moved in the 50s") via the Granya Pass. The first 70 ks is good fast open sweepers, and the last 20 is all tight mountain pass. Lovely.

Worked across to Yackandandah for lunch at the bakery, then on to Milawa for a tasting at Milawa Mustards. Imagine a large room, with a 20 foot counter displaying about 20 or so different mustards, along with sundry other local delicacies.
We were a bit keen to get home, so we passed up the opportunity to go back via Tolmie. Back to the Hume to Benalla, then up the Midland Highway to Mansfield. You don't have to go through Mansfield, but I had gone onto reserve about 25 Ks out, and didn't fancy pushing the bike into Bonnie Doon. From there is was an uneventful, but stimulating ride down the Maroondah to Yea, then via Flowerdale and Kinglake, Plenty Road, Ring Road and home. John pressed on to Torquay.

Thanks to all who took part.
GORider, for allowing his patience to be tested by an unwell Beemer.
Pete for the accommodation, entertainment, and company.
Steve, for his company and willingness to ensure that conversation never lagged.
Clem, Michelle and Natalie for the accommodation, home brew, roast lamb, home brew, company, home brew, directions and home brew. Did I mention the home brew?
Julie and Deb for the company and accommodation I was unable to sample, and for steering me toward Tony Bogaart's expert hands. It was magic watching him tune the Bings by ear.
Craig for his gallant offer to host us even though immobilised and in pain.
Hammo and La Vickers for a stimulating evening, fine food, and excellent accommodation. Being in a separate building to the chain saw was a treat.
Gary for extending his tea-break to accompany us to Tintaldra.
This trip was an adventure for me, made even more enjoyable by the people we met on the way.

22-03-2006, 04:48 PM
OK, this was a little over five years ago, but hey! I still have the bike. ;D

So do I, but a different colour!

Thanks for the memories, Moike. It was a good run.

22-03-2006, 04:49 PM
What a good read...there wouldn't be any more by chance?
Thanks for sharing.

22-03-2006, 04:50 PM
OK, this was a little over five years ago, but hey! I still have the bike. ;D

A little over 5 years isn't that far back Moike... I think lots of people would still have the same bike... I might have... lets see ..

Feb 2006 CBR1100XX #3
Feb 2005 ZX12R
Feb 2004 ZX12R
Feb 2003 CBR1100XX #2
Feb 2002 CBR1100XX #1
Feb 2001 GSXR1100WP
Nov 2000 GS650G

??? ??? ;D ??? ???

22-03-2006, 04:52 PM
OK, this was a little over five years ago, but hey! I still have the bike. ;D

A little over 5 years isn't that far back Moike... I think lots of people would still have the same bike... I might have... lets see ..

Feb 2006 CBR1100XX #3
Feb 2005 ZX12R
Feb 2004 ZX12R
Feb 2003 CBR1100XX #2
Feb 2002 CBR1100XX #1
Feb 2001 GSXR1100WP
Nov 2000 GS650G

??? ??? ;D ??? ???

Can you see a pattern developing here Nev?

Al ::)

22-03-2006, 04:54 PM
The K100 I keep in my backyard I bought in May '94 (third frame, third diff, third? driveshaft, third set of forks, third set of handlebars, second headlight, second seat, third backwheel, third frontwheel - she's like grandads axe but same engine, same gearbox(with new bearing), some electrics replaced. So I'm not a total bike sl*t. One day the black girl will return.


22-03-2006, 04:55 PM
Black? Now ya talkin' Al! 8)