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Old 08-12-2006, 10:07 AM   #1
Grey Gentry
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Default Stookie,roughcactus(NR) SA ride report by Grey Gentry

Due to my working 6 days a week I didn't plan to go, however on Wednesday I was made redundant, so I took the opportunity to join Jason and Keith.

I was packed up Friday night and all ready to leave, as arranged, Mildura for Tailem Bend at about 7am Saturday morning. However the VFR's flat tyre delayed Stookie and roughcactus's departure from Mt Gambier.
I wandered up the street, to have a coffee, and see if any locals were about, as the local Toy Run was happening later that morning. The SMS came through at 10.20, after I'd finished coffee, that they were about to leave Mt G.
On Sturt Hwy, knowing that at least one TOG unit was tied up with the toy run, a trouble free run to the Victorian/SA border was achieved. The compulsory stop at the SA fruit fly inspection station at Yamba was the only stop on the way down. Still a little wind about buffeting the bike, but the screen was still doing it's job of protecting me from the elements.
After turning left towards Loxton off the Sturt Hwy, just past Yamba, there are some sweepers, which were welcomed, after the relatively straight run to the border. Loxton had roadworks with gravel and 25kph signage were they are taking a kink out of the road that entered from the north.
The Saturday morning local traffic were obeying these limits, so a slow, relaxing 2 kilometres, was had while following. Once past the roundabout at the top of the main street, the divided road leads out of town to the TV transmission tower, where I turned south towards Alawoona.
There are a series of 85kph posted corners, followed by a 65kph corner crossing a railway line, that I'd mistaken for another 85kph some years back. Even with caution, I found it interesting to check for the train and sight the corner at the same time.
Just before Alawoona there is a well banked sweeper on entering town, and with little traffic on the road good time was being made. Rolling hills, straights and sweepers with the road following a railway line for all of the way to Karoonda. The hamlets of Wanbi and Halidon break up the flow with town speed limits, another tighter sweeper and railway crossing entering Karoonda.
Remembering the local police had a hand held radar that was being used just over the top of the hill at the end of the 80kph limit, when I last past through, I took this opportunity to stand on the pegs, stretch my legs and allow some airflow around the butt. Shortly after Karoonda there is a rough section of road, and some advisory speed signs. Although the corners are not sharp, these signs are in place because the road is so rough it bounces vehicles around at the posted speed limit. At 300 kilometres, just prior to the turnoff to Tailem Bend I needed to turn the fuel tap over to reserve. Normally I change to reserve at 320, but with the wind, and the good time I was making, I wasn't surprised. The road to Tailem is fairly new, wide with enough sweepers to keep me happy for the 20 kilometres to town.
On arrival I fuelled the bike and had some lunch. I was expecting the two from Melbourne to roll in in the next 15 to 30 minutes. I SMSed Stookie that I had arrived and were I was waiting.
An hour went by and no bikes....I was getting concerned that the bad luck was still following them.
A black blackbird road in alone...OH *&%#. NO. I walked out to the rider and past the bike...whew SA rego. wasn't roughcactus. We had a chat while he refuelled and had a break. It was then I got the SMS from Stookie that they were at Meningue still 50 kilometres away. Relieved that they were ok, I shouted myself a hot chocolate while I waited. They rocked in at 3.20 Vic time, some 2 hours after I had. I think they must have got lost. ??
After our initial greetings, over coffee, roughcactus was bitching about missing out on bacon and eggs for breakfast, and Stookie bitching about getting no sleep due to roughcactus snoring all night and keeping him awake. Hmmm..I was thinking..are these two mates..or what? At this stage neither of them knew that the cabin at Williamstown had 2 bedrooms and I'd organised 2 “big breakfasts” which consist of cereals, orange juice, a can of spaghetti, bread for toast and BACON and EGGS. Actually I was feeling a little smug.
With a call to resurrection that we were on our way, we headed on the freeway towards Adelaide. The turn off to Stirling was found and with the directions given followed, we arrived to find 3 SA Netriders (and Shin) to greet us.

Mark and Keith

Rod and Jason

Shin and Keith

With the introductions over, we had a coffee and a chat, and I enjoyed the banter amongst the group, talking about their bikes, the trip over and plans for tomorrow. Stookie and roughcactus were still bitching about lack of sleep and lack of bacon and eggs. I rang the Williamstown pub and booked a table for three, and was informed we needed to be there before 8.
A route was chosen to get us to Williamstown. Back out the freeway then left onto the Onkaparinga Hwy , through Woodside to Lobethal, Cudlee Creek and then to Chain of Ponds. With Red Dragon leading we waited for roughcactus, just after we exited the freeway, as his rego lable holder been noticed had falling off, and some had backtracked to get it. With lots of traffic on Saturday afternoon care was taken following the police into Woodside. The road from Lobethal to Cudlee Crk over a range is limited to 80kph, however with open sweepers and a good surface it was a pleasure to ride, followed by a short narrow twisty to the Chain of Ponds. As we made final arrangements for Sunday, Stookie said he was going to stay with AF2AF3 as he wanted some sleep. It was then I revealed the cabin had 2 bedrooms. He didn't know if to believe me or not. I remember saying to him “ I've been to Pitlochory (this is a town in Scotland) would I lie to you?” Convinced he decided to follow me to Williamstown. This undulating road is well made with a number of long sweepers.
When we pulled up next to the cabin, I pointed and counted out to Stookie the 3 bunkbed windows on the side of the cabin. The look on his face was priceless. I'm sure he was just about ready to “arc up” so then I showed him the main bedroom window. I think he was calling me a few names under his breath.
We moved our gear from the bikes to the cabin, and the sleeping arrangements were decided on. The Scot in the bedroom at end myself in a bunk in the middle, and the Englishman on the couch in the kitchen. This allowed Stookie 2 doors between he and his riding partner.
When roughcactus was putting his beverages in the fridge he discovered the big breakfasts. I must admit I was lucky (and amused) that I had unwittingly placated both, with the bacon and eggs and separate bedroom.
Suddenly realising it was almost 8pm I jumped on the bike to get to the pub before the meals went off. The lads arrived a few minutes after, then I realised I was still on Victorian time and we still have half an hour to spare.
The couple of beers with the good meal consumed we road back to the cabin, and were all in bed by 10pm.
And I agree with the Scot...the Pom does snore. Even with my hearing aids out, I still changed ends of the bed, to get my head way from the bulkhead between us. But I didn't lay awake all night and did get some sleep.
I awoke about 4am, my usual time for rising earlier in the week, when I had a job. So by 4.30 I'd had enough of listening to the rumbling coming from the kitchen, arose, done the ablutions, and prepared for the day. It was still dark and cool outside, and was glad I packed the thermals.
Keith was the first to awake, and busied himself with cooking the bacon and eggs. Jason had a sleep in, and when he appeared seemed much happier than the previous day.
We finally got our act together and hit he road. Back towards Kersbrook, a good road to warm the tyres up on, then left on to Hill Road, which runs across a range to Foreston, then south to Gumeracha. Turning right we then rode the Gorge Rd stopped in a park briefly and then back up Gorge to turn onto Corkscrew Rd, right onto Montacute Rd into the western suburbs and refueled. Estimated we'd done about 80km so far. I remember I mentioned I was riding poorly to Keith. I know was concerned about their welfare, not knowing their skill level or experience, and knowing some of the roads have trick corners, maybe I didn't have full focus on the road. It was about 9.15 when I phoned Red Dragon, and made arrangements to meet about an hour later where we were left yesterday. Returning back up Montacute, it is a nice run, nice medium sweepers and good surface until it start to break up higher up. It then improves as it follows the the up and down, twisting ridgeline to Ashton. My riding came together by changing into a lower gear and using the throttle more both in and out of corners. From Ashton, left down to Lobethal. This was the first of three times I travelled it that day. Personally this is the most challenging road of the trip. It twists it's way up and down over a couple of small ranges, with a good surface, marked edges and all kinds of corners. I was planning to stop at Loby for coffee but it was getting close to our meeting time with Rob, so back to the car park at the Chain of P. Rob arrived, and then with Jason and Keith rode to Birdwood for coffee, while I rode back to Williamstown to pick up some gear and pay for the cabin. The road back to Birdwood runs through the Mt Crawford State Forest undulates and winds it's way south until it straightens out a little approaching Birdwood.
Rob contacted fred_croft, who was till in bed I'm told, and while we waited for him, a coffee was enjoyed. Jason (fred_croft) turned up on an awsome silver Super Duke. The offer from Jason to tighten Stookie's loose nuts ..on the VFR that is...was accept and we rode to his workshop, where we removed the gaffer tape holding the VFR together.
The other Jason

And his bike.
Working on the VFR

Rob's bike

Leaving Jason's farm, Rob leading, I became TEC, we road the along the Chain of Pond turning through Paracombe back onto Gorge, and onto Loby for lunch. Messages for resurrection were being sent and received as we tried to arrange a meeting place. Unfortunately he was delayed..but would contact and join us later.
A route south was chosen with a fuel stop at Woodside, and just as we were about to leave, rouchcactus spied a carwash and proceeded to give the Blackbird a makeover, botox and all. Then the Scot joined him. The rest of us waited we could.

Rob and Ron

fred_croft lead us down through Handorf, where I nearly missed the turn, down to Strathalbyn and beyond, returning Meadows via Ashbourne. Graeme(ressurection) with Shin arrived as we were about to leave. Rob took Stookie onto the freeway were he was meeting a friend from Scotland, while the rest of us headed to meet AF2AF3 at a servo. (Aberfoyle Park?) After following a station wagon travelling at 20kph below the speed limit, which then didn't use a turnout, resurrection turned of the main? road and wound our way to the servo. I'd done 267 kilometres since fueling on Montacute Rd.
With the afternoon almost over, and a meet planned for Glenelg at 7pm Mark offered refreshments at his home. fred_croft and rouchcactus (who had enough riding) accepted while Graeme, Shin and myself road on. With very little traffic we rode through Mt Lofty to Ashton, then Loby...they stopped and waited for me a number of times on the way....where we said our goodbyes. I left first, returning the way we had just came. With only 1 vehicle on the road, which pulled over and allow me to pass I enjoyed a clear run to Norton Summit and down the upper road. Both Shin and Graeme passed me along the way.
Through the city and out to Glenelg meeting the others for dinner. I enjoyed my meal..but one didn't. But he had bacon and eggs when we got home anyway.
The ride to and out of the city was interesting The crazy scoot rider changing lanes on West Terrace. was a he, we passed him on the way in on Anzac Hwy, was moving into gaps in front of cars travelling at the limit that I couldn't put my bike in.
Mark led showed us where they meet for coffee on wednesday nights and bid us goodbye.
Then out past Felixtow where I use to live in the early '80s, and onto Chain of was now very dark. Well fred_croft knew the road and said he'd take it easy.... I don't know Stookie and Keith fared..but it was interesting to say the least. I was ok, while I was sighting the area lit by the Dukes lights, but I did drop too far behind on a number of occasions and the road disappeared into darkness. Onto high beam was the solution until sighting the Dukes pool of light again. Jason continued home and we turned off onto the Kersbrook Rd to head back to the cabin. Checking the odometer the run with Graeme ans Shin, then to Glenelg and back to the camp a further 163k had been rode. This totalled 500km for the day.
And after packing up ready for an early start, sleep was easy come by, all of us crashing after the long day.
We'd planned to leave at 6am but we got away at 5.45. Down the road to Mt Pleasant, Tungkillo, turning right at Palmer and onto Murray Bridge. It was still half light when we left and with the forests I was suspecting 'roos moving about, so it was taken easy, until after Palmer, where the timber cleared to open grassland. It is a nice bit of road with open sweepers coming from the foothills to the flatland. The run from Murray Bridge to Tailem Bend was mainly straight into the sun, just above the horizon. I was glad to get to the fuel stop and let it rise for another 15 or so minutes.
Here we said our goodbyes, Jason And Keith refuelled, had a quick breakfast and left. I continued home finishing the trip with an uneventful last 320km in one stint. Didn't hit reserve either. I did brake to avoid 2 'roos at 9.15am on the side of the road in Vic. I was surprised to see them about so late in the day.

It was great to practice the wide line, and I was pleased even when tired, and in the dark, that over the whole weekend I didn't overcook any corner and cross the centre line. I've found that if I think I'm going too fast, I tend to want to tip it in (too) early. To realise this and make adjustments is going to keep me (safer) on the road longer.

I'm looking forward to accepting your offer of showing me around some of the roads I read about on NR like Chum Creek and the Black Spur.

To the SA Netriders thanks again Stookie thanks for the invitation and roughcactus thanks for the company. And thanks for putting up with the old fella (with the 20 year old bike) who only thinks he can ride.

Further pics are available here

Just as a wrap up, we stayed at the Williamstown caravan park in a cabin for 2 nights, which cost $60 each. (They can sleep up to 6). I used 5 tanks of fuel. about 22litres each..which works out to about $120. So at $180 plus food I reckon it was a good value weekend.

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Old 08-12-2006, 07:48 PM   #2
I like it dirty
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: MELBURN
Posts: 234

$180 for a weekend.....Pfft I spent over $1200 on fixing the bloody VFR and its still at the Engineers getting the back wheel re-aligned.

Including petrol and food and accomadation I have sepnt almost $1600 .
Not to mention the damage to both my panniers which Im not getting fixed.......yeah it turned out to be a bloody expensive weekend for me....but it was worth evey cent. What a bloody adventure.

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Old 09-12-2006, 06:46 PM   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Greensborough Vic
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Default Re: Stookie,roughcactus(NR) SA ride report by Grey Gentry

Originally Posted by Grey Gentry
The compulsory stop at the SA fruit fly inspection station at Yamba was the only stop on the way down. Still a little wind about buffeting the bike, but the screen was still doing it's job of protecting me from the elements.
Ahh .. I have memories (not so fond) of Yamba. We rode through there on the 2004 Postie Bike Challenge. 12 Oct 2004. Hottest October day on record for most places in S.A. I think it was about 40° in Yamba when we stopped for lunch.

Originally Posted by Grey Gentry
After turning left towards Loxton off the Sturt Hwy, just past Yamba, there are some sweepers, which were welcomed
Isn't that road a great little detour. The Postie bike tour route was straight along the highway to Berri, but I led Jo astray and took her down there before doubling back to Berri once we hit the main road again.
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Old 09-12-2006, 07:45 PM   #4
Grey Gentry
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The other option, when heading to the hills, is thru Loxton, and then to Swan Reach, and cross the river on the punt there. Only about 350km Mildura Williamstown this way
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