A FarTag Ride That Turned Into A Tough Ride
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Thread: A FarTag Ride That Turned Into A Tough Ride

  1. #1
    Seasoned Member Clintsc9's Avatar
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    Apr 2006
    Carina, Qld, Australia
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    Default A FarTag Ride That Turned Into A Tough Ride

    This also appeared in FarRiders.com.au, but I'll also put it here to help give you guys something of the flavour of Australia.

    To explain the FarTag, it is a game we play where one member posts a picture of his bike in front of a specific landmark. That is the FarTag and the idea is for another member to get a photo in the identical location and post that on the site. Then post another photo which becomes the new FarTag.
    It is a great game and a great excuse to go for a ride. "I really need to get a photo of my bike at xxxxx"

    So here is

    The Week That Shook My World

    On Tuesday 1st September, 2009, the world was a nice place. Charleen and I had just returned from a 33,000km ride in USA, Davo was over there participating in the IBR and there was a long overdue FarTag to snavel.

    I stuffed around at home and didn’t leave until 10:30 or so. But no matter, I wasn’t in a hurry.

    North out of Brisbane, I turned in at Caboolture and headed for the Burnett Hwy. It is my favourite road for traveling up Qld as there are enough bends to keep it interesting, little traffic and very few patrolling “wet blankets”. I am not one for doing too much over the limits, but it is nice not to have to keep watching the needle doesn’t stray. Ride the road, not the speed limit.

    Along the way I collected a couple of location shots for future use. I made it as far as Biloela for the night. 609km. No way was I going to get to Alpha that evening.

    I had set up a SPOT for Charleen to keep an eye on me and had made it password protected so no one would know where I was headed. Hate to think my FarRider pals would try to get the jump on my FarTag. But you lot are smarter than that. Sure enough, at 8pm I get a PM from Crappy “Are you Tag hunting?” I realized that my location was in full view on the location pages. D’Oh. So I went “silent”. I removed my SPOT from the location pages, removed the visibility of the SPOT page, chatted with Charleen, checked on Davo’s location in the Rally and went to bed.

    Off at 6am, today’s goal was to get the Tag at alpha and maybe move it further inland and then head towards Melbourne to catch up with my No2 Son, Adam. He had a slight “off” on his bike just before we went away and then a protracted and losing battle with the other parties and had only recently regained possession of his battered steed. It needs work.

    So I headed north still on the Burnett Hwy and then on to the Capricorn Hwy which runs west from Rockhampton. It was then a straight run to Alpha. But I had made a slight mistake. I hadn’t refueled in Biloela and there wasn’t another station for quite a while. I had to travel all the way to Duaringa with the red light glowing. My highest previous distance without fuel was 370km on BR08 and that time I was carrying extra fuel. This time I wasn’t and rode very carefully, watching the needle dip well below the E. When, thankfully, Biloela hove in sight and I pulled in to the servo, I had 398km on the trip meter and apparently half a litre of fuel left – it took 24.49 to refill the 25 litre tank.

    From there is was a pleasant three hour ride through Blackwater and Emerald then up the range to Alpha. Photo taken and refueled, I went to the bakery for a celebratory coffee and pie. My plan, according to MapSource was to head south from here to Tambo and then on down the Matilda Hwy – something I had never done.

    First disappointment was to find out the Alpha-Tambo road had a lot of dirt and deep sandy sections – according to the baker – so that was off the agenda. I’m riding a GoldWing, not a dirt bike by any stretch of the imagination. Knowing it was going to be a while before I got internet service again, I decided to post the FarTag here and now and so the only replacement photos I had were location shots I had taken yesterday. Thus the new tag was Mulgildie school, rather than further out. So be it. MaxG got it within a couple of days.

    So rather than backtrack, it was head further west to Jericho and look at that way south to Blackall. Turned in at Jericho and it was a rather nice road for 30km or so. Then changed to dirt. Damn. I hate back-tracking. The GPS said 99km to Blackall. So how much dirt was involved? I had no idea. Normally I research these things on Google Earth before departing, but this time I hadn’t. I cursed my stupidity.

    The road didn’t look too bad, so I thought I’d give it a go. It was hard-based gravel and a little slippery in parts, but mostly straight.
    I did another careful 25km and it turned to mush. Deep sand and bulldust. The bike wobbled wildly and I fought it to a standstill. I think I said the F word in my helmet about 20 times until I stopped. Nothing else to do. This bike is not for this road, so I gingerly turned it around – a feat in itself – and rode along the harder edge of the road to the gravel, then back to the bitumen and returned to Jericho. What a waste of time!

    Part 2 coming up
    Candy Black Cherry '09
    CBF1000 "Biffer"

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  3. #2
    Seasoned Member Clintsc9's Avatar
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    Apr 2006
    Carina, Qld, Australia
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    Default Part 2

    Once again, I turned west and headed for roads that I knew. Out to Barcaldine, then south through Blackall, Tambo, past Augathella and on to Charleville. With all my time wasting out from Jericho, it was quite dark for the last 100km or so and the roos were aplenty. I traveled well below the speed limit, keeping a good lookout and only had to slow for them a couple of times.

    In Charleville, I took a room at the historic Corones Hotel, had a meal and logged on to chat with Charleen, make my SPOT visible once more and again check on Davo’s whereabouts. 1101km for a very long day.

    Day 3 and I was headed south. I fuelled early and got a stern warning from the operator about all the roos on the road south that early in the morning. After riding so close to so many the previous evening, I kept a good lookout, but saw not one. There weren’t even dead ones. So much for the dire warnings.

    The weather started to close in however and by the time I refueled at Cunnamulla (refuel points closer together now) it was full on raining and I was “puttin’ on da wets”. This crappy weather was to stay with me for most of the rest of the trip.

    Things went pretty normal until after Nyngan when once again the GPS led me to a dirt road. Yes, I do have it set to avoid them, but apparently the info is not there on the mapset as to whether a road is or is not sealed. With recent experiences and wet weather around, I exercised the better part of valour and immediately turned around.

    I played with the GPS, marking the road a no-go and let it re-route. It wanted me to go back to Nyngan, about 40km, then follow the main road. But this time I had local knowledge that the short bit of dirt between here and Tottenham was passable and so went that way, then down to Bogan Gate and finally joined the Newel Hwy at Forbes. I continued on to West Wyalong before calling it a night at 1025km. Once again I logged on, caught up with FarRider news and checked Davo’s location. The IBR was drawing to a close, now well in to the third leg and Charleen and I were discussing the relative merits of doing the long ride to the Gay bar.

    Next day was a fairly uneventful run in to Melbourne. Just 584 miles to Adam’s and I got there not long before he finished work and it was great to catch up. I let him know tonight was going to be a late one, as the IBR was due to finish at midnight our time.

    Charleen and I were online and checking Davo’s SPOT locations regularly. I know we weren’t supposed to be, but as we all know, Davo had entrusted his immediate family with the password and so we were all watching. As of this article, the record number of people online on FarRiders was as the rally was finishing. We were all watching I’m sure, judging from the cryptic messages.

    We all wondered why he stopped where he did and waited the hour or more until the SPOT moved again, only to finally stop in the small town nearby. It took a while for the facts to get through – for our world to be shaken to the core.

    Saturday was an awful day. Getting snippets of news, phone calls all over and trying to make sense of it all. Finally the post from Jim that our good friend, FarRider leader and all round Top Bloke, Davo, was gone.

    But life goes on. The world really does keep turning, so we worked on Adam’s bike and got it running and good enough together for him to ride. Amongst the sadness of the day, there was at least some happiness.

    I cut short my stay in Melbourne. I had a need to be home with Charleen and so Sunday morning, after a nice Fathers Day breakfast with Adam, I set out. Once again departing late, by dark I had only got as far as Forbes and so pulled up for the night. I have done Melbourne to Brisbane in one go before. It is a good IBA type ride, being over 1700 klms, but this trip, although I really wanted to be home, I wasn’t in a mental condition to be pushing any limits.

    Early Monday I looked out the motel window to see more rain. Great! On with the wets straight up and away into the wild gray yonder. Not only did it rain most of the day, it blew gales as I crossed over the Warrumbungle Range between Gilgandra and Coonabarabran. Then the Pilliga was a 110km downpour. The rest of the way was just drizzle and wetness with little letup. Thankfully the traffic was fairly light most of the way, the only scary bit being the oncoming B-Double that pulled out to overtake and completely ignored the GoldWing with four headlights and various LEDs that had to head for the side of the road to survive – rider shaking his fist and so scared and angry that he failed to get a single detail off the truck. Bastard!!

    That was probably the worst day’s ride ever for me, but despite what the world threw at me, Wind, Rain and Trucks, after 1013km, I made it home to my loved one. I am truly blessed. This weekend, not everyone did. :'(

    Ride On Davo, RideFar
    Candy Black Cherry '09
    CBF1000 "Biffer"

  4. #3
    Seasoned Member Johng's Avatar
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    Jul 2004
    Melbourne, Australia
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    hey clint nice write up mate i made to hervey bay gee what a quite place this is "Gods waiting room" they say and there not wrong

    FaRider 655
    3x FR10
    "Sometimes the greatest journey is the distance between two places"

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