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