Travel Diary

Online Journal for the 'Right Around Australia' project.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Day 18 - Adelaide

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Day 17 - Adelaide

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Day 16 - Beachport to Adelaide - 3400km Completed

Ulls: WARNING! This post contains some unnecessary course language.

The headwind would just not let up, all the way along the coast, then north, then west into Adelaide. All bloody day.

Sunrise over the water in Beachport (mosquitos still asleep)

Thawing out after a cold night

My bike was really doing it tough today. 70-80kph averages over the day and when you've got to battle crosswinds and the then the opposite forces when faced with a head on roadtrain, your hands take an absolute battering. I could see purple discoloration forming on my right palm this evening from gripping the throttle. The biggest problem for me is that 75-80kph is at about the end of the rev range for third gear, so whenever I dropped it into forth, she would stop whining and start grumbling and moaning. In fact she's been a whingy little bitch all day.

Packing up camp. Hard to believe it all sort of fits...

So, these sorts of issues inevitably led to Torsten and I throwing a few aggressive words toward each other. Nothing we couldn't laugh about this evening though. We're lucky that way in that we can call each other things and get angry, even throwing a light punch or two at each other before having a laugh about it later. I guess that's why we're doing this ride together and not with other people.

Racing the stormfront

South Australia is known for its good pickings...

We slogged our way through tiny town after tiny town watching the hour hand on my watch push later and later in the day, and to top off a killer of a ride we burnt our noses and probably our retina riding into Adelaide with the setting of the sun in the west ...

Progress so far

About 400km today.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Day 15 - Woornambool to Beachport

Ulls: Not that there is anything wrong with Woornambool, we just had to get moving.

We decided to cheat and have Hungry Jacks for dinner, and after hearing how the cashier Jenny's been goin' out with Taylor for like a year, we finally got to eat and hit the sack. But our night in Woornambool was a bit tiresome, with Torsten carrying out some servicing to the bike and getting up early to watch the Socceroos go down the way the did to Italy. Here's one for you all:

Q. Why does Italy never do well at the Olympics in the Diving category?

A. Cause the best divers are in the football team!!!! Ha! I laughed when I heard that.

So, what was our target for the day? We had no idea, just as close to Adelaide as possible. On the Princess Highway, we were slowed down again. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a Koala sitting about 2-3 metres back from the road. Not wanting to miss my chance at seeing one in the wild, I shuddered to a halt, swung around in a not so elegant fashion, and puttered back to where the wild animal was sitting.

Cutting my engine, my bike quietly came to stop in the gravel beside the road. I was a little excited as my only previous experience with a Koala was at a sanctuary in Brisbane. First things first, I grabbed the video camera. Crossing the road to get a closer look, and the little fella looked a bit worse for wear. He was bleeding from the nose, but there was no other indication that he'd been hit by a vehicle. Torsten finally got the hint and had returned to meet me near our native friend.

After a little discussion, and recalling seeing signs posted throughout Victoria with injured wildlife help lines, we decided to call someone. Within a few minutes, Tor was speaking with a lady from some service for injured animals. While he was on the phone, a road services ute came rushing along the road and we hailed the driver. We thought it might be quicker if the driver could take the Koala to a sanctuary nearby. After some back and forthing, she suggested that we should let the people on the phone handle it, as the only local people she knew would probably just put it down in a ... how should I say? Not particularly nice way.

From there we left the Koala in peace for what was probably his last minutes and moved on. We did struggle a bit from there, with headwinds and my bike seeming to struggle, we rode through plantation forest after plantation forest to reach Mt Gambier for lunch.

Windfarms in the background

Mile upon mile of bouncy country roads (SA Highway)

Pine plantation forests

We soon left the wood chip capital to make for the limestone coast and took a route called the Ports Way. The landscape changed dramatically to a coastal, sandy sort of quagmire of sorts. Don't get me wrong, the beach was spectacular, just the wind and surrounding lands a bit repetitive when you are only travelling at 75kph average speed. We hit the not so pumping town of Beachport and set up our tent for the first time. I could say a lot more about Beachport and the limestone coast in general, but I might have to save it for the book, Right Around Australia, when we have it published.

We've realised we need to get a few things when we get to Adelaide, as we were a little dissorganised as a camping unit. We survived, however, and I have to say camping in the cold is a lot easier than in the heat of summer. Quite comfortable, yet, a little cramped. We have so much gear that must be kept in the tent, and it's all bulky stuff like jacket, helmet, technical gear and so on. So we had to set our cocoons up touching each other and just deal with it. Camp site $19, Coffee and Food for the evening $5, needing to pee at 1am at 5 degrees ... Priceless!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Day 14 - Torquay to Woornambool

Ulls: Wow! What an amazing ride.

If you haven't been to Victoria and taken a ride or drive along the Great Ocean Road, then do it. Straight out of the tourism advertisements, postcards or movies. The GOR is a sight to be seen. Don't expect to cover the distance in record time and at breakneck speed. That's not what it's about. It's about stopping in the provided turnouts and taking photos of the views, photos of yourself with the view in the background and all that touristy type stuff. It's a road to ride/drive when you take your girlfriend for a weekend away. There are even spots to stop where you could get down on a knee and slip the ring on. Ok, this is getting a bit cheesy, but you get my drift.

First stops however, before even hitting the GOR was the famous Bell's Beach, probably more famous in my generation for the movie, Point Break. Patrick Swayze's last good film (not that he was good in any films, but that movie was good ... and he just happened to be in it). Sunrise was spectacular.

Sunrise at Bells Beach - Torquay

Pushing on to Apollo Bay, the road turns inland for awhile and heads up to a place called Lavers Hill. The bikes made the ride up quite easily, but we were met by the cloud line and freezing temperatures near the top. Visibilty dropped to about 100 metres. We took a few happy snaps and in the process were passed by a Moto Guzzi and Yamaha in the thick fog. The usual nods and waves followed before we did. Down the mountain side and we stopped in at the 12 Apostles for a sticky beak. They are pretty amazing.

We only managed to stop at the actual 12 Apostles Centre, where you can't actually see all the apostles. On top of that, there are only 7 left. Here, we also ran into our friends on the bikes we saw up at Lavers Hill. We had a bit of a chat and filled them in on our journey so far.

At Port Campbell we filled up and again ran into the Moto Guzzi and his partner on the Yamaha. Through my mistake, we did three laps of the one block that makes up Port Campbell before finding our way out of town. I'll tell you now, I'm a fantastic navigator. I know that might sound cocky, but I am. This is limited to big cities only however. When I get to towns with only 1 main drag and a couple of side streets, I can get lost for hours.

After 8 hours on the road, we pulled into Woornambool, and pulled out just as quick the next day ...

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Day 13 - Melbourne to Torquay

Ulls: Melbourne to Torquay, the Longway Round!

We had a great time in Melbourne. I absolutely love the city. It's one place so far on this trip, this tour of Australia, that I could move to. I might just have to bring some sunshine with me.

Meeting some of the Melbourne Scooter Connection at the Rubicon in North Melbourne, we enjoyed a fantastic breaky before hitting the streets of Melbourne. We rode through the town a bit before leaving the city limits. Our small group headed for The Brisbane Ranges National Park, west of Melbourne, through sweeping plains and farming land, to forests before the landscape gave way to winery country. I'll tell you one thing. Victoria must have the been the sample pot for Australia when the country was created. In this tiny state, you've got just about everything, including culture. It's just fantastic.

Before long, Paul led us off the road on to what I originally believed to be a driveway to a winery. 10km later and I had to give in to the fact that we were indeed riding offroad. The dirt continued through what seemed to be a forest from the set of a scary movie, and about 5km later we emerged from the Evil Wood. One disadvantage of riding the PX is having to keep an eye on the fuel. Before too long we had our first casualties in that department, followed by Torstens engine also dying of thirst. The team pulled together and organised the delivery of fuel to those that needed it.

We said our goobyes at this stage and filmed the gang as they scooted off into the setting sun. We knew we needed to push on also as we wanted to reach that start of the Great Ocean Road before dark. We were on our own again, excited again about the adventures to come. The fact that there is still 23,000km to go hasn't set in yet and we're both still very much looking forward to each day. I'm sure the honeymoon will end soon...

(I apologise for the lack of distances in this entry as I left the log book in our motel room. I have also been doing this entry on a pc that's stuck in bloody spanish, in a room full of multiplayer hardcore gamers yelling and screaming, so I've managed to delete this entry once already... arrggghh!!)

Friday, June 23, 2006

Photos Added To Diary Entries


Thursday, June 22, 2006

Days 10, 11, 12 - Melbourne

We've made Melbourne and are currently enjoying the hospitality offered by Paul and Laura and the warmth of their central heating ;)

Paul & Lauras place

We had some big decisions to make in Sydney. We were quite a bit behind schedule and weren't sure how we were going to catch up, so we had to sit down and rethink our gameplan. From Sydney the plan was to head to Canberra, through the Snowies and onto Melbourne for a quick hello before heading to Tassie.

Safe and sound in Melbourne (Pauls scoot behind)

Paul coming home from work

We decided to skip Canberra for starters as the main reason we were heading there was to visit and old friend who was too busy anyway. The Snowies would have been nice, but we couldn't get any hard info from the Parks people about the road conditions, so we gave that the big flick and added it to the 'will do later' list. That only saved us a day and still left us behind schedule.

Based on when we had to be back in Melbourne, we would have to race through Tassie in about 3-4 days, cutting a lot of what we wanted to see there. This seemed like a real shame as from the beginning, Tassie was one of the places I really wanted to explore properly. So, race through Tassie in the shortest possile time, and tick it off our list, or come back later and do it properly?

What if we caught the Ferry direct from Sydney? A quick call to Cheryl at the 'Spirit of Tasmania' booking office confirmed the worst. As the service from Sydney is being wound up they are only sailing out once a week, and the next date we could go would be the following Sunday.

Ulick and I made or pro/con list and we ultimately decided that Tassie was too special to race through. We would have to come back and do it properly another time.

So... With a buffer of close to a week up our sleeves we made a beeline for Melbourne via Goulburn and Albury. By Goulburn I realised what we would really be missing in Tassie... COLD. It was dark by the time we pulled in. Due to a late start out of Sydney as I had to buy some warm riding pants we were racing the sunset and were beaten hands down. I pried my frozen fingers from my non-heated grips and realised I could not feel my thumb. My winter gloves are too big and I can't feel the levers through them so I opted for summery mitts with liners... a most stupid decision if i've ever made one.

Albury wasn't as cold. Probably due to the thick blanket of cloud that hung around all day. Not a lot to tell about Albury except that Germany beat Equador :) Who were the two idiots that decided that a trip around Oz during the world cup would be a good idea? We're catching a game here and there but it makes for some very slow starts in the mornings.

Bridge Road, Melbourne

So here we are in Melbourne where it's warm, where unlike Sydney the traffic does not want to kill you (intentionally anyway) the houses have central heating, rivers of Chocolate flow and the people all laugh with gumdrop smiles. (I'm happy we've made it this far so some observations may be skewed). And with a few days to work out why my bike continues to leaks oil.

Paul & Derek talking shop

The worlds fastest Indian - Dereks Indian LML T5 body with a PX200 engine

Monty's Bar - The guys from the Melbourne Scooter Connection showing us a night on the town

Lamb Bar - Ulick & Derek going head to head at Galaga

Frank from Vespa House putting a thread on a mirror he kindly gave me to replace the one lost in Byron

Rubicon Cafe - Meeting the Melbourne Scooter Connection guys in North Melbourne before going on our farewell ride.

Rubicon Cafe - The usual suspects

Out of Melbourne near the Brisbane Ranges

Map check

Last stop before we are back on our own again

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Day 9 - Albury NSW - Melbourne VIC - 2311km Completed

Ulls: So if you haven't realised yet, that we're not riding by the planned route, then I'll let you in on the big secret. We're not riding by the planned route.

I decided to fill up the bikes today, prior to loading them up, as the fuel station was just over the road. I took mine over, filled her up and went in to pay. An Indian chap behind the counter seemed interested in the scooter, asking if it was an LML. Those of you that aren't aware or overly into scooters, LML is a company in India that had a license to reproduce Vespas for Piaggio in India. Nowadays, they no longer have a license to do so, however, still make scooters that are almost identical.

I let him know that it was Italian, and that was the end of that conversation. Minutes later, I returned with Torstens bike, slightly different colour, filled up and went in to pay. "You're back already?" The fellow asked.

"No, this is my brothers bike." I said. I felt like saying, "Do you really think I could have used all that fuel in five minutes?" Anyway, I filled him in on our adventure and he seemed interested, asking me all sorts of questions about mileage, speed etc... The fact that this was a massive trip raising money for CCAF over ruled the fact that I wasn't riding an Indian bike. The more I think about it, the more I wouldn't mind an Indian version. We've lost 2 mirrors already on this trip, I wonder what else will break. Who says European made is better?

Anyway, we left the bustle of Albury with little fuss and hit the highway. Leaving Wodonga, we passed through a speedo check trap, where at an indicated 100kph, the display read 82kph. I was extremely dissapointed, and couldn't get the idea that I was that slow out of my mind. I worked out that if that was true, to complete the 25,000km at 82kph, it would take an extra 11 days than if it were at 100kph. I was comforted however, when we came across a truck driver at our next fuel stop. He had a chuckle as we pulled in with our fitout. I'll tell you, they say laughter is the best medicine, I think Torsten and I must be travelling healers with the laughs we've had. The guy told us not to trust the trap, and with my mathematical genius, I agreed as I'd worked out our averages and had come to the conclusion that the speedos on our bikes were only 10% out.

Moving on, we eventually hit the Western Ring Road and braved Melbourne traffic. With Torsten in tow, I weaved my way across dissapearing lanes, over bridges and under tunnels to our destination of Richmond. Leaving our bikes at our hosts, Paul & Laura, place we made our way up to Bridge street to enjoy a Caffe Latte.

Who said that there would be few coffees on this trip...

383km Speedo - 400km GPS

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Day 8 - Goulburn to Albury - 1912km Completed

Ulls: Geez! How cold could it be?

We woke up in Goulburn to frost on the bikes and visability of about 100 metres. Walking down the road to get some breaky, we spotted some roos in a field behind the local servo. We tend to laugh when foreigners think that kangaroos jump down the streets, but it's true. It just depends what street you live on.

Despite the cold, the bikes started with no trouble and we started our run to Albury by putting down the streets of Goulburn. A few odd looks and laughs and the little town was past us. I'm not sure whether the laughs were directed the bikes or these crazy characters riding them, all rugged up with big thick gloves, balaclavas and big riding boots.

Visibility riding out and on to the highway was shocking. I could just make out Torsten in front of me, and beyond that I couldn't tell. Looking back at the footage later, I couldn't see much either, as water on the lens had frozen and ruined 60 minutes of tape. We found the highway, however, and headed for the twin cities of Albury-Wodonga.

An uneventful ride, again we're still in catch up mode and merely trying to eat up the kilometres. The bikes performed really well though, holding an indicated 100km for most of the way. This pleased me in particular, because most of the run down to Sydney my bike was slower than Torstens, and I felt like I was holding him up.

At the start of this journey we'd made a pact. We would never leave each other for any reason, and so true to his word, Torsten has sat behind me patiently, knowing he could pass me at any time. This is the only certainty we have on this trip, we'll always stick together ...

408km Speedo - 450km GPS

Monday, June 19, 2006

A big thank you ...

Until we can update the sponsors & friends section of the website, I'd like to put a few mentions in here.

Jim George for everything
Irene George & her family for their help on departure day
Kim, Cam, Sally & Susie Q for their help on the day
Peter & Ken from Mocopan
QUT News

Porters Distributors
Steve O'Laughlans Milk Runs
Cerebos Foods - Mocopan

Cec & Betty Martin
McGee Isles Love
Jack & Kim Power
Super Consulting
Tim Stouter from TS & Associates
Neil Dameron from Workscan

Thank you so much for your support for our trip.

Day 7 - Sydney to Goulburn - 1462km Completed

Ulls: A very late start, but we knew it would be. 2.15pm.

We knew this was going to be tight. Just over 200km to get under our belts before the sun set, and being winter, she falls alot quicker than normal. We left Sydney via the Princess Highway, quite lucky really as it was just at the end of King St, Newtown's main drag. Through the tunnel we ended up on the Hume Highway and the bikes were performing much better. Mine was finally giving me an indicated 100kph (90-92kph real speed), much better than the 80-90kph I'd been able to manage on the way down from Brisbane.


We stopped for no one, pushing our little scooters late in the afternoon through amazing country. It's unfortunate though that the highway is so straight. There's not a lot in the way of entertaining twists or turns, just endless kilometres of browny grey highway. It's two lanes though, almost all of the way, which makes it a little less stressful, not having to pull over for hundreds of cars and trucks to pass.


The sun began to set as we were about 20km out of Goulburn. Balaclavas out, glove liners, two pairs of socks and rugging up as much as possible. Exhaling inside your helmet, you still could see the frost blowing around. This caused our visors to fog up, and the only real solution was to lift it and brave the biting wind on your cheeks.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Day 5 - Cundletown to Sydney 1221km Completed

Ulls: We got off to good start, time wise that is.

After filling up at the local fuel stop, we checked the tyres and when Torsten tried to add some air, nothing came from the nozzle. We watched with horror in our eyes as his rear tyre deflated, deflating our hopes of a good run today. We tried in vain to get our own pump to fill the empty tyre. At least we now knew that the purchase of that particular pump was a waste. We eventually sorted it out, as the guy at the station had just forgotten to turn it on.

In the backyard with Suzie and Mike

Under the watchful eye of Dirka (-Dirka-Mohammed-Jihad) the cat

It was fairly slow going towards Sydney, and we even had a touch of rain. It was a little hairy at times, as neither of us had experienced these bathtubs for bikes in wet conditions. Torsten was a little nervous of riding into Sydney on the main highway, so we searched through the maps to find an alternative route. Big mistake!

Ulick re-evaluating our route

Through tiny towns, all of which had won a Tidy Town Award in the eighties, and on toward the Wiseman's Ferry crossing. The last section was to be unsealed roads, and seeing as we'd arranged for our off road tyres to be shipped to Melbourne, that was the end of the alternative route and we made our way back to the highway.

Trying to get our thermals to dry

Riding a scooter, with 50 extra kilos strapped to the back, in Sydney traffic has got to be up there with some of those crazy Japanese extreme sports. Like swimming naked in a creek at 5 degrees with electric eels or something. We made it to Newtown, our home for the weekend.

King Street, Newtown

Unless you've driven in Sydney before (luckily I have), I wouldn't try you hand at this on a scooter with tugboat handling. It's a most extreme sport ...

408km Speedo - 443 GPS

Friday, June 16, 2006

Day 4 - Urunga to Cundletown - 778km Completed

Ulls: Again we were late leaving!

Our first stop was for fuel, and we'd decided to test the external tanks finally. We thought if we can use them now, we could save time stopping for fuel later. You see, to stop every 120km for fuel means, getting off the bike, taking off your helmet, neck warmer, gloves, filling up one bike, then the next, going in to pay, getting back to the bike, neck warmer on, helmet on, gloves on, waiting for your riding partner and so on. A process that takes about 20 minutes to complete. Time consuming.

We filled our tanks, then suddenly I heard all sorts of profanity coming from the other side of the bowser. "Fuel's pissing out everywhere!" Torsten now had a fuel leak. I would have helped him out, but I went straight for the camera to catch the action on film. After some help from the staff at the station and about an hour an a half lost, we hit the road. Pulling over up ahead, we decided to test my external tank. Once the fuel tap was turned, however, fuel started gushing out of mine. Would we ever see an end to these problems? Another hour and a half later, we were finally on the way to our destination for that day, Buladelah.

After an hour of solid riding, I was finding myself quite thirsty and so pulled over at a rest stop to find some water. Neither of us had thought to fill our water bladders or carry any water for that matter. I searched frantically for a tap, to no avail, yet found a lovely couple, Noel and Elizabeth Austin, that gave both of us a lemonade. We filled them in on what this trip was all about, thanked them for their kind gesture and pushed on.

Unfortunately, due to my lack of organisation before the trip, we had to stop in at Port Macquarie (24km unnecessary riding) to withdraw cash and organise a new ATM card. Mine was having trouble swiping brought on by an impression in the magnetic strip caused by the button on my wallet.

Performance picked up on the bikes in the last 20km of our journey. With the setting sun our enemy, we had to turn in early. Cundletown (just near Taree) was our home for the evening. I pulled us in to the first motel we saw and were met by Richard the Barista. He offered us a 10% discount because he thought we were selling coffee. It might have been the Aztec Coffee Co. sponsorship plastered all over the bikes that gave him that impression. But when he found out what we were really up to he jumped in to offer, "we'll make it $50 and I'll shout you guys dinner in the restaurant!" We couldn't turn that down, could we?

All dressed up in our finest dirty jeans, scuffed boots and reaking of petrol from the days earlier disasters, we sat down at table #1 and took our time reviewing the menu. The only patrons we were somewhat guilty that Richard had kept the kitchen open for us. We had a chat and even signed a copy of our media release for him, that now has pride of place, framed in office of the motel.

You meet the nicest people on a scooter ...

241km Speedo - 251km GPS

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Day 3 - Ballina to Urunga - 527km Completed

Ulls: We were late leaving Ballina today, about 10.30am.

With roadworks, wide loads being transported a wait at a raising bridge, we were slow to get in to gear. What followed was a fairly uneventful ride down over boring highway to Coffs Harbour. As we trundled through the Banana capital of Australia, a sign on the other side of the road caught my eye. "Classic Vespa & Lambretta". We stopped up ahead at BP Bananaland to fill up, and I mentioned my sighting to Tor. We both agreed we should turn back and see if they had a mechanic that would take a look at his oil leak.

We arrived to find an empty shell of a shop below the huge sign and our welcoming commitee were the salesmen from the car yard next door. They were very friendly, informing us that the place had closed down over six months ago. We had to push on.

After another 25km on the road and checking my watch all the while, we pulled over to an information centre in a little place called Urunga. Torsten set up the camera to film my big moment on Triple J, and we waited with anticipation... Butterflies ... We checked out accomodation options at the information centre, assisted by Margaret and her friend ... We checked the camera angle again ... Then the phone rang.

It was Chris Duffy. Chris had offered us accom in Coffs early in the piece, however, we wern't able to take advantage of his hospitality due to the fact we were already behind. He'd called Triple J to find out when we were on, and Amelia from Robbie Buck's show had told him sometime in the next hour. Hmmm ...

I decided to call her myself, to confirm the time. Amelia apologised when she realised she'd put the interview back an hour without telling me. It wasn't a big issue, and we waited till 4.45 for the call.

I think it all went well because at the end of the segment, Robbie said "if you see the boys on their scooters, give them a beep and a wave to show your support." Within seconds, a car went past, all hand out the windows beeping and waviing ...

265km Speedo - 276km GPS

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Day 2 - Brisbane QLD to Ballina NSW - 251km

Ulls: After ditching some weight, we were finally ready to hit the road. 12 noon, exactly 24 hours behind schedule, we left home with more tears.

First stop was the local servo, where we topped up with fuel and air. Just as we were about to kick off, my mobile rang and was greated by the lovely Amelia from Triple J. We had a little chat about the trip and arranged an interview over the phone for the next day at 3.45pm.

So, on the road and a very hard ride out of Brisbane we approached the NSW border. A sign at Tweed then read, "NO FUEL ON PACIFIC HIGHWAY NEXT 105km". I promptly pulled off at the next exit to ensure the bikes were topped up for the ride to Byron Bay.

View from the road up to the lighthouse

After being blown around on the Pacific by trucks, busses and natures own, we bumbled into the servo just off the highway and our first major drama had reared it's ugly head. Torsten's bike had an oil leak. From where, we weren't sure. The substance had managed to hit the rear wheel rim and had, in consequence, sprayed oil everywhere. The tyres, gearbox, hub, brake line, you name it, it was covered. This made it extremely hard to pinpoint the location of the problem. After speaking to Paul from Retroscooters in Brisbane, we were confident we could get to Byron as it was.

Hangliders overhead

The ride from Tweed to Byron is quite a beautiful one, with tunnels, open farming land and tight twisty mountains, it gave us an indication of what our bikes would be like all around the country. We putt-putted through Byron Bay's main drag to all kinds of looks from cafe patrons and other motorists. I guess at first glance, people are unsure as to what exactly these vehicles are. A pair of ducks migrating south for the winter perhaps?

We made it to the lighthouse with little difficulty, except for Torsten's left mirror, which had decided it had had enough already and promptly snapped off. Lightning reflexes saw Tor catch the wayward part at 50 kph and managed to make the final kilometre with it under one of his legs. We could only laugh, as just two months earlier, the same had happened to me with my right mirror at 80 kph.

The lighthouse at Cape Byron

As we needed to be in Ballina by 5.30pm, we made this a short visit. Those of you that know me, are well aware of my lack of enthusiasm when it comes to exercise. Those of you that have been to the lighthouse at Byron will know that it's about two hundred meters from the carpark and quite a gradient. All of you now know that these two things combined will not impress me one little bit. I'm puffed just writing about it.

The 35kmto Ballina was fairly smooth sailing and we arrived at Betta Electical in time to pick up the HD video camera. Warren and his colleagues all came to check out the bikes and there were more than a few shakes of the head ...

For those of you that know of the Vespa PX's inaccurate speedo readings.

240km Speedo - 251 GPS

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Day 1 - False Start

Ulls: Well, what a start to this adventure. With Jim over the BBQ, all the staff looking their best and Irene and her family on the go, Aztec Coffee Co. was a hive of activity. Brooke and I rocked up at about 4.30am, half an hour after Jim and Irene, ready to set up. Between them, the girls managed to fill a couple of hundred balloons and have them tied to every possible mounting point in and around the shop. By 7.00am, the onions were cooking away and filled Eagle Street with that scent you get from a good sausage sizzle.

The morning seemed to speed by, Jim dishing up bacon and egg rolls by the dozen. The support from our regulars and a lot of new faces was just amazing. I spoke to Jim this evening and found out we'd raised about $1500 for CCAF.

As the departure neared, we were approached by QUT News. A few questions and what seemed like a never ending stream of set up shots and 12 noon was upon us. Torsten and I geared up, hugged and kissed our loved ones goodbye. When Irene put her arms around me, she started to cry, myself and everyone around us it seemed, followed suit. Three months alone on the road was finally dawning on us.

Mounting our trusty steeds, we wobbled our way down Eagle Street, with everyone waving in the background. Making our way through the city, we finally reached the Riverside Expressway and the Pacific Highway. By the time we had reached the Juliette Street exit, it was clear to both of us that we'd have to detour via home to off load some gear. There was absolutely no stability and infact we were both quite scared.

Unfortunately, it took us 24 hours to sort out the problem, and leaving Brisbane had to wait till Wednesday, and we found ourselves enjoying another night in our own beds ...

CBD, Brisbane to Indooroopilly, Brisbane - 12km