For the short time we had to shakeout we did most certainly achieve a number of goals.
Clarissa road on dirt for more than 300 meters, and loved it :)
Tent still works (Byron bay still has great sushi too)
Neil came up with the idea of doing headstands everywhere we go (planking is so old)....
We are both extremely happy with how it panned out. Clarissa is still very fresh to dirt. Let alone a severely degraded third world roads or a narrow goat track over a mountain range. Although we didn't get the 500 or so kilometres of dirt that I wanted to do we did get one thing cemented. As she watched our secret test rider fly through the bush on her fully loaded bike, she now knows that she must awaken the Gaston Rahier/Patsy Quick inside her!
Clarissa, in preparation for the big trip, has completed a Stay Upright BMW G/S Off-road course and also with Stay Upright, an Advanced rider course run at Eastern Creek raceway in Australia. We've been very lucky to have excellent instruction from Paul Rooney himself on riding the big beasts and our very good friends Graham and Fiona Grant, Chris Cowper and many others (sorry for not mentioning some of you personally!)
Both Clarissa and myself would first love to thank all those people who have so graciously accommodated/fed us on our number of preparation rides. Including most recently Barry and Joy. Especially so when we were most venerable.
Twas the last night of the shakeout on our last leg home, we ended up riding on after dark. Going a slightly hairy way back home and after a big day of riding already it proved a bit too much for Clarissa.
About 7 o'clock in the evening, 5kms before it was extremely obvious we needed to make camp, I noted a dimly lit sign for accommodation. After we turned the bikes around, we decided to pull in and see what was on offer. Only too happy to camp with no amenities or power, weren't we shocked with what was to unfold... "Gday, any room at the inn?" I yelled from the bike with helmet on too a group on the back patio of what looked to be the owners house.
"nup" replied back a female Kiwi accent
"I see, how about a spot to put up a tent?"
"nup, dont do tents" came back the Kiwi voice. At this point I knew it was going to be interesting getting our heads down here..."Can't even spare four square meters for a tent?" I said as removed my helmet. An older gentleman had come over by this time and asked if we where there to rob them... He then proceeded to go ask the owner if we could set up a tent. A short while later and Barry,the proprietor, emerged from the house and we explained the situation and he asked what a reasonable price was, to which I replied "fifteen gold coins is about the rate for an unpowered site"
"Per head?" he asked
"Well we're from Tasmania so its technically the one body" I replied sarcastically... I think he laughed... He then got the older gentlemen to show us a spot up the back near a caravan to put the tent up. Dallas (your classic Aussie bloke) then made sure we wouldn't set up in front of one of the utes that would leave early next morning. As it was mainly local miners that had caravans on Barry's land.
When I returned to ride the bikes up and set up a camp, Barry yelled out and said 'when you're done come and have a beer!'
Long story (way to long for this post) short, Barry and Joy wouldn't let us sleep until they fed us dinner and organic local white wine, some rum and some more beers. To top it off we talked for hours after Clarissa nearly passed out from exhaustion at the dinner table and we slept in a bloody expensive flash caravan that had a heater!
The next morning we woke to the angry barking dogs from the night before wanting to play fetch. A good sign we were no longer robbers when the guard dogs wanted to play with us! So we did for sometime, very fun too, as the pack leader was the only one allowed to actually touch the ball. With the other two dogs charging for the ball only to pretend to pick it up (to avoid the leaders wraith I guess).
As we discussed the night before among other things, I took a look at his bobcat tractor that had some dramas. Unfortunately after some diagnostics Barry was up for a new alternator as it had packed in. Tightened a few hoses to hopefully stop a leak or two and then told him I would send him some documentation on his particular model for future reference.
Even thought we're not specifically doing any charity work on our round the world trip, if my mechanical skills can help someone in need that would be the least I would be doing for them. We met a number of golden people that night and the next morning. Best of luck too Graham on his coming adventure to Nepal for some mountaineering.
Only 16 more days before we leave for Singapore. The shakeout let us know that gear wise, basically we forgot to bring clothes pegs. Also, we are well sick of the roll bags for our luggage. They've already suffered a couple of holes and the less straps the better. We have got Lachlan from MTD tours to make us up some top boxes for both bikes for ease and some more security. Clarissa mainly wanted one because she had no real-estate for stickers... I've got so many other ideas to potentially make our lives easier but we're pretty much good to go now.
16 more days. Shit. Seemed like only a moment ago we picked the bikes up. Definitely feels like only yesterday I said to myself, stuff this I'm riding around the world. All steam ahead though... Apart from the fact that I currently don't have a rear shock for my bike. May need one of them :)
ps - some photos for you!
The view of the river from the magical accommodation we stayed at in Nymboida. Cheap and scrumptious food, amazingly reasonable rooms including a spa and I finally got to do my first bit of yoga in almost a week!
Happy Neil after finding a pearler of a spot.
A short clip of Clarissa on her bike flying through the Lions Road. Notice the wonderful birds in the background (bell birds?) and the equally audiophile pleasing note of the Rooney special exhaust.
A short stop on the Putty road back home. The giant stainless steel sculpture was a surprise to see after I remembered it living in a different location! We initially stopped for a drink but clearly my eyes are going as we got close the service station was pretty well gutted from fire a long time ago...