Sunday, 26 March 2017

Road trip pre-pack

Les than a week to go now, and the bikes (Triumph Trophy and BMW F800ST) are fully prepared for a month of riding. Serviced, fresh oil, new tyres and accessories fitted, there is just the pack and test ride fully loaded next weekend before we head west. Bruce, my co-rider, arrives in Melbourne on Friday evening.

Today has been an opportunity to pre-pack the camping gear which will ride behind me in a roll back. The camping kit will be the first off and last on the bike each day. Over-packing (too much kit) needs to be avoided at this stage of planning.

Camping kit: tent, stretcher, chair, gas cooker and pots, gas canister, trenching tool, collapsible fire stand, sleeping bag, pillow, micro-fibre towel, 5 litre fuel bladder and sleeping bag.

The top box and panniers will carry clothing, tools, electronics and basic rations. I have hired an EPIRB/Personal Locator Beacon which will relay a distress message and our GPS co-ordinates to RCC Canberra if we have an emergency in the Outback.

Seven more sleeps...

Antipodean Mariner
26th March 2017

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Road Trip - the bikes

I can’t think of anything that excites a great sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything. - Bill Bryson

The planning for the road trip began conceptually in January when my end date, the 31st of March 2017, first appeared in my Redundancy Letter. The original plan was to do the ride solo, as I couldn't think of any one of my friends who could take a loosely-defined, month off work (and away from families) to indulge in this folly.

Road Trip Route Plan
But two weeks ago, friend did - a call out of the blue asking if I wanted a riding mate. Solo is good, but to be able to share the experience doubles the fun.

Australia's Wet Season (also the cyclone season) ends in April, so there is a slight chance that we'll get the tail of a tropical cyclone. However, the end of the wet season is likely to give us some of the best of Australia's Red Centre, as desert is transformed by the tropical rains to millions of square kilometres of bushland.

My riding buddy has entrusted me to buy him a bike for the trip, and 'we' have bought a 2011 BMW F800ST. The bike has the F800 panniers and will be fitted with a Givi V46 Top Box for extra carrying capacity.

The bikes - Triumph Trophy and BMW F800ST

The Trophy, as Mothership, has the Garmin Zumo GPS, Personal Locator Beacon and CB UHF radio. The next installment will be the Packing List.

Antipodean Mariner
8th March 2017

Monday, 6 March 2017

End of Passage

End of  Passage, the traditional end of the voyage, has arrived for me at Farstad. After two years in the Offshore Industry, I am preparing for a change of career and role. The brutal downturn in Offshore Oil and Gas has seen Farstad Shipping survive, but in a merged persona with Solstad Offshore and Deep Sea Supply. The voyage continue after I have signed off at the end of March.

In April 2017, I'll be heading west with another mariner for a one month motorcycle road trip - ''Around Australia Lite'. Our route will take us to the Red Centre of Australia to Uluru (Ayers Rock), Alice Springs, Mt Isa, Cairns in tropical Queensland and then home via whatever route is available in the time remaining.

I'll be riding my Triumph Trophy and my riding mate Bruce will be on a BMW F800ST. With tents, camping gear, tools and extra fuel we'll be tackling a planned 12,000 km trip through the extremes of Australia's diverse climate and topography. Our longest day between populated centres will be the 387 km Tablelands Highway between Cape Crawford and Barkly Homestead in the Northern Territory.

Preparations now are the purchase of the BMW, servicing and outfitting the bike for a month's reliable service, adding luggage capacity and assembling gear.

Internet coverage willing, I'll blog the trip and best of the scenery. The road trip will draw a line between what was not to be and the next leg of my personal voyage.

Stay tuned.

The Antipodean Mariner
March 2017