Hint, tips and trip reports from Ben’s time in Australia on a 1982 Goldwing and on a 2002 in SoCal.
24th September 2006
Sunday 24th September, Amy and I ride to Wagga to spend a few days with Matt.
The trip up turned out to be more…..ahh….interesting than expected…..
Keep in mind that this was Amy’s first ever long bike tour. I told her when she got there that if she handled that, she can handle just about anything on the back of a bike.
We had the new intercom fitted a few days prior to leaving and had done one short trip to test it, it was not perfect, far from it, but time was pressing and I thought we would be able to sort it out as we went….big mistake, note to self, don’t “sort out” ANY new gear on tour, get it sorted before any trips!
We left to overcast skies and a bit of wind. It took a very frustrating 45 minutes to get though to the other side of Ballart…..usually a 20 min trip. Reason for the delay was the intercom, we kept stopping to try and adjust it such that it would simply work. We just wanted to be able to talk between ourselves….anyway, the whole intercom saga has its own web page, but the point is, we did not get off to a great start…..left on time at 6am, but soon was running pretty late.
Amy had picked the route we were to take her self; there was only a minor tweak here and there from me when some legs got a little long with no obvious fuel stops.
This helped a little, as we were both seeing new country and Amy felt more involved in the trip.
From Daysford we headed out the back of Rushworth, and then to Violet town. It was about ½ hour north east of Daylsford that the wind started, it was a howling westerly, and I do mean howling. The bike was a lot of work to keep on my side of the road, the trees on the west side would block the wind, I would be upright, then there would be a gap and I would have to work hard to get it over again. The other problem was that the cross wind was making the intercom very noisy, the wind though Amy’s helmet was getting amplified and fed into my ears! Talk about irritating and tiring! I was getting hammed by the wind inside and out!
The leg from Rotchester to Violet Town was the best hour or so for the whole trip, it was the only due west leg of the trip! I set the cruise control for 95kph, and stood up on the pegs with my visor up, you could hardly feel the breeze on my face; did I mention it was a howling westerly??
Sadly we had to turn north again and head up to cross the Murray River. The hour or so to the border was the usual fight-the-cross-wind un-fun, but things soon changed when we got up to the Murray…..
The wind got even stronger and it started to rain!!! Crossing the Murray was amazing, there were 2-3 foot white capped breakers on it! At one stage the waves were breaking over the road edge and the peaks were being blown across the road!
So not only was I struggling to hold the bike up in the wind, but now I was struggling to keep from slipping all over the place…..did I mention that it was raining?
Because of the wind, the rain was streaming in at more than 45deg, the water was streaming ACROSS my windscreen (usually on a motorbike, the force of the wind pushes the rain straight up your windscreen, “never” across!)
Time for another confession. I knew that the bike has an issue with water, but I had never been able to track it down….about 15 min after it starts to rain, the bike starts to run really rough, like its missing on one or more cylinders……
So, here we are, 90kph cross wind, waves breaking over the road, rain coming in a whopper of an angle and the bike starts to run on random amounts of cylinders…..
“Are we having fun yet Amy?”
We pull over and talk about what to do. I don’t turn the bike off, as I am worried about getting it started again. Amy is wet and cold, but she wants to just get there. I’m a little with her, but am more worried about a bad case of “get-there-itus”, I don’t want to be pushing on in really dangerous conditions at the expense of getting there at any expense, that can end up costing you a packet.
The map shows we are soon to turn north and away from the river and thus I hope for an improvement in the conditions…..so, we agree to take it in small chunks and see how we are both going.
Thankfully as soon as we turn north to Corowa things get a lot better, the rain stops and the sun comes out…..have I mentioned that it’s a howling westerly?
Lunch by the side of the road gives a nice break.
Back on the bike and I am grateful for the MP3 player as at least we have wind noise infested music to listen to.
In the distance I see The Rock, I want to tell Amy that we are going to be passing close by it and that it means we are close to Matts…..We joke later because she has seen it at the same time and wanted to tell me that she liked the look of it and wanted to see it closer, but it was so far away that she did not want to make us go out if our way to see it…… she could hardly believe it as it got bigger and bigger!
Matt keeps ringing to see where we are at, but the intercom is not letting us talk, he has to guess what I am saying, he calls when we are just about 25 min out. About 15 min latter, I see a car parked on the side of the road at an odd angle, its Matt! We play a very tired game of tag on the way into his place. Amy and I pretty much fall off the bike…..its been a really long tiring trip.
The time at Matts was the typical super and way too short. Amy’s highlight was the roasted vegetable toasted sandwiches for lunch the next day. The highlight for Ben was seeing Matts joy when we got the laptop networked and he could control his media from the theater room.
The trip home was boring by comparison. The intercom was no better (Matt and I tried to fix it while up there), but the weather was a whole lot nicer!
Amy and I enjoyed the trip, but are looking forward to doing it again in less stressful conditions.