On saturday afternoon, we completed the long ride with more than 200 bikes rolling into Sydney in convoi to end up at Darling Harbour celebrating the successful completion of almost 4000 km through three States and one Territory. All in the name of raising awareness of an important men's health issue – prostate cancer.
And what a ride it was! Where ever we went we engaged with the community and many people offered on-the-spot donations for the cause. It just shows how many families are directly or indirectly affected. The overall support was overwhelming.
The general plan was to group near the airport and then roll into the city as one large convoi. Unfortunately, the police escort didn't show up and with so many traffic lights to cross and many riders being unfamiliar with Sydney it is needless to say that this venture ended up in carnage. The group got broken up at the first set of lights and we followed a bunch of people heading straight towards George St – a place you don't want to be on a saturday at lunch time.
But most of us made it in the end and we enjoyed a celebratory beverage on the habour front, followed by a dinner cruise later that evening.
While my backside was in need of a wee rest, we were sad that it all ended. No break down this time – the Dakar performed to expectations. Apparently, the next Long Ride will be organised for 2013 heading to Cooktown in northern Queensland.
When heading north towards Canberra, we took a dirt road along the Snowy River. Halfway in, we went past a 'road house' and all that was missing was the mean banjo playing in background – total Deliverance moment.
There were also a lot of derelict motrcycles and backpacker cars – maybe not everybody was a lucky as we were and got out.
Today we took the ferry from Queenscliff to Sorento and when past Phillip Island to Sale.
Not sure if you heard about it, but they were some heavy rainfalls with thunderstorms in Victoria last night, but we were so lucky to dodge the rain so far, however there were many closed roads due to flooding and many padocks turned into temporary lakes.
Even in the most remote places of Victoria they could be spotted – hairy legs in white tennis socks comfortably embraced by sandals. Yes, Germans are everywhere and can be spotted for miles. They even put up special street signs to keep these keen motorists on the left side of the road – as a friendly reminder so to speak.
Also, very popular with the 'Grey Nomads' (retired and/or old people in campers, motorhomes or caravans) are those remote parts of Australia, but more to the nuisance of two-wheeled road users, since they are usually travelling at 60 km/h or less on the open road.
Certainly, if there is something like the Great Ocean Road, then god must be a motorcyclist – or something around those lines could be heard being muttered here and there whenever we stopped for a break.
This was by far the highlight of this trip with stunning scenery all around us and a never ending sequence of corners – one better than the next.
Looks like New Zealand, no?
We crossed the border into South Australia this morning and we were greeted with the dry and desolate beauty of the outback. So many people have asked me why in the world would I want to ride my motorbike through a part of the country which is considered by many Australians as one of the most boring there is – but not so. This landscape is ever changing, diverse and simply beautiful.
And exciting too. I almost got taken out today by a massive emu crossing the road – just behind Steve who was riding in front of us and just a few feathers shy of my front wheel. You just can't see those silly birds – they just look like a big shrub from the distance and they wait for the most suicidal moment to cross the road just in front of you! Its not like that they cross early because there are a bunch of motorbikersn appearing on the horizon, no, they almost wait for the opportune moment to run into something – usually YOU!
But best part today was heading towards Hallet where the landscape turns from very arid with barely any vegetation into lush green, ariable land with a massive wind farm along a ridgeline. We could clearly feel why they put the turbines here since we were riding for many kilometres in a sight angle due to sustained cross winds.
Today's final destination was Loxton, which is locate on the Murray River (see photos). You can clearly see why water is such an important issue for this region, since the river seems to make endless citrus plantations and vineries viable in the first place… You may say: no water, no wine (or orange juice).