Finally, after a year of withdrawal Team Berg is back on the road to finish what we started last year, aka closing the loop. The plan is to travel from Alberta to California via the West Coast.
Our flight took us via LAX to Edmonton, where our friend Cata kindly lent us her car for the weekend but not before putting us onto a ‘special agent mission’ including a secret email with a photo of a parking ticket and instructions on where to find the key! The car attendants looked at us suspiciously as drove off onto the wrong side of the road! Absolutely brilliant start! But before we started on our journey we stopped-by an old primary school friend of DB from Zambia, Ammara and Clint, for a catch up and have the best and BIGGEST T-bone steaks we’ve ever eaten. Canadian beef eh!
Thanks to Cata and Jeff, our bikes were well looked after and stored in a heated garage in Clive during the past year. We couldn’t believe it that both bikes jumped back into life at the first touch of the starter button after sitting in a corner for such a long time. You gotta love the mighty GS.
The trip started with a little detour, since CB wanted to ride the Ice Fields Parkway from Jasper to Banff, which ended up to be a pretty long ride but well worth the effort with plenty of waterfalls, steep mountains towering in front of us and plenty of glaciers, some of them coming all the way down to the road. The ride however towards the end was challenging as the cold and rain set in…needless to say the nice hotel room, hot shower and fluffy towels were most welcome (that and the $6 cocktails for DB!).
Our last day in Lake Louise and Alberta was crazy. We were so exhausted from the night before and slept in till 30 minutes before check out. We rushed out of the hotel to a glorious day. After some quick maintenance on the bikes we decided to check out Lake Louise. Trying to find parking near Lake Louise was a mission and we were starting to question whether it was worth it but once we walked down to the lake we realised why this place was so popular with honeymooning couples – DB was finally lost for words at the sight before us…
We probably had the most relaxed start to the day for the entirety of the trip – which is usually a mad rush to get your gear packed and the binge ready to go for a 7am start…. But not today – the boots cooked up a great breakki and it was not until 10am or so. It was still raining, but as soon we left the top of the Tablelands and headed towards Marooba we were greeted with the finest sunshine. On the way we rode past a Military Museum consisting of a collection of rusting military hardware.
Not quite what the Smithsonian in the US had to offer, but still a bit of Australian history there.
From here it was just a short ride into Cairns where all riders where marshalled at the Showgrounds to ride as a large group into the city centre and park up near the waterfront.
So that’s it – another Long Ride knocked off. With more than 380 registered riders and over 400,000 dollars collected for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, this was the most successful event to date. Next year’s ride is planned to go to Uluru.
The day started with a big media event at 6am, where the organisers of the Long Ride where drumming up some publicity for the event and one of the hotels were putting on a breakfast for all the riders.
Lining up the bikes always commands some attention….
We’re now truly in the tropics! Temperatures are up and today was the first time we had to put on the wet weather gear! I guess they call it rain forest up here for a reason…
However, we were rewarded with one of the nicest motorcycle roads in Queensland with great twisties all the way up into the Tablelands.
Now it’s only 90km to Cairns.
It was just a short ride of 150 clicks today, which let us see the Pacific Ocean for the first time during the Long Ride, and we were greeted with warm temperatures and a city to fall in love with.
First of all we checked out the local lookout spot – Castle Hill – from where you can get a great overview of the entire area.
Team Berg went then for a little stroll trough the town and down to the beach, with Magnetic Island in the background.
The test of the day was not so much fun, since DB had to fly back to Sydney and go back to work on Friday….
Todays leg of the Long Ride was supposed to end in Hughenden, but this little town was seriously struggling with accommodating all the participants of the charity ride – and since Team Berg came late to the party all was booked out already. Plan B was to continue to Charters Towers for the night – a 780km ride via Longreach, or shave of 270 km of the trip by doing 30km of dirt along the way… We opted for the later, but not without dramas….
First of all the Beast didn’t want to start due to a loose contact our something like that – nothing a little fiddling couldn’t resolve.
Once on the road, we actually had quite a good run, with the occasional road train forcing us of the road, which was heavily littered with road kill.
Until we hit the dirt…
But we made it in the end and finished the day with a big steak!
We had a very pleasant and short ride today (only 400km), and arrived at Barcaldine just after lunch.
Barcaldine is famous for it’s Tree of Knowledge – the place where the Australian Labour Party was found in 1891.
Just across the road from the pub:
Another day in paradise, and St George greeted us with chilling temperatures in the morning – cool enough to wear thermal underwear….
Everything started pretty well, until people kept on referring to the poor condition on CB’s rear tyre – yes, the one that just got changed upon the return from the Tasmania trip – so after 7000km there should be still some rubber left, right? But not so – in other words: outback roads 1 – rear tyre nil.
Now, what are the chances of finding a 180/55R17 in some remote Australian country town? Yes, correct, slim to impossible. But a few phone calls later we located one in Roma with the help of the local motorcycle guy.
Roma its just a little detour away (approx 100 clicks) on our way to Charleville – an opportunity too good to miss, and to be honest, probably our only chance to score some rubber for the Beast between here and Townsville.
350 bucks later a brand spanking new Pirelli Angel ST was mounted and off we went to catch up with the rest of the mob.
When CB did the booking for this nights accommodation, little did he know that the Carones Hotel is probably one of the most iconic ones in Central Queensland! Its more like a time warp back into the 1800s – certainly the bathroom looked antique, and i bet it its haunted, too.