Monday, March 16, 2015

Hello Alice, Goodbye Urluru

As I rode around Ayers Rock, I was reminded of my initial reaction to seeing all of the folks clambering to see Manchu Pichuu a couple of years ago...what the hell are all of these folks doing here?  I needed to remind myself, yet again, that this monolith was singularly one of the great natural features of our planet, and of course all sorts of people will want to see this giant Rock and wonder about its origin.






As the sun set on one major goal of this ride, I was very close to realizing a second and equally important goal, and that was to reconnect with my friends, Werner and Claudia, who I had last seen in Mexico, as I offloaded from our ride in Cuba, over two years ago.   Werner and Claudia were back living and working in Alice Springs, and I was simply 5 or 6 hundred kilometers from seeing them.


This is for Dan and Lissa, over in New Zealand.  They ended up in Curtin Springs about 10 years ago, with a broken-down vehicle...and it wasn't a TransAlp...


A bit of warning of what to expect.....






A desert oak tree....



A view of Kings' Canyon at Sunset....






Before Alice, I decided to go into Kings' Canyon to see the view.  I knew that my feet would not stand the walk around the rim, so I settled for a stay in a nice, lawn covered tent-space, complete with dingoes.  The little buggers came up to my tent in the middle of the night and made off with my chain cleaning  gear bag.  One of them tried to make off with a duffle back and succeeded in chewing a good sized hole in the bag.  I would not want to get bit by one of those thieves...

I made it into Alice Springs, and settled into a Kentucky fried chicken  serving when a very familiar face pulled up in a company truck. No wonder this guy is smiling: a beauty on each side of him.



Since our last ride, Werner has has this beautiful HPN built for him.  Truly a unique bike...


And Claudia has recently purchased a brand new 400 DRZ....

 We were ready from some riding, and of course Werner knew exactly where to take us....

 These pythons live with Werner and Claudia, and I thought I would get some pics of Aussie Snakes for my daughter, who is convinced that I will never survive this godforsakken land of snakes and spiders....

Another beauty, owned by a friend of Werners' and brought in from Europe.  That is a 43 liter tank on that Africa Twin....

 While I was somewhat reluctant to get Rooby dirty again, I thought a nice Sunday ride with friends would be very cool....



Werner is advising: "Do your own speed, there is not any rush."





That wasn't too bad...I guess.


Oh Oh.....

Of course, Claudia blew through the sand pile.....




Is this where I can go home now, at my own speed??







OOh...Shit.....





 Give it throttle!



Whew.....made it through, leaving 10 kilos of sweat and tears in the dried up river bed....








Oh..my aching back.  We don't have pictures of the crashes, as Werner was too busy picking up my bike, as I shook the sand out of my hair.  I have never ridden these sand rivers, and the lessons to be learned are enormous.  Thankfully my offs were slow enough that the only damage was to my ego.




Can I go home now?

Werner says I have my Sand Ticket now, but I am choosing to not exercise it, and if I never see sand again, it will be too soon...



Back on the highway, thankfully all in three or four pieces... Werner needs to top up the DRZ from his bike.






At the end of the day, both of my feet are still attached, and nothing was broken that can't be glued or welded.  It was great to renew my friendships and for all of us to enjoy the wonderful Australian outback.  Rooby has an appointment with the local Suzuki dealer where we will discuss the status of her steering head bearings and wheel bearings.  The corrugations certainly shook the shit out of me, so I suspect that some maintenance needs to be done.  Another goal of this ride accomplished: renewing friendships and continuing to explore our fantastic world..