Gerry Ride #3... Pt Augusta to Willunga...

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Prof
Founder, Choppers Australia
Posts: 5893
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 3:54 pm
Location: Willunga, South Australia
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Gerry Ride #3... Pt Augusta to Willunga...

Post by Prof » Thu Aug 11, 2016 11:12 pm

Prof now speaking...

Ten am and I get a bit of a surprise when my phone announces a text from Gerry to say he is just leaving Coober Pedy. He has made faster time than I had expected, so I am caught rather unprepared.

I pack some food (always tins etc at hand) Mum who lives on the property with us brings in some cake. Son Paul and and Kelsy (works part time for Rilda) Knock up some really nice sandwhiches. I grab my gear and take it up to my chopper, then realise I've needed to do a quick check before I did the next 450 miles. Gearbox oil fine. Engine oil; Yoiks! Hardley any in the tank. Go into the workshop to grab a container of Pirtek HD50-70. An inch in the bottom. No worries. I always keep a couple in stock. Damn! Where are they? Quick search reveals the two I am sure I have are no where to be found.

Call Wade at McLaren Vale Sprint. He has some. I'll fill up on the way out... only four miles.

Lube the chain. Quick check of cables and make sure nothing is loose and load the gear. Cover everything with garbags because of the rain. Don my wet weather gear. Say goodbye to everyone and fire up the shovel. Light to medium rain is falling as I take off on my rumbling trusty stead. All that took just over an hour.

Gerry's got a big head start on me. I'd wanted to stay overnight between Woomera and Coober Pedy and thought I 'd be moving off the following morning at 6am or so. Not to worry. I'm on the road and the real world is shut out. A new adventure begins...

Filling up at Wades'. I'll pick the half full container on the way home...
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Rain is steady for the next 15 miles. I won't bore you again with how much I enjoy riding in it, but I do love it.

Then dry right through to Dublin. I begin to overheat through the city, but cool down again pretty quickly once I hit the northern outskirts. Stop to eat my sandwiches for a very late lunch at Dublin. Wind is cold and the sky getting ominously black to the west...
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I ride from Dublin to Pirie in steady rain. I sit on a steady 70mph, because I have a bad oil leak in my front head gasket. Been needing to do it for months, so will take it reasonably easy this trip and rip the heads off and do a decoke and valve seat at the same time when I get back. The shovel has done 120 thousand miles since a top end job, so it won't hurt to give it some tlc.

Rain is heavy as I roll into Pt Wakefield. A cop in a highway patrol car watches me as I rumble past. I pull into the Shell servo for fuel and keep an eye on the cop. He obviously is happy to stay in his car. Suits me.

Wait. And wait. And wait for the pump to start. A voice behind me apologises that I must get off my chopper before he will turn the pump on. I point out a few home truths about the stupidity of such a notion. He is pleasantly adamant, so rather than don my gear just to ride to the BP as I normally would, I comply and end up spilling fuel over the tank. Pay the bill and push on again in the rain.

Rain becomes patchy by Snowtown and stays that way through to my next fuel stop at Whimpy's outside Pt Pirie. Well it used to be called that when I lived in Pirie in the 70's... and took my wife to be (although I didn't know it at the time) out to a meal one evening! It's now called The Tin Man.

My visor had been annoyingly rattly this trip, so I got into my tools for my roll of electrical tape. Not there. That's right my son borrowed it a few weeks ago. Slosh back into the shop and buy a roll of tape and fix my visor...
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Quiet helmet is a great relief. Weather is very cold but clear for most of the rest of the trip. I decide a bit of photography won't go amiss. Means taking off my left glove and sitting on it and gettng a very cold hand, but hey, you do like to see photos on the move don't you?!! Here's just a few of what this happy snapper took...
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Rolle into Pt Augusta near dark and once more, in the rain. I amble through the wet streets the motor pulsating very plesingly beneath me, feeling on top of the world. Cruising on a chopper cannot be beat, I reckon.

I pull up in the main street, get off my chopper and walk through inches deep water to a spot where I can take stock of things. Grab my phone out of my kit and see that Gerry has just texted me and was in Pimba, feeling like a drowned rat. He was going to stay put. I text back and we both agree that it was not a good idea to be out on the outback roads at dusk and then night in the wet due to the skippies and other wild life, desperate to unseat unwary two wheel travellers!

I decide to stay the night with a mate in the town and head north to meet Gerry in the morning. An early night does not go amiss, but I still don't get up until 8am. A leisurely breakfast and going with my mate to drop his car off to a crash repair means I only leave the town about 9.30am.

So great to be on the road again. Weather is fine with clouds in the distance, but the skies overhead are clear. But it is cold. Cross over the river pass a servo and caravan park amongst other establishments and finally swing right into the great outback. In the chopper riding groove now. Settle into steady cruising mode, though I do get a couple of photos. I'm not sure how far i'll get as I know Gerry can really motor if he gets the feeling, so I need to keep my camera ready!
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Bit hard to see, but these hills have distinctive flat tops and are called buttes...
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Bugger! I've only been in the scene for half an hour and here comes The Man on his Triumph chopper (smudge in distance)...
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U turn as he flies past and then we pull up together. Meeting again at last. It has been a real saga so far (and maybe not over yet says Gerry... He's sitting beside me at the computer as I type this). Brief G'days and we decide to push on south once he has filled up at the Port...
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Recrossing the Port river (actually it's jsut the narrow end of the Gulf)...
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We have two sets of traffic lights to negotiate. We pull up side by side. As the light turns green, Gerry motions to me. He's lost his clutch! I put my chopper on its side stand and push him across and to the right. Cars are stuck behind my parked shovel as I walk back, mount and wait for the next green light. We find a safe spot around a second corner and survey the situation. The cable has snapped at the clutch actuating lever.

I call my wife to get my mate's phone number and then get directions from him to the local bike shop. Gerry meantime walks back to the traffic lights looking for his clutch cable end. It will be of no use...
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He pulls out the cable and leaving him to guard his immobilised chopper, I roar off to to bike shop...
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Just after I arrive, a big black bike sporting an empty sidecar chassis pulls in. He is very excited. He passed me with the bike on a trailer some way past Dublin and had pitied me riding in the pouring rain. We converse for a bit and both take photos. He is setting up a motorcycle hearse at the local funeral director's request...
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The blokes (and girl) at Northern Motorcycles are fantastic. They can't help us enough... and their price to repair the cable is way lower than I would have expected. Call in on them or check their website at http://www.northernmotorcycles.com.au

In no time I am back with Gerry and the cable is installed. I realise there is not lock nut, so we go back to northern motorcycles and they try to find us 3/8" UNF nut to not avail...
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Gerry figures the garage across the road might have something seeing as they are playing with a bunch of Yank cars. He is right and comes back with a couple of the correct nuts. You can see our choppers across the street in the background...
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On the road again. I take Gerry throughto Adelaide via the inland route; Wilmington, Gladstone, Clare...
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Horrocks Pass is a neat piece of road. Tight corners and sweeping bends all uphill.

Once in the seventies, mates and I went through the pass for the first time. It was very undulating then and one of the guys (Mick by name) reckoned he could get his 550 Suzuki triple airborne. So we picked a likely hump and he back up while I got down in the ditch at tarmac level to catch him as he went by. Well he got airborne alright! A car came past in front of my camera as he lifted off. I had the photo, rather blurry for many years until my motorcycle albums were burnt. The whole bike was ABOVE the car!!! He hit the road busting spokes in his front wheel, but just managed to stay on the bike. We were a very subdued bunch for the rest of the ride. How he didn't kill himself I'll never know... guess his Creator still had something in mind for him!

Gerry and I did nothing silly. I was tempted to get him to do a U turn so I could get a speccy pic of him leaning around a bend, but didn't...
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It was very cold as we rumbled to a stop in Wilmington. I thouht Gerry would be interested in their Toy Museum... which he was...
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... and their cat...
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Typical upper north country town main street. Street is three chains wide, the standard width of northern Australian cattle routes which always went through the towns... just like you have seen on cowboy movies. When I lived in Booleroo Centre in early 80's, I remember the street full of cattle milling around while the drovers were slaking their thirst in the pub. Stopped doing it soon after...

They are called a three chain road because they were the width of three lengths of the surveyer's iron survey chain, which was made up af 66 links. Ordinary country roads were one chain roads...
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Steady clear riding through Melrose, Wirrabara and Laura. I had arranged to catch up with a CA member, Grim in Gladstone and Gerry hits reserve a few miles out. So we fill up and then Gerry grabs a pie while I feast on some tinned food. It is a while before we leave as we get some interest from a couple of local girls and a bloke travelling through...
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Next stop Grim's. He DJ's for http://bikerradio.ning.com/ and is on air when we arrive...
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We have a great time with Grim, including checking out his Howard sidevalve chopper that has been in the making for a few years now...
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It is mid/late afternoon when we finally drag ourselves away from Grim's. But being on the road again is 'where it is at man' and we settle in to steady cruising...
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Clare is our next fuel stop. A customer at the counter with Gerry engages him in motorcycle conversation. We are also getting a bit chilled and grab some hot snacks.

Because he does not usually ride at night, Gerry wears a tinted visor. It was now obvious we would be travelling after dark, so seeing a bloke pulling up for fuel with mowing gear in the back, Gerry goes out and asks him if he has any safety glasses he can buy off him. He replies he has a new pair and home and races off to get them; no charge. Wow! More like the country attitude Gerry expected further north!

Going out to the choppers at last, Gerry decides he'd better adjust up his chain which he has forgotten to check due to rain, cold and other issues. My tools are easier to get to and the job is quickly done...
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The rest of the ride to Adelaide is just beaut cruising. We hit the city after dark, negotiating a jumble of roadworks and pull into an 'On The Run Store for a toilet stop and stretch. I keep looking around for a revving motorcyle until I finally realise it is a generator powering the lights you can see in the background. Once again Gerry gets talking to a motorcyclist who is wearing camoflage clothes. he reckons they are super warm and windproof, but not water proof...
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Our choppers faithfully bring us home once again, tonight around 10pm. We are cold, but thrilled with the day's riding... and joke that we just need to fill up agian and hit the Melbourne road!
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Chopit'nrideit... Prof

Bearcx
Posts: 1894
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 12:31 am
Location: Gawler, Sth Aust
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Re: Gerry Ride #3... Pt Augusta to Willunga...

Post by Bearcx » Fri Aug 12, 2016 1:36 pm

Great read, Prof. Remember Wimpy's, and 3 chain road in Pirie. :lol:
Good to see repairs were minimal, and the rain didn't drown you both. Looks like the hospitality returned a bit closer to Adelaide.

Welcome Gerry.!
The brave may not live long, but, the cautious do not live at all.

tigerbob
Posts: 327
Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2011 8:41 am
Location: Sydney

Re: Gerry Ride #3... Pt Augusta to Willunga...

Post by tigerbob » Fri Aug 12, 2016 2:24 pm

Great read as always...

I used to do the Adelaide to Roxby route regularly in the late 80s. It seemed it usually rained for the stretch from Adelaide to Pt Augusta, then cleared up a few miles past Pt Augusta (much to my despair as it meant the Woomera road would be open and I'd be able to get back to work). I remember the Tin Man that was made out of 44 gallon drums too. I think it was still known as Wimpy's then.

Good to hear that there are still people out there who are willing to help out in times of need with no expectation of reward!
'94 Dyna Convertible
'73 TR6 Tiger - chopper under construction
'71 T140v Bonneville

Prof
Founder, Choppers Australia
Posts: 5893
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 3:54 pm
Location: Willunga, South Australia
Contact:

Re: Gerry Ride #3... Pt Augusta to Willunga...

Post by Prof » Sat Aug 13, 2016 1:01 am

Yes. The 44 gallon man is still there. I used to travel up to Woomera with our minister to run meetings for the servicemen up there in the mid seventies. That patch of dirt before Woomera was a test. Bert, the minister had a 63 Humber Super Snipe with worn out shockers. She sat a bit low so he welded a big lump of angle iron across the chassis to protect the sump. The whole time on the dirt we would be treated to the rattle and clang of stones being bulldozed by the angle iron. In the wet, we often took the the scrub which was higher than the buldozed road and not a lake or mudpuddle like the road. He was very skilled and we always got through. Great memories of a very very busy air base full of Yank, Pom and Aussie servicemen and their families.

Back to the topic! Gerry and I have worked eight days straight on his chopper. I'll put the job up on the TCS forum when I get time as I am way behind in my work now.

We finally finished 9pm tonight, had tea and then went out for a short test ride. In short, he says he is 'Rapt'.

Tonight was bitterly cold, clear sky, with a half moon, so i rugged up well. We stopped just down the road to adjust Gerry's headlight, then roared off to pick up some go juice at McLaren Vale.

Gear lever needed adjustment, so we did that...
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Right air filter which we'd installed (removed the Triumph airbox) was rubbing Gery 's leg, so I got out a screwdriver and adjusted it.
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We cruised down through Seaford to Moana beach and pulled up on the concrete ramp. The sand was badly dug up by tin can drivers, so we didn't venture onto the beach, but took off to Aldinga Beach ramp instead. The cold was quite bearable and only my knees and fingers were affected. As usual my shovel just purred along beneath me. Gerry stayed reasonably well behind much of the time, but I knew he was close when his ragged exhaust note overcame mine. Sounds great with his aftermarket Epco mufflers.

The sand at Aldinga Beach is normally smooth and hard, but with the high winds we have had over the last week it was mainly rocks. Seeing how much the beach can change make a mockery of the Greenies argument that driving on the beach will hurt the beach dwelling microorganisms. Bollocks!

We bumped off the concrete ramp and then bumped over the round rocks and pebbles... not too comfortable. Definitely scotched my plants to ride athe length of the beach to the Sellicks ramp, 4 miles down the beach.
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So we pulled up after a few hundred yards, switched off and enjoyed watching the breakers coming onto the sand in front of us... just highlighted by the moon light. Tried some pics without a flash. Came out black, but was able to rescue them with some photo editing...
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Time to go. Gerry was getting cold. It was interesting moving out, as our wheels had been slowly sinking in the sand; I had to rock back and forwards to extricate myself.

I bumped back up onto the ramp and up the drive, but Gerry had it a bit more interesting slewing about a bit when hitting a soft patch, but years of riding and great skill saw man and machine beat the odds thrown at them by an unpredictable nature!!!!

The 6 mile ride back home was most enjoyable. The mods to Gerry's chopper seem to have worked well. Roll into the workshop. Listen to our steads lovely exhaust notes for a minute or so and reluctantly switch off.

Lights out, door locked and once more enter the cosy world of civilisation.
Chopit'nrideit... Prof

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