Australia

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For our 21st Wedding anniversary Camryn and I wanted to do something special. We love to travel, but rarely have the means or the time to do so. One day Camryn stumbled upon a set of tickets to Australia for $500.00 round trip/person, and that pretty much sealed the deal on what we were going to do.

The tickets are from a website called http://www.cheapflightnow.com. At first I was in total disbelief. While thinking to myself, “there is no way these tickets are legit.” Camryn proceeds to book them. Turns out, they were very real.

Planning

We first started thinking about what we wanted to do. Sitting in a hotel room for two weeks was certainly out of the question. After all, what is the point of visiting another country if all you do is stay in one location the whole time, where your biggest adventure is deciding where to eat that night. We wanted to get out and explore!

What better way to experience and be connected with the environment that you’re in, than on the back of a motorcycle.

Being both owners and huge fans of BMW, we opted for the 1200 GS. It’s tough, reliable, and has got plenty of power to lug my fat butt and all my gear around OZ.
We found a company online, called BikeRoundOZ. They weren’t the only ones to pop up on google, but after reading over all the companies, they seemed to be the best organized and equipped. Later on, they would become much more valuable resource than I expected.

With the flights and the bikes booked, I started building an Itinerary. Camryn and I compiled a list of places that we wanted to see along the way, plotted them on the map, and pretty soon a route started to appear. The folks at Bikeround OZ had some great advise on what roads to take.

Route

From Brisbane we will ride inland through Mount Barney National Park, following the Great Dividing Range down to our first camp in Glen Innes.

On day 2 we ride further south through Hanging Rock State Forest and into Murrurundi for two nights at an AirBNB.

Then to Mill Creek Camp, riding through Yengo National Park, just outside Sydney, where we hope to stop at Pancakes on the Rocks, for breakfast the next morning.

From Sydney we head north, following with coast line to campsites at Mungo Brush, Diamond Head Beach for two nights, Trial Bay Gaol, through Waterfall Way to Diggers Camp, and turning inland for a bit, we will arrive in Cutters camp for a night.

For the last leg of the trip, we ride up to Cleveland, just outside of Brisbane, where we will load our bikes onto a ferry and travel across the bay to Stradbroke Island where we will be staying at the Stradie Beach house at Point Lookout for our last two nights.

Then, sadly, head back into Brisbane, return the bikes, pack our junk and head home.

Here is a bit of what went down, from the planing all the way up to our first day on the road.

Australia Day 2

IMG_0170It had just started raining on us when we arrived in Glen Innes so it was a mad dash to get our tent set up and our clothes out of the rain…other than that, our first night on the road we stayed warm and dry in our little tent.

At around 4 in the morning Camryn shot straight out of her sleeping bag “What the heck is that?”  it was a noise that we’d never heard before, and couldn’t identify.  We laid there for several minutes listening and trying to see what it may have been in the dark, then it would stop…a few minutes later it started again…It’s an impossible sound to describe but I’ll give it a go.  It sounded like monkeys in the trees laughing, but then there was this other sound that was like a 1980’s video game mixed with something I imagine my computer would sound like while imploding.  It ended up being a Kookaburra, Yellow Crested Cockatoos, and  few Magpies.  You can hear them at the beginning of the video below.

We were supposed to find a grocery store on our way to Glen Innes yesterday but because we ran so late we weren’t able to stock up on food or water…so as you might imagine our first thought was how are we going to make our coffee??  Oh Crap!  Luckily, Australia doesn’t have a shortage on cafés

After breaking down camp and loading up the bikes, then getting charged an additional $5.00, because I lost the shower room key, that I later found (in the pocket that I checked a hundred times) we hit the road again.

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Since we’re still traveling down the Great Dividing Range the scenery stayed pretty much the same as our first day, but still, pretty awesome.  It was a mixture of wide open plains, farm land, rocky hills, and dense forests.

We stopped for a quick break in the town of Walcha, where we (out of shear luck) stumbled upon a custom motorcycle/coffee shop across the street from were we parked.  The shop was called “Tinker”, and it had some of the most creative and unique bikes that I had ever seen.  We got the full tour, threw back another couple of flat white coffees, and quickly got back on the road.  I don’t know why we were in such a hurry.  Camryn and I have a tendency to fall into a “run and gun mentality” when traveling , we get so excited that we try and see everything at once.  Trying not to miss anything in the short time we are here, we probably ended up missing a lot.  Australia is huge.

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Through the rolling hills of Niangala and an endless number of Sheep and cattle ranches later we arrive in Murrurundi, NSW.   We’re staying at an AirBNB tonight known as Gillian’s Garden Studio.  The pictures online were amazing, but didn’t do the place justice.  It was a perfect little studio cabin that sat on top a hill overlooking the valley. The interior was beautiful, cozy, and comfortable. Gillian met us in the driveway as we rolled up, showed us where we could park the bikes and gave us the grand tour.  She had made jam and fresh bread with tea and coffee, and made us feel right at home.  I definitely recommend staying here.

Day 6 Summer Trip 2014

June 24, 2014

Odometer: 3521 Miles

Crossett, AR. to Spring Hill, TN.

Today was a longer trip but it was easy riding.  The majority of ride today was on the Natchez Trace Parkway.  There were no trucks and very few cars.  Not only that, but there were trees that lined the Parkway so it cut down on the wind!

After 6 full days or riding, and a total now of a whopping 3521 miles on my bike, I am starting to feel much more confident that I’m not going to kill myself!  This trip has been a great confidence booster for me, and I’m really starting to enjoy my time on the bike.   I also think Ben is starting to relax a little and watch what he’s doing rather than watching me all the time.:)

Spring Hill was the end of my journey on the bike for now, for the rest of our trip I will be hauling an Airstream trailer.  Next year we want to tackle all the National Parks in Utah and finish up in Yellowstone.  We’ll keep you posted!

Day 5 Summer Trip 2014

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Day 3 & 4 Summer Trip 2014

June 21, 2014

Odometer: 2883 Miles

Truscott Brine Lake TX to Holly Lake TX.

Image of Truscott Brine Lake below.  There were a LOT of flies!

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Good grief Texas is HUGE and FLAT!  The only change to the landscape was if there were oil wells…or not.

This was the view until we made it to Paris, TX…photo

We made it to Ben’s parents house in Holly Lake.  We will be staying here for a few days to rest up before we move on to TN.  It was very windy again today and I didn’t want to let go of the handlebars for fear of being blown off the road.  As a new rider I am starting to realize that unless your upper body is totally relaxed it is VERY hard to control your bike.  The more relaxed my head and upper body are the easier it is to go with the blow…

Few things to note…EVERY single small town had a Dollar General, a Dairy Queen, and a Pawn/Guns and Ammo all with in one or 2 blocks of each other.