A little jaunt through central Australia - Page 2 - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #11 of 33 Old 09-12-2018, 05:41 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Cairns, Australia.
Posts: 191
We were getting into an area dominated by ‘gibber plains’
Flat desert plains covered with small pebbles, the ones in the ‘channel country’ markedly red in colour.



We reached ‘Betoota’ late in the afternoon and pitched our tents by the lagoon at the back of the pub.


There’s a KLR in there somewhere!

Nice lagoon


And campfire


Betoota until a few months ago had a population of zero. It was nothing but some ruins with a nearby waterhole but recently some optimistic folks have spent a bunch of money to resurrect it and were hard at work when we stopped by to say ‘hi’ next morning


I hope they’re successful, this will be the only refuge between Windorah and Birdsville, a distance of 380 Klm.


Last edited by iddy; 09-12-2018 at 06:04 AM.
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post #12 of 33 Old 09-12-2018, 05:53 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Cairns, Australia.
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That was Henry in his finest thermal gear posing beside the KLX

Here’s the KLR


I was carrying a tent, airbed, thermal mat, two sleeping bags, tent fly/ground sheet, camp chair (Helinox 'ChairOne') six litres of water and six litres of fuel, a stove and cooking and eating gear, four days supply of food, about three changes of clothes, first aid kit, front and back tubes and tyre irons and a small tool kit. Plus a backpack with camera, phone recharging gear etc.
Sounds like a lot and it was but I got good at stowing it all and packing and unpacking it as the days went by.

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Last edited by iddy; 09-12-2018 at 06:03 AM.
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post #13 of 33 Old 09-22-2018, 05:41 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Cairns, Australia.
Posts: 191
So we set off for Birdsville, about 170 klms to the west and famous for being the furthest south and western town in Queensland.


And for it’s iconic pub


We were still chasing Dylan on the Barbie bike and Dennis on the 950, they were a half day in front of us. Paul had gone west across the Simpson Desert on the EXC with his wife following in his 4WD as support.

We didn’t linger, filled the tanks and bladders and bellies and headed south down the ‘Birdsville Track’ (google) and into South Australia.

We hadn’t gone more than 30 klms before I saw a familiar face waving from the back of a ute.


Uh oh, this looks serious!
Yep! The barbie bike had come to a sudden halt when the rear ‘cush sprocket’ had failed completely.
No teeth left at all.


Not much we could do ( Henry had pulled up as well) so after commiserations we bade Dylan good luck and pressed on towards Mungerannie another 280 klms south.
Henry and I pulled into Mungerannie late in the afternoon and had a couple of thirst quenching ales while waiting for Rex and Phil to catch up.


An hour later we were still waiting...
Eventually a 4WD came along and the driver was able to tell us that yes, he’d seen a couple of bikes stopped ‘about an hour up the track’ but they weren’t in distress and had given him a ‘thumbs up ‘ as he drove past.
So we thought about things and came up with a plan:
Book ourselves into a motel room and return to the bar for another ale and see what happens.

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post #14 of 33 Old 09-27-2018, 05:16 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Cairns, Australia.
Posts: 191
What happened was that Phil and Rex turned up just on dark. The 1150 had suffered a puncture (tubeless tyres) that couldn’t be plugged and after a couple of attempts Phil had to put a tube in it and press on south.


I’m not much of a fan of the loud pipes/acres of chrome/ape hangers crowd but I was impressed to see these bikes in such a rough and remote spot:


Like a lot of ‘outback’ pubs, the interior of the Mungerannie Hotel was decorated by visitors attaching stuff ( hats, underwear, trinkets, photos etc) to the walls and ceiling.


With two days to go we were keen to get moving early and Henry and I were away after a cup of tea and a muesli bar. We only got 50klm down the track before we came across a couple towing a caravan ( trailer?) who were having trouble with a flat tyre. Henry and I helped them out


In the outback you just don’t go past someone who is stopped and in need of assistance.
We arrived at Marree, the end of the Birdsville Track, mid morning and finally caught up with Dennis, that’s him in the check shirt looking at Henry and the KLX.


From Marree we turned west to skirt the southern shores of Lake Eyre along the ‘Oodnadatta Track’
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Last edited by iddy; 09-27-2018 at 06:04 AM.
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post #15 of 33 Old 10-02-2018, 05:09 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Cairns, Australia.
Posts: 191
Lake Eyre is generally dry, you can just see a line of salt in the distance


It’s an Australian ‘Bonneville’ and Donald Campbell set a land speed record here back in 1964 in his famous ‘Bluebird ‘. These days the salt racing is done at Lake Gairdner a couple of hundred kms to the southwest.
Along the way we came across the Alberrie sculpture park.




Plenty of time on their hands, these outback folks!
We stopped briefly at William Creek for fuel before pushing on to the north west with the sun in our eyes and Oodnadatta our goal. Getting close now, Mount Dare was a couple of hundred Klm to the north of Oodnadatta.


Last edited by iddy; 10-02-2018 at 05:16 AM.
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post #16 of 33 Old 10-02-2018, 12:49 PM
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Excellent adventure!
Great to see it. Thank you!
I've never seen one crack there. Shame for sure.
Adventure on! Safely.
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post #17 of 33 Old 10-03-2018, 05:12 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Cairns, Australia.
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Thanks Squidly,
It was kind of lucky that I had the fuel problem the previous day otherwise we would never have removed the tank and found the crack.
Here’s a close up, note the rust along the edges of the crack. Clearly it had been there for some time.


And of course Will’s excellent work to weld it up.


We jammed wet rags all over the rest of the engine and electrics to protect them from the heat and sparks and slag.
Will cut a section of pipe and used it to reinforce the area


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post #18 of 33 Old 10-03-2018, 03:15 PM
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Makes you realize there not indestructible after all.
Curious, did you buy it used, and do you put a lot of rough miles on it regularly?
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post #19 of 33 Old 10-04-2018, 05:23 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Cairns, Australia.
Posts: 191
I bought the bike in 2012 with 6000 Klm on the clock.
It came with ‘Happy Trails’ nerf bars a big heavy-duty bash plate and a ‘Staintune’ exhaust. I’ve added a Cogent Dynamics ‘Moab’ shock and ‘Intiminators’ in the forks, drilled a couple of holes in the air box and ditched the snorkel. Otherwise the bike is standard. It now has about ( not sure exactly, speedo cable broke on the trip as well) 70,000 on it.
I weigh about 85 kg fully kitted up and carry 30 to 40 kg (no point in carrying 6kg of water and 5kg of fuel if there’s plenty around) when on these rides.
Of the 64,000 Klm I’ve done on the bike I’m guessing about half of that would have been on ‘outback’ dirt roads of varying degrees of roughness. Thousands of Klm of corrugations (washboard) which really, really shake things up when they are bad.
I found other cracks in the frame late last year when servicing the bike after another outback ride-see my thread ‘Swing Arm Pivot Bolt’.
I got that wrong-it was the other one, the one that runs through the rear of the engine, whatever it’s called.
Anyhow, yes, I’ve ridden it hard, thousands of kilometres across rough roads with a decent load and the frame is finally showing signs of fatigue. Whether this cracking is unusual or not I cannot say, this is the only KLR I’ve owned.
What I can say is that the guy who welded up the frame at the bottom put it down to age ( 2008 model, so 10 years old) and cheap metal ( no surprise there!) and a hard life.
The welder ( Will, my buddy and saviour!) who fixed the spine said he’s seen more expensive and better built bikes ( read: European stuff built in Austria and Germany) with all sorts of frame cracks as well.
Lesson for me is to pull the seat and plastics and tank off and give the thing a good inspection on a regular basis, this bike or any other for that matter. More so if you ride it hard or are planning a big trip.
I got lucky discovering that spine crack when I did. If it had broken a couple of hundred Klm from any town and the bike was not in rideable condition then it would have been ‘touch and go’ whether or not to abandon it and hitch a ride home. When you’re riding a bike worth maybe $2500 on a good day and the ‘recovery’ cost is going to exceed that then it maybe easier to unbolt the expensive stuff, push it into the bush and give it a decent christian burial.
The recovery for the ‘Barbie bike’ was $3500 and that was only an hour south of Birdsville. That was an insurance deal though, and the bike was trucked first down to Adelaide and then north to Cairns, a journey of about 4,000klm.
Another mate on a BMW R 80GS came to grief beyond Mt Dare, and needed a 100 Klm recovery-his bill was $1200, no insurance.
Pictures to come in another episode!


Last edited by iddy; 10-04-2018 at 06:16 AM.
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post #20 of 33 Old 10-06-2018, 06:59 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Cairns, Australia.
Posts: 191
Oodnadatta hove into view as the sun was getting low. The town, if you could call it that, is dominated by a fuel station/post office/shop/cafe/campground known as ‘The Pink Roadhouse’


Henry and Dennis and I camped at the back of the roadhouse in the dust along with about 100 other riders and a million flies.
Rex and Phil camped outside of town after taking a detour to check out a remarkable old abandoned railway bridge at Algebuckina.



A lot of us headed to the pub for dinner and a few thirst quenching ales and a catch up with old friends


With Mt Dare now only a couple of hundred Klm to the north we gathered in front of the roadhouse on Friday morning to fuel up the bikes, fill our bellies and try to find out if the rumours about the condition of the track were true.
Depending on who you spoke to the condition varied between ‘awful’ and ‘bloody terrible’ depending on whether you went via Dalhousie Springs or Eringa Waterhole.



Last edited by iddy; 10-06-2018 at 09:08 AM.
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