A little jaunt through central Australia - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 33 Old 08-26-2018, 03:58 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Cairns, Australia.
Posts: 191
A little jaunt through central Australia

Left home in Cairns on the last day of July bound for Mount Dare, a very remote spot in the north of South Australia just below the Northern Territory border. It was the venue for the 2018 OCR ( Off Centre Rally) a biannual meeting of people who like riding ‘adventure’ bikes to hard-to-get-to places.
Trip took 16 days and just over 7000 Klm.

Three of us set out from my place on July 31, Dennis on a KTM950, Paul on a KTM 1190 and me on the KLR.


We took a leisurely route through central Queensland camping and picking up other riders along the way


Local wildlife
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post #2 of 33 Old 08-26-2018, 05:31 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Cairns, Australia.
Posts: 191
The ‘station’ (ranch) owners often mark their property boundaries with old machinery


Dylan had to do some running repairs to the Barbie bike (Beta 480rr-it’s pink and plastic)


Riding across the ‘black soil plains’
is tough going


The ground is very soft and rutted.

Big open spaces


That’s Dennis on the 950.
By this time Paul (1190) had peeled off to go home to Mt Isa where he planned to swap to his 500EXC. He was going to put it in his ute ( truck) drive down to Birdsville and take a run across the Simpson Desert and meet us at Mt Dare. Our heavily loaded bikes would never get across 600klm of sand dunes.

More to come....

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post #3 of 33 Old 08-29-2018, 04:45 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Cairns, Australia.
Posts: 191
This is serious cattle country, we rode for hundreds of kilometres where there was not a square foot of ground without a hoof print.

With the odd small dinosaur thrown in.

We reached Winton in south west Queensland and waited for Rex, Henry and Phil.

They’d had a few problems with tyres but eventually turned up

From Winton we headed through the Bladensburg National Park towards the SW corner of the state, the country getting drier and the tiny towns getting further apart as we went. We needed at least 400k fuel range by this stage.

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post #4 of 33 Old 08-29-2018, 07:07 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 1,063
Trip report

Nice ride, more please?

Ageing Gracefully

2017 Yamaha XT250
1990 Honda NX250 (Green/White)
2011 Kawasaki KLR 650 (Orange & White )

My KLR Page..http://www.powers31.info/2011_KLR650.htm

Mod's to KLR:
Power socket, L.E.D. Battery Indicator, Camera bag holder
Custom Saddlebag frames .
Louder horns, Firstgear Onyx tail bag.
Custom Aluminum Skid Plate.
Cut down seat with Custom pad.
Go Pro Camera mount.
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post #5 of 33 Old 08-30-2018, 04:02 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Cairns, Australia.
Posts: 191
After a detour through the Bladensburg Park, we turned south onto the road from Winton to Jundah and pulled up for a couple of muesli bars and a drink.


Even though it’s still officially winter here, we were looking for the shade in the midday heat.


We had only gone about 50klm down the road when the KLR stopped dead. It was as if the ignition had been switched off. At this stage we were about 180 Klm from Jundah and 200 or so from Winton, literally ‘the middle of nowhere’!
Dennis was ahead but Rex, Henry and Phil were behind me so I knew help would arrive soon.
As I stripped the bike and started troubleshooting, Phil and Henry turned up.


I immediately checked the ignition lead ( okay) and was in the process of putting a spanner ( wrench ) on the spark plug when I discovered that it was only finger tight.
Assuming that a loss of compression had stopped the bike we put it all back together and fired it up. All good......
for about another kilometre before it just stopped again.
Shit! This was looking serious!
Strip the bike again and this time pull the carby off and remove the bowl and main jet


There was a little piece of foam ( air filter?) in the bowl that may have interfered with the inlet valve ( getting desperate here!) but otherwise the carb looked clean.
Put it all back together and fired it up.
For another kilometre and then stopped again.
Insert your choice of bad language here.
We knew there was a halfway decent camping spot on the Mayne River about 20k ahead, so we rigged a tow line to the BMW and limped along.


Last edited by iddy; 08-30-2018 at 04:14 AM.
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post #6 of 33 Old 09-02-2018, 04:26 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Cairns, Australia.
Posts: 191
So we pulled all the bags off again, the covers again, the seat and tank again and discovered ‘the crack’ ( not a pharmaceutical substance)


Hmmm. That’s not good considering it had a matching crack on the other side that effectively meant the spine was broken 3/4 of the way through.
While we were absorbing the implications of this rather disturbing discovery Henry asked if I’d tried the reserve position of the fuel tap.
Well, no, it’s only done 270 Klm so it can’t be near reserve.
But wait! The tank feels light, can’t be more than 4 or 5 litres left.
Okay, put it all back together, fuel on ‘reserve’ and Lo! away she goes!
Daylight was slipping away by now.
Dennis was gone, somewhere up ahead. The nearest fuel was now Stonehenge, a small hamlet about 140 Klm distant and beyond the range of the ailing Kwaka.
Nothing to do but press on and see how far it would go. I figured I’d run dry about 50 or 60 klm from Stonehenge and that’s pretty much what happened. We drained a litre out of Henry’s KLX and pressed on. Rex had meanwhile gone ahead with bladders to get more fuel. We met him about 30 k out of Stonehenge at a cattle property, he’d bought 10 litres, enough to get us into town.
When I say ‘town’, I’m being generous, here’s a ‘maps’ view of the place


But the temperature was plummeting, darkness had overtaken us and we crawled into town avoiding the cattle, the kangaroos, the rabbits and other wildlife that seemed determined to scare us.
And they did.
Henry and I were first to pull up outside the pub, the only friendly lights on the main street and never so happy to make it !
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post #7 of 33 Old 09-03-2018, 07:48 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Northeast PA
Posts: 45
Tell us more

Ok, you got me hooked on this tale.

I need to know the rest of the story of how you got this cracked frame KLR with a finger tight spark plug across the Outback and home again while under siege from the local fauna.

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post #8 of 33 Old 09-04-2018, 04:48 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Cairns, Australia.
Posts: 191
Not a very good photo but these lights were most welcome


Henry ( KLX400) and I had arrived first, probably about half an hour after dark and gratefully downed a cold beer while chatting with the proprietor. We explained our problem with the KLR and ‘Tony’ ( proprietor) pointed to the only other inhabitant, a younger bloke ( well younger than me!) sitting quietly with a rum and cola and said “that’s Will, he can weld”.
My new best friend! And a KLR owner as well!


Will worked at a gravel plant just outside of town and agreed to have a look at the bike in the morning.
Things were looking up!
And soon we heard the rumble of more bike engines as Rex (Husky TR650) and Phil (1150gs) pulled up outside.
We almost back together except for Dennis. We tried ringing the pub and campground at Jundah but couldn’t find anyone who admitted to seeing a ‘short older gentleman with a goatee and riding a big orange bike’.
Oh well. He’s a big boy and we’re all heading in the same direction so we’ll meet him at Birdsville or Mungerannie or Marree.
Next morning we rode out to the gravel plant and got the okay from the boss for Will to weld up my bike


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post #9 of 33 Old 09-04-2018, 04:55 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Cairns, Australia.
Posts: 191
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post #10 of 33 Old 09-11-2018, 04:13 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Cairns, Australia.
Posts: 191
I certainly wasn’t going to put any pressure on Will to rush so we didn’t get away from Stonehenge until nearly midday. Our destination lay almost 2000klm away and we wanted to get there in three days so we needed to get some kilometres under our belts. First stop was Windorah, 160 Klms away for food, fuel, drinks and time for me to change the air filter in the KLR.


I needed to improve the fuel economy or I was going to have trouble in the days to come.
This was real ‘outback’ country.


Straight dirt roads, the surface varying according to what local materials were available to the road builders

Some patches of soft stuff and plenty of corrugations. Once in a while there would be a bitumen section where the road had been leveled and widened and turned into an emergency runway for the RFDS.
The flying doctor service, a revered outback institution

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