February 17, 2005

Darwin - The old stories

Posted by DaveSmith

Way behind, I am. Talking like Yoda, I am.

Happy late VD for everyone listening. A picture from Happy Farm.

I've been taking the bus since my bike is on a boat heading for Christchurch, New Zealand. That's the South Island. I leave tomorrow morning for NZ.

I'll try to catch up with the old stories in the next couple days. The Darwin part happened in the first week of December, 2004.

I did a bit more than 13,000 miles (21,000 k) going round Australia. Four people tried to talk me into suing the guy I bought it from when they found out I paid $9,345 (on the road). Two versions of "we can take care of the guy" which was very politely declined. I don't think they were true "wack the guy" type comments but it's nice to have offers like that. Italian bikes. You got to love them.

Well one of the guys who made an offer rode a Harley. It fits into the Harley image, iso it makes more sense coming from a Harley biker than the Italian mafia anyway.

I spent the last week with a wombat and stepping in joey wallaby pee. Saw an injured wallaby get put down with a 22. More on that, and my love life, later. I'll also do a list of travel links incase anyone runs across my site and wants more information.

Luckily, I'm out of social commentary for now. There's the Death one I've been kicking around. Kicked to Death. Don't worry, there's still some others left. Sex. Ambition. Greed. Sloth. What are the other ones that you want to skim over? None? My big-headedness? The last Girl Trouble one didn't go over well, so I'll let that topic fester some more.

I've had a few emails and IMs (instant messages - I'm archbishop_smith at yahoo) about my lackadaisical attitude about things that should be Taken Seriously. I don't take most stuff seriously and certainly not my life. I have incredibly high standards that I can't possibly reach so I make fun of myself for not reaching them.

My version of "Incredibly High Standards" are probably different than most. I don't care about money and I'm quite willing to cut off my nose to spite my face while making fun of myself for doing something so stupid. When I hear gossip about someone I care about, I'll ask them directly which usually causes problems as in "shooting the messenger". I'll say "quit fucking me around" most of the time when I think there's a problem with most stuff, but I'll let stuff stew for years about other things. So overpaying for a crappy bike doesn't bother me (especially since it's fixed), but I've whined for years about getting ditched on New Years back in 2002.

Inappropriate laughter has gotten me in trouble many times. Its slowed down in my short life, but I don't think it'll ever stop. That's me in a nuts hell.

Okay, now for the months old Darwin story.

It's hot and humid in Darwin. I've heard it has the highest beer drinking and suicide population in Australia. And it's the place where you go when you're wanted by The Law. Australia has a 7 year time limit on prosecution and people go to Darwin to work while they wait for the statue of limitations to run itself through.

I got to Darwin Thursday and try to figure out how to fix my newest bike problem. The exhaust flange introduced himself to me as Mr. Stripped. Frank another Aussie in Sydney says he knows him well. He said don't offer him a beer or he'll never leave.

It's about 100F/40C while raining for a bit. It doesn't cool down, just makes it even more humid.

I get three recommendations for John Ottley Engineering. With 2 people, including a motorcycle mechanic at the Yamaha, Harley, Ducati dealer saying, "he's expensive and he's slow, but he's the best".

John's a machinist who works out of his home. I swing by and he says the head has to come out. And he's not sure he has the tool for something that size. Either way, come back first thing on Friday. He's got a 63 Ford F350 with a 460 that looks pretty nice. He's building a huge 5th wheeler for it. He's also got a Goldwing with a trailer that he and his wife take off on 6 to 8 week trips. Luckily I caught him at home.

He has some framed pictures of a Holden hotrod he built that was voted best in state twice in a row. It looked pretty nice but he sold it.

John tells me a good spot to camp at Lees Point. It's a "no camping" place at the beach, but small motorcycles hide easily. I think I have "cheapskate" tattooed on my forehead because that's how I like camping. I figure if I skip out of the paid campgrounds then I can buy an occasional beer. Every few days though, I need to get one just for the shower and a shave.

I get bread, beers, Dutch Pepperoni and Dutch Blue Cheese which I eat on the beach as the sun sets.

I show up at 8:30am and John starts to work. It's too big for him to deal with without buying expensive parts that he won't use again, so he bush fixes it. That's "okie rig" in most of the US (that phrase goes downhill from there).

He hands me a sheet of copper, a tap and puts me to work making a new exhaust gasket. He cuts a little of the exhaust flange to so it'd reach a couple of threads that weren't stripped, and he makes a holder that keeps the header pipe shoved in. Then he takes away the gasket I'm fumbling with and finishes it off. A bit of work and everything is fine.

John wouldn't take any money for the bush rigging since it wasn't done properly. He built a clamp to hold the exhaust header in and said, "This should last all the way round the country".

He invites me over the next afternoon to go on the 2004 Darwin Toy & Tucker Run. And he points me off for a motorcycle wrecker so I can replace my mirror.

I get a mirror and went to the Aviation Heritage Center. The area between Katherine and Darwin was the site of the biggest base in the Southern Hemisphere during WWII. I've been stopping by abandoned bases the entire ride up. Just dirt patches and small buildings in the bush.

Darwin and Katherine were bombed by the Japanese 64 times in 1942 & 43. During the first bomb attack on Feb 19, 188 Japanese planes came in. One of the quotes at the Center was from a Japanese pilot. He said they felt bad attacking Darwin because there were so many civilians around -- it wasn't a purely military target like Pearl Harbor was.

There were a few USAAF planes patrolling. Not to dumb this down but that's United States Army Air Force before the Air Force became its own service. So American Kittyhawk planes in the area went on the defense and were shot to pieces.

It was pilots with no combat experience going into a fight with combat heavy forces. Plus they were flying out of date planes. The first American pilot to be shot down (Lt Col Peres, I think) died and crashed at the closest intersection to where John Ottley lives. Small world in action again.

The next day I wander around some more and park myself in front of a computer checking email. My dad might have had a small stroke. Or maybe he just pinched a nerve. Tests are needed. I try to find out how much it'll cost to get my bike to New Zealand. I spend the day sending emails to places asking. I've done this before in Brisbane and didn't get any responses. [It turns out it was a small stroke. I was wondering if he'd lose control over the right side of his body so I could call him Lefty. Luckily, he's doing fine. I have hopes that his dog will eat his right arm so I can call him Lefty.]

This takes a while but I still have plenty of time. So of course, I get lost on my way to John's house. Geewhillikers, Auntie Em, I get lost an awful lot. I'm rarely in a rush to get anywhere and whenever I make plans to be somewhere I always add a "it depends on the whim of the bike".

Bike problems have stopped me from showing up at plenty of places on time on this trip. Although this one was my fault so I took credit. I roll the dice and take strange streets a lot just to keep from retracing my route and this one led me in a circle.

I show up and go to the toy run without a toy. Man, that's slimey. I meant to get something but ran out of time, so I kicked in $10 for a charity badge. I figure since John didn't charge me, I should pay something even though I'm on a tight budget. Still feel like a deadbeat though.

John likes to ride up at the front which isn't where I'd like be -- especially as I'm just visiting. I had a tv camera crew on me, and since it was organized by the Ulysses Club, they're the ones who should be filmed. Not some visiting chucklehead. The cap from my air filter falls off on the ride and gets run over by another motorcyclist. Hopefully that's on film. Another night at Lees Point then I head for Katherine to Broome.

I'll pretend you just asked, what do you do at night when you're camping in the outback? Well it's December 5 and I left Darwin today. I have a horrible itchy rash. It's not as bad as having scabies though. I got scabies once from a friend of mine. Part of the lesson I learned from "don't date the best friend of the girl you actually want to date". I also got my ass kicked by the girl I did date and had my heart (deservedly) handed to me on a platter by the girl I did want to date. I had a reason why I did date the best friend that made sense at the time.

I've been living off my trip diet of beers, bread, pepperoni cheese and chicken. But I tried something different: Majans CrackerMix. I think there's something in there that doesn't like me. Which sucks because I still have some left and the only other food I have is white bread.

Dinner tonight shall be mooshed Wonder White bread and a One A Day vitamin. It's not as bad as the American Wonder bread. I can't squish the entire package to be smaller than my fist.

[The rash went away and it was probably heat rash. I'd never had that before even though I live in Sacramento -- a hot and dry area. I wasn't expecting it and hadn't even thought about it, but Marletta thinks it was heat rash. Thanks for the internet! I threw away the uneatend Majans CrackerMix for no reason.]

(this entry is closed for comments)

Posted by DaveSmith at February 17, 2005 12:22 PM

Another GREAT post, and it's about time. Stay safe. Have fun.

Posted by: Mom at February 17, 2005 02:57 PM

good to hear you're still alive and ticking.

Posted by: bob b at February 17, 2005 10:09 PM

Dude, you are gonna LOVE NZ. Completely different scenery and lots of fish and chips. It's basically England but smaller. Good to read that you're still alive and doing it. Later!

Posted by: Danny B at February 18, 2005 05:39 AM

Hey Dave-
Speaking of the time you dated the best friend of the girl you really wanted to date...Remember when you got really made at me and didn't talk to me for a month for causing you some trouble with that girl for being honest with her about what you were up to even though the whole mess was really your fault? That really hurt. I know I have a big mouth. Anyway, I thought it might be nice to clear this up because you are so far away and can't get pissed at me in person. And if you do get really annoyed, just remember that I sent you twenty bucks on paypal.

Posted by: becky at February 18, 2005 06:17 AM

Thank you Becky; keep investing those twenties. Remember, mostly Dave doesn't stay mad.

Posted by: Dave's Friends at February 18, 2005 07:39 AM

"Remember, mostly Dave doesn't stay mad."

Unless you tell him 2 days before that you cant give him and his guest a ride and months later he decides you ditched him.

Posted by: Ditchy McDitcherson at February 18, 2005 09:51 AM

No problem Becky. I had that coming and was mostly mad at myself for setting myself up for that. I am still mad about getting ditched in Pleasanton though. Get told no problems about the ride and then given the excuse "there's no room in the station wagon for you". Becky is one of the funniest people I know by the way. If I could, I'd pinch her ass in recognition but she'd punch me.

Posted by: Dave at February 18, 2005 10:28 PM

I'm glad that's cleared up, now we got no beefs. Who ditched you with no room in the station wagon?

Posted by: beckler at February 19, 2005 06:31 AM

Hey, whatever happened to nauru?

Your bike makes me laugh. Does it make you laugh? I hope so, cause it's really funny.


Posted by: Dr. Biggles at February 19, 2005 07:13 AM

Whoa, Dave, great post. I am trying to keep up. And whoever said we don't want to hear about your girl troubles? That's the fun part. It's always refreshing to know there is someone geeker than thou. And for your Dad becoming a southpaw, at least he could then pitch in the majors. A lefty always has work. And for your info, spring training has begun! Almost riding weather. Be safe.

Posted by: samueljohn at February 21, 2005 05:35 AM

Wait, can I clear things with you to dave?

(1) I am sorry I amte 85% of your corn dogs in the summer of 2000

(2) I am sorry I didn't realize had feeling and would make fun of you and be mean to you

(3) I am sorry I still have your Nar eps and mummies Lp

(4) I am sorry for hugging so much just to make you feel uncomfordable.

(5) I am sorry I tell every one you are child molesting racist.

Man, that feels better! Although I know you are still going to call me collgee, you are the only one that I will allow to do so.


ps. Black Flag rules.

Posted by: charles "the kid" albright at March 14, 2005 01:54 PM