In Rockhampton, it's Saturday Oct. 30th, 2004. Not sure how long I've been on the road, but the next entry will be the main question I've been asked (oddly enough, not about naked girls, but how much the bike cost).
Ian and I rode to Gav's at Mt. Nebo, which is great. Just like everything I've said about Australia. Really, this whole country so far has been wonderful. There's parrots in the trees, I ride by sugar cane, banana, and cocanut fields. It's amazing.
So of course, Gav is great. He's got so many great bikes held at an off-site location, including one that's on my short list of bikes to own -- a 125cc MV Agusta single. I'll own one someday.
Gav would go with me on this trip, but he has a small kid (just 6 months old). So I ride solo some more. I think that says enough about Gav -- that he's crazy enough to ride a single old Duc round Australia -- and that I'm not as annoying as I seem on my site. I put up the funny annoying stories. Which means, it should be obvious that I'm not as annoying as I make myself seem in real life. Yeah, it cuts into my story some.
So Gav is great, we drink beers with friends that show up on bikes (Cagiva Elefant and newer BMW) and talk bikes. The newer BMW guy mostly rides Yamaha TT500s which are a single of the SR500 that I almost took on this trip. The Cagiva guy rode in the Isle of Man. I can't tell if he's BSing me or not, but still, taking credit for entering and riding the Isle of Man is amazing. That's my favorite ride in the world that I haven't ridden.
So the next day, I wake up hungover which is my first time drunk for weeks. Nice, very nice. I lay around, eat some vegemite and gear up to leave. Gav and I "fix" the fuel gasket at the gascap that leaks. It has 1 gasket, we add another and hope for the best.
I head north. Somewhere after a long mistaken dirt road, I look at my bike. The oil leak has started acting up again. I hope I'm heading north, I should say. Somewhere I think Jordan's guess at the o-ring being the oil leak is correct. Although that might be leaking too. What's that? Oh yeah, the fuel is leaking from the tank that I paid a bit of money for. I'll ride north, with a fuel leak and see how that goes. Sounds like fun, doesn't it? It's always better to read about someone bad luck in another country than to think your main problem is what to bring to lunch.
Hopefully, I'll find an internet connection tomorrow so you know how it goes. I add up the total cost of the bike on that one. It's a doozy. Kind of long because I lose my patience with the fire, the rain, the half-assed parts, and the fuel leak. I get better today and make up for it. I wrote out the next 2 days worth, but they were lost when I hit a bump and my PDA was knocked silly. Not a hard bump, just an average bump, but I think the repitition was what did the damage.
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Beenleigh to Mt. Glorious
Days 10 - 14
Sat, Oct. 23 - Wednesday, Oct. 27 2004
One rare bike plus one Dave Smith equals one slightly damaged rare bike
Brendan and I ride out to Ian's house and we polish off a case of
beers. Brendan goes home and Col & Ian make tea. Tea is what they
call dinner out here. That took me a bit to catch onto. Col, is
short for Colleen, Ian's wife. They met at a motorcycle meet 21 years
ago and have been together since. Ian has also wanted to be a heavy
equipment mechanic since he was 11. I wish I had that sort of goals
in life, but I'm 34 and never had any sort of long term life goal.
I've also never had a girlfriend that's lasted more than a year,
either. Maybe I can find a girl on this trip with wanderlust who
rides motorcycles. She's probably hiding next to the pot of gold at
the end of the rainbow.
Ian and Col have a daughter Shardi (10) and a son Ross (13). Ross is
in boarding school and we haven't met in person. I've been sleeping in
his bed. Shardi is the nicest kid I've ever met. I hope my sister
Kellye won't tell my neices Emily and Sophie I said that. I haven't
met my nephew Ben enough to know how nice he is.
They have a 10 acre place with a nice dog (so far everyone and
everything I've met in Australia has been really nice), a pond, the
neighbor's horse, geese, ducks and we're surrounded by local birds
that sound like we're in a jungle when the make noises. Australia has
wild parrots, cockateils (sp?), galas, parakeets and usual US petstore
birds. Lots of color and lots of crazy sounds. It sounds like a
jungle movie at night. I envy Ian. Has goals in life that he's
reached, a great wife that he's spent his life with, nice kids, a
great place to live, and he's traveled all over Australia on
motorcycles. He has a Kwak (not closely related to the Duc no matter
the sound) 1300 with a sidecar that he rides with with Col. They
didn't have a car for years and the sidecar was it. He's got about
160,000 km on the MHR that's he's owned for 15 years and he rides it
everywhere over every kind of road (paved and dirt).
Ian is another Bevelhead (old Ducati email list member). He told me I
should be taking pictures of the Bevelheads I meet which is a good
idea. By the end of this trip I'll have met more Bevelheads than
anyone else, I reckon.
The 2nd day I was here Ian and I polished off another case of beer.
It was light beer, but that's different than light beer in the US.
Most American beers are what are called "canoe beer" in other
countries. Like having sex in a canoe, you're fucking close to water.
Light American beer is canoe beer with extra water added. Light beer
here, at least the one I've had, is actual beer that tastes good with
standard US beer alcohol. On the 3rd day with Ian, we got a case of
medium beer which took us 2 days to polish off. That one has a bit
The 2nd day was when Ian said, let's go on a ride and gave me his
Ducati MHR Mille to ride. For the non-Ducati people, it's a 1000cc
Mike Hailwood Replica. Mike the Bike Hailwood is arguably the greatest
motorcycle racer ever. Ducati made around 800 bikes after Hailwood
won an Isle of Man years after he retired. And the Isle of Man is the
greatest motorcycle race in the world. So the night before, I dreamed
of wrecking the Mille into a car. The biggest bike I've ridden was
Keith Sabini's 750cc Honda which was just around the block.
Ian's garage is at the end of 330 meters (roughly same with yards) of
gravel road. The Mille has an on/off clutch that Ian dumbed down for
me by changing to softer springs. I didn't drop the bike on the
gravel so I figured I'd do fine.
Had to get used to changing gears in the normal position. My 250cc
Duc has a right handed heel-toe shifter and a left handed rear drum
brake. It took me a bit to get used to. It snicks into gear. I'm
sure that someday that will make no sense to people anymore. It's
super smooth gear changes that most bikes have of the last 20 years.
On my 250cc you have to change gears with some pressure and I still
find a false neutral once in a while. I'm sure that by the time I
round Australia, I'll be smooth at it though.
The roads in Australia are great riding roads. At least most every
road I've been on between Phil's and here. Lots of curves that I
overbrake for on the Mille. I tried to get used to the bike and when
I'd convince myself to just toss it around a corner it was smooth and
handled great, but I'd think about how much the bike would cost to fix
so back into slow jerky riding. The whole ride was that. Me talking
outloud to myself, "Just don't think about it and ride it" and it'd
smooth up. Followed by "If you wreck this bike, you're savings will
pay to fix it and the credit card will pay medical and the flight
home". So straight back to riding like I've never ridden a motorcycle
before. I'm sure you can see where this is leading up.
Nice slow left turn, downshift nicely and I use the rear brake like a
drum brake. Easy pressure for a drum brake and overkill for a rear
disk brake. I'm too short to hold the bike up so down it goes at
about 5mph (8kph). Which is, if you're asking, enough to break a
windscreen, add a scrape mark to the clip-on and front break lever and
bend the rear brake lever almost to the snapping point. So of course,
that was snapped off trying to fix it roadside. Or maybe Ian just
wanted me to stay off the rear brake.
It's the first bike I've dropped in 10 years (the one other time was
right after I got my first bike and I was parking it in wet leaves).
One of the most embarrassing things I've ever done, and if you know
me, I'm doing something that would embarrass most 10 times a day.
So to make up for it, my new plan is to drop the new MHR that Ducati
released a couple years ago and then drop a Britten (they made 10 of
those). I'm really relieved that I didn't smash into a car or tree or
slide off one of the cliffs but I feel like a jerk for sliding it a
After that on the ride the next day, I took my bike. I think top
speed is 80mph/110kph and if I drop it, no problem. I'm sure at some
point I'll drop it anyway. I don't think it's possible to ride round
the world without doing that. But maybe that's out of the way with
the MHR incident.
That ride was great. We went to O'Reillys which is a national park
that used to be a dairy. Lots of colorful birds (galas, I think),
bush turkeys and a great ride. Roads narrow enough for one car with a
cliff down one side and mountainside up the other. Roads in Australia
don't have a shoulder, by the way. And rarely anything to keep you
from sliding down the cliff.
We walked on the treetop walk and climbed up a treetop ladder. I don't
think walks like that exist in the US. The government would get sued
We were both on reserve and Ian coasted his bike down the mountain.
Not sure how far that is -- 28 klicks (12 miles) or so. I couldn't
see him and thought about going back but figured I should make it to
the bottom where the fuel station is before returning. He barely made
it and put 21.2 liters into a 21.1 tank. Ran the fuel lines, float
bowls and fumes out with that one.
Today I head for Gavin's place (another Bevelhead). I've been on a
lot of email lists, but the Bevelheads have been amazing. Lots of
help out here in Australia, and a couple of New Zealanders have
offered me places to stay out there (as long as I stay off their
bikes). After Gavins, I head north to Bob Dumma's (another
Bevelhead). I might stick around until Graham Eyre returns from
Tasmania, but not sure about that. I want to see Darwin before the
wet sets in. Cyclons I can do without (except the kind from
Answering a few questions:
The Archbishop thing is a religious thing I paid $5 for from the
Universal Life Church. I can marry people legally but it's a joke.
I'm not the religious type.
The toilets in Australia aren't like the ones in the US, so it's
impossible to tell if they swirl the other way. Hold on, let me check
with a sink. Yup, it's the opposite way. Pretty fancy. I've also
seen the Southern Cross.
I don't know where the nearest place to get Coca Cola made with sugar
is. Does Mexico put ingredients on bottles?
Brisbane to Mt. Glorious to Beenleigh
Days 4 - 10
Sunday, Oct. 17 - Saturday, Oct. 23 2004
I wake up at the rest stop after Cunningham's Gap, get the bike started and hit the road.
After about 90 seconds I see an old bike coming towards me and it's a Vincent twin. First time I've seen a Vincent out in the wild except around vintage races and shows. If I ever work 2 jobs 7 days a week again, it'll be for one of those. But I don't know if that'll happen. I did that for 18 months to pay for my Ducati and this trip.
Make my way into Brisbane and ride around aimlessly. Aimless wandering is my plan since the only date I need to be somewhere is August 14, 2006 to meet up with my sister Cary in Dublin. She's going to drink a Guinness for her 35th birthday there. The only other times I want to be somewhere is the Motogiro d'Italia and the vintage Isle of Man races in 2006. Don't know the dates for those yet, but no worries.
I phone Keith, but he's not home. Gavin is in Mexico, so I check my email and send something to Brendan Kelly and wander around on foot. I ask the cops if I can leave stuff in their station, but they say no. It's hard to wander when you're carrying a 50 pound (110k) backpack, a banjo, a helmet and a jacket on a warm day. So there's a lot of sitting and people watching going on. Cute girls in Australia are kind of rare. That might get me in trouble with some Aussies. I don't know if I'm spoiled by living in California, so we'll blame that.
A few hours go by and I check my email. Brendan has sent me his number so I call him. He gives me directions to a meeting point and I follow him home. Brendan is from a Honda GB500 list I'm on. The GB500 is a 500cc single, styled after the Brit bikes that Honda helped put under. Mostly Velocette cafe racer although some think Norton. It was Brit bike management that put the companies under, but the Japanese companies threw the dirt on the grave.
Which is to say, good thing I got ahold of somebody, it started raining and my bike was running like crap. I reattached part of the carb in Brisbane, the horn rattled off, the battery was dead, and it would barely start. Somewhere around the 100th kick would do it and even bump starting would rarely work. One of the pannier locking parts rattled off (even without having locks).
Brendan was a life-saver. The next day it poured down 3 inches and my bike's problems were sorted out over the next few days. He's a very meticulous mechanic. He built a plastic holder for the horn that hopefully won't crack from vibrations, we got a new carb body from Phil at Road and Race(http://www.roadandrace.com.au/catalog.htm ), tightened up some bolts which I think ended the oil leak, and fixed the gap in the points. Brendan also did a bit of cleaning up the wiring with modern Volvo truck parts. It starts first or 2nd kick usually. The gap had closed up on the break-in ride up from Berkley Vale (south of Newport) to Brisbane.
Graham Eyre, local Ducati club potentate and electronic engineer, came over and tested the regulator. He made me a part to fool the regulator into putting out more power, and showed Brendan and I where to move the condensor to keep it cooler and healthier.
The super slow charging had me concerned, but apparently, Ian McPhee (more on him later) said the most the rewound alternator will put out is 12.68 volts. This was after a few calls and consulting a few mechanics. A new bike/car puts out about 13.5 - 14.5 so you have a point of comparison. Batteries are 12.6 volts so hopefully it'll get trickle charged enough power to keep the brake light working. Graham supplied me with a small battery charger so no more battery problems (I hope). He also had a part I needed for my helmet (a plastic bolt rattled off). Brendan and I got new locks and a locking mechanism for the panniers and Ian did a bit of brazing to make them sturdy.
Brendan took me on several rides, fed me, beered me, and showed me and his 2 sons Daniel and Alex a tv bit on Britten motorcycles. John Britten, a kiwi from the Southern Island like Brendan, handbuilt a motorcycle which toyed with factory Ducatis at Daytona. I've always heard handbuilt, but didn't realize what was meant by handbuilt. The ENTIRE bike: engine, pistons, conrods, fuel injectors, tank and body. He made rims but wasn't happy with them and didn't have enough time to sort those out so he bought a set. I'm surprised he didn't mine his own ore and handcraft his own carbon fiber. John Britten died of cancer when he was 41. He was a friggin genius. Life is short like that sometimes, which is why I got off my ass to travel the world instead of waiting 'til I'm older. The only excuse I understand is if you have kids, otherwise realize that you aren't going to live forever. I don't want to be 70 and say, "I wish I would've traveled more".
I also saw another Vincent, a GB400 with a factory fairing and lots of other bikes and cars that aren't sold in the US. There's tons of small cars here. Smart cars by Mercedes, and every car company sells micro cars. I'm really surprised BMW hasn't re-released the Isetta. I know that they bought the plans from Iso in Italy, but BMW made them famous.
After a week at Brendan's house (which is too long for anyone to put up with a house guest), Brendan and I rode to Ian's house where I took up temporary residence.
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Oct. 16, 2004
I celebrate my day with a clean pair of socks and brush my teeth with
beer. I've got the cold part, as warned by the Germans, coming up
I wish I knew people here. I've passed by 2 universities, and I'm
sure there was stuff to do there. But it's not like I have money or
space to go record collecting.
I've spent most of my ride today trying to think of a name for the
bike. Trying to think of a cute Italian heartbreaker name since I
never know when the bike is going to run and if it'll hold up. I've
got an ex-girlfriend that fits that description to a t but I ain't
naming the bike after her.
Calling the bike Bonerjizz came to mind. It's a juvenile parody of
Boanerges, Lawrence of Arabia's name for the Brough Superior
motorcycles he owned. But I don't want to ride a bike called Boner,
although it keeps making me laugh. I'll keep looking.
There's another guy at this rest stop here outside Stanthorpe waiting
by his Land Rover. I'm guessing that rest stops aren't gay pick-up
spots in Australia.
Land Rovers are only somewhat of a Yuppie thing out here, and lots of
cars and trucks have brush guards on the front. Probably because of
the kangaroos. So far today, I've seen 2 dead kangaroos and several
splotches that probably were roos at some point. Lots of 4wd trucks
and SUVs have snorkles. I'm glad I'm passing through in the dry
season. There's a Mini convention go on somewhere around here. Or
maybe Minis are just really popular.
So far the weather is nice. Lots of clouds in the sky, but it hasn't
gotten cold yet. I just used the bathroom at the rest stop and yup,
it's a gay pick-up spot. At least according to the graffiti.
I'm now in Warwick. Brisbane is close but I don't have the contact
info for Gavin, the guy with the Benellis. I'll find an internet cafe
and check in today or tomorrow.
Death smells different out here. Maybe the maggots just put out a
different stench. Flies here are different -- they go straight to the
face and eyes. I asked Marcus the German if the flies where like that
in Europe and he said Australia is the first place he's seen them like
that. It's like watching footage from Africa sometimes. Flies going
straight for the eyes.
I met a punk rocker working at a gas station, but he said Warwick was
too small to have punk rock shows. Everyone in Australia has tattoos
and piercings. It's like living in San Francisco even out in the
I need some sort of punk rock sticker for my helmet. I'll look for
the Black Flag bars in Brisbane. Maybe I can find a Star Trek
insignia too, so I can meet the local geeks.
I rode Cunningham's Gap this afternoon. Top gear at full throttle.
Several downhill miles of lovely S curves. It'd kill most riders on
their bikes. But, on a 250cc built to run shitty gas, a moped
would've swept by me. I don't know how fast my bike is but according
to it's uncalibrated 40 year old speedo, 60 is usually tops.
Occasionally on really steep hills, it shows 80. That's where the
speed wobbles start. Or are about to start, the steering shakes a
bit but it's no knee slapper. And on The Gap, the bike didn't shake.
But it must've been close in the made up way of thinking I'm living my
Now I'm camped out at a rest stop. There's biting red ants and a dog
piss marked my tent twice. It's also another gay pick up place
according to the graffiti. I'm glad those gay Aussies in the bush
have a place to go. It beats harassing the sheep.
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Oct 15, 2004
Morsetti to Walcha (I think)
Wake up after a car backfires, repack, stare at the small oil leak,
and figure it's just some leftover from the rebuild. Bike starts up
and we leave.
We, as in my bike and I. Haven't named it yet. I don't usually name
my stuff (even name my pets all Dave because I got sick of people
asking why I never named them) but there's a name for this bike. I'll
We make it to a mall in Newcastle so I can stare at the groceries.
Vegemite is such a small part of the crazy flavors they eat here. Musk
flavor Lifesavers is a good one. Coca Cola is made with sugar here.
It tastes better than "high fructose corn syrup" that they use in the
I go to leave and notice the oil leak is getting bigger. It's nowhere near Brit bike but it's noticeable. If it was an old engine, I
wouldn't have thought twice. The engine stutters and it's idling too
fast. It's also gotten very hard for me to start but I haven't
figured out the starting pattern for it yet. My SR500s would start
first kick, with no gas, and the choke out. My Monkey Wards Benelli
would usually start 3rd kick with just a touch of the gas. I'll figure
out the trick for starting this.
I'm at a rest area and lend an old Czech couple who've lived in OZ 35
years a pair of Vice Grips. She said she couldn't offer money and I
said "Just trying to be helpful". She came up later and gave me a
couple of Czech homemade sweets. One quote from the couple.
"Australia is nice just like the USA. Only same problem with both --
too many Moslems". It's the good/evil bit at work.
El Duce made the trains run on time, but was a fascist (the real
fascist, not the "fascist" neighbor who plays music too loud). The
bike runs mostly okay, but that's "mostly". Hitler had a girlfriend,
but he also painted horrible watercolors. There's some sort of big
worded "duality of existence" bit that would be entered here if this
was a college term paper, but just like a Monster Truck Show, it's
better when you watch it in action instead of sit around theorizing
I talked to a guy who rode his Kawasaki 750cc around Australia in the
last decade. He's headed to Brisbane to pick up a boat. He wants to
sail it down to Melbourne, but said it needs too much work. Sounds
like a lot of time off but Aussies get 6 weeks of vacation a year,
plus another paid day off a month. They work 40 hours a week, get
paid for 38, and get one day a month off paid for by those 2 hours a
week. Many people are surprised I quit my job to do this.
Australians, probably because they get so much time off.
I go to leave and a guy is looking at my bike. He had an NSU 250cc.
I try to kick mine over but it didn't start on the first couple kicks.
He said, "Sorry, it's because I'm watching" and left. It started
I took a tourist road which takes me inland up The Buckets Highway
onto Thunderbolts Way. I stop for gas and the NSU guy was at the
station. He gave me his map since I didn't have one. He's just out
exploring roads he hasn't been on and didn't need the map because he's
familiar with the roads here and knows which ones he hasn't been down.
After that, I couldn't get the bike started. The guy inside came out
and said it had a really high idle when I pulled in. I flooded it so
I waited. It starts but dies as I put my gloves on. I tried to push
start it, which sucks on a loaded bike, but no go. Pull the plug,
kick it over, put the plug back in and it starts. The oil leak is
I see warning signs for koalas and kangaroos. I saw my first kangaroo
today. Dead on the side of the road, but it counts. And I met my
first overseas couple on motorcycles. Marcus, from Germany, and
Daria, from Poland. They're circling Australia too. Started in Perth.
Marcus said his site is www.monsterq.de
He thought I was crazy to be doing this on an old bike, and I thought
Daria was crazy for doing this on a Yamaha XT 225cc that she bought
because she didn't know how to ride a motorcycle. Marcus gave me
advice for crossing the western territory. And said they had ridden
through a really cold part that I was headed into. Cold warnings from
a German are unsettling. He noticed the oil leak and said it was from
the head gasket, so I told him old Ducs didn't use head gaskets. He
wished me luck and left.
I get to Walcha at 4:30 but the tourist place is already closed and so
are the campsites. I'd like to take a shower, and I'm sure anyone
standing next to me thinks the same thing. The bike won't start. I
tried push starting it 3 times. Finally it starts but it's running
rough. I leave with a bottle of XXXX Bitter and a bag of salted
peanuts for dinner.
I'm camping on the side of the road. listening to crazy wildlife, and
learning how to fingerpick the banjo. This is a lovely part of OZ.
They have birds that are the opposite of magpies (magpies and crows
are my favorite birds). Black feathers where magpies have white
feathers and white where black. Sort of like the black/white guy vs.
the white/black guy who fought on Shatner's Star Trek. Do I continue
towards Brisbane, or head back to Phil's shop?
Sacramento -> San Francisco -> Sydney
Hot coffee -> blood snot -> discharging a firearm in a prohibited area
Oct. 14, 2004
Sacramento -> San Francisco -> Sydney
Quick warning, my past tense vs. present tense wanders. And my spelling ain't the best. Plus somehow, I've gotten wordy. Odd, that I love Hemingway and when I want something published, I put lots of time in to make it shorter. As he said, "Sorry this is so long, I didn't have time to make it short". When I get back to edit all this down to small book length, I'll fix those problems. Until then, get fucked, as the kids say.
I leave, pressed for time, so to speak. Marletta the girlfriend, and my sisters Cary, Gina and Kellye all helped me clean out my apartment (mostly), pack and head off for OZ. That's OZ as in Australia, not the HBO series about pound you in the ass rape.
We stopped by San Francisco General Hospital to visit Benelli Dave who got creamed by a car on his Benelli single. He's doing okay, but his leg is a broken mess. We gave him a wedgie since there's nothing he could do, crippled bastard. I'm sure he'll get me back later.
We waited at the IHOP by the airport for Don who bought a jelly mold motorcycle tank from me, but he never showed. Then off to the airport where I realized I still had way too much and had to repack trying to cram all my stuff into a duffle bag, backpack and banjo case. I left some stuff behind, but hey, with my super half-assed way of leaving for this trip, that was to be expected. And the leather pants weren't for me but I had barely enough room for the leather jacket.
The guy sitting next to me on the plane spilled hot coffee on me. He seemed surprised that it didn't bother me. I had other things to be worried about besides mild burns. Not even my blood snot bothered me. I had blood snot for a couple days (probably from the dust of moving all my stuff and only drinking beer, rum and coffee) and the 14 hour flight wasn't great for it.
I wrote on my customs card that I'd been convicted of a crime. I didn't think that'd be a problem because Australia was a convict country. I had a lot of epilepsy medication on me and thought that would be the problem, plus my camping gear would be checked to make sure I wasn't smuggling in cane toads and rabbits. Customs didn't care about the pills, but they asked about the crime.
In 1990, Steve Mar, Bill Lonsdale and I were shooting .22 rifles on the wrong side of the street. Steve and I got ticketed for a misdeamenor after the cop joked, "Since they're rioting in LA about Rodney King, I could kill you and no one would ever know". Oh boy, that's always a funny thing to hear from a cop. Australia couldn't care less about "discharging a firearm in a prohibited area" and customs kicked me out at 6:15 am.
I didn't call Ashley Knopke, my ride to the train station, because I told him I'd be in customs until probably 8 am. Jordan, from the Bevelheads mailing list I'm on, unexpectedly picked me up.
Jordan and his wife Barbara live in a really neat house in Sydney. It's the house I'd like to have, if I was more responsible. The furniture was great, the house was great. Beautiful architecture. Huge windows. The house you'd expect to see Martha Stewart in if she wasn't trading cigarettes for head jobs in the pen. Of course, I'd screw up the house by parking motorcycles inside and would scratch the beautiful wood floors by dragging heavy car and motorcycle parts across the living room floor. So no nice house is in my plans.
They (which is Jordan with Barbara's permission) own a roundcase Ducati 750, a Ducati single, BSA Bantam, and a Panther. Most people don't know (and probably don't care) what a Panther is. It's a forward sloped single motorcycle that was really advanced when it was built. After WWII their engineers went elsewhere and they labored on, with the same exact engine, until they went under in the 1950's (I think).
Taking a Panther for this trip was thought about but rejected. I also thought about a BSA 350cc, a Yamaha SR500, a Honda XL350cc, a Matchless 650cc twin with a sidecar (back when I was going to try this trip with a redheaded girl that I loved), and a Vincent Comet (that's their single cylinder bike, and I know that a redheaded girl needs a 52 Vincent but the money problem cancelled that before the heartbreak problem). Barbara told Jordan he should buy a Vincent Comet before she found out how much they go for. And the Comet is the "cheap" Vincent. He can still get one, but he has to sell off his other bikes, and he's not nutty enough to get rid of his Ducs and the Panther (quit laughing at someone wanting a Panther).
Anyway, I get ahold of Ashley around 8 am and he'd been sitting at the airport for 90 minutes. Ouch. That must've sucked. Mark, another motorcycle nut, was going to meet me at the airport too. Jordan emailed Mark that he'd pick me up. I didn't let Mark know in advance about my flight because I had him confused with another Aussie who was going to take this week off and give me a ride up to Berkley Vale and a tour of Mad Max film locations around the Sydney area. Crazy friendly Aussies, I think something is up with them.
Jordan took me to the train station and I went north from Sydney to Wyong. Took a bus to Berkley Vale to Phil Hitchcock's Road and Race (http://roadandrace.com.au/). Phil raced against Mike the Bike Hailwood in the 1970s and oddly enough, didn't win. I think Phil felt sorry for Mike and let him win.
Tamara (one of Phil's lackeys whose name I hope I have right) shuffled me around so I could register the bike in my name. Tamara also has epilepsy and she had good Aussie advice about dealing with it here.
If you don't know, US medical care insurance is very expensive and if you have a pre-existing condition like epilepsy, it goes up even more when you're paying for it yourself. Donna, a friend of mine, married me so I'm covered by her health insurance. Man, that's a relief. I don't have to try to figure out how to buy anti-seizure medication in other countries. I can have it mailed to her and she can mail it to me.
My epilepsy doctor also gave me some sort of creepy drug that I'm supposed to shove up my ass if I think I'm going to have a seizure. I've only had one gran mal, so I don't know if I'd know when I'd have another seizure, but riding around with a package with 2 huge plastic syringes marked "insert rectally" should start up some interesting conversations. I should start wearing assless leather chaps listening to the Village People.
I packed the bike, and headed north around 5pm looking for a camping ground. Camping ground offices close at 5 and I had no luck at the spots I tried. I splurged on some good Thai food and headed north doing exactly what I didn't want to do: unfamiliar bike, unfamiliar roads, unfamiliar driving rules (they ride on the other side of the road from the US and I rarely see turnabouts -- people in California get confused and treat them like stop signs). I looked for a place to camp at night, which I also didn't want to do. The lights on the bike get super dim as 1960s Italian electronics ain't the best. They took Lucas and made it worse. I'm also allergic to something in Australia and my nose is pouring snot which is hard to wipe when you're wearing a motorcycle helmet.
I couldn't see anything and it starts sprinkling rain. And Australia is having a drought. I find a parking lot to camp in. It quits raining, so I pull out just my sleeping bag. It's around 8pm local time, around 2am California time and I'm beat.
First night was in Morsetti, Australia. Luckily it started raining again, so I got out my tent after trying to hide from the rain by pulling my jacket over my face. 50 feet from a major road and 100 yards from train tracks. It's my first night in Australia and I'm happy to be here. That's not meant to sound sarcastic. This country is great.
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This is deeann:
It's on! (this might be a bit redundant from the other posts but here's a quick run-down of the progress so far...)
He made it to the plane on time (Cary's post- see her comment under "The Grand Plan") which was looking a little sketchy for a bit and found his PDA in his backpack (he'd lost it and was worried it got packed in with the stuff for storage), and he made it to Australia.
Phil (Road and Race in Australia) says he picked up the bike and is heading North and they managed to fit all of the stuff he took with him (it was a lot!). Phil has pics and they'll be posted to www.bevelheaven.com.
p.s. For those who don't know me yet my name is DeeAnn and the Gornzilla has asked me to help with maintaining the blog (and how *can* you turn down a request from someone in a lime-green leisure suit?). Sometimes my husband (Lurch) might be posting entries or helping out also (hence the user name "deeann or lurch"). Sometimes we're lazy and may not identify which one of us it is but since lurch tends to use more colorful language than I do you should be able to figure it out pretty quick :)
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The horror.. the horror... No wait, that's no good. Want to make a wager for Injury, Death or Giving Up?
At my Go Away party, there was a world map with a super rough idea of what I want to see and where I want to go. Along one side it said, "Make Guesses for Injuries, Death or Giving Up" and people wrote in comments. Have any to post?
My dad is concerned that I'll be taking a leak or a shower in some country, the guy next to me will see that I'm circumsized, think I'm Jewish and kill me. By the way, most Americans are circumsized, but thankfully, that practice is going away. Oddly enough, I don't think that will happen.
I would like to thank the people that have bought some of my junk at my yard sales, donated money, and bought raffle tickets at the Go Away party. I can't believe how many people wanted the Porn Lamp and the Can of One Whole Chicken. If you missed seeing the Porn Lamp, it was a joke present from an ex-girlfriend. Ann glued a ton of nudey pictures to a lampshade.
Thanks again to Alex A. I'm hoping to meet up with Alex in Spain or the Middle East. He gave me a card with "the two things you'll need the most": money and some anti-diarreah pills. Another Alex, Alex G, let my girlfriend Marletta throw a party at his house with punk rock bands playing. No cops showed up, his house wasn't destroyed and it seemed (to me at least), that everyone had a good time.
My next post should be from Australia. I leave tomorrow and I haven't cleaned out my apartment or even started packing my stuff yet. Still need to pick up an absentee ballot, return TE Lawrence books at the library, fix and sell my Monkey Wards Benelli 350cc, record with my band No Kill I, and find my passport which disappeared sometime last week.
No Kill I played our last show Sunday afternoon. Last show until I'm back, I mean. I really like playing in this band. I didn't think we'd be very entertaining since it was a 3pm show and we, as well as the crowd, would be sober. Some friends went to Cap'n Jerk's apartment with a King Sized bottle of whiskey before the show and got Ed drunk. The Press Club sells 24 oz cans of Pabst for $2 and the crowd was nicely liquored up.
Ed was blacked-out drunk. He rolled around in a huge beer puddle, and roamed around hollering random crazy comments. Some homeless guy sang songs and played air guitar -- not our songs -- just random bits in between our songs.
I couldn't find my Gorn mask in the wreckage of my apartment, so I wore a broken Incredible Hulk halloween mask that Ground Chuck found in a trash can last year.
Hard Drinkin Abe Lincoln lectured the crowd about how his Emancipation Act freed the slaves in the 19th Century, and how now that he's in the 24th Century, he's Emancipation Act is freeing sexy girls of their virginity. Sheman Rand, Yeoman Rand and Spock weren't drunk and they had a good time. Star Trek punk rock band creating chaos. It's great being alive!
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I'm going to try to ride round the world on a tiny motorcycle. I've got a 1-way ticket from California to Australia for October 12, 2004. And it's not just any motorcycle, but a 40-year-old Ducati 250cc bike.
I've got a hole in my head, which is a good enough reason for me. Head trauma, brain death and the ensuing epilepsy is pretty motivational.
I can't afford a Vincent Comet, so I was thinking of taking a BSA 350cc, but that's been done. I've always loved Ducati Elites. The Elite replica got changed into a Tartarini replica -- I'm crazy enough to try this on a small bike, but the clip-ons on a cafe racer would surely kill me -- if I can be killed.
Leopoldo Tartarini, 1950s Ducati factory racer, recruited his friend Giorgio Monetti and took Ducati 175's rtw in 1957-58. My bike will borrow from that design. The book written about that trip is impossible to find (not that I can read Italian anyway), so I can't follow their route. There's a widely reprinted map that gives a rough idea where they went. Maybe I'll find out more on the way.
My travel plans are roughly: Australia to New Zealand (possible side trip Bali to extend my Aussie time). Then I'll teach English in Japan for a year. I'd love to ride through China, but they want motorcycle tourists to pay for a police escort and I don't have the money to pay for someone else's vacation. Viet Nam doesn't want bikes bigger than 175cc but I think I can sneak my 250cc through. Then Cambodia to Thailand. From everything I've heard from other people doing this sort of trip, Myanmar/Burma is too chaotic to ride through. That surprises most Americans because they don't know about Middle Eastern hospitality. Then boat from Singapore to India to Pakistan and somehow to Italy for the 2006 Moto d'Italia in May and over to Isle of Man for the 2006 vintage TT in late August.
I'll travel around Europe and will hopefully meet up with a friend in Spain to tour the Middle East. I want to get to Turkey to visit Gallipoli and North Africa to see T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) locations. I've heard there's a spot where you can still see a train he blew up, but that might just be a legend. This next part depends on my finances at the time. If I'm doing okay moneywise, Africa to South America, if not, boat from Morocco to the East Coast of the US.
If I make it to South Africa (not sure which is the best route in Africa), ship over to Brazil through Urugay to Argentina and then back up through the left coast: Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Hondura, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and back to California. Then hopefully another trip around Europe with Tim in his Crosley station wagon. He doesn't know I'm planning on inviting myself along for that trip though. Small bikes, small cars!
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