Another batch of photos. I took one of my dinner of bread, cheese, pepporini and beer for Guy, but I'll have to post that one later. This one has roadkill photos as requested by Hal. Happy Birthday, Hal! I took a photo of a roadkill parrot which I'll post later. Pete Husing, I had a problem getting Pam's Xmas present on the way to Perth from Monkey Mia, but I'll find one.
It's Dec. 27th here and I'm heading south from Perth today.
I don't know why I didn't stop and take a picture when I rode through the scary bush fire part. Probably because it didn't seem like a good idea to stop while flames were crossing the road, and if I got my eyebrows singed off, I'd look extra freaky. I couldn't switch lanes to avoid the flames because there was a road train coming so it got pretty hot even though the fire missed me by a few feet. I was glad I still wasn't dealing with the leaking fuel tank.
Cannibal Cow eating veal. I wanted to get closer so you could see the dead calf but for some reason, the cannibal cow felt dirty and ashamed and didn't let me get close.
Actual size of the croc in Normanton. It's sort of on the way from Cairns to Darwin. The sign says:
The Savannah King
8.63 meters (28ft 4in) Estaurine Crocodile
Largest ever captured in the World
MacArthur Bank Norman River
by Krystina Pawlowski
Cows confuse my bike with the bikes the local cowboys (drovers or jackaroos in OZ) use to round them up. It took me a bit to figure out why the cows would stare at me when I rode by. I rode past several hanging out near the road. One jumped over a fence and one ran up a hill, then turned around and came out in the road to great me. I had the bike topped out on a good day and the speedo showed 70mph. A lovely speed to hit a cow. It was too much steak for me, so I swerved and have no idea how it missed me. After that, I started slowing way the hell down when I'd see them.
I started squishing their heads but the pictures I've taken while riding haven't come out. So I stopped and re-inacted me squishing the cow's head. Good thing I like Kids in the Hall, otherwise I'd have no defense. Later this day, I ran into a Canadian girl with her Aussie boyfriend. She was actually Canadian instead of an American saying they're Canadian which happens a lot. They gave me beer and fed me, which was nice.
Americans aren't well liked anywhere, by the way. People often ask if I'm Canadian and when I say I'm American, I hear how much Americans aren't liked. Mostly from other foreigners, sometimes from Aussies. I've also been asked if I was Scottish and I've never heard how much the Scots aren't liked.
They sell home brew in all the grocery stores.
A bit of one of the bombs the Japanese dropped on Darwin. I don't know if this one killed anyone. Someone found the piece and it's on display.
I stopped at a rest stop and met Masato from Japan. He's riding a Suzuki 200cc bike around Australia with a cruising speed of 60/kph. We camped out at the tourist information booth in Port Hedland. He's visiting all the Australian National Parks that he can in 6 months.
I tried to get a picture of Masato riding but it's hard taking photos while riding. It's a weird bike. It's got a rear sprocket like a dirt bike, and has HUGE wide tires that look like they'd be good for riding on sand, but it's a street bike. I've never seen a rear tire so big but Masato says it's a common bike in Japan. I'll have to find out why they're designed like that in Japan. The language difference between Masato and I was too much to find out from him.
Me, at the Millaa Millaa Falls. I always thought these falls were on a Hollywood studio lot. I didn't know they actually existed. It's probably too hard to tell from the photo, but you've seen these falls before if you've watched teevee. Usually in make-up ads.
The propellors and engine from a plane that crashed in WW2. Some guys were out looking for booze and girls and they ran out of gas on the way back. One person was killed and the survivors "borrowed" some horses to ride back to the base. It fit in nicely while I was reading Catch 22.
Hawks here are close to vultures. I'd see a few circling looking to dive down on food, but most were eating roadkill. This one became roadkill.
I ran over a monitor lizard (goanna in Australia) leaving Monkey Mia. This one wasn't it but it's still a roadkill lizard.
A lot of the roads in the Queensland outback are just one lane. I'm on the paved road that circles Australia, by the way. When I'd see a roadtrain coming, I'd pull off. If I stayed to the side, the roadtrain would've had to stay to its side and the rocks it would've tossed would've broken my headlight. Plus the rocks on the road would get thrown up by other vehicles and could break windshields. I've seen lots of broken windshields on the side of the road.
Most of the road was 2 lanes. I'm out in the outback here and my knees were killing me. So I stood up. My tankbag fell off and bounced down the road at 60 miles per hour. As I slowed to circle back for it, my mirror bounced off and was smashed. I put my bag back on and rode a few more miles.
Tried standing up again and the bag bounced off again. Circled back and went on. Then I noticed glass sticking out from a busted jar of pesto (it doesn't turn sour like normal pasta sauce would). I pulled out the glass and realized my leatherman tool was gone. It bounced out of the bag. I've seen the same looking road for days but decided to circle back to see if I could figure out where the last spot my bag fell off. No idea how I found the leatherman, but I did. Good thing because it comes in handy.
In Darwin, I wandered around looking at WW2 battle sites. I saw an open suitcase on the side of the road so I peaked inside. Right on top was a vibrator package. Just like something I'd expect from a movie. I didn't see the vibrator though, but I didn't pick through the suitcase either.
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Howdy, Does anyone out there have a a round headlight assembly, a tach drive kit, and a spare set of points? Oh, and a Scottoiler. I'm switching back to 6 volt and want a round Aprilia headlight. If you can help, email me and we can work out arrangements. My bike leaves for New Zealand Feb. 2 and shows up in Christchurch Feb. 22 so I'm hoping for a Jan delivery. Other than that, I'm doing fine. Brook at Vee Two helped me out on my bike and it's running great. We'll see how long before I F it up again...
I'm still in Perth at Tony's house with his 5 kids. I'll be here through Xmas and should leave on Boxing Day.
Happy Holidays for the lot of you...
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Leaving Cairns and heading to Cooktown.
I'm in Perth now, trying to catch up with old posts. The last one was a month old after a brief period of being homesick. The homesickness ended weeks ago, pretty much after I typed up that post.
I asked myself, "what would I be doing in Sacramento right now" which would be something that rhymes with "Jack Shit". That and typing it up, ended the girlcrazy homesickness. Plus, I have new goals. It's always good to have crazy goals and I didn't know what to do after riding round the world.
I think that after working a year in Japan, that should pay for Southeast Asia to India to Europe. I'll probably ship my bike to the US East Coast from Morrocco and ride back through the US. Stop by Milwaukee to give a wedgie to someone who needs one. Then down to the Appalachian foothills of Kentucky to drink some 'shine with Pop, my grandfather. Maybe by then I'll have learned how to play banjo, but I doubt it.
Then, I'll work myself to death again. Mooch from Doug and learn how to work on Brit bikes up in Oregon. Get a Vincent Comet and follow the path of TE Shaw aka TE Lawrence aka Lawrence of Arabia. Start from where he grew up, visit Oxford, French castles and then the Middle East. Sure, I should be on a Brough Superior but there's no way I can afford that. Unless someone wants to lend me one? I'm sure most of you have a spair one sitting in your basement. It's odd that a Vincent would be the cheaper bike.
And later, at some point, I'll tour South and Central America on a pre-war Norton single where I hope to see people having sex with dolphins. Or were they masturbating them? I can't remember. It's been a while since I've read The Motorcycle Diaries. I didn't remember that part from when I read the book, but the Rev. Jerme Dean reminded me of it and it's stuck in my head since then. Whenever I see a picture of Che, I think of people having sex with dolphins which always makes me laugh. I'm laughing now thinking of me thinking of people having sex with dolphins. I'm not stealing the idea of traveling the Americas on a pre-war Norton from the movie, I'm simply plagiarizing it from the book.
So Samueljohn, please fill me in on what you've done to your Comet. It's years from happening but it'll give me something to think about when I'm riding. Oh, and if anyone has something they want me to think about for hours on end, let me know.
I'm in Perth for a bit waiting to get my bike fixed, so I should catch up on the old posts. I'm staying at a great house with Tony and his five kids: Kellie, Kirsty, Mitchell, Emma and Ashley. One boy, four girls. Sixteen to eight. Liz, their mother, died of cancer Easter this year. I wish I would've met her.
Okay, so I left Cairns went up to Cape Tribulation and Daintree and met a crazy German....
I stop in Cape Tribulation and wander the hot beach in black riding pants with boots. Follow the signs to the look-out point where a young American couple ask me to take their picture with their camera. Still missing a girl of my own to be poking and prodding, I need to be in motion again, so I head towards my motorcycle. I've got days to kill waiting for 2 shipments of medication and my tank to arrive at Pat's house. I'd like to go to Cooktown but it's many kays of unpaved road that gives a 4-wheel drive warning. My bike has been anything but reliable so I'll stick to paved roads. Although I've only pushed it once so I'm tempted.
I can hear another thumper (single cylinder engine) starting and I think, "Damn, I missed the person who I could've started a conversation with". But he hasn't left and he sees me walking up so he stops his engine and says hi.
His name is Dimitri and he's on a Honda XL400. A German with a Greek name who bought a motorcycle to travel on. He wants to sell it, buy a horse, and travel on horseback -- eventually taking the horse to Southeast Asia then ride back to Germany. He hops off and we wander the beach together as he tells me this. He's still figuring out his plans and I'm just wandering.
Dimitri wants a coconut so we throw rocks at some in a tree but can't hit any because we're both bad shots. He tries to climb a couple trees but coconut trees are hard to climb, so we decide to make pasta with pesto sauce using a bit of water from the Coral Sea for the salt. He continues with his story.
Dimitri wants to go to Cooktown to a place called The Pointhouse. He was told there is a girl named Linda who works there who could help him find a horse and someone to teach him to live off the bush. He's ridden out from Darwin sticking to unpaved roads and asking people how to live off the land. There are no boy scouts in Germany so he wants to learn here. Hopefully he can buy a horse, learn to live off the land and travel Australia. Then go north to Southeast Asia with his horse and ride over to Germany with his newfound bush skills.
He asks if I'd want to go to Cooktown and I said sure. I wasn't sure if my bike would make it but I'd give it the old college try. While we eat, Dimitri whittles an arrow and says he's been a vegetarian but if he can kill his own meat he'd eat that. He attaches an arrow tip and throws his arrow at a bird. He missed. He wasn't planning on hitting the bird which was good because we're in a national park and if he killed a park bird in front of the other tourists Bad Things would probably happen.
We asked a ranger about the road to Cooktown and he said it just had a leveler go over it and it was in good shape. With nary a thought to my bleeding bike, we left.
I've ridden off road once before but that was on a dirt bike with knobby tires. An hour of fun in Colorado with Jay Wright at Bare Bones Racing. I bought a parts Duc single from Jay and he took me out on an 85cc bike. Better to learn how to ride on a small bike where you can't just power your way through the rough spots. If Old Man Foster didn't ditch me to hang out with Susie in Denver, he could've done the same thing gasping for air in the high altitude. Now I'll try many kilometers on an old bike with skinny street tires. This should be fun. It's just unpaved gravel so I figure the 4 wheel warning sign is just some useless government warning. Australia seems like the US in useless government blather.
We have to cross a creek over rocks. I stop and watch Dimitri go first. He bounces a lot and makes it. He tells me if I think I'm in trouble to give it throttle and hope (which is the Golden Rule of riding motorbikes). I go through bouncing off the rocks and I'm damned glad Phil put heavy duty spokes on the bike. A good idea that never occurred to me. I loosen the steering dampner a lot.
We ride a few more km and I'm trying to climb a hill (they call a mountain) at wide open throttle in first but it's too steep and the bike dies. Pretty close to a run off that Dimitri and I try pushing the bike to as it's flat. We get close but the road is gravel and we can't get traction so we stop. Even with the front brake on the bike slides backwards a bit. I'm about to try starting it and pushing it while running it in first but a truck comes up and 2 guys hop out to give us a hand.
When they stopped the truck, it slid back a bit too. So they moved it to the flat spot we were close too and came over to help. All four of us pushed the bike up. They said there's a few more climbs this steep so good luck. Lucky for them they had beers. Had a breather and got the bike running flat out on the flat part. Hit the hill with some speed and made it to the top.
After that I kept my speed up and didn't have any problems with the steep mountains. At the top of one I hit my first patch of bull dust. The bike slid all over but I didn't drop it. Bull dust is really thin dust that is horrible to ride through. Much worse than sand. Dimitri said it wasn't a bad section of bull dust and that he's dropped his bike a few times hitting much deeper sections.
We ride and Dimitri crosses another creek stream. Almost for me. I made it about 3/4 of the way and stall the bike while bouncing off giant rocks again. Probably should've gassed it but screwed up and didn't. Pushed the bike to the other side and it wouldn't start. But we're at a neat spot to camp so we stayed there. Put the tents up under the sign that says "No Camping".
I open up the points and condenser cap and pour water out. I wonder if that's what killed it. I'll have to post to Adventure Rider under the old bike section and find out what's going on.
Dimitri said he came out with a girl named Carmen to ride horses with. The place they were supposed to work at went under before they got there, so they hitch-hiked up from Alice Springs to Darwin to look for used motorcycles. Carmen is short and couldn't find any used bikes she felt comfortable on. She told Dimitri that she'd ride down to Cairns with another German they met in Darwin.
Dimitri got to Cairns (taking unpaved roads most of the way) and got email from Carmen that said she was in love with the other German. Dimitri said Carmen had a troubled life and he waited for Carmen while she had another boyfriend. They broke up and she wanted to go to Australia so Dimitri came along hoping to win Carmen over.
Now that he was rejected he was going to do his own thing. Find a horse, learn to live off the land, and travel. Someone in Cairns told him to ask Linda at the Powerhouse in Cooktown to find out how.
We made it to Cooktown the next day and stopped at the Powerhouse. There's no Linda that works there but they figured out that he wanted the Linda that works at The Crock Shop. We go to the Crock Shop and Linda says she doesn't know and to try asking Ray and Ivan who have another house up north. She said they were leaving north soon. Linda didn't know the address so Dimitri asked a few neighbors to find Ray and Ivan's house.
They weren't home but a friend said they'd be back soon so we waited. Ray and Linda didn't know where to get a horse and didn't know of any Aboriginies wanting to teach people how to live off the land. But they offered to give Dimitri a job. They hired an American girl with a small kid last year that drove up there in a truck with no shocks. She was supposed to make it back up this year. You get north in November and The Wet keeps you in until June or July. Unless you pay the mailman to fly you out in his plane, you can't get out. The roads are impassible.
Dimitri and I camp out near Cooktown on the beach of the Coral Sea. He's eaten alive by sandflies, biting ants, mosquitos (mozzies in OZ), and a huge centipede. He took 90% of the punishment and I got off easy. Maybe my cherry red sunburn kept them away from me. I think on Christmas, I'll get sunburned and ride a boat so I get seasick. I don't know if I can get seasick, but being red and green for Christmas would be nice. I tried to dye myself blue for a bus ride to Chicago, but that was 16 years ago and it's a different story all together.
He's trying to figure out what to do. He's got another friend named Catherine who's coming out from Germany. I think he should get together with her. If he wasn't 23, and I assume she's the same age, I would've stuck around to meet her. Dimitri wasn't sure if he'd meet up with her. He's getting his mom, a professional photographer, to send him a camera from Germany so he's staying in Cooktown. He's also waiting to meet up with an Elder Aborigine who might teach him, but the old guy (he's 40!) might be too busy. I'm running low on pills and I need to get to Pat's house in Edmonton to check on pills and my tank.
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Waiting in Edmonton, suburb of Cairns, until the four white horseman of the Apocalypse come to hand deliver my tank. Is it the Apocalypse yet? I'd like my tank please.
Catching up on the bits I ain't posted up yet. This bit, once again, will be long and it's old. Me posting my crap about living The High Life have been all out of order. New stuff will be posted a bunch in the next week or so to catch up. Besides, you're in Christmas mode and won't be reading this until January. And since I ramble, you'll be skipping over most of it anyway just looking for nekkid photos of pub waitresses. Another photo page is coming soon but I still haven't taken any photos of pub girls. I need to cover Cairns to Cooktown to Cairns to Normanton to Three Ways to Katherine to Darwin to Katherine to Broome to Saltfire to Port Hedland to Dampier which is where I'm typing this intro now.
And just in case you're wondering, today is Monday, December 13 and I have 26 more days of anti-seizure medication on me. There's another 60 day supply waiting for me in Melbourne.
Girls, Girls, Girls and the History of Luminous Motion
mid-November to early December, 2004
Waiting in Edmonton, suburb of Cairns, until the four white horseman of the Apocalypse come to hand deliver my tank. Is it the Apocalypse yet? I'd like my tank please.
I'm a barely invited houseguest camping in the backyard. I showed up to meet up with Pat to go on the Bevels and Bullshit ride and pick up my tank. No luck with the tank and after a few days I got the heave-ho because, as They say, "houseguests and fish stink after 3 days". Today is November 24. I want to head north towards Darwin before the wet starts, but that's looking bleak.
Pat is funny in a dry way. He's got a good way of teasing his kids. Ang, his wife, is funny too. She looks and laughs like Kizzy, only she isn't as stacked as Kizzy which as we all know is very important to you. All ya'll for the Southerners. Both are busy. Ang is back in school teaching and studying to be a teacher and Pat was heading off to Sydney for work. No point in keeping some stranger camping out by the pool.
So let's talk about Cairns adventures. I started with the tourist stuff and went to Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park - an Aboriginal tourist camp where you learn about how the Aboriginals mostly got wiped out by Whitey.
The Australians, not being as smart as Americans, didn't pass out small pox ridden blankets. Aussies also weren't smart enough to hunt the local animals to near extinction, start the Klan or make Keanu Reeves a movie star. Insert Ed McMahon "hey-oooooooo" here.
I learned how to throw a spear with a stick. I don't remember the local Aboriginal term for that, but in archaeology courses in the States the stick is called an "atl atl". Went on the Skyrail and took the tourist train back.
The Skyrail depressed me. I think I'll skip out on doing major tourist things alone. It's a beautiful ride in a gondola that travels over the rainforest with a couple stops to gawk at keen looking stuff. It's about a 6-pack long but that's just a guess as I had no beers. But the train ride back takes 90 minutes so make a guess. I was alone in a gondola wishing I was with a girl. It's great seeing neat stuff for the first time, but the tourist stuff isn't for me when I'm alone, I reckon.
I had a long beautiful journey thinking of ex-girlfriends that I shouldn't have broken up with. For some reason that I'm trying to figure out is why I only going out with a girl for around 6 weeks. No, it's not just me trying to get into their pants. I haven't figured this out yet, but at some point it'll sink into my thick noggin.
I'm 34 and there's been two girls I asked to marry. Both said yes. Both relationships fell apart badly. One was the girl I planned on riding round the world with -- think red headed girl and a '52 Vincent. I'm not year specific on the Vincents I want but that's how the song goes.
There's been two others that I probably should've married. One didn't happen because we were both drunks at the time. It was a love-hate relationship fueled on whiskey and chock full o' arguments over if the sky was green or red. She's getting a Ph.D. in nuclear astro-physics or some such nonsense now. But if we did get hitched, I'd probably be in a divorce court instead of in Australia.
The other was me just being panicky, I think. I seemed trapped and it ended. I've got a roaming eye. But I'm just looking, I'm not after another pair of thighs to scratch. I've never cheated on any of my girlfriends.
Who knows what would've happened if I didn't go out with girls for short periods of time -- there could've been others. The horrors... the horrors... And if I had married, the divorce rate in the US is over 50%. I'm certainly no better than anyone else which should be pretty obvious.
But it gives me something to think about on this ride. I wanted a slow bike so I'd see stuff and have time to think about crud. I like calling stuff "crud". The endless dreams of ex-girlfriends ended on this trip after the Skyrail realization. Not day dreams, just the average night dreams (no, not the sticky kind). I guess they came to the front of my mind instead of dwelling underneath.
Lately, I'd been dreaming of ex-girlfriends even back to my high school days. Girls I hadn't thought about in years. At least they don't age in my dreams. It's not like I'm a perv dreaming of hot 15 year old girls. They're not sex type dreams, just us hanging out. It's girls I went out with or knew who, in the dreams, haven't aged, gotten fat or had kids. I've only gotten fat and aged, so I'm two out of three with no desire for the third.
I wish I would've figured this out sooner, not that I have it completely settled now. One ex said in a bitter sarcastic way when I left, "so you're off to find a wife in another country" which isn't true. But it twisted like a knife in my back so maybe there's a bit of truth in there. Know any single girls with a motorcycle, wanderlust and willing to live cheap? This trip is a thought clearing process. I like to be in motion. This post is part of my history of luminous motion.
I've got goals for this trip. I hope to become more outgoing which will sound weird to most of my friends and will make sense to really good friends. I tend to shut up around people I don't know well. I remember most of my stories and I want to hear other people's stories so no point in me yammering on. I wonder if I could meet a girl sober. I have before but it seems like its been years. And if I did, would me being quiet spouting random chunks of sarcasm help or hinder?
I like to be in motion. Cars are good because you can have conversations with people in motion. I don't have the money or the desire to do this in a car. It's like I've isolated myself with a motorcycle. That's not true: I'm just writing that because I had to set up camp in pouring rain instead of just pulling over. Motorcycles give you time to think. I used to have a silver tongue but now I stumble looking for words. I need time to think of the words that I'm trying to think with -- if that makes sense. It's easier to understand something once you have a word for it instead of having words that lead up to it.
An example from my visit in the ICU. I wanted a sandwich but I couldn't think of the specific word "sandwich". I was describing what I wanted to eat by saying, "one of those things that you eat by having eating stuff in between other eating stuff". Someone said "sandwich" which was what I wanted to say. It's pretty fucking annoying to not be able to come up with the word "sandwich". So when you think of things as "eating stuff in between other eating stuff" instead of the single word "sandwich" it takes longer to reason things out if you catch my drift. Now I can ride, get frustrated trying to think of a word, spend plenty of time to figure out what word I want, and by the time I've ended the ride and set up camp, I can type out what I mean with minimum stumbling. Sidetracked again here but you're bored at work, aren't you?
Old motorcycles are good because they attract friendly attention. Good for me because I'm not used to talking to strangers. I'd make a horrible salesman. And I'm not greedy or competitive, so as I age, instead of being "Death of a Salesman", I'd be more of "Last Exit to Brooklyn".
Which is a long way of saying, that's why I'm not going to visit The Great Barrier Reef. I need a girl with me to share it with. I'm sure my attitude will change at some point. I'd hate to not walk 5 blocks to see The Great Pyramids because there's no cute girl around for me to tease on the secret climb to the top.
I feel I'm running out of time for a trip like this. If you've been reading my posts, there's a bit of a concern that instead of my mildly inconvenient "seizure free" epilepsy, it might turn into the regular seizure-matic epilepsy with the standard loss of drivers license that seizuring up the joint brings.
This was written in the area around Cairns about a month after I left. It was early in the trip and I was feeling homesick. I thought about what I'd be doing if I stayed in Sacramento and "more of the same" doesn't sound too entertaining. That cleared up most everything. I had an email conversation with an ex about the hows and whys everything fell apart which helped me out a lot. Hopefully it's done some good for her. Everything is settled right now as far as I'm concerned.
The History of Luminous Motion is a book given to me 14 years ago from a roommate who's name I don't remember. Angie Davis, I think. Lainie, is that her name? Am I confusing her with Angela Davis? What's she up to anyway?
The book is mediocre but I like the title so I re-read it every few years. It's about an 8 year old boy who rides around Central California with his mom. It's nice reading about an area you're familiar with in a book. His mom cheats men for money, and then moves along while the kid reads college textbooks. Some sort of bored super genius who acts like a creative writing grad student pretending to be 8. Not nearly as good as Doug Allen's Steven comics. Instead of a cactus yelling, "I NEED SOME SAUCE!", this kid croaks some guy with power tools after he gets involved with a Satanist cult done by another 8 year old. It has the stuff to be a black comedy but the schmuck who wrote it didn't mean it to be a comedy. But anyway, I like the title.
Speaking of Masters Thesis books pawned off onto the unsuspecting public, I gave up on Rites of Spring and bought Thin Red Line. I looked for anything written by F. Scott Fitzgerald or Evelyn Waugh but no such luck. Philip K. Dick, Raymond Chandler, James Joyce and nothing. I wish I had a list of The Library or whatever the list of books read by The Well Read People is but I don't. The bookstore had such a lousy used book selection that I would've even made another attempt at Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, but no luck for that (probably thankfully). There was a new book about Gallipoli but I don't have the money to buy new books with. I wasn't going to read VC Andrews, a romance book or anything about The Royal Family. I decided to beat my head with Rites of Spring again but saw Thin Red Line. It'll make a nice comparison against Catch 22 which hopefully I won't bore you with unless I come up with some sort of crazy explanation that would be entertaining even though you probably haven't read either. "It's better to live on your feet than die on your knees". -- Joseph Heller, Catch 22.
Happy Birthday to my niece Sophie. And also to Jason Patrone, Dave Hart, Bill Lonsdale, Ann McAndless and Tom & Stacy. Man, who did I forget?
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Here's the list of stuff that's broked: Dad, me, the bike.
I can't believe I didn't name the last post "Stroke Story" as it's about a guy strokin' it and to tease my dad who either had a minor stroke or maybe it's just a pinched nerve. My parent's are still waiting to hear from the doctors on what it was. I think I'll go back and change the title though.
I thought I was having a stroke when I had my first seizure. I felt much better when I almost hit a cow a week ago at 75mph. That wasn't as scary as when I thought I was having a stroke. Sorry dad.
The other night at a lovely spot by a stream at Kulumburra (spelling?), I had a dream of having a seizure. It stopped when I woke up, but the way seizures work is, I was having a seizure in my sleep. I wasn't unusually sore the next day, so it wasn't a gran mal (that's the major one). But that nightime one was the second real seizure I've had. My arm used to twitch when I was sleeping Sarah, my girlfriend at the time said, and my brain doc said those are minor seizures. Not a good omen.
If I have a single seizure when I'm awake the trip is over. I won't trust myself to ride. I don't mind fucking myself up and breaking some bones, and I probably wouldn't croak some civilian with this tiny bike and the unpopulated country. But hitting someone because I had a seizure isn't anything I want to deal with. The thought of having uncontrollable seizures is what got me off my ass for this trip. Epilepsy is good motivation.
I've only had one seizure when I was awake and it was a doozy. I hope there's enough of a premonition to pull over. I've got a big ol' plastic needle of Dilantin in my panniers for when I think I'm going to have one.
I'd have to pull over, shove lube on the needle tip, and shove it into my asshole. Count 3 seconds as I inject, hold it in for 3 seconds, remove and keep my butt clinched for 3 more seconds. Sure it'll be embarrassing lying on the side of the road with my pants down and a needle in my butt, but there's no other choice. And that's a lot less of a pain then going into a hospital where they take 20 painful minutes (!) to inject you with Dilantin. Sure that's in the arm, butt (hardy har har) I'd rather take it in the ass for under 30 seconds than the arm for 20 minutes.
I've been thinking maybe my rash isn't caused by that weird snack food I had. The lymph nodes at my armpits are red and sore too. I wonder if it's a reaction to Keppra. Just basic overimagination as I'm riding all day in the heat. I'll still move the Dilantin butt shot to an easier place to get to.
I think when I get to Perth, I'll have to find out how much my medical benefits will cover as I explore the ranks of the Aussie neurologists to ask for a professional opinion. Thank you once again Donna for marrying me so I'd have medical insurance on this trip. If you haven't read all the posts, Donna is a friend of mine who married me so I'd have medical benefits for events like this.
So that's the long intro to parts that broke. Dad, me and the bike. I paid $9,000 Australian for this bitsa bike (bitsa this, bitsa that). It was built for the purpose of getting me round the world. Which is going to last longer? Me or the bike?
Day 1. Pick up bike and head north. Am told, and find out, the fuel cap gasket leaks. Also told the electronic ignition that I asked several times for and was told "no problem" hasn't been done because it's still in test mode and Phil's not sure how reliable it is. There's no crash guard and tachometer which I also asked for. Get stuck riding at night and the headlight quits working.
Day 2. Oil leaks start. Some minor weeping around the valve covers, the clutch cover, and the forks. Bigger leaks from the head from where there's one o-ring to keep the oil IN the engine and the bevel gear drive.
Brisbane (I think Days 3-10). Carb top rattles off. Horn attachment breaks. The already hard to kick over engine gets so bad I can stand on the kickstarter without moving it. The Kiwi Biker and I change the oil, adjust the points (which makes starting it so much easier), make a plastic bit to hold the horn on, re-wire some dodgy wiring, fill in holes in the panniers with goo to make them watertight, adjust the super high idle and while handtightening the main jet, strip the thread. Order a new carb body from Phil. The replacement shows up, but its been squeezed with channel locks so Ian McPhee files them smooth so the slide will move. Check the tires for the first time and they're both at 20.
Suggestions done as suggested by Graeme Ayers (local Bevelhead Potentate and Electronic Engineer): re-locate a new condenser under the tank to keep it cool and dry, add a connecter to the voltage regulator to bump up output but later find out that 12.68 is the most the upgraded alternator will put out. This means limited headlight and brakelight. I don't plan for much riding at night, but I want a headlight for riding in the rain. And I've had to use the headlight at dusk many times.
This is the first time I had to push the bike. Only about a quarter mile back to the Kiwi Biker's house. A lot of it was downhill. Knock on wood.
Ian takes pity on me and brazes new catches for the panniers as one of the originals rattled off on the way to Brisbane.
Basically, a lot of sorting was done in Brisbane. But if it's going to last worldwide, work is going to be done.
Day 11? Engine won't turn over, Ian tells me to put the bike in 2nd and move it back and forth. After that, knock on wood, there's no more starting problems. Recheck the tires and they're both at 20.
Day 14? At Gavs, reheck the tires and they're both low. Add a second gasket to try and keep the fuel cap from leaking.
Day 16? Fuel tank starts leaking. But, when I check the tires they're both at 32. They've held air ever since.
Spend a week in Mackay waiting for replacement fuel tank and I send my tank back to Phils instead of paying $500 for a new bottom to be welded in on both sides and a new coat of paint. Good thing, since I paid Phil $750 for bodywork and paint.
Get to Edmonton, suburb of Cairns and wait for tank. Pat Hawke and I replace o-ring which stops main oil leak and put goo on bevelshaft which stops the other leak (there's a difference between leaks and weeps). Build new gasket out of rubber which ends fuel leak out of cap.
Pat says if the dots on the bevelgears line up, that's when you adjust the valves without having the timing gear the book says you need. Adjust valves which were .3mm exhuast and .25mm intake. They're supposed to be .15mm exhaust and .1mm intake.
When putting exhaust flange back on (with Ducati tool for twins) I say, "Hey Pat, how tight do these go? I can't remember if you just tighten and wire lock or if you do it really hard, go for a long ride tighten some more and the wirelock, I think one is Ducati and the other is Norton." I spent a lot of time lurking on Bevelhads and Brit Iron mailing lists so things get confused.
Pat didn't know so I figured it was Ducati was just tight and lock. I put the lockwire on with a bit of slack. After it's tightened up Pat says "we should've put spacers in the bevelgears. They're pretty loud and we could've quietened them down". I'm glad 20/20 hindsite happens to people besides me.
I email Phil, tank is still waiting to be painted so I leave Cairns. Tanks been gone for close to 3 weeks. End up in Cooktown and there's no leaks and everything is fine. I even start it by hand. Sure it's just a 250 but I was standing on the kickstarter wthout moving it before.
Head for Darwin. The throttle cable slips out of the solder when the top of the carb comes loose again so I finish up my days ride with vice grips holding the cable.
Out in the outback I notice the exhaust flange is loose. It's the first day of lots of mileage in hot weather. I tighten it up by hand with my gloves on but the lockwire keeps it from getting tight. I cut the wire and tighten it some more. It moves a lot, so I figure it's the Ducati that needs to be tightened hot. Pull out the channel locks in the 100f (40c) degree sun and tighten up a lot. Snap one the nubs off the flange and rewire it.
The next day it's loose again. Try to pull over and I can't shift. There's an allen bolt blocking the gear selector. Hold the clutch, turn off the key, and stop. Pull out the allen bolt all the way and there's thread in the threads so it rattled itself out stripping everything as it went. The lockwire snapped on the flange. Tighten in the hot sun and snap off 2 more nubs. I don't know if the way I laughed was a good thing or a bad thing. Rewire and leave. A few miles and it's loose. Pull over and the cylinder threads are stripped. Hold it in with a lot of wire and head for Darwin.
Next day: Past 3 Ways the mirror rattles off.
Darwin: Was referred by 3 people including 2 shops to visit John Ottley Engineering. He said he didn't have the tool needed to fix the thread in the exhaust so he builds a bit to hold the header still and bush fixes the flange.
Find another mirror. Crazy Japanese left handed proprietary thread so I can't put it on right as I don't have a left-handed nut. The other mirror stems aren't long enough. Go to two nut and bolt suppliers then four shops to get it rethreaded. Can't find anyone who has a way of putting it through a lathe to remove the threads. Don't know why a wheel couldn't cut the old threads off but I'm not a machinist. I think they were just being lazy because it's a cheap job. Now I understand why Phil used the cheap mirror. I'm sure someone out there makes good mirrors for bikes that had no mirrors. Samueljohn, make sure you get good mirrors for your Comet.
Next day: Ride on the Darwin Xmas toy run. The top of the air cleaner rattles off and is run over by a motorcycle behind me. Toy run so its not like I could've stoppped if I saw it fall but it was pointed out.
Next day. Use VB beer can to make a new top of the air cleaner Use some more can to act as a wedge for the allen bolt hoping putting the bolt back will get me 2nd gear back when I upshift and 4th back when I downshift. It's better I think but it still misses gears.
I'm now at Geikie Gorge near Fitzroy Crossing. I stopped at Fitzroy for fuel and to check email and had a note from Frank Warner saying check out Geikie Gorge. I ask a lady how far away is Geikie and she says "hang a right at the Shell servo, take the next right and it's 18k down bitumen road". Nice timing, Frank.
Anyway, an engine mount bolt at the rear came loose and fell out. I check for stuff like that every few days but I reckon I should check once a day. I found a 20 year old mechanic who helped me find a bolt that mostly fits in his parts bucket. It's not correct but it's a tight fit and with some loctite it should stay until Perth.
The bush way of fixing the exhaust flange broke but it's doing okay for now. Knock on wood.
The engine piss marks its spot with oil and the frame and a pannier is oil coated (to keep the rust away). The half assed way I had the mirror working quit working so it's in my tank bag until I can get it rethreaded.
Oh yeah, I've been holding the throttle mechanism in place with my thumb for a couple of weeks. It's second nature so I've forgotten about it
Broome than Perth to get me and my bike fixed. Vee Two can do the work. I asked if they knew anyone who works on singles and they said they'd do it. I wonder if there's any Bevelhead brain docs for me noggin'.
As long as the engine holds together round the world, the price won't bother me. I change the oil every 1,000 miles or so -- bit less after Cooktown and all the dirt roads, bit more after days of riding without changing gears much. I check the plug regularily just because I'm nosy and it's doing fine. I still replace it every 3,000 miles just to make me feel better.
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I should make a clarification, I knew there'd be bike problems. I've owned a lot of singles so I know stuff rattles apart. Almost all my cars and trucks have been from the 1960s and Steve Mar, Rory Hearse and I toured the USA in a '74 VW Thing (they don't sell those in Australia but they look like the WWII German jeep). I'll make a list to post of things that have broken or rattled off that will go up in a day or two. Something breaks every day, which is pretty much what I expected. As long as the engine lasts round the world, I'll be happy.
I reckon I'll pick up my 18 liter tank when I've done my lap and I'm back to Road and Race. It should be painted by then. Right now I'm using a Monza tank, which is nice because it's smaller and ragged looking. The smaller tank stands away from the seat so it makes my bike look even older. Of course, that means I have a 10 liter jerry can that I use once or twice a day to get anywhere. Usual guesses: Triumph, Norton, Ducati. In that order. Usually an added, "Its a 500cc, ain't it".
Fixed the cap leak with Pat Hawke. We made a new gasket out of a piece of rubber. It works great.
Samueljohn, If I won the lotto, I would've taken a Comet with a sidecar. But no money (or Vincent experience) for something like that. The bags and rack came from a police bike. I saw another set like mine on a bike in Cooktown, so they're out there. I can see if I can hunt down a set for you but the shipping might make it too expensive for you. Cheaper than porn is a great quote. And speaking of porn, here's an email from an Aussie friend:
I need you as a pint-sized bodyguard ... The crazy boy from 3 flats down,
came and introduced himself to me on Thursday night, must have thought the
conversation was lacking a certain something and ended up flashing his dick!
He's a Brit who's been here for 6 years. He paints houses for a living and
we always said hi when we saw each other around but never actually had a
conversation. Anyway, he bangs on my door and says, "My name's Alex, I
don't really know any of my neighbours and I wanted to come and say hi..."
I said, "I've been here for 18 months and I don't even know who lives on
either side of me!" I had my purse in my hand coz I was about to go to the
supermarket but he seemed nice enough so I said, "When I get back from
picking up some groceries, you can come in for a drink if you like..." He
said, "Great but why don't you come to my flat?"
At his place, (which had a couple of pieces of op-shop furniture and nothing
else) our conversation about travel and family and work and cars switched to
sex within about 20 mins. He told me about his 49 year old girlfriend (he's
31) who he loves soooooo much, he'd never cheat on her because she "came
into my life at a time when I was really lonely and depressed and was
drinking too much." I asked him what he did for fun and he said, "Listen to
music and have sex. Play with myself, you know. Undress in front of lit
windows, watch porn..." and I'm sitting there thinking, "Okay, you're
mental, tell me more ..." Then he started telling really personal stories,
trying to shock me, while I just nodded and said, "I guess you were just
experimenting when you sucked off that trannie. That's not too bad." He
had his hand in his pocket and was rubbing it back and forth and kept
touching his crotch, and I got mad at that so I said to him, "Alex, are you
jerking off? Coz if you are, that's very uncool. I've just met you." He
looked at me like "I know you want it" and said, "No, I'm not jerking off.
Look, it's flaccid" and pulled his dick out and started flopping it around
and playing with it. I got up and walked out and he jumped up and said, "I
was only joking. Sorry to offend you, blah, blah, blah" and I told him he
was pretty fucked up.
So I went back to my flat, he banged on the door again to apologise and then
made some other nutty comments so I got rid of him. Then I get a note from
him pushed under my door on Friday night with a business card. The note
said that I was welcome to come over to his place to watch porn and that I
should text him sex chat on his mobile phone. I went to the cops to report
him and they seemed surpised that I didn't want to press charges. I just
wanted them to look him up to see whether he was a flasher or pedo or
something. But he didn't come up on the database so I guess he's just a
very lonely, sad guy who thought I was up for it. I was out most of the
weekend but he did walk past my flat on Saturday without a shirt on when I
was cooking (my kitchen is my front room and the window looks out onto the
garden). I feel sorry for him but if he bothers me again, I'm gonna get the
cops to call him up and give him a scare.
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Thanksgiving, a national holiday in the US (and there's only about 5 holidays country wide).
I don't really have anything to say about the topless waitress showing her boobs for spare change at a pub, the guy who ratted out his best friend for drag racing on the streets, and throwing rocks at jelly fish. Except it's all true. But I should say the topless waitress seemed like a nice girl.
I'm in a tent on top of Mt. Baldy. It's raining and windy and water is pooling inside my tent. It's November 24 and I just ate half a chicken and some bread. Isn't Thanksgiving soon?
The day before Turkey Day was spent in the rain at Mt. Baldy. That's just outside of Atherton. Out in The Tablelands. I followed a random dirt road towards the powerlines. Someone told me the roads out here follow the powerlines and if you take a dirt road, there's instant camping. It works out.
I show up, in the rain and wind, and set up my tent in the small rocks. My water-proof tent starts leaking so everything I have, that hasn't been extra waterproofed is wet.
I'm running out of Keppra, the anti-seizure drug I'm on. I'm heading back to Cairns hoping that the Keppra mailed to me shows up. My brain docs secretary is a cunt and faxing in my prescription was too hard for her both times I asked when I was still Stateside. Cary, one of my sisters, bitched at her another couple times after I left trying to get the prescription filled.
Oh yeah, that's "cunt" in the Aussie way which is the same as the Irish way which is probably the same as the British way. It seems to be slightly worse than saying "hell" in the US. Same with "fuck off". Although I did see a kid fuckin' full of bloody cunts get hollered at for saying "asshole".
Fuck doesn't seem to hold much weight here. Australia would make Holden Caulfield happy. Or at least happier. I haven't seen one "fuck" or "fuck you" carved or written on anything.
So by my way of thinking which is what has you slacking off at work reading this, is, in Australia, Jody Foster wouldn't need an army, and JFA would have chosen another name. Probably "Son of Sam" because there's always a homicidal nut with a gun around in the Good Ol' US of A.
If that above paragraph made no sense to you, you need to re-read JD Salinger's psychotic bible, also known as, Catcher in the Rye. David "Son of Sam" Berkowitz was croaking folks in New York City in the 1970s because his neighbor's dog told him too. I'm sure he was a fan of Catcher in the Rye. They usually are and it's this Divine Belief that keeps Salinger from publishing.
That and his other stuff isn't as good and he lives like a king from his royalties. Oh, and JFA (Jody Foster's Army) is a great skate rock band from Arizona from the early 1980s. I'm sure you saw them play with Aggression and Steve Cabellero's band, The Faction, at a Bones Brigade show. The local band that would've played with them in Sacto would've probably been Team Urinal, although the Hot Spit Dancers would've been a better choice for me.
Which is a long way of saying, I should've switched from Keppra to Dilantin before this trip. Dilantin is 80 years old and is available everywhere in the world for cheap. Keppra is newer, has less side effects, but is expensive and hard to find. With my 20/20 hindsite, I should've switched to Dilantin.
When I took Dilantin before, I slept about 20 hours a day for the first week. After that it was down to 12 hours, and after 14 days it was around 8 hours. With the time I've been waiting for my tank, I should've switched to Dilantin at Bob Dumma's house in Mackay. You have to ween yourself off and on epileptic drugs just like coffee, cigarettes and Russian roulet.
Today is Thanksgiving and I'm wet in a pub called Hotel Tully Pubs eating curried sausage and rice. It's okay, nothing special but a lot of food. The barkeep wasn't friendly. Don't know if it's because I've got a few days of road grime on me, or if he doesn't cotton to foreigners. He's nice to the locals. So next time you're here in Ravenshoe, Queensland's Highest Town at 3003.99 feet, skip out of this joint. I run out of pills tomorrow.
I need somewhere to go and the Millaa Millaa falls aren't too far away. Not that the name will ring a bell but you've seen 'em in commercials and in magazine ads. I'll post a photo of me, with a few days of scruff, out in front. I'm sure I'll
look just like a make-up ad.
Luckily Thanksgiving isn't a holiday in Australia. I'm not quite up to spending a national holiday by myself in a foreign country. I'm planning on going to Melbourne and imposing myself onto a friend and drinking beer with her family at the traditional Australian Christmas bbq.
Another update as I post this. I'm skipping around too much. I'm in Darwin right now and it's Saturday Dec. 5. I've got another post of Cairns that leads up to Dimitri, the German with the Greek name. Then a short bit about making my way west to Katherine to Darwin. Although I'll leave Darwin tomorrow and head towards Broome to Perth.
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