Hate mail and the Brutal Rapist
I didn't think anyone was reading these, but I got a "ur gay" comment in "The Wild West of the Tropics" post. An anonymous post from Townsville, Queensland Australia. I feel much better now. It's not much of an effort, but he tried. I hope a wee bit of encouragement will help.
I called up the airline and got the $3,883 ticket refunded. Since the US dollar is still declining, I made $20 from the refund. Now to find a cheap way to make it to Japan for Jay and Chikae's wedding party on April 16. Anything under $3,883 would be fine.
There's BEARs racing this weekend, so hopefully I can find some clutch plates for my bike. BEARs is British, European, American Racing since everyone loses to the Japanese. It'd be better if it was Bears Racing as in the hairy gay men fetish. Watching fat, hairy guys in ass-less black leather chaps with mirrored sunglasses would be fun to watch. I'm not sure what the winner would do.
I missed out on the softball sized hail in Australia and I didn't pick up ebola VD. I didn't pick up on any girls at all. I'll let all ya'll know when someone says, "Hey, I saw you in Trekkies 2". That'll probably be never.
And sadly, no pictures of Porn Star or of the Cute Australian Girl. I should've gotten one of the Cute Girl but you'd be disappointed. She's no Terri Garr.
I got an email from Anna about the last post that said, "That was a nice way of saying, 'Thanks for having me' - stealing my Repo Man soundtrack and dumping my car over the side of town. Yeah". She later found the CD and said Bob was very nice so she apologized to Bob for calling me a "lyin', cheatin', thievin' scumbag".
I don't know if Anna's forgiven me about leaving her car on the other side of town but she was nicer in other follow-up emails. She's waiting for me to get to the Melbourne part hoping I'll say nice stuff about her.
She also bugged me about my love life in Australia. Which didn't happen. Although, I did just get hit on by an anonymous homosexual in Townsville in a previous comment, but I like women, not men. Thanks though.
I can't remember if I talked about the Brutal Rapist I met outside of Cairns. If I did, you can skim over it twice.
I pulled up to a rest area to camp. Another good thing about Oz is you can camp in most rest stops for free.
There's a 50 year old blonde headed guy with a huge scar down his face and he's missing part of his jaw. It makes it hard for him to shave or he just does a lousy job. He yells, "Wanna cuppa?" In Oz, "cuppa" is short for "cup of coffee/tea/Milo". I say sure and walk over.
Milo is what we had. I don't know what Milo is, but it's big in Oz and NZ. Some sort of powdered milk and malt thing, I reckon. Or maybe you add it to milk, but Jake didn't have any milk. I looked at the Nestle Milo page and couldn't figure it out. Could someone explain it? It's also the name of the singer for the Descendents who later became ALL (okay band but not as fun as the Descendents were). Milo is also also the name of an animal sanctuary near Berkeley, California.
This man's name is Jake and he has a poodle dog with a blue tail. I ask about the tail and he says, "My daughter did that". Good. He has a daughter so he's probably not that bad.
We're talking and he explains his face. Back when he was 20, he got a job as a mechanic and was celebrating at a pub. Walking home, he got hit by a car and it almost killed him. He's been on the dole (pension aka welfare) ever since. The brain damage made him schizophrenic which is much worse than making him epileptic.
"But don't worry", Jake said. "I'm not a poofta or a brutal rapist".
We have another cuppa and I ask Jake how old his daughter is. "I don't have a daughter". Well that's not the answer I was expecting. It sort of put a dampner on my part of the conversation.
I finish my cuppa and say, "Well, it's been a long day. I'm going to sleep".
I lied awake in the tent thinking "What did he mean by 'I'm not a brutal rapist'"? If he said, "I'm not a rapist" I wouldn't have given it a second thought. But the "brutal" qualifier had me wondering.
Every twig that snapped, every rustle I heard, I think, "fuck, is that Jake?" Finally, at 3am I said enough. I put in ear plugs and figured, this way I won't hear anything and if he shows up, I'll deal with it then. I slept until morning and Jake offered me a breakfast cuppa. No thanks, I've got to go.
An unusual response for me. I tend to hang out with homeless nuts for a while, but I left Jake and his blue tailed poodle behind. I should've brought him back a beer and directions to Anna's apartment (just kidding Anna -- I gave him your keys).
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Drinking the Kiwi Nigel Marx' homebrew and nothing about monkeys. But it includes Leaving Las Melbourne and Sandfire.
I found the shirt I've been thinking of making. It says, "I'm sorry my president's an idiot. I didn't vote for him." Only they have that on the back when it should be on the front. It's in the official 6 UN languages and it would make my life much easier. I'll buy it and send it to NZ.
I've asked conservative Australians what they think of Bush and it's been a non-stop "he's an idiot and your country is fucked". I've been looking for a positive outsiders view of him but couldn't find a single one. Really. I ask people that question all the fuckin' time (even more often than my bike breaks down so it's more than once a day) and I would've thought I'd run into someone who'd say, "Yeah, he's doing a good job". No luck yet.
Usually asking that question brings the answer, "Your Empire is in a rapid downfall. It was when Clinton was president but Bush has made it much worse and Americans don't seem to understand. China will be taking over soon and we'll all be fucked. Once your country goes bankrupt in a few years, it'll screw everything up". I've heard variations of that response all around Australia and now it's started in New Zealand.
So yes, I'm now in Christchurch, New Zealand looking for a small corner where all the Americans can sneak in during the upcoming Apocalypse. And I still need to catch up with December posts from Australia.
Last Thursday, I borrowed Anna's car to pick up my crap which is all over Melbourne. The plane left on Friday morning so I was cutting time short. I figured since I wasn't on a 40 year old bike, that I'd do fine. Stupid me.
I show up at the Melbourne Desmo Center and Bob Brown says, "Hey numb nuts, your helmet & boots are at my house." Bob lives 40 or 50k away and I leave Anna's car in his workshop saying, "We need to return this in the morning" and we both say, "we'll end up drunk and late". Do Aussies even use the term "numb nuts"? I've heard "fuck-wit" bandied about plenty.
Bob goes to a post office to mail stuff, so I send a kangaroo skull to Pam and Pete. I found it on the Nullabor but that part of the story might come later.
I have a stack of candy in normal flavors and the weird flavors Aussie's eat: Musk flavoured Lifesavers and the like. I need to send some to my neices & sisters and to Donna (my friend who married me so I'll have health insurance). Bob says, "You should buy some Coon Cheese* to mail back", so we go to the store and run out of time to mail the Coon Cheese and candy back. Bob bought the first drinks of the night -- bottles of Jack Daniels and coke. I check for Australian Playboy again (I've looked all over) but can't find it. I hope they sell it in NZ because I owe Doug Towsley** a copy.
*Coon, if you're not American (or probably any other English speaker) is a racist term for black people. It's also the real last name of the maker of Coon Cheese and you'd think they'd show a little dignity and rename themselves to something we all understand like "Fuck-wit Cheese".
**Doug is obviously a nut. He owns a shop in Oregon called "Combustion Junction" building Brit bikes and offered, "If you want, I'll show you how to work on bikes for real". I think he doesn't trust my zip ties, duct tape and bailing wire to get me round the world on a 40 year old Italian bike. Didn't Ducati use Lucas but made them even worse?
Bob takes me to Porn Star's house. No, his name isn't Porn Star but it's his nickname and I wanted to mention Porn Star because his nickname is Porn Star. Porn Star plays guitar and we drink some beers. Bob then buys me another steak dinner. At one of the best steaks places I've ever eaten at. It's in Riddel Creek, Australia, so go to that pub now. We continue drinking. If it's not scotch, it's sambuca. Bob, as I think I've said, can drink.
Early next morning, no time to take the car back. Bob says he'll pay for Anna's cab fare to pick up her car and takes me over to Dave Milligan's house. I didn't like putting Anna in that position (and neither did Bob) but there's no time since she lives on the other side of the city from his shop. All the stuff I've screwed up on this trip, Bob has fixed. Dave's wife takes us to the airport and there's only one employee working at the ticket station. She's annoyed and working s-l-o-w to teach The Man a lesson.
It's my turn and she says, "Get fucked, we won't let you in with a one-way ticket". I say, "Nigel Marx has sponsored me so he'll be at the airport with papers". She says, "Get fucked and buy a ticket out of N Zed since you don't have the papers on you. You have 10 minutes". That's "zed" because instead of saying "zee" for Z, Aussies and Kiwis say "zed".
So I run to a New Zealand Air booth and they point me to a Qantas booth and I wait in line. Jumping all over because I'm running out of time. I get up and say, "I need a cheap ticket to Japan in April".
It takes forever. I'm begging, "I'm really in a hurry. My plane leaves in a couple minutes".
"Here's one. It's $3,883 but it is refundable". Okay, give me. I run back to the plane ticket lady. She makes me wait because She's God and says, "run for customs". There's a HUGE line in customs and I'm wondering, "I hope they don't leave me. I hope they don't give me shit about overstaying by a month. I paid for an extra 3 months but they didn't confirm it. I hope they don't realize that I have an unpaid ticket in Sydney for using an unregistered California plate." Just general panic that occurs when you're dumb and have to deal with beauracracy. That ticket to Japan had better be refundable or I'm screwed.
Customs checks my bag looking for drugs like they always do. I don't know if it's because my last name is Smith or if I just look suspicious because it's early in the morning and I'm panicky and sweating from the running. In the States, I was told at the St. Louis airport that they check because my last name is "Smith". The customs guy checks through my bag and says, "What's that smell?". I think he's being sneaky trying to get me to admit to having 99 kilos of heroin in my carry-on.
"It's me. I was drinking last night, haven't showered and have been running at the airport while the ticket lady decided if New Zealand will let me in". He says, "piss off" and I hear on the PA, "Mr Smith, please report to gate 4", so I run through the Duty Free zone to find the gate which is never in the order it should be.
I'm the last one on the plane, but I made it.
We fly into Christchurch and the entry point customs needs to check Nigel Marx' address since I put that down as where I'd be staying. They send me through and I pick up my banjo, my helmet, my backpack, my sleeping bag and a heavy bag of camping equipment, tools and other very heavy stuff. Heavy enough that they said they'd charge me an extra $25 for being overweight. I have to drop down to my knees to get the heavy bag strap over my shoulder and I strain to pick it up. I can barely get on my feet again. I walk 5 steps and a customs lady says, "Okay, we need to check you out".
She checks out Nigel Marx' address which takes a few minutes. She tells me to go to The Red Line so they can check out my stuff. I knew that was going to happen because I said I had cheese and camping equipment. Plus my name is Smith.
Before I get to The Red Line customs lady, another customs lady pulls me aside and tucks me behind a wall with mirrored windows. She wants to know if I'm in a bike gang because there's other people wearing Ducati shirts and I have a helmet. She wants to know what drugs I have. But not because I declared that I have drugs. I must be in some sort of Ducati Hells Angels or something. I guess it's a gang of Yuppies who call the cops to complain, "My Special Edition Ducati jacket wasn't made in Italy! I think my mechanic cracked my clear plastic gear cover and the carbon fiber covers are on back-order. Kill him!".
Customs checks out Nigel Marx' address and has me wait 10 minutes to say, "piss off". My guess would be they were waiting to see if I would act panicky over the 99 kilos of heroin in the carry-on. Jokes like that are great at airports, so I suggest you try them there. They also love "I'm not just _happy_ to see you, that's a rocket in my pocket" jokes. Or, more correctly, "jokes". I make it down The Red Line so my bags can be checked. But this time for real.
The cheese is cleared. This customs lady was actually very nice. She wanted to know what my bracelet was about. It's a Medic Alert bracelet because I'm epileptic. I say, "I have a note from my doctor if you'd like to check about the medication" but she doesn't care what I have. She's just wants me out of her way.
It took me more than an hour to clear customs, but Nigel is standing at the gate. Who's Nigel Marx, you ask? I'm guessing since someone with a made up name like "Smith" visiting someone with the made up name of "Marx" rings bells in NZ, it might work the same with you. Nigel is another motorcycling travel nut from Horizons Unlimited. I'm at his house drinking his home brew. I just finished this bottle so I'll find another while he's not looking. He roasted his own coffee this morning, too.
It's the karma of everyone's life: Horrible ticket lady + horrible customs police = homebrew and fresh roasted coffee. You know how it is.
His daughter just came in and said, "his homebrew is dangerous". I guess since there's no poisonous animals in New Zealand, Nigel is supplying his own poison. Good thing I can't be killed. And if I can be killed through some oversite, "Hey Donna! Glad to have helped pay off your apartment!"
So this about explains how I left Darwin, went to Geikie Gorge at Frank Warner's advice and camped. Listened to the dingos and saw wild pigs.
I eventually found myself at Broome where I met a blonde lady on a '73 Norton Commando. She said, "Good luck finding yourself a free camping spot but it's not tourist season so the rangers won't be looking for anyone." I camped illegally in the bush by Camel Beach and talked to some ex-sailor with all that tattooes in the world on him. He was camped illegally next to me out in the bush.
Days and days of riding and camping from Darwin. I met Masato, the Japanese guy on the 200cc Suzuki with the giant tires (his pictures have been posted earlier), at the rest stop near Anna Plains.
Mosato's cruising speed was 60k/hour (37miles). I left him and went to Sandfire where I met the first person in Australia who lived where she was raised. Sure, she was only 18 but she was the first I met. And she was the first cute girl I saw in Australia. Probably because I don't count bimbos in bikinis at tropical beaches as being human. Now that I said that, no Playboy Bunnies will want to date me.
But this girl was cute. Since I think she was 18, she was probably 3 and worked illegally -- much like the 3 year old selling Chiclets (gum) in Mexican streets.
That's how age works in most of Australia. I overestimated everyone's age by 15 years. I'd say, "Excuse me grandmother, may I help you across the street?" She'd say, "Piss off, I'm 20. And is that a Scottish accent?" It was like that for most of Australia except for mostly Melbourne and Sydney. It's the non-stop sun, I reckon, although there's sun in Sydney.
I swear I'm not making this next part up. I heard this joke from 3 (count them, three) sets of other foreign travelers, in tropical Australia.
"What do you say when you see a cute Australian girl?"
"What country are you from?"
There must've been some sort of Crabby Foreigner Convention that I missed out where it was Bag on Australia Day. I thought about this while I rode on from Sandfire, along with lewd thoughts about the Sandfire Girl.
I waited for Masato at Sandfire because I was in BFE and didn't know anyone (BFE, if you ain't 'merican, is Butt Fuckin Egypt. Stands for "middle of nowhere"). It was hot and I had to drink a couple liters of water. Masato showed up and I offered to ride with him. I figured since my bikes top speed was 95k/hour (60 miles), that 60k (37 miles) wouldn't be a pain. I don't know how anyone that's ridden along with me could put up with 95k an hour. That's really slow I learned on this part. 60k around Australia is crazy.
Masato and I camped (probably illegally) at the information booth by the airport at Port Hedland. I hope I pick up enough Japanese when I'm teaching English to talk to him. The pidgin English was okay, but I'd like to know more about him.
In Port Hedland by the way, I ran into the Sandfire Girl. It's 290k/180miles (no shit) from Sandfire, but it's the closest town. She drove in for groceries and I thought, "Damn, if she was 30 instead of 18, I'd ask if she could ride a bike". But if she was actually 30 up there, she'd look 50 and I wouldn't have noticed her. Australia. It's a double edged sword.
Masato and I cooked pasta and he put tomato sauced sardines on them. I skipped on the sardines. I'm still trying to get used to sea food. I puked up shrimp when I was 6 and it's stuck with me for life. You'd think since I'm half Portuguese that I'd be snacking on cod, but I had to get used to even tuna on this trip. Seafood, for the unaccustomed, is kinda/sorta like getting used to drinking beer. It's an acquired taste. I hope by Japan, I can eat seaweed.
I got email from Masato a couple days ago. He's in Canberra and heads for Sydney soon. There he ships his Suzuki back to Japan. I asked about his shipper but he thinks he's been fucked over by him. I'll find out what happened and post the shipping info to Horizons Unlimited. Maybe it turned out good.
I've always been cynical, but on this trip, I'm becoming optimistic. It's a weird level of cynicism. I've reached a point where there's nothing I can do but hope for the best instead of expecting the worst like I usually do. I don't know if that made sense. So cynical, I'm optimistic. My bike was a mess but it worked out good by the end of Australia. I paid $3,883 for a one-way ticket to Japan on a date I can't even remember. It should be fine.
My favorite travel stories, which I obviously don't know how to write, combine the good with the bad. Port Hedland gets worse, but I meet Thespis, Porky & Deb, and Chook (I hope I got that right) and everything got better. I loved Ted Simon's daily bits about what a fucked up day he was having. You know why? Because ANYONE having a fucked up day flying from Australia to New Zealand is a lot more entertaining then "some fuck-wit took my memo".
I hope, at some point in the future, I'll make an entertaining book out of this trip. Maybe I should start reading a bunch of zen books and get that into it. I'd have to combine zen puns with zombie puns which would mean an audience of two interested parties who'd probably prefer them in Esperanto which I have no intention on learning. And then I'd give them the book for free for being such fuck-ups.
People would buy "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Dismantling" more than they'd buy "A Fucked Up Yanks Trip o' The World". Plus Wal-Mart wouldn't buy it because the title says "uck-fay" in it and I'd get pissy and cut off my nose to say "fuck 'em". And I'll end up working in Miami as a bell-hop at age 65.
And then what? I'd wake up in a puddle. More references to the Repo Man movie when I get back around to Melbourne in the stories. I'm still in December and Melbourne wasn't until January. I'll try to catch-up quick, dig?
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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.]
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The bike is mostly fixed and is headed for Christchurch.
I completed the lap round Australia and I've got some good stories to post. Not enough time right now but I've got a few emails asking if I'm alive. I've done about 13,000 miles or 21,000k. The bike hasn't stranded me yet, but it's tried awfullly hard.
I finished my lap back at the shop I bought the bike from and picked up the leaky tank (the one that pissed fuel as I rode between a bush fire). The "fixed" tank started leaking again after 50k (roughly 30 miles). A bit of work was done on the bike and 2nd gear was said to be fine although it was still fucked.
I need to thank Ian Gowanloch and Bob Brown for fixing up most of the problems with my bike. My duct tape, zip ties and bailing wire got me around but it needed help.
Ian Gowanloch gave me a proper Italian headlight at his old shop -- Gowanloch Ducati in Sydney Australia. He said c'mon over to my house and I'll fix 2nd gear.
2nd gear wasn't shimmed correctly so it toasted the gear. So while doing that, he took a look at other parts. The gear selector was fucked and wasn't assembled correctly (completely ungreased and rusty) so he fixed that and replaced a part. The clutch plates were fucked so he replaced those. They weren't Ducati parts and they didn't hold up. Not that I'm saying anything that is factory Ducati won't fail.
The piston had been hitting the head but the bottom end seems to be okay, so he added another shim to raise the top end so that won't happen again. Then replaced the alternator which died. The 4 month old gel celled battery won't hold a charge so he replaced that. And the coil. And the regulator. And he did a bit of welding to fix the broken frame where the regulator bolts onto. He shimmed the bevelgears correctly and replaced the bevelshaft. Now when the engine is running all you hear is tappets clicking instead of incorrectly shimmed parts pounding themselves.
He also put on a Conti pipe, changed the exhaust flange that I left a trail of broken nubs around Australia with, replaced the ignition switch so I have a Ducati key instead of the Honda one, replaced the chain, fixed the oil leaks and swapped the carb for another Delorto that doesn't leak. He also offered me the super rare tach drive I want but I declined. I think I'm forgetting a few things in there.
Ian and his wife Georgia fed me and shared some great Italian and Australian wine with me. I'm a slob and don't know anything about wine but it tasted good. He wouldn't take any payment. I'll have some pictures of me with one of Georgia's trained pigs up soon.
I left his house and went to Melbourne to ship my bike to New Zealand. On the way to Melbourne the carb started acting up again, so I went to Bob Brown's shop. Bob Brown being the guy that built a 4 valve Ducati 851cc out of a 650cc Pantah and nearly won at Daytona. Ducati borrowed and dismantled his bike and later released their 4 valve 851 bikes.
Bob pullled off the head and the exhaust valve had never been seated correctly. He was surprised it made it around Australia. I asked if it was because I had the header pipe wired in for a while after I toasted the exhaust flange, but Bob said nope, that wasn't it. The valve made contact with about one sixth of the seat. He ground in the valve and put on a brand spankin' new Amal carb. It's a completely different bike now. It runs and idles well. Bob also fed and housed me and he also won't charge me. He also told me to fuck off if I talked about this so nobody tell him.
Bob runs the Melbourne Desmo Centre which was impossible for me to pronounce correctly when I'd answer the phone. After I had my head wacked open a few years ago, the neurosurgeon made me say, "Methodist Episcopal" which I couldn't pronounce correctly. It was like that again but the non-stop scotch was doing that.
Crazy Australians. I've got credit cards so I could pay both Ian and Bob. It'd just mean extra work in Japan.
Bob and I spent last night at Ralph and Mary's house where we almost polished off a fifth of Wild Turkey. Ralph and Mary rode round South America on a purple BMW motorcycle. Then 2 hours sleep before we had to get my bike to the dock this morning. It's on it's way to Christchurch. I leave on the 18th.
My original tank should show up at Bob's shop so I'll bring it as a carry-on I reckon. It's been fixed twice by Phil so I hope it holds up.
Spammers have found my site and Movable Type (the software I use for this) makes it easy for them to leave spam as comments. I'd like to keep it so people don't have to log-in to leave comments. I'm all for anonymous comments. Any ideas?
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This is Dave's helper money DeeAnn. So in my spam cleaning zeal I screwed the pooch and blew away his whole entry instead of just the spam. I've got the original stuff Dave wrote in my cache, but lost everybody's comments- sorry about that.
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Random pictures after the Lap Round Oz. I took two, but Mister Phil Aynsley took three and Photoshopped them all. He took pity on me and gave me a ride to Bathurst so I could stare at the track. If you ever ride a 40 year old Ducati around Oz, look up Phil Aynsley. His tours are great. He rigged it so a fleet of sailboats would go by as we looked into Sydney from the harbor.
At the end of the lap. Phil Hitchcock and the Banjo Player who's name still escapes me, work on my bike. I was told to stay away. Probably a good idea, as I tend to stick to duct tape, ziplocks and bailing wire to keep it running. Picture by me.
The Bathhurst racetrack. I've always heard about it, seen pictures, and it's great being there. The track is a city street and there's houses on it. Even a winery in the middle. People put their trash cans (rubbish bins) on the friggin' track for pick up. I'm sure that you, the same as I would, would confuse "it's a city street" with the races that are run on city streets. But that's not how it works.
It's a fully set-up track that, probably for money reasons, has houses on it. The driveways are hidden behind gaps in the concrete crash wall. It'd be like some sort of weird thing where the Indy 500 or Daytona track would have houses on it. They shouldn't be there, but hey, it's got to be a great place to live -- you can only go deaf once. Unlike the track at Sears Point, there's not race shops in the middle. You can't drive through there on your way to pick up a 6-pack. It's a track with no real exits.
It makes sense and it doesn't make sense. Sort of like cricket. This pic by me.
Dave on a Stick. Me with a stick in my ass. Jumping around on the track, bouncing myself off the concrete walls. A little bit Dave Smith, a little bit Dale Earnhardt. Only I walked away. This is picture Number 3 for a reason.
Pic by Phil Aynsley.
This is The Three Sisters (tres hermanas, en espanol). Picture taken by Phil Aynsley on my cheap camera. It's out in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. They're called the Blue Mountains because they're shrouded in blue from the evaporation of eucalyptus oil from the forest. I'm sure all Americans knew that, but I wanted to make things clear for the Aussies.