I am the original 'Uneasy Rider' .. not especially blessed with much natural motorcycling talent, nor am I a particularly courageous motorcycle rider.
Nevertheless I went 'Right Way Round' New Zealand (at least twice) followed by a wonderful ride around Australia.

Then it was up to southeast Asia, around Indo-China, across southern Central Asia to the Middle East, Asia Minor .. and finally into Europe.

Right Way Round - all the way home .. from New Zealand to England, 2-up on a Honda Transalp.

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PROGRESS SO FAR - Distance covered across Western Europe: 6,411 km [3,984 miles] - as at Thursday, October-22nd, 2015

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Living Next Door to Alice

(Alice .. Alice, Who the F*** is Alice?)

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Monday, April-19

We spent just a little too long in Katherine updating this blog – more than three hours all told (11:00am – 2:20pm) – which put us under some pressure to get to our evening digs before nightfall. The Outback is not a place you want to be riding a motorcycle after dark; we've seen far too much roadkill on this trip already .. we don't want to become some!

Before leaving the township though, we got caught-up in a police and line crew-escorted convoy hauling an engine down from Darwin to the new Owen Springs Power Station in Alice Springs ..

Five-metres wide, 70-metres long and eight-metres high. Two lorry tractors are pulling and another one is pushing this massive 230 tonne load.

I guess you could go to Cape Canaveral to see this kind of thing .. probably, if you get your timing right. But on an ordinary road network? .. and also through a sleepy little township's main street? .. Absolutely incredible!

BUT yet more of our riding time is taken up with the spectacle .. which puts even more pressure on our afternoon's schedule.

One thing's for sure .. we won't get anywhere near Tennant Creek tonight – which is over 670 km [416 miles] away. So we'll settle for the less ambitious target of the Daly Waters Pub; just 273 km [170 mi] down the road.

Ellen looks back [north] in the RH rear-view mirror .. as she likes to see where we've been.

I've suggested, therefore, that she considers taking-up rowing as a hobby!

It's just after 6:00pm when we reach Daly Waters. The sun is about to set; and we cast a very long shadow indeed before it sinks below the western horizon.

Nice place is the Daly Waters Pub; it's got a good ambiance going on.

I recommend it as a stopover destination.

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Tuesday, April-20


Time to leave the Pub .. and head-on down to Tennant Creek, also known as the Northern Territory’s 'heart of gold'

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We arrive with enough time to rent a cabin at the local campsite .. and go buy a couple of steaks and some sausages to put on our host's barbecue facility

Ellen was advised by a fellow guest that if you cook meat on oven-proof paper .. then in theory at least, you won't need to clean the griddle afterwards.

[The theory doesn't work by the way!]

The results still taste good though! .. :o) :o)

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Wednesday, April-21

It's another big('ish) ride of 510 km [317 mi] from Tennant Creek to Alice Springs .. so we're on the road by 08:30am.

On the way we stop off to take a look at The Devils Marbles*, which are a collection of huge, round, red-colored boulders. Incidentally, the above picture was taken with a 10 sec shutter time delay.

[* Point of grammar: Why Devils Marbles? Why not Devil's Marbles? Well, Australian geographical naming convention decrees the omission of the apostrophe in official place names such as Princes Highway, Mrs Macquaries Point, Kings Park, Devils Marbles.]

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There's not a whole lot else going on down the Stuart Highway from Tennant Creek to Alice. It's a fairly monotonous road.

.. apart from Wycliffe Well, which is famous for UFO sightings .. and ..

.. the Ti Tree Roadhouse, for having the most central pub in Australia

Well, someone, somewhere's got to have the most central pub in Oz after all!
.. and
oh yes .. I almost forgot ..

.. we passed across the Tropic of Capricorn again - southbound this time.

It's been 16 days since we met Frank - our German travelling friend - at this very same latitude, heading north, on Easter Monday (April-05).

We've certainly enjoyed our time in the Tropics .. but it's nice to be heading back into a more temperate climate again. We'll be back though .. one way or another.

We arrive at Alice Springs by 4:30pm; colloquially known as "the Alice" .. or simply "Alice".

AND we're still bang-on target .. schedule-wise .. :o)

We'll stop here for a couple of days, I reckon .. just for a breather - and to catch-up on the laundry .. and deal with some other outstanding chores

.. like checking over the bike.

The tyres are still good. If I wanted to change them before reaching Adelaide, then now and here is the only real opportunity I'll get. This pair has now covered more than 6,000 km [3,730 miles]. I reckon they're still good for another 2,000 - 2,500 kilometres [1,250 - 1,550 miles] .. IF I ride carefully.

BUT my butt is gonna suffer! .. as my Airhawk cushion has sprung a leak. I've tried three times to repair the wretched puncture - but the patch(es) won't hold. This is the second Airhawk I've had that hasn't managed to last beyond its second year of function.

So I'm now scouring the Alice for a sheet of some decent 'large bubble' bubble wrap to use as a substitute. Yep, really! .. would you credit it?

All this .. plus some more route planning, which will involve a few phone calls .. and we should be outta here tomorrow, Friday-23rd .. or Saturday-24th at the latest.

Kings Canyon and Uluru (Ayers Rock) beckons!

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