On the road at last – Day One
What a day!. Epic it was not. I should have expected as much after being up until 2am trying to sort my mobile data connection with the less than useful people at Telstra on line chat, then only less than 3 hours kip. What followed was a day chasing my tail. Learnt two lessons, 1. Don’t believe in google maps and 2. Don’t skimp for the sake of a few $. Having been advised that I could walk from a local train station to the cargo depot south of Brisbane I really should have called a Taxi. I headed off lugging all my riding gear, plus rucksack and tech stuff – 1 1/2h later wandering lost around a park unable to find an entrance into this huge cargo area (aka Mangrove Swamp) some locals took pity on me and called a taxi. Sweated my ass off!. Arrived at Interport Cargo Services to find Katie safe and sound huddled in a corner all alone – she needed some love!. Am sure she smiled at me J. Unfortunately for us though Oz Border control in their infinite wisdom had taken apart everything they could and decamped all my luggage onto a pallet, crap!. Sweaty, tired and frustrated with the clock ticking away I made my third bad decision and started packing everything up again and loading the luggage on the bike ‘without’ checking it would start (more on that later). An old soul driving a fork lift took pity on me and tried vainly to help, even filled my water bottles, good on him. So an hour or so later everything loaded up, kit on and ready for the big off, turned the ignition and….nowt,,,aggggh!. Ok, so off comes the luggage again and the old bloke pops back with a set of jump leads and a battery that would kick start a Saturn V rocket. He then proceeds to test them jump cables by bridging the two cables, shit…sparks everywhere and he jumps back 10 feet. Ok so I have to take charge now and ask him to key the bike while I ‘lightly’ apply the cables and….success!. Katie fires into life and thanks me profusely. Right, now the trick is to keep the bike running while I exit this maze of a cargo facility and get to a petrol station (engine running while I fill up), remember only have 1lt in the tank Ian!. So off we potter, petrol sorted and now on the road, ok motorway…so excited to be free I head in the wrong direction completely, double crap!. Never mind, next junction circle back around and decide to head south and west to get out of the city ASAP. No idea where I am heading, but enjoying the reunion nevertheless, I eventually find myself heading out towards Ipswich (that’s not in the Norfolk Broads btw) then south towards some hills I spot in the distance. We’re starting to rock and roll!. Ok so realising I had had no water or food since 6am, its now about 3pm, I pull over for some water and a protein bar in the middle of nowhere. Hop off the bike and look down to see fuel peeing out of a connector between my rear tanks and the fuel pump f…ing great!. Never mind, that’s what tool kits are for, er…so where did I pack it? Yep you guessed it, at the bottom of the panniers, triple crap!. Ok so out come all the luggage again and I eventually find my amazingly well equipped tool kit and set to work. I tighten the connections and have a wiggle and no hope, won’t stop. So I pull the quick release apart, good. However, will it go back together again, will it hell, no way mate, not happening? Quatro crap, now have no fuel supply AT ALL !. Again a friendly Oz pitches up and offers a world of head shakes and asks if I’d like a cup of tea??? !. Ok clock ticking towards 1630 now so out pops google (yes I forgive you) and using the 4G service (yes Brits in the middle of the bush) I manage to find a garage about 30kms away. Quick call and they are willing to lend a hand but I need to get the bike to them. So I bite the bullet, strip the connector off the fuel line to apply some brute force, fuel running everywhere now and I manage to get it loosely connected although still leaking badly. Right, we are off – hammer down road at 100kph half expecting the bike to burst into flames at any moment but thankfully make it to Boonah Auto Services 5mins before closing time. The guys were bloody great, really helpful and a great laugh. So while the young guy replaces the QR connector with a joint the owner takes me through his life history as a racer. Great stuff. So Katie all sorted we head off into what then really was the sunset and the hills of Main Range National Park. Fortunately the only good decision I made all day was to book a motel room earlier in the day in the off chance I would be in the area, lucky me. So getting well dark now we start the climb over the hills and it starts to rain. With the roads so dry and dusty and completely oversubscribed with huge lorries touching any white line the bike started to slide like hell on every corner, I really don’t need this god (or something like that you could hear inside my helmet). Well we eventually tottered to the top and over the other side into the valley it started to dry up, albeit pretty chilly. So in the pitch dark now, surrounded by these huge lorrie’s giving no quarter we eventually arrive in Warwick and the Alexander Motel. Bizarrely there was some kind of women’s convention on and the place was mobbed, to see me pitch up with Katie, so I made a dash for the room and locked the door waiting for room serviceJ. Just as I was unpacking Katie (again!), dinner arrives with a platter that looked designed for a small family and two bottles of VB, on personal recommendation of Neil Aldridge (nice one mate!). Could not do it justice and fell asleep writing this post…….what a day, roll on tomorrow!