Sunday 27 April 2014 - ANZAC Day/Weekend Ride, Day 3

Sunday morning. First order of business is a prayer of thanks to God for the weather and company. All four of us are Christians and attend Lutheran churches. Then off to Kyogle for Breakfast and a quick chat about the path home. We decided over coffee to try the Lions Road, Beaudesert, Boonah for lunch. Sometime after that Peter and Kerri would head westwards home and Mark and I north to home.

What an excellent decision. First, a helmet camera video of the highlights from Casino to Kyogle, click here. Then some photos of the Border Loop lookout.

Saturday 26 April 2014 - ANZAC Day/Weekend Ride, Day 2

Saturday morning saw a late start before heading off from the country cabin. First job was to get a new battery for Peter's bike. His MotoBatt battery, only four months old, had packed it in. A few locals pointed us to David from JSI Motorcycles (11 Gourlas Court, Stanthorpe. Tel: 07 4681 1653). David quickly sourced a SSB battery and tested the MotoBatt. Full marks for Davd and SSB. Given that this is the third MotoBatt that I know has failed in less than a year, I can't be too positive about them.

Here's a few photo's of the cabin. We stayed there due to the superb generousity of the owners:

With all bikes working, full tanks of petrol and a McDonalds breakfast we were off. Crossing the border, we had our passports and visas checked.

We then stopped at Tenterfield. The first order of business was the Mount MacKenzie lookout. It is well worth the drive/ride up. If you are on a bike that must be kept clean, be aware that there is a small amount of graded dirt road. Not an issue for us.

After Mount MacKenzie Lookout, we then trooped in to the Henry Parks School of Arts museum. If you study Australian history at all, this is well worth a look. Here's a hint: if you join the National Trust, it's free admission!

The staff were great and asked us about our travels. When we said that our next stop was Casino, Karen (not my Karen, another one) mentioned that she recently did a pillion ride on a Ducati to Casino. Upon arrival she kissed the ground! Ducati does and Ducati is I guess! Of course, this left us rubbing our hands with glee and anticipation.

Helmet Cam videos to come ...

Friday 25 April 2014 - ANZAC Day/Weekend Ride, Day 1

Lets go back a few years. At this stage, I had been doing longer and longer rides and started to collect a few motorcycles. Unfortunately, my paternal grandmother passed away at age 93. She died peacefully at home and the funeral brought many of her very large family back together.

Some of those who cam together were my cousin Peter and his brother-in-law, Kerri (married to Peter's sister, my cousin Janet) and myself. I was given a chance to share my passion for motorcycle riding, especially longer travels with Peter and Kerri. Since then, both have bought bikes. Peter's current ride is a Suzuki VX800 and Kerri has a Suzuki V-Strom and we have been trying to get together for a decent ride for a few years.

In the last year and a bit, my waife Karen has been teaching at the local Lutheran Primary School and in the room next door has been Mark, the Year 3 teacher. It turns out that Mark was a few years behind me at school and studdied with my younger brother. As with the case within Lutheran circles, Mark is also a distant relative, not uncommon for people from Toowoomba and the Darling Downs. Of course, Mark rides, otherwise he wouldn't be in this story now, would he?

So a plan was hatched and this one actually worked out. We decided that we would celebrate and remember ANZAC Day by enjoying one of the great pursuits that this great land offers us. Mark and I pushed off on Friday morning and rode across Mount Nebo, Mount Glorious, across to Lowood, Gatton and then to Allora. Some helmet camera video of the Mount Nebo and Mount Glorious part can be seen by clicking here. Peter and Kerri kicked off from Pittsworth and we all met at Allora at 11:35. Some lunch and then off we go.

Led by Kerri we rode along the "Sprint Route", a tourist drive that is all about the glory days of motoring along country roads and travels through Leyburn, home of the Leyburn Sprints. It is also home for Shane Webcke's Leyburn Hotel. Shane is famous for his rugby league days playing for the Brisbane Broncos, Queensland and Australia. But he isn't famous just for his skill, it was the way he played the game and conducted himself off the field, with honour, dignity and respect.

We stopped for the obligatory photos but when we got ready to go, well my bike wouldn't start. What to do? Have a drink with the locals of course! They started turning up shortly after opening time; it was like the Pied Piper was in town. Really nice and sincere group of people.

The Leyburn Hotel

Opposite the Leyburn Hotel.

After that, it was time to crack the throttle and off to Inglewood and then Texas. Being ANZAC Day, there wasn't much open, which is just as it should be. However we could see that Texa wold be everything we have heard and read about and will be back.

The Stockman Hotel was previously known and the Royal Hotel and made famous by the Lee Kernaghan song Texas QLD 4385. The publican had to change the name because she wanted to promote a family friendly and motorcycle friendly image that did not fit with the lines:

At the set of daylight at the Royal Hotel
You get a beer get a feed get a fight as well

Unfortunately we did not have the time to stop in, but it is such a great ride that we will be back. The hotel looks great and extends real hospitality to riders. So after a quick refill, we hit the Texas - Stanthorpe road.

Have you read or heard about the Texas - Stanthorpe road? If so, I hope it was all good because I am here to tell you that it is a very, very good road for motorcycle riding. DO NOT take the shortcuts back to Stanthorpe, DO this road. Have I made myself clear enough?

Anyhow, off to a cabin put aside for riders in Severnlea and to one of the pubs in Stanthorpe for tea. We put on a Horizons Unlimited "The Achievable Dream" DVDs before hitting the sack.

Thursday 17 April 2014 - Road Testing some modifications

Today I had a quick ride up to Mount Mee Pit Stop Cafe to test out the DIY tool tubes. My main concern was that the PVC would be strong enough and on the right-hand-side that there were no heat issues from the exhaust. I was also interested how having the tools squared away would affect the handling. Until now they have either been in the rear case or in the saddle bags. In the rear case the tools are up high which raises the centre of gravity. Bening so far back they are behind the rear axle and then create a pendulum effect. So by bringing the tools forward and lower should improve handling. I've also increased the rear spring preload. When the tools were placed in the saddlebags, they would move about a bit and create a bit of unpredictablity. Being further out from the centre line of the bike also causes problem with the centre of mass.


Taking the more demanding route up Campbells Pocket Road from Wamuram to the cafe and then back again after a cup of coffeee I could easily notice the difference. When I checked the speedo, I was doing easily another 10 kilometres per hour than I had before and also with greater predictability. The ultimate improvement for handling and ride would be to use aome form of toolboz mounted to the lower front of the frame but that would put the tools in a place where they get covered in dirt, dust and moisture. Just as importantly an alloy toolbox with frame mounts would cost over $150.00. The DIY tooltubes cost about $45.00 in parts and paint and I learnt something.

Saturday 12 April 2014 - DIY Tool Tubes

Today I built some tool tubes to mount on the Suzuki DR 800. The construction went well but the paint not so much as the humidity meant that the paint hadn't gone off by the time I wanted to  mount them. Not to worry, once they are fully mounted and test, I can take them off and repaint on a drier day and let it cure for longer.

They look OK here and you can see that they will mount nicely on the DR grab handle. AT the bottom photo you can they are just 90 mm PVC downpipe. There are plenty of website on the Internet on how to do this but really, it just takes time and imagination.

Lockyer Valley, Wednesday 9 April 2014

Today's mission was to ride cross country from Gatton to Hampton.


Anyhow, still had a great time. There are a few grass tracks and gravel roads in this area and I know absolutely none of them. Today I thought I would try Wallers Road but when I found it, I judged it too dangerous for the DR800. A smaller, more nimble bike seems to be the go and so I will come back when I get the old Yamaha XT225 Serow re-registered.

Afterwards, up and back on some other back "roads", and then onto tarmac through Esk and then home via Kilcoy. A good fun ride and I hope that you enjoy some videos here. I've tried a few more things to make them more enjoyable:

Wallers Road video:
.Brisbane Valley video, click here: