Sunday, April 29, 2012

Telephone call!

After a bit of sad night watching our Qantas freight tracking show us nothing but no motorcycles to be delivered today we have just received a call from Terminal 6 Changi airport that we have three articles for collection!!!! Woooohooooo!!!! Two motorcycles and one small box with our camp stove!


Off to rapidly consume breakfast then to the AAA for our insurance (circulation permit) then to the airport (or infinity and beyond as I would like to call it).

Saturday, April 28, 2012


Arrived we have. The taxi driver from the airport gave us an enjoyable swerving ride whilst he refused to choose a lane on the highway. Also neglecting all speed limits until everybody slammed the foot on the brake for the speed cameras. Luckily the tourist police told him where to go with their iPhones! 

Clarissa forgot hairbands (again) so she's currently rolling with peg technology!

Carnets stamped to export!

Qantas freight! Ignore the import part...The bikes leave tomorrow. Fingers crossed all goes smoothly!

Time for bed so we can sort our stuff out tomorrow. To infinity and beyond!

Friday, April 27, 2012


Well here we are. Sitting in Macca's at sydney airport waiting for our flight to Singapore...

I can't say its been overly hard to organise this trip or get to this point but there's certainly been a fair bit of effort by many people. Mainly by Clarissa and her extremely hard work on absolutely dominating the paperwork and vaccination/carnet side of things!
Yea, I have spent a few late nights in the shed fixing/modifying/servicing and the like on the bikes but I really love that stuff. Its all been good! Australian customs really are exceptionally good people when it comes down to it.

Very apologetic for the lack of new posts but we've really been swept away on a sea of 'getting readiness' these last few weeks. The bikes are sitting about 1.5km away from us at Qantas freight (which was an absolutely easy and AWESOME experience) and we have just checked our baggage.
The thought of just chilling over a cheeseburger was a reminder on what were leaving on this trip for. To get away and taste the world. A little bit of enlightenment. A small part travellers sickness and a handful of kick-arse motorcycling. Lets be realistic for a moment, two highly modified adventure motorcycles hand crafted by the one and only Paul Rooney... LETS ROCK!!!

Then there was the fantastic number of farewell parties. One for family and one for friends. There was a jumping castle and virtually all punters could make it along to give us a really, really, special send off. Thanks for that y'all. Both Clarissa and I are extremely humbled at the pure awesomeness of our family and friends love that has been showered upon us.

A few tears from Clarissa as she gave her Dad a big super hug just before we disappeared through to customs to be flown away to a foreign land to start the big adventure....

To most certainly be continued!

Friday, April 13, 2012


For the short time we had to shakeout we did most certainly achieve a number of goals.

Clarissa road on dirt for more than 300 meters, and loved it :)

Tent still works (Byron bay still has great sushi too)

Neil came up with the idea of doing headstands everywhere we go (planking is so old)....

We are both extremely happy with how it panned out. Clarissa is still very fresh to dirt. Let alone a severely degraded third world roads or a narrow goat track over a mountain range. Although we didn't get the 500 or so kilometres of dirt that I wanted to do we did get one thing cemented. As she watched our secret test rider fly through the bush on her fully loaded bike, she now knows that she must awaken the Gaston Rahier/Patsy Quick inside her!

Clarissa, in preparation for the big trip, has completed a Stay Upright BMW G/S Off-road course and also with Stay Upright, an Advanced rider course run at Eastern Creek raceway in Australia. We've been very lucky to have excellent instruction from Paul Rooney himself on riding the big beasts and our very good friends Graham and Fiona Grant, Chris Cowper and many others (sorry for not mentioning some of you personally!)

Both Clarissa and myself would first love to thank all those people who have so graciously accommodated/fed us on our number of preparation rides. Including most recently Barry and Joy. Especially so when we were most venerable.

Twas the last night of the shakeout on our last leg home, we ended up riding on after dark. Going a slightly hairy way back home and after a big day of riding already it proved a bit too much for Clarissa.
About 7 o'clock in the evening, 5kms before it was extremely obvious we needed to make camp, I noted a dimly lit sign for accommodation. After we turned the bikes around, we decided to pull in and see what was on offer. Only too happy to camp with no amenities or power, weren't we shocked with what was to unfold... "Gday, any room at the inn?" I yelled from the bike with helmet on too a group on the back patio of what looked to be the owners house.

"nup" replied back a female Kiwi accent

"I see, how about a spot to put up a tent?"

"nup, dont do tents" came back the Kiwi voice. At this point I knew it was going to be interesting getting our heads down here..."Can't even spare four square meters for a tent?" I said as removed my helmet. An older gentleman had come over by this time and asked if we where there to rob them... He then proceeded to go ask the owner if we could set up a tent. A short while later and Barry,the proprietor, emerged from the house and we explained the situation and he asked what a reasonable price was, to which I replied "fifteen gold coins is about the rate for an unpowered site"

"Per head?" he asked

"Well we're from Tasmania so its technically the one body" I replied sarcastically... I think he laughed... He then got the older gentlemen to show us a spot up the back near a caravan to put the tent up. Dallas (your classic Aussie bloke) then made sure we wouldn't set up in front of one of the utes that would leave early next morning. As it was mainly local miners that had caravans on Barry's land.
When I returned to ride the bikes up and set up a camp, Barry yelled out and said 'when you're done come and have a beer!'

Long story (way to long for this post) short, Barry and Joy wouldn't let us sleep until they fed us dinner and organic local white wine, some rum and some more beers. To top it off we talked for hours after Clarissa nearly passed out from exhaustion at the dinner table and we slept in a bloody expensive flash caravan that had a heater!

The next morning we woke to the angry barking dogs from the night before wanting to play fetch. A good sign we were no longer robbers when the guard dogs wanted to play with us! So we did for sometime, very fun too, as the pack leader was the only one allowed to actually touch the ball. With the other two dogs charging for the ball only to pretend to pick it up (to avoid the leaders wraith I guess).

After a little while Barry (pictured on right with us two) emerged from sleep to only then cook us a massive breaky of bacon/eggs/tomato and juice and coffee. This was after we insisted toast would be amazing!

As we discussed the night before among other things, I took a look at his bobcat tractor that had some dramas. Unfortunately after some diagnostics Barry was up for a new alternator as it had packed in. Tightened a few hoses to hopefully stop a leak or two and then told him I would send him some documentation on his particular model for future reference.

Even thought we're not specifically doing any charity work on our round the world trip, if my mechanical skills can help someone in need that would be the least I would be doing for them. We met a number of golden people that night and the next morning. Best of luck too Graham on his coming adventure to Nepal for some mountaineering.

Only 16 more days before we leave for Singapore. The shakeout let us know that gear wise, basically we forgot to bring clothes pegs. Also, we are well sick of the roll bags for our luggage. They've already suffered a couple of holes and the less straps the better. We have got Lachlan from MTD tours to make us up some top boxes for both bikes for ease and some more security. Clarissa mainly wanted one because she had no real-estate for stickers... I've got so many other ideas to potentially make our lives easier but we're pretty much good to go now.

16 more days. Shit. Seemed like only a moment ago we picked the bikes up. Definitely feels like only yesterday I said to myself, stuff this I'm riding around the world. All steam ahead though... Apart from the fact that I currently don't have a rear shock for my bike. May need one of them :)



ps - some photos for you!

The view of the river from the magical accommodation we stayed at in Nymboida. Cheap and scrumptious food, amazingly reasonable rooms including a spa and I finally got to do my first bit of yoga in almost a week!

Happy Neil after finding a pearler of a spot.

 A short clip of Clarissa on her bike flying through the Lions Road. Notice the wonderful birds in the background (bell birds?) and the equally audiophile pleasing note of the Rooney special exhaust.

A short stop on the Putty road back home. The giant stainless steel sculpture was a surprise to see after I remembered it living in a different location! We initially stopped for a drink but clearly my eyes are going as we got close the service station was pretty well gutted from fire a long time ago...

Sunday, April 8, 2012

More Photos

Clarissa and Neil minutes before suiting up to leave for the shakeout ride. T-minus 18 days until leaving for Singapore! Both bikes fully loaded!

At Paul Rooney's house for some suspension tuning from the guru himself!

Crouching tiger hidden Rooney Special - waiting patiently while the blue bike has its suspension dialled in. The bikes have a full KTM WP 50mm fork front end (a great set of forks to tackle crappy roads) and a lengthened rear swing arm to give better ground clearance with the bigger forks and a good suspension geometry.

Paul dialling the forks compression and rebound dampening after we road a rough track through the bush. 

A gorgeous morning in Wiangaree, NSW, shortly before heading for a magical ride along the Lions Road . We stopped here as my intercom was giving me some real shocking feedback with engine revs!

Ramblings after roast

Well we have been really lucky to catch up/housed/be loved with so many friends here on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland. Also very lucky to be fed a wonderful roast dinner tonight from my second family! Who looked after me in Darwin whilst I had my shoulder reconstructed some years ago.

On other things, maybe you're wondering where the title came from? Maybe not... I shall tell you either way :) For a while my phone and myself have struggled to see eye to eye on occasions and there was one defining moment that help give birth to the blogs name.

Must have been about three o'clock in the morning whilst I woke the sound of a email coming through (maybe some required bike parts from the US being sent?) and quickly I reached to check the email. The email ended up being spam or the like unfortunately. Alas when the phone was placed back on the bedside table, the phones automatic voice command system somehow went into action where it asked me "What would you like to do?" To which I replied

"go to sleep"

which it replied

"Sorry, try again"

so this time I yelled a little louder


same again it replied

"Sorry, try again"

so with a huff and a puff I gave my best three o'clock angry yell at the less-than-obedient technology


then it came back at me with

"Searching, for Bruce Lee"

Clarissa had woken up and was laughing at the situation. So it was decided the next morning that the blog had now got a title. Which was also a bit funny because every time we mention a country and what we want to do it we ask the same question of each other!

The blogs a bit void of pictures so far so here's a few!

The toolkit! What's missing is a little gas soldering iron for wiring repairs though.

Here's a shot of all of our gear. No clothes though (but we have got our personal clothes down to the size of a football each now). Note the massive white cotton bags up the back are the cold weather sleeping bags, they get a bit smaller. Still take up a whole pannier on their own though!

Clarissas bike receiving its new Alpha ignition from Rick at Motorrad Elektrik. The bikes ignition is a duel spark plug per cylinder set up with duel ignition modules and coils to provide an elephant load of redundancy if something fails. The duel spark plugs help the bikes run on really crappy fuel and help them start a lot easier in colder weather. The new ignition made the power silky smooth and really helped take away some annoying pitfalls from the stock system.

Notice the awesome 'BMW sign' present Clarissa got me for me from a dealer in the US. It lights up at night too! A great offering to the bavarian gods of speed for those late night modifications and repairs.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Shake shake shake shake shake out.

So we have been riding up the coast for the shakeout for the last few days. Full gear, cold weather including (which is the most of the bulk). Bikes are handling it great. So are we by the looks of it too!

Weather has been generous and the traffic also. Its now confirmed that I'm a warmer climate animal as when I start to shiver, Clarissa is trying to open more vents! Alas, can't complain too much. Certainly considering last time we rode this way when we first picked up the bikes. That adventure included bouts of snow and nights of uncomfortably chilly sleeping. My bad. I assured Clarissa that it would be fine and dandy in June (winter) and we certainly wouldn't be needing any warm clothes...

A couple of days ago we spent the afternoon at Paul Rooney's place setting up Clarissa's new Ohlins shock and generally both bikes suspension. This just luckily included our secret test pilot who has had some solid experience in the Australia safari and the Condo rallys!
Clarissa's bike is now dialled in like butter over the rough stuff and she should take a long time to ever reach its limits. A great boost for her riding ego to watch our master BMW guru setting the suspension while a seasoned BMW enduro rider piloted it! 

The bikes are now sufficiently dirty for the rest of the trip to look the business. They are also purring along beautifully and consuming fuel at a nominal rate now with some little changes to jetting since the last big ride. Added some home made pre-filters to the air boxes to help keep the bigger bits of junk out of the air filter. The pannier tables are completed too!

Currently staying with friends for Easter and enjoying a long awaited catch up. Kids have grown a foot taller but the awesomeness still remains of such good company. Everybody here though at one point has lived in Darwin (and we all still miss the joint and its warmth!).
Finally though my first easter egg hunt was assured. For as long as I can remember my expertise at hiding things (mainly from myself) would come in handy. Forty three eggs hidden. Forty two found. Whoops. My fault, but unfortunately, when one wakes at 4am to hide eggs you generally don't remember where you put them all....

Fish and chips for lunch on the ocean today, its going to be horrid! Especially going for a swim in the magical water of the sunshine coast!

Clarissa is enjoying a day off the bike (and making sure that I know that she is!) and hopefully we can pop in tomorrow on our way back south to home and visit our great friend Lachlan from MTD tours. Who has crafted the awesome aluminium panniers for the blue bike and showed us endless hospitality last time we were up this way!