Russ Rathbone Allias - RUSTY
This is a placeholder for planning notes and feedback on the 6-week tour of Australia.
Now we knew you before but I know you've come back changed. Yes, now they call me "Crocaride Rusty".
Thanks to Charles for agreeing to give me this oportunity on our club web site. I hope you enjoy it as much as I hope to?
VICTORY!!!!!!!!! Northern most tip of Australia with the whole crew.
Two weeks ago a very special and dear EX SA friend, Stuart Dicks invited my brother, Alon and I (Rusty)to join him and two others, Dave and Bob on an EPIC six week off road trip traveling anti clock wise around Australia.
This is Stu, trying his best to blow the Didjerrydoo
Impulsive as normal Russell, no lets blame Rusty who agrees immediatly without thinking.
OK! So now we are committed the flights are booked from Jhb to Perth for R6000 pp return.
Stu now lives in Mandurah 105km south of Perth Australia. Stu and friends plan to pick us up from the airport.
What I would like to do NOW is share the planning and obstacles that we faced. I'm also going to carbon copy notes and sms,s of interest into this as a rough format.
During and after the tour I will add and edit IT.
So here's to my first stab at this.
E MAIL TO AL, Dated 29 April 2009,
Alon, we are going to need international drivers licenses purchased from the AA before we leave.
We will need to get our Visas within two months of leaving on the 18 August 2009.
Hey Boet you and I have NEVER done 700km through a desert without "f" fuel stations and water!!!! This is not "f" funny, boet I hope Stu and co knows what they doing?
Now that I'm back I need to clarify this ride because as we kept on saying the whole trip. "This is nothing like the brouchure"
1. Meet and greet in Perth.
Meeting at the Perth Air Port in my boots and BMW rally jacket.
The evening before we flew to Briz. Saying good bye to the local guys loved ones.
Meeting someone for the first time knowing you would have to spend six weeks with them and trust them was for me over whelming
"20 August 11:36
Australia. Perth is magnificent. It's almost too good to be true.
Property expensive but interest rates are half of SA.
Exchange rate is around R6.50 to one Auz dollar.
I could move here tomorrow as everything has a system and everything works for the good of the community.
Leaving for Brizbane from Perth tonight at 11 pm.
This is a five hour flight which is half the flight time from SA to Perth. Gee this country huge.
20 August 15:55
Flying now to Brisbane. Be off for six hours.
Here we are opening the shipping container to the seven bikes that were shipped FOC (thanks to Dave Dungbeetle) WOW! Christmas
B E A U T I F U L......................... This is an adopted Ausie saying.
B E A U T I F U L......................... This is an adopted Ausie saying.
22 August 21:10
Had great day today with the guys. Last minute preparation sorting out the bikes for our huge trip.
2. Fly to Briz to meet Tony our seventh rider who plans to only ride the first leg with us. We unpack or bikes from the shipping container, semi pack at the containers, then off we ride to meet Tonys at his house. We use his garage to get the bikes packed and ready for the journey.
Thanks to all the guys for equipping the bikes for our long journey.
22 Aug 21:30
Hi my family and friends.
Australia is much more than I ever imagined. I'm hugely impressed.
Wish you were here.
So far not the best place to ride bikes as mostly quite flat all tar.
However six week trip of 10 000km starts tomorrow. Please pray for us. Me especially as I've just come down with bad flue. Heavily medicated.
Seven bikes are looking great and all preped with e perb. Satnav. Gps music two way comms food tents etc etc. Blooming amazing. (Giz. Please save my sms s to a doc for web editing on my return with pics.)
The bikes..., well for Suzuki's, looked the part, especially when they (except BOB) agreed to stick my BMW stickers on!!!. Yes?? What you say?? Beautiful!!!!!!!
Some blue some white and some yellow but all the same with super long range 550km petrol tanks.
I've not met many true Aus folk but many ex SA and Zim folk. All fantastic people.
In two more days we all dive the Great Barrier reef with tanks.
Happy birthday Andre and Leon.
As you can see if you look closely, all the bikes except Bobs had their BMW stickers on as well as their helmuts.: We told the Ausies that we were on a secret mission which involved BMW and Suzuki. They were all most impressed to hear the Germans were speaking to the Japs.
. I believe it had some thing to do with a "guy called Laglin Harris" chaffs!!!
Thats Tonys home which looked like a mini bike shop. Thanks Tony.
3. Ride bikes to Cairns, fit knoblies was a long semi boaring 2000k ride on tarr.
23 Aug 8:38
Driven 600km today stuffed 100km just outside of Rockenham in Queensland district.
Hope you have a fantastic day.
Al and I fine Auz quiete flat and dry but quite rural and nice.
Am suffering with flu too much beer and bad language. I'm sure I'll get over it. Anyway we did a huge ride today of about 600km full 9 hour ride with normal breaks. Love and miss you stax.
Just like the US everything is bigger and better than any other country. Here is Norms in front of the BIG EGG??
Looong Ride to Cairns with big hauls, you know I come from the Cape where everything I want is within 400ks
24 Aug 10:37
I’m stuffed. Just done 650km. Seven days and I’m just starting to settle down and unwind. Today’s country was hard and very dry. Kind of nice.
Rules for everything but not only rules. Best described as strict rules. Was doing 108 km in a 100km zone. Pulled over and cautioned.
Feeling much better after swallowing plenty medicine. Unfortunately lost my voice, but hey, that’s cool
One night tonight and then off to Cairns.
Chat later. I’m off to get out of my gear and join the guys for dinner.
25 Aug 10:59
Hope to show you Oz one day. It’s ugly compared to SA. However the Oz people have got something right. That is that the taxes vat and levies they pay all go to a very good social service and community upliftment.
25 Aug 16:39
Please make my apologies at the next GBM of our club.
Well the first week down of six. Eish guys and girls, my butt is six times sorer than ever before, as Aus is six times the size of SA. Flew to Perth, then from Perth to Brizbane where we unloaded our crated bikes. Then rode from Perth to Cairns in 3 days 1900 kms.
Three days in Cairns where we will have knobblies fitted for the next 7000 km all dirt stage. Thereafter some diving of the great barrier reef. Can’t wait. Happening tomorrow.
Then from cairns to York doing the Sand highway for two weeks. Then much later the gun barrel highway.
Tell the members that we still live in the most beautiful part of God’s creation. Tell them we should never take the beauty and freedom of S Africa for granted. Tell them it’s worth fighting for.
Best biking greetings to all.
PS the BMW stickers on the bikes and helmets are creating (sms incomplete)
It was a loooooooooooooooong road from Briz to Cairns
27 Aug 9:28
Just embarked from the beaut boat after two magnificent dives off the Great Barrier Reef.
Our teams guys now settling down nicely becoming great to be with. I think it’s because I’m feeling better.
Cairns is beautiful but expensive. Leaving tomorrow on the next leg of our epic journey to Cape York.
Russ and the boys.
That’s all for now."
When I receive more I'll post them as well.
This is the little nervy dive team of Rakad. Lets DIVE....Relaxing in the warm son after a really lekker dive. I think its Stu and DaveExhilerated after an awsome day at sea, except my boat would'nt stop rocking, Stupid thing.
Deep beautiful clear warm water dive, B E A U T I F U L.
Great shouls of fish
Oh well all good things come to and end.
Nerves pumping before our first dive. It was easy but bro Al had problems with his wing nuts. Ear problems.
Because Cairns is a Tourist Destination we did the tourist thing.
The Kuranda Senic Railway train goes through the most pristeen rain forest
The train up and the Sky lift down
Sky lift was???? Yes you guest it B E A U T I F U L.
Die manne al weer!!!
4. Ride the Telegraph track to Cape York, this being the most northernly tip of Australia and the most difficult due to the three guys bailing on us. This for me was the most fun technical riding with river crossings and plenty thick sand. West Coast style.
Once we crossed the Jardine River the fun began
The first river crossing for Norms was disasterous, as he decided to see if their actually are crocs under the water?I think this is Rusty crossing yet another deep river.
Dungbeetle Dave or Alon doing a fine river crossingHeres a great shot of Stu comming out of a forest area. Cape York area was mainly Tropical Forest. High humidityDave did a trip last year with Stu and broke 5 ribs in thick sand and did not quite.The famous Lions Hotel in the sticks. No lions in Aus so all I can assume is the owner had been to Afica?
All over this part is full of huge ant hills as depicted with Alon standing in front of one.Rusty chose the wrong line ending up everyone having to recover me. Thanks guys.Another picture near Bramwell JunctionDave doing a hectic down hill section.Then came hectic sand, here Stu made it look pretty easyNorms also tackles the heavy sandTony made it look easy. Well done MooiseyBob blazing his way through this sectionAlon doing his best to keep the beast up right in the thick sandThis was our reward for riding so well in the sandAlon is elated as he made yet another day.
Another serious river crossingStu and Bob cooling down after some thick, thick sand.
VICTORY!!!!!!!!! Northern most tip of Australia with the whole crew.
5. Ride back to Cairns, with a days rest and then off to Alice Springs to fit new tyres as we have to tackle the Gibson desert, the Gun barrel and Sandover Highway.(Sand and Dirt) Travelling to Alice Springs we would have to cross the Sand Over Highway.
For your information about this trip is that some of the guys said they would not ride back. In stead they wanted to ship their bikes down to Cairns and then fly back. As it so happened R4500 later per bike and person we ALL followed. Slowly half the group disclosed that they would NOT carry on but go home instead.
We all flew back from the top of Cape York to Cairns
THIS IS THE SECOND CHAPTER.
Because Bob, Norm and Dave decided they were not upto continueing with us they left African boys in the hands of our old friend Stuboy.
Oooooo gats it's Stuboy!!!!!! Not Ooooo gats its Shuster!!!!!!!!Ha! Ha!
So off the three of us went on our way to finish the next two thirds. And this is were our trip became super interesting.
Only three left, what a pity I'm crying inside. Resources were spread now lugged by three.
Heros of Mount Isa displayed on a BIG bill board at both entrances to the gold minning city.
We leave mount Isa and come to the Great Central Highway. Yes?? You right!!! Beautiful
Or so we thought as this was the biginning of the sand over highway. Lost with no petrol: Due to an Original "Sorry" holiday. I ask you.
13 Sept 5:39
Just hit Alice plagued by problems. Al’s motor blown. Looks like burnt valve. I’ve had two rear wheel blow outs. Just brought my bike into Alice by recovery vehicle. Alons bike by a rep in a van. Russ
Dan the kind Oz Samaritan man agreed to alow Alon to load his bike in the back of the little door. But he could not help!!
"13 September 2009
Well the one GOOD thing is South Africa won the Tri nations by beating NZ. Aus nose out. Well done SAfrica. Be careful they SA south Aust will take the credit.
Well after a good night’s rest in the bush without a shower we hit the road quite early with Alice Springs our aim.. Around 860km.
200 clicks in I pick up a back wheel puncture. Tyres with tubes and I don’t like each other especially in the heat. Anyway got that fixed and off we went with me in the lead Al and Stu following another 200km we still seem to be alongside Berkley Station. Massive cattle farm. Mainly Brahman.
I wait at the T junction like we’ve been taught. And wait. Nothing. An Aus man in a service LDV tells me my mates bike is caput. I collect more water and ice and I’m off back another 100ks only to find a Merc van flashing his lights around sixty ks in. It’s Al with a burnt valve. We hope. Dan the man in shining armour has Al’s bike precariously hanging half way out the small back door.
Dan has agreed to take Alons bike 550ks to Alice Springs tomorrow as we are told there are agents there that can fix the engine on Monday.
14 Sept 6:01
In Alice yesterday but being Sunday all closed. Bikes there today. Al’s bike to cost R15000. Mine R2000.
Being a South African boy never filling this is the damage caused by puting diesel into your tank instead of petrol.
While our bikes were in for a oil, filter and tyre change Alon and I rented bicycles and rode into Alice Springs,: I tried to ramp the little pavement and fell off like a stone idiot. Ha Ha
14 Sept 6:11am
We are in Alice Springs waiting for bikes to be fixed as we are about to go into the most difficult Gunbarrel section. Be back in Perth on the 25th and fly home on the 29th arriving 30th. Two rear flats plus clutch replacement. R2000 Alon’s bike burnt valve or broken ring? To find out damage today. Replace piston rings valves and barrel. Only three of us left from seven. Been tough. Auz and people been awesome. Will plan trip with family in RV. Russ
For your info. The rand $AZ exchange rate is 665 rand cents to buy ONE Auz $
Now you have this, allow me to give you some prices in A$. It seems I'm bored waiting for our bikes.
Unregulated petrol ranges from $1.20 to R1.90. SA wins hands down.
Bread costs R2 to $5. SA Wins.
One litre coke $4.80. SA Wins
Property in Auz I’d say double. SA wins.
Property lending rate is half of SA. Auz wins.
Cars about one third cheaper here in Auz. Auz wins.
Auz also wins to finance these assets.
Now the BIG thing.
Auz is a socialistic capitalistic country. Let me try and explain.
Min wage $25 per hour. Can work up to 60 hours a week normal time.
If your job in the country is waving a flag at the beginning of a road construction or a doctor, the both would socialize together. Both would drive nice cars and live in….. (SMS incomplete)
7. After Alice Springs we would head west and south crossing over the Gun Barrel highway
15 Sept 4:18
Als and my bike been fixed so today is an off day.
15 Sept 15:29
I’m going I think into the desert tomorrow for the last leg of my ride and I’m uncertain of the cell coverage there. Around three to four days without cell reception. But I will confirm this.
17 Sept 06:08
The tar ride from Alice Springs to Uluru on our now fixed bikes and new tyres was nothing but uneventful.
We traveled 480km's west from Alice Springs and hit not one but two un-describable desert storms. WOW!!!!! This was on the same road as the movie the cannon ball run.
This was the ultimate of dual sport Adventure riding. Words cannot describe the intensity and ferocity of this storm.
We saw it coming in the form of a huge red/orange hue wind pumping from the right. As soon as we drove into the sand storm the huge particles of dust, dirt and twigs hit us, almost blinding us as it swirled in behind our visors and into our helmets. The storm was determined to stop us but we where more determined to pass through it and as we entered the eye of the storm we were surprised by the huge rain drops pushed by pumping winds into us.
After passing through which seemed like an eternity. We stopped hyped."
The Desert storm came from no where
It got bigger and bigger the wind got stronger and stronger from the right. Dust, pieces of trees, stones hit us. Then after what seemed like forever it cleared.: I only have a video footae of this and cannot fit it on Charles site. SorryIncredibly we hit another one but this time from the LEFT. Yes! Its true we had a smoke and in the center of a Hurricane
The three of us in front of Ularu, the holy and meeting place of the Aboriginal people.
Ularu the Mountain on the flat lands of Australias outback
UlaruOnce Stu touched that pet Lyle all our problems started or was it that darn sacred mountain?
Crossing over onto the state of Western Australia
P U N C T U R E S with flippen tubes. Yes 13 in one day!!!!!!! Neeeee jong
More punctures, what I eventually did was make tea first then fix the f... er. Not funny and the longest 60km ever riden
Another one, that night we slept in bush the Ausies call the "wup wup" in my tent they call " a humpy"
The beginning of our best camp site yet.
I told you it was the best night. Because it was one of the few fires we ever had as they only use free gas barbies "everywhere"
The next day we rode two bikes into camp, removed one tyre and returned to the bike with puncture.: Desperate measures for desperate times
Another nice Ausie took pity on us and allowed us to fix our flat tubes now three on his A/con lounge floor
By now my spirit was almost at its end. If it were not for Alon I would have given up. Thanks Al.
Attached is a research article of part of our ride.
The Gunbarrel Highway runs from the Warakurna Roadhouse to Wiluna, both in Western Australia. It covers a distance of a little over 1000 kilometers and the longest distance without fuel is from Jackie Junction and the Warakurna Roadhouse, a distance of over 700 km, assuming you are including the 'Abandoned' section on your trip, as described a little further on.
You will need permits and, for some parts of the trip permits are only issued for two or more vehicles with adequate communications equipment.
You will travel through very, very remote desert country and well prepared vehicles and equipment are an absolute must.
The Gunbarrel Highway is one of the more famous achievements of Len Beadell, who constructed many roads in the area in the twenty or so years after World War II, as he was given the task of surveying sites for Britain's planned atomic bomb sites.
The Gunbarrel Highway has important historical significance, as it was the first road across Central Australia to the west and was completed in 1958.
Part of the highway is now known as the 'Abandoned Section' and this is where The Gunbarrel Highway starts or ends, at Warakurna Roadhouse on the eastern end, fairly close to the Giles Meteorological Station. This abandoned section we did not do as we had 13 punctures in one day. This was also the place that Alon hurt himself.
Agrivated by fatigue, 100km side winds and high speed in excess of 100ks caused Alon to fall and broke his collar bone and three
Here Alon is being flown by the Flying Doctor from the last bit of the Gibson Desert. Sorry Al!!!!!!!
Beautiful............... Bruise Alon, nice!!!!!!!Al and Stu were picked up at the Airport by Tammy who was on fact finding mission for Alon
Ok some news from Giz: "Hi
Submitted by Daniel Nelson on 21 September 2009 - 7:37am.
Ok some news from Giz:
Russ's brother Alon hit a soft spot and went over the handlebars 300km from the end of the difficult section. Broke his left collarbone and three ribs. Rode a police van to missionary station where they treated him in the police clinic.
Russ rode his bike, then had to go back 300km to where Stuart was waiting with the other bikes. Alon getting airlifted today to the next town so they can take x-rays. Then they will fly him to Perth, his bike will be going by truck.
Russ and Stuart to now ride the last 1540km to Perth. Easier road from here on. Wikipedia has an excellent short write-up on what the gunbarrel highway is (the bit they just done.)
Still no contact, Alon phoned his wife which is how we know. Will keep you posted .
I wish Alon, Russ and Stuart all the best. Speedy recovery and a pain free journey home.
reply Quote report as spam Hey Russ, always great
Submitted by PeterO on 17 September 2009 - 9:00pm.
Hey Russ, always great reading your updates - we can all feel what you're going through and wish you the best, every step of the way!
If you can dream it you can do it!
reply Quote report as spam
More tweets from Russel. I
Submitted by Daniel Nelson on 17 September 2009 - 2:52pm.
More tweets from Russel. I got most of these from Giz, but the last one was sms'ed to me this morning. I cannot begin to comprehend what they must have gone through. Hope you guys enjoy this just as much as I did.
We are about 2500ks away from Perth our final destination with the worst still to come. Yes, the dreaded gun barrel highway. We will see if we can all get through it safe and sound. Please continue praying.
The dynamic seems to have disappeared without Al. I have loved every second of his company and hope he is okay and of course finish this ride together.
Stu has gone in search of a pub and I’m enjoying my own company for a change.
Tomorrow is a small 200k ride into Alice Springs where we will have to fit our third and last set of tyres.
Thinking of all my family and friends. Miss you stax.
This delay caused us to ride into dusk travelling west directly into the sun.
Tired we decided to stop and drive our bikes into the bush and set up camp. We braaied roo ribs, steak and baked beans. This was washed down with a nice local Australian Rose.
We all settled down to a good nights rest and plan to travel 900km to Alice Springs. Oh well. Let’s swing my leg over the saddle and ride. We ask ouselves again "where the f is Alice" Well know I know, in the middle, slap bang in the centre of the outback of Aus.
13 Sept 5:17am
This is only my opinion of Australia.
Australia has no soul. People are bland and highly controlled. Bureacracy is prevalent everywhere one looks. True Aus people resent the “new Australians” like us. Thai, Korean, Chinese, South Africans and many other nationalities. The “new immigrants” are considered second rate citizens. Like we whites would consider our coloured brothers and sisters in South Africa. Shame on us. A new immigrant would be considered an Aus fella of even as much as 20 years citizenship.
The rules for new immigrants are that whatever rules you applied to do business in S Africa should be forgotten quickly. Huge drama stories of many guys failing because of government burocracy.
This is just planning reading we did on what we thought werethe worst sections???
The abandoned section runs almost to Warburton, approximately 350 kilometers south west, where it meets the junction from the Heather Highway. The alternative is that you start or end your trip at Warburton. The more popular route nowadays from Warakurna Roadhouse to Warburton is now along the Great Central Road.
This section now carries a 'travel at your own risk' warning and before setting out you must write to the Ngaanyatjarra Land Council stating that you are doing so at your own risk and will hold no one else liable.
To travel this section your letter must also state that you are traveling in convoy with at least one other vehicle and that you will be carrying the requisite communications equipment of a HF Radio or satellite phone and so on.
From the Warakurna Roadhouse using the Great Central Road via Warburton will see you joining the Heather Highway, which is not in good condition and very rough and slow going in places, a little short of 40km south west of Warburton and traveling on it for around 120km before meeting, and continuing, the journey westwards on the Gunbarrel.
Camp for the night, this is probably where you should head for.
From here it is another 5 or so kilometers to Mt Beadell and a monument to Len and his team, and a couple of kilometers to the entrance of the Gibson Desert Nature Reserve.
As you pass through the Brown Range, in the Gibson Desert Nature Reserve, and with Mt Gordon to the north of you and Mt Everard to the south the track swings from its current north westerly direction almost due west for the last few kilometers to Everard Junction, which is the junction with the Gary Highway, which runs north to the Canning Stock Route.
The Dirt Highway's condition has gradually improved over the journey westward and from this junction on, gets better still, as it approaches the Berkley Homestead, and the official end of The Gunbarrel. This is one of the better camping areas of the whole trip, with shower facilities, a supply of fuel, provisions and emergency repairs.
The track is normally in reasonable condition and is often used as a short cut for those wanting to join up with The Canning rather that continue on to Wiluna.
Once again heading westward on the home run onto bitumen and Wiluna.
End of E Mail to Alon,
Fawk Boet!!!!!!!!!!!!! I thought us Africans were wild, looks to me bud that we in for one huge flippen ride, I’ll re-assess the ozzies later.
8. Chapter EIGHT.
I'm now officially on my own travelling 22km north of Kalgoolie to Perth. Travelling west made for cooler greener riding.
My name sake Russell was another angel sent to help me on my way. Thanks Russ: Russ helped me order a new Perrili tyre and h duty tube from Kalgoolie
one hundred and sixty ks next to this pipe line 20m from the main tar road, thought of Geoff and a tour company in Aus. None
More beautiful country side. through canola plants. I think?: This pipe went on forever
More water pipe and more good farming
Beauty abounds everywhere, like S Africa it is Spring
Then when I ran out of pipe trail I found a power line trail and followed it for about 50km. It was graet
The power cable track was more technical riding than the pipe line
Now this is a dual sports adventure track I would come back to do, almost as good as the telegraph track of Cape York
9. Chapter NINE.
Reunited with family and friends and a reunion thanks to the great hospitality of Stu's family.
Now we knew you before but I know you've come back changed. They call me "Crocaride Rusty".
Happy, sad, broken, well,mad, reunited, not united, regretful, elated and many more emotions were at our reunion.
Sorry guys, we were so close I could smell it. Hope you both get better soon. Keep the rubber side down.
Nice evening and thankd to everyone for their in put. It was great. Thanks
Thanks to our Perth hosts Steve and Marges. You were great. Im ashamed I cant do my own laundry. But now I can!!
Then we went to Margret river where a wine farm was copied from a Cape Dutch estate in CT.: Interestingly enough the comunity of more than 20 years and kids born in Aus speak Afrikaans
Except this Cape Dutch wine esate has the biggest Aus flag flying high over it,
The day after Stu and June joined Alon, Tammy (Alons daughter) and I for a fantastic day around Perth
After taking us to the Royal Perth Mint we took a fantastiic river cruise up the Swan river to Rockenham
Alon, Tammy and I were extreeeeemly impressed with Perth. Yes........ Beautiful.
This cruise took us Rockenham and we went to famous street called Capaccino Alley were all the resturants and coffee shops were.: And breweries
Tammy, Alons daughter was a natural tour guide. Perhaps we are too old Alon??