Down Under on a KLR 650 ...second season | Page 18 |

Down Under on a KLR 650 ...second season


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Re: Down Under on a KLR 650

Have not posted much as have not been riding much at all in Australia - the dry season has turned out rainy and we have other things on the go prepping to move here by 2020 riding gets short shrift. in high gear .... overload...when the guide starts grabbing his camera you know it's a good day...

just a few

Like a trip back in time.
Yellow Water is part of the enormous Kakadu National park ....a World Heritage site and the only park that contains an entire river system from source to ocean and even protected out several KM into the ocean.

Millions of birds, dozens and dozens of bird species along with croc and an immense fish stock. In the dry season the birds and animals congregate to this very wet area and of course it's photo heaven....and once in a while it really "goes off" as the guides term it ....gets very active.
We caught one of those days....morning actually ....I was getting exhausted ...that big lens is heavy ....and in sensory overload.
Guide said in his 20 years he had never seen all three king fisher species on the same day and rarely so many crocs...even he was buzzed.

By comparison I went out again at 4.30 the same day and nothing like the early morning Jurassic park for birds activity, Mine you a Jabiru stork let us get very up close and personal which made that trip worth while

The long lens paid out ....the P900 would have got this shot at 1/2 KM but the detail on the 100-400 is better.

Three healthy Jabiru chicks in a nest that was just a blur in the distance by eye.

Multiple species in the same shot too

Too much fun.

and so so many crocs

Lots more in the gallery ... - 2 hours on Yellow Water and this is only a few of the photos
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I gotta tell you ...I am forever spoiled now ...the idea of chasing a LBJ around the local park in hopes of a fleeting shot seems dire. Even our first time at Yellow Water did not compare.... hell 4 species in one shot ...two of them not so common and all close up ( from the lens standpoint ) and calmly going about their business....ALL of the Kingfishers in the park in one 2 hour jaunt ...yada yada.....this chasing of primordial wetlands could get expensive... :whine:

I had written off the hundreds of cockatoos swirling around until I was told they were galah not the usual sulphur crested I see in Cairns.

Fortunately a stop a fuel station provided a pretty pair intent on some sap in the gum hollow.

I did get a couple of brolga shots...the other big bird in the area but only at a distance. Lens still did okay.

No way this feeding pair were lifting their heads together....the wetland has billions of water chestnuts and the birds are pigging out on those and the other critters and tubers that are thriving in the wet.

I missed a red in tooth and claw moment near the dock ( we were parked a ways out sunset gazing) when the second biggest croc in the system decided a duck tartar was on the supper menu. ;)

I did however catch a gar of some sort as we were waiting to cast off...came out better than I thought.

My only solace is the fresh water lakes and botanical gardens down the road ...good practice area. :mrgreen:

Even tho we were 20 meters away this croc took offence .....

I was quite happy to be on the other end of a long lens. A croc on land is astonishing quick and he or she wanted peace and quiet. :shock:


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These lily pads are cool...they are hydrophobic and locals use them as umbrellas and they can carry about 1/2 a litre of water or can see the water beading on them.

They were losing ground to an invasive introduced weed and thousands of feral wter buffalo but hard work over the last decade has seen the water buff culled out and the invasive weed start to come under control....the vital water lilies are coming back big time ...hugely nutrious plants and superb eye candy


Millions of years of evolution in this top predator....scientists still do not know the mechanism of how they control their buoyancy.

I know its foreshortened by the angle and the lens but this guy ate something hefty and he was hanging around a spot feral pigs come to.

you can see the trampled area where feral pigs and water buffalo come to drink...I'd say he's in for a long digestion process...impressive tail...

Snakeneck Darter ....feathers are not waterproof on this water bird that spends time chasing fish underwater....he needs to dry out after each feeding session. You can see the neck almost looks like fur.



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Salt water croc in ambush mode
With the long lens it feels like you are in water at his eye level....Yellow Water was full of surprises.

There is an incredible story of a woman in canoe there that ended up in the water and in the mouth of one about this size ....three times !!!
And survived.
Guide was relating it and my partner nudged me and said....."I was on the surgery team that fixed her up in Cairns"....small world.
Here is her story ...
I immediately thought of it looking at this photo



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Snakeneck Darter, looks a lot like an Anhinga, Florida bird, among other places I'm sure. Nicknamed "snake bird" because when in the water the body is completely submerged and all you see is the snake-like neck. Managed a grainy shot of one with a fish impaled on it's beak.

Great shots keep-em coming!!


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Thanks ....lots more here

after discussion seems I'm taking the KLR down and getting a tow back for $420.
Save a chunk of change ....I brought my Grip puppies and GoCruise and getting my pegs lowered to accommodate my boots.

Decent ride yesteday - 210 km - wet, dry, rinse start over....armored shirt worked well for heat and then drying out.
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Drowned.....4" of rain in the last 8 hours !!! Even the dog won't go out to pee. Glad I got that ride in.

Very different today tho it was a damp start.

Had the grip buddies on and the GoCruise....much more relaxed 180 k .....think I will put the touring screen on and ordered a set of Mitas 50/50

apparently better in the wet than the K60s ....since I don't use the bike that much ... a bit less mileage is okay

Touring screen looks goofy

but should do the job.
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Got a good ride up to Daintree Village today. Hot and muggy but no rain and

Finally a really good burger in Oz.... :mrgreen:

very juicy , good bun and no BEETROOT!!!

on the outer edge of civilization next to the Daintree River..

my hot weather dress.... Thor armored shirt, Airglide 3 pants and the FX-55 Helmet that has hung in nicely going on 3 years now.

Used just the Sargent seat today instead of the Beadrider ....not sure which is better.
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Nice - got the lowering kit for the pegs to accommodate the boots....much better ....glad we did it at sparrows

ugh....over my pay scale for riding .....glorious blue sky ....instant sun burn...

I just found out filtering is legal in Queensland .....would have saved a bit of sweltering this morning.

Got new lowering pegs fitted just at sparrows so I can shift the KLR properly now with my Gaerne boots on and ordered some Mitas tires for it all before 9.30 am.

Made the mistake of riding up the range road for early lunch at Kuranda ....was I glad to get home and inside and the a/c on.
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Out burger chasing after a few days too hot to ride and too wet finally the weather broke

31 and partly cloudy and nice wind off the ocean so pleasant ride up to Mossman chasing a good burger. :D

Put a peg lowering kit on the KLR and big boots fit properly and knee bend slightly less plus easier to stand. Good all around - going to do it on the Vstrom when I get home.


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Got a good 320 KM ride today ....James Cook Hwy then up to Mount Carbine in the Wolfram mining area. Crazy weather mix.

Muggy in the morning ....then dried right out a gorgeous ride up the coast with the sun behind me. KLR was purring along and good music. Road was very dry and grippy to fun on the twists ( ie the KLR manages to not get passed much ).....even the Rex was dry.

Was trying to get to the Mitchell river but uncertain of the turn and started to rain - did not feel like getting lost on slippery outback road and there was zilch traffic.
Will make sure of the turn next time ....

After a perfect sunny and dry ride up some showers showed up as I was looking for the Mitchell turn...

very steep grades on this hilly area and would be insanely fun on a road bike. Nice sweep of the valley but my riding camera was set wrong and I could not see in the sunlight how to reset ...looks "okay" but was lovely to see the showers.

Just had to mind the road trains....this is a little one.

He was grinding away heading down the slope .....even noiser one coming up a few minutes later.

Discovered a nice trick ....wore my mesh jacket as did not expect to get wet ( the armored shirt dries faster ) but the wet jacket made for a very cool ride when the sun came out later in the ride and it got into the low 30s .......will note that next time it's blistering ...will just soak the jacket or my poly riding shirt and carry on.

Hopefully get another 300k in today. See how the body does with back to back rides. Need to sort the camera or take the new one.


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Re: Down Under on a KLR 650

Got the e7s on the KLR and certainly better on pavement than the 606s...and waaaaay quieter.
Brakes done too so have some definite improvements on pavement.

Lovely weather but sticking close to home as just me and the pooch. Looks like morning rides between 7.30 and noon will work out okay.
Happier now with better tires and brakes.

New knee guards too...

Never did trust the armor in the Airglide pants. Really nice hinge and straps - move easily and vented. There was a 20% off sale at the dealer when I got my tire order and the Thor straps were getting loose ....this a bit better than the Thor - not much more money

Bigger at the knee tho won't go under jeans ....will get the Thor straps fixed and use them with the 501 tac pants


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Adventure to the red heart of Australia messy post as time out of sequence ...will clean up - lots of scenery and critter pics to come


Pics later as on limited internet

So flight over was fine …
Picked up the Leviathan …pet name for monster camper. 3.2 meters tall….
Grocery shopped ….interesting trying to maneuver L in grocer parking lots with low overhangs. Pic does not do it justice as to size ..think 1.5 parking spaces long.

Got out of Alice Springs a bit late ….noticed the A/C was set to 16 C - didn’t think about it.

About 31 degrees and getting warmer and warmer in L ….tried various combos….at least it wasn’t 37 and sunny per usual … nada from the A/C unit.

After 20 minutes of trying settings and wondering how the company was going to fix it …..turned it off and let it “rest” for a bit….
Turned it back on ….voila ….fine after that …not sure what happened but one problem solved

Made it to Kings Canyon before dark but not by a lot…greyish day which was fine for driving. Both of us were beat ….me worse than Jude tho I got an hour on the plane over from Cairns ….so day stated at 5 am.

Endless - road is narrow and L is wide so have to concentrate …very little traffic tho. That golden grass is incredibly nutritious so cattle is one of the few industries here aside from tourism

Checked in …

Nice place, lovely girl at the counter….not busy at all..

Showered ( really nice facilities ) and all set to call it a day

plugged into local power ..wanting to fall into bed ( once we figured out how to achieve a bed ) ….
nada … a/c for the roof unit and microwave tho we still had fridge and interior 12 volt system…..ugh and of course it is dark now. Little XP-3 lithium power pack with flashlight invaluable….

Checked the cable to the power unit ….power as far as the end of that….flipped a myriad of switches ….nada zilch.
Finally drove back to check in and at least got cooled off with L’s a/c which was now working perfectly.

Lovely girl sez she will send a handy person by ( there is nada in terms of written info to trouble shoot ) the remote power system.

He tries …thinks it’s our cable ….I know it’s not but hey ….
He grabs another cable and Jude backs L up to a know working power port….he plugs in his cable ….nada ….head scratching all around and about to book a room at the resort …..all of a sudden the power comes on A/c works etc.
( one paragraph to summarize an hour or more of putzing )

The master switch …which we flipped on and off several times as did he….apparently has a hidden reset button that was NOT obvious …most of those when you flip them off if the switch is tripped …resets. Noooooo not VW….you have to manually reset the switch ….

So finally functional …Jude is walking dead after 600 km drive and a long day before that and we get into a rather hard bed but got some sleep and the a/c happened to get set well tho noisy as it switches on and off. Woke around 6 am but light rain and not wanting to get up so lolled around until nature calling was insurmountable.
Got some tea and yogurt in us …cleaned up and I went bird watching and coffee/internet chasing while Jude sorted L a bit.
Coffee spot is insanely expensive for food but brilliant flat white coffee not too expensive.

The weather has been grey thanks to a cyclone to the north and we expect sun tomorrow….it’s been wet here and the colours of green are astonishing
This gives an idea

….that was a big surprise and really looking from to photograph the colours in the sun. The contrast to the red earth is terrific eye candy.

Lots of annoying flies tho they don’t bite and don’t really come in L.

Lots of parrots about and looking forward to see Kings Canyon maybe at sunset or sunrise….
Spent the morning sorting out L - prices crazy here …$25 for a burger …fortunately we have out own food with us.
Great coffee at the bar tho.

The morning walk provided a colourful new member for my life list ...male and female Mulga parrots

a Galah strtting his stuff,

and the occasional wild dingo wandering about

can't recall the name - liked the shot tho

10 am …caught up on email - aching in a variety of spots so maybe a swim in order…..if the sun comes out we’ve got a gorgeous spot under the shade but with a clear view of the escarpment….desert air is very clear so hoping for some spectacular Milky Way shots but that cyclone to the north is hanging around.

One more night here and then over to Uluru for 3-4 nights …..we will be able to use our phones there for wifi.

Staff I will be online this evening here ( will see how long I last )

Finally back to internet and some things to shoot tho it's still dodgy speed ..better than the day before.
critters to come.

Insanely fast ...could not get closer without startling him....can you imagine how quick you need to be to catch a grasshopper in hot weather on open ground ???!!!

These are the Olgas at sunset.....this is near Uluru ( Ayers Rock )

more to come

When we got to Alice Springs we were surprised it was light rain and very gray skies to pick up the Leviathan ( aka Eruo-camper ) aka Lev
It was cooler than the normal mid-30s so we didn't mind for the long drive to King's Canyon which is part way to Uluru ( Ayer's Rock ) ...the red centre of Australia.
Instead of a lot of red we were treated to incredible varieties of green which I have not yet captured adequately but have a few more days to work on it.

After a rather fraught issue with a fuse needing resetting on the camper which took a couple of frustrating hours to resolve we got some sleep under grey skies and occasional very light rain.

Same thing the next day but enough wild life around to make for a good day photographing and organizing Lev ( mostly Jude tho I got the camera and computer charging duty ) we showered, swam, good coffee, goggled at insane prices ( $25 for a burger !!!! $40 for fish and chips )

Sitting reading at the front of Lev which has amazing windows = solar heating not so good ....late in the day and looked up.

Did a quick double take and tho grainy from low light ....what a lovely end to the day. Lesson in having camera at hand as that display left rather abruptly as the sun plunged.

Lots more today - Jude hiked the rim of King's canyon ( think puff puff big time ..think 23 stories of steep uneven steps up)

She was deservedly very proud of herself just come off a 15 months of not being able to work full time due to a spinal injury from too many years of nursing. Only back full time the last three weeks so that climb and descent was a huge boost for her.

while I dawdled along the bottom stopping very often for photos - birds critters and lovely white gum trees against very red rock with this profusion of greens of every shade.

Will work on getting a few cropped and posted up tonight as this is the first time we've had even reasonable internet speeds. Was $75 of 2 MB of very slow connection at Kings Canyon.

We are now over at Uluru for 3-4 days and on our cell service which is okay. More to come...stay tuned.

Pretty rough image but the crepuscular ray was illuminating a cloud like a spotlight and the glow was incredible.

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Walked over to the local grocery, cafe etc area but by 9.30 am it was already too warm

Saw a pair from Germany looking a bit worse for wear on very loaded Beemer camping and two up near Ayers rock....

It is seriously hot and unusually humid. sitting at 35 in the shade and there was a bit of rain.

Have a helicopter flight booked for Sunday so hoping for clear weather.

I'm sure they stayed at the campground last night to see Uluru....looking very purple at the moment.

many people have been killed climbing that steep slope which is strongly discouraged by the local indigenes who own the land ....but still some 28% do climb at least part of it.
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More later on Uluru but given the often overcast sky was happy to get this

and this which looked more like what we expected than the crazy greenery above which made for brilliant contrasts

the perspex on the helicopter made focusing and avoiding reflections a nightmare

still it's the only way to get a look

Many people have been killed climbing that slope which is highly discouraged by the local indigenes who own the land. Still some 28% climb all or part of it.
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Had a couple of decent 200 km plus rides the last few days but Tstorms shutting me down today and a very late sleep in after a long working night lasting til 5 am

Going through a few photos - and plotting the next ride out and back.....actually did a few minutes fishing tho the stream was awfully muddy ...have some ideas for good spots but most are pretty far out for a day ride.

Love Whistling ducks with their painted on feathers - in Yellow Water in the thousands. Reliable indigenous food source.

speaking of very wild life.....there have been reports of a 9 meter croc ( 30' ) not far north of us going back decades.

This is an actual size replica of an 8.63 meter beast shot in the 1950s ....crocs don't stop growing...they run out of teeth and will grow when there is good food available. The length is set in Guiness book of world records as the largest ever shot....with the mortorium on shooting them there are likely a few bigger ones lurking....

truly a very large reptile

catch the dog's ears :D

speaking of pooches and crocs....this goes into the feel good story of the day


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Had a good couple of days 250 km per day totally soaked and mostly dried off.
Likely no riding on the weekend as we are under a cyclone watch and a Cat 4 is nothing to ignore

even if it is a few KM to the south

Great timing at Etty bay. Got in around 10.30 after a fast run down

those fluffy white clouds would turn into torrential sunshowers on the way back in the afternoon...even the cars were pulled bedraggled puppy but was almost dry by the time I got home.

and had an early lunch....then Marilyn arrived.

she can be very nosy

These are wild and very endangered southern cassowaries and there are two breeding females and a male ( who cares for the chicks ) that wander the beach every day.

The beach is a landing zone for skydiving tours ...

and some eye candy in the form of three French tourists scantily dressed .... in a small camper van....suspect two sisters and a squeeze for the older girl.

Gotta love a long lens....all shot from my lunch table in the shade.

Starting to get serious about the Cairns to Brisbane 5 day jaunt. Hauled the saddle bags out today and they are really nice ...lots of room, yes I can get my leg over and built in rain covers..
Just need to check the chain and sprocket.

I have to do more overnights here tho ....AirBnb so cheap....

$29 a night Cdn all in ....all 5 star reviews

Accommodates: 1
Bathrooms: 1
Bed type: Real Bed
Bedrooms: 1
Beds: 1
Check In: Anytime after 3PM
Property type: House
Room type: Private room
House Rules
Wireless Internet
+ More
Free parking on premises

and breakfast too!!!....easy 380 km day including a side trip to Mission Beach ....
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Sturm und Drang down - under....this sucker almost hit us ( 150 km south ) and I'll be riding the area in theory next Monday.

I'll try and fill in some of the pictures - keeping my staff and family at home updated - this sucker is going to cut the north south road in Queensland ....

Debbie is now a high Category 4 with windspeeds in the core up to 275 kph …..the core is nearly 150 km wide and the storm is moving slowly and still gaining strength and will be blowing and raining for 18 hours

It’s going to bring 23 feet - up to 7 meters of combined storm surge and high tide tomorrow morning - 15" of rain

This is a choke point for the highway against the mountains….

it will all be trapped by the coast range and flow back to the coast in hundreds of streams a creeks into the flat areas along the coast including some very broad rivers.

It’s the wet season now so most rivers and streams are reasonable full already ( this is not full )
You can see how flat the coastal plains are with the mountains in the background

these were shots of MacKay in 2008

and they didn’t have a cyclone.

Debbie will take 18 hours to cross the coast …it’s slow moving and on top of the tide and storm surge up to 7 meters… ( 23 feet )

Rain is expected to hit 300- 400 mm in the next 24 hours…that’s 15 inches of Rain…it’ll hit the coast range…which is all rain forest then come barreling back down into already flooded lowlands along the coast….be lotsa helicopter rescues I’d bet.
Every mountain slope is eroded and funnels back down to the plains ….

The good thing is all homes in the north are cyclone proof unless built before 1985 and even then they have to be upgraded ( as Jude’s is already ) if they are sold.

It’s possible that highway will be closed all week

there is 600 km of major highway that hugs the coast and trapped against the coastal range mountains

It’s a 1,000 km to shift inland to get around it and the inland roads are marginal by comparison

the only thing worse is if it happened Easter Weekends when tens of thousands of Aussies would be on the coast roads. Hamiton Island and Whitsunday Islands are huge attractions.

and it is currently getting the cyclone dead centre

.gonna be a very long night for those on the Islands ( they resorts are rebuilt after the last big one and are pretty cyclone proof but 18 hours of 200+ km winds will be brutal to live through

and just to add insult to injury …95% of the winter tomatoes ( now ) are grown in Bowen which is also going to take a direct hit…..can you imagine acres and acres of tomatoes in 200 kph winds !!!!

Thousands of acres cannonading tomatoes at 200KPH

stay tuned for tomorrows carnage.

this was hours ago and the damn thing has not even come ashore


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The sucker is huge -winds are flowing the opposite way but we are getting very high heat from the interior 92F ( 32 C ) at 10 am
It hasn't even come ashore yet


Good chunk of the curve of the's movin sssssssoooo slllloooooow just has to chewing the hell out of off shore islands.

Latest update

The destructive core of Cyclone Debbie is being felt along the north Queensland coastline, with wind gusts hitting Hamilton Island off the Whitsundays "like freight trains" and reports of roofs starting to lift in the Whitsundays.

Key points:

Cyclone Debbie expected to cross coast early afternoon between Ayr and Midge Point
Gusts of up to 275kph possible, storm surge expected
For more information, tune in to 101.1 FM (Mackay), 89.9 FM (Airlie Beach) or 630 AM (Townsville)
Follow our Facebook live stream here
About 25,000 people in low-lying areas have been urged to reach higher ground ahead of an expected storm surge.

The eye of the slow-moving category four cyclone was over Hayman Island at 10:00am, where gusts of up to 232 kilometres per hour are being registered.

It is due to hit the mainland at 2:00pm, remaining a category three system over land for 18 hours.

Of course the beast will just be clambering all the track I'm riding to Brisbane.....sigh

with no rain suit ....

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