Down Under on a KLR 650 ...second season | Page 21 |

Down Under on a KLR 650 ...second season


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Re: Down Under on a KLR 650

Lovely spin up James Cook Highway along the ocean to the Rex near Mossman.....was going across the Daintree but looked wet.
Good wind behind me so much fun with rock n roll playing and the highway is in gorgeous shape with lots of twists and sweepers just above the Pacific.

Up the Rex which is too short and too much fun ( this is going down )


Lunch at Highlander was nixed as kitchen under construction so headed across to Mareeba in a headwind with quite dark clouds ahead. Buttoned up but barely damp ....turned towards home with rain still lurking to my right and had not been to Jacques Coffee in nice little 5 km country road to the plantation...glad I did.

It's gorgeous grounds around the cafe.

and was seriously hungry so barramundi ( think pickerel )and salad hit the spot with a mug of flat white well crafted.

for reference ...lunch like this's a bit upscale place runs $24 which might seem high but that includes tax and there is no tipping.

I am very likely to get wet on the 40 km ride home but it might clear. No rush as I'm treating myself for getting a flyer out last night ( 4 am )

A little vicarious warmth for you. :D 29 and mixed cloud and sun. Excellent ride even if I do get wet....looking like an excellent week.

Well our buell boys got wet too...typical tropical.
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Re: Down Under on a KLR 650

Very short ride yesterday up to Copperlode. The road was pretty beat up with the rains last month. It's a kick back place for tea - great views and cooler than Cairns.

The dam is Cairns main water supply and set high in the hills on the outskirts of the city. Access is one way in, one way out on a 40kph very winding road (shared with cyclists!).

But the half hour journey from the main road is so worth it. There are viewing areas on the way to grab super shots to the city and coast. At the dam it is well laid out with viewing areas, bbqs, kiddy playground and help yourself to free tea and coffee!
Was not going to stay long but then got chatting with a couple and a couple enjoyable hours later I'm deep into the book he wrote.

John M. Taylor
John Taylor was born in Ely in 1944 and raised in Littleport. He has been married to Elisabeth for 44 years and has three adult children. He has worked in 20 different countries and lived in England, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Australia. He now calls Cambridge home.
He and Elisabeth were lovely to chat with and quite a few shared fav places and adventures, sailplanes, Western Cape - he was a rock climber and we swapped fav vids.
Just a nice contact and the book has me hooked as it's the kind of story I like.

They will be moving back to Cairns after an ill advised return to England for a couple years so back to Australia.

Unexpected treat...both book and couple.
Longer ride today weather permitting


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Re: Down Under on a KLR 650

Longest ride yet today and happy with bike and my endurance ...hip stayed tolerable.

Always one of my fav loops through older growth forests and rewarded with a flock of ecletic parrots

Not my photo

and a pair of ginormous wedgetail eagles taking off ...the rather dense area made them look huge as most times they are high up and I don't get to see their backs.

but it was neat watching them lumber into the air....

Consider the landing gear

Fluffy white clouds and 28 ...dodged some small showers..7 hours out riding with a lunch break and a coffee break and not feeling beat...that's some progress.

Aww super ride today ...300 km with some truly lovely winding roads through forest and savannah - 7 hours with a couple of breaks. Gear worked well so did aging body.

One of my fav loops up to Milaa Milaa and a yummy spot for lunch

so much good home food ...hard to choose

Pies are Australia fast food

Lovely Duc cafe racer showed up

he would run away from the dowdy KLR with that big motor and tiny chassis.

The Duc would be a great bike for blitzing the twists in the area including the Gillies and lots of paved secondary roads ....gets dodgy when meeting the full size tour buses that frequent the area.

gorgeous views over the Tablelands from the Teahouse

The entire day was like this high 20s ...dodged a couple of limited showers.

Got overtaken a couple of times by a lost ambulance with all the lights going ....the old Palmerston Highway is pretty narrow to play dodge.em....then met a full fire truck coming the other way ...the ambulance finally turned up Misty mountain which is networked with walking trails and a few have gone missing in the region ...very wet and confusing but climax rain forest.

The Tablelands almost look like Ontario complete with wind turbines

then an ancient creature like this pops up

Co-habited with the dinosaurs ...maybe even pre-dated them.

3' goanna scampered across the road too fast to photograph ...I braked ...he accelerated and all moved on safely.

I need to go up there earlier in the day and spend time in that old forest where the parrots and eagles's loaded with wildlife. Get off the bike and wander with the camera.
Still have a few longer rides in mind to build up some stamina ...back was pretty sore when I got home but hip was okay.

Weather not looking good the next couple of days for distance but next week looks superb.

I still want to try and ride every day even if limited distance and I get wet....consider the alterative at home....:rolleyes:
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well - bugger - expecting rain - nohing but sun .....hmmmm..better not turn my nose up at weather gifts.
At least a lunch run.

I can always cut it short a Skybury or Jacques.

Made it nicely to Dimbullah for a so so lunch

Good coffee as is usual in Australia everywhere.....even in the most unlikely spots.

but then took a few paved but very narrow back roads part way home .

Glad I asked directions here as saved a backtrack.

.nice break from the highway ....papaya and banana snack at Skybury and lots of bird activity including a new one for me.

Pale headed rosella.

Used the big lens but had a colour issue so will go back up and hopefully get better shots. - hmmm photo software corrected the colour issue.

Quite a contrast from the ones I saw the other day - crimson rosella,

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As nice a day it comes. Actually got out so early my brekkie stop not open for a few minutes now. Great ride up the traffic tho some moist spots near the top

25 C and 67 humidity. :love:

mmmm yummy lamb pie and flat to Herberton the back way

Best day yet for distance 350 km loop and some excellent roads I'd forgotten....much fun - lovely weather ...drugs wore off before the end...:eek:

Up by the old mining town of Herberton looking for lunch but that lamb pie was carrying me pretty well. Turns out the town is closed on Mondays biggie.

Buggered off out the back way towards Irvine and it said Chilagoe....something was nagging at me about that - said it was 135 km ...a very steep curvy climb to the crest then equally sweet sweepers on the way down ...motored along for a bit and recognized the windmill in the middle of the road.....out of Irvine and then ....gravel.
Okay not up for 120 km of gravel and I then recalled my riding buddy had busted the frame on his KLR doing the Petford, Chillagoe run the back way.....that's why I'd only seen one vehicle.

Discretion was the better part of valour. It's still the wet season and who knows what gotcha's lurked in the 120 km and I've done very little off pavement this year. Even then it was 1.30 pm and Chillagoe is a long hike home to Cairns.
That's likely on the agenda for's got mostly pavement coming from Cairns but enough gravel to give me decent practice .....tho it may well be all paved as it's a popular tourist route. I made the mistake a couple years ago of doing the Chillago caves on one ride ......not a smart idea in riding boots. My shins ached for days.

Took off towards home by way of the Tablelands and saw a sign for Hasties Swamp

Well that was a treat .....gorgeous birding blind on two levels and met up with a fellow twitcher who lived in the area but was originally from Vancouver. Had a good chat on cameras and when to come - time of year and time of day. He had some lovely shots so I hope he joins BirdForum. macdoc Gallery - BirdForum Gallery
Where I post my better shots and new for me - species.

Not much to photograph but then I saw some odd motion in the swamp below the blind and had much fun photographic a snake on the hunt.
Say hello
Well this sucks - I can't link from my Google photo site now - I have to make the files smaller...that's a whole other lot of annoying - that's not correct either - I can't seem to code it in directly....if I copy from another site I use then it works here .

Even tho I was 4 meters up, I was surprised how aware he was of me no question he stopped hunting and looked up right at me. I guess maybe to see if I was a threat. Kookaburras hunt snakes his size ( 2/3m ) but not sure about hunting in a swamp.

Gorgeous critter.

Not entirely skunked on birds tho Purple Mudhens are pretty common....still was fun to see them hunting and with some young.

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Ugh ....too much of a good thing....I had to ride back to Herberton to find out why an automated 24 hour fuel station put $8716 on my credit card 🤪 Normally a pleasant loop of 300 km +/- by going the shorter but twisty route I cut some time off.

The owners were off on holiday on the Gold Coast but a staff at another business they own ( Herberton is a very small town ) got me in touch. I suspect it will all settle out to the $19.75 for the fuel I actually got. Meant doing the Gillies both ways in a short period. While fun I was tired after working til 4 am and did not have enough sleep. More Uturns ( getting good at opposite Uturns ) than I've done all trip getting to the Mobile station and then a very soso lunch ....could not even refill my water bottle as there is a boil water advisory on in the town for quite a while and residents get no break on their montly water bills. Not even any diet drinks to be had so large cold bottle of Sarsparilla carried me home. Instant sugar buzz 😵
One of those days.

Still coming down the Gillies was fun easy to over cook the turns and the KLR brakes are a joke so really had to pay attention. Quite a few sports bikes and one Vstrom on the 19 km wonder ...210 turns some 180 sweeps that I had to concentrate.

Was very glad to see home ....even made a basic exit error on a spot I've ridden dozens of time ....actually two of them now I recall.
Shower and two hour nap helped but biz starts soon39659
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glad I got some rides in last week.
on top right. Gonna rain big time - all those Lows - we are on the coast just to the right of the L above the 1009 - - the tropical storm that is potential for a cyclone is 7-800 k above us and there is no one in Cape York


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Hmmm... Warm rain and high winds - OR - 1c, sleet and snow....

You win.


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Deluge rain just now - hopefully that will not form up further to a cyclone

nice day to read



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We got ourselfs a real live cyclone....we are on the out rain bans so good day to watch videos and it's not heading towards us. but they have been known to loop.
We are 80 km south of Cape Trib
There is a dry season ride along the coast Cape Trib to Cooktown.

Far North Queensland braces for Tropical Cyclone Trevor
Cyclone Trevor is making a beeline for the Far North Queensland coast, with the storm expected to hit as a category two system tomorrow.

Trevor formed this morning as a category one storm, off Cape York Peninsula. This is the fifth tropical cyclone to be named in Australian waters this season.

It's currently about 470km north of Cairns and 300km east of Lockhart River, travelling south-west at 10km/h with wind gusts up to 95km/h expected to develop tonight between Cape Grenville and Cape Flattery.


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Our cyclone has trailed it’s skirts away and there is some blue sky and soft balmy breezes wafted me up to Jacques Coffee...they even are taking the Gyro Copter up.
I might indulge myself but on a nicer day

good to get out ….very quiet on the roads
couple of lit up ambulances heading towards Cairns tho
good wifi up here so will work for a bit
fair good bit of activity on line yay


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We'll just stay in with the mutts and watch the show.

Top right is Trevor and it will go to Cat 4 quickly as the gulf is very warm. Evacuations underway but not many people there.

no need to water the plants ..sigh

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Glad you are continuing to enjoy your time there this year. We will be heading home from Gold Coast in another 8 days. Next year we plan on flying to Cairns, renting a car and taking a 7-14 day drive down to Gold Coast where once again we'll stay for 5 weeks. (Or maybe we'll drive from Brisbane up to Cairns and fly back to GC). Ride safe David.


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Thanks Thom .....seems your timing was not bad fior weather

Still pouring but trawling through photos at least I can think about riding the Rex again soon

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Yay.....finally the sun is out and only mild risk of showers but folks in FNQ are going to get hammered :(.

Two severe cyclones at once 😱

Gonna head south then not sure


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Enjoying a steak pie and flat white near Milaa Milaa Falls. Actually since I'm going out on the reef when my daughter comes next month I'll bring my mask and snorkel up here and puddle around since it's been a while....

no swimming for me today ....a bit cold and gear was still damp from just hanging on the deck - that was a lot of rain.

Still not sunny but it's trying and feels good to get out. Some light rain. Still nice 200k loop. Bike is idling funny ...goes up a bit then comes down.


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Snuck out for a ride up the coast ...slight sprinkles but always enjoy the James Cook Hwy

the sun was in and out....ended up going further as my coffee stop was closed in Mossman.

Clearly the further north I go the closer to the rain bands from the cyclone that went through far to the north and the Daintree River is chock a block.

The town on the south side is just getting power back and only managed scones and tea. They expect to closed again as the river comes up this afternoon I'm told.

Fair bit of vegetation down and some small rock and clay falls on the road.

There is a tea plantation to the north Daintree Tea and very tasty and robust, Took some home.
I didn't know there was a cafe there .....maybe next week.

The Daintree Tea Company is located on the Cubbagudta Plantation, situated in the heart of the Daintree Wilderness and Rainforest area in Far North Queensland.

The Plantation was established in 1978, by the Nicholas family, who still own and operate the business.

As more people from all over the world are discovering the pesticide free Daintree Tea, this black unblended pure Australian Tea has become more and more popular with the general public due to its excellence in taste and aroma.

Many tea connoisseurs state that the flavour is second to none and the aroma is just delightful.

Lots of Australian tea blenders choose to mix Daintree Tea in their own blend to boost their flavour and aroma.

No hard labour here .....tea picking machines.

World wide market from an unexpected location ( there is no grid power north of the Daintree )...but loads of rain. It is VERY tasty tea and I'm fussy.

The Daintree river marks the beginning of the wilderness area up to Cape York penisula where the cyclone crossed. Cooktown is the only decent sized town but this time of year you have to take the inland road to get there this time of year.
In the dry season there is a popular 4x4 and motorcycle track up to Cooktown..

Cooktown is named for Captain Cook who circumnavigated the world ....he stopped at the river mouth there after getting hung up on the Great Barrier Reef ....they careened the damaged ship on the sand flats. Kinda neat to have some history come home. Good museum there.
Easy to see why he chose the area for repairs...excellent sand flats, wood and fresh water. The Endeavour was the name of his ship and the river in Cooktown bears the name.

Past that.....pretty wild country.


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no riding today ....entirely my choice...despite the nice weather decided to sleep a bunch and read.

Nice treat tonight tho

Common in the trees not so common inside waiting patiently for me to recall how to turn on the flash :rolleyes:

White lipped tree frog

hmmph ...don't look gift horse in the mouth....
didn't ride despite sunny gods revenge

raining again :cry:
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A week of little riding - partner was off work - but well rested so off to Chillagoe which will be the longest day yet.
Weather looks "okay". Bike has topped up oil and fuel and rider lots of sleep and out early so should be a good day.

410 round trip the shortest route ...if it wasn't raining so much there is a nice extension going down the Gillies but not with the showers.

Very fast ride out to stop is some 565 km and there is no fuel in between and no that's not on the agenda at all.

Got damp heading back but past the dirt/mud sections before it rained... it can be pretty slippy but nice to have decent tires for that.
Only maybe 20 km is unpaved ...there is a bit more done every year.

Holed up at Skybury for late lunch and will for sure get soaked going home least it's warm.
Life in the wet season

ugh ....not the nicest way to end a 400 km ride

was about like this all the way down the range. ( not my photo )

Inside of my helmet mostly dry - nothing else....hoping for some sun tomorrow but otherwise was a very good riding day.
Topped up the oil with 20-50 and the old mule seemed to like that ....had to work to keep it under 110 in a few places. Would be VERY ironic to get a ticket on a KLR

some wishful thinking

but broke up the mostly straight...tho a mix of dirt, slightly slick clay, run off dips etc and getting passed by road trains in a cloud of dust kept me busy at times.

Took a break at Skybury for coffee and papaya and got a couple bird pics

Tree full of sulphur crested cockatoos at long range.

...maybe even a new species for me. Got most of the way home but then deluged on the range and I had sunglasses on ....:( ...not the smartest thing but no place to stop safely.
I really have to think about a shield treatment to get the rain to run off.

Very very wet gear ...hopefully enough sun tomorrow to dry out ....all sitting under fans once the puddles underneath stopped forming. 🤪
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