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The Good, The Bad, And The Good Again


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As some of you may recall, I had planned a motorbike trip from Townsville to S.E. Queensland back in July. I still haven't gotten around to doing a ride report, too busy transporting all the goods everyone is buying on the internet during this bloody Covid outbreak (I am happy to have a job though!!). This will probably be done in one day at a time but I will try to be prompt with further installments. I am no Wilbur Smith so don't expect too much.

 

My mate Andrew and I were going take a couple of weeks off to ride to the Gold Coast to go riding with my brother-in-law Grant. Unfortunately Andrew was only able to get 1 week off so a shorter trip with just Andrew (Suzuki V Strom 650) and I was planned. However a few days before our departure Grant, who has had the same 1979 Bonneville Special since he bought it new in 1979, turned up on my doorstep. He had decided to ride to Townsville and join us. Much to our surprise he had bought a new bike (his first in 40 years) although it was no surprise that it was another Triumph, a 2013 Triumph America. He still has the 79 Special of course. 

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Day 1.  Sunday morning we left Townsville heading for Malanda on the Atherton Tablelands a distance of 342km, a pleasant Sunday ride.

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First stop was Cardwell for a coffee.

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The route we took turned off the Bruce highway at Silkwood, where the road winds its way through cane fields and farming country through Paronella Park at Mena Creek and South Johnstone and joins up with the Palmerston Highway. The road is a little narrow but much more interesting than going on the Bruce Highway to Innisfail and then up the Palmerston. 

 

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The Palmerston Highway is a very pleasant ride with mainly long flowing corners.  We had a quick photo stop at Crawfords Lookout.

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Home for the next few nights. A great place to stay if you tour the tablelands is the Malanda Falls Caravan Park. Small room with a double or two single beds. No air conditioning, but it is normally a few degrees cooler than down on the coast. Small bar heater for winter. Toilet and shower block located just to the right. Very friendly owners. $50 a night. IMG_5642.thumb.JPG.ddc2c7f9b6e82f80cd47fc841256892e.JPG 

 

Malanda Falls, located about 200 mt from the cabins. Good swimming hole in summer.

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Had a quick trip up and down The Gillies straight away, what a great motorcycling road, a little busy on a Sunday afternoon, though it doesn't look it in this photo.IMG_5655.thumb.JPG.bd074577a838069eeb82f04a721e836d.JPG

 

Had dinner at the Malanda Hotel, great meals, very friendly. Had a few quiet drinks at the cabins to finish day 1. More to follow.

 

 

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Hi Phil. You're getting me excited, nice write up and pictures, looking forward to the rest of the trip. You certainly have the nicest bike:wink:

Cheers. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
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DAY 2. Malanda to Cape Tribulation and Return.

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After a slow start to the day, we headed down the Gillies once again. Turned North at Gordonvale and rode through Cairns heading towards Port Douglas. We stopped at Ellis Beach just North of Palm Cove for brunch. Very nice bar and grill here with views out over the Coral Sea (not the greatest Photo sorry)


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Next stop was the Rex lookout about halfway between Cairns and Mossman. I came close to getting run over while taking this photo, what I thought was the exit lane from the parking was actually the highway, I know I'm getting old (that's my excuse anyway)IMG_5684-001.thumb.JPG.9581e4b0a8a2756f4a86e193bbf47e92.JPG

 

We then rode through Mossman to the Daintree River ferry crossing. This is very cheap for Motorcycles only $11 return.1712825972_unnamed(6).thumb.jpg.76bead15d00951d27073238a8f0dddd9.jpg

 

Despite the light rain the rid to cape Tribulation was very pleasant. The road is fairly narrow but sealed and in reasonable condition. There are lots of camper vans ect so it pays to stay tight in the corners. There are several good lookouts on the way.

While parked at this lookout a couple approached me and commented how nice my bike was, they asked how old it was and I replied four and a half years, WOW they said there's not a scratch on it !!! (you know where this is going but more on that later)

We continued on to Cape Tribulation for a light lunch and a cold beer before heading back. 

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Decided to take a photo of the VFR on the beach not far from Cape Tribulation. The sand was very hard, still needed a pebble under the side stand though. I wasn't worried about the sand or salt as I rode very slowly and it was raining lightly for the next 50km or so (still got a good wash when we got home)
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The Daintree River is not somewhere you take a refreshing dip in.IMG_5695.thumb.JPG.031938355cc295542e9801c4f340660d.JPG

 

It was a then a quick ride back to Malanda via the Rex Range, another great motorbike road. Just be careful of the sugar cane haulers in season.661157100_unnamed(4).thumb.png.1b18e2c3d64db32910b1c7c033451233.png

 

We rode approx 450km mostly on twisty roads. After a quick shower we again headed to the Malanda Hotel for dinner and a few drinks (not sure if I mentioned earlier but it is only a 5 min walk from the Caravan Park) It was a great day for all involved. :tour:

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Nice write up again Phil. Sounding like an eventful trip, look forward to reading more. You still have the best looking bike!

Cheers.:beer:

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Great ride review and pictures. I'm surpised an Ozzy version of this sign wasn't present at the Daintree:

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What fabulously beautiful country. Thanks for the visual inspiration. 

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  • 1 month later...
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Well better late than never, sorry for the long delay. I have finally got a few days off so I will attempt to finish this ride report. Day 3 was spent riding around the Atherton tablelands. This area is fairly elevated and as a result is always a bit cooler than the coast, so it makes for a very pleasant days riding. Unfortunately I didn't take any photos this day, but to to give you an idea of the country I have attached a few photos from the net (yes I know that's cheating)

This is Lake Eacham, one of two very picturesque lakes located very close together, the other being Lake Barrine. 

 Lake Eacham, Atherton Tablelands Tropical North Queensland

 

Milla Milla Falls, one of the many waterfalls on The Atherton Tablelands. 

Milla Milla Falls is on the Atherton Tablelands, south west of Cairns. It  is widely regarded as one of the most… | Cairns australia, Beautiful  waterfalls, Waterfall

 

This is a good example of the terrain.

Long and Winding roads - 2 Wheels North

 

We also visited a friend who lives on the Atherton Tablelands and likes to find and restore old Kawasaki's, something he is very good at!!! These are his current examples.IMG_5758.thumb.JPG.df1d6b49845f7daccd20fdaad0955e48.JPGIMG_5757.thumb.JPG.a4888b49e2f918d5ce7649a714b56e9d.JPG

 

Once again Day 3 was finished off with dinner in Malanda and a few drinks at the cabins.

 

Day 4. 

We had originally planned to travel to Cooktown and stay overnight before heading back the next day. unfortunately we had a great deal of trouble finding any reasonably priced accommodation so we decided to go up and back the same day, a distance of 317km each way, exploring Cooktown and surrounds would be saved for another day. Had a great ride up to Cooktown, the road is pretty boring with the exception of a couple of small ranges. The landscape is pretty spectacular though.

 

The view at Bob's Lookout (the first of the above mentioned ranges)

 

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Self explanatory.

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This lookout was at The Annan River just short of Cooktown, looking north towards Cooktown.

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Annan River.

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Black Mountain. Much more impressive viewed in person.IMG_5726.thumb.JPG.44bc110441de68997397f96d76cb0d34.JPG

 

And finally we arrived in Cooktown. It has a very spectacular setting with some great views. After a quick ride up and down the main street and some photo opportunities we had a light lunch.

 

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it was while refuelling for the return trip that things went a little south. While lifting the bike on to the centre stand my foot slipped off the centre stand peg and the bike fell over hitting the corner of one fuel bowser on the fuel tank and just hitting the corner of the adjacent fuel bowser on the headlight. Needless to say my language got a little colourful. My only excuse is that it had been raining  and the ground and my boots were wet. I also think I have become a little complacent putting the bike on the centre stand, it's a very easy operation but we should remember VFR's are fairly heavy bikes it only has to lean away from you a small amount and its impossible to get back. Anyway lesson learned (the hard way)

The words of the couple at the Daintree Lookout were ringing in my ears.

The result!!

 

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Some of the fairing panels on the right side of the bike had popped out of place but all pushed back in to position and didn't move during the ride home. Unfortunately when inspected for the insurance claim a few plastics had to be replaced as the brackets inside were cracked. Frame sliders, brake pedal, new headlight, new tank, new panels ect with labour came to a little over $6000!!! (labour was $800) I now park my bike far enough away from the fuel bowser so if the worst happens again it only hits the ground. This is the first time in over 40 years of riding that I have dropped my bike while moving it or putting it on the centre stand, hopefully it's the last. 

I would also point out that while the headlight did end up with a small crack in it, the damage would have been far worse if I had not fitted the headlight protector. If I did not have insurance I would have been able to continue using the headlight and save myself the cost of replacement, which for those who don't know is a little over $2000. 

The trip was still very enjoyable despite this mishap and I am happy to report that the parts finally arrived from Japan last week. I gave them the bike on Thursday and picked it up about six hours ago. All's well that ends well I guess. 

 

 

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Great write up and photos Phil except for the sad and injured VFR!....as the saying goes - shit happens. I bet you're glad to have it back in it's new showroom look again. That headlight assembly is one hell of an expensive bit of kit!

I never bother with the centre stand at fuel stations, there's a good chance you could end up with slippery oil, water, or diesel fuel on the soles of your boots, have almost experienced your incident fortunately the bike was falling towards me and was quickly able to steady it.

The early Kwakas look superb.

Cheers.

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Holy cow, $2000 for a headlight.

 

That puts me firmly in the camp of those who did not know.

 

I am quite sorry for your mishap. Been there, got the t-shirt.

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Great photos and tour wrap-up report.  Thanks for posting them!

 

Sorry to hear about the damage, but glad insurance covered it and your VFR is already back to 100%.  Centerstands are a blessing and a curse in my opinion.  😕 

 

Anyway, congrats on a great trip!!

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Great shots!

For a moment (at the 1st picture) i thought "when did that lass join your trip?" :goofy:

 

 

Sorry to see the damage.  I was lucky at the time (7AM) when my brain farted :laugh: in Latvia...

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4 hours ago, Dutchy said:

Great shots!

For a moment (at the 1st picture) i thought "when did that lass join your trip?" :goofy:

 

 

Sorry to see the damage.  I was lucky at the time (7AM) when my brain farted :laugh: in Latvia...

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I feel your pain Dutchy. It’s great you thought to take a photo, I just wanted to stand her up again, like that was somehow miraculously going to lessen the damage. A photo is always good for the insurance company too.

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Well, I could not right the bike by myself...:mad:

 

The petrol station proved closed..... But luckily, a drunk (yes at 7am on a Sunday; I could hear Johny Cash starting to play in my head ) staggered past.  Unable to communicate (my Latvian or Russian language skills are zero), he pointed at his chest and shouted "Popeye!!" :laugh:

I gave him a tenner (probably good for 10 bottles of vodka...) for his help...

 

4 hours later, an oncoming car took a left turn w/o seeing me. And that finished my 4th gen (and my trip) off....

 

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