Departure date is 25 April, 2013.
Expected return is 30 April, 2013.
The ride is designed for dualsporters who may not have a great deal of experience in adventure riding. The idea is to help each other through the ride to Cameron Corner and back, without injury or drama, and have a great time doing it.
This page will cover bits and pieces as we think of them, or as enquiries come in, so if you’re looking for hints and information, you may find you have to sift through here. Sorry about that, but there it is. Specific queries can be e-mailled to email@example.com, and we’ll do our best to answer.
Cost: There’s no fee payable to anyone for organising the ride (Gav just wants everyone to think he’s a nice bloke). Each rider will be responsible for all his own expenses from start to finish, so you’ll need to ensure you can cover 3000km of fuel – expect fuel west of Bourke to cost double what it costs on the coast – and five nights accom at prices likely to vary between $30 and $60 per night. You’ll need to feed yourself for the duration of the ride, cover any mechanical and recovery costs and any medical costs (we’ll recommend not to accept anyone on the ride who doesn’t have at least ambulance cover, but that’ll be discussed and we’ll let you know).
The bottom line on costs is you need to have sufficient finances on hand to pay everything as it happens, and enough to cover whatever one of a million things may happen. West of Bourke you can’t expect all establishments to have EFT services, so you’ll need a wedge of cash.
Route: At this stage it’s planned to attend an Anzac dawn service on April 25 (location TBA), then head out along Glennifer Road and Summerville Road to meet the Waterfall Way for the run up Dorrigo mountain and along the bitumen to Ebor and on to Guyra.
There’s a couple of small National Park loops between Ebor and Guyra that will be included if weather and time allow.
From Guyra the route travels along the spectacular Baldersleigh Road and Gulf Creek Road to Bundarra, Cobbadah, over Mount Kaputar and past Sawn Rocks down into Narrabri.
From Narrabri it’ll be a couple-of-hundred kilometres of bitumen. It’s scenic and enjoyable riding, but it’s bitumen the whole way through Wee Waa, Burren Junction, Walgett, Brewarrina and into Bourke. The reason for all the tar is to keep the time for the trip under control. A dirt-road route between Narrabri and Bourke adds at least another day, and to be honest, it’s not terribly spectacular from a sight-seeing point of view.
From Bourke there’s only one road route out to Cameron Corner, and that’s where the adventure and desert will really start. Bourke to Wanaaring for fuel and a coffee with Ben and Margaret at the Wanaaring store, then the big section, Wanaaring to Tibooburra.
Tibooburra will most likely be the base for a night. Everyone will drop all their gear at Tib, then blast their unladen bikes out to The Corner, have a look around, then head back to Tib for a shower and a rest before tackling the return journey.
At this stage the overnight stops aren’t certain. It will depend on the size of the group and how fast it moves, but probably Walgett, and Tib…or something.
Bikes: It’s a trip that can be done by pretty much any bike, but will be set up for dualsporters. You won’t enjoy the ride much on a hard-core enduro bike (there’s too much tar and open going), and small-capacity trailies like the WR250R and XR will probably be less than ideal because they’ll struggle to carry the luggage and hold the open-road speeds – although we’ve seen both those bikes do this trip and do it very comfortably under the right riders.
Whatever bike you’re on you’ll need to be sure the bike’s in good shape. Repairs are expensive out west, and the isolation can mean days sitting twiddling your thumbs while you’re waiting for parts to be delivered.
A few random points…
* Most dualsporters run a 17-inch rear wheel, and 17-inch tyres are scarce west of the Great Divide. Start with new tyres and heavy-duty tubes, and don’t expect have anything much left of your rear tyre when you get back.
* DO NOT run knobbies. Good quality dualsport tyres are the go.
* If you’re running tubeless, make sure you carry the equipment you need for a tubeless repair, and make sure you know how to use it.
* If you have tubes, make sure you’re carrying at least one tube for each wheel and the tools you need to repair/replace a tube. A good tip is to team up with a buddy for the ride, then share the tools and so forth between you. That way, for instance, one can carry a 17-inch tube and the other a 21-inch tube. As long as you stick together you can each carry heaps less heavy clobber.
* Carry a good, basic tool kit that will allow you to deal with problems like drowning, chain adjustment and filter maintenance on your specific bike.
* You’ll need a fuel range of about 300km minimum under hard going. The run from Wanaaring to Tibooburra is 272km. The distance may not seem a problem, but depending on road conditions, it’s often sandy. The sand can cause fuel consumption to double in a big bike. Trust us, no-one will be volunteering to tow you through that sucking, grinding sand and bulldust, negotiating the four-wheel drive and road-train ruts, if you run out of fuel after you’ve been warned. So when you’re calculating your range of 300km, make sure that’s about 400km or so of road riding. A large tank, bladder or fuel drum is a must. And while we think of it, if you’re precious about your bike running only super-refined, high-octane fuel, you’ll have a problem as well. West of Bourke you take whatever you can find, and think yourself lucky if the guy remembered to put the lid on the drum after he siphoned out the last order.
22 February, 2013 Proposed itinerary
The Coffs KTM Cameron Corner Caper is starting to take shape. There’s quite a few who’ve registered interest, so it should be a lively crew.
One thing that’s emerged early in proceedings is the mixed levels of proficiency of riders. It means there’s a wide variation in expectations about the level of challenge in the ride.
The aim has always been to help a group of newbies or less-experienced dualsporters experience the amazing Australian desert, and to be able to chalk up a bucket-list destination – Cameron Corner. So the route we’ll be using will be more scenic than challenging. It’s important everyone understands that the ride from Bourke to Cameron Corner is the same for everyone, and it can be very challenging. Under some circumstances it can be downright confronting, and they’re the circumstances Gav and his experienced crew are trying to avoid, or at the very least, reduce to a minimum.
So here’s what’s been decided at a high-level meeting at Gav’s house over coffee and some hilarious pics of TF decking the Dominator at Marty’s Mistake:
* We’ll attend a dawn service on April 25, then depart immediately after. The first day will include plenty of gentle dirt road and heaps of bitumen between some National Park dirt road riding, and of course, the incredibly beautiful farm and hard-packed dirt of Baldersleigh Road. If there’s time we’ll take in a few of the sites along the way, like the radio telescope at Narrabri. The aim will be to bunk down at Burren Junction that night. It’s a ride of around 500km, and with a substantial amount of tarmac, should be a very pleasant, low-stress day for everyone. The pub at Burren Junction has functional accom, good counter meals and sensible prices, and the springs are just down the road for those who’d like a soak or to camp.
* April 26 we’ll be up early and roost into Walgett for brekky. That’s an hour or so’s ride on tarmac to get everyone loosened up and hungry. From Walgett it’s a scenic run straight down the Kamilaroi Highway, following the Barwon River, through Brewarrina and into Bourke. We want to leave Bourke at around 11.00am to make for Wanaaring, and this is where the real riding starts. Once the tarmac finishes just outside of Bourke, it’s dirt road, bulldust, desert, emus, ‘roos, and real outback Australia all the way. The aim will be to make it to Tibooburra Pub for the night, or the campground just across the road for those who prefer. This will be a longish day for some, but there’s plenty of time for everyone to take it easy, enjoy the sites and not take any risks, and it’s real desert that should be soaked up and enjoyed.
* April 27 we’ll be up early, grab breakfast in Tib, then wind down the 140km or so to Cameron Corner. The dingo fence, the dunes, Cameron Corner Store, the trig point marking the actual corner where NSW, Queensland and South Australia meet…it’ll be the triumphant end to our outbound trip. After everyone’s grabbed a few pics, had a drink at the store and checked out the surroundings, we’ll head back to Tibooburra to sit around bragging about what pioneering adventurers we all are and get a good night’s sleep. This will be a fairly easy day. There’ll be time for bike maintenance, rubber-necking, laying around and, hopefully, a little more riding for those who want it. Gav’s keen to take a group out to the Strzleckie if anyone wants to experience the dunes and the isolation (it’s not the end of the world out there, but it’s a local call from Cameron Corner store).
* April 28 will begin the trip home, and will mirror the trip out. Anyone wanting to be home Sunday night is welcome to try (it’s been done from Cameron Corner in a single day, believe it or not), those who want to stick around and have a longer look at things they glimpsed on the way out are welcome to, and those that just want to thrum down the road all the way can do that, too.
Okay. That’s the people staying with Gav and the “The Group”.
Some of the more experienced guys may want to dash out through the The Pillaga, head back through Queensland, shoot freestyle videos off the dunes, stay at Tib for a week…whatever. Also, some may not want to start from Coffs. That’s all fine. Riders can join and depart wherever they like – that’s why you have this proposed itinerary.
What we need now are the people who’re planning to stay with Gav and the organised ride to e-mail and let us know that’s what they intend. We need to firm up numbers. We’ll make sure of accom and look out for those people (you’ll be paying all your own expenses, but we’ll book for whoever is part of Gav’s Gallivanting Group). The experienced guys will know the trip well enough to sort themselves out, and we hope they join us wherever they can.
Okie dokes. That’s all for this bulletin.