Now blogging from Perth, Western Australia

Monday, 5 March 2012

Z1 Rat's channel

Here's my You tube channel Address. Feel free to subscribe.
Mostly Z900's and bike riding in Western Australia.

http://www.youtube.com/user/z1rat?feature=mhee

This is the video related to the last post and is the bike run through the Perth hills to Toodyay.

Cheers Mat


I've gone to find myself, If I get back before I arrive, Please keep me there.

Post's from down under

I've been asked numerous times to write some blogs on riding in Western Australia, well heres a post and sorry for the long time between posts.

Today's ride started early in the morning before it got to bloody hot to ride. We road out to O'Brien road a winding road were a famous Aussie racing car driver crashed and died. RIP 05 Brocky. I will post some video of the ride later.

After a sedate blast through the hills (contradictory I know but double demerit's this weekend) we stopped at a place called Toodyay. This is quite an old town with some very old pubs. We had coffees at the Coca Cola Cafe which has lots of Coke nic nac's inside. It was only 10:30 am and already over 30 degrees C
So the next stop a beer was in order.
the end of the main street at Toodyay Pronounced Too-Jay
Mike at the Coke Cafe


My Brother in law at the Coke Cafe. '

A popular spot to ride to in Western Australia
We then headed the back way through to Chittering Valley which is a pleasant ride and stopped at Elmar's in the Swan Valley which is a German pub about 80 KM's away from Toodyay. Unfortunately is was too expensive for lunch @$42 for sausages WTF!!! It did have good beer though which was also Exy at $12 a pint!! Worst of all the service was poor. For the US readers there is no tipping over here as they get a reasonable wage to start with. Consequently good service is lacking in WA at some spots this being one of them. So we headed on to the Highwycombe pub and had the good old Steak Sandwich or Steak Sanga as we call it. Much better value. My Brother in-law had the Beer battered fish & chips as he's a Vejo mungbean and doesn't eat meat. Mike got the best value having a Chicken  Parmer with a pint of Squires for only $15. The service and  food was excellant.


Steak Sanga at the Highwycombe Pub


Anyhow after lunch it was well over 37 Degrees So after our ice cold beers we went our separate ways and headed home.

Its still bloody hot BTW, thank goodness for air conditioning.
Cheers Mat



I've gone to find myself, If I get back before I arrive, Please keep me there.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Last USA Blog and Sturgis video

This is the last blog about the USA trip. 
Note about Blogger
I have had numerous requests to keep blogging (thanks) about Australia and will. Blogger does not always let your post go through for some reason, This blog is best viewed with Google chrome. My email is z1rat@hotmail.com if you would like to contact me about the trip


Ok I have done this as cheap as possible, it was necessity, we are a single income family and largely I have done this on credit and will pay it off  once I get back to Australia, but hey you only live once and I did not won't to do this when retired in 20 years time. I am currently 44 years old and think this was well worth every single cent, get out there and live a lot!!

So what did it cost you may ask.
1 free airfare to Sydney, Perth and back via Qantas frequent flyers points                                  $0
Airfare from Sydney to LA via Fiji( return)                                                                                $1200
Kawasaki Voyager purchase price less sale price at the end                                             $154               
Yes thats right $154 to ride 7500+ miles (12500KM) across the USA and Canada and sold on the last day
Storage fee for the bike and also part of the purchase price                                                       $300
Spending money Cash                                                                                                              $1500
Credit (fuel, food, postage home and accomadation and everything else in between)                                                        approx                                                                                                                                     $3200

However I had paid off the airfares & bike before even leaving.
              
The reason it did this so cheap I camped out a lot and took cheap accommodation. I also have friends and relatives along the way which helped out a lot. I also met many nice people who invited me places that was not planned and no cost.

My advice
Is to go camping!! You meet the nicest most genuine people at camp-sites. You don't meet people like this at a hotel bar or though sometimes you do, you just never know what's around the corner.

Use free WIFI its everywhere, starbucks, Mcwifi and RV parks etc , you don't have to pay.

PLANNING is everything
You need a vision of what you are doing and follow it through. I took approximately 6 months to plan my trip, route, buy the bike and look for the cheapest flights on the net etc. Make a budget and try sticking to a daily amount. I had a hard time sticking to this but managed, some days I only needed to pay for fuel. I carried camping equipment and food on the bike. Buy a Jaffle iron $10 from wallmart, you can cook all sorts of things in them.
Pick a reliable bike!!!
I also have a good friend in the US who helped me register the Kawasaki  to his name and address. This was a huge help. When it came time to leave I did not have to worry about dumping the bike somewhere unsold. I was very lucky to sell the bike to a fellow Aussie who's Harley broke down constantly on his trip. I believe the kwaka has gone all the way across Canada now and is heading down to LA at the moment with no major breakdowns.
I had mates who said they were coming tentatively, they bailed out for various reasons and now regret it I think as it was an amazing adventure. If you have mates who say they are coming they need to plan also this is very Important!, otherwise don't count on this happening. To be honest travelling by yourself makes it easy to change your travel route without any hassles among other things.

People in the US
99% of people in the US are very friendly, polite and courteous and only the odd ones here and there are out to screw you or are rude. I was a bit apprehensive about meeting all sorts but this was not the case at all. A big thumbs up for the USA!

There is no reason why you could not do this the otherway round from any country ie US to Australia, if you have friends abroad I am sure they would love to see you, help you out and share in your adventure.

I would like to thank everyone I met along the way and everyone I stayed with one last time. With out your friendship this would of been a different experience so a BIG THANKS to all!! from me.
Happy trails,
Mat

The black hills and Sturgis 2011 video



I've gone to find myself, If I get back before I arrive, Please keep me there.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

LA & Universal Studios

Note: This is a large blog and no telling what it will do when I upload it.

I started flying home on the 17th of August 2011 from Hector Airport, Fargo, for those of you who don't know North Dakota and Perth are on exactly opposite sides of the PLANET!!. If it is DAY in Perth it is NIGHT in North Dakota. At Hector airport the 21 year old bar tender asked for my ID, YE HA, I have not been asked for 24 years, shit my beard is going grey for goodness sake.
Anyhow getting side tracked this makes it one of the LONGEST flights you could possible take either way you go around AHHHH!!. The trick is break it up a bit along the way.

On the way to the States I stopped in Fiji for 3 days and on the way back I stopped in LA for a day.

A bit of haze around
Mickey makes his money these days posing for a dollar

While in LA I took a full day tour for $125. This covers Venice Beach, Hollywood, growers markets around town and the Universal Studios.
Growers Market

Venice beach

Venice Beach
Street performers at Venice Beach




Our bus driver was quick and you had better have your camera ready!!
On the way around LA sightseeing we stopped at the farmers markets for lunch. This market was established in the 1930's during the great depression for farmers to sell their produce directly. The markets are still going today and the food was great. I had a New Orleans Craw fish Po boy and Cajun potato salad. There was more crumbs than craw fish. For the west Aussies its like a tidy upmarket freo markets.












Universal Studios

I highly recommend going to the Universal Studios as it is a fun packed full day to try everything it has to offer (I tried to do it in half a day, fail). I will definitely be taking the family here when they are big enough to go on the rides. Because you have to be this high.

 Jurassic park the ride was pretty good but be prepared to get wet. I was in the front seat and I got soaked after you drop about 75 feet straight down into a splash pool. . Not bad thing when is about 100F out.

An inside roller coaster that just about runs in total darkness inside the tomb you have no idea were you are going


The Simpson ride is a 3D simulation and well worth trying.

You see many look a like stars driving about including the Blues brothers who put on a live show which was pretty cool as well.

Guess who lives here?

"King Kong" the ride, this was the carriage before us.
 King Kong the ride has the largest 3 D projection screen in the world. Big enough for 4 of these trailers to park inside and project the scene from King Kong when he is fighting T-Rex. You even get sprayed with spit when T-Rex roars at king Kong. The whole carriage moves up and down and gives a real effect of falling and getting battered about, pretty amazing effects.
The original Delorian from Back to the future

The town square from back to the future

Well this was a nice break when flying and like I said well worth it.

I'll do a couple more blogs and that will be the great USA adventure blog finished.
This  is a flood scene from liar liar not sure if it will load


Cheers,
Mat



I've gone to find myself, If I get back before I arrive, Please keep me there.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Leaving Sturgis and selling the bike


Lakota Indians Class Bear Butte as the centre of the universe and is a very sacred site to them.
Fat hairy American  biker

Having travelled to the  centre of the Universe (near Sturgis) all good things must come to an end and we started our ride back to North Dakota and start my long journey home to Perth Western Australia..


Small town fair on the way home

Russ and myself at Valley city on the last time I rode the big red barge.
At the end of the trip I had to put a for sale sign on the reliable Kwaka which covered over 7500 miles in approx  6 weeks of riding without so much as a backfire. The bike did not use oil or water and pulled like a train. In that time I changed the oil twice and adjusted the cables once that was about it.
I gave her the once over for the new owner as it sold the very next day. This makes it a very cheap hire bike for the time I travelled in the states.

I wish I could of taken her home with me.
The Kawasaki Voyager 12 is a great bike for touring at a fraction of the cost of a Honda Goldwing or Harley. The only draw backs was the leg room for me (6 foot +) and no forward pegs to stretch on and the locks are not so good on the panniers.
The pluses easily out way the minor discomfort. A reasonable amount of power at 100bhp (once I loosened her up) and the handling was predictable. Great storage space and even a rack to hold a tent. When raining as long as you are going forward you can stay pretty dry except for your boots and gloves

I got the knack of the big red barge I could throw the bike it around quite easily. Even scraping the pegs through the black hills was quite good fun once you add beef up to the air suspension.  I was told the passenger seat was very comfortable and once or twice I even put the cruise control on and tried the back seat myself:-)

I must admit It was kind of sad to leave it behind. If I did this trip again I would buy another for sure. Anyhow the bike sold the next day and I am sure the new owner will cover quite a few miles as well. In fact I might even see it back in WA as a sand groper bought from me and will ride it back up to Canada and down the west coast to LA and then might ship it back to Western Australia. Good luck Luke!!

Russell dropped me off at Hector international airport in Fargo and then went and picked up the new owner of the bike from the bus depot, so I never met the new owner and Russ sent him on his way after sorting the paperwork. I have to say that with out Russells help the bike would of been abandoned or sold on consignment. A big thanks to Russ from me.

Cheers
Mat
Russells more detailed version of events
I could add quite a few pages just on Bear Butte alone. The Lakota consider Paha Mahto to be the center of the universe and it is a sacred site. It is a dormant volcano and not a true butte (I attempted several times to explain to Mat how buttes were formed, but I think I bored him to no end with that bit of geological trivia). My wife's ashes are scattered there, as well as several of my Native relatives.


 Actually, our trip back from the Black Hills went very well. Mat and I took some of the lesser traveled secondary roads through some remote areas, so we went between 75-80 mph most of the way back, passing almost everything else on the road. A few groups of Harley riders tried to speed up when they saw us passing them, but my V-Twin 1500 and Mat's 4-cylinder 1200 pretty easily pulled away from them. 


We stopped at the Ben Ash Monument, which is the place where the first white gold prospectors got their first glimpse of the Black Hills. There was another Aussie who had stopped there, fresh off from attending a Sun Dance on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation. The pic Mat took of a "local fair" was taken in Faith, SD, which is probably most famous as the original home of the original Daisy Duke, Catherine Bach. In years past, some of us would meet up in Faith for their Cowboy Days celebration, camp in the City Park, go to the street dance, and drink with the cowboys before heading off to Sturgis. Some good parties and good stories resulted from those times.
 Mat got a little frustrated having to stop for gas for my V-Twin Vulcan Drifter, which did not have as much fuel capacity as Mat's Voyager (which was getting gas mileage in the 40-50 mpg range, as opposed to my 30-35 mpg), and when we got detoured into a remote area in South Dakota, I was running on fumes for a while. We made very good time on the trip back, and arrived in Valley City at about 5:30 p.m., so we stopped off for supper before going to my house. Just a couple of observations about the trip. I think Mat found it quite easy to find people to party with, maybe too easy. There was at least one day when he was too sick to ride, so Liz and I just took off by ourselves and had another predictably good time. Mat was somewhat amused and bemused by my "women problems" throughout the trip, which could probably warrant an entire blog entry just for those issues. Like I told one of them, "hey, I'm a biker--what do you expect?" I think Mat was also a little surprised that I am more conservative in my riding than he probably expected. Although we did not greatly exceed the speed limit, we were passing nearly everything else on the road, though. Especially in the Black Hills, when a sign says the speed limit is say, 15 mph, the reality is that is probably the fastest you can go around that corner. 


A few comments about the 1986 Voyager. I was a little concerned when Mat told me that was the bike he had purchased for this trip because it was 25 years old. It probably would not have been my first choice. Yet, when I saw the bike after Mat had already traveled 5,000 miles, I was rather surprised because it was in really good shape. In observing Mat riding it, it seemed to be well-handling and maneuverable. It had a lot of power, got great gas mileage, and was very reliable. It actually turned out to be a great deal for Mat




I've gone to find myself, If I get back before I arrive, Please keep me there.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Street Legal MC

Staying at Custer State Park.

Russell is a Lawyer (shock horror) Once a year all the Motorcycling Legal professionals who ride bikes in the States get together for a conference. It just so happens it is coincides with Sturgis, funny how that works out.
Anyhow it is one of the bests launching pads for riding in the Black hills and they are a great bunch of people.
I wish I had more photos of you guys.


I will take this opportunity to add some Lawyer jokes and no extra cost. Look ;-) lawyer and no extra cost in the same sentence, impossible.

The trouble with the legal profession is that 98% of its members give the rest a bad name.

Its funny how all lawyer jokes are a bit harsh when these guys were so damn nice, at the risk of being done for slander I cant let that stop me.

Not street legal 

Q: What do you call a smiling, sober, courteous person at a Street legal MC law convention?
A: The caterer



The bunk house! a few good nights here with the Canadian whiskey and G mans Home Brew


Larry and Renee
 Larry and Renee are a really nice couple and we had a great time in the bunk house at night making jokes about each other mainly. Like most of the ladies I met Renee they loved to take the piss out of my accent. I would like to say that Bob does not have an A and an R in it and it is not pronounced "Baaaarb"and you don't fall in the "crick" as it has two EE's in the word. Don't  worry Renee I'll learn ya.




 It was so cold one February day in Aberdeen that I saw a lawyer with his hands in his own pockets!



G man
The Law of Beer by The "G man". I actually attended one of the conferences and it was about the law of Beer....hmmm. Very interesting since I worked in 2 different breweries over the years and one of those was a micro brewery for a few years. It was  quite educational as I learnt some more facts about beer I did not know or was that remember, damn  is there anything beer cant do?




Renee and her stuffed boots 
I woke up one morning and got on my bike as I did my Jacket up It seemed a bit snugger than usual, so I reach in my pockets and start pulling out lot of tissues and toilet paper. I look at Russell and thought, what the F@ck. Well it turns out someone was playing a practical joke. The old adage "what goes around comes around sprang to mind hence Renee's stuffed boots above. I was going to post the a photo of Renee first thing in the morning I took but that was just to keep her honest and an idle threat, as long as she made me coffee and breakfast she was fine.


Who could forget BOB, look out Apple!!!
This one is for Russell



Why does the American Bar Association prohibit sex between attorneys and their clients?






To prevent the client for being billed twice for what is essentially the same service.     






I lied Pay backs are a Bitch!!  Love you!!!


I had a great time with all SLMC and friends
Cheers Mat






I've gone to find myself, If I get back before I arrive, Please keep me there.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

North Dakota the least visted State in America

Note: This is a large blog and no telling what it will do when I upload it.

Apparently the title is true and this is what makes North Dakota so special. People are friendly and is far more relaxed than other states. You feel safe leaving your keys in the ignition and walking away, not that I did but some people do and most leave their cars unlocked. People here make the most of the summer months and all get out of their homes to enjoy the good weather. The rest of the year they are literally snowed in.


 While I was there a Birthday happened. Now Russell is quite a good speaker and when I was in South Dakota I happened across this plaque. Russell's house was built in 1905 and when I noticed this I thought "that ought to shut him up". What can you say about something that never happened. Well Russ and I had a good laugh and he will hang it outside his house.

These next couple of photos are riding into ND from Sturgis

A fuel stop and a stretch
 Valley City and Home to the Myrhe clan.
War memorial in the town square
 Its the end of summer and the river is still flooded right in town


Jamestown

 The above church is in Jamestown which is the next town along from Valley city. This is the pioneer village and had some really interesting shops.
In the Traders post I got some really nice leather belts from the North Dakota leather company. One is a money belt and can hold $1800 in a concealed pocket and looks like a normal jeans belt. I also got some hand made fingerless gloves and a new camera bag for the belt. Top quality work.


The local jail. Who let him out!!!

The Interstate heading east to Sturgis. On the ND Interstate you can sit on 75MPH or about 85mph in our case, in which you can really make a mile quickly. 

The day I arrived a few cold Corona's on a warm day went down nice.
 Russell and I have known each other a considerable time now. One of the questions we kept getting asked along the way was how we knew each other. I kept saying Internet dating as a joke but in actual truth we did meet on the Internet long before any sites like that were around (honest). We both have a common interest in Z900 motorcycles. For a brief while I had a web site up dedicated to these Kawasaki's and Russell contacted me. One thing led to another and we became long time friends. We have both watched partners come and go over the years  and both watched our family grow. When we first met for real we were both a bit apprehensive and what if we didn't get along sprang to mind. Well I need'nt of bothered we got on like a house on fire and more like brothers and shared a great experience riding the Dakota's together.
Russell's daughter's Amanda's going away BBQ

My first ride with out a helmet "Riding free" a nice feeling

A bit of sight seeing around Valley City

Pyramid hill with Viking statue, This area has a very Nordic history

Russ's driveway and our dependable steads

2nd night in Valley city awesome lightning show, I think I already put this photo up but it is a good one

Russell J Myrhe City Prosecuting Attorney and legendary ND biker.  Russell got sworn in a few Mondays ago and somehow I dont see him fit the description, can you have a motorcycle retrobate in this position?

Liz & Russ,  Liz and I  had no end of fun imitating each others 
ascents (Thank you) 


When you forget to turn your light off and the battery goes flat you can always depend upon a mate to have a camera handy, err help you fix it.

Interstate and Storm

More Storm go faster, we missed the downpour that shortly followed

Well that's a small look into North Dakota and Valley cities surrounding area, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did,  though that's probably not possible unless you go there and have a beer with Russ.

Cheers Mat


I've gone to find myself, If I get back before I arrive, Please keep me there.