Bugs On My Face goes to Oz

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mightymatt43
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Day 1: Sydney

Postby mightymatt43 » Sun Jun 14, 2015 9:36 pm

Day 1 in Oz - Sydney

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After riding back to our hotel, we decided to do the tourist thing, mainly so that we would stay awake for the rest of the day. Sydney is quite beautiful actually and we had an easy time walking and riding the bus to a ton of great places.

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Like any self-respecting tourist, we of course made it down to Sydney Harbour.

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Convinced to stay by numerous endorsements of nearby shop-owners, we
further defied our sleep deprivation (we were completely out of our minds at this point) and stayed downtown for a special light show called Vivid. One shop owner trying to sell us a possum-fur, Russian-styled Ushanka
hat actually told us, “Vivid has changed my life.” How could we say no?

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I’m not sure if either of our lives were changed because of the lights, but when we finally stumbled off the bus and fell straight into our bed, the feeling was other-worldly.

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We woke the next morning feeling completely refreshed. While at breakfast, we ran into several players from the Bulls, a South African Super Rugby team. I am not a small man. I’m about 6’5” and 210 lbs. I’m used to being bigger than most people that I meet, but these guys absolutely dwarfed me.

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The blonde dude pictured above (disclaimer: not our pic, obviously) was eating what looked like 2 dozen eggs, a rack of lamb, an entire pinneapple and gallon of Guinness for breakfast. He winked at me when I walked by with a piece of toast and a coffee…

Side note: we’ve now watched a ton of rugby because it’s on nearly every Australian TV channel. I think I may be hooked.

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Anyway, after being emasculated by the giants of South Africa, we took the ocean walk from Coogee Beach to Bondi Beach. Highly recommended.

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Not a bad place to swim a few laps:
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The world famous Bondi Beach. During the summer months, the sand is
completely covered with people. Apparently, on weekends there can be as many as 35,000 a day!
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Due to the staggeringly high number of people enjoying the beach, Sydney has a healthy culture of life guards along with exclusive life guard clubhouses along the coast. The statue pictured below commemorates “Black Sunday” when 100 people were rescued in one afternoon.
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Not a terrible place to have some fish and chips:
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We grabbed a cab at Bondi and were reminded that taxi drivers are a great source of information about driving in a foreign place. We asked a ton of questions, most importantly about the numerous roundabouts that are scattered across all of Australia. Not so prevalent in the States. (No matter where you approach the roundabout, always yield to the vehicle to your right - genius!)

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Next up - finally back on the road and it feels so good.

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Re: Bugs On My Face goes to Oz

Postby BigJames » Sun Jun 14, 2015 9:48 pm

Shoot, figured after getting that monster BMW rig you all had settled down and started the family thing. Good to see you all out there doing something really sensible... have fun, keep rolling!
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Re: Bugs On My Face goes to Oz

Postby mightymatt43 » Tue Jun 16, 2015 7:35 pm

Day 3 in Oz: Sydney to Hawk's Nest

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As many of you know, riding as a passenger on a motorbike requires a healthy dose of trust. One of the greatest things that traveling by motorcycle has shown me is how much my wife trusts my abilities. We have been in several situations together that were legitimately frightening, and although there have been a few tears (I’m sure there have been some secret sobs in her helmet), Kristen believes in me. It is not something that I take lightly or overlook as I know that this is not the case in a lot of marriages.

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I was reminded of this confidence as we pulled into Sydney traffic for the second time considering my poor first attempt.

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There are no pictures from our weaving through traffic as Kristen was tending to her navigating duties, but we hit a Zen moment as a driving team whilst downtown. Our first day of driving was testament to an over-confidence in myself. I couldn’t believe how differently the rig handled with the sidecar on the left side. But as we headed north on day two, the three of us were a finely tuned, four-headed, three-wheeled machine.

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Kristen’s new helmet presented a new challenge as I now can’t see her face, but she was quickly using scuba diving signs crossed with sign language crossed with charades. It’s a good system, plus her Biltwell helmet is a boss.

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After a few tunnels and tight squeezes next to buses in narrow lanes, we were out into the open. Two initial thoughts: this 2015 Ural is wicked and it is frickin cold! We knew it was going to be winter here but it was in the low 40s when we left Sydney. Time to put every layer on...

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After a late lunch, we pulled off of the A1, the main artery that runs up and down the East coast of Australia, and headed over to a small town called Hawk’s Nest.

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The late afternoon light was too good to miss a few glamour shots of the new bike:

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We found a nice little motel that seemed close to the ocean and unloaded before going to have a look. Bennett Beach was nearly empty and completely lovely at dusk.

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After some tapas, including some fairly epic oyesters, we considered the day a complete victory.

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Re: Bugs On My Face goes to Oz

Postby lendrinkard » Tue Jun 16, 2015 8:15 pm

Nice Thanks :)
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Re: Bugs On My Face goes to Oz

Postby roscoau » Wed Jun 17, 2015 6:40 am

Ok, so your first mistake was to go north, otherwise you'd be at my place my now. You've gone past my old house but that doesn't matter since I'm not there.

Have you made contact with the Aussie Ural world? Start here: http://uralsinaustralia.freeforums.net and you'll never be lonely!

I'm sure we can help you find interesting places... don't miss the Pub With No Beer for a start and get the heck off the damned highway. You are missing lots!

Have fun!
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Re: Bugs On My Face goes to Oz

Postby roscoau » Wed Jun 17, 2015 6:43 am

Oh yeah, make sure you go to Kentucky!
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Postby mightymatt43 » Fri Jun 19, 2015 3:26 am

lendrinkard wrote:Nice Thanks :)


:moto:

roscoau wrote:Ok, so your first mistake was to go north, otherwise you'd be at my place my now. You've gone past my old house but that doesn't matter since I'm not there.

Have you made contact with the Aussie Ural world? Start here: http://uralsinaustralia.freeforums.net and you'll never be lonely!

I'm sure we can help you find interesting places... don't miss the Pub With No Beer for a start and get the heck off the damned highway. You are missing lots!

Have fun!


I was hoping I'd hear from you!

The main problem we have on our trip here is we just don't have enough time. We're not spending much time at all on the highway but have done a few stints to make up time. We've already decided that we're going to have to come back...

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Day 4 in Oz: Hawk's Nest to Harrington

Postby mightymatt43 » Fri Jun 19, 2015 4:00 am

Day 4 in Oz: Hawk's Nest to Harrington

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One of the facets of travel that feeds our drive to see the world is the simple act of observing people. Being a fly on the wall and just seeing how others live is fascinating. It's so easy to take people for granted when we're in our daily routine. But flying halfway across the world breaks that cycle of apathy. It has become a common occurrence for one of us to turn to the other and say, "Isn't it crazy how many people there are in the world and how we'll never get to know them?"

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We woke extremely early seeing as we're still getting used to the time change and hustled down to the beach for a quick shot of the new sun. What had been completely isolated the night before was now bustling with people and boats.

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After a bit of investigating, we discovered we were witnessing the beginning of a 48 hour, 250 km race involving both boats and bicycles.

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This was not a casual race. These people had trained for weeks and it was a bit heartbreaking to see a couple groups wreck on the first round of waves off the beach.

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After a tremendous breakfast, we headed up the coast along some lonely roads.

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Weaving our way along the coast and The Lakes Way was just fantastic. We took a few ferry rides...
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...and had some more time to take a few glamour shots.
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The sun was out, the roads were empty, and the bubble shield selfies were in full gear:
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We wound our way to the secluded Seal Rocks to find every campsite, BnB, hotel, motel, spare room had been booked already. Thank you unknown Aussie holiday!

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The views were worth the ride though:
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Harrington eventually showed us favor and we rolled into a campsite as the sun went down. Great day of riding in Oz!
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Re: replies

Postby roscoau » Fri Jun 19, 2015 4:52 am

mightymatt43 wrote:
The main problem we have on our trip here is we just don't have enough time. We're not spending much time at all on the highway but have done a few stints to make up time. We've already decided that we're going to have to come back...[/color]


Ok, I just realised you only have a month? You're barely going to scratch the surface of the east coast, let alone the rest. How far are you planning to get? Next time give us a yell first so we can be ready for you!
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Postby mightymatt43 » Sat Jun 20, 2015 1:35 am

roscoau wrote:
mightymatt43 wrote:
The main problem we have on our trip here is we just don't have enough time. We're not spending much time at all on the highway but have done a few stints to make up time. We've already decided that we're going to have to come back...[/color]


Ok, I just realised you only have a month? You're barely going to scratch the surface of the east coast, let alone the rest. How far are you planning to get? Next time give us a yell first so we can be ready for you!


Yeah, that's just life unfortunately. I couldn't take any more work off and we really wanted to get over and at least see a bit of Oz. Plus I really wanted to try out a brand new Ural. I can't believe we only have 10 days left. We've seen some really beautiful country though. I have a feeling we could spend years here... We're planning on ending our trip in Cairns - hoping to do one dive out of there even though it will be pretty chilly.

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Comparison of a 2007 Gear Up to a 2015 Ranger

Postby mightymatt43 » Sat Jun 20, 2015 2:00 am

Comparison of a 2007 Gear Up to a 2015 Ranger

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In so many ways, the 2015 Ural Ranger is identical to our Gear Up from 2007. It has the all familiar soft whir and tick of the engine. Shifting through the gears must be deliberate and mindful of RPMs and results in a satisfying "thunk". The sidecar itself feels the same and the entire rig is well-balanced and sturdy. But to me, there have been major changes in 8 years of development. I only have about 1100 km under the bike's belt, but initially I am greatly appreciating the updates.

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A new instrument panel with several new indicators including a low fuel light. I still go by the odometer but it's nice to have a secondary reminder.
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The new hydraulic steering dampener is greatly improved over the old friction type and is easily adjusted.
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Newly styled exhausts.
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Newly improved wheels, rims and spokes (allegedly).
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A hand-operated parking brake which is much more effective than the old bolt type and actually stops the bike from rolling down hills.
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Perhaps most noticeable and important to me are the new Brembo disc brakes on the rear and sidecar. I personally think the braking is incredibly poor on my 2007 GU. There have been times when I have found it miraculous that the bike has stopped at all. I have a lot more confidence in the stopping power of the Brembos.
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The new, screw-in oil filter is a revelation. Pulling the filter from my 2007 was a bit of a pain and even more of a pain to insert a new one. The new location is just well thought out.
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The fuel canister seems a bit more robust with a nice update to the mount.
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The new bench seat has a bit more cushion than mine, although I don't like the set seating areas. Mine is completely flat and allows me to stretch out a bit.
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The most controversial and potentially exciting change is the inclusion of fuel injection. I can honestly say that I'm pretty torn. It is nice to not have to mess with anything when making a climb in elevation (although I'm not doing that here) but the FI will definitely make adjustments or repairs in the field more complicated or maybe not even possible. The idea of having this fail in the middle of nowhere is a bit concerning. This Ranger seems to have a good map and is running and idling very smoothly.
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As of right now, the 2015 Ranger has been running strong and has taken a few muddy, dirt tracks to highways in stride. Although our 2007 GU is running great back home, this new bike is really impressing me. So much so that I will be really sad to leave it in Australia.

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Re: Bugs On My Face goes to Oz

Postby barnone » Wed Jun 24, 2015 3:08 pm

Thanks for taking us along. :lurker:

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Re: Bugs On My Face goes to Oz

Postby Thermos » Wed Jul 15, 2015 8:48 am

Great as always.

Any more installments?

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Re: Bugs On My Face goes to Oz

Postby Ironhorse Sa » Fri Jul 17, 2015 2:05 am

Swag helmit and boots guys!
Great rig, - you need to name that - maybe Ozzie?!
Sidecar on the left? welcome to my world - the world of giants! South Africa.
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Re: Bugs On My Face goes to Oz

Postby SidecarDan » Sat Jan 16, 2016 12:54 am

Does anyone know if these two are OK? They seem to have quit posting mid road trip in Australia without any word.
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