Motorcycling

A Ride to the Mt Crawford Fossicking area.

Late last year I bought a permit from the Forestry department that allows me to prospect on their land. I have been there a few time but thought that I had better make the effort to go again as the permit expires early November. It would be my last chance as I have other things planned for my days off up till the end of November.

I had a few chores to get done before I left so it was around 11am before I had the bike on the road and headed for Mt Crawford.

Mt Crawford seen a bit of a Gold rush about 130 years ago after a chap by the name of John Watts discovered gold there in 1884. Watts managed to keep the discovery quiet until the following year when the secret was out. once the news got out there was a bit of a major gold rush on. It wasn’t long before other discoveries near by were found. A second Gold rush occurred in 1930 when a 20oz nugget was found during planting of pine trees.

It would be difficult to gauge just how much gold has come from this area but it is certainly in the 1000’s of ounces.

The ride up there was nothing spectacular as I rode on the main access route to get there. Once there I decided to ride up into the pine plantation area. After finding what looked like a suitable area I parked the bike up.

Not really a sealed road.

Not really a sealed road.

Unpacked the gear ready to detect.

Unpacked the gear ready to detect.

I spent about 2 hours metal detecting and found the usual items. Bits of wire, pieces of metal and tin cans and even a beer can in the middle of nowhere. It worries me that some people think it is okay to throw their garbage out where ever they like.

I found the usual amount of gold and decided that there may be some water in a nearby creek. I had my sieves and gold pan with me and thought I would give that a go.

After packing all the gear back in the bike and readied to go I had a look about and realised I had not left myself with a lot of room to turn the bike around and I couldn’t keep going along the track as it went down into a bog hole.

No problems I will just do a 3 point turn. so I got the bike around as far as I could get it and I push it back so I could turn the remaining section. Problem was I could not get it back very far. Thought I would give it a try anyway. The center section of the track had become depressed and the front wheel rode up the side of the track about 8 inches high. Vstroms are quite high bikes and with the added height of the front wheel and (my biggest mistake) lack of forward movement meant my feet were dangling in air. Opp’s over I go. Bugger. Didn’t hurt myself apart from a small bruise on my left ankle but the impact snapped the end off my brake lever.

Never mind. Most of the damage was to my pride. At least it was away from the crowds. 🙂 . Okay off to the creek.

You can see the break lever broken. The end sitting on the handle.

You can see the break lever broken. The end sitting on the handle.

Unfilled hole.

Unfilled hole.

After arriving at the creek the first thing I see is a huge hole left by someone. Being on my bike, I didn’t have a shovel, just my $4.99 Big W lolly scoop that I use to fill my sieve. I would have filled it in but I would have taken me a hour or more. Anyway people should learn to fill there own holes in. I ended up just putting a branch in the hole so any small animals that may fall in have a chance to crawl out.

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My attempt at panning was fruitless and I decided to leave it for another day.

I enjoyed the ride home although the last 1/2 hour was starting to cool off quite a bit. It was a great day out even though my bike got tired and laid down for a a rest. Oh and still no Gold.

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A trip to Jupiter creek with a sting.

Decided to head off to Jupiter Creek again. Really starting to treat it more as just a day in the bush, an excuse for a ride, any excuse is a good one. I don’t think the Xterra 705 is to good in the ground at Jupiter Creek and maybe I should look at going to Mount Crawford or even further afield.

Anyhow the weather was great and it was going to be another look about up there. So I pack up my bike and off I went.

After I got to Jupiter creek it was again time to find something to prop my bike up on as the ground is quite soft this time of the year. So I nosed the bike into the railing that segregates the parking lot from the Diggings area.

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I readied my detecting gear and stowed my riding gear. I then strolled off down into the diggings area. I had my Gopro with me and took some footage while I was there but I need to edit it a fair amount and then work out how to put it on you tube. Once I do I will post a link.

I headed towards Whites Gully as Nenad had pointed me in that direction as it is kinder to VLF machines. I detected along the way. Unfortunately I was digging up the usual junk but then got a strong signal. After digging it I found it was a nipped off nail. Seem to find a lot of these. Not sure what they are from or used for, but will post a picture later. Perhaps someone can tell me.

Interesting signs along the way. learn a little of the history.

Interesting signs along the way. learn a little of the history.

Not to far away I put the detector over the side of a bank of some old diggings. I got a good signal and tried to manoeuvre into a better standing position. I put the detector down and scraped some of the surface leaf and rubbish away so I could get the coil to the ground. I picked up my detector and that is when I realised I had made a terrible mistake. I was about to be in a bit of pain. I had inadvertently stood on top of an Inch Ant nest! I had them coming up my trousers and they were in full attack mode! For those of you who don’t know what an Inch Ant is, they are an ant that is 25mm long or obviously an inch long. If disturbed they are very aggressive and give very painful stings. For a chap who is a bit overweight and in his 50s I made a fairly rapid retreat and in the process of removing them from myself was lucky to have only got nailed by them one on the thumb and twice on the belly. Yes they were inside my shirt and all.

Inch Ant image off the net

Inch Ant image off the net

I must admit it put a bit of a dampener on my day as I was then on the constant look out for Ants.

I finally made my way over to White gully and detected in the area for some time without success.

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I ended up deciding that I would be better of going for a ride and having some afternoon tea.

I headed back to Echunga and pulled up at a General Store in the main street that looked a likely spot to have coffee and a Ham and Cheese toasty.

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late lunch

late lunch

So after a very late lunch and a good cup of coffee, I made tracks to head home.

So after being nailed a few time by inch ants it was still a good day out, but still no Gold

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Off for a ride with the OFMG again.

It has been a while since I went for a ride with the Old Farts Motorcycle Group. They start their Wednesday rides at 10am sharp. I had been up giving my son a hand with his part time job first up. I finished at about 9.50am. I was almost going to give the ride a miss but my wife insisted that I should go and enjoy a ride. Well who am I to argue. A quick phone call later and I planned to meet them at their morning tea location. Nairne.

I arrived there and they had started to get their coffees, tea’s etc. So I was happy to have made up some time by taking the shorter less curvy road. It was the biggest roll up of riders I had seen. 23 all up.

Many other bikes on the other side of the road

Many other bikes on the other side of the road

After all had finished their morning tea a few split off, which is normal and they went home or off to other appointments. The remainder decided to go to Mannum for lunch. Mannum is located on the Murray river and was once an important inland port for paddle steamers. Now is quite a tourist location. The Pub puts on quite a good meal. Best thing about going on these rides is finding these places to take my wife for meals later on.

Riders finished with there meal started telling their normal yarns.

As riders finished with there meal they started telling their normal yarns.

The chap on the right with the grey beard is 74 year young Malcolm and the chap in the middle with his back to us is 83 year young Don. Both are FarRiders and ride Kawasaki GTR 1400’s. Malcolm’s he bought brand new in 2008 has about 220,000km on the clock. Good effort for a young fella.

After our meals it was simply a ride back to Goolwa, where some again left the group to head home while the remainder head for the local watering hole.

Our local brewery.

Our local brewery.

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Another great day out with the locals. I hope to be riding into my 70s and 80s. 

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Rise of the Phoenix, a Motorcycle Resurrection.

My VN900 had been on the charger overnight and it was time to give starting her another go. Pushed her out of the shed once again and dreaded the thought of needing to push her back in if she failed to start.

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Well I managed to get her started but was running very rough. I thought I would take her for a run and after warming up and getting a little oil around the engine she could clear her throat and run better.
I managed to get her to the highway and I opened the throttle up. Oh not good at all! Only running on one cylinder. I was about 2km down the road and decided to get her back home before anything major happened.
I had some traffic behind me so I pulled over to let it past before I done the U turn to limp back to home. As I pulled over I could tell it was about to stall so I gave her some throttle and looked in the rear view mirror to see the dreaded plumes of blue smoke blocking my vision. Still I didn’t want to stall the engine so I gave her some more twists of the throttle. More blue smoke.
I managed to complete the U turn and then something happened. It was like the “Rise of the Phoenix” suddenly both cylinders were firing and as I was still on the gravel verge after doing the U turn, the added power of both bangers firing sent the rocks flying.
It certainly took me by surprise but I managed to keep her under control. I was now so please with her performance it was time to take that ride I had planned. I decided not to go too far just in case the Phoenix let me down. Yep, after owning her from new in 2007 it was time to give her a name and after the amount of smoke she bellowed out I think Phoenix is quite suitable.
So off to Victor Harbour for a short ride and return to home. I rode through Victor and turned around the ring road. The ring road travels past a wildlife park where we had taken my son and his family last week.

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It is a privately owned park and is very good. If ever passing by it would be well worth the stop.
I then started the return trip home. I had a few stops along the way.

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Victor Harbor is a lovely spot during the winter months, but at Christmas during the school holidays it is a nightmare. The population doubles with all the tourists. But I guess its good for the town.

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Middleton is a surfing town and is also a holiday destination. The tavern here does cook a great meal.

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Back to my home town of Goolwa. I Finished up very happy with the performance of my bike “Phoenix”. After fueling her up I put her to bed in the garage.
After I walked inside I told my wife it just isn’t any good and I can’t sell it. She asked what was wrong with my bike? Simple answer was “I love it! I just can’t sell it!”

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A false start and then a ride to Chapel Hill

A couple of years ago I moved from New South Wales to South Australia. I commenced a fly in, fly out job and my cruiser was about out of rego so I thought I would change the rego to South Australia. After getting back home I took all the paperwork into Service SA to do just that. It was 2 days out of rego but I thought it would not be a problem. How wrong I was.
After arriving at Service SA they said I had to take the bike to the inspection centre. My trailer was still in NSW so the bike stayed in the shed…..for 2 years.
Well After 2 years I thought I may as well sell the bike as I still have the Vstrom. So I purchased a new battery and started the bike up and put it on the trailer and into Adelaide we went. After the inspection I had to then go to Service SA with the extra paperwork and got the new plate with no problems apart from my wallet being a few hundred dollars lighter.
Time for a bit of a ride on the cruiser to see what sort of condition it was in.

VN900 looks ready to go. :(

VN900 looks ready to go. 

Well that was that. It was a non starter and I run the battery flat trying. So I push her back into the shed and set the battery up to charge.
Well it was a great day out there and I did not want to waste it. So out comes out faithful, The Vstrom came out of the shed and down to fuel up.

Nice looking chick in the car behind the bike. Oh that's right I married her almost 32 years ago. :)

Nice looking chick in the car behind the bike. Oh that’s right I married her almost 32 years ago. 

I wanted to check out another prospecting area that is close to Jupiter Creek. So I put some gear in my top box and my detector into the expedition pannier and off to the hills.
It was after lunch time and I decided that I had best get something to eat. I have often stopped at a cafe in Meadow before which is quite good.

The Balance Cafe at Meadows

The Balance Cafe at Meadows

The Cafe has a nice display of gem stones so I had a look at these while I waited for my sandwich and coffee.

Display cabinet

Display cabinet

Gem Tree

Gem Tree

The coffee and toasted ham and cheese sandwich hit the spot.

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Time to head for Chapel Hill which is not far from Echunga. There has been quite a bit of rain lately and the ground was fairly soft. Not good for a side stand so I thought the fence could do with propping up.

Perhaps not the best way to park a bike. But it done the job.

Perhaps not the best way to park a bike. But it done the job.

Chapel Hill was an old diggings site from the 1800s. Gold was first discovered by William Chapman in 1852. I guess that’s how it got the name Chapel Hill? Jupiter creek, just a little further south produced over 25,000 ounces. After its discovery over 1000 prospectors poured into the area within the first few weeks
After gearing up and safely stowing my riding gear I headed off down the track.

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About every 20 metres I would pass by signs warning off mine shafts, and the were several by the side of the track that were guarded.

Best watch were you walk

Best watch were you walk

Other shafts were quite exposed and you could understand how people could easily fall in. There were quite a few that had water about 4’ down, but others I just could not see the bottoms of. The photo’s below went down about 8 – 10 feet and then looked to drive off to the side.

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I metal detected for a couple of hours but found only trash and a couple of hot rocks.
I made my way back to the bike and stowed my prospecting gear and put my riding gear on and made tracks for home. I made tracks for Strathalbyn. It’s a nice town but the road leading there is great for riding.
The sun was starting to get lower on the horizon and the green grassy hills to the south were to much to pass by without a photo.

Looking good after a few steady rains.

Looking good after a few steady rains.

So what started out as a bit of a disappointing day turned out pretty okay. I returned home while there was still light and locked my Vstrom away until I have the chance of another ride.
I took the VN900 off the charger and would tackle it in the morning. I hope she is more accommodating then.

My spoils for the day.

My spoils for the day.

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