Blog 193 Perth from 20th Nov 2011


People often ask us what’s the longest you’ve spent anywhere, we can now answer that question… Perth. Not all in the city centre and not all with the same people, it had a nice vibe, we liked it and we were really lucky with the people we met. Some of our time here was spent fettling the bike, some catching up with web site stuff and some enjoying and sightseeing.

As we said in our previous blog it was really good to catch up with our English friends Dave and Claire, we hope they are enjoying their Christmas break back in England their first in over five years.

Theo needed no excuse to jump on his bike so when we expressed an interest in returning to explore New Norcia he said he would come with us. The settlement was established by two Spanish Benedictine monks Rosendo Salvado and Joseph Serra in 1846 as an Aboriginal mission and the monastery is still operating today. The town boasts two old boarding schools, St Ildephonsus’ and St Gertrude’s, the Abbey Church (containing the tomb of Rosendo Salvado), an old mill, a wine press, a hotel which is unique in that it has two and half storeys and the monastery itself.

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The last Spanish Benedictine monk of New Norcia died on 18 January 2010, aged 99. He continued to prepare the bread for the monks and olive oil right up to his death.

Of course while we were here we had to sample a drop of abbey ale brewed by the monks which was absolutely delicious, it was reminiscent of Belgian Hoegaarden beer except better. There is a long tradition of brewing beer in monasteries. They also had a machinery museum, the strange looking upright device is a drinks cooler and Theo is demonstrating how the brick maker works. The wooden thing on the floor is a improvised roller designed to be towed behind a pair of horses.

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Theo is a volunteer bush fire fighter for the Chittering region. As he showed us around his station you could hear the pride in his voice as he demonstrated the equipment and vehicles and told us stories connected to them. He drives the big fire engine.

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We also managed to attend a 4×4 and camping show with Helen and Theo, the array of vans and camper trailers on display was mind boggling. It was interesting to have a look at the many different camping set-ups. We would both like to do another trip sometime in the future maybe in a 4×4 campervan next time with a couple of dirt bikes on the back. Camper trailers are popular in Australia and we have seen lots of interesting rigs on our travels here including a camper trailer for a motorbike pictures below.

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Kev wanted to make the most of having a good workshop and change the back tyre along with fettling a few things. The bitumen is very abrasive this side and we couldn’t get the tyre we wanted so we only got a pitiful 4000km out of the last tyre (normally we get 10k + ) . He called me out to the shed saying “I think you need to look at this” . We noticed a couple of small hairline cracks in our rear wheel in Darwin, we had been keeping an eye on them but the cracks had suddenly got considerably worse despite us trying to stay on tarmac where we could.

Now we would be going nowhere !!!

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We certainly fell on our feet with Theo he introduced us to his mate Phil and between them and Mario the superb owner of Thunderbikes we had it sorted within a day or two. We not only had a brand new rear wheel at a bargain $300 but it was machined out to accept the taper roller bearings and tubeless tyre valve thanks to Phil. We certainly couldn’t have done this without their help. We had already been arranging our spare wheel to be shipped from home and as luck would have it managed to stop its departure with less than two hours to go. It most probably would have taken weeks to reach us as well as costing a fortune to ship such a heavy item. The driveshaft that Mark donated in Sydney has held up well, Mario didn’t have another in stock but had a slightly longer one. With Phil’s help we shortened this to the correct length with his lathe and recut the circlip grooves with this cunning lathe mounted angle grinder. This means we now have a good spare for South America. The wheel has had many big impacts and carried a lot of weight over some really rough going. It has had a flat spot for a long time, the corrugations here just finished it off. Here is Phil modifying the driveshaft and in the second picture turning the bearing housing followed by the flat spot and the new shiny replacement wheel.

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We all went for a pizza with Phil and Caron his wife and they kindly invited us to come a stay a while in town.  We had a funny moment back at their house that evening when we saw an email from Pat one of our U.S contacts suggesting a Guzzi rider in Perth we should contact which was of course Phil.  Pat has introduced us to several Guzzisti all over NZ and Australia despite the fact he has never been here. He hosted all of them when they were travelling in the U.S

Caron had some good ideas to help us have a fund raising day and some of the preparation to this involved a promotional trip to Toodyay and York both biker hang outs at the weekends. This was a good excuse to take the bikes out for a ride both towns had interesting architecture and we had an enjoyable cup of coffee whilst promoting our fund-raiser. The first picture is us meeting the gang at Villa de Vinci for a pizza followed by three pictures of Toodyay then two of a huge mining truck that passed by and the rest are of York.

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We didn’t quite get the numbers we would have liked but with only a weeks notice it wasn’t surprising, the biggest turnout was from the local BMW club thanks to Rob one of their members and we were grateful for their interest and support. We had a raffle and Villa de Vinci the local Italian restaurant kindly donated a $50 dollar voucher as a prize along with Venables Tool Supplies who chipped in a screwdriver set. The winners are pictured with us, Alex won us for a day to do with whatever he liked but very kindly gave us the day off.  Phil and Caron invited him back for dinner afterward to say thank-you. We raised an amazing $400 including our trips to York and Toodyay all of which helped buy the new rear tyre and wheel.

Australia has been expensive and we are desperately trying to stretch out the money we transfered to travel here so we don’t jeopardize the Americas leg. We would ordinarily get a temporary job but frustratingly you cannot get a work visa here when you are over 30.

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We went back to see Mario at Thunderbikes on the bike when it was fixed, he has been such a help throughout our time in Australia, we would recommend him and his shop to any Guzzi rider.

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It is the friends we meet on our travels that make our journey special and Phil and Caron had a treat in store for us. He is the building manager of a high rise in the centre of town and took us up on the roof.  Kev took a photo looking down the stairwell 42 floors up, it went on forever. Here is a special view of Perth city at night and the last photo is us in one of the huge plant rooms.

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Next up more around Perth

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