Blog 226 Rolling again 10th -14th April 2012


I can’t believe I’m walking again and we still haven’t had the accident yet!!
In this blog we are leaving the Mornington peninsula heading towards Canberra, the final piece in our circumnavigation of Australia before we return to Melbourne to ship the bike.

Now we had the chance, friendly hosts and a workshop we thought we had better try and discover what the weird noises that were emanating from the gearbox area were. We had both been feeling some rumbles and vibrations through the foot plates from the bike ever since we got back from our tour of Tasmania.

Kev took the back wheel and swingarm out in expectation of having to delve deeper but soon discovered an obvious problem. The driveshaft and its flexible (cardan) joint are supported by a roller bearing in the swingarm and once it was removed he could see that there were only about half of the original ball bearings left in the race. Martin helped him to change the bearing, they also discovered that the cardan joint had, not surprisingly spun in the knackered bearing and was no longer the interference fit it should be. The joint amazingly still had no play or stiffness in it so they turned the cardan joint around as they are symmetrical and filed/sanded the other end until it was a good fit in the new bearing and all was well. This was a good result as the bearing was only $20 when the cardan joint would have cost nearly $400.

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One last little job that Martin also helped him with was welding a crack in one of the exhaust header pipes which his mate Liam from Grunt Engineering fixed.

Kev is really grateful to Martin because he showed him a modified fixing method which will stop this problem ever happening again. It was so obviously a better way and once you have seen this you would never go back. Basically rather than the original thin flange welded to the end of the pipe you weld a thick diameter pipe straight to the header and clamp down onto that, we did both pipes while we were at it. Thanks to Liam for the excellent tig welding too !

To celebrate Martin broke the Tequila out that night, owch. Here are some shots of the exhausts and his tequila face.

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We were heading off to complete the final piece in our circumnavigation of Australia and a visit to see our friend Mark in Canberra. He has been following our journey since the very early days and solved our driveshaft troubles in New Zealand by kindly sending us a new replacement for our much welded knackered one. He has been a great friend to us and we hadn’t even met him yet so it was time to put that right.

Quick fire question for you, in 5 secs name the capital of Australia ?

Sydney ? Wrong !

Melbourne ? Wrong !

It is in fact Canberra which is roughly halfway between the two, mainly because there was a long running rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne both of which thought they should be the capital of Australia. When the continent was first settled by Europeans it was divided into states, each of which ran fairly autonomously like their own little empires, until federation in 1901. Canberra is in the Australian Capital Territory originally called the Federal National Territory and was literally built from the ground up as a home for the Australian Parliament and government.

This time we couldn’t leave the peninsula without first visiting Arthur’s seat, we didn’t get the chance last time we were here. It was named by acting lieutenant John Murray when he entered Port Philip in the ship Lady Nelson in 1802 because it resembled the hill of Arthur’s seat in Edinburgh (his home city). Its a great spot to admire the views over Port Philip and the Melbourne city skyline. We also took a wander around Seawinds gardens which has been planted with indigenous plants.

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On our way back down we also popped in to say G’day to Liam and show him the bike he welded the exhausts for yesterday.

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The time was getting on as we made we our way along the rural coastal route but I happened to spy out the corner of my eye some interesting looking objects. We turned around and discovered what I had spotted was Coal Creek railway which happened to not only still be open but also free to enter. As it was late, it was deserted and we managed to rush around the top half and photograph some of the old buildings, the light was good and the lack of people gave it an old world charm. Even the two pet emus roamed about freely. We could not explore it all in the time we had, so we found a free camp nearby Korumburra down by the river so we could return tomorrow.

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Coal Creek is a historical village run by community volunteers. It comprises of 63 buildings made to resemble a typical old rural village, doctors, pub, school and blacksmiths. It was built around the poppet head of a coal mining site as a reminder of the mining heritage of this South Gippsland area. Coal was first discovered in 1872 and was mined right up to 1958. The stream train now only runs to the bottom paddock which is based around a dairy farm.

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The next day was really busy as there was a farmers market but the upshot of this was that everywhere was open including the working blacksmiths. We bought some home made stew for lunch and watched some more live demonstrations including a lady spinning wool. The emus Edmund and Edwina were locked away for the day as there are too many people about. We really liked coal creek there was lots to see and do, a good atmosphere and it was free. We also got the chance to walk down to the bottom paddock the dairy farm end. I was a little nervous waiting for the dentist having looked at the equipment first. 

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Just past the town of Sale we spotted a sign for a historical swing bridge so ‘swung’ by to take a look. It was just opening as we pulled into the car park. We jumped off with our cameras and ran in case we missed the opportunity but soon realised unlike the one in Tassie which took minutes to open this one was originally wound by hand and although now run by a generator and electric motor still went at manual speed. Construction began in 1880 and by 1883 it was opened to traffic. In its heyday in the 1890′s it opened on average three times a day. It was restored in 1972 and now only opened once every weekend so our timing was very fortuitous. It is the oldest surviving swing bridge in Australia. As it wound so slowly we had the opportunity to travel round the main road to the other side and watch it close again from there. You have to feel for the original bridge keepers who wound this open (and closed) by hand with a small steel crank handle which is why it is so low geared.

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After all these distractions we only just made it in time for chocolate muffins when we met up with Ken again and his friend’s Peter and Helen and their dog Mika. We had dinner and spent a very pleasant evening with them all at Peter and Helen’s house.

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Next Up – The fabulous Barry way and a little closer to Canberra

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