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Brisbane to Tamworth

20th April 2014 to 20th April 2014

I ended up spending far more time in Brisbane than I had planned. There are worse places to get stuck though. I was able to stay between family and friend's places but I couldn't help but feel my trip was suffering some setbacks. Here I was trying to takeoff on this massive trip around the world but I was back at my parents' place, sleeping in my childhood bedroom - being reminded by my Mum that I needed to clean my room.

The bike was having issues. More than I had planned and further still some of the parts I needed couldn't be found in Australia and had to be sent over from the UK at a great expense of time and money.

Fortunately having grown up and worked in Brisbane for years I had a great group of people I was able to meet up with. I pulled into a dive bar I had run a few years ago. The place had undergone some renovations but the clientele were still familiar and friendly. While I sat drinking my beer thinking about the countless hours I had spent pulling beers, hauling stock, clearing tables while working there, the owner walked through. Having worked with plenty of bar owners I am yet to find one as committed to his business as Lee. No job was too small or too big for him to approach personally. He didn't drink to excess or do drugs and he always paid his staff - perhaps I have just been unfortunate, but such qualities are often hard to find in owners.

Lee was able to help me out with work. This was a huge help as the trickle of income was useful while I sat around and waited for the parts to arrive.
Have barblade, will travel and work for booze and enfield parts.
Have barblade, will travel and work for booze and enfield parts.

Two weeks later my parts arrived from the UK. I was due to leave two days after and while I was fitting them I discovered that they were not the right parts. The trip has had some pretty major setbacks but I felt particularly low at that point. I had blown far too much money on the shipping of these parts. How was I meant to ride this bike across the world if I couldn't even get the right parts delivered to Australia? Should I really be taking this bike all the way to London? I was closer than I liked to admit about ditching the old girl and picking up a new, more suitable Enfield.

Instead, I refocused, and found a fabricator that was able to repair my broken parts. I don't know why I didn't consider that option before. Not only was the skilled welder able to improve my parts, he did it at a cost that was much less than the postage alone I had paid for the useless parts.

The trip was back on track. Which is lucky because the next day Cam who is behind the stories of bike series was flying into Brisbane to film my Dad and I to finish the first episode of the series.

I found it funny that this was first time my Dad and I had ever ridden bikes together and there was someone there filming it.



Two days later with very little testing of the bike my Father and I rode out of the Ellaspede bike shop supported by 20 or so of the Brisbane cafe racer crowd. I can’t stress enough how nervous I was that there would be a repeat of the Sydney ride out where the bike failed miserably and I would be stuck trying to kick the bike over with a crowd behind me waiting to head off.
The ride out to Dayboro from Ellaspede went far better than my Sydney leaving gig. Supported by the Brisbane cafe racer crew and this beast of a hotrod - the bike ran perfectly
The ride out to Dayboro from Ellaspede went far better than my Sydney leaving gig. Supported by the Brisbane cafe racer crew and this beast of a hotrod - the bike ran perfectly

To its credit the bike ran perfectly.

Dad and I were on our way to Darwin.

As the bike doesn't like sitting on more than 80kms an hour we avoided the main highway as much as possible. Small towns, pub accommodation and squat camping.

We stopped at my grandparents' place near Gympie and had our last home cooked family meal. There were lots of bike stories that night but it was hard to beat the grandfather’s tales of racing a stripped back Enfield just like mine at Mt Isa in the 50’s.

The bike ran without a fault. We fell into a routine where I would draft behind my Dad on his 500 at 90kms/hr. By drafting I was able to substantially reduce the strain on the small engine.


Resting at Ban Ban Springs with Trevor Gibson, Dave Dri and a local rider.
Resting at Ban Ban Springs with Trevor Gibson, Dave Dri and a local rider.

We had long hot days to Townsville. There we spent some time with an old friend while I fitted a new front end and front wheel hub (Indian parts I had sent to my friend's house). After a couple of days we headed off without any issues to Cairns - the last real break we would have before trying to cross the Savannah way to Darwin.