My first (two day) ride with AMTRA was to Millicent, South Australia.
The ride was rated moderate/hard due to the large amount of beach/sand riding, moving off into forest riding on the second day.
Well it happened that the SA Police picked the Friday night to put a Breathalyser on the freeway coming out of Adelaide! Which delayed my Pickup by Mark & Ian by at least 30 minutes.
Anyway, they arrived, We put the XR onto the trailer with the other two bikes, showed the gear into the back of the station wagon, and off we rolled.
Unforrtunately, 3 bikes, 3 blokes, and 3 lots of gear is quite a load, even for a Ford Falcon, and she was stuggling a bit. I think we used a tank of fuel just to get to Kingston!
We topped up the fuel and continued on, arriving at the Millicent caravan park around 11pm, to find a high spirited card game already in full swing with the other AMTRA members!
Well, we were all pretty buggered after driving all the way, and decided that discretion was the better part of valor, and unpacked enough gear to sleep in, and hit the sack.
Woke up early next morning, got all the gear on and we were ready to go!
Well, we hit the first sandhill, and I once again realised that the XR 250 is a little underpowered in the sand, and the I had not let any air out of the tires!!
Stopped just over the first hill, with a bunch of the other guys who had also forgotten the tires, and after a brief session of removing tire valve caps, and letting air out, we were on our way again.
For those of you who have not been through Canunda national park, it is a small coastal environment on southeastern South Australia. Dunefields dominate the landscape and there is lots of different vegetation.
In other words, a good place to ride!
During the morning, we worked our way northwest through the national park, towards Robe.
While cruising along the beach, I tried to cross a slightly larger than usual 4wd track, and proceded to perform "the face plant" at about 80km's an hour.
I knew that for the rest of the day, I would have sand in all the uncomfortable places on my body.
Oh well, its the price we pay eh. Climbed back on "the beast", and kicked it savagely back into gear and gave it heaps, as if to punish the bike for throwing me off.
Just over the next hill, we encountered a couple of 4wd "type" vehicles, the Ssanyong/Daemoo "Musso" monsters. It seems that they are not tru 4wd, and as such, had gotten stuck.
Apart from the lack of capability in the vehicles, the drivers appeared to have no idea about how to drive in sand.
After some advice from some fellow members, and much shaking heads by the rest of the members, they were off and running again.
Lunch was had in Robe, and a nice Hamburger with the lot in particular by myself.
While eating lunch, rain threatened constantly.
After we munched out, we all climbed back on for the ride back to Millicent. On the way back, we stopped at a couple of big sandhills that some 4wd's were trying to get up, and we had a little fun on the bikes roaring up the hills.
Some (including me) didn't try the last hill, as it was very soft!
Back at the caravan park, showers were had by all, and the good clothes put on for a trip to the local pub.
While I'd like to say that we kept up the bad reputation we'd established in previous years, unfortunately, there was no band on, and everybody was too tired, and we all went back to the caravan park early and hit the sack.
Sunday morning saw everybody up and ready with not a single hangover in sight! The wind was blowing very hard, but apart from that it looked like another good day ahead.
First stop however was that big soft hill. This time I had to have a go at least, as the trail/track we were following went off that way!
Well, first time I got a decent run up, and get 3/4 of the way up the hill before sliding all the way back down again ;-(
Second go I got closer to the top, but had to try again.
Third go was going all out, and I just managed to reach the point of no return. Unfortunately the point of return still had me too, as well as the wind blowing a gale, filled with sand in exactly the opposite direction I was trying to go! With the help of a couple of the guys, we dragged the littlest XR over the remaining few feet of the sandhill. Thanks Guys!
Well, at the top of the sandhill, a little rest was had by all, except those Mad Yamaha WR riders, who went down, and up, and down, and up the hill over and over again.
When it was time to move on again, Steve's Husky 610 decided not to play. Of course, since it was blowing a gale (at the top of the sandhill it felt like that anyway), and the wind was full of sand, maintenance required a few of the guys to stand on the windward side of the bike to offer some protection from the elements.
Luckily, nothing major was wrong, and we were all soon off again.
The double track south towards blackfellows caves was awesome, the best riding so far for the weekend, and everybody was having a blast.
Lunch was a quick pastie/pie/sausage roll in blackfellows, with those WR guys wanting to backtrack a bit a have a go at the motocross track they spotted on the way through, unfortunately, we ran out of time and had to hit the pine forest fire roads.
Well, the little pig revelled in the forest conditions, and could at least keep most of the other bikes in sight now.
After a while we came to "the hill", which caused huge problems for some the year before. However, this year it was not so wet, and most made it up the hill, except for a few, including Russell.
From there it was a leisurly trip back to millicent, with a short stop at the local supercross track (WR riders again ;-) for a quick try of the track.
Unfortunately, all who tried the supercross track decided that they were either too old, or the track was "stuffed", cause that didn't last very long.
Back to the caravan park, a quick shower, and pack everything into Marks station wagon and the bikes on the trailer for the 4 hour drive home.
All in all a fantastic weekend, and one that is making me look forward to the next AMTRA camp.