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There is so much to consider when you think about participating in an AGM.  Do you ride?  Do you drive?  Or do you maybe fly?

Joe shares with you his experience of the first AGM he attended.

Before we decided to cross the Nullarbor by motorbike we didsome extensive research.  I spoke topeople, read magazine articles, and even went to websites specialising intravel concepts, ideas and assistance.  Igot everyone going with us over for a meeting and bounced ideas, expanding myknowledge base.  I looked into everycontingency, everything that could go wrong and covered it.  I got tyre repair kits, first aid kits,carried extra fuel and extra water, roadside assistance with RAC and a toolboxfull of tools.

Below is the knowledge I have accrued in my expedition fromWaikiki, Western Australia to Mildura, Victoria, across the Nullarbor Plain forthe 2012 Annual General Meeting of Ulysses, 3024 kms, 1880 miles.

Firstly, I over planned. I know you wouldn’t think that possible but over thinking it was probably my very first mistake.  By overthinking it I ended up taking nearly everything I owned, I took so much stuff that I blew a tyre simply because of the sheer weight of safety equipment.  Also, when we got to Southern Cross, behindus was 32 degrees and sun and ahead of us are black skies and a cyclone.

Don’t listen to your wife! When she is sitting in her car, with the window cracked, calling you awuss, all the while having the windows fog up because of the heaters.  When she says you need to get on your bikeand ride into a cyclone, as a little rain never hurt anyone, don’t listen.  Stop, take a load off, book into a hotel andwatch a little TV.

Also, when you get into a little one-horse town and they say, “We have a mouse problem”, this, in city talk, means OMG, a plague.  While trying to sleep, having mice going throughyour stuff is not pleasant. Turning on the light and having them scurry out ofyour bags with your lollies in their mouth is not a good thing.

And then there is the fuel. Always check the sign underneath the “Premium Unleaded” notification,right where it is written in pen on masking tape… ‘Diesel’.  This could have been very embarrassing.  On the subject of fuel, another handinghit.  When you stop for fuel and put your helmet on the trailer of the bike next to you, don’t let him drive off.  Helmets don’t bounce.

The other tip I have is, when travelling with male Ulyssians, we aware that toilet breaks are every 60kms and consist of everyone pulling into a truck stop, running into the bush in a line and saying,  ‘Aaaahhh’ all in sync.

When you finally do get into a campground and when you finally think it’s all over and you can now get some rest, think again.  If the fellow campers don’t wake you with their snoring or their kids don’t stop you from sleeping because they’replaying cricket against your tent, then surely the sound of half a dozen men hacking up a lung should be enough for you to realise, “I should have worn thongs in the shower”

All in all, if I were to give you any advice, it would be,take enough money to eat at a restaurant and stay in a hotel, because when the weather turns and the BBQ won’t light, there is nothing like your own private toilet.  Remember, tap your heels and repeat after me,“There is no place like home, there is no place like home.”

Where the AGM is help would depend on the effort and cost involved in getting there.  But something extremely important to remember is, ‘you have to get back.’  As good, or bad, as the trip may be, you always have to get back home and even though, on paper, we had worked out this concept, we had not fully appreciated the concept.

When we first sat down and worked out the route, we laid themap down on the table and worked out that from Waikiki to Mildura, following the Great Eastern Highway to Coolgardie, down to Norseman then across the Nullarbor to Port Augusta then down towards Adelaide, then across to Mildura was a total of 14 inches.  Which means on paper, it looks relatively easy.

I did get some invaluable information, which I will passon.  This is, only  look at the trip for the day of travel, not the entire trip.  Then break the day down into before and after lunch, then even further, for each fuel stop.  This can also be broken into toilet breaks,which, based on experience would mean every 50 to 60 kms stop for a wee.

Then you arrive at Mildura. As we drive in the weather clears and the sun comes out, giving us atruly wonderful welcome.  Once there we could settle into the concept of the AGM. The registration process is very efficient, so efficient that when wegot up and it was still dark outside so we could get down and register before the millions of minions, it was, let’s say, unnecessary.  By the time my wife and I got down there,parked our bike and raced over to register, we were seventh in line.

Once registered, we made our way back to the hotel we werestaying at to gather our entire houseful of stuff that we inadvertently brought with us.  Once back at the AGM site welined up behind four other bikes, again, no need to rush, we were now fourth inline. 

We then got to set up our camper, once opened we realised that it was still wet from the storms in Port Augusta.  There was no way I was going to sleep in awet patch, so we agreed that placing our mattress on top of the camper to dry would be the best idea.  Although we then had to explain how we got a two story accommodation block where everyone else had a single story.  The amount of campers and tents at the site were gob smacking, the snoring that we were about to be exposed to, also overwhelming.

The weather was fantastic for the week of the AGM, sunny and bright, couldn’t have asked for better. Got a chance to do all the washing and, unlike our neighbours who hung their undies o.n their campers, our washing was dried in a dryer.

So then we settled down for the AGM, wonderful weather andwonderful people.  The stalls, the foodand the rides were well worth the effort of getting from, on paper, “A” to “B”.

Would we do it again?  Absolutely, and we will

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