Black Dog Ride 2011 – Day 5


We’d all agreed to meet at 7am for an 8am departure, and had decided to ride with Daryl & Dave for the day. Considering our tardy start to the previous day, we were all packed and ready to go by 7:30am. That’s when our buddy Dazza dropped a bombshell that he would not be continuing his Black Dog Ride for a number of reasons. We wished him well on his return journey and promised to keep in touch to see how we has.

The rest of the Brady Bunch left at 8:30am for a casual ride up to Pimba. It was some time out of Port Augusta that an iphone decided to test it’s ability to escape the tank bag at 120km/h. It succeeded at escaping, but did not survive the impact or slide along the road. I went back to retrieve it in the faint hope that there’s some way to retrieve the data. We heard that one of the WA crowd had a camera ‘in his lap’ that decided to hit the road, only to be run over by the support vehicle!

After a fuel and pit stop at Pimba, we headed towards Woomera to look around. I got an eerie vibe last year, and got another eerie vibe this year. So much so, I did a short video about it here:



Glendambo was the next stop – there’s not much to do except fuel up both you and the bike. There’s not much shade around and it is quite warm – the bike showing 29c. You often need to stretch out here more than usual as the next fuel stop is quite a lot further away (254km with no fuel stops) – many people break up this journey and use the rest stops provided to recharge/refresh for the next leg.

Cat on leash

One of the last rest stops (known as Ingovar), I saw an odd sight, of a cat on a leash. In case you don’t believe me, have a look at the pic! The sun was setting to our left as we rolled into Coober Pedy, which made for great, long shadows in pictures. As you can see in the slideshow, the area around Ingovar is quite flat, and stunningly beautiful.

Once in Coober Pedy, we settled into the Radeka Downunder Hotel before heading off for official duties at the Opal Inn, with dinner again put on by the local Lions Club. Ken Williams was able to have the proceeds of the evening’s drink sales donated to the Black Dog Institute as part of the Black Dog Ride. Everywhere we went, people wanted to help, from generous donations such as what Ken arranged, to $5 donations from locals in towns.

The Lucky Dog award went to Jim Williams who rolled into Coober Pedy at 10:3pm after having to replace his tyre in Pimba – it shredded itself just before he got into Spuds roadhouse! After waiting 4 hours for a tyre to arrive from Port Augusta, he was on his way again.

Black Dog Ride 2011 – Day 4

This was our shortest day distance-wise (230km to Port Augusta), and we seemed to be quite tardy in the morning. Dazza had wandered through the town already having arrived quite early the day before. James, Sharon, Kim & I went for a walk and took a few pics of the place whilst mega-huge coffees were ordered. Sharon visited a local shop and bought a coffee plunger to be able to have ‘real’ coffee on the ride!

The ride itself was wonderful! As we had a small group (aka ‘The Brady Bunch’), we were free to take whichever route we wished to Port Augusta. Our journey took us through Mt Bryan, Hallett, Jamestown, Stone Hut and onto Melrose for our lunch stop.  We stopped at the North Star Hotel, and had the most wonderful pizza – they were so good we wanted to take them away for dinner! We met with three Black Dog Riders from Adelaide who had stopped in for a drink and had a quick chat with.

A quick blast through the countryside to Wilmington for a fill and a chat with the owners of the local service station before making our way through the twisties close to Port Augusta. These twisties were so much fun for others that they dumped their gear at Port Augusta and rode back to do them again!

James decided to revisit the scene of the infamous gaffe from the 2010 Black Dog Ride by posing for pictures (see the slideshow below, or visit my Black Dog Ride Day 4 Picture album.

At Port Augusta we pitched the tents (away from the noisy buggers) and wandered out to Westies Football Club for the presentation and dinner. As one of the longest legs of the ride was upcoming, we did get to bed early in readiness for an 8am departure.

Black Dog Ride 2011 – Day 3

Balranald, NSW to Burra, SA

A big day’s ride today from the sleepy mining town of Balranald, in the Riverina District of NSW. Dinner the night before was at the local Golf Club put on by the Balranald Lions, but no locals were in attendance. As mentioned in my Day 3 check-in video, Michael Field spoke about his family’s battle with his brother who does not acknowledge/recognise his depressive symptoms. It’s stories like this that help us understand a little more about the people we know/ride with and how they’re linked to Depression and the Black Dog Ride.

Today’s ride took us through Euston, where one of the service station operators donated $100 to Michael Field for the Black Dog Ride – many of the riders have similar stories (including the $10 from 2 of the locals in Burra to help the cause). We arrived in Mildura for the next round of chaos – Being at the back with the L & P-plater, we did not know where the meet point was until a friendly local advised us where to go and we soon found the rest of the mob down by the river. I scooted off to find a few stragglers, and when I got back there I barely had a chance to say ‘Thanks’ to the Mildura Lions and grab a pic:

The mob started to move off and left Peter behind with a bike that would not start. James’ to the rescue! James, Sharon, Kim & I stayed to help him out, eventually failing to push-start the bike down the hill. Emptying half of the car to let more people in (it’s quite packed to the rafters), they eventually found a battery at the local bike shop. A short while later, we had the bike going again, packed the car and set off at 12:30pm – the rest of the pack had a lunch date in Renmark, 150km away!

The 5 of us had a great day’s ride from then on, winding our way through Renmark & Waikerie to Morgan. A quick pit-stop, some piccies and a lemon calippo later, we set off for the final stretch into Burra – into the sunset! I say that in all the riding I have done, this was the most spectacular, serene and spiritual ride I have been on. The setting sun, the blazing rainbow colours of the sunset and twilight made it a truly magical experience. Keeping an eye out for natives (I saw 1 kangaroo, 2 possums and a mouse), we cruised along at 80km/h, well below the speed limit but allowing us to see more and be ‘more’ prepared (well, as prepared as you can be for native wildlife crossing your path).

* We were attired for the lovely spring weather and sunshine we experienced.
* But it got cold.
* And we froze our little tushies off!

We rolled into Burra at 7pm, found a local pub and tucked into dinner. We sat up chatting until way too late, but with a late start on Wednesday, it didn’t turn out too badly. I really really enjoyed the ride today and we bonded very well as a little group. More stories to come tomorrow!

Black Dog Ride 2011 – Day 2

Young, NSW to Balranald, NSW

I pitched a tent.
In sub-zero temperatures.
Without enough to keep me warm
= I had frozen sleep most of the night – A light covering of frost the next day told me just how cold it was without checking the temperature gauge on the bike!

We waved goodbye to Nathan & Roger who returned home to Sydney. The rest of us faced gloriously blue skies on our way through  and the riders were on the way to Balranald. Once again we had great support from the local Lions Clubs in putting on the Tea/Lunch stops, but there seemed to be little support from the local community to hear the presentations about the great work done by the Black Dog Institute. Steve also commented:

We all need to do more to spread the message that it’s OK to speak about depression!


Black Dog Ride 2011 – Day 1

Approx 60 riders from around NSW descended on Hills Motorcycles early on Sunday morning for the official NSW launch of the Black Dog Ride. After a wild’n’woolly weather week prior, many wondered if the ride would go ahead. It went ahead under gloomy skies, but they did not last too long!

After an introduction from Angry Anderson, a quick thank-you from the Mayor’s representative, and a pre-ride briefing from our ride leader Phil, we were off. A number of people ended up at Lithgow when the majority went through to Hartley. We all managed to regroup at Bathurst for lunch (put on by the Lions Club). A couple of laps of Mt Panorama (ooh yeah!) and we headed off to catch the last few drinks at the afternoon tea stop at Cowra. We had a great chat with them before scooting off to Young.

The Young Lions club put on a great roast dinner whilst we listened to Nathan share a presentation from the Black Dog Institute, as well as sharing his personal story. Many friends were made and stories shared amongst the riders. I want to send out a big note to Nathan, Roger, Rod, Sharon, Kim, James and Dazza for the great chats and buddy-rides we had during the day.

Here are some of the Day 1 photos:

2011 BDR – The Prelude

I am once again doing my bit to raise the awareness of mental health issues by embarking on a 7,000km motorcycle ride to the red centre of Australia. I participated in this ride last year with my Riding4aCause buddies and loved it because I met new people, got to ride my bike and found out first hand more about the illness known by many as ‘The Black Dog’.

I am a strong believer that we need to talk more about the things that truly matter in our lives. Men, in particular, seem to miss opportunities to share their thoughts and feelings on topics that are important – families, relationships, money, and how they’re coping with the many changes going on in society today.

In every conversation I have, I urge people to share their stories, to discuss what’s important in their lives with the ones that matter to them most and to let go of any fears they may have of opening up about their thoughts, feelings and emotions. There’s enough to worry about in this world and keeping things inside is not the way to live and stay healthy. It’s the self-same philosophy behind MyProactiveLife that’s truly changed my life over the past few years. I hope that in everything I do I continue to have a positive effect on people, no matter where they’re at in the journey of life.


What I expect from this year’s ride:

To do this, however I need your help!

  1. I want to raise OVER $2000 (and SMASH the amount that we (as Riding4aCause) raised in 2010) Donate here!
  2. I want this message to go out to as many people as I can, so I’d like you to pass along my blog info to your friends, family and loved ones.
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I will again be blogging parts of the journey, along with videos and pictures just like we did for the Black Dog Ride in 2010.