Australia - The final straight to Sydney, the End of an Era and the Sale of Skippy.


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Oct 3, 2005
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Kent & Berkshire
Australia - The final straight to Sydney, the end of a era and the sale of Skippy.

24th April - 11th May

After breakfast I had a nice conversation with a young Canadian woman and then finally did nothing much more until dinner time ! Well, I had to take an afternoon nap didn’t I !?! :sleep

I was enjoying my stay in such a peaceful house and so the thought of cooking didn’t really enthuse me at all. So, after careful consideration…………..;) :augie, I found myself back at the same Chinese restaurant that I'd visited last night and managed to phone Sylvia again as well on the way back.

I set off to bed at around 10:30 and had decided to start re-watching the Long Way Down and so did the first episode. I wish I hadn’t !, because for some bizarre reason I woke up at around 3:30 having a dream about Charlie Boorman…… :yikes ..... and after that my sleep never got back to being relaxed again, well it wouldn’t would it !?! :eek

The weather was foul again the following morning, and so with it went my desire for a walk in the Blue Mountains, so I continued with more web updates in my warm & dry backpackers. :nod As I was due to move on tomorrow I had an grand sounding meal at the Chinese again as a celebration...... :rolleyes: ...… which turned out to be pretty dried out and nasty…..and obviously disappointing. :(

Earlier in the day, a number of City dwellers had come out from Sydney for ANZAC week-end and took the Backpackers over which spoilt its charm a bit as they really did come in large numbers, were noisy and impossible to avoid in such a small place. They, naturally were having a nice week-end away, and whilst not inconsideratly noisy etc, they were by default and took the edge off my last remaining night there. I retried back to my room with Charlie & Ewan and enjoyed an episode or two more of Long Way down....with no further nightmares ! :thumb2

The next morning the City dwellers were already ensconced in the kitchen and had all but taken it over, making sandwiches piece-meal for their day out. The weather had improved a bit today and so, after packing the bike, I decided to take a look at the Blue Mountains myself. I found a spot which looked reasonably safe to park the bike (against theft) and set off to have a look. The view was nice and fairly impressive, almost enough to tempt me to take a longer look and a walk, however I was fully suited up and the bike fully loaded, the later of which concerned me, as for 5-10 mins it may well remain safe but for an hour or so I wasn’t so comfortable. I therefore set off for Billabong backpackers in Newtown, Sydney, which I‘d reserved the previous day over the phone.

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The Blue Mountains. The blue-ish haze above them comes from Eucalyptus leaves apparently. :augie

The ride to Sydney was pretty uneventful, with the exception of a moments celebration crossing the ANZAC bridge to mark the end of my tour of Australia and the end of the last leg of my RTW.

On arrival I learned there had been some mistake with the room reservation and so I was given a more luxurious room for the first 3 nights at the same rate as the one I’d ‘reserved’ …which was ok by me ! :nod :augie I settled into my room and rested a while. :sleep

Later I met up with a chap from Melbourne who’d come up to see a British band called Porcupine Tree :eek, who were from the 70/80’s. Whoever they were, they seemed to have a cult following as this chap had already seen them in Melbourne the previous night and was flying up to Brisbane the following day to see them again ! :confused: After chatting for a bit I suggested we got some dinner together and a beer, which we did. After a few hours, conversation was running dry and so I retired back to my room and watched TV whilst consuming a 1/2lb block of Cadburys I’d been persuaded to buy ………… as it was cheap !! :nenau :D

The following morning I decided to visit a local Baptist church as it was Sunday. The sermon was quite hard hitting but relieved a little by the tea and conversation I enjoyed afterwards. The rest of the day I didn’t do anything significant and devoured a further 1/2lb slab of Cadburys whilst watching TV later….as it was cheap ! :nenau :D

For the next few days I spent most of them writing and publishing web updates and ended up becoming a Zombie.:jibber :eek :eek: :jibber As the sale of the GS was soon to be upon me and I needed some relief from making yet more web updates, I spent a few hours checking out the necessary paperwork for handing/signing the bike over the following day and just did some surfing about on the Internet.

At some point in Sydney I decided to take up an offer made to me by Neil, the retired Policeman I’d met in the Snowy Mountains. The offer was to spend a week or so chilling out at his flat on the coastline about 60 miles south of Sydney. The logistical process though of getting most of my now homeward bound luggage to Neil’s, selling the bike back up near the original owners house just outside Sydney, and then getting back down to Neil’s flat after the sale were a bit of a nightmare....:eek, although thankfully without Charlie Boorman ! :nod

Today was to be my final day & night at the backpackers and so this afternoon I rode down to Neil’s house to drop off all the luggage I wouldn’t require to sell the bike, or need for an over-night stay at Pete’s (the original owner). The amount of gear I now had on the bike was quite shocking and I wondered how I would get it back to the UK. The ride to Neil’s was further than I thought and a little tricky to find. However I managed in the end and was surprised to find Neil’s keys in his bike and the keys to his flat outside in his bar-be-que ! :yikes Whilst unloading my bike, a young man with very closely cropped hair wearing labourers clothes walked in to the flat. :eek: I asked him who he was to which he replied, Neil’s son, Jason. I wasn't comfortable at all, but after a minute or two he was on the phone to his Dad anyway and I get to speak to him. Phew ! - It was a bit awkward for a moment there as I obviously didn’t want to kick his Son out , nor did I wish to entertain a cheeky burglar.

I returned back to Sydney, jet washed the bike and gave it a final clean up before its sale the following day.

The following morning Wayne flew in from Melbourne & we met up in ‘Liverpool’ to hand the bike over. He initially checked the bike over and we then went on to a local Starbucks for him to see all the necessary paperwork and satisfy himself that all was in order. The payment arrangement I came up with in the end was for us to go to a branch of his bank (in Liverpool) where he would make the transfer from his account to mine-I would be able to see the transaction being made which I understood from the Bank to be irreversible. (If I thought after that that there could be any collusion between him and the Teller after that, I concluded it was time for me to check into the Paranoid Ward. :jibber :nod :jibber) In the end we had to queue for about 15 mins but it all worked out ok. I then took us on my last ride on Skippy down to Pete’s house for a past-present-future owner photo shoot and for the opportunity to catch up with Pete later over Dinner. After the photo's and a final good luck/good bye exchange, Wayne took off on his ride back to Melbourne.

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Three generations of Adventure ownership !

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Wayne, the new owner, heading off for Melbourne.

A few people asked me after the sale how I felt about selling the GS, I think expecting a sorrowful answer, but in truth it was a relief. I'd bought the bike with a view to it's 'rent' being the depreciation for the km's and period I was to own it. Time and riding had become a 'liability' and whilst I'd enjoyed its ownership, the time for my trip was over and I needed to 'realise' as much cash for it as I could. It really was that practical.

In the afternoon I dozed a bit :sleep as I was completely tired out after so much organising and too-ing & fro-ing and not sleeping so well.

In the evening Pete, his wife Julie, one of his sons and I visited their local Chinese and had a pleasant (but noisy) evening there. Once Julie and their son go to bed, Pete got out his best port which is kept in a barrel. I think he also mixes it with Jack Daniels and rum if I remember correctly. Whatever was in there, it helped me sleep…very well. :sleep

The next Morning I left Pete’s to catch the train down to Neil’s with two extremely heavy stuff-bags and a rucksack. I had to change trains twice which was something I hadn’t relished with the bags but it turned out ok in the end as I had time to get to the correct platforms without needing to rush to get the train.

The arrangement had been that I was to ring Neil when I got to his local station and he would then collect me. I'd rung 3 or 4 times but only got his voicemail. After a while I had begun to get a little worried in case there had been some mix up with the dates/times but I got a phone call from him. He collected me from the station and we returned to his flat. In the evening we had Dinner in a local Thai which was very nice and I met up with some of Neil’s friends afterwards. It was quite a lot of fun as everybody was around their 40’s and no one was being serious so we played some pool in their basement whilst listening to some bands from the 80’s, eating cake and drinking wine. Great fun ! :D

Neil had arranged for us to go for a ride on the following day, and so he borrowed a 1200 GSA from a friend and I rode his, a 1200 GSA (if you‘ve not yet read my last post ! :rolleyes: ). What a blast !! :D The bike was so much nimbler and quicker than the 1150 GSA I’d been riding for the past 8 months. I loved it ! :D On & off road, it was so much fun. :D We covered around 200 km in the end, with a few pie and coffee breaks thrown in for good measure. :D

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Neil, my new Australian friend and I standing behind the 1200 GSA he'd leant me for our ride.

The following day I spent a lot of time surfing and deciding if I want to do some diving as part of a wind-down in Thailand on the way home. Neil did some gardening work today for the Boss of Jeff, one of Neil’s friends I‘d met playing pool. In the evening we had a stew I prepared and exchange a few stories over some beer & wine. The following day was pretty much a repetition.

An evening or two later I was invited to dinner at Neil’s parents house who are ex-pats‘s. It was a lovely occasion and I got to have a beautiful roast dinner and ‘pudding !!!’ :nod :D After which I enjoyed a long conversation with both his parents whilst Neil spent some time talking with Jason. Despite a Happy persona, Neil’s Father was very ill.

The following morning Neil took off on a fishing trip for a few days and I continued surfing the net considering my options. Somewhere around this time, I decided it is time to fly back to the UK as Sylvia was waiting in Limbo between Germany & Switzerland and I‘m wasn't sure that I‘d enjoy a week or two more on my own anyway. I found the best flight (read: cheapest :D) with Ethihad :eek and booked it. I also arranged for an excess baggage company to take home one large stuff-bag to the UK as the excess charges on the plane would have been horrendous over the allowed-but-chargeable excess I was already going be paying.

The Excess luggage company collect my bag the following afternoon and it began its journey home. In the evening, Stephanie, Neil’s girlfriend came over with a friend for Dinner. In the end, Stephanie stayed very late looking through nearly all the web/thread entries made here and finally left at around 3am if I remember correctly. :eek:

Neil returned from his fishing trip late afternoon on Saturday after meeting up with his son Jason, who has just collected his first motorcycle, a DRZ400, along with one of his friends. They’d all being having a blast doing some off-road riding on the way back, although I heard that the 1200 GSA found it‘s limitations amongst the DRZ and a KTM 640 !!. Can't be, surely. :confused: :nenau

It was now Sunday and Neil’s parents, Sister and two sons came this morning for a full ‘English’ breakfast and a bottle of Champagne for Mothers day and I enjoyed a walk on the beach chatting with Neil’s Sister & Mum afterwards.

I spent some of the afternoon packing up for my flight back to the UK and it all felt a little strange. This being the end of my time in Australia, the end of my RTW, not being with either of the friends I’d been travelling with, and not knowing what I was going to do next.


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