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Discussion Starter #1
Howdy Orange lovers!! :)

Peeps call me Valvoline, and my trusted metal steed is my 'Lawnmower' 2016 KTM Duke 390 (1st in Australia to be ADV'd).

My Lawnmower has seriously surprised me in what it has been capable of doing.... 75,000kms in 2 years. Toured around most Australia and probably has been taken into way too many places a naked 'city' bike shouldn't venture :sneaky:.

I'm a vertically challenged (1.48cm / 4foot11) rider, with:
The energy of a lizard's cut tail,
The passion of a Spaniard at motoGP,
As annoying as a flea in the ear,
With the love for biking as Kayne West loves himself.
Looking at life through vertically challenged eyes....
Valvoline.... you know what I mean! ;-)

Hope to meet and chat to similar minded people and find other adventurer lovers that have an orange beating heart! :D
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Poor little 390 gets her neck wrung everywhere ..... Great to see you on the forum. Come back often and keep us up to date with your adventures.
 
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Dirt Wizard
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Check out the knobby tyres on that thing!!!!
4ft 11 ay?
No wonder you go $1.30 an hr on that thing.
 

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Nice intro Valvoline and cool little 390 you got there! That's a lot of KM's on that KTM so please do share your journeys with us if you have time.
 

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Nice intro Valvoline and cool little 390 you got there! That's a lot of KM's on that KTM so please do share your journeys with us if you have time.
Where / what threadwould it be best to post past or future ride adventures?
 

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Where / what thread would it be best to post past or future ride adventures?
I think you have started a great platform right here. We had another GC based rider carrying his own thread for ages:


Just keep adding to it I reckon.
 
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Dirt Wizard
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I might just move it out of member introductions though and put the thread into either the Aussie section or the adventure area if that's cool with you @Valvoline ?
 

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Well, here's Valvoline's new lawnmower....... by comparison it's a V8 powered lawn killer........ but it might be a bit tall for a vertically petite person......

The 2020 SDR has just been released and AMCN has a write up test report in the current issue. They say it might be a licence loser so not a good one for @DW ...... :D
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I think you have started a great platform right here. We had another GC based rider carrying his own thread for ages:


Just keep adding to it I reckon.
And so it shall be!
Ok makes sense to me... Iv'e had a look around at this forum and it's so large it can get a bit confusing.... I'll just use this thread as a dumping ground for my musings, misadventures and Lawnmower rides :) CHeers!
 

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And this is where it aaaaaalllll started..... in Feb 2016 my world turned up-side down since, due to an admin oversight (understatement) I became stateless. Yes, sateless..... Things were going downhill in every part of my life and with the prospect of loosing my house, my job and being deported, I had lots of decisions to make.

Since there was no embassy in the Gold Coast / Brisbane, I had to go in person to either Syd or Melbourne to sort this mess out. Not long I had purchased my Lawnmower 0.1 (Duke 390). I had a hair-brained idea.... if they were going to deport me, I may as well set myself a challenge and tick off something on my bucket list: to ride the Australian Alps and High counrty (on my way to Melbourne).

And so with 3 weeks to learn about long term bike touring, big trips, bike luggage etc I decided to get rid of most my stuff, moved a few belongings to my parentals place, left my job and purchased some touring gear, phone holder (which would act as my GPS and camera) and panniers from India. The cradle of Duke 390 worship.

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I got a bike rack from Ventura, a seat bag, a 'touring' KTM windscreen, a 12v plug, the mobile phone holder, crash bars (which double as my highway pegs) and Dirtsack Panniers.

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Then having to pack as minimalistic as possible, pack your life into 3 bags was a bit of a challenge. This also had to include some tools, first air kit, puncture kit and other stuff that takes up room in your bags for a 'just in case' scenario.

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And had to pack for all sorts of weather, even thought it was full summer in the Gold coast still.
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Voila! The Lawnmower packed. I didn't really weight it but I think the extra weight would have been about 15, possibly 20kgs in total.

And so D-day was fast approaching.
 

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I stretched the trip to 5 days of riding before getting to Melbourne. The weather wasn't the most favourable, fairly constant showers, followed by lower than average temperatures. Not something this hot little potato was liking. But I knew it was going to be the high country and should expect any weather!

I didn't know I was so so stressed from the go go go and the amount of bad news that it was only until the 4th day of being on the bike that i ACTUALLY realised that I was 'doing it'... I was doing it! :giggle: It wasn't until I was up around the Alpine way, that I realised that inside my helmet it was quiet. It was silent and I could hear the normal riding wind noises. I was acutely aware of the smells of the alpine environments and the fact that I had not seen a single person that whole day since leaving my destination. It was then that I realised the value of your mental health and riding.

I was completely out of my comfort zone, but at the same time I was at most peace, just going with the flow. Smelling every smell and trying to absorb every vision and vista. Savour every corner, twist and hump of such an amazing road. This road wasn't about the speed or how to take corners; it was about just being. Not thinking about the future or the past. Just wow.
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No pressure @Valvoline , but we're hanging for the next installment of your journey - and wondering how you got on at the embassy....... must have sorted the mess ok, but there has to be a story to tell......... :D...... and the ride home ;).

No pressure........ tap tap tappity tap...... :LOL:
 

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Lets take a step back before getting to the Vic Highlands - there was way too many other nicer places before we get to that!

Going past Grafton and onto Ebor and Armindale Road - wow what an amazing scenery road! Obligatory stop at Ebor falls.
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Another stop at the Thunderbolt's Lookout.
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Must do the Putty Road! No real photos along this route due to having too much fun on the actual road itself!
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Just a great big whopping grin at the end of it and glad the heavens let me ride that road dry! (albeit a bit cold...)
 

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One other place that I was told was a MUST see, while I made my way down south, was to drop by Jenolan Caves (and the surrounding roads there are just superb!). I went there offpeak and when I got to reception I asked to stay in their bunk bed shared style accommodation. Lucky for me, it was off-peak and the lady at the counter was very susprised I was travelling by my self. She sneakily said that a girl needs her privacy and luxury and she upgraded me to a double room for the same price so I would have space, as well as; the privacy and luxury every girl needs! :D She was amazing!

That arvo being a little tired I just took in the smaller bush walks around and through a couple of caves. The imagery is amazing, rock wallabies descending into the valley for the night, and even a wombat making an appearance. As I walked along admiring nature I realised, that this place had amazing acoustics. As I walked I hummed along through the caves, and imagined what it would be like if a true professional angelic like singer would bust out an "amazing grace" here....

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This was one of the only times I wish I would have had a nicer muffler.... no self respecting biker should ever go through a cave of this magnificence without throwing a rev-bomb! lol ;)

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The next day, much refreshed from a wonderful night's sleep in a warm, warm bed (gotta love electric blankets!), I went for a fresh walk with frosts out towards the caves before al lthe buses of tourists came in.
Grabbed a chick breakfast of dry biscuits and got on to the road. The weather got a bit foul, but thankfully it cleared up and even started getting a bit sunny as I made my way past Collector, NSW and stopped at Lake George for a looksy. I was also taking a rest from being blown at a 45 degree angle all the way along the Federal highway since it's so open and exposed!

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Canberra!

The weather stayed nice for most the way southwards down the Monaro Highway. OMG - I have ridden through some boring roads but this one takes the cake! Jeez! I don't know what it is about it, but had to struggle to stay awake. Only as I was coming into Cooma, I definitely awakened since the sky started threatening again and very very quickly changed into storm clouds filled with plenty of water. I stopped at Cooma for a quick feed, fuel and pulled on wets once again.

Just as I was getting on the bike a group of 3 GS riders rode past me going towards Jindabyne. I decided that heading into the latter part of the arvo, and with threatening storms I would follow them. I stuck on their tail doing about $1.20-25 until the rains started pelting down, hard. My poor lawnmower was not having a too fun time (and neither was I due to the hard rain on the helmet with some fog), so I let them go and their brake lights disappeared into the distance.

I arrived to a very quiet and wet Jindabyne, and found my night's accommodation. The caravan park closest to Charlotte's pass, which had shared accommodation for $35 a night. Jindabyne | Discovery Parks Since it was off-peak, I thankfully had the whole cabin to myself :) Better to dry out and hog the heater. A nice surprise there was that they had in the communal showers, a heated bubble spa!!! :D

One guess what I was going to do later that arvo ;)

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Having a bit more than an hour before skippy o'clock, as well as checking the weather and seeing that more showers were later coming I pelted up Charlotte's pass to see what all the fuss was about. I had been told it is just magical being able to ride such smooth road, with lovely sweepers and amazing views through a national park.... I discovered that first hand, before the rains once again came.

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It is well worth the $7 entry fee, even for an hour or unadulterated riding fun! I most enjoyed the fact that I had checked into my accom earlier on so I could drop off all the weight off the Lawnmower and feel free and nimble, to give it the berries. Not many really, but still give it some berries.

Slept semi warm (poor heater wasn't coping too well) and again had dry biscuit breakky before getting ready for another day's riding and closer to Melbs. Sick of having wet boots, I got a bit desperate and lined them with plastic shopping bags! Trying a new cactic and new trend ;)
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The weather didn't play nice until past Thredbo, and winds were back. But at least it pushed the rain clouds away, helping me feel more comfy by being able to then ditch the wets.

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Crankenback rest and comfort stop.

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Some lookout along Alpine way... gotta love the tripod!


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My first look at Mt Beauty! I can see why they named it that :) It sure looked like an amazing twisty road from the maps. And a great afternoon of playing in the twisties!

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And so now this takes me into the eariler post of being up in the high country, past the tree line and with some exciting views. Very different indeed looking peaceful but chilly. Quiet, but broody at the same time. Where the road markings change from white to yellow, you know things can get serious up here. But for now, it was just time to savour the surrounds and every mountain twist!

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Danny's lookout.

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Finally getting to my destination 5 days later - Melbourne!
Gosh it was a show arriving not just to a city and civilization but to a major, major city. Completely unused to so much traffic, in an unknown city - having to trust my GPS was a little scary. And not to mention the weird right hand turns in the city! What's up with that? I can't say I've ever gotten the handle on that.... End-trip blues. Since I knew after a day or so of rest, I would have to commence the legal paperwork between the consulates to get all my papers back. ....

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Once I got to Melbourne, and began the legal paperwork, I started checking out the bike scene. I came across a group called NetRiders Netrider and got invited to a weekly skills session, run entirely by volunteers every Saturday. From there I met more people and in particular one chap called Uncle Greg who led advanced rider groups every Sunday into the Vic hills.
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At this point I only had one day 'rest' and off the bike since arriving. Bit my butt was already itchy and wanting to get out and explore. This UG fella was impressed that the little Lawnmower had just arrived from Qld (on a non-tourable bike). So he asked me to come along for his Sunday leg ride. It was so nice to be amongst people again, but my kinda people - the bike people. All types of bikes, of course much more powerful than mine, and with local knowledge of the roads. But never mind, I knew I could slice & dice amongst the big boys...
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We went through areas I wasn't even able to name, but for once I was enjoying having someone else lead and since everything was new to me, it was nice to see. I do remember we stopped at the Noodge Pub, which had a very curious creature out the side. And I"m a sucker for BIG things... so this went into my collection.

The BIG T-Rex!

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Another pub/cafe that I do remember is the InLine4 Cafe. Lots of memorabilia inside, lots of famous biker peeps had passed through those doors!

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