Dude... you just may have become my new hero...
You have to share that story, mate...
Really?....well its a long one...the full story I mean and it's sorta got two incidents in the one trip...but if you insist...here goes..
This one Ive dragged out of the archives, goes back in time to my Kawasaki GPZ900R or ZX900 I think you call em there...its called
A Bird at 9 Grand!
Yes , a bloody bird!!,............almost made it thru a flock crossing the road from my right to left ,between Moree and Collarenebri.
Must've been over a dozen of the feathered fiends crossed my path,almost got thru 'em unscathed.....almost.....SPLATT!! ... l/h mirror gone..blood ..guts..n' feathers all over my left glove..felt something hit my body too...then it was gone...just like my mirror..sheared off just where the top glassy bit swivels.
9 GRAND ? Yeah noticed speedo not working not long after leaving the coast, pulled up and had a look, broken inner cable at the bottom where it goes in the drive,
No worries 4000 rpm works out around 100kph or 60 mph,if my memory serves me correctly. So we are headed west for Lightning Ridge cruising at 6000 to 8000 revs,occasionally jumping on the brakes for passing highway patrol cars just before Glen Innes and a couple between Glen Innes and Gravesend,the responsive brakes quickly bringing her back to 4000 revs.
Stopped at Gravesend pub as my then lady friend needed a call of nature and I needed to tighten up the L/H mirror where she had bumped it at the last fuel stop causing it to fold back at speed over bumps,turns out the pub is very biker friendly and the barmaid rustled up a couple of jaffles each for us while I walked across the road to where two blokes were intently bashing the crap out of a rear brake drum on a toyota 4wd utility,trying to remove the offending item,seems the bloke supervising the belting of the offending brake drum was the husband of the barmaid and a Harley softail owner.
Had a bit of a yarn with him and his mate about stubborn brake drums, the weather, the road, the town, the cops, the pub and then my lovely lady walked across the road carrying two plates of jaffles and excellent tasting jaffles they were too.
By the time we roared out we had ended up almost an hour behind schedule and heeding warnings of a police presence from there to Moree we sat on about 6000 revs keeping a constant lookout for cops.
As it eventuated we didn't strike any, stopped at Moree to fuel up with premium unleaded and 50mls of octane booster out of the bottle I was carrying in my left saddlebag.
Said saddlebags liberated from a mate Buzzard almost ten years ago now, when he was on his way to the hock shop to try and get enough money for them to buy a carton of beer.
I got him a carton of VB
bitter and scored a prized set of old leather throwover bags!
well mostly leather but the inside bit that formed the inner back wall of them was heavy duty vinyl, ....no worries they had that weather-beaten aged leather look that only many years on the road can accomplish they'd certainly been around.
Anyway back to the story ,
I had 2 bottles of Lucas Octane Boost a measuring jug, a rag ,a roll of black duct tape residing in the left hand saddlebag and in the right a towel and a plastic container of Lederbalsam a very nice beeswax based leather dressing that we were carrying,
so GF could rejuvenate the fairly new but uncared for 2nd hand leather jacket she had picked up for the right price off a mate of mine who has given up riding.
On top of the rear of the seat was occy strapped securely a backpack with the rest of our gear,we travel fairly light and there was an old caravan at the ridge for us to stay in and there were blankets there too so we weren't carrying too much gear thankfully.
OK so we are heading west out of Moree ,long long straights,minimal shrubbery to hide errant wildlife prompted me to open up the GPZ900r as far as she would go so we were sitting on a fairly constant 9000 revs , easing off a little for some of the bumpy bends to allow me to gas it a bit over the bumps to keep the front stable as they get a bit twitchy over high speed bumps because of the racing inspired 16inch front wheel.
Then another real long straight so we are going absolutely flat out when out of right field flies a flock of little black birds and splat we are minus a mirror and splattered with bits of bird...............No worries ,...........we press on regardless as I shake the bigger pieces of splattered bird from my left glove and check that the girl is ok.
Half an hour later we are pulling into Collarenebri servo,which has only got regular unleaded so I fill up and add a bit more octane boost we both have a piss then its back on the road again after also cleaning the few bit of bird that are still stuck to the bike and us,we are off on the the last leg to Lightning Ridge.
20 or so minutes later and I'm back on 9 grand but the bike starts losing power, own to 8000 , 7000, so I back her off to 6000 then hit the throttle again but its very doughy,
I look at he temp gauge and shes off the dial!!!...,
I signal a thumbs down to GF and start to slow more to pull over to the side of the road, at the same time hitting the manual override switch I've fitted for the fan.
Pulling up on the gravel at the side of the road I kill the motor , dismount and remove my helmet jacket and flannelettte shirt as its quite warm once stopped, and the stress of impending trouble has got me sweating and thinking of the warnings about richening my carby jetting to compensate for the performance exhaust system I've fitted recently.
I remove the luggage to get the seat off to get at my toolkit then its off with the sidecovers to discover the radiator bottle still full,I check for coolant leaks , then check the radiator for ...maybe a bird..... no bird no leaks,....wierd !! OK start the motor with fan on and its running ok turn it off and refit all the luggage and gear back on and we set off again ,fan on and taking it easy....still cold so off with the fan and increase speed to , no worries ,5000,6000,still cold ....OK dunno what that was all about...but we are still in the game!
Only 50 kays to go to the Ridge now so I'm back on the gas, the afternoon is growing a bit darker and I'd like to get there before the roo's start coming out, so its back up to 8000.
Getting closer to the turnoff I back off the throttle and notice how loud the bike is, could it be that I'm not leaving the noise behind at this speed ??? ....I speed up again and the bike almost sounds like a 2-stroke, I back off and down thru the gears getting rid off some speed ready for the turnoff and there's some crackling and banging.
I pull over and stop at the turnoff and turn back to ask GF if the muffler has come off,she says its still there, I rev the bike and its loud I notice she's blowing lotsa smoke as GF yells out "WE ARE ON FIRE!!!"
Quickly we get off the bike as a Ford Falcon ute pulls up behind us , a farmer jumps out and tells us we are on fire,which we already know !!!
The R/H saddlebag is well alight almost completely burned away fuelled by the container of leather dressing which is still miraculously there the towel long since gone.
Off with the occy straps and the top bag then off with the burning saddlebags to stamp them into the dirt on the roadside to extinguish them . ....More cars pull up "are you ok???"
a passer by enquires "yes just stopped for a smoke" says I,...trying to be humorous in a testing situation.
So the fires out and the smell is bad but we are almost in one piece except for the mirror that our feathered friend got, and now I notice the end cap and baffle has departed company from the exhaust can leaving totally empty can,topped with a pile of molten plastic and leather dressing....................... We double back to try and find the missing baffles and endcap outta the muffler but to no avail, not even a sign of my burning towel as it grows ever darker and I turn the bike around again and head her back towards Lightning Ridge,
Now the bike is roaring and snorting and crackling like top fuel dragster on heat as I ride towards town looking forward to a well earned nights sleep.
On awakening I find a burnt baked bean can in the fire and size it up as a temporary baffle,
combined with a plug of scrunched up chicken wire down the guts and some nail holes in the can, I secure the baked bean can with an old Ford drum brake return spring I find on the side of the road and she's muffled enough for the 600 mile trip home.