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Country style yarns, complete with plea for which motorbicycle to get [Dec. 13th, 2008|03:19 pm]
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I live 500m from what is claimed to be the fastest flowing river in Australia (although I can't find any cites to back that up). We are 30km from the source of the river, which starts on the slopes of my workplace. When it floods, it goes up, then comes down within a day, and it takes 2 days for it to wrap around the volcanic shield of the Warrumbungles, and pass through Coonamble, some 70km from where it started (if fish could fly - since they can't, it must be about 300-400km around the volcanic shield, but I can't find any tables of river length).

Also pretty much everytime whenever it floods, some idiot gets themself stranded or washed away when trying to travel through the swollen river. The volunteer rescue association sure seemed frantic when heading towards the river this morning after we had 60mm of rain overnight (I now will happily eat my hat, after proclaiming that we only got 3mm of the predicted 80mm of rain, and that BOM really need to get their act together). In fact, it can't be too good, because a rescue helicopter just landed at our local hospital (rain seems to invite the idiots -- some P-plater lost their exhaust outside my house, dumping the muffler on my front lawn when they span out at 90km/h in the 50 zone)

For much of the year, the river only flows underground (although many historical bores are running dry and are having to be dug deeper, indicating that we are drying up the river flow underground as well, despite most people thinking that bores are an endless source of water). Curiously, according to a conversation around the bikies[1] table at the coffee shop this morning, for a few hours before the floods arrive, the sand can be heard hissing, as the underground river starts to flow more vigourously, causing the dust to rise too in some places.

I suspect the river shows a tidal bore-like phenomenon (could it even be a soliton?), in that if there is flow already in the river at Coonamble, when the flood arrives, it supposedly arrives as a single wave that increases the height of the river by a large and visible amount, and then the river gradually rises from there.

I love these "outback" legends. Stories like how that if the fridge at the bar somewhere in the Queensland shows condensation in the morning, then the morning glory will roll through in a few hours. Or how mum can predict rain if her fridges start leaking water, her finger or back get sore, the ants start coming out, or the cat won't go outside in the morning. Although I've convinced mum to set up a spreadsheet of her predictions, because I'm pretty sure the last 7 times she predicted rain based on the ant observerations, it hasn't rained.

[1] I got my motorcycle license. Now I just have to find a bike, and learn how to ride it. Any ideas for learner approved (up to 650cc, 150kw/tonne) bikes comfortable for long distance in the cold and wet with a bit of towing capacity (ie, faired tourers with heated grips)? Good for a first bike that may well suffer from a fall (ie, not faired tourers, d'oh)? Value for money (I don't want to go through too many $8000 bikes before I learn to not drop them)? Economical (ie, probably not a sit-up-and-beg tourer, since I'm still trying to live up to my greeny credentials)? Fun, because I work on the side of a mountain?

From: (Anonymous)
2008-12-13 06:08 am (UTC)

Which bike?


I think the Suzuki GS500F might fit the bill for you. One of the guys at work just bought one on his learner's.

[User Picture]From: tau_iota_mu_c
2008-12-13 06:44 am (UTC)

Re: Which bike?


Yep, that's high on my list - thanks!
[User Picture]From: dagbrown
2008-12-13 06:41 am (UTC)


I think you just described the Yamaha XV400 (known as the Drag Star 400 in the rest of the world except the USA where it's the V-Star 400). Meets nearly all of your criteria and made with boringly-reliable Japanese engineering.

Slap a windshield and heated grips onto it and you're good to go. Although actually heated grips aren't really as useful as a hand shield that goes in front of the handlebars to keep the wind off your hands.

Here's one.
[User Picture]From: tau_iota_mu_c
2008-12-13 06:43 am (UTC)


Oooh nice. Missed that one.
[User Picture]From: sjl
2008-12-13 10:34 am (UTC)


There's enough plausibility in the fridge story that I can believe it. As for the sand hissing, that could be displacement of air at a rate of knots.

Correlation is not causation, of course, but I can definitely believe in the correlation in both cases.
[User Picture]From: stibbons
2008-12-13 01:32 pm (UTC)


Surely you know about predicting rain based on the size of the halo around the moon? I used to be reasonably accurate with that one until I moved somewhere with light pollution.
[User Picture]From: stibbons
2008-12-13 01:33 pm (UTC)


...where "reasonably accurate" means "I know I got it right at least once".
[User Picture]From: tau_iota_mu_c
2008-12-13 01:36 pm (UTC)


Ah, moisture content in the air. Some guys at work count the number of waves in the atmosphere -- I think it is 7 waves, then it's going to rain. Of course, in practice, that turns out to be entirely useless as well.

I just look at my digital thermometer's prediction of rain to see whether it is currently raining. If it shows the "rain" graphic, more often than not, I walked into the building from the bus through rain.
2008-12-14 09:41 pm (UTC)


I suggest either a Suzuki SV650S or a Suzuki DL650 depending on your preference for road or all road bias. Grip heaters can be had from Vince Strang Motorcycles in Inverell (unsurprisingly, they're called VSM Grip heaters) for about $50 plus postage. They're an element which wraps around your handle bar and you then slide the grip back over the top. Easily the best modification you will ever make to a motorcycle.
[User Picture]From: tau_iota_mu_c
2008-12-29 06:54 am (UTC)


The V-strom has been recommended to me elsewhere, but as far as I can tell, it's not quite learner legal (nor have they produced a crippled version that is learner legal). The Suzuki SV650SU is the learner legal detuned version of the SV650S.
[User Picture]From: kerri9494
2008-12-16 09:20 pm (UTC)


Story needs more actual yarn.