May 25: Some days you just can’t win, and today was one of those days.
After a surprisingly restful night in a 16 bed dorm at the Bunk hostel in Brisbane, I awoke to the pitter patter of morning rain. Little did I know that this was only the tip of the iceberg. The forecast called for light showers and mild temperatures all day. It ended up raining sheets for the next 22 hours.
I have ridden in rain before–many times–but this was relentless. The 4 lane highway running north eventually bottlenecked into a 2 lane march of semi trucks and holiday RV’s. The pace slowed considerably as the rainfall intensified.
Up until the small, industrial city of Gympie I had no problems apart from the annoyance of the rain. I stopped for fuel at the Caltex station, unaware that their fuel was garbage. Later on I would be informed that carburated bikes should only take Shell or BP fuel, as all other providers use B-rate product.
Then it happened…
Rounding a corner, the bike upped and quit–just 10km the other side of Gympie. I sat roadside wondering ‘why me?’ for about 20 minutes before I started making sorrowful puppy dog eyes at oncoming traffic. I had most of the tools needed to pull the carb, except for one–the 6mm allen key required to remove the plastic.
As I searched for something to jimmy rig the side panels off with, Eric from the Sunshine Coast rolled up. He gestured ‘you ok?’ Through his rainy windshield, and I returned with a defeated glare. He backed his flatbed pickup up to the Green Hornet, and we, along with a pair of friendly police officers who saw us struggling to get the 500lb bike in the truck, loaded up and headed back to Gympie. He dropped me off at All Cycles and Karts.
I thanked him for his time and offered him some cash for his troubles, but he refused. Truely a great example of Australian hospitality.
The fellows at All Cycle were incredible. Mechanic Wayne Mackaway was clearly in the middle of something, but dropped what he was doing to help me pull the bike apart and diagnose the problem. Judging by the sputtering that occurred when the bike died, I was fairly sure it was a fuel issue. Sure enough, one of the seals in the petcock had torn, preventing the vacuum seal needed for fuel to flow to the carb. We pulled the tank and replaced the petcock assembly with a new, simpler, dirt bike assembly that seems to have done the trick.
Now 1pm, and raining harder than ever, I rode north for 2+ hours to the town of Gin Gin. I was supposed to get to Rockhampton to stay with a fellow moto tourer I met through Couch Surfer but a near miss with an escaped bovine, errant truckers everywhere, and continuing rain forced me to stop about an hour before nightfall–200km short of my destination.
I am hopeful that this will prove to be the worst day, and not a sign of things to come.