Right so today I am going to ride out to hwy and then to whatever town is closer. Pretty sure it will be Wedderburn. My plan is to charge phone and order tires in to post office.
This means I will be stuck in Gabyln for a bit.
Without the cart I whizz down the hwy. Just want to sort this out. Not worried about conserving fuel or the scenery at this point. I also need water. I have just about used up my ten liters. Covrr the 30k to Wedderburn.
Go in to post office. Lady gives me post office details but also suggests they have a dunlop tire center.
Handy. Yes indeed they do all sorts of wheels. No he has none in stock but he can ring a friend of a friend.
So I spend the day in Wedderburn. I park my bike outside the dunlop shop and gradually stack up a pile of supplies. Food. Water. Petrol.
At some point the local patrol pulls past and he does a double take at my bike. But you know it is fitted with the restriction kit and fully complies with the intent of the law.
He then goes and parks hopefully in the park across the road and watches. I keep going and returning with more stuff. Quite what he expects me to do I am not sure. Perhaps a burnout with all of my supplies and then a jump over a flower bed?
Anyway gets to about 3PM. I see the cop is gone but another patrol car is parked at the turn off to the Calder Hwy.
I find this all very obvious and entertaining.
My tires arrive. They are all old or stretched but in a pinch this will get me through. Thank the Dunlop man as he has just saved my butt.
I spend the next 30 minites or so hanging stuff all over the bike putting it my pack and hanging stuff off every available spot I can find. I have stocked up on a bunch of stuff and I am going to be going nowhere quickly.
I heave myself on to bike tires hanging off my bag. Four liters of water in a tank strapped to my chest. I muzt look like some sort of human shopping basket.
Then I very carefully pedal out and cross over the road and make my turn off on to the Calder. Policeman does not follow me. His car is empty. Must have got bored.
I decide this is really a rather nice day and I like the challenge so I decide to pedal the whole 30k back to the campsite.
At some point the first patrol car I saw passes me going the other direction.
I am bent over looking at my front wheel and nothing else. Sweat is dripping off the tip of nose on to the tire. This is a long slow climb and you know with the motor yiur always dragging a tiny bit of clutch and the weight of that other chain.
Patrol car comes back this time right next to me. He slows for a bit. I am not sure what law he is hoping I will break. Maybe I will suddenly do a wheelie with my enormously powerful 200W motor and fly away.
I can tell by the way that he whizzes off that my full compliance with the law has probably wasted several hours lf his day and left him unsatisfied with the unfinished blue helmeted potential of my unusual vehicle that might otherwise have been.
This results in a deep grin on my face which I keep for the rest of the day.
Whike drifting off to sleep I form a new plan. I have looked at map and I think I see another campsite. This one is close to the Calder Hwy and Wedderburn. But I will need to get the wheel coaxed one last section. I have an idea of just how this will go. I will stuff a tube with knots of fabric from a t-shirt and stitch it and the remains of the tire in to a super tire. All this would be fine if Kooyoora was actually still a campsite.
Wake up with dawn. Didn’t bring any needles. No problem I make one from a fish hook. The eye on one end makes it a bit of a pain to pull through rubber of tube but it will get by.
No thread ( actually it turns out later I did put a needle and thread in my medical kit ) but I do have floss.
I spend the next hour with the leatherman making a stack of tiny knotted balls. I cut up an old thermal shirt which has seen better days but the material is super tough.
I take one of my blown tubes ( 16×2.125 ) and cut a small hole in the backside. I then begin to pack it with the cloth. This takes patience and a long time to stop it all bunching up. I make a small tool out of a bit of tubing I magpied at Mt Franklin to do this.
In the end I have a tube which is really quite impressive. It is a bit like one of those no puncture tubes which are really just a solid core.
Next up I put the remains of the tire back on the rim and push the tube in. The tire is really jsut gone. It has just destroyed itself. To fill it in I then I begin to stitch and wrap with insulation tape. I basically just bind the whole lot together around the rim.
In the end I have a wheel. It will roll. This is the last stage. If I don’t locate a campsite before it comes apart this will not be pretty.
Leave the cart good go and go off to find a campsite. No point dragging it around until I have somewhere to go. All the signs here are either missing pointing in the wrong direction or incorrect. The sign which says , ‘Kooyoora Camping Ground’ which I follow for 20 minutes with a sense of elation ultimately just leads me back to where I started.
I then hear a train. Even in the national parks you often do. A train can be 30-40km away and you will still hear them. Especially the horns. I remember on the map before my phone ran out of power that I had seen campsite close to a train station. So that is where I head. After about 40 minutes come to another national park.
Gabalyn. I am about to give up when I see a broken sign laying in bushes.
Great. No water or anything but a place to put up tent.
Back for my gear I go . . .
Another hour spent nursing this mess to camp. Holds together really well. Could actually get the heck out of here on it but decide not to risk it.
Tomorrow I will head out to the Calder Hwy which I am pretty sure is not to far away.
As I go to sleep I can hear the trains now loud and clear.
The day it all turns pear shaped. In my diary I have written one word. Nightmare.
So I am coming out from Mt Franklin towards Rehola heading towards Kooyoora and the start of the ride is lovely. At some point I pass the welcome stranger. The story is some fellows in a cart ran over a chunk of gold in the road and it broke the wheel of the wagon.
Anyway I will just refer to it as the home of the unwelcome stranger. Something in the road through Rehola tears open the wheel on the cart like a tin opener.
At first I am in no stress. Plenty of spare tubes. Pull over. Blazing hot day. Take off wheel. Take tire off. Getting ready to put tube in. Fellow pulls over on a motorcycle.
We have a chat about farming and water. Then I see the deep gash in the tire. Perhaps a cats-eye has done it. The edges on them rise up out of ground and sharpen up over time.
Even then I am thinking no problems. Out with some zip ties. Guy is still talking. Bit distracting. Cutting zip ties after pulling them through tire manage to cut finger open.
Combination of distraction and heat. A lot of blood and excited flies. No problem. Patch that up since I now have a gash in myself and in wheel.
Guy on bike leaves wishing me well. Put tire back on. Tube back in.
I can fix anything . . .
About 100 meters down the road . . . BANG!
I see that the zip ties have just torn out. Okay time to attack this with insulation tape and more zip ties and string.
This does a bit better. I get maybe 16-17k out of it before the next tube goes. Not going to put another tube in.
Now what. Hay of course. Trick as old as the first wheel. But not generally for a torn open tire. I cut the tube open and lay it inside the tire.
Why didn’t I bring spare tires? Because I didn’t think about it!
So now I am -close- or I think I am close to the camp ground. On the Kooyoora main road. If I turn left I will go to the lovely Mellville caves campsite if I turn right I will go to . . .
Well it turns out to -nothing- . . .
After another 2 hours of nursing this mess ( stopping every 10 minutes or so to repack it / tie it coax it / pray to wheel gods ) I reach what should be campsite. This is on a gravel road in the forest with extensive climbs.
I get to a gate , ‘Kooyoora Retreat – No Tresspassers’ . . .
Local council sold the campsite!
At this point I have had enough. Push bike in to forest side track. Exhausted. Stealth camp.