Joined: Nov 2007
Location: Hamilton, New Zealand
Birtles vs Australia
In which Birtles’ troubles continue, there is a change of direction, and help comes from afar.
Quilpi to Brisbane:
Overnight the Knead-It has become rock-hard hard, but from the front end of yesterday’s repair the split has grown
a further couple of inches. Looks like the vibration has created a weak area running along the length of the tank.
Time to re-think how to proceed. The plan had been to head west from Quilpi then north on the Diamantina Development
Road and through Jundah to Winton. About 680 kilometres of remote roads where losing the contents of the main tank
again would be a wee bit of a nuisance as distances between refuelling points are beyond the range of the under-seat tank.
How much more will the split spread?
Will I enjoy it if another split starts on the spark-plug side?
I decide the safe thing to do is replace the tank. Using the-state-by-state listing of Australian motorcycle dealers that
back home I had downloaded onto the tablet, the few bike shops “nearest” to Quilpi are phoned, hoping to find someone who
can point me in the right direction. I also call Pete back in Melbourne to let him know that progress might be stalled for a bit.
Nearest is in quote marks because there really is nothing close to Quilpi if what you are looking for is a tank from a twenty
year old motorcycle, and the number of wreckers in outback Queensland who may have a tank is small.
With no good news from the bike shops, the only sure place of getting a tank seems to be Brisbane where if all else fails
I can get a small one from 1-10 in Caboolture. Joe can supply a five litre bolt-on tank - not big enough by itself, but by
also squeezing a five litre can in the pack it would do the trick.
There’s a call from Pete, he has located an XR tank, and do I want him to send it? My view of cellular communication
devices changes momentarily from strongly negative to mildly tolerant and by the afternoon the tank will be on its way to
the Brisbane address I give Pete.
In my mind at this point, shooting across to Brissie for the tank seems no big deal - Quilpi is in Queensland / Brisbane
is in Queensland - and there is a pretty much straight line route through Charleville, Miles, Dalby and Yarraman.
When I look at maps of Australia, I have to keep reminding myself of how much bigger it is than New Zealand. Something
like this helps to make it clear that Australia really is “A BIG C<” …. and that Quilpi to Brisbane is 973 kilometres,
not an overnighter on a Postie.
Another Knead-It job is done on the new split. The Postie tank alone does not have enough capacity, so at least part of
the XR tank’s capacity is required. It will not be fully filled to lower stress on the repairs - if it can carry four litres that
should be enough to get between petrol stations.
While the filler is hardening the rear tank mounts are made more shock absorbent. The lady at the Quilpi hardware
shop helps with this. I explain what is needed - some high density foam or rubber strip to create a cushion between
the tank and its mounts - and she becomes really involved, scouring the shelves for anything that might work. She comes
up with a number of items ranging from large plumbing washers to a doormat. The doormat is the one - it
has a rubber backing and when strips of it are wrapped around the tank mounts and held with zip-ties they form shock absorbing cushions.
We top off the Postie tank and put four litres in the XR tank and gingerly set off for Brisbane. Five kilometres out of Quilpi
and the repair is holding.
Stopped by a billabong, under a shady tree. No jumbucks here, though.
When Q provides long-drops at rest stops, they mean what they say! Those last few steps could make all the difference
if you were desperate - after a couple of Mrs Mac’s products, for example.
The motorcycling routine of checking both mirrors every minute or so has to be speeded up on Birtles. At 65kph other
vehicles catch up quickly so the checking is done at least every thirty seconds - just a quick glance - and it’s still surprising
how quickly the view in the mirrors can go from showing an empty road to a close-up of Kenilworth grille. To this ritual we
now add a tank inspection, running a hand over the split area and checking the glove for petrol. Each time the glove
comes up dry We become more confident that the Knead-It will hold and over the trip to Brisbane the check list becomes a mantra -
“Right mirror, Left mirror, Tank checking, Glove,
“Right mirror, Left mirror, Tank checking, Glove,
Hari Krishna, Hari Krishna, ….”
About Australian place names I have learned this: however I say them, it will be wrong.
Shep-ee, She-pee, She-pie, Chep-ee, Kep-ee, all possibilites . Sometimes the local pronunciation is so far removed
from the rules of phonetics that I wouldn’t be surprised if the locals probably call this place Cheeps … or Westminister.
I’ll never know, as in the rush east there is no time to explore Cheepie, or even catch a glimpse of it as it’s set far off
the road, but the sign does give me something to wonder about - what is there, apart from the name, that makes Westminister
Simply Unique ?
A little further on we did find something unique, a roadside pub without its walls covered with items discarded by passers-by.
Instead, it had artwork, all done on old tools, and pretty good it was, too.
The saw was too big to fit in the pack, and Birtles hates just strapping things to the outside as this ruins his aerodynamics,
so we left it there and just bought a coffee instead….
… which we drank at a table covered with a painted circular saw blade - see the table cloth through the centre hole?
Nice campsite at Mitchell
Making up alternative meanings for road signs is helping pass the long hours at low speeds.
This one’s easy - Emergency Ladder on Side Road.
This one says it all:
The loads on trucks in the Roma / Miles area have me puzzled until I see all the waste cotton along the sides of the road.
Reflections on Myall Creek at Dalby
Kaimkillenbun sign inspires Birtles to put on a burst of speed as we approach Brisbane.
Home of a disappointed farmer -
The crest of the Great Dividing Range before the slow descent towards the east coast.
For several kilometres over the twisting roads we avoid black spillage on the road, thinking it is effluent from stock trucks.
Just before Kilcoy, the spillage stops and there is a large truck stopped at the side of the road. The driver is inspecting
the fuel tank from which a last few drops are dribbling out. He really needs some Knead-It, but the little I have left will not be
enough for his huge tank, so we pass by, giving him a sympathetic wave. We lost only a few litres - this guy has made a
significant contribution to OPEC.
At Kilcoy the Yowie has its own park. When I photograph a statue of the local equivalent of the Yeti, Birtles
insists on modesty and covers the Yowie’s intimate items with a mirror.
Who can pass a windmill without admiring its elegant simplicity ?
She still hasn't quit ?
We head towards 1-10 so Birtles can see his mates and so I can check the tank Joe has just in case the one on its way
from Melbourne is not a goer. At lights in Caboolture a HD pulls alongside and the rider starts asking questions. When
I tell him we are going to 1-10 he says “Follow me”, and edges in front. At the green, he heads off slowly so Birtles
can keep up and pilots us all the way there. That is a nice gesture - even though I knew the way already. I make Birtles
promise to stop bullying HD’s.
Joe gets his mechanic to have a tinker with Birtle’s cam chain and I get a new headlight globe as the Dawson has done that in as well.
And then there is no longer any need to create mental diversions - the Bruce Highway provides that well enough as we
head a little south to where the tank is being sent, Sue’s aunt and uncle in Burpengary.
Public holidays in Queensland delay the tank for a couple of days, so there is plenty of time to give Birtles a good going-over,
and to fix a broken wire in the loom where it goes around the triple tree. He gets a wash and looks very smart ….
…. a bit like me in the pair of knitted bootees that replace my riding boots when indoors.
Very comfortable, must get the pattern.
The replacement tank has similar mounts and goes on without a problem.
No leaks, Birtles has full tanks and new oil, it's ....
"Climb, Climb", "Ride til die", "... ...".
Ok, Ok, you lot, I was just about to say ... it's time to take off the booties ...
tomorrow we will start heading inland again.
To be continued ....
BigZoner #096 (English Chapter)
"Keep brotherhood till die"
platypus121 screwed with this post 10-15-2012 at 12:44 PM