Friday, August 24, 2012

Tuesday, 14 August 2012
Day 16 riding

We got on the road by 8:30 which was pretty good considering we had some very nice neighbors to chat with.  We say our good-buys and rode to Renner Springs.  There I had my first meat pie.  Fresh out of the oven.  Minced meat and gravy in a flaky pastry shell.  YUM!!   (Sorry, I forgot to take a picture.  Not even one crumb left after I was done.)

Ian called to activate his phone and I called to make an appointment for service in Darwin.  We both needed an oil change and tires (Ian’s back and my front tire).  We were tooling down the road, about 65k north of our last stop when there was a puff of black from the back of Ian’s scooter.  I hoped it was just the result of running over a pebble that gets shot / sprayed out of the tread.  Or a dirt clod that kind of exploded.  No such luck.  It was his belt.  Again.  Just 12 days ago he had the same issue.  What is going on and why is his scooter eating his belts?!?

First things first – we pulled the scooter onto the soft shoulder and took off most of the luggage.  We dug the tools and my spare belt out and worked at removing the transmission cover.  Something wasn’t cooperating.

Meanwhile, a police officer pulled over to check on us.  He called for the Roadside Assistance tow truck and we decided to take a break from the heat and have a drink and a nosh.  I started putting everything back on to my scooter, knowing that I’d be following the truck.  I wasn’t quite done when the tow truck arrived.  Ian’s Gillera was quickly loaded up and strapped down by the driver, Bill.  In no time, were were on our way to Elliot.

Bill’s shop had an amazing collection of license plates displayed on nearly every vertical surface.  I especially liked the “Cannonball” ones.

Kevlar fluff and other belt fragments

Three guys deciding what’s next

Ian had been working the phones.  He talked with the Roadside Assistance folks (more than once), he called other repair shops and his mechanic back in Brisbane and he called our trusted friend and Road Angel, Allen Drysdale.

The end result was a motorcycle shop in Katherine would take the scooter in for service, Allen will send belts (yes, plural.  We don’t need this happening again) to the shop via overnight mail and we’d load both scooters on the truck and be towed to the repair shop.  Now that’s a sorry sight: two scooters on a tow truck.

Bill said he would tow us to Katherine (at an exorbitant rate of $1,600+ to be paid by the roadside insurance).  That would take place tomorrow.  Early tomorrow.  In the mean time, we would stay in a “hotel” in Elliot, also paid for by insurance.  I thought it would be a relief to have an air-conditioned room and clean sheets.  Ummmm, no.  The only place to saty (literally the only place in Elliot) was an even sorrier sight than two scooters on a tow truck.  Honestly, my tent is way, way more comfortable than this:  sweltering hot, lumpy bunk beds, peeling paint, spider infested (not really, but there were at least 6 of them), scary shower, water-stained sinks, the list goes on.  You get the picture.  To add insult to injury, there was no place for dinner.  At least we had the trusty black bag.  There was the road food we bought yesterday and the left-over Chinese.  It wasn’t great but it was enough.  I felt so bad for Ian.  Not the end to the day he’d hoped for.  At least we’ll be out early.

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