Saturday, December 20, 2008

12/19/2008 - The Mother of all Blowouts

It dawned yet another beautiful day here. A few scattered clouds, a soft breeze, and copious sunshine were the recipe for the day. Packed up camp and was off by about 9:30. and I left Dargaville not suspecting that I would be back within three hours. Very pleasant cycling, little in the way of major hills (though a few), passing many farms intermixed with deep and dark forests of pine, Kauri, and fern.

IMGP0833.JPGA quick glance up the sideroad into the forests of Middle Earth.

About 15 miles out of Dargaville, just after waving to a couple of guys fixing a fence, I heard a rifle shot. Having just been reading my Jack Reacher novel (where he is helping the Secret Service protect the vice-president), my well-trained mind immediately sprang to life. The shot appeared to have come behind me. It was a low sound, and a crack, not a shotgun, probably high-powered rifle. A quick glance showed that it was, indeed, a high-pressure explosion, though not the calibre I expected - instead of a .300 magnum, it was a 700x32c, the size of my rear tire. Which had blown out completely.

I hate rear blowouts - it is always harder to get the rear wheel off than the front. But I pulled over and pulled the tube.

IMGP0834.JPGThe source of the rifle shot sound that made the fence guys jump.

OK, I could deal with this. Spent 30 minutes in total getting things off and repairing this. Had just packed the fixed tube in the tire when I looked at the tire.


The entire tire was blown out for about an inch and a half. This is not good as I do not have a spare tire, only spare tubes. Put a tube in this and the tube simply extrudes through the big tire hole and pops again. All right, MacGuyver, what have you got?

IMGP0836.JPGSaved again by my friend, duct tape. And three tire patches.

I used my last three patches to hold the flap of tire down, then put on duct tape just past the bead (to help hold it on). I switched the tires so this was on the front rather than back (less weight) and put the tube and tire on the rear.

Was just finishing up after about an hour and a half when a man came up to me. "Need a ride?" he asked. He owned the dairy farm where I happened to have stopped. After a short conversation, he stated that he was heading into Darvaville. There is a motorcycle shop there that might have tires. Made a quick call from the house, and sure enough, they had tires and tubes that would fit my front wheel.

So, yet again, I was saved by New Zealand hospitality. This man owned three dairy farms, and obviously worked very hard. Had 5 kids, eldest was 14. We talked comfortably as we headed back through to Darvaville. He left me at the store while he picked up some parts, then returned to pick me up with my new tire and tube - a smaller one, better for touring anyway.

I offered lunch and gas money, but no dice. "I was heading there anyway". So, with a return trip to the dairy, my bike was quickly back in action and off I went.

IMGP0837.JPGThe dairy farm, home of yet another savior.

Made it into the Kauri Forest and the Top 10 campground. Realized I had been here before:

IMG_1990This is back in 2003. That tent and coat got stolen on the way back to America.

IMGP0844.JPGThe same place today. Just as nice and well-kept.

I decided to do the night hike of the forest, looking for Kiwis. Not a successful hike, and no pictures as, well, it was dark. Interesting, though.

Bit of pasta, then the hike, then to bed.

IMGP0839.JPGActually, the sauce was horrific.

IMGP0840.JPGBeautiful evening, just before the night walk.

Good night, computer power almost out!


  1. "I hate rear blowouts" just wait till you have kids, this will take on a whole new meaning. Oh, your hate will just grow my friend.


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