October 21, 2004

Day 2: Electric Boogaloo

Posted by DaveSmith

Day 2
Oct 15, 2004
Morsetti to Walcha (I think)

Wake up after a car backfires, repack, stare at the small oil leak,
and figure it's just some leftover from the rebuild. Bike starts up
and we leave.

We, as in my bike and I. Haven't named it yet. I don't usually name
my stuff (even name my pets all Dave because I got sick of people
asking why I never named them) but there's a name for this bike. I'll
find it.

We make it to a mall in Newcastle so I can stare at the groceries.
Vegemite is such a small part of the crazy flavors they eat here. Musk
flavor Lifesavers is a good one. Coca Cola is made with sugar here.
It tastes better than "high fructose corn syrup" that they use in the

I go to leave and notice the oil leak is getting bigger. It's nowhere near Brit bike but it's noticeable. If it was an old engine, I
wouldn't have thought twice. The engine stutters and it's idling too
fast. It's also gotten very hard for me to start but I haven't
figured out the starting pattern for it yet. My SR500s would start
first kick, with no gas, and the choke out. My Monkey Wards Benelli
would usually start 3rd kick with just a touch of the gas. I'll figure
out the trick for starting this.

I'm at a rest area and lend an old Czech couple who've lived in OZ 35
years a pair of Vice Grips. She said she couldn't offer money and I
said "Just trying to be helpful". She came up later and gave me a
couple of Czech homemade sweets. One quote from the couple.
"Australia is nice just like the USA. Only same problem with both --
too many Moslems". It's the good/evil bit at work.

El Duce made the trains run on time, but was a fascist (the real
fascist, not the "fascist" neighbor who plays music too loud). The
bike runs mostly okay, but that's "mostly". Hitler had a girlfriend,
but he also painted horrible watercolors. There's some sort of big
worded "duality of existence" bit that would be entered here if this
was a college term paper, but just like a Monster Truck Show, it's
better when you watch it in action instead of sit around theorizing
about it.

I talked to a guy who rode his Kawasaki 750cc around Australia in the
last decade. He's headed to Brisbane to pick up a boat. He wants to
sail it down to Melbourne, but said it needs too much work. Sounds
like a lot of time off but Aussies get 6 weeks of vacation a year,
plus another paid day off a month. They work 40 hours a week, get
paid for 38, and get one day a month off paid for by those 2 hours a
week. Many people are surprised I quit my job to do this.
Australians, probably because they get so much time off.

I go to leave and a guy is looking at my bike. He had an NSU 250cc.
I try to kick mine over but it didn't start on the first couple kicks.
He said, "Sorry, it's because I'm watching" and left. It started
after that.

I took a tourist road which takes me inland up The Buckets Highway
onto Thunderbolts Way. I stop for gas and the NSU guy was at the
station. He gave me his map since I didn't have one. He's just out
exploring roads he hasn't been on and didn't need the map because he's
familiar with the roads here and knows which ones he hasn't been down.

After that, I couldn't get the bike started. The guy inside came out
and said it had a really high idle when I pulled in. I flooded it so
I waited. It starts but dies as I put my gloves on. I tried to push
start it, which sucks on a loaded bike, but no go. Pull the plug,
kick it over, put the plug back in and it starts. The oil leak is
getting worse.

I see warning signs for koalas and kangaroos. I saw my first kangaroo
today. Dead on the side of the road, but it counts. And I met my
first overseas couple on motorcycles. Marcus, from Germany, and
Daria, from Poland. They're circling Australia too. Started in Perth.
Marcus said his site is www.monsterq.de

He thought I was crazy to be doing this on an old bike, and I thought
Daria was crazy for doing this on a Yamaha XT 225cc that she bought
because she didn't know how to ride a motorcycle. Marcus gave me
advice for crossing the western territory. And said they had ridden
through a really cold part that I was headed into. Cold warnings from
a German are unsettling. He noticed the oil leak and said it was from
the head gasket, so I told him old Ducs didn't use head gaskets. He
wished me luck and left.

I get to Walcha at 4:30 but the tourist place is already closed and so
are the campsites. I'd like to take a shower, and I'm sure anyone
standing next to me thinks the same thing. The bike won't start. I
tried push starting it 3 times. Finally it starts but it's running
rough. I leave with a bottle of XXXX Bitter and a bag of salted
peanuts for dinner.

I'm camping on the side of the road. listening to crazy wildlife, and
learning how to fingerpick the banjo. This is a lovely part of OZ.
They have birds that are the opposite of magpies (magpies and crows
are my favorite birds). Black feathers where magpies have white
feathers and white where black. Sort of like the black/white guy vs.
the white/black guy who fought on Shatner's Star Trek. Do I continue
towards Brisbane, or head back to Phil's shop?

Posted by DaveSmith at October 21, 2004 03:23 PM

I just bought a laptop battery on E-bay so I can take it with me to China and watch Jungle Book. I'm not sure if it'll work. Even if it fits it's probably dead.

Yeah, Coca Cola in the US basically sucks. It's better in other countries where they use sugar like God intended!

Get the bike fixed Dave cuz it's got a long ways to go.

Posted by: Farmdog at October 21, 2004 03:54 PM

Motor trouble would be a bummer back in the U S of A and being on your own down under has gotta be a real pisser but I know you'll work it out......besides, you can always pull an ET....luvya.us

Posted by: The Old Man at October 21, 2004 03:59 PM

Dear Sir,

Can you please collect and bring me a kangaroo heart. I need one for my collection.

-Mola Ram

Posted by: Mola Ram at October 21, 2004 04:06 PM

Incase you can see pictures. Here I am at the Red Sox party.

-Nelson De La Rosa

Posted by: Nelson De La Rosa at October 21, 2004 04:15 PM

Dingo's ate my Davey! You said you had the little problems fixed. Does this mean you're still working on the big problems? Sigh. Email your sister fer chrissakes.

Posted by: Gina at October 21, 2004 09:30 PM

Hmmmm...an erl leak in the middle of nowheres. Sounds familiar. Just do what we did on that gosh forsaken road in the middle of Tejas when we were on our way to that museum with Lee Harvey Oswald's can opener on display: take the carbeurator and other assorted parts off, reassemble and wait for an old man in a Cadillac to come by and give you a ride to the museum that's closed. It worked in Tejas, it'll work on your Penile Colony.

Posted by: the jeffrey tambor at October 21, 2004 11:02 PM

the common sense thing to do would be to go back to Phil's shop, so I'm sure you'll head in the other direction. maybe you can take it back and trade it in for an Isetta....

Posted by: ol' man foster at October 22, 2004 12:34 PM

you have to fix it, packs of wild koalas will
sense your weakness and attack if you do not.

go back.

thanks again for the pictures.

Posted by: at October 22, 2004 03:58 PM


Posted by: Sarah at October 22, 2004 06:14 PM

Oh...little Davey!
Please fix the bike while you still have money! I'm afraid you'll be in the middle of nowheresville and can't fix the Duc!
So, besides the peanuts and beer for dinner, you seem to be doing OK and people ought to be re-thinking their bets now. What's the latest date? I'm sure its gotta be at least 2 weeks! A month in OZ and a dead kanga..... ah the good life!

Posted by: seester at October 22, 2004 10:34 PM

Listen to your sisters Dave!! I've met them and like them. Fix the bike or you'll get stranded somewhere in OZ and get attacked by a pack of rabid teenage Koalas. They'll beat the crap out of you, steal the Duc and your beer. You'll end up all scratched up and reeking of eucalyptus!!! Shudder...worse than patchouli.

P.S. I'm not betting against you Dave. I figure you've got a damn good chance of making it (around the world that is).

Posted by: Farmdog at October 22, 2004 11:05 PM

I'm with that guy! Listen to your sisters!
Phil's is closer now than it will be a week from now Davey, couldn't be the worst idea to let him have a look at things.

p.s. could it be that she hasn't been given a name? girls can be funny that way you know.

Posted by: Colleen at October 23, 2004 05:52 AM

For heaven's sake, David, listen to your sisters.

Posted by: Mom at October 23, 2004 02:18 PM

5{ssake's, he's fine--sounds like the bike is fixed now, or at least the kinks are getting worked out. Dave, I'm betting yer just stringing us along. Maybe the newly rebuilt engine just didn't want to be warmed up with 8 or 10 hour, full-throttle days? And I'll send you a punk rock bumper sticker if you'll send us a sugar Coke...

I'm a sister and I approve this message.

Posted by: kellye at October 23, 2004 09:57 PM

Hi Dave. Not sure if this is the sort of thing you want to read, but here goes:
The oil leak is from a small O-ring that's supposed to seal an internal oil feed at the cylinder/head joint, but often doesn't. Get half a dozen to last you the trip - they could be put in an envelope and posted. It's not a major job, but you'll need a spanner for the cylinder bolts, and for the exhaust ring (plumber's Stillson, or monkey wrench works well). Method is to remove fuel tank, spark plug, exhaust system - carb is optional. Depending on how close it is, you might need to loosen the ignition coil too. Bring piston to top of its travel on the exhaust stroke. Remove kickstarter at this point, to lessen chance of turning engine, which complicates retiming later. Remove the 4 cylinder bolts and lift out the head. Remove old O-ring, put a new one in its place over the dowel thingy, and reassemble - it won't need retiming if the crank hasn't moved. You should put some RTV rubber gasket compound around the bottom of the vertical bevel shaft cover tube, or it's likely to leak there. It might sound involved, but this all should only take about an hour or so. BTW, it's not a critical thing, but not nice to have to live with, to have this leak. You can survive indefinitely with it like that though.
Re: the hard starting - that shouldn't be. Try altering adjustment of the Air Screw, which should be around 1 1/2 turns out from fully home.
I guess your bike didn't get much of a shake-down before you picked it up, in which case it'll have teething troubles for a while.

Posted by: Jordan at October 25, 2004 07:34 AM

Get a pistol.

Posted by: Alex Z. (or Alex Z.A.)Alex Z at October 27, 2004 09:01 AM

I love the crows and magpies too. They're a lot more interesting than songbirds. I'm officially requesting aussie bird photos for my bird brain. Fix yr oil leak.

Posted by: Amy at October 28, 2004 02:03 PM


Posted by: THE OLD MAN at October 29, 2004 09:35 AM