Sunday, April 27, 2008

DAY 183: Day off at Innot Hot Springs

Thurs 24th April 2008
Sunny intervals, 25 deg C
Elevation of destination 641m
Distance to date 10663 km (6664 miles)

Another peaceful sleep, and a little lie-in until the sun hit the tent at 0730, whereupon things starting heating up. I spent an hour on breakfast with yesterday’s paper (bliss) before starting on some bike maintenance. People are very friendly here indeed and I spent a lot of the day chatting, and learning about the road and other things out west.
I had intended to fit the new chain that I bought in Cairns, with the idea of having 2 chains of equal wear which I could alternate, but things didn’t go according to plan. The chain I bought in Cairns was too short! Although the box said it had 132 links there were only 94 - not enough to join up. Clearly this chain had been cut and put back in the box before being sold. It was also different to the Rohloff chain in that there was more sideways play in the new chain, which is for single speed systems. Anyhow it was of no use to me so I phoned the shop up, and they said to send it in and they would consider a refund, which I duly did (there is a post office in the CP general store here).
That wasn’t all though, because after the chain came off yesterday I had noticed it was slack, and when I tried to tension it today with the eccentric bottom bracket adjustment I found that it was already at it’s limit. Clearly I need a new chain, whereas I had thought there was quite a bit of life in this Rohloff chain. I had this chain fitted in Melbourne along with new sprockets, and a quick calculation confirmed that Melbourne is halfway between Perth and here, so it actually figures that the chain would be wearing out - doh! Trouble is there’s no bike shop for a long way ahead. I can get a new chain sent out to me, no problem, but if the sprockets are worn the new chain will not be compatible and will skip, as it did in Melbourne, which meant new chainring and rear sprocket. Certainly in the case of the rear sprocket I don’t have the tools to change this myself unless I buy the (heavy and costly) special tool (which I don’t want to have to do). I did have the chainring and sprocket turned in Cairns, so there’s maybe a chance a new chain might be OK on the unworn side of the cogs, but I’m not that hopeful. I’ll try, and see, but failing this I’ll have continue to use the present, worn, set-up. I am only getting about 5000km from the Rohloff chains it seems, which surely isn’t enough? I don’t know why that should be, unless it’s due to the heavy load I’m pulling. With the bike, bags and me there's 120kg.
Anyhow I got the chain cleaned - it was full of crud, from the Bloomfield Track presumably - so I can’t do any more at present.
I spent most of the afternoon in the pools, alternating hot - cold - spa etc. etc., very decadent but very pleasant. More campers have arrived and 2 lots camped very close, either side of me, despite there being a couple of acres with no-one there. Weird! It got pretty hectic around my tent with kids and dogs and lots of noise, so I took off to the pub for some reprieve, and finished up eating there - a very nice bangers and mash followed by plum pud with cream and ice cream. A guy I was talking to today, Bruce, was there eating with his son Jai, so I had companions whilst eating and picked up more good tips about the journey ahead. A couple of schooners of Toohey's Old went down very well too.
I managed to get everything washed and all my batteries charged up, so it has been quite a productive day. I also got out the 2 solar panels and had 4 x AA’s charging all day in the sun, so I’ll see how well they charged up when I come to use them. (NB They didn't charge up at all dammit)
Tomorrow I’ll leave here, probably for Undara Lava Tubes Lodge and camping ‘village’.

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