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Petr & Zdenka’s Wacky Van Adventure

May 28, 2006 – 8:56 am

After the dive shop signed my papers yesterday, a classic backpacker misadventure ensued. I hopped in a van going to Airlie Beach, cause, well, I had nothing better to do. Two travelling Czechs, Petr and Zdenka, were going in their 1979 Toyota Hi-Ace and had room. So I went. Another English traveller named Susan went along too. Apparently they’re going on the same sailing cruise that happens to be the next day. So we’re all piled in the van about noon ready to get on the road to Airlie.

Which is bad news when the van starts jerking like its engine is trying to break free. The choke seems to be… err, choking the engine. So we head back to town. Call every mechanic we can think. Take apart the carbeurator. Somehow manage to find a retired mechanic walking across the street. Clean some intake jets, pop the carbie back in, and we’re back on the road. Bam!

For about four minutes. Then, the same damned thing happens. We jerk our way to the last remaining Auto supply store, TJ there let’s us in 5 minutes past closing, and we but a new fuel filter after figuring out that fuel stored in a plastic container for 2 months in the outback tends to leach out the plastic and get a film. Pull the van behind the shop a little ways, siphon out all the fuel (about 40 liters) into a big empty garbage can, then filter it back through into the tank with some hand towels from the local RSL. Twice. Fantastic! Back on the road about 7:00. By this time Susan had ditched us for “the bus,” so it was just me and two Czechs.

Slept through a lot of the night surprisingly. We stopped in Bowen sometime around 2:00 am. Wait, the story’s not over. Slept until maybe 3:30, then proceeded to get more petrol. Or, rather, try to get more petrol. Everything is closed in Bowen until about 6:00. And even then, our gas station waited around till maybe 7:30. When we woke up about 7:00, Petr quite promptly knocked the side door off its track. Putting it back on took, oh, a good half hour while we waited for the place to open. Airlie Beach was a ridiculously short trip after that.

Two of the only times in my life where I was happy to be in an auto parts store and a gas station. Ok, that’s the end of the story. Comments?

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2 Responses to “Petr & Zdenka’s Wacky Van Adventure”

  1. Patrick Says:

    so after all of that, how was the beach?
    ~Patrick

  2. Anne and Chris Says:

    Car? Engine? Taking apart? All in the same sentence? This is not the Bob I know! Sounds more like Chris – says Chris!! That van must be a jewel of a vehicle – but at least it got you there!!