Road trip day 3

Today we had a lunch booked at The Byabarra Cafe, based on a recommendation from a friend. This is in a tiny settlement that doesn’t even count as a village, in the mountain hinterland inland from Port Macquarie.

Since it was only about 40 minutes drive, we took some time in the morning after breakfast to go for a walk down to the beach and along it the grassy parkland just behind the sand. It had rained very heavily overnight and was very windy this morning, and threatening drizzle. But the rain held off enough for us to let Scully run around in the park a bit, which was good.

We set out in the car and stopped at the town of Wauchope to have a look around. It’s a typical small country town, with a single main street lined with a couple of blocks of shops. But down a tiny narrow alley we stumbled across a coffee shop called Dark Alley Coffee. We only went in because my wife felt like a coffee (I don’t drink coffee), but then we noticed the whole place was decorated with Star Wars posters, models, toys, and trinkets. I chatted with the owner while he made my wife’s coffee. He was into Dungeons & Dragons too, so I mentioned Darths & Droids and gave him the address, which he said he’d definitely check out.

Lunch was excellent, sitting on the back veranda looking out over a long valley stretching into the distance, partly forested with eucalypts and partly grazing land, listening to the calls of numerous birds in the trees.

After eating, I wanted to see if we could return to Port Macquarie via a different route, and there was a promising looking road that would form a convenient loop via the coast. I asked the staff about the road, wondering if it might be unsealed gravel or dirt. They confirmed there was a dirt road, but said it was in good repair and should be fine.

So we set out, on a beautifully scenic road through dense forests, taking a turn off the main road onto the dirt road that cut across back to the coast. It started off okay, but after a few kilometres became very rocky and bumpy, shaking and rattling the car alarmingly. We pressed on, eventually returning to paved road, and it was then that I noticed a strange sound…

We pulled over and I went out to check the car, to see if there was a branch caught underneath or something. I found instead that a rear tyre was flat, obviously punctured by a sharp rock somewhere on the dirt road. Well, we were basically in the middle of nowhere. It was about 15 km to the nearest town. And our car is so small that it doesn’t carry a spare tyre.

My wife called her roadside assistance membership organisation, and they said they could arrange a tow to the town, where we could get a new tyre. The problem was that by the time a tow truck could get to us and then return us to town, it would be about closing time, and we might have to leave the car overnight. Which would mean we were stuck about 50 km from our hotel, and might have to get a taxi there… and then back again in the morning.

Well… we waited, and it rained… and eventually the tow truck showed up. The driver said we had to leave Scully in the car, it was illegal for him to drive with a dog in the cabin of the truck. So we had to leave her there alone for the ride, which she didn’t like at all.

Anyway, long story short, we arrived at the service centre at 4:55 pm, and the receptionist said the mechanics were just about to go home for the day… but the head mechanic saw our predicament and said they’d do the tyre change for us before they knocked off for the day. Phew!

So 15 minutes later we had a new tyre and were on our way. So it was all a bit of an adventure which we’ll laugh about later.

3 thoughts on “Road trip day 3”

  1. Small cars in the USA may not have a full-size spare, but they have a “doughnut,” a tiny tire that can be used for long enough to drive to the next repair center or tire shop, or (like my own small car) they have a field repair kit–a can of aerosol that can be pumped into a tire to seal small leaks, along with a small compressor to reinflate.

    1. Yes, we have the repair kit thingy, and I got it out to see if I could use it, but it had dire warnings not to drive more than 10 km on the repaired tyre before having it replaced. And we were about 15 km from the nearest town, and as it turned out about 30 km from the nearest town big enough to have an auto repair shop. Not worth risking an accident.

      1. My Hyundai kit says “up to 120 miles,” or just about 200km to you.

        It might not seal a tire that has been shredded by rocks, of course.

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