Michael Matheson Journalist with with many miles under his belt.
I’d managed to reach south-west Queensland from the Northern Territory when I had my final, unfixable flat tyre. I’d never patched so many tubes in my life, and it’d all happened over the past three days. I hadn’t run out of patches, I’d run out valves. Even the spares had given up after being screwed in and out so many times. I wasn’t going anywhere.
Time to take stock of the situation. Boulia was 120km to the north. Bedourie was 80km to the south. I slowly turned 360 degrees on the spot and let my eyes follow the horizon. It was flat and utterly uninterrupted by even a bush. Nothing. Nothing but a dirt track going all the way to the northern horizon and all the way to the southern horizon.
I sat down and prepared to wait.
By some small miracle, only 10 minutes later a tiny white van appeared from the north. It took an interminably long time to reach me because it was crawling along at 30km/h with its low belly dragging over the gravel piled up between the wheel tracks. It was driven to Austrian tourists who looked completely beaten by their outback adventure. Hours later, they dropped me, my wheel and its flat tyre off in Bedourie.
Twenty-four hours later I came back to Bedourie under my own steam with inflated tyres, but now it was raining and the roads were closed. I was going to be stranded in this town, with a population of 14, for five days. My schedule was now kaput.
At the time, that whole episode seemed the ultimate “Oh no!” moment. As always happens, though, it became a highlight. While I was getting on with the great people of Bedourie, work and family carried on successfully without me.
I learned then to relax and take it all as it comes.