Thursday, June 18, 2009

Alcohol problem

Gerald the Herald's seldom left Moranbah since driving up from Brisbane last year. We go for regular blats out to the airport and back to warm the engine, but otherwise it hasn't left town since last July. So, I decided it was time for a holiday.

Sarina Beach

Sugar cane ready for harvest. No crop circles visible from this height!

We headed out to the coast and stayed for a night at Sarina Beach, a quiet settlement about two and a half hours from home. After a run on the beach the next morning, we headed north to Mackay to pick up the GT6's newly recored radiator. After Mackay, we headed north to Cape Hillsborough National Park and pitched a tent in the caravan park by the beach. I stopped at one point to photograph the Herald alongside one of north Queensland's iconic crops, sugar cane. When I was planning my move to Australia a few years ago, I'd visualised driving the Herald through fields of pineapple, only later finding that pineapple is grown further south. So sugar cane it had to be.

A byproduct of the local sugar industry is ethanol, blended into the premium fuel as "E15". Not being able to find the normal Premium, I decided to try the E15. The car ran well to Cape Hillsborough, the only difference being a hint of vapourisation after stopping for a few minutes, and slight pinking. Unfortunately, all wasn't well, and I returned from a walk on the beach to find fuel pouring from the boot. An old repair to the petrol tank had been dissolved by the ethanol, and I had to pull the tank out and drain it. The get-me-home fix the next day was an old 20L cooking oil drum with the old tank's pick-up pipe poked through the lid! And it did get me home, with roof down and windows open to control the smell of petrol wafting from the boot and carbs. The fuel tank will need to be professionaly repaired this time, and will be dropped off in Mackay next week. In the meantime, Gerald's asleep in the garage, all washed but stil with sand on the carpet. As always, it did well.

Pulling the tank out - oil drum ready to go in.

The morning after - sunrise on a tropical beach


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