Papua New Guinea, Highlands trip ends 20 minutes after it starts

Motorbike/Motorcycle, Papua New Guinea, Travel No Comments

The plan was to have a ‘long weekend’ trip to the highlands this weekend. I had planned to go as far as Togoba today, preach at Wabag church on Saturday, then travel Porgera-Laiagam-Mendi on Sunday, to Tari on Monday, and back to Lae on Tuesday/Wednesday.

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I departed Lae at 6:00am this morning, and by 6:20am, the trip was over!! I didn’t even make it as far as the Nadzab airport.

I was cruising at 120km/h, when the bike popped out of 6th gear into what seemed like neutral (the engine freely revving, with no power going to the rear wheel). I selected up into 6th again, and about 5 seconds later it popped out again. So I changed down to 5th, and that is when the fun started – it sounded like someone had thrown a box of nuts and bolts into my gearbox. Fortunately the rear wheel didn’t lock up till I was just about stationary, but when I stopped by the side of the road, I couldn’t move the bike forward or backward.

The ever friendly and helpful locals assisted immediately. These boys carried the rear of the bike (as the tyre wouldn’t turn), so that we could move the bike of the main highway.

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Just 20 minutes later, my bike was in the back of a ute being ferried back to Lae. I guess I will need to fit a new gearbox before I can consider this trip again. L Once again, my dream of traveling the Highlands highway has been postponed.

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Of course the good news is, that this happened while I was still so close to Lae. I would have had additional challenges if it had happened a few hours out of Mendi.

I am back in Port Moresby tonight, wondering how to best go about repairing the bike.