I was thrilled to be getting out of our compound at that moment. I was ready to hike and taste nature again after the dust and sounds of Goroka town. I had been going a little stir crazy of late, waiting for the weekend to join our classmates/good friends on a hike up to a mountain ridge. I suppose it was not meant to be, as my daydreams were shattered with that awful noise which can only be associated with a flat tire.
We had picked up our friends, after being a little late already, then proceeded to fill up a low tire at the New Tribes Lapilo base, which set us back on our time schedule even more. My patience, however, could not be used up as I was just happy looking around and not seeing our compound walls. We proceeded on to the 2-lane highway to find the start of our trail. This highway had gotten worse with the rainy season and there were more potholes than ever to dodge. One can only do so much when another car is in the lane you must use to avoid that hole. Your only option when approaching these potholes is to slow down and brave the bump. That is exactly what Dad did. However, luck was not on our side and the front tire of CRMF’s van (called Mobile 1) burst just as approaching a bridge. My stomach sank at the scraping noise. Dad made it across the one lane bridge slowly and pulled off on the side of the road.
This is busy spot for PMVs (public motor vehicle) and there was quite a crowd to welcome us. Seeing the trouble they quickly jumped in to help. Brent (one of our friends) unhooked the spare tire and the rest of us dismally stared at it. I hoped it would hold up for the trip back. The guys around the PMV stop helped us get the jack out and raise the van up. Then they proceeded to take over and take off the tire. Or tried to. That tire was rusted on extremely well. After banging the tire for half an hour with anything on site (rocks and feet), a family from Lapilo (New Tribes Base) saw us and gave Brent a ride back to get some WD40 . Dropping him off again with that magic spray, we had the tire off in just another 15 minutes. Everything else went fine, however, the hike, was cancelled.
“Oh well, we’ll do it another day,” we say. “At least we have an interesting story to tell.”