The smell of gasoline

On most trips early in the morning the biggest challenge on the road are the push bikes, that is why I have selected a route that normally requires going counter to their direction. However, you can’t always be so lucky. Unfortunately, today another form of motorist who proved to be a challenge – boat owners.

There must have been some sort of event because the roads this morning were full of trailers and boats. Proceeding along the highway I pulled off into the usual service station to re-fuel. Problem was, the car in front also did the same. Further problem was all the pumps on the left hand side were occupied, with two bowsers being occupied by a boat and trailer. Given that my fuel cap is on the left of the car I didn’t really want to try and refill from a right hand bowser. So I waited behind the boat and I waited and I waited.

As the number of cars behind me started to grow (they could have gone to the right bowsers themselves actually) I tossed up whether to simply drive away and pull in at another service station later. I would not be able to do so until after by freeway run. What the heck I’ll go to the right bowsers. How hard can it be? (as they say on Top Gear)

So I pull up at the first bowser at the rear, acknowledge the boat people next door and grab the nozzle. Problem is the nozzle doesn’t quite reach, so I turn it vertically to try and make it fit and a load of fuel from the previous filler gushes all over the inlet area. Damm. So much for checking for fuel spills I think (which is what I wanted to do after some concerns I had last week). I twist and turn the nozzle but it still comes up short and it only just makes the top of the intake pipe on the car. I try this anyway and only end up splashing more fuel around where I don’t want it to be. Damm.

Needing to move the car closer to the pump I jump back in and drive it forward to the first bowser just in front. I make sure that the car is close enough to allow the nozzle to reach, however I now encounter a new problem. Being closer to the bowser means there is less room for the door to open and the doors in this car are much bigger than usual. Damm. So, re-position car (again) to allow exit but now forget to push the button to open the fuel intake on the car. This means getting back in, starting it up, pressing the button and getting out again. Oh, what a comic show for the crowd this morning.

The nozzle barely reaches but it does allow fuel to go into the car rather than elsewhere. After securing the fuel cap I go in search of some water to clear the fuel intake area. This means climbing over the boat, which is still straddled across the middle of the station. As I give the fuel intake a good flush I hope that there are not any leaks (as I was suspecting after last weeks run) that would allow the water to get into the fuel tank. Let’s hope not.

Refuelling done, the attendant behind the register (who has probably quite enjoyed the ‘show’) informs me that I need to pay for the few pennies I used at the first pump (when the nozzle didn’t reach) and my second more successful attempt. Fine. No discount for being ‘entertaining’? I think as I leave the register.

I hit the road and have to deal with more boats and cyclists until a little way up the freeway where things start to thin out. Phew. Breath. Breath.

I am happy to report however, apart from the refuelling dramas (will remember to not try the right side again!), there was no repeat of the warning lights. Three weeks in a row. Woo-Hoo. That certainly makes up for any other issues experienced today (which were really my own stupidity anyway). At least I shouldn’t have to refuel for a few more weeks now. The other good thing (somewhat surprisingly) is that upon parking the vehicle it didn’t smell of fuel like it did last time.

The tank plug replacement also arrived this week so changed that over as well.

Here’s the broken tank plug (above). The arm on the right fits into the centre of the cap on the left. If you look closely you can see that the ‘teeth’ at the bottom of the arm that sit inside the hole are missing. So it has totally loose the whole time.

With a new plug (like that above) the car is now just that little bit better. Still plenty to do and the car is confirmed for its first major service in a few weeks, so once that is all done (and it gets a new set of tyres) nirvana will be just that much closer. I however expect nirvana not to be cheap!

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