In the twenty minutes it takes to reach Keith township, the tyre deflates again and I'm rolling on a dead flat tyre as I reach the park where an unveiling ceremony for the memorial to Dakar rider and local, Andy Caldecott, was held at 11.30am. It's a bit past 1pm, so all those delays really conspired against me. I'm really disappointed that I've missed this event. It was the best I could do to get here though, short of simply riding down the mind-numbing Western Highway. I catch up briefly with fellow Adelaide ADVrider, Kevs69, and his lovely partner before they disappear back west on a tidy BMW R1150GS. Another ADVrider riding mate, GoneAgain, disappeared back homewards only five minutes before I arrived. But there's some friendly locals and guests who've come to the event to honour Andy and family still enjoying a barbeque and beers in the park. After dragging the bike up onto its centre stand and chatting for ages with a local rider, I grab a sausage sandwich and wander over to view the freshly unveiled monument. It's a beauty. A truly fine way for Andy to be remembered by locals and travellers alike.
After this, I spend the next couple of hours chatting with dozens of locals and fellow riders as I peel the rear tyre off the rim and patch the tube. What should be a short job is made quite lengthy - it's never a quick job when you've got a hundred bike riders all keen to say G'day and chat about the old Tenere and their own adventures.
By about 4.30pm, I'm mobile again after refueling. I wish I could head to the pub for a beer with some of Andy's mates, but I need to keep moving east. It'd be very easy to end the day in the pub, but it was never my plan to remain in Keith after the memorial service.
Sorry, Andy, but I know you'd understand.