AWOL Around Australia...

HappyJudy

New member
I've only recently found your thread and have enjoyed reading it.
The rock crushing machine at the entrance to Yalgoo is a 5 head battery or stamp mill (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stamp_mill). They were used to crush gold ore to extract gold and, as Wikipedia shows, were common all over the world.
Great blog and I have enjoyed reading it.
 

Rufant

Active member
The Pilbara. Part 1.

West Australia.



Carnarvon is a produce growing area, despite being on the edge of the arid zone. So we got some local goodies. Fridge and fuel full we headed directly east. Stopping briefly at the ‘Rocky Pool’ a permanent water hole on the road out of Carnarvon.

About 180km down the road we hit the small settlement of Gascoyne Junction. We would be early for stopping in the outback, but we needed to do laundry and replenish our water stocks, etc. Things we had planned to do in Carnarvon, but I was keen to at least get some miles under our belts today, not to mention Carnarvon was going to be 40 degrees.

I had ideas that Gascoyne Junction would be some sort of rustic classic outback setting. As it happens it turned out to be an almost new pub and caravan park, it would serve our purpose but was completely lacking in any sort of charm or character. I’m not sure what the business plan is, being only 160km from Carnarvon, but anyway...

Sunset from the town airstrip.



...

Next morning we headed out to Kennedy Range National Park.

So our taste of the Pilbara scenery began.







Before coming here I tended to think of the Pilbara as a relativelysmall area, around the Hammersley Range. However, after purchasing Hema’s excellent dedicated map of the area I realised it was much bigger, with much more to explore.

The Pilbara(/ˈpɪlbərə/) is a large, dry, thinly populated regionin the north of Western Australia. It is known for its Aboriginal peoples; its ancient landscapes; the red earth; its vast mineral deposits, in particular iron ore; and as a global biodiversity hotspot for subterranean fauna.[1]


Wiki.
Honeycomb Gorge. Kennedy Range.





After the NP we headed north, following one of the suggested routes on the above described HEMA map, hoping to visit Mount Augustus, the ‘Worlds Biggest Rock’. Well about 100km short I realised we were probably travelling on a closed road. I had noticed the roads joining our road had ROAD CLOSED signs at the intersection. Now, being on closed roads is not cool in Oz. They can be closed for all sorts of reasons, but anyway, explains why we have seen no oncoming traffic.

So we take the junction, bloody inconvenient as it meant about a 300km detour, and also not getting to Mount Augustus. Ah well, themz the swings and roundabouts of outback travel. Lucky we have the fuel range for these things, it’s only money at the end of the day...




Bloody green on the detour. We were starting to get a feel for the Pilbara's bizarre climate, arid and tropical.
Mad storm once back on the bitumen, really thought we might have to find some accomodation. Then 100km later, all gone. Totally still and hot again.


So our eventualdestination on the route was to be Tom Price. The oddly named town in the middle of the Hammersley Range. We soon realised that with the big detour that wasn’t going to happen, so we took advantage of one of the the roadside parking areas that allow 24 hour (overnight) stops.




Nothing glamorous, but anyway. Let’s talk about flies... There is no rhyme or reason as to where the flies are bad in Australia, but when they are bad they are a nightmare. I’ve seen people blame it on cattle, but we camped the previous night a few kilometres down the road from at least fifty head of cattle, no flies. Also the earliest report of some landing in Australia make particular mention of how bad the flies were, so to lay the blame completely at the door of introduced species is probably wide of the mark (but they probably haven't helped either, WA has introduced dung beetles to help with the problem apparently). Anyway, this is all just circumstantial evidence. Safe to say the best piece of equipment you can have for exploring Oz is a fly head net.



They (flies) are not everywhere by any means (despite some overseas tourists wearing the headnet literally everywhere, maybe we're just acclimatised, worrying) but where they are, a headnet, will turn the situation into mildly unpleasant, as opposed to ‘I’m going fucking mental...’ and people have.

Anyway, a dubious and slightly frustrating start to our Pilbara adventure, would it get better? I had faith.
 

Rufant

Active member
So another record breaking pack down and we were out.

A short drive into the mining town of Paraburdoo. Green lawns, good coffee, almost nothing but Mining Toyota’s filling the streets and $12.50 bacon and egg sandwiches... A short drive to Tom Price, and our first good internet in about a week meant we spent time catching up on that, and I got ready for hiking tomorrow.

I went into town for a few things. The shire noticeboard caught my eye.



$72k. 20hr/week. 6 weeks annual leave.



Mine tailing pools. You could smell the acid coming off them. It reminded me of the Red Sand Green Earth book, and the dramas he had trying to get the birds off them, no one was bothered here, the birds were happily swimming and diving in the water.


So next morning, I was up and out early. Hoping to get out to Karijini before the masses arrived, but mainly before the heat of the day kicked my arse. As it had somewhat back in Kalbarri.

I was the first vehicle at the car park for the gorges I had decided to hike first, although others started arriving shortly. I lucked in with getting into what turned out to be the best hike on my own. This place is magic.








The warning signs had suggested walking through the pools to this point, rather than dangerously trying to skirt the outside. Well, I didn't want wet boots for the rest of the day so I had taken the dangerousoption. Except now there was no choice, so off came the boots.



I waded to the other side of the pool for some more snaps. A German couple had arrived by now and were watching the mad Australian take photos/selfies on the other side of the pool. Too deep from here to go any further with various electronics strapped to me, as it turns out this is as far as you're allowed to go anyway. So be it.






I left ze Germans to it, and hiked the rest of the gorge.





Then the next gorge.







So yeah, Karijini is ridiculous in its beauty.

This area was getting busy by now. Time to move on.
 

Rufant

Active member
Next up was Joffre Falls. One van in the car park, good.

Looking over the falls, not much water now, being the tail end of summer.




This was as far as I got. The trail got very steep, and went over this cliff (below). all the trails in the NP are graded and this was Class 5 (the hardest), same as the others two I had already done. Although in my eye this should have been Class 6, as this was quite a bit more difficult than the other two. I'm not good with heights at the best of times and this was shear drop on one side and nothing but these square shaped rocks to hold onto. Plus I knew I was tiring, I could feel it pulling out of the last gorge that the freshness in my muscles was gone. These hikes are not long, but there is a lot of climb in them. So I turned around. Haven't done that too many times in my life.

There were warning sings all over the park about people injuring themselves, but what struck me was how they explained the massive effort that was required by the emergency services and the local volunteers if someone did need rescuing - you are miles from the nearest town. Literally 1000's of kilometres from the nearest city. So even though I had a sat phone and a PLB, I wasn't confident in myself of getting down and back up again safely. Maybe that's the difference between 43 and 33? Maybe I'm just not as fit as id like to be. Whatever, it was the right decision.


I drove on the the visitors centre. Had a mosey around the shop, but more just to cool down in the A/C as much as anything else. I felt I had one more gorge left in me, so just a but of recovery time first.

A sad tale.



Someone had recommended Fortesque Falls, but the car park was packed, probably due to the fact there was swimming there. So I drove only a few hundred metres more to the almost deserted car park for the hike down to Circular Pool.






Round the back by these asbestosy looking rocks, was the sobering sight of this suitcase sized piece of rock that has obviously made its way down at some point. At least you wouldn't know much about it if that hit you.


I put the camera on 'sunset' setting, just to see what it would turn out like (below). Maybe I should play around with my photos a little bit more, it can be difficult in the harsh Australian sun. Thinking aloud/first world problem.





Gorge number four, and last of the day done. I cruised back to Tom Price, and slept like a log.
 

HappyJudy

New member
I lived in the Pilbara for many years and often visited Karijini. Your photos, as good as they are, just do not do it justice.

A comment on your decision not to proceed with hiking. One of the major issues is to get hikers to carry sufficient water when setting off. Lack of water can, quickly, cause fatigue which, in turn, can lead to poor decision making.

It is imperative that visitors to Karijini ensure they carry plenty of water when hiking or even just visiting the lookouts which can often be a bit of a walk from the carpark.

I cannot stress it enough.
 

Rufant

Active member
The Pilbara. Part 2.

West Australia.



Heading out from Tom Price that morning.



We stopped off at the other side of the National park and had a quick peer into Hammersley Gorge.





We were now on the northern side of WA's second biggest National Park, and so took the road east, a bit more picturesque than the southern, eastern road I reckoned.





People in a mining Hilux stopped as I was taking the above photo, make sure we were ok. Love Australia at times like that.





We came an offset crossroads, the road north was closed, and some of the road signs had been modified, there were lots of asbestos warning signs around. We took the road we needed and drove past an old, abandoned town. Nothing too unusual here for this sort of the outback, but a few things started to add up in my mind...

I had read about a road north that was closed, and would not be reopened as it could not be maintained due to the amount of asbestos in the road. Plus we had heard on the radio about an old asbestos mining town that still had three residents in it that refused to move, despite the government striking the town off the (official) map in 2007. This played over in my mind and we did a U-turn whilst N consulted WikiCamps app and found this was the place!







It is Australia's 'most deadly'town and described as the most contaminated site in the Southern Hemisphere, but the three remaining residents of Wittenoom have steadfastly refused to budge.
ABC

Anyway, we took a few photos, but didn't head into the asbestos gorges. I for one, have ingested more than my fair share of chemicals back in the UK in the 90's. Drive on.
 

Rufant

Active member
Part the appeal of the Pilbara, at least to me. Is this mix of properly mad, remote, beautiful 4x4 exploration, and then some of Australia's biggest industry operates out of here. On all but the most minor tracks your are constantly reminded of this.









I could see on the map there was a detour to drive WA’s height peak, Mount Meharry. It was still early, might as well check it out.

Seems we weren’t the only ones, to come this far at least....






Down to 20/25psi softened out the corrugations. We nipped across this crossing just before old mate rolled through.









and through...






Anyway he gave me the mother and father of blasts on his horn (snigger) as I gave him the thumbs up. Hopefully livened up his day as he livened up mine.


Now the trail turned more serious. Gone were the corrugations and the typical growth on a rarely used track was evident.





First short climb.





I walked it but no worries. Although I noticed the coolant temp had bumped a little over halfway by the top. A clear run for the next few minutes meant everything normalised. Then we got to the bottom of the climb proper. I put the windows down and the A/C, OFF.




Not the steepest, or the most technical climb we have done but steep enough, and the loose square edged rocks, multiple lines and tracks, plus the odd decent step up, meant that I was still regularly walking sections and the going was SLOW.

About halfway up, after just bit of a tricky section. I stopped again to walk as there were two distinct tracks ahead. I walked the more well worn one and then crossed to the more overgrown one, as it seemed easier going. Until why I saw it was overgrown, a heavily eroded rock step with a good trench, dug by multiple wheels spinning at the bottom of it. I crossed back to what must be the new track. Loose and steep but no worse than what we had done till now.

By now I was some way from the Cruiser.



I walked a bit further up till I was confident of making it to the next flat-ish section.

Walking back down. Rain in the distance.



As I got back down the hill and jumped back in Bertha, N said “the car is getting really hot” no joke, the temp gauge was probably just past the 3/4 mark. I should mention despite being overcast and still, it was probably 38 degrees C outside. Right, not good. Think quickly. First, heater on full blast hot, and on the windscreen so it can go straight out the windows. We needed airflow over the radiator and the load off the engine. So forget going up, that plan was done for the day. We could reverse but that doesn’t exactly give much airflow and tends to be a veryslow process in my book. Nothing for it but to turn around...

This photo was down a bit from the highest it got. Taking photos wasn't a priority at that point!



Going side on to a steep hill is not advised. However we were at a relatively flat section of a not so steephill. Immediately where we were there we no be holes or steps, and enough bush either side of the track to do a not so quick 6-ish point turn. I hate side angles, but I know they feel WAY worse than they actually are. Anyway, so we quickly but calmly got turned around and headed back down. The windscreen heater had stopped the coolant temp going up anymore and now we were idling down, albeit it slowly, the temp was starting to come down.
 

Rufant

Active member
Back down at the bottom we stopped for a breather.




So what happened? Well high ambient temperature, high engine load and most importantly very slow speed plus a long period of idling. Plus, I suspect the viscous fan hub is tired. You can normally hear that fan sounding like a jet engine when those things are locked and working properly. I replaced the radiator, hoses and coolant before this trip but should probably have done that to. Add it to the list for the next Toyota dealer.

Anyway, hopefully blown head gasket or any serious other malady dodged. We drove back fine, with the A/C on (and at the time of writing, spent the next day remote exploring with multiple short hill climbs with no dramas). By the time we got back to the main road many hours had been burned.






Our initial plan of trying to make a meteorite crater for camp that night went out of the window. We pounded bitumen.




Now we could see the weather that had been coming all afternoon come rolling in and hit the hills we had just been exploring. Heavy rain and lightning was evident, and even when we were far away the rivers were already pouring off the arid landscape.

Neither of us are traditional spiritual people by any stretch of the imagination, but the more time we spend out here the more we are connecting one series of events with another, so to speak. [being the truck overheating, and so we didn't get to the top of the mountain to then be caught in the storm...]

So another roadside camp that night, and another community of flies to get to know intimately... That’s the only link I’ve got so far, there are always mega flies at the prescribed roadside camps.





Plus cool spiders. I could see their little eyes glinting around the camp but mostly they would dive back down their little holes when I approached, but this little chap seemed happy to hang around and have his photo taken.







...

In the morning we headed out to find the crater. Having sung the praises of HEMA’s map of the region just recently, today was the day the deficiencies of that map became apparent. Despite it being one of their ‘ground checked maps’ and while they showed the crater and gave its background, they didn’t show a track leading to it. So, switching to their topo map, there seemed to be tracks from the south, which is where we were. So we took them, right up till here.



I did briefly flirt with the idea - if I could drive over the railway... Not really, the consequences of getting stuck on a mining railroad don't really bear thinking about. Only recently the news had been full of a runaway iron ore train, that had to be derailed in this region.


So once again we were back to ‘if you think the map is wrong, then the map is almost certainly wrong’ anyway, whatevs.

Luckily we had other information on the crater from WikiCamps. So we took that advice and drove to the rough and ready mining town of Newman (every time I saw the sign I just thought of Seinfeld...) and to the tourist information for a permit and directions. Said acquired, and fuelled up $1.60/L - bargain! We headed out, this time to come from the north.

The (free) permit is to traverse BHP’s private road to get to the turn off to head out in to the bush.

Definitely had some rain here.



As soon as you leave the road running alongside the railway, the scenery gets good, fast.





I climbed this sand dune to take the above photo. This animal track struck me as being instantly familiar from indigenous artwork. Goanna track.








The directions you get from Newman are mostly excellent, and don’t get me wrong you would struggle without them, but there are a few sections that still need you to make a decision. Maybe not so bad.
 

Rufant

Active member
The first junction is the point to go and find some indigenous rock carvings, as I allude to, it takes a bit further than you might think and the two seeming obvious caves first up, aren’t it.



So we squeezed through these rocks a couple of times till we went far enough, but you’ll know it when you get there.




















Bloody awesome. Felt almost illegal to be there, these things are normally behind a fence or a rope. I was very careful were I put my feet.

It appeared the track went further, but maybe not...



Some combined teamwork reversing - N watches the front corner whilst I watch out my side.

So, back to the junction. Let’s go find this crater.

TheHickman meteorite crater, named after Arthur Hickman, a state government geologist, who discovered it whilst browsing Google Earth in 2007. There is a joke in there about government workers, but let's leave it at that...

Australian Geographic.

It was starting to feel pretty lonely out here. Great.






The lady at the TI had warned us there were many tracks for mining exploration out here and she wasn’t wrong. So there were lots of ‘best guesses’ as the track split into two or more. Anyway, seems I got it more right than wrong.



We signed the visitor book in the letterbox. First people since the 4th of March, today was the 30th.







The return leg presented a few new junctions we had missed coming the other way. Luckily the main track was distinct enough, you know once you got too far away from it.

I was keen to try to find the Punda Rockhole, but co-pilot was done with exploration for today. So, once again in our democracy of 4 (only 2 have voting rights) we headed back out. As it turns out that worked out well.
The main dirt road we hit.



The hour or two we would have burned valuable time for finding accomodation down the road and not hitting any local wildlife (as it was I just missed a couple of big male Roos, with the ABS working overtime on the 105. Luckily even though they came out of the bush late, they were already motoring and crucially they didn’t deviate from their line, as those crazy marsupials often do). I often push the adventure a bit too far, so it’s good to have old sensible shoes on hand for balance.

Rolling into the very green oasis of Nullagine. It had outback charm and everything we needed. Somewhere to pitch the tent, and somewhere to buy a cold adult beverage or two.

Good day.
 

Cornered

New member
Your overheating symptoms are typical of a failed fan coupler - I reckon you nailed the reason behind it.

I had the same problem with my 80 series and replacing the fan hub fixed it straight away.
 

Rufant

Active member
Your overheating symptoms are typical of a failed fan coupler - I reckon you nailed the reason behind it.

I had the same problem with my 80 series and replacing the fan hub fixed it straight away.
Yeah thanks mate, I changed it as soon as I got to the next major town. Just need a big hill to test it now!
 

Rufant

Active member


The Pilbara. Part 3.

West Australia.


Come morning I give the Cruiser a decent check over. What with after fly camp extraordinaire last night (where I didn't do my usual morning checks), and a good two days of rugged trails. I wanted to check that nothing wasn’t untoward before heading out into the bush again today.






Bertha wearing a bit of fake tan these days.





The Cruiser was now overdue (again) a service, not by much, but it still bothered me. In my defence we hadn't seen a town with an auto store for about a week. I had the Toyota parts, I just needed the fluids, etc. Which I don't carry as they take up too much room. I suppose this is one of the benefits of only using genuine and top quality parts/oils, etc. If you are going to run a few hundred km over then at least you have the good gear in there to start with. Port Headland was the next major town, then it would just be a matter of finding somewhere where I could give the old girl a proper servicing...

It was only 112km to Marble Bar, the next ‘major’ town up the main dirt strip from, here. However, we would be heading east then north, then back west. Around a 350km on unknown dirt roads and tracks. Should be a good day’s adventure, and so it was.

First thing. There’s (comparatively) a LOT of water up this way.













The Pilbara had already been greener that I expected, but now we were crossing creeks. We passed and were passed by the odd mining vehicle - just for reference the mines really only use two passenger sized vehicles, both Toyota’s. Hilux for general duties and a 70 series Land Cruiser for the heavier loads. Probably the only reason the 70 is still in production - then the road, Skull Springs Road, once you got past that junction became more bush track, less access road.



Skull Springs. Geddit?

I love driving roads like this first thing. You are fresh, the light is good, the sense of adventure is strong. Conversely? I’m not a fan of these types of road as the last road of the day. You are tired, the shadows hide the holes, and you just want to get where you are going with hitting any fauna.









We spied dingo number 2 for this trip.



So first to Running Waters Waterhole. You could see the green upcoming oasis from some time away.



Although our exploration into it didn’t last long.





These stagnant pools of indeterminate depth and consistency meant a U-turn here. There might have been cool **** down this track, but if I wasn’t prepared to walk it, I wasn’t prepared to drive it (experience taught me this was black muddy bog hole, more likely than not).

Still the contrast between the Mars like landscapes surrounding and the lush green area around the waterhole was cool.




 
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Rufant

Active member
So a slight backtrack to the minor trail I had wanted to take. It was off the advised route but seemed to pass by the Upper Carawine Gorge, not to mention it went in the right direction. Given the choice between major and minor trail, I’ll take minor nearly every time, what else do we lug around all this kit for?

Within half a kilometre we were doing our fourth major washout crossing.



I mentally said to myself, one more of these and we're heading back to the main track. This trail was about 40km long, so at 5km or so average, this could make for a long day. As it happens there wasn’t another washout, at least not for a while...



These flat top hills look like someone has put down foundations for a house or something. Especially from a distance. they look most unnatural.



Ok, now we were out there. The range of hills and about 10km separating us from the main dirt track, which itself was 150km from anything that could be called a town. No tyre marks and no evidence of vehicles having been through the softer wash outs. If we were the first vehicle in a month down yesterday’s track, when did the last vehicle come down here? 3 months? 6 months?







Many sticky sticks stuck under the Cruiser.







Overgrown. No specific tourist destination. This exactlythe sort of trail I’ve been picking ever since I started this whole 4x4 malarkey...





We eventually came to cross the Carrawine River. I would have crossed hundreds of Australian rivers in my time, but this one was different... it had water in it.

At first I thought, no way. This thing was two meters deep at least, I had a bit of scout around but there was no other track or crossing, so I walked the section where the track ran out. Ok, this is alright, mid thigh at worst, but just for this section, a metre too far and it's all bad.





I walk the crossing and someway out the otherside, to make sure there is a definite track to follow.









I put 'wading stick' back for the next person.



In the end, we make it easy.




The track out.










 

Rufant

Active member
Finally now back to the main road. Which is now bitumen. A few km up we turn off to go check out Carrawine Gorge. On a private station but signposted off the main road and accessible by almost any vehicle, I’m pretty sure I saw a 4x4 you tuber come here.



The gorge is beautiful, but all around are signs of ‘fellow’ visitors, despite it only being us here. Dismayed, but also reinforced that finding your own way is the best way. We make a (very) quick lunch and eat it in the car (flies) and head back to the bitumen, carefully slowing for the blind washout that caught us out on the way in, and hang a left and truck out the 150km to the town of Marble Bar - 'hottest town in Australia!'.

Challenging dirt in the morning, smooth and picturesque bitumen in the afternoon. I could get used to this combination (unlikely though...).



As Marble Bar is marked on the HEMA map as being a larger town than say, Nullagine where we stayed last night. I had assumed, that there would be phone and internet reception here, as we got closer and closer to the town and my phone stubbornly stayed on ‘SOS only’ my heart sank a little. Having planned out our little Pilbara adventure about a week ago, I hadn’t given too much thought about where we were going next, and up here at this time of year weather could play a big factor in that as we’ve seen. So that’s what I wanted internet for. I flicked on the ABC AM radio to see what they had to say, but Sunday arvo, nothing but Footy going on, mate.

It seems options might be limited anyway...



We may as well stay here a night anyway, and hit the dirt again tomorrow to take the long way out. Despite topping off the tanks in Newman, with all the off-road, we were by now on the sub tank (which is actually the main tank, but the Long Ranger sub tank is nearly twice the size and mounted further back so I use that first, confused? Good.). So I splashed $60 in and we paid for a patch of grass (weeds) and bedded down. Helpful lady at the servo said the road north might be open tomorrow, just one river is still swelled from the cyclone.

Forlorn truck at the campsite.



...

Come the next day we had a chat with a loose but friendly fella at the campsite. He was sure the road was going to open, maybe at lunchtime, and if not was going to take it anyway “what’s the worse they can do? just send yer back... unless they fine ya” “how much is the fine?” I enquired “$1000 a wheel!” he said. Holy crap, I’m glad I got off that other closed road once when I did.

We packed up slowly, in case the road dept didn’t get up too early. Made banana and coconut milk pancakes to use up a few leftovers - pretty good, would make again.

Loaded back up we headed out to the servo, she know nothing new so we drove back out to the junction, ROAD CLOSED signs definitely still up. Oh well, looks like we were taking the dirt road out, it’s an extra 100km but sometimes that’s the way it is. Or not.



Beginning to feel like were in a Hollywood B movie...

So the only road open was the road we came in on yesterday. Back in town we tried the cop shop for more solid info, no one home. Next door was the town museum. Lovely old dear inside, dark and cool too... she didn’t know but explained that the shire office is the one that has the definitive information on the roads, and explained where it is.

Poster outside said the road was open! Lady inside first gave me the number of dept of roads, I must of looked at her funny (really, unless I’m pulling out the sat phone to call them...) and she then said in slight exasperation “it was declared open about 30 minutes ago!” ok cool, thank you (must have been a very stressful Monday morning in the Shire of East Pilbara).

Feeling very illicit, we motored past the ROAD CLOSED signs.

This is the Shaw River, the reason the road was closed. Still up a bit. I hit it reasonably hard, this Pilbara red dirt is a nasty corrosive sucker, best get it washed off as much as possible.



Port Headland was the main town that was affected by Cyclone Veronica a week or so ago. Still a bit of evidence on the way in.




Like so many of these north Western Australian towns they are purely functional. This town’s function was to get BHP’s iron ore onto ships and out to the world. Before arriving I thought it might be like a bigger version of Denham and we could swan around for a few days whilst getting stuff done too, but no. Ok let’s smash down a couple of crocodile wraps, and get. stuff. done.

N worked on the weather for possible destinations, whilst I grabbed fluids and spare parts. Big Bertha needed a service, change out that fan hub and a really good going over. As the last ‘service’ had been a quick oil change in Port Augusta car park. We’d done A LOT since then.

Then new (cooler) clothes for her, a few fresh groceries and car wash, lots of car wash. Then fuel. Once I poured in $250 worth of petrol the nice lady in the servo said I could have any two things, from this one fridge, for free. Great I said, and grabbed a couple of Gatorade’s. I saw then that everything in that fridge was 8c off a litre of fuel - so she had worked out, whilst seeing me empty a second mortgage into the Land Cruiser, that if I bought two things out of that fridge I would effectively get them for free, what a nice lady!

We hit the road. We turned back, as I had forgotten a drain tray for the Cruiser service. We hit the road. Apart from literal lay byes there was nothing. So we stopped at Pardoo Roadhouse 150km out of Port Headland, as the day was gone now. Also roadhouses tend to be way less fussy about people working on their cars than caravans parks, etc.



Old one was CAKED in dirt once I got it out. Probably not helping matters...



So I smashed out the tyre rotation (rears starting to look ugly again, front not looking exactly brilliant either - could I be up for another set of new tyres come Darwin...?) underbody check and fan hub replacement. Fluids will keep till the morning.

...



So up early, and the flies and I get to it. I’ve got 4L of ATF to change into the gearbox, not a proper fluid change but better than nothing. I did this at home back in January 20-ish thousand km’s ago, and it worked great. Here, sweating my guts out on uneven soaking wet grass, temperature already well into the 30’s, not so much.
The idea, simply enough, is to drain 4L of fluid out, and pour the entire new container in, empty the old fluid into the container. Each time I do a service on the road I buy a cheap drain tray, as it goes in the bin afterwards. This one didn’t appear to have ‘litre’ markings on it, but I knew it was an 8L so fill it half full, and Bob’s your uncle. Long story short, I didn’t drain enough out, had to drain some more, drained too much, then got ATF all over the engine bay, as the cheap arse drain tray also has a cheap arse spout.
Anyway, I still got it done even if it wasn’t pretty. The rest all went fine, and I had a GOOD look round. All things considered, it looks pretty good under here.

On to Broome.

Asian Myna bird on the way, after my burger and chips breakfast - happy to be hand fed, cheeky bugger.



Thanks for reading.
 
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