Blog Post 3

Days 10 – 12

Newman – Georgia Bore – Well 24 – 456 kms

Capricorn Roadhouse workshop did a brilliant job for us. The anti-roll bar was welded into place, the hole in Boris patched, the exhaust re-aligned (loooong story) and of course the new back shock-absorbers fitted.

However this all meant a lot of loitering without intent in Newman. It’s a mining town and if you’re not there for mining business then you may as well slit your wrists – there’s not even a café and the pub looked most unsavoury. We did get our washing done, so all was not lost. We also topped up the beer supply.

We headed back to the CSR – on the right roads this time, and made it as far as Well 24.

 

Day 13

Well 24 – Well 27 – 79kms

We did loads of sand dunes today and Boris behaved very well, not so much bouncing and rolling.Dunes

Well 25
Well 25 is flooded…

Day 14

Well 27 – Well 31 – 144kms

We stopped at Thring Rock and did a short walk to stretch our legs. It’s the highest point around so had to be climbed. More bloody sand dunes. They aren’t too difficult, just need low range and lots of power.

ThringRock
View from Thring Rock

Day 15

Well 31 – Well 35 (and a bit) via Kunawarritji Community.

Today the serious corrugations started, the legendary CSR corrugations. Blimey they are vicious and there was no let up today, no sand or washouts for relief. We stopped at the Kunawarritji Community for fuel etc. They are not normally open on a Sunday but they didn’t seem to mind opening up for us. Fuel ($3.40 per litre – yikes!), veggies, water and a SHOWER. Yippee we have clean hair again.

The corrugations continued, on and on. A few strange noises started that soon turned to loud clanging noises – oh dear me! We were just past Well 35 and decide to turn back to see what might be the problem. Loud banging clanging noises are not what you want to hear 1000kms from anywhere. We could hardly be more remote.

Lawrence removed the passenger side wheel and some blokes we had met came over and after a bit of head scratching they concluded that the front coil springs had weakened and the noise was the bump stops hitting – not life threatening but annoying and would slow us down. They can be replaced in Kununurra.

So tomorrow it’s back to the corrugations – did I mention they are HUGE and horrible and seemingly endless???

Long way
Long way from anywhere.

Day 17

Well 35 – Well 40 – 150kms

Well it turns out the problem was not the front coil spring, but a rear leaf spring. The U-bracket that holds the leaves together had come loose (did I mention the corrugations??) hence the bang clang on a big dip. Lawrence the bush mechanic got out the WD40 and a large hammer and got it back in place – a temporary fix that needed to be repeated several times.

We camped at Tobin’s grave after crossing Tobin Lake – this was heavenly. As lakes go, it was about as ugly as you can get, but we had 12kms of smooth hard mud – bliss.

Hills
Some hills!!

Day 18

Well 40 – Well 45 – 190kms

We did loads of sand dunes today up to metres 15 metres. Despite the problems, Boris is behaving well and eats up those dunes like birthday cake. Lots of grunt and an automatic gear box made it easy.

Day 19 – 21

Well 45 – Well 49 – 143kms

At last we have made to Well 49, where we were supposed to be helping out with a Track Care project building a toilet, shower and shelter for the local rangers. Since we were 5 days late, they had almost finished when we got there, but Lawrence did 2 days labouring whilst I did the washing, cleaned the floor (that lasted about 2 hours) and so on.

The whole of the Well 49 area has been burnt out, so it has a rather post-holocaust feel to it. An unfortunate, but too common incident of a Prado (petrol fuelled) catching fire due to spinifex getting caught in the under-carriage and then exploding. The poor drivers must have got the fright of their lives and were lucky to get out alive.

Turns out one of the leaves of our rear spring is actually broken and a temporary repair has been made. We’ll need to take it easy and get it fixed in Kununurra.

 

Day 22

Well 49 – Churgla Well – 105kms

Project completed, we waved goodbye merrily to everyone – we were in no hurry to leave as we have cancelled doing Wolfe Creek and the Bungle Bungle (for obvious reasons).

Lawrence turned the ignition – and nothing happened. Bugger – we were alone. Tired to jump start to no avail. Fiddled with fuses and finally the immobiliser fuse seemed to be the problem. Off we went but had the same problem at Well 50. Bugger, more swearing and fiddling and off we went again.

Met up with some of the team at Churgla Well for the night and found that another of party had broken 2 leaves of his springs. Poor guy, we could sympathise.

 

Day 23

Churgla Well – Halls Creek – 226kms

At last we’ve made it – finished the CSR. Been there, done that, got the dirty T-shirt. Never need to do that again. I mean it Lawrence!!!

The corrugations either side of Churgla Well were awful but the Tanami is pretty good apart from the last bit.

We checked into the Caravan Park in Halls Creek and headed straight to the pub for a steak sandwich and a pint.

Next stop Kununurra – and more repairs.

 

Last night
Last night on the Canning

 

 

 

Post 2

Day 2

Meekatharra – Wiluna – Well 2a – 266 kms

We left Wiluna, a charmless place, about midday and started the Stock Route.

Wiluna
Wiluna Hotel – sadly closed

The road was predictably bumpy but manageable and we started to get the first washouts, nothing too difficult. We stopped early at Well 2a – a ruin.

start CSR

Day 3

Well 2a – Windich Springs – 110km.

Well we only managed 110kms today. You know how you think you are prepared for everything, done the research, prepared the vehicle, made contingency plans and so on??? Well, we expected corrugations, rocks, sand, washouts but no-one told us about the damn trees! I thought this was meant to be a desert.

Windich
Windich Springs

Boris has 2 weak points, his height and his departure angle. Well both have taken their toll – and it’s only day 2 on the CSR. Yes, we now have a small(ish) hole patched up with a Sainsbury’s shopping bag and duct tape. Mulga trees line the track and are hard to avoid, but one had a small sharp branch that connected at the wrong time at the right angle.

Boris is taking a bit of a beating.

My wine supply is coming in handy. As we have the luxury of loads of storage room and a decent payload I have managed to stash 44 litres of wine on board. Remember, we can’t really restock for 6 weeks. One cannot buy cask wine in the Kimberley and bottles are out of the question.

We topped up with water at Well 6. This is a lovely spot complete with beautiful river gums, and would be a brilliant place to camp, but the timing was wrong for us.

Well 6
Well 6

Day 4

Windich Springs – Well 12- 185kms.

We left our lovely camping spot at Windich Springs early and had a long day. Loads of washouts, rocks and we found that Boris can handle quite a degree of tipping with out actually tipping over! A few hair raising, white knuckle moments.

Well 12
Well 12

Boris is now sporting a ding at the back where one washout was just too steep. We had to do a bit of road building with rocks today.

We seem to be averaging 25kph with a top speed of 40kph.

Day 5

Well 12 – Durba Spring – 149kms.

We are starting to see some sand dunes now but nothing too difficult. Just need some oomph and occasionally low-range.

Durba
Rest Day at Durba Spring

After 2 long days we decided to have a rest day at Durba Spring. It’s a fab spot camp with loads of river gums and flat grassy areas. We washed our clothes and our hair.

The local indigenous rangers were here holding a training camp. They gave us some information booklets and we were really impressed with this worthwhile program – really positive outcomes for the environment, the community and individual pride. Please support this program if you get the opportunity.

Day 7

Durba Spring – Lake Disappointment – 106kms.

Feeling refreshed we headed to Lake Disappointment over too many sand dunes to count. Lawrence commented that Boris seemed to bouncing more than usual. How the hell can you tell? – I thought, as I was being thrown all the place like a balloon at a 3yr old birthday party.

Anyway, he was right and it seemed that our back shock absorbers had given up. We’d replaced the front ones before setting off and had spares, but apparently the front and back are not interchangeable – who knew? Not me.

The upshot is that we camped that night at Lake disappointment, which does not disappoint. It’s beautiful and vast and completely devoid of life. It was weird to wake up to no birdsong.

Wreck
Not everybody makes it…

Day 8

Lake Disappointment – Georgia Bore – 127kms

We realised that we needed to head to Newman for repairs and phoned our chums in Cowaramup to get the right shockies sent to Capricorn Roadhouse. Fortunately Adam knows bloke who knows a bloke and it should be freight free – maybe a carton of beer.

Longish day to Well 23 to pick our pre-paid fuel and then back Georgia Bore for an overnight stop. The corrugations have now started and Oh Boy, the stories have not been exaggerated. I wouldn’t mind if they did something useful like shake off your belly fat, instead they just rattle the fillings out of your teeth.

 

Day 9

Georgia Bore – Newman – 446kms

Headed down the Talawana track, nothing too difficult. It’s fairly well graded gravel road. From there we decided to take the road via Jiggalong community – BIG mistake. Our map was completely wrong and the GPS wasn’t exactly accurate, so after some roads that didn’t exist, some goat tracks, and some circles we found a mining road heading in the right direction – hallelujah! 9 ½ hours today. A cold beer and hot shower made it all better.

The savvy amongst you will have realised early on in this post that we were headed to civilisation – as there’s no internet on the CSR!

Will report on the repairs in the next few days. We’ll be in Newman until Thursday.

Post 1

Day 1 – Saturday May 27

Perth to Meekatharra – 772kms

Our drive to Meekatharra was uneventful except for seeing 3 eagles on the side of the road looking as though they were waiting for a bus.

We left our friend Kirstie, currently teaching in Meeka, after using her shower and toaster and headed to Wiluna. Thanks for dinner Kirstie.

This is the start!

Wish us luck. I think we’re gonna need it.

Meeka
Last minute preparations in Meekatharra