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.
Well 24 – Well 27 – 79kms
We did loads of sand dunes today and Boris behaved very well, not so much bouncing and rolling.
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.
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???
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.
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.
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.
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.