Jul 31, 2013

Back On The Road - Heading East to Adelaide - July 2013

After hanging at home for 3 weeks we finally hooked the van up and started heading East. It's always sad saying goodbye to our granddaughters but they understand, well at least two of them do, our youngest is only 15 months and has entered the cute learning quickly stage and we feel terrible not being able to watch her development, But what can we do ? We are not sure how much longer we will continue to trip around so we make the most of it.

So where are we and what's happened in the past few days, ?

We left home on Friday, the rain was pouring down and it was freezing cold. We did not leave until after 10am but that left us time to get to our 1st night's target of Boorabbin National Park which is a nice camp site in the bush off the Great Eastern Highway before Coolgardie. We arrived around 4.30pm, there were 4 or 5 other vans parked up and we made our way into the bush, Vickie got into the van and immediately started the Webasto diesel heater to warm up the van it was going to be a cold night.

Lunch Time Stop
Up and on the road by 7.30am we had enough fuel to get to Norseman but we decided to stop at Coolgardie IGA to buy some fly spray and milk. Whenever we stop i walk around the Van checking the wheel hubs for any sign of over heating and all was fine so back in the car and on we continued to Norseman. This is the part where things could have turned nasty, Pulling into the servo i filled up the tanks and went and paid, coming back to the car Vickie called out that i had better come and look at this. Walking around the Van i was shocked to see one of the Van's wheels leaning out at an angle, looking closer i could see 7 of the 8 wheel nuts were missing and the one that was there was only held on by a few threads. BUGGER !! but extremely thankful that we still had a wheel and no damage had been done.

Not having any spare wheel nuts i used one nut of each other wheel, plus the spares gave me enough to have the wheel held on by six nuts. We drove into the town and checked with the local Mechanical and Tire workshop but they could not help. I made the decision to continue on confident that there were enough nuts on each wheel to make it safely. As things turned out my decision was correct and we had no troubles.

We have tripped across the Nullabour so many times, the last time we were with our mates Geoff and Vickie and we explored some of the caves and old Nullabour, this time the rain did not let up so we stayed on the bitumen and didn't do anything out of the ordinary. Our second night was spent at Baxter Camp where again the rain continued so it was out of the car into the van. Only one other Caravan came in and they went back into the scrub which i thought was keen considering the amount of slop around.

Third night was 20k's West of the Nullabour Roadhouse, we have in the past camped along the cliffs of the bight but this time choose to stay on the other side in the bush, a little more protected and again being so cold outside it was just a quick walk around and settle in the van for the night.

We are always glad when we come across a new camp site that we have not seen before and this time we very happy we chose to visit Tcharkulda Hut 4klm's out of Minnipa. We have visited and stayed at nearby Pildappa Rock a couple of times previously and enjoyed it but this was nicer. Apart from being not so far off the highway it had a lovely old cottage built in 1915 that was once a workers hut and then lived in by an aboriginal couple Tom and Tilly, today it is a welcome shelter for the many people who visit the area. Inside was a big fire place and a stack of fire wood, i soon had a nice warm fire going as we watched the sun go down. The Hill is not as high as Pildappa but the views are just as nice, the huge rocks had been worn down by thousands of years of erosion and made for some interesting shapes. What was also interesting is a small rock wall has been built around the rock to channel rain water off the rock and into a huge storage dam which became the original towns water supply.

The Rock wall to divert water for the town water supply

Gas BBQ Supplied

How Romantic
 We had a lovely quiet night, no one else ventured in which surprised me as it was very accessible to all forms of transport. We awoke to a very fresh morning with the mist rolling in around the tree's, it was very pretty.

Tcharkulda Hut

Morning Mist Rolling In
 Being only 60 kms away from Kimba we could have made the trip into Adelaide that day but we didn't. We stayed 70klms out at Port Parham, this is another free camp we have stayed previously and it has become popular, we were lucky to get in when we did as the spaces were filling up. Not much to add here, the tide was out, the beach if you could call it that was covered in sea weed like every other time we have visited, it is very popular with the crabbers when in season. I had a chat with a nice couple and it was back in the van warm and toasty.

Kimba home of the Big Galah and some delicious bakery pies

No Arguments, move off the road when these come along
Port Parham 'Beach'
Port Parham Free Camp
 Arrived at our daughter Erin's place in Adelaide, parked the van in the driveway and set off to try and find some new wheel nuts. I thought it all went to easy when it just took two phone calls to find a Effy Wrecker not far away who could supply me with the nuts. Well they looked the same, slight difference in the actual nut thickness but they came off a F250 so they must fit ? surely ..... getting back to the Van i was dissapointed to find they didn't fit, so back i went to see what the wrecker could suggest. A few phone calls and checking of books determined that the original nuts i have were not genuine Ford F250 nuts, BUGGER ! what to do now i thought, I went to Coventry Fasteners but they couldn't help, they did tell me what i required 9/16 UNF with over sized nuts ....... Rude bastard i thought my nuts are just fine as they are ........

I thought about the process of building our Van and i knew that i had supplied the wheels and nuts to BushTracker and Simplicity built the suspension which included supplying the hubs so i phoned Simplicity in Victoria and spoke to Richard. he knew exactly what my problem was and explained that they supplied the studs and nuts as it was cheaper for them to do that than source them from Ford, there lay the problem and also the fix. Richard could supply me with the nuts, i also ordered a set of wheel studs in case of any future problems.

Now it's just a matter of waiting, we also have a new stereo deck for the van chasing us across from the West, one that i ordered three weeks ago and unfortunately had not turned up in time so the seller had offered to post it to us, excellent service considering i had not yet paid for it.

So there we are, we have been in Adelaide one day, sorted out the wheel nuts and already visited the China Town markets in Gouger street where we had our Chicken and Rice, it was a family affair as Erin and Scott also joined us at our favorite Chinese Cafe. Not sure exactly how long we will stay, probably make the move on Monday and make our way on up to Queensland via Broken Hill and Bourke.

I forgot to explain why the nuts came off the Van, that would be because some idiot didn't check all the wheels after servicing the suspension. I have tried kicking the idiot up the backside but just can't bend and twist my leg up high enough to reach my bum. Oh well, live and learn i say ............

Jul 17, 2013

Home 17th July 2013 - Update

We have been home a couple of weeks and though it was our plan to only hang around a week it appears it will be at least another week before we 'Hit The Road' again. I have had a change of pain relief medication due to an allergic reaction and another visit to the Dr before we leave to make sure all is OK. For those that are in their Seniors years and are fit, healthy & flexible ... you have already won Life's Lotto, I envy you.

The time home has mainly been lovely sunny days though the temperatures are not anywhere high enough to stop the body aches,  But the rain free days have given me the opportunity to do some minor maintenance on the Van & Ute, We love being camped at Ningaloo for the two months but always conscious of the Car & Van being in a salt environment, so when given the opportunity to give everything a good clean i make the most of it. I also need to fit a new Tuner/DVD player in the van.

I have taken one of our Hobie Kayak's back to be assessed for warranty replacement as it had cracked in the hull where the pedals fit. Hobie are one of the few Company's i can thoroughly recommend for their after sales service, In the past we have had to have an Inflatable Hobie replaced twice and the attitude they have is not 'Too Bad, it's out of warranty' but one of each claim is assessed on the basis of what the problem actually is and should it not to have occurred at all or it be a rare occurrence then they look after the customer, Our Kayak is a Year out of it's two year warranty period but we have been told to expect to get a new Kayak.

When we do leave we have decided to visit our youngest daughter in Adelaide for a week before making our way up to Qld and basing ourselves in the Hinterland of the Sunshine Coast for a Month before making our way back down to Alice Springs to attend the Bushtracker Owners Group Muster.

Once we do get back on the road I will attempt to update the blog regularly .......... Stay Tuned