A Travellerspoint blog

July 2018

On the Road - Day 2 & 3

And there's more?


View Pilbara 2018 on Toot'speak's travel map.

Today we made the move with the intention of getting to Charles Darwin Reserve to catch up with the others. We started out with no problems except in our last minute chat with the neighbours, we forgot to double check and of course forgot something - our pillows. This necessitated a stop over in a suburban shopping centre, which of course meant lunch and so our late departure to the bush! We're hopeless..
We had an untroubled trip and settled down for the night about 30 kms north from a small town Wubin, 272 north-east from Perth, in the Jibberding Nature Reserve which, in case you have problems, is on the corner of the Rabbit Proof Fence and the Great Northern Highway. It is a small rest area off the road in the scrub and provided us with a quiet place away from the roar of the huge road trains that ply the road on a regular basis. We got to count the planes (20) and satellites (7) in the beautiful clear starry night next to Mark's A+ fire.
T'was fortunate we had a fire because the temp dropped to -1 and we certainly felt it.

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Day 3
We woke to a very chilly dawn but got the fire going and after breakfast started to pack up. However, as is true to our form, disaster struck and I wasn't able to open the Ranger door with the electronic dit-dit. We had a completely flattened battery - not even a delicate cough! No problem, we were equipped with an alternate battery in the back and of course had two in the camper. Famous last thoughts. Firstly we tried the auxiliary battery with thoughts of Jack Absalom's advice when caught in these situations. No we didn't need a can of beer to douse the fire, or string the torch batteries in series to get 12Vs; we had everything we needed. Unfortunately our car battery thought otherwise and we could not jump start using the auxiliary battery. Fortunately for us there was a family camped near us who generously disconnected their car from their caravan and tried jump starting with their car. Still no sign of recovery from our battery. We began to think that maybe the alternator had the bomb as we were unable to get a thing out of the battery.
Luckily for us they had phone coverage ( yes they were with Telstra and of course we weren't - lesson 1 learnt! ). Using their phone we rang Toyota Assist (Sydney based) who asked for location and the nearest street to our location. Our reply must have made no sense at all - Corner of Rabbit Proof Fence and Great Northern Highway. But after getting our email and phone details, the lovely lady advised us that we should have someone with us hopefully within the hour. Despite Mark's protestations that no one could phone or email us and Wongan Hills or Moora were both a reasonable distance away we had to phone off and patiently wait. Maybe if we'd phone the RACWA they would have been able to get Mike? from Wubin Towing to come and rescue us! Hind site is a wonderful thing. So at around 11am we set off to sit at the junction of Rabbit Proof Fence and GN Highway with our hot coffee and a good book. Having the whole day to sit down and knock off a book is a marvellous way for me to spend a day in my holidays and I enjoyed the privilege. Mark wasn't as keen and by about 1pm decided to go back to the car and see what he could do. As we were given a solar cell with the camper, he decided to attach it to the battery.62cdb380-a061-11e8-b47d-254547224850.JPG
After several trips back and forth to check up on my situation ( more pages had been read), he decided at 4pm, to check the battery, and found that we now had a 12 volt reading. Gingerly starting the car we had success and after quickly demobilizing we then had to make the decision to carry on forward to catch up with the rest of the group or head back to Wubin to let our rescuers know that after around 7 hours we wouldn't need their help. Given that some poor mechanic may have been on his way from lord knows where, we thought we should at least cut his journey down asap. Those in Sydney were horrified to hear that we had finally got back to civilization without their mechanic and with many apologies we thanked them and wondered if centralization of services over in the East Coast was a practical solution to WA people!
The upside of this little adventure is we had the most delicious hamburger at the roadhouse before we took off to Charles Darwin Reserve some 150 ks away to the North. We arrived there in the pitch black at around 6.30 where we put the camper up quickly and joined the others with a hot cuppa and biscuit, underneath a huge full moon and slowly descending temperatures.
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Posted by Toot'speak 01:21 Archived in Australia Tagged darwin charles reserve wubin Comments (0)

Best laid plans - Day 1

Will we move?

semi-overcast 9 °C
View Pilbara 2018 on Toot'speak's travel map.

Retirement is upon us and we decided to go see a bit more of our great WA countryside. To that end we upgraded our 15 year old camper trailer to a more upmarket hard-floored version along with a remote control to set up the canopy - none of this physically disabling heaving for us anymore. As a result of this upgrading we then realised our 2003 Hilux didn't have the grunt to tow our new camper, now named "1tsby", so we had to upgrade to a machine that could tow a 2.4 tonne beast. We bought a Ford Ranger, a huge car with all the assorted bling that any person could want. This is where the fun began.
After adding an assortment of goodies - rear vision camera, lifting the body, rearranging the electrics and adding a more stream-lined electric brake system, as well as various machines ending with 'ators' we finally have a car that can do the job required. However, let's not get ahead of ourselves - we also appear to have inherited an annoying sparkle of orange warning lights on the screens informing us about failures to our ABS, anti-tracking system etc. Those more informed than us advised us to take it to Ford ( it still has a new car warranty cover) and they will wipe the computer which will then let the mechanic know what was the fault causing the orange lights to glow. This wasn't the way it panned out as we were then informed to go to the nearest Ford dealer when the lights came on again and with the motor running they could consult the computer and figure out what the real culprit was! Needless to say the lights came back on a Sunday and consultation with any Ford company wasn't possible.
Monday we were back onto our Ford man who explained that they were very busy as it was the end of the financial year and the mechanic was sick so we could bring it in for a check-up in a couple of weeks time and only when the lights came back on. Gawd was in a good mood and on starting up the car all warning lights came back on and we drove straight down to the sick mechanic and got our computer read so as to find the fault. Unfortunately our mechanic wasn't qualified to inform us as to what was the cause and suggestions were made to take the car to Ford in Bunbury after we had made an appointment. This great service went down very well with us and we trooped back to Toyota ( we had bought the car from them and it was under used car warranty with them) to lodge our dissatisfaction. They promptly took over, rang Bunbury and got our car in the following week.
Bunbury kindly took the car from us ( no sight of the courtesy car promised) and by about 1pm informed us it was ready to pick up. That we did and drove the car 10ks down the road to be greeted by the twinkle of orange lights. Back to lovely Ford who then kept it for two days (they did provide us with a car to go home, we just had to put petrol in it as the warning lights were on!) before giving it back to us with the understanding that they weren't sure if they had fixed the problem because the lights, after exhaustive testing, hadn't come back on.
So I write this on the eve of our trip, having already missed two days and wondering if I should download all the information on Ford and their locations in the Pilbara so that we can pop in and say gidday!
Tomorrow we head off up to the Charles Darwin Reserve which used to be the White Wells Station some 300+ks from Perth where we meet up with other members of the Busselton Naturalist Club and spend a couple of days checking out what Bush Heritage has done to protect the environment on the old station.
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Posted by Toot'speak 02:59 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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