Is Russell Coight real..... yep I reckon!

Submitted: Sunday, Sep 08, 2002 at 00:00
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You see, .... one time .... actually while the Olympics were on a couple of years ago. I headed off to Alice Springs with the extended family. I have a travelling science show. The FFFFFFun Show. A couple of vehicles travelled there. Over a couple of spare days, we all piled into the old HJ47 Troopie [350chev with rust and lots of extras!] and headed off to have a look at Chambers Pillar. We had spotted it on the map on other occasions and hadn't had the time to get there.
Well the first drama was when the bikes fell off the back! Son Jim and his mate Frank had brought along their U-beaut special suspension mountain bikes...... I mean really special bikes.. together they were worth more than the troopie.. yep $1500 and $2000 each. Bit stratched. Metal fatigued bike carrier and bikes up on the roof rack of the off road trailer and on our way again. Then the air-con bracket snapped. Wire, tape, rope and clamps and it was back operating. The radiator boiled next. No worries, I carry a spare belt..... fixed.
We arrived at the gate..... red sand hills.... the Simpson desert. The sign said that we needed a mast and red flag. No worries. The shovel tied to the high-lift jack handle and on top of that my daught Caitie's red T-shirt. [She never wore that again!]. The first hill looked pretty steep. So I decided to cut around where another less obvious track was visible. I had lost momentum by the top.... so with the troopie on top... the trailer hanging down behind..... all the pull on the trailer was through the top of the dune. Sooooooo all wheels dug in. As quick as you can say "Australian Inland, arid environment" we were stuck. "Don't worry .. this is part of the fun" I said. I got the shovel and started to dig us out, working out anchorage points for the winch. I realized that for the first time ever, I might have to bury a tyre. Then I thought. "Damn... I forgot to deflate the tyre more..." "Jim, Frank let a heap of air out of the tyres" said I [a bit like Russell Coight might have]. As I dug...... the vehicle lowered and continued to bottom out on the sand. We did get out. I reckon though that, most of that stupid stuff that happens to that bloke on TV is not even an exaggeration. I'll tell you about the burning battery sometime, or hanging by my wedding ring from the roofrack, or cutting up my fence in the dark to extend the winch, or getting lost in Wannangata Valley or seeing the crocodile track leading from our lovely swimming hole in the Kimberley....... after the refreshing swim.. Cheers Royce [not Russell...... but that is a family name!]
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Reply By: Tim - Sunday, Sep 08, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, Sep 08, 2002 at 00:00
Royce, the adventures of the family! - A few years ago when on Cape York for the first time with our children we decided that this was to be the 'NO HOLES BARRED' trip, take the entire OLT track, don't miss a thing!!! Great times were being had by all, the odd hard river crossing, the occassional winching episode etc,etc and then came that creek from hell.We stopped well prior to the enterance, looked at all possible ways and had a plan.In through the enterance that was sloshy mud via the creek enbankment,ford the creek (without walking first - crocidile signs) and as we headed to the other side we could smell trouble as I turn to the crew and said those famous words "Hang On" I could see that I'd have to wind up the diesel engine for this one! - as we are coming out of the water there was a 20 -30 metre strech off deep smelly mud and at the end of the mud there were two wheel ruts that I don't want to go into, but I did and have the pictures to prove it, my lovely family standing underneath the Pajero bullbar (passengers side) as it has launched itself skyward with the rear end firmly placed in the mud, drivers side resting on the enbankment, front wheels 2ft & 4ft in the air (good camera opportunity) with all the recovery gear in the back underneath all the baggage and a decent size audiance gathering with gasps of 'Jeez, how'd yu manage that,etc' we procceded to apply some winching exercises and once completed re-loaded the car and disappeared into the distance. That evening at the campsite as we walked around talking to other campers we'd learnt that we had gathered a new nick name - THE FLYING VICTORIANS
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Reply By: Fred - Sunday, Sep 08, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, Sep 08, 2002 at 00:00
Sorry fellas but it's people like you who really give 4wds a bad name. Winchng and digging in the Simpson??? No way!!!!!! Your posts both reek of unprepared, uneducated (in terms of responsible travellers) inexperienced drivers doing their level best to wreck the environment and to hell with it!!!! I've done the Simpson several times and never been stuck, never had to dig, never had to use a "chicken run" and hopefully had a minimum impact on a precious part of the world. And as for getting lost in the Wonnanngatta Valley .... how could you do that, but then again, you probably tried to get up the "Widow Maker" behind the site of the homestead.
I also wonder what the people said between themselves after they asked you how you did you trick with the Pajero?
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Follow Up By: Royce - Sunday, Sep 08, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, Sep 08, 2002 at 00:00
Yep.... I took the kids up the Widow Maker..... went right over the sign!!! In fact I went up it just this January with my young teenage daughter 'in tow'.... We were trying to get reception on the mobile to find out if she'd passed her VCE. Couldn't find reception until about an hour of 'bush bashing' got us near the top of the valley. Then the weather closed in. It was raining so heavily that you couldn't see your hand in front of your face! We did find our way out again by following a creek bed. We had lost our way following the wrong ridge. Good bush skills got us out. Hey hang on Fred...... you weren't there were you??? Cos we did have a Fred along with us. A great bushman and horseman.... Anyway it was some hike..... has been every time I've done the Widow Maker. Only Richard Craniums would drive up that! You know.... one of the most cherished bush skills is that of telling a yarn. I'm okay. I left no mark on the Simpson Desert. We cleaned up after we left our campsites AND cleaned up all the muck left like others. Our family has done that since I was a little kid tripping with my Dad. Perhaps you haven't made mistakes Fred? I still reckon EVERY 4WDriver, outback traveller, expert, bushwalker, greenie, bleepie, enviromentalist, kangaroo shooter, tour-guide or forum contributer has a Russell Coight yarn. No offence taken. But do you get my drift? PS. the dune in question was the first small one. All the rest were no problem. Cheers Royce
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Reply By: Willie - Sunday, Sep 08, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, Sep 08, 2002 at 00:00
OOooooh Fred.......you're too serious !! What!! never been bogged? Never taken the wrong line? You read too many Tread Lightly magazines.
We all try to do the 'right' thing but sometimes you just gotta take a chance.
Many years ago I was told by an old bushie not to drive on to the salt lakes. Even the camels walk around them, he said. We were crossing the Simpson from north to south in two Suzukis. After endless bouncing across the spinifex we were very relieved to find the Mirranponga Pongunna Salt lakes just north of the French track. We stopped and tested the surface. Rock hard...mate. What the hell....we'll just cut the corner of this lake. Back into 2wd(kept the hubs in) and soon were were whizzing along at 100kph.....that is, until the Zook started to sink. With some vicious gear changes including slamming the transfer box into low range and then redlining the rev counter and swinging the little truck into a ginormous U turn, we just managed to get ourselves out of trouble.
Whew !! That was close. In the 20 odd years I spent in the NT I got bogged about 20 times a year. If you wanted to see that magnificent country in the Wet season or go and look for that water oasis behind the next dune in the desert......then you had to take the chance. Now that I am on the downhill side of life I am a little more careful and wiser but will still drive until my brazen courage deserts me. Happy travelling. Cheers, Willie
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Follow Up By: Royce - Sunday, Sep 08, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, Sep 08, 2002 at 00:00
Salt pans are deceptive. We once stopped and popped our old rotomold plastic canoe into a salt lake. It had rippling water as far as the eye could see. It was too shallow at the start so we carried it out. We also didn't want to leave ugly drag marks near the edge. That day we learned about salt lakes. Hmmmmm our feet were cut to ribbons. Yep bare feet. And we walk about a kilometre before we realized that the water was not going to get any deeper than 1". The walk back was agony and humiliating. I only do dumb things once. DAMN THERE ARE SO MANY DUMB THINGS TO DO.... I NEVER SEEM TO RUN OUT OF NEW ONES. Good on you Willie. I like your attitude. I bet you keep of salt pans and spread the word now too eh? Cheers Royce
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Follow Up By: Royce - Sunday, Sep 08, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, Sep 08, 2002 at 00:00
Salt pans are deceptive. We once stopped and popped our old rotomold plastic canoe into a salt lake. It had rippling water as far as the eye could see. It was too shallow at the start so we carried it out. We also didn't want to leave ugly drag marks near the edge. That day we learned about salt lakes. Hmmmmm our feet were cut to ribbons. Yep bare feet. And we walk about a kilometre before we realized that the water was not going to get any deeper than 1". The walk back was agony and humiliating. I only do dumb things once. DAMN THERE ARE SO MANY DUMB THINGS TO DO.... I NEVER SEEM TO RUN OUT OF NEW ONES. Good on you Willie. I like your attitude. I bet you keep of salt pans and spread the word now too eh? Cheers Royce
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Reply By: Fred - Sunday, Sep 08, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, Sep 08, 2002 at 00:00
Well I guess the old troopie with a 350chev and rust has you pretty well pinpointed. Don't really see where you're coming from, but it has a definite school yard flavour. Try growing up.
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Follow Up By: Royce - Sunday, Sep 08, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, Sep 08, 2002 at 00:00
Thanks for the advice Fred. I know it's hard at times! My business IS the school yard and do I cultivate that flavour professionally! My son has inherited the old bus. My new ones are just a little more staid. Growing up is for young blokes who don't know what it's like to be there. I try to grow down a little more each year! It's always difficult to read the written word for full understanding.... I love the bush. I live in the bush and over the last 9 years have planted 45,000 trees myself by hand. I have also fenced off several areas for natural regrowth and spread the word all over Oz. You never can tell can you? So go on Fred. What amusing tales do you have to tell? In friendship..... cheers Royce
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Follow Up By: Cruiser - Sunday, Sep 08, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, Sep 08, 2002 at 00:00
Hey Fred, I agree with you wholeheartedly about taking a Treading Lightly approach and minimising damage to the environment. But there will be times, regardless of how experienced we are, or how 'good' we are, or how well we plan things, that we might just get it wrong. I've gotten it wrong a few times in over thirty years of serious 4-wheeling and I suspect you might have too...? How many times have you sat around a campfire yarning about that 'almost got caught' situation? Or listened to others doing so? And embellishing the event with each re-telling of the story? Sinking deeper in the bogs and the crocodiles getting bigger with every beer? The rain getting harder or the tide lapping at your tailgate? What I'm saying mate, is that we all make mistakes and have our adventures. But last time I looked around the tracks in a sandy desert they were still mostly made of sand. And the scars, made by the inexperienced digging or winching the previous season, had passed into oblivion, moved by the winds, although the track remained. And so do the memories....
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Follow Up By: Fred - Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00
Hey calm down!! I didn't claim to have never been bogged or caught out!!!! My criticism was specifically of having to dig out of a dune in the Simpson (easily avoidable by lowering tyre pressures and not towing a trailer) and getting lost in the Wonnangatta Valley (I still can't imagine how you get lost in that valley!! It's a long, wide valley. Therefore I think the original posting was put by a person who has never been to either location (he also couldn't spell Wonnangatta) and simply put there to stir people up!!
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Reply By: Tim - Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00
Fred ! Where have you been, I mean to say 'Have you ever seen a stick in the mud' it stands out doesn't it! - Do you only have one choice of tyre (envro. friendly) or do you take every pattern with you and change at every change? - How have you managed to aviod the unaviodable bog patch? - Where were all the deep sand drifts in the Simpson when you were there? - Does winching cause enviromental problems? - Do all the 'city slickers' see my funny mishaps in the bush that give 4WDers a bad name? - I live in metro Melbourne-should I take off my bullbar as I re-enter the city? - It is my professional opinion (I,m in the game!) that most brands of 4WD's are or can be good 4WD's and I've taken Pajeros around Australia and they go all the places that Discos go, Cruisers go, Patrols go, Bravos go, Hiluxs go etc (I now own a Patrol - 4WD #14), FRED I want to say, and please take this in good fun, GET A REAL LIFE, people that have not made mistakes are very few in this world, Regards Tim.
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Follow Up By: Fred - Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00
Tim see my follow up above. I'm not talking about mistakes!! Towing a trailer through the Simpson is not a mistake!!! It's just plain irresponsible! On my trips through the Simpson there have never been sand drifts which a properly prepared vehicle couldn't cope with. Properly prepared simply being lowered tyre pressures! Don't follow your reference to Pajeros. I had one for 9 years and have no problem with them. Oh and Tim I did think once that I had made a mistake but later found that I was wrong.
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Follow Up By: Royce - Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00
Don't worry Tim.... I've met blokes like Fred. They're nice uncomplicated and always right. I reckon I'd enjoy a yarn around a campfire with him! We would always have a good argument, but he would never get it, and forget the jokes. Damn I should have spelled Wonnangatta properly. Fred doesn't realize how disciplined contributers to this forum are! Spelling is right out the window elsewhere! I've been to the Wonnangatta Valley many a time. I shouldn't have been so flippant! My daughter and I actually got lost hiking up the spur right behind the old homestead. The Widowmaker is usually known as the hill behind the cemetary. We got lost in a downpour when we went along the wrong spur. We were lost for a good half hour. I have noticed that Fred is a bit anti-trailers previously. I towed one down Zeka Spur last trip. No worries. I think that some people reckon that if you have fun four wheel driving in a way that they don't, then you are not fair-dinkum. Let's face it there are lots of people who would think Fred and us shouldn't even go into fragile environments like the Simpson! He didn't realize that my yarn about the first hill into the Simpson was a very minor sandy bog that lasted about 20 minutes and simply involved taking the wrong line and having marginally over inflated tyres. I guess I was boasting about knowing how to get out of a bog in that situation. I have however had to winch out of plenty of bogs. Most have not involved four wheel driving! The tyres had already been deflated, but not enough. I would dearly love a few stories from Fred. I bet he has 'got a life' but is a bit shy!
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Follow Up By: Cruiser - Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00
chuckle, chuckle, laugh, grin, chuckle, ho, ho, ho,

Oops, must back to work........
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Follow Up By: Mike - Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00
They come in don't they Fred!! Royce you got hooked!!
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