Back after 3 glorious months

Submitted: Monday, May 01, 2006 at 23:16
ThreadID: 33438 Views:2326 Replies:8 FollowUps:4
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All good things must come to an end, and we are now safely home, even if the van is covered in mud.

Best thing: The wonderful people we met; those we had met through the forums, fellow travellers and friendly locals.
Best place: Everywhere except cities and larger or over touristy towns.
Best feature: All that fresh water in Tassie.
Worst road: In SA between Glenambo and Wirrulla
Worst moment: Breaking the tow bar - fortunately the chains held and no major damage done.
Second worst moment: Thinking we'd blown the turbo on the way over.

The Patrol handled the job quite well, even if slowly up the steep and winding hills. The gauges were invaluable an enabled us to cut back speed or change down a gear rather than stress the motor. The EGT gauge maxed at around 550, same as it does not towing on the hills around here. The boost gauge generally went up to 18 at max, although tested it on a very long hill by maintaining speed and gear and it will go to 20.

On the way over, as we left Pt Augusta to cross the Horrocks Pass, the Patrol lost power, EGT went up and up, and boost went down. Dragged slowly up the pass in 1st gear and went into the Hancock lookout for a sleepless night. After getting to Willem's next morning, discovered that the tube had split at the back of the boost gauge.

On the return journey, we had been on some very dusty roads around Arkaroola in the Northern Flinders, and soon after leaving with the caravan, the boost gauge went silly - up to 20 or 22, and down to 10, with gear changes. Thinking dust may have caused some blockages, we tried to ring Nissan to find nearest service agent to head for, but ran out of change when on hold (phone rage). Drove on and it all went back to normal. Only thing different was Jim forgot to put the overdrive off after driving without the van, but if came good even before that was realised.

Luckily we were on the Stuart Hwy (for a short while between more remote roads) when the tow hitch pulled out of the bar. People i called on to help were wonderful.

As all things that go wrong seem to happen in SA, the fridge in the caravan failed on the very corrugated road (worst road as above).

We still love touring SA and will come back. Loved Tassie too - but may not get back. For the Victorians, we loved the little we saw (except Melbourne)

The idea of putting a V8 in the Patrol is still looking attractive - nice to have a bit to spare, and the auto gearbox really isn't made to tow that weight.

I will be back on the forum only spasmodically, as there is SO much to catch up on, as well as finishing unpacking and cleaning.


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Reply By: Member - JohnR (Vic)&Moses - Tuesday, May 02, 2006 at 09:41

Tuesday, May 02, 2006 at 09:41
Welcome back again M'hen and to the Old Rooster too. So glad you enjoyed the trip around. Of course it would be a real bugga if you hadn't. Catch up again with you both some time.
AnswerID: 170184

Reply By: Des Lexic - Tuesday, May 02, 2006 at 09:56

Tuesday, May 02, 2006 at 09:56
G'day Chook, glad you arrived home all safe and sound although you are probably not glad your back home. LOL Aussie is a great place to explore and there are many crappy roads in SA apart from that one. I can even point you out some bitumen ones around here that a lot of dirt roads put to shame.
Don't be too infrequent with your visits here.
AnswerID: 170190

Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic)&Moses - Tuesday, May 02, 2006 at 12:03

Tuesday, May 02, 2006 at 12:03
" there are many crappy roads in SA apart from that one" seems harsh Mr Lexic, thought many interesting roads may be more of a drawcard.
FollowupID: 425557

Reply By: Ruth from Birdsville Caravan Park - Tuesday, May 02, 2006 at 11:42

Tuesday, May 02, 2006 at 11:42
Welcome home to the Chook House, Motherhen - thought you must have been away. Good to hear your've enjoyed yourselves even with the (mis)adventures.
AnswerID: 170208

Reply By: Trevor R (QLD) - Tuesday, May 02, 2006 at 13:07

Tuesday, May 02, 2006 at 13:07
Welcome back, I hope you left that Murphy fellow (the one who brings us all so much bad luck) out in the middle of SA somewhere. He's probably out there fixing up there roads to his standards as we speak hahaha.

Regards Trevor.
AnswerID: 170215

Follow Up By: Motherhen - Tuesday, May 09, 2006 at 16:35

Tuesday, May 09, 2006 at 16:35
Hi Trevor - Murphy certainly fixed the Kingoonya to Wirrulla road for us! I hope he's still out the flattening the corrugations with a teaspoon. Actually he was quite kind as he followed us around.

First he caused endless problems getting the rear view camera working, but we won when we got to Tasmania. He let it work for most of the trip - until just after that corrugated road, and it was invaluable on the narrow roads of Tasmania.

Then he somehow put the jack back down on the caravan just as we took off - or more likely he distracted the driver for long enough for him to forget to put it up! He waited until by chance we had purchased a second bottle jack when we saw it in the hardware store a few days earlier, because we needed it to get the fixed jack out of the bent casing before we could move from our camp. We got the bracket straightened at a welding shop later that day; serviceable but not perfect so it was difficult to use.

We gave away our ULP before going on the Tassie ferry, and didn't think about refilling the jerry can for some time. Murphy waited until we re-filled it before the locking pin in the beleaguered jack broke. We would have been stranded in the bush campsite forever if we hadn't the fuel to run the gennie to grind the pin off. A couple of days later, the gennie and grinder rescued another camper who had broken a wheel nut on his camper truck. Lucky Murphy let Jim bring the grinder 'just in case'. He didn't stop us from purchasing a jockey wheel before we left even though we didn't need it - that is until we had to remove the jack and used the jockey wheel for the rest of the trip.

He waited until we were off all those dirt tracks and on the Stuart Highway before busting the tow bar. He also let it happen on the bitumen so it didn't dig into the dirt and upend the van or something horrible. He made sure it was race day in Roxby so no-one would be home around Woomera area, and that no-one on the road would stop and offer help, but left a lovely station owner at home, to try ringing any source who could help, and to re-assure me he would find somebody to help, as call after call was unanswered. He let someone else from the station family walk in at that moment and say there was someone new at Glenambo who could help (can you imagine someone making a change from the city to the tiny road stop of Glenambo - just one wonderful family that Murphy couldn't stop). They had only been there for just a few weeks, were home on a Saturday afternoon, and willing to make emergency repairs for me. When it came time to pay (my cash was low toward the end of our holiday), they had just organised to take credit card the day before - i was their first customer to use it. Beat you there Murphy.

He also let us have beautiful weather for touring - i just wish he would let it rain here now we so desperately need it.

I hope he hasn't been near you lately. Stay away from the Kingoonya road!



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Reply By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Tuesday, May 02, 2006 at 13:48

Tuesday, May 02, 2006 at 13:48
Welcome back motherhen, sounds like a fantastic adventure you had there. I'm sure you have a much deeper understanding of your vehicle's mechanicals which is handy knowledge for the next trip I reckon. Don't do anything silly like getting another vehicle to have to learn all that again.

Kind regards
AnswerID: 170220

Reply By: Old Scalyback & denny - Tuesday, May 02, 2006 at 17:53

Tuesday, May 02, 2006 at 17:53
jeez and the neighbourhood had just settled down to !!!!! lolololol

anyway welcome back

AnswerID: 170259

Reply By: Chaz - Sunday, May 07, 2006 at 12:01

Sunday, May 07, 2006 at 12:01
Sorry I missed this thread earlier on, but welcom back. It seems you had an excellent and eventfull trip.
Just on towing with the auto, have you heard of THESE I fitted a similar device some time age and it makes towing with the auto a breeze.
I don't think you can underestimate the value of the boost and EGT gauges, and I certainly wouldn't be without them now.
AnswerID: 171271

Reply By: Brew69(SA) - Tuesday, May 09, 2006 at 17:00

Tuesday, May 09, 2006 at 17:00
"Worst road: In SA between Glenambo and Wirrulla"
Wow when did that happen? I used to frequent this road in my mazda 808 without a problem. We did the section from skull tanks to kingoonya at easter and i didn't think it was too bad? Maybe it had been graded before we did it. Anyway did you stop at the Wirrulla pub? Top place for a beer and friendly locals. We did a road last year between Eulo and Hungerford in QLD and it got our award for worst was km after km of bulldust lol.
AnswerID: 171754

Follow Up By: Motherhen - Tuesday, May 09, 2006 at 17:32

Tuesday, May 09, 2006 at 17:32
Hi Brewman

Most of it was rather corrugated; the northern section not so badly, where the red dust areas were OK, but further down the track it was all pretty rough, and i couldn't convince Jim to let the tyres down low enough, although letting the car tyres down a bit certainly improved our ride - lowering them in the caravan just may have saved the fridge from breaking down. He also was on the homeward stretch, so going real slow for long periods was not on his agenda, although 60 kph was about the max. we did. Corrugations didn't really disappear until around 20 k North of Wirrulla. We had been warned that the road from Glenambo to Tarcoola was shocking, as it was being used by trucks for mining exploration and even when recently graded, was just as bad in a couple of days. They didn't know if the mining exploration was also taking these trucks down the Wirrulla road. We thought we would be over the worst when we turned off at Kingoonya, but not so - much of it was worse.

What do you call Skull Tanks? We noticed a lot of old tanks along the road - was it once a stock route? Corrugations come up quickly once they start, especially on the shire road into our farm - we usually say it's about the worst road of a trip when we get home - this time SA won. Didn't stop at the pub - must confess
i don't share your love of a beer.


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Follow Up By: Brew69(SA) - Tuesday, May 09, 2006 at 19:40

Tuesday, May 09, 2006 at 19:40
Skull tanks is north of Lake Everard station and is on the corner of the road to Mt Ive. And yes this used to be a stock route. You would have also passed smith tanks and middle tanks on the way down. A funny story about my time on Lake Everard station. We had the geologists from a mining company staying in the shearers quarters for a while whilst they sampled creek beds. After their departure they phoned to say they had lost a camera and thought it was left in the shearers quarters. It was nowhere to be found. Some six months later whilst mustering a paddock i was riding along a creekbed and went a gutser on the bike. Ends up i ran over the pelicase(a water and dustproof case) which the camera was in. What a find, a Ricoh SLR which at the time was worth about $700. This was a case of finders keepers. When you think that Lake Everard station is some 5000 km sq this was a needle in a haystack find.
FollowupID: 427258

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