Preparing the Wife

Submitted: Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 08:56
ThreadID: 58674 Views:4077 Replies:13 FollowUps:31
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Been gearing up for months to ride the Simpson dessert on trail bikes and this has meant new bikes, designing and building a trailer with some 4wding capability, getting a son a bike license, downsizing our already tight load and re-examining every bit of equipment to see if it is really needed because we have to squeeze extra people into the car.

But in all the fun of getting ready I seemed to have overlooked the most important element.

With our plan to carry 4 adults in the car, of which 3 will be riding bikes the 4th person, my wife, would be left to face driving the Simpson in the car by herself, and also towing the trailer and supplies to boot.
In addition , because she would have the best radio setup she would have to operate the radio and co-ordinate things as well.

On past trips she has been content to be passenger and mostly watch the proceedings so long as the track wasn't to rough to upset her knitting.

But this time we have realized we are asking her to do the hardest job.

So what to do ? - Well before you even start you have to do some serious crawling, with promises to visit that relative you can't stand, increased attendance at chick flicks and even picking clothes off the floor and delivering them to that room called the "laundry" which has wandered so far froms one's memory that it requires a new Waypoint to be entered into the brain.

Amidst constant reminders that "Other wifes" had said "No" before their husbands words had made from their
minds to their mouths, we began a training program liberally interspaced with stops at approved coffee shops.

First up - was to use the GPS and to goto waypoints - this actually went better than I thought once I changed the GPS from "track up" to "North always up" to stop the map
rotating on her.

Next was backing the trailer - well this was a total loss, and all we could do was just assume that the 4800 patrol will have no need to reverse.

Then we made the car easier to drive by down-specking its 4wd capability.

1/ Remove front Winch to reduce pitching
2/ Re-attach swaybars to reduce sideways movement
3/ Replace 33 inch wheels with standard Nissan wheels to make it easier to get off the line.
4/ putting a cushion on front seat to improve driver visibility.
5/ Vox operation of radio to allow hands to stay on steering wheel more.


Last was practising getting up early in the morning - I lost badly on this score and was lucky to escape with - "We will break camp at 9am! ".

With all the above in place - we headed off into the bush nervously for a full trial run.

Well have to admit I was impressed with the driving result and most of the mistakes were made by the boys on the bikes - but we covered them up pretty well so they don't count.

Now all we need is no rain in Birdsville for the school holidays !
Robin Miller

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Reply By: Member - Mark G (NSW) - Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 09:10

Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 09:10
I think i say this for everybody when i say GOOOOOD LUCK!!!!!!!! :-0
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Reply By: Vivid Adventures - Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 09:34

Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 09:34
All the best, but if you can cross the simpson without once having to reverse the trailer you're much better than me... what if she is heading up a dune when someone breasts the top?
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 09:49

Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 09:49
A valid concern indeed Andrew.

We will probably have that covered by having a bike radio from the top of each dune that theres no traffic.

My real concern though is inexperienced travellers with us on bikes meeting an oncoming 4wd when they are struggling to stay upright and are not positioned correctly.

Many reccomend that bikes ride straight over the dunes as the safest approach but I have not established that that is practical just yet.
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Reply By: Dasher Des - Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 09:41

Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 09:41
Robin, You appear to be getting most things right in the crawling department and training appears to be going well except for the bike riders LOL
Have you got the reversing down a sand dune with trailer in tow option covered yet? there is a way to help using chains if your not aware of it. If not, reply and I can let you know how its done.
I guess that you will not be at Innaminka for the gathering so we might see you out there in the desert.
(DesLexic)
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 09:52

Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 09:52
Hi Des

I appreciate any advice - I will be carrying snow chains now that I won't be taking the winch.

Sadly we expect to miss Innamicka .
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Follow Up By: Dasher Des - Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 10:18

Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 10:18
Robin,
The most difficult part will be when reversing back down the dune is to stop the trailer from jacknifing.
To assist in preventing this from happening, a length of chain from the widest part of the trailer to the widest part of the back of your vehicle that you can attach the chains to. Maybe you could set up a width extension on your tow bar? (Need to do both sides of the car)
I'm not sure how clear the above is but in effect, you are trying to restrict the trailer from turning. The chains should be set up to make hooking up as easy as possible. You would only hook them up when you needed to. The chains when attached should be as firm as possible.
Not sure if it would work, but maybe the chains could cross over in an X shape to restrict the turning movement.

If you cant work out what I'm trying to say, send me a MM with a fax number and I will fax a sketch to you.
Des
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 10:39

Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 10:39
Hi Des

I get the idea - when I come to think of it I have a tractor with a grader blade on it and I used crossed chains to limit its swing.

I have set up my snow chains with extra D-Clamps and have used them before as tow ropes.

As I don't have a conventional tow bar on the Patrol I still have the transport tie down points available .

It would be pretty easy to attach chain from these points straight back to the motor-bike tie down loops on the sides of the trailer.

Might give that a try this weekend - as we are hoping for snow near Melbourne and a drive with the trailer attached in it.

Thanks again



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Follow Up By: Vivid Adventures - Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 21:15

Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 21:15
The chains idea sounds like a recipe for disaster to me. I'd expect to see the trailer tipped over or the like... I would expect that the constriction will tend to bury the trailer wheel in the sand and then things really get messy...

Reversing trailers in the sand is not really something you can train for. Those that have done a lot of it still cuss when they get stopped on a dune. My approach generally is to follow the trailer, generally with a gentle approach, but if getting out of a sand rut is essential, oversteering the tow vehicle and giving the trailer a shove then quickly getting back on the line you really wanted to reverse down is the only way.
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 21:37

Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 21:37
Hi Andrew

Chains are for the mud actually , we have had to rescue overturned vehicles , and drive thru much outback mud, much of it on the actual Simpson french line itself.

Indeed the sand is just fun but the mud and salt can be tricky,
and chains have more than once saved the day whilst other vehicles slide around.
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Follow Up By: Vivid Adventures - Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 22:35

Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 22:35
Well that makes sense, but tethering the trailer to the vehicle with chains is what I was refering to...

Have fun,
Andrew.
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Reply By: Hairy (NT) - Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 09:56

Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 09:56
Gday,
Dont wory about it mate.
She'll get the hang of it by the time your halfway there.
It sounds like your going to have a ball!

Cheers
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Reply By: gvn - Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 09:57

Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 09:57
very funny, although perhaps she might not take so well to you saying this is the "hardest job". I get the trailer thing, I can not reverse the trailer, but I've only tried once and gave up.

who prepares all the food and does the cooking and the cleaning?? presumably as she's taking on the very difficult "man's job" this time you boys will do the other "women's work" at the end of the day??
LOL
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 13:00

Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 13:00
Your right GVN , I should re-brand "hardest job" as "most challenging and responsible job".

I'm actually not much better with a trailer so we mostly tent it.

As for the other stuff , I learnt to stay out of the kitchen a long time ago, and decided the the only contribution I could make in this area was to minimze the work , however I am still yet to convince my wife that wearing only one shirt over the recent long weekend was in her interests.
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Reply By: Member - Mfewster(SA) - Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 11:51

Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 11:51
Urgent!!
At great personal sacrifice I am prepared to donate my wife to the expedition.
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 13:04

Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 13:04
Said in true Exploroz spirit , however I should warn you that their have been huge Bunyips seen out there and none of us may return alive!
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Reply By: Member - Ruth D (QLD) - Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 12:30

Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 12:30
Robin, you have most things covered, and quite well but there are a couple of things needing pointing out to you - from the female perspective.
1.After years in the Desert country I love the way it is assumed the womenfolk will only WANT to be the passenger.
2. It is further assumed that they wouldn't have the confidence or the ability to do the driving in the Desert
3. It is womenfolk who are able to multi-task so why should all the tasks you have 'dumped' on her be a problem.
4. Most importantly - you should NEVER, NEVER EVER refer to that most important personage in the Family as "The wife, The cook, The handbrake or The Tool-box" - should anyone ever do that in my hearing (or over-hearing) then they deserve what my husband received just recently when he didn't know I could hear him - a good kick in the goolies. He's still limping. Be warned.
Apart from that, the trip should be fantastic - I just can't remember which way you are coming from - if you are going east to west then your wife and I could have a 'girlie" chat before you head out. Wouldn't that be great? LOL
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Follow Up By: Dasher Des - Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 13:01

Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 13:01
Robin, another peiece of advice for you. I think you should avoid any contact with the said writer of this "Follow Up" I can't see the meeting with her and your wife having any reasonable outcomes for you. LOL
It might pay to be in Birdsville when she is at Innaminca haranging the rest of us down there. If I had more testicular fortitude, I'd offer to keep her there a little longer so that you can safely bypass the offered meeting. Sadly. I lack such fortitude and I would have to rely on my natural good looks and charm to keep her there. That will only last about 30seconds though.
Have a good trip.
PS Hi Ruthy Luv ya heaps honey grovel grovel crawl.
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Follow Up By: Member - Dunworkin (WA) - Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 13:11

Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 13:11
"you should NEVER, NEVER EVER refer to that most important personage in the Family as "The wife, The cook, The handbrake or The Tool-box"

Hi Ruth, well said and I fully agree!!!!!!!! personally I would add 'SWMBO' to that list, LOL The list or references to 'that most important personage in the Family' is quite long on here but I must admit that I do get a laugh from some of them. My hubby mostly refers to me as "his Bride"............. Geez I've been a bride for a long time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cheers

D


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Follow Up By: Hairy (NT) - Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 13:32

Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 13:32
Gday Ruth,
I wouldnt dare call my Mrs. any thing other than her real name!!!!Unless of corse I want something...like money for bike parts or grog or something.
Then I soften her up by calling her names like........
handbrake / Warlord /Dragon breath / War machine / Minister for war / Hipobottomarse etc...It works every time

LOL
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 14:09

Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 14:09
I think your right Des - I couldn't withstand another kick.

I missed Ruth last time , but my son had a personnel crisis when his Ipod batteries needed charging and Ruth saved his life.

I would tend to disagree (from a distance) with Ruth (and also Dunworkin) on one point though - we like the terms wife and husband , as opposed to partner.
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Follow Up By: Member - Dunworkin (WA) - Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 14:36

Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 14:36
"I would tend to disagree (from a distance) with Ruth (and also Dunworkin) on one point though - we like the terms wife and husband , as opposed to partner. "

Hi Robin, sorry sorry sorry, I didn't explain myself, I am with you on this one, I have trouble with this 'partner' thing (for myself) when Bevan and I have been "husband" and "wife" for over 37years, may I also say that I am not against the term for others but for me I am proud to be my husbands "wife" I have been known to correct people who have referred to me as hubby's partner LOL. I was referring to terms of 'indeerment' previously in this post.
Sounds like a great trip planned and I'm sure your wife will handle things well, even reversing the trailer LOL. I can't reverse a trailer because I refuse to try while others are watching!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Hi Hairy, good one ROTFL

Cheers

D


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Follow Up By: Member - DAZA (QLD) - Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 15:55

Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 15:55
My Cook / Wife have been married for 38 years come December,
I have called her the Cook for a long long time, my mates and neighbours call there wives The Cook all so, must have rubbed off
from me, anyway back to Robins adventure, you will be in your wife
Debt for an eternity, I would be organising a nice little get away when you finish your Odyssey, some thing like a nice Dinner & Show,
and Pamper her a bit, there is know shame in SUCKING UP TO THE
COOK.

Cheers
Daza
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Follow Up By: Dasher Des - Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 16:04

Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 16:04
G'day Dazza,
December 1970 must have had something in the water. Got snared myself then. On the 5th to be exact
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Follow Up By: Member - Ruth D (QLD) - Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 19:27

Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 19:27
Easter 1971 was good as well! (and the 14 June 1997 at the Birdsville Pub was even better)
I am ignoring the expected replies by some of those of the male persuasion. Good answer, D - I forgot about SWMBO, Minister for etc...........
I notice that Robin has not advised which way he will be crossing the SD - so fair bet he's going east to west and is hoping that I will be at Innaminck giving Dasher Des what he deserves - do hope he's carrying his cricket playing gear - he'll need it. And, I haven't forgotten that Gone Bush will be getting his torture at Innamincka either. It's very obvious that he has not replied anywhere in this report, funny that.
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Friday, Jun 13, 2008 at 09:41

Friday, Jun 13, 2008 at 09:41
From "The Wife"
When I was alerted to the fact that Robin had posted “Preparing the Wife” I thought it only fair that I should have “right of reply”. Yes, you guessed it – I’m his XYL (Ham radio term for wife....Ex Young Lady). This is my first posting so I hope I don’t break any protocols.
When the idea of the trip was first floated and I was asked to drive the support vehicle, Robin’s main concern was (and still is) that I would stall the car and trailer halfway up a sand dune and then jack-knife it reversing down. I also believed it rated as a very high probability. So to put his mind at rest I assured him that I would drive his 4.8L Patrol the same way I drive my auto RAV4 (the last of the cute shape) “flat-out” and simply “floor it” at the bottom of the dune to ensure I got over the dune. He turned a whiter shade of “pale” and hastily assured me if I adopted that tactic that we would run out of petrol before Poeppels Corner.
As we are taking an extra person I have been instructed that many compromises must be taken “packing-wise” to make more space available so I offered to leave behind my hairdryer, hot rollers and knitting – not quite the response/sacrifice he was looking for apparently.
It’s my birthday a few days before the trip and I’m hoping to cash in on some of that “crawling” and “promises” he was talking about in his article, however, much money has been spent on preparation of the bikes, radios, car and other equipment and I feel there is very little left in the kitty.
Ruth – loved your posting and I’m definitely going to pay you a visit to say hello (I’ve learnt how to mark a waypoint). We girls have to stick together!
XYL

ANNE
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Follow Up By: Dasher Des - Friday, Jun 13, 2008 at 10:40

Friday, Jun 13, 2008 at 10:40
UhhhhOhhhh, Robin, what have you done, you have unleashed Mrs Miller on us all and NOW she wants to meetup with the Golden Godess. That could be very dangerous for you. (and maybe the rest of us too)
I think if we happen to cross paths in the Simpson, I may have to give you a wide berth if the GG spills the beans on us. LOL

Mrs Miller, I would like to thank you for your contribution, saying that it was very well thought out, very constructive and obeying all protocols of the Forum. I hope that you continue to post on this site so that we all may enjoy your valuable submissions. Hopefully, I have grovelled enough so that you will refrain from giving me the Goolie Treatment that Ruth seems to want to impose on me. If I need to grovel more, please advise.
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Follow Up By: Member - Dunworkin (WA) - Saturday, Jun 14, 2008 at 00:24

Saturday, Jun 14, 2008 at 00:24
Easter 1971 was good as well!

We were married on the 3rd of April 1971 and spent our honeymoon & Easter in Coral Bay. It sure was a good year!!!!!!!!

Cheers

D


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Reply By: Member - Dick (Int) - Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 16:49

Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 16:49
Robin

You have obviously give this project a lot of thought however to tow a trailer across the Simpson is not something that should be undertaken lightly, and certainly not by a driver (male or female makes no difference) that has no experience in handling a trailer particularly in sand.

The driver needs to be very good at reversing a trailer to stand any chance of success on a sand dune as you are bound to get stopped on some of them.

I know many people have successfully towed trailers across but an equal number have failed and damaged the trailer and the tow vehicle.

I am not sure why you removed the winch. On a bad dune you have the option of winching over if you are stuck, provided of course you have a friendly traveller to use as an anchor. I would not go in the desert without a winch.

I am sure Member Ruth will comment on the difficulty of towing trailers in the Simpson.

Cheers
Dick







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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 18:05

Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 18:05
Hi Dick

Its clearly a judgement decision as to removing the winch.

The reality of failures is that overloading with things like bullars and winches causes more problems than they solve when conditions are marginal (we have had to solve other peoples failed shocks and springs on more than one occasion) .

In our senario we will be travelling with others and snatch straps are usually the solution.

Combined with this is that winches work hard in the sand and that in our case the unloaded trailer will be only 400kg.

We have never been stopped by sand in the desserts but have been challenged by mud , but so far twin diff locks and chains have solved that one.

So reversing shouldn't be much of an issue so long as I can co-ordinate the engagement of diff locks from my trail bike.




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Follow Up By: Member - Dick (Int) - Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 20:44

Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 20:44
Robin

I agree about weight. Many people go out into the desert heavily loaded on standard suspension and wonder why something breaks.

If you have never been stopped by sand in the desert you are very lucky. I have seen dunes that several vehicles attempted and could not cross.

I have a very well equipped Troopy with twin diff locks and I am sure there are dunes in the Simpson that I can't get across every time.

Hope your ride goes well and I will look forward to seeing your report on your return.



Cheers
Dick







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Reply By: Shaker - Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 18:36

Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 18:36
We left the bike trailer at Farina, the bikes rode the Oodnadatta Track, across the Simpson Desert & then down the Birdsville Track to Farina.
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 20:55

Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 20:55
Sounds like a lot of fun and a good plan for a future trip shaker - but a bit to much for my mob this time.

Did a similar thing once unsupported when younger and I can still feel the weight of the jerry can strapped to my back and taste the fuel that leaked into my food from it
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Follow Up By: Shaker - Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 22:56

Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 22:56
Once you start riding across the desert, you will think you have died & gone to heaven ..... good luck!
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Reply By: pradowolf - Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 21:32

Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 21:32
Hi Robin,

i reckon you will make it and i would have faith in your wife.

I still wish i could have joint you for the crossing but it just did not work out this year so good luck and have fun.

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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Friday, Jun 13, 2008 at 07:59

Friday, Jun 13, 2008 at 07:59
Maybe next year Prado , the trailer took more working out than I thought as late as this week I had to make new brackets for shocks and bump stops after a fully loaded test showed that tyres hit guards on bumps.

Keep your bike ready for any opportunites - these is still a rain induced chance that we won't be heading off till end August.
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Reply By: Member - JohnR (Vic)&Kath - Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 21:55

Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 21:55
Robin, I don't think you thought laterally enough with your trailer. Had you put an e x t e n d e d gooseneck on you could have the pivot point on a short tray and have the gooseneck over the top of the cabin in reverse. Another way would have been a turntable mid-roof. That would save any jack knifing and just reverse out of the way of the Nissan.

I actually have Heather reverse to the Karavan with me directing traffic but NOT with the Karavan actually connected!
Cheers,
Who?
John

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Reply By: Member - Warfer (VIC) - Friday, Jun 13, 2008 at 03:48

Friday, Jun 13, 2008 at 03:48
Most importantly - you should NEVER, NEVER EVER refer to that most important personage in the Family as "The wife, The cook, The handbrake or The Tool-box"


Thanks Ruthy i thought it was the lack of flowers why she took off out the front door and never allowed it to hit her backside on the way out ! lol

Anyway very tired now so i have to hit the WORKBENCH !




Cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - Ruth D (QLD) - Friday, Jun 13, 2008 at 14:22

Friday, Jun 13, 2008 at 14:22
You are a BAD BOY Warfer, about Dasher Des standard I'd say. I should have mentioned about the 'workbench' reference also - does it have a washing machine on one corner?
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Follow Up By: Member - Warfer (VIC) - Friday, Jun 13, 2008 at 19:54

Friday, Jun 13, 2008 at 19:54
~(8--)




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Reply By: Member - Ruth D (QLD) - Friday, Jun 13, 2008 at 14:33

Friday, Jun 13, 2008 at 14:33
Hello Anne, nice to meet you and it will be nice to have a "girlie" chat - I can help you with your trip in amazing ways!
Robin - I can't stand the term 'partner' and am happy to be my husband's wife as long as he's behaving. He's not sure whether he likes to be his wife's husband (secretly he's very proud - and he waited all his life for this, since he was 16).
Now, don't worry about having to back down the dunes and jackknifing the trailer - because most blokes can't do it either (I certainly can't). Dick (Int) knows I wouldn't have a trailer in the Simpson - Dick, how restrained am I on this - and frankly you should see the broken and cracked vehicles being rescued and coming out of the SD after the rain (and that's vehicles) most of the CT's have done wheel bearings in the mud.
Over the years we've seen lots of broken cars - partiuclarly those supporting motorbikes because of the enormous weight forced to carry.
Another thing I have said many times - if every vehicle went over the weighbridge BEFORE they left on the adventure people would be horrified at the excess weight - particularly on the tops of vehicles.
I really didn't mean to lecture on this Post - what I really meant to say was - Anne and Viv and Deanne - have you noticed we are the only women who were able to get the Mouse and have a read and write on this subject - maybe the other wives are too 'henpecked' and frightened to have a say. Very disappointing really don't you think?
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Follow Up By: Member - Ruth D (QLD) - Friday, Jun 13, 2008 at 14:38

Friday, Jun 13, 2008 at 14:38
Anne, forgot to mention that I have a hairdryer, hot rollers, plenty of knitting here and a big bath should you want to fill it with plenty of my bubbles - and champers to go in the glass whilst soaking.
And, don't let them tell you there isn't enough water in the Simpson Desert for a shower - remember the Desert Rule - no shower, no shag!
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Follow Up By: Member - Dunworkin (WA) - Saturday, Jun 14, 2008 at 00:34

Saturday, Jun 14, 2008 at 00:34
"Anne and Viv and Deanne - have you noticed we are the only women who were able to get the Mouse and have a read and write on this subject "

Hi again Ruth, now that you have mentioned it I have noticed, I don't think Bevan would be game to try and stop me from having "my daily fix" of EO ha ha ha.

Cheers

Deannna


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Follow Up By: Member - Ruth D (QLD) - Saturday, Jun 14, 2008 at 12:09

Saturday, Jun 14, 2008 at 12:09
Sorry, D, I forgot the 'a'!
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Follow Up By: Member - Dunworkin (WA) - Saturday, Jun 14, 2008 at 12:27

Saturday, Jun 14, 2008 at 12:27
No problems Ruth, I don't have any hangups with the spelling of my name, I would be in a straight jacket by now if I did....... LOL

Cheers

Deanna


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