Hopless situations you have been in & help a long way away!

Submitted: Saturday, May 23, 2009 at 12:37
ThreadID: 69094 Views:3455 Replies:2 FollowUps:4
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I was Reading Thread 69033 and it reminded me of the following sticky situation.

The work car was a stock standard Toyota Hilux with a roo & tow bar and the only gear I carried was a tow rope, Crow Bar, shovel, food and a swag. Over the years I wonder how I got away with it as it was always one chance at an obstacle. Then one day I did not - I was up the Cape just after the wet doing Flood damage claims for the Cook Shire, long days of driving damaged roads and recording the damage. It was getting to the end of my last day after 4 days of solid driving. This day I had just done all the roads from Bramwell up to the Jardine River Ferry. I had come back through the Telegraph track which was very washed out and I now sat at the Batavia Downs to Sudley Rd. It was late arvo and I just had enough time before it got too dark to drive & record damage on this 40k of road. I was worried about Arthur & Cox creeks as there was still a lot of water about.

I arrived at Arthur Creek to see it running just over waist deep, but the worry was a build up on silt on the far side. I have put the following down to being too tired, but this is where I made the mistake - it is the only crossing I had not walked that day and it was the one I needed to.

I plunged into the drink in low second and gave it the juice, I needed momentum when I hit the other side. Crunch time came and I plowed into the silt wall on the other side, the car now going agonizing slow and then the inevitable, it stopped a full car length belly deep on the silt and still two car lengths to go. Without hesitation I threw that car into reverse and hit the gas, and it started clawing back to the safety of the creek. Then for some funny reason the car stopped, the rear wheels had got back into the creek the front were not far - Why no more go?

Then the fun began - waste deep water at rear wheels knee deep in the silt, so start the excavation with shovel. It is now turning dark and I have done all the prep work. The rear wheels were on a rocky bottom and fine - the front now dug rocks and branches plugged around and under the wheels - only one chance for this - so into reverse and hit it - NOTHING! Just stayed put. So in a last ditch effort I jumped out while it was in 4 low, in reverse and the motor still running in gear. I got my crowbar under the front of the roo bar and with all my might tried to dislodge that sucker - Nothing - All over now quite dark and I was spent.

It was now that I had to use my only safety backup devices - the HF Radio would not work as I was down in the creek in a bad transmit area. It all came down to the Satellite telephone. After walking up and down the road 1/2 k this way - 1/2 k that way I finally got through to a Work Boss. He phoned around to see if there was anyone around at the stations that had come back after the wet. I got lucky and there was someone at Batavia, a husband and wife that came out at 10pm - Still got to thank them a million times over!

As the car was a fair way away from the bank, we had to do a bit of improvising to get enough length on the ropes to tow, but in the end we got it all hooked up to go. The tow started and blow me down I still did not move much and we were both giving it all. Get out scratch the head & don't know! Hop back in and the instructions this time, lets go for the run up and hit the governors! Finally with a loud bang & ripping metallic noise out comes the Hilux.

Then we see what had been the cause of the problem, on the other side still stuck in the silt is the Bash Plate - During the day the rear bolts had sheared off and had left the plate hanging down slightly at the rear - when I had reversed out of the silt, I had made my own very efficient plow anchor!

This is also when the Batavia Downs Couple told me, "no way they would go near the water as there was a large croc in the area" I had been in that water for hours digging away etc and well after dark. (Not my time to go) :-)

The worst thing they told me was - wait for this - (I should not say this as I still can not get over it) Oh Dear - They asked me, "Why did you not use the upstream bypass"? If I had got out and walked this XXXX crossing I would have realised the silt was too much and then I would have seen the track that was up river about 30 m under a bid shady tree that was quite passable!

That is the last time that I had a car without a winch of some sort and it is the last time I did not walk a crossing that looks dubious!

Cheers Tony

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Reply By: Member - Footloose - Saturday, May 23, 2009 at 12:46

Saturday, May 23, 2009 at 12:46
Tony, I've been in that area and think I remember that creek It's scary enough on nightfall, and reading that story I now know why ! Shivers up and down the old spine LOL
Thanks for sharing ....
AnswerID: 366327

Follow Up By: Member - Tony & Julie (FNQ) - Saturday, May 23, 2009 at 12:54

Saturday, May 23, 2009 at 12:54
Footloose My pleasure, well disaster - The things we do :-) At least we can now give advice on how not to do it! Cheers Tony
FollowupID: 634044

Follow Up By: Member - Footloose - Saturday, May 23, 2009 at 12:59

Saturday, May 23, 2009 at 12:59
Have used that shortcut a few times. I've heard that BD now belongs to the indiginous people ?
Anyway, there are some really nice people up that way. Characters, saints and villans LOL
Some things are best left out of the stories LOL
FollowupID: 634047

Follow Up By: Member - Tony & Julie (FNQ) - Saturday, May 23, 2009 at 13:05

Saturday, May 23, 2009 at 13:05
Footloose - You have a picture on your Profile showing the washout on the road in the dunes! The Batavia - Sudley Rd was like that for quite a few ks on that trip, a lot of car eating longitudinal washouts photos were at night time though :-).

Do not worry, I left some details out :-).
FollowupID: 634049

Reply By: Member - DAZA (QLD) - Saturday, May 23, 2009 at 12:50

Saturday, May 23, 2009 at 12:50
G/Day Tony

You would probably know a bloke up there who does similar work for the Main Roads, his name is Guss, I wont say what his Surname is for his privacy, he's now based at Thursday Island.

AnswerID: 366328

Follow Up By: Member - Tony & Julie (FNQ) - Saturday, May 23, 2009 at 12:59

Saturday, May 23, 2009 at 12:59
Daza - You get to meet a lot of people - our paths may have crossed, he may have worked for Main Roads though (Have a vague memory of the name). Main Roads do the maintenance of the PDR, the Cook Shire does maintenance on all the roads Off the PDR.

It was a hard life doing all that driving - but someone had to do it! Glad it was me :-). Cheers Tony
FollowupID: 634046

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