beatit to Mt Surprise day 69

Saturday, Oct 13, 2012 at 21:55

Member - Beatit (QLD)


Our departure from Croydon was painless with so little to pack up this morning we were able to get away nice and quickly. Lis was driving this leg and we were aiming for Georgetown for morning tea about 150K away. It was a pretty good run and the road was a mixture of double lane bitumen and single lane bitumen. It is uncanny but we always met oncoming traffic on the single lane. It is Saturday and shops are shut including the information centre which we have previously found very convenient and much appreciated. We have our cup of tea in the van instead and Ikky has to have a drink and a biscuit as well. He tries to sneak into his cage for a nap but we can’t let him do that.
Our next target is to get to Mt Surprise for lunch and it seemed easy enough but the roads are now starting to climb and we also run into the dreaded road works. We still manage to make it by lunch time and quickly unhook and have lunch before driving out to O’Brien’s Gem Field about 40K away for an afternoon of fossicking. Interestingly the whole town and the road to and including the gem field are within the cattle property of Mt Surprise. A long dirt road out to the camp ground near the gem field to get our fossicking permit and then another couple of K to the fossicking area. The area is known for its aquamarine and smoky quartz and the trick is to dig down to the old river gravel and sieve this for these gems. Not much luck for me today but then again we were only there for a couple of hours – it was hot work to say the least.

We checked into the Bedrock Van Park as we need power to make sure our single battery doesn’t die on us. So far it has worked for a couple of days without too much of a problem. I had to change the settings on the charger and regulator to Flooded to make sure it doesn’t over charge. The fridge can use up to 10 amps and I have been concerned that when we are driving (and not connected) that the battery may not cope but fortunately I’ve noticed at our tea and lunch stops that the van being in full sun most of the time is generating more amps than this and keeping it all on an even keel. The learning for us has been that we’ll keep this spare battery charged in the car when travelling to provide a plan “B” should we have a similar experience as power problems are not a lot of fun.
This experience has been extremely beneficial in our learning about van travel and what might be needed. By not having our fridge for a number of days we were forced to make decisions about our food storage as we rely heavily on the fridge/freezer in the van. 12 volts also power our lights, pumps and TV so we need this to be reliable. I’ll be interested to find out the likely cause for the battery failure and what we’ll need to do to minimise this in the future. In the meantime we will not be able to free camp until we have seen the battery people in Cairns.
A new way of life is emerging.
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