Carnegie Expedition 2013 - Day 15 Dealing with the attrition of outback travel (The "Chores")

Wednesday, Aug 07, 2013 at 19:00


7th August, 2013 - Wilson Glen, The Stansmore Range WA

Another camp day today with a warning to the reader. A rest day or “chore day” can be as exciting as watching paint dry. For those undertaking the tasks, it usually means barked knuckles, unholy cursing, moments of consternation and contemplation (as you try to nut out a remedy or wonder "how in the hell did I manage to do that!"), getting filthy and reeking of diesel by days end. At the risk of your eyes glazing over, it does provide an idea of the maintenance and checklist that the remote traveller needs to undertake on a regular basis. The major bright spot in the day is the later start to the morning.

Early in the day Alan Mac spent a bit of time tapping away at a piece of aluminium, a plaque to leave as a reminder of Carnegie and the expedition to retrace his route. Everyone had little bits and pieces to take care of. The Dingo and I did a stocktake of the food drawers and replenished them from supplies in the storage boxes. I spent a fair bit of time underneath the car. Swapping out the utes air filter and blowing the dust out of everything. I also secured the tyre sensor and straightened bent fins on the fuel cooler and other general maintenance type things making sure everything was OK; suspension, drop arms, bushes, shocks, breathers, fuel lines, cabling, pumps, solenoids etc. It is amazing just how busy you can actually be on a “rest day”.

I should mention the climatic conditions today. While it was only 31-32 degrees, the difference between the shade and the sun was enormous. The radiance of the sun in these climes is lethal! It has a real knock down factor. You need to aware of the dangers the heat and sun pose so naturally it was slip, slop slap, a long sleeved shirt (regardless of the heat) and a hat. The exertions of the past weeks were starting to catch up and I found myself having an unintended snooze under the car today. Hey, it was sheltered from the sun, there was a cool breeze blowing under there and best of all, no bloody flies!

The two Alans ('Equinox' and 'The Dingo') went for another hike into the glen, exploring one of the other tributaries the feeds the Glen Creek. It gave them a chance to move into valleys to the north, climb to higher ground and get some differing viewpoints of the surrounding country. On their return, Alan Mac headed out into the northern country on his quad.

I made a loaf of bread which ended in tragedy when the 1500W inverter in the vehicle blew. I’d heard an audible alarm sound and went to investigate finding a cloud of acrid smoke billowing from the front pod. Thankfully, once isolated, the inverter shut down. Fortuitously, John had his generator going topping up Pete’s batteries so I was able to finish the loaf off by plugging the bread maker into that.

We fuelled the quad and I attended to a puncture and noticed that there was a lot of fuel splashed around the rear of the quad and the fuel tank. When I got it cleaned out, we could see it was a bigger issue than just the overflow pipe as first thought. It appears that the fuel pickup and sender unit (a screw in unit with a graduated circlip type arrangement) and the retaining clip were loose. Once the tank was full, the sender was lower than the highest regions of the tank so fuel would bubble up and out until it got below this level.

John and I worked several solutions and managed to tighten it by hand but the retaining clip was ineffective. Identifying just what has happened will require further investigation once I can strip the machine down. No solution was effective so a two pronged bush remedy of stuffing rags in around the sender unit and not overfilling was adopted. This will keep as much dust out as possible and I’ll have to remember not to fully fill the tank each time....painful when every litre you can squeeze in is crucial!

It was also apparent that I’d almost worn entirely through the leading edge of the rear boot guards. These were a fibreglass box shaped guard we had constructed and attached to the main suspension struts. Their sole purpose is to protect the Rubber CV boots at either end of the axles. With the deg worn they were in real danger of breaking in half. The onlt real solution is to fit a tin protection plate similar to the front ones. As this was not something we could fabricate out here, we cut up an old five litre oil container and a shaped the plastic by immersing it in boiling water. Then, using a plastiweld epoxy, I fixed the plates to the guards and wrapped the lot in gaffer tape to hold it all in place while it cured. I’m sure that the gaffer tape won’t survive its first encounter with the spinifex but hopefully the plastic will.

By the time I’d completed all this the sun was setting fast. I raced down to the creek and washed the dust off and suitably refreshed took care of a few other bits and bobs like charging camera batteries, and whipping up a mango chicken curry with a raita for dinner.

You can wake up now!
''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903
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