What an action packed couple of days!!! We arrived at the Expedition Center yesterday (Friday) at about 8:30am and loaded up the remaining odds and ends, swapped the gas struts on the roof, fitted the curtains etc etc. From there the next stop was to pick up the Sat phone. Some minor issues with that regarding payment, in that they usually deal with mining company accounts so didn't want to deal with cash or credit card. We ended up leaving them to figure it out amongst them selves for a few hours while we went and stocked up the truck at the supermarket.
I think it took Sarah the best part of 2 hours in the Super Market to get everything required to stock the vehicle up from scratch!! By this stage the day was rapidly disappearing and I had wanted to get 250km away from Sydney to Mungo Brush. We slapped the shopping in the back, the meat and in the fridge and hit the road, the idea being once we got to camp we could then figure out where it all needed to go at our leisure.
The highway out of Sydney was horrendous. The traffic was fine, the actual road was rough as guts! It was concrete, with patches on top of patches, mixed with the odd piece of asphalt just for good measure.
Daniel from Mulgo had said he thought the spigot bush on the fly wheel was worn as he thought he heard it rattling when he was moving it round at his work shop. Didn't make sense to me as I replaced everything only 1500ks ago. Sure enough, I found the noise. It was the bling alloy gear knob and it was loose, and even after a tweak back up tight, it soon came loose again. It sure made a racket when it started to come loose!!!!
The other strange one, is i thought the steering felt vague, well more vague than usual anyway. There seemed to be slightly more play in the steering, as if the steering box needed adjusting.
We arrived at the camp site called Banksia Green, which was a little sheltered camp site nestled behind the sand dunes of a big long white sand beach with clear blue water. Of course by the time we arrived it had been dark for two hours already and we still had all the shopping to put away.... Alex and I played catch in the dark with our head torches on, using a ball that lit up when you bounced it. It was pretty late by the time the two of us were allowed back inside, but Sarah did a good job of sorting it all out. Little did we know we had an audience, it wasn't untill a few minutes after we had turned all our lights out that the Dingos came prowling for a closer inspection. They slipped through the campsite like shadows in the moon light.
This morning (Saturday) we awoke to bright clear sunny skies with some good heat in the sun. After breakfast and a bit more sorting out of gear, we ventured over the dunes to the beach to be greeted by Dolphins playing in the breakers. I was surprised at how warm the water was, so naturally I had to go in for a swim! It wasn't long before Sarah and Alex joined me :)
I was busy doing my morning checks on Betsie whilst trying to figure out what was going on with the loose gear knob. Such a strange thing to happen out of the blue, and it just kept coming loose within a few k's of tightening it. Why had it never happened before??? Even stranger was that the point that it went tight was now further round than usual meaning the shift pattern was shown off center. So strange. I came up with a few ideas to remedy it, and ranked them in order of desperation, should the first idea fail. Thread tape, then lock tight, then epoxy, then drill a hole in it and fit a self tapping screw to lock it. Worst case I throw it in the bin and fit one from Repco in Brisbane. Actually, that might slot in right after the thread tape idea.
I hit it with thread tape, and crossed my fingers. Next I examined the steering. Nothing was amiss underneath, so it traced my way back up through the linkages to the steering wheel. Something was loose, but the big nut in the middle (haha) was tight. Hmmm. Turned out there are four small bolts that hold the center of the steering wheel boss to the outer of the steering wheel boss and they had worked loose. How?? Why??
All I can think is that during shipping it's been subject to a constant vibration for days on end and it's been at just the right frequency to upset the gear knob and those bolts. Otherwise, who knows, everything else looks fine!!!!!
We only got as far as Smoky Cape this afternoon, but in doing so we had a look at the light house, and found a camp site early. Alex saw his first kookaburra and his first Hoppers, which was fun to see. He's been hopping around since.
We had just sat down to eat ( potato bake in the camp oven and sausages ) when we saw the first flash of lightening followed by a clap of thunder and the rain started. I had been watching the sky change for the last few hours, so we were ready for it!!!
So right now we are all tucked up inside, Alex and Sarah are watching a movie and I'm tapping away on my iPad. Cosy :)