Saturday, February 21, 2004

Trip after the rains

Thursday came, and the big news was that the main roads department had seen fit to open the road to Hedland, got me car already, checked everything that needed checking, fueled up and set off down the road, it was a little rough in places, but pretty good on the whole. I got about twenty kilometres from the main road, through the hills and a fair way across the plain and then came across a creek where it had washed the road away, no worries I thought, I am a rough, tough, hairy arsed miner, I have lived in the bush for years, I have driven in all kinds of conditions, no problem for a man of my abilities, you know what I mean, you weigh up the options, pick what you think is the right one, and act.

I sussed out the state of the road and decided to try going through the creek on the left hand side. I should mention here that what had happened was the creek had washed away a couple of feet of the main surface, right across the road and had exposed a couple of PVC pipes that had been laid in an attempt to let the water under the road, there was about a three foot deep trench, and I didn't want to run over the pipes and break them, the rocks on the down side of the river looked pretty firm and I could see a way out, so in I went, got a few feet in and the bloody car went down like a pole axed bullock, no worries I thought, I got out and put the hubs in, got back in and stuck her in four wheel drive, I managed to get a few more feet in and was buried even further, I know I thought, I will put it in low 4, and that will pull it through. Do you think I could get the bugger in, not a hope.

Well here I am, stuck in a creek up to my axles, no chance of anyone coming along to pull me out, but I have the mighty sat phone with me, I called up the boss, told him what I had done, he of course asked me if I had done this, that and everything, did you pull the joey stick up?, I tried said I, but decided I would give it another try, and call him back if I couldn't get it in low 4. I went back in the car, got both hands on the stick and pulled my heart out, finally she came up and slipped into low4, I then put her in first and gave it heaps slowly, she climbed out of the bog like a rat up a drain pipe and I was back on terra firma once more. I quickly called the office, told them I had managed to get it into the right gear eventually, after doing a two handed grip with multi grunts and strains, and kicked a few rocks out of the way and managed to get the bugger out.

Twenty Kilometres down the road I came to the black top, turned left and after a couple of kilometres came to the swollen Shaw river, the river was running about four hundred mls above the concrete culvert and running pretty fast, I plunged in and started across, making sure I had locked the hubs and put her in high4, she was trying to push me down stream, but I managed to get her across alright, and climbed up the other side with a certain relief, took the wagon out of high4, unlocked the hubs and then continued on my way to the bright lights of Hedland.

Nothing of note happened on the stretch to the Taba Taba turn off, but it did shower a wee bit on the stretch down to the airport, I passed the airport and pulled into the road house for a well missed Iced coffee, rang the firm to tell them I had arrived whilst I had a cuppa and a bit of toast, remember I had been out of real bread for over a week, bought a packet of real fags, and set of for the air con bloke's place smoking a tailor made fag and swigging iced coffee. Turned right at the junction and joined the mad rush hour traffic past the salt works and over the red something bridge, this was a bit dodgy after a couple of weeks of not driving in traffic to be suddenly zooming along with other vehicles, specially with them bloody great salt trucks pulling along three ginormous trailers.

I got to the air con blokes place and he wasn't there, they said he would be back shortly, and this fitter bloke there was giving my ears a bashing, telling me just about his life story and asking me if he could work down at Bamboo for a couple of weeks, so I went up to the main part of town and paid my car registration, that was one task out of the way, now I had three major tasks to do, air con, download my camera and do the shopping. I went back to the air con place, he finished the job he was doing, then started on my car, he seemed to take for ever but it was pleasant chatting to him why he did the work. It all seemed finished to me but he said it had to stay under pressure for an hour to test it, he was going to lunch (he said dinner) and did I want to come, well I did because I was feeling a bit peckish.

We went down to the Boulevard and ate at the little cafe place there, I had some beef noodle stuff, and it weren't half bad, very sweet and laced with honey but once I got the taste it was pretty nice, as I was sitting there I saw a camera shop so dived in to see if he could download my camera cards for me, he said he could so I left them there to pick up later when I did my shopping. We went back to the fridgies place and my car was ready, two and a half things done and I had a nice cool car to drive home in. I drove coolly up to the supermarket and spent an hour or so doing my bit of shopping, picked up my pics, now all loaded onto a CD rom , got a couple of things from the chemist and I was away back to Normay, I stopped again at Dickson's for the customary iced coffee, rang the office to tell them I was leaving Hedland and was away back to my camp.

Just a steady drive back down the bitumen, came to the Shaw river a bit apprehensively in case it had risen, but if anything it had fallen, could see a couple of vehicles as I approached the river, but it was a couple of utes with some Aboriginal people in, the kids got out in midstream and had a bit of a frolic and a swim and the vehicles drove off leaving the kids playing. I put her in 2lo, locked the hubs and drove through no worries, took the hubs out, took the 4wd out and drove on a couple of kilometres and back up my drive way. I went steady and had soon reached the washed out bit.

I got out and gave it a good looking and the way I had come through in the morning still looked the best way but I decided to go the other side, checked it out, set the car in the correct gears and straight through, as I was taking the car out of four wheel drive and unlocking the hubs, I noticed a movement and there was a camel, reached for the camera but the batteries were down, quickly grabbed my spare batteries and managed to get a couple of shots of the beast before driving home, Seemed to be a lot of galahs about on that last bit of the journey. I arrived home and after unpacking my groceries I rushed to install the card read and the bloody thing won't work either, must be a conflict in this computer so it will be a couple of weeks before I get to see if me Camel pictures have come out.

Use the link if you want to see a few pictures I have taken.


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