Thursday 31 March 2016

3 Corners & a Double Simpson Desert Crossing - Day 9

Day 9 - 31/3/2016 - Camp 4 to the Birdsville Pub

This morning was the coolest morning of the trip.  It was about 8degC when we all surfaced for breakfast.  The aim was to make it through to Birdsville that night but we still had a lot of sand dunes to cover to get there.  Because I was still sick and drained of energy from not having eaten anything for 3 days, I wasn’t really in the right frame of mind for early morning photos, so no camp photo today.

We cruised through Poeppel corner again.  We didn’t bother stopping again.

Then not too far up the track all of a sudden I heard a loud grinding coming from the front of the vehicle and my heart just sank, as it sounded bad.  After I stopped the noise was still there but just not as loud and on inspection found it was coming from under the bonnet.  We found that some plastic clips on the shroud around the radiator fan had worn through and the clips had basically given away and the top half of the shroud was was getting chewed by the radiator fan.  Luckily it hadn’t damaged the fan or the radiator.  Pulling off the plastic shroud fixed it.  I just had to keep an eye on the engine temps because without the shroud it might not be as efficient in cooling. 

Taken at home after the trip
The country was certainly looking a lot drier compared to a few days before.

Along the way we also passed another group of vehicles, both pulling vans.

The descent side of the dunes were noticeably a bit rougher on the dunes where the vans had been pulled up.  You could see why they discourage vans being dragged into the desert due to the track damage that they can cause.

Late afternoon we finally we reached a familiar site - Big Red!

I swear there was no traction control lights going off on the dash! (Selwyn's photo)

The group photo at the end
It was then time for the kids to have some fun.

And the not so little kids :-)

Selwyn did one last run down and up Big Red again.  Here is a bit of a dodgy video of it. (Again, go to the web site if you are getting this via email and want to watch it)

After butting some air back in the tyres to bring them up to dirt road pressures, it was then on to the Birdsville pub for the night.  I was so looking forward to the first shower in 5 days, not having to dig holes on demand and hopefully I might be able to stomach some food and a beer!

My first port of call was to check into the pub.  I wanted to make sure I was able to get a room hell or high water and I really didn’t care about the cost.  Luckily they had plenty of rooms available.  From there it was off to the roadhouse to fill up with diesel, grab a new 9 pack of toilet rolls (I was down to my last one and lucky I took an 8 pack!) and some Imodium!  I certainly know now what needs to be added tot the first aid kit!

After the restock it was off to the wash down bay that Selwyn had managed to find to remove all of the mud and salt.  Selwyn mentioned that it was particularly important to get all of the mud out of the rims because the weight of the mud can effect the wheel alignment and balance which will be more noticeable on the higher speed roads.

Unfortunately for Snowy he was the last to go through the wash down and it ended up turning into a bit of a comedy of errors.  To start off with halfway through Snowy washing his vehicle down the nozzle popped off the hose, never to be found again.  The nozzle was what was giving it the pressure spray to blast the mud off.  So it took longer to try and get the mud off than it should have.  Even though we tried to hose all of our mud off the concrete slab, we mustn’t have got it all (I swear we did), and then combined with Snowys mud there was pretty much a mountain of it.  Because the nozzle was gone and there wasn’t enough pressure to blast the mud off the slab, poor old Snowy ended up scraping it off with a shovel, in the dark, soaking wet and getting cold.  We ended up having to ring him up to see what he wanted for dinner at the pub so that we could get the order in before they stopped serving for the night.  I think we owe Snowy a couple after that.

A motel never look so good!

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