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Tales of the travels, trials and triumphs as we explore Australia in a converted bus
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Motorhome Travels - July 2010

03/07/2010

7 Years of living the motorhome lifestyle! Yep, the beginning of this month marks the end of our 7th year of travelling. Of course we lifted a glass and toasted the good life! Here is to year 8 (and whatever it brings)!

We have also changed the planned route. As you know, we originally planned to take the Tanami Track back to northern WA. Due to some issues with medical appointments back in Perth and the current reports the state of the Tanami Track we have decided not to travel that route. We will go back the same way we got here - across the Great Central Road. The decision not to use the Tanami left us with three possible options -

  1. North and across the top (but this would have meant a very quick(for us) trip
  2. South and back to WA via the Nullarbor (done that heaps of times - also a long way around)
  3. Back across the GCR - we liked it out there, known quality of road - shorter than the other options.

The West Mac's from up high, NT - [Click for a Larger Image]
The West Mac's from up high, NT

There has been quite a lot of rain along the West McDonnell rangers - we have completely filled our water tanks in the last three days. It was so nice to be warm and comfortable inside the bus when it was so cold and wet outside (Yippy for the diesel heater).

The forecast said that we would get two days of fine weather, followed by more rain. With this in mind we decided that we should make a break for it yesterday and see what the road from the West Mac's to the Tanami was like. After travelling on it for two days - I can report that it was a very good decision to get that behind us before any more rain fell on it. Much of the road was very close to impassable and we had to dig the bus out of a mud hole yesterday. By the time another few days of rain falls, nobody will be travelling this road for a while.

We are planning on being back in Alice Springs about the middle of the week. We will pick up and fit a part to the Moke before heading south towards the Great Central Road.

 

15/07/2010

In this update I will describe the day the bus fell off the jack - but before I get into that drama...

We picked up the part we needed for the Moke from the post office in Alice Springs (a ball joint for the front suspension) and had it fitted in no time. The bad news part of that story is that it has not resolved the issue - I think we will need to replace the CV joint too. That can wait until we get to Perth.

The cloud cover on the West Mac's, NT - [Click for a Larger Image]
The cloud cover on the West Mac's,
NT

The weather was really interesting as we made our way south to Yulara - rain in central Australia is a sight to see. Within a few days, all sorts of wild flowers appear and the countryside is suddenly transformed. We were not looking forward to the road from the Olgas to Docker River - it was in very bad condition when we were on it a few weeks ago. We were very excited when we saw the "Grader Working" sign when we left the sealed road. The joy was fairly short lived, we were just a few days early. The graders had only worked on about 100km of the road and as a result it suddenly returned to the uncomfortable mess that we were expecting. Fortunately, we know that this will greatly improve once we cross the state border into WA.

We stopped at a nice little camp area near the Aboriginal community of Docker River. This has been a honesty payment camp in the past - but has been declared free by the rangers due to the poor state of repair of the facilities (not a problem for us - we don't need any facilities!).

The corrugated road to Docker River ensured the return of the "air in the brakes" issue and I was determined to get to the bottom of it. With a few ideas in mind I jacked up the bus and removed the wheel from where I sure the air was entering (wheel cylinder). Before I start telling you about the solution, here is a recap of the problem ... after about 20 - 30km of corrugated or rough road, we find ourselves with almost zero braking. I have found that this is caused by air entering into the hydraulic system and after some detective work I have determined that this is coming in via the front left wheel cylinder.