Day 1 – Cobar-Louth-Wanaaring-Tibooburra
What a day! The Rattler limped into Tibooburra just after dark, after travelling 510 kms through the Aussie outback on some of the most punishing tracks she’s ever seen.
We were about 170 clicks in when the exhaust mounts snapped, leaving the muffler swaying off the side of the vehicle! I removed one of the tailgate chains and strapped the muffler to the windscreen support, and we were on the road again in under ten minutes. Before long, the corrugates punished the main front leaf spring, snapping it in half! Now in case you were wondering how often that happens on one of these arduous journeys, I’m here to tell you that this has NEVER happened to me before. Unfortunately there’s no quick fix for a busted leaf spring, not out here anyway.
So we limped away from the verge, hoping to keep it all together until we arrived in Wanaaring. A few more bumps down the road, saw one of the rear shock absorbers trailing on the ground, complete with part of the reinforced chassis which it had been mounted to! Today was just not going my way at all … and this was all before lunch.
I’m not sure how the old girl did it, but we travelled the next hundred kilometres to the lunch stop where Trevor welded the first and second leafs together and got us back on the road, with only 233 kilometres left to go. Luckily the track improved a little, but the vibrations soon snapped the bolts holding the bracket for the strobe light mounted overhead. Trevor came to the rescue once more, when the main power isolating switch shorted out and cut the power.
He bypassed the switch and got us back on the road, as the sun started to disappear into the horizon. We soon discovered that the headlights were dead, and drove the last few kilometres as we hid behind the Fuso with only it’s tail lights illuminating our path. Perhaps we shorted the fuses … we’ll find out in the morning when we take stock of today’s damage and prepare the old girl for the trek up to Birdsville. Will she make it?
If you don’t hear from us tomorrow night, tell the search party we’re out the back of Bourke somewhere. And I’m here to tell you that we really are ‘out the back of Bourke’!
Just look at this beautiful country as the sun disappears on the horizon.