This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

2000 Travels August 17

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THURSDAY 17 AUGUST   OLD HALLS CREEK TO FITZROY CROSSING   318kms

We managed to depart camp before 9am.

Drove back into Halls Creek, where we refuelled, for $1.13cpl.

Then turned west again on the highway.

The scenery was less spectacular between Halls Creek and Fitzroy Crossing, but there was still enough variety to be interesting.

In these days of easy travel through the Kimberley, one forgets that the highway was only sealed, between Fitzroy Crossing and Halls Creek, in 1986. That was only seven years before we came up this way in 1993. The last frontier….

About an hour out of Halls Creek, we began to notice a strange noise coming from the area of the back left wheel, like a stone caught somewhere in there. It would go away for a while, then come back. John tried stopping and reversing, as one does to try to get rid of a stone, and that seemed to stop it for a while. We stopped several times to check it.

When I looked out my side as we were going along, I thought the wheel might have been wobbling a little, but I wasn’t sure. John was becoming increasingly terse, so I didn’t pursue that line.

We stopped for morning tea at an area of really spectacular cliffs and jump up hills. There were some dramatic hills in the distance too.

The need to get to Karratha was curtailing our ability to slow down and explore some of these interesting parts, but there was always next year.

The noise became worse after we started up again. John wondered if we had a broken axle, but I remembered that, when we broke the axle on the Hilux, in 1993, it didn’t move at all.

He slowed right down and we crawled along. I pointed out the wobbly wheel, which was much worse by now, and John agreed that it really was going from side to side!

The last 100 or so kms to Fitzroy Crossing took us ages, and seemed a really long way.

We talked about possible scenarios. It seemed most unlikely that repairs could be done in Fitzroy Crossing, given what we remembered of the place, from ’93. A tow truck trip to Broome for Truck seemed probable – and I resigned myself to an extended stay at Fitzroy Crossing, with van and no vehicle.

We reached the Fitzroy Crossing Lodge, with its very pleasant campground, and went into the motel reception to book in. The site cost $20.90. John explained our predicament and asked whether – if we had to stay longer here – their weekly rate could be retrospective. The lady was not helpful, and said weekly rates had to be paid up front. We were not prepared to do that until we knew what might happen. That is twice we have stayed here, now, and both times we have felt that the campground patrons are not a staff priority, but the second class citizens.

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At Fitzroy Crossing – we look normal enough, but……

John phoned Landrover Assist and they said to leave it to them to find a solution. Shortly after, while we were setting up camp, a tow truck driver called John. He said he would come from Broome and take Truck and van back there.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that he would take the van too. I really was not looking forward to a solo stay at Fitzroy Crossing.

John said the driver sounded pleased to have the job – a nice long one. He was very obliging – would drive out to here, camp overnight, and hitch us up early in the morning.

I did not envy him a night time drive with the wildlife that is around at night. Guess he got paid extra for being out overnight, though.

We were very impressed with the service from Landrover Assist – one phone call on our part, and all was organized for us. We do not even have to pay for the tow.

Tea was a packet macaroni cheese.

After tea, I walked down to the Fitzroy River which borders the very extensive grounds. It had quite a lot of water in. But it was still hard to envisage the floods that regularly inundate the camp ground where we are.

The sunset was brilliant.

It was a good night to be early to bed! So much tension today. What ever time that repairs take is going to eat into our time available for looking around this northern part of WA. Damn!

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