Bang goes our old gal...

Trip Start May 31, 2005
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Trip End Aug 31, 2007


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Where I stayed
Shady Glen Campground

Flag of Australia  ,
Wednesday, May 31, 2006

22nd
It absolutely, unexpectedly, hummed it down last night. The tent simply couldn't stand it and we got dripped on for most of the night. We couldn't be assed to sort it out, so we just covered ourselves in towels and put up with it. Packing away a slightly damp tent that morning, we decided to go back into town and stay there again.
We checked into Chillis's backpackers and went out for some drinks with hayley and Seb.
Mike's mum called to see what size England shirts Mike and Tom wanted to be sent over - when Mike said the size for Tom, Sandy said that Tom didn't want one anymore - Mike was a bit confused. We guessed that Tom had something to tell us and when we met up with him, he said he was gonna go home soon - in time for the world cup. It was kinda weird thinking that it would only be the 2 of us from here on, but we expected Tom to go home soon anyway, what with a new niece and of course being in his home country for the footy!
So, we put up a poster offering a lift to one or two people down the coast so that we could save money on petrol costs.
Met up with Lauz in Shennanigans. As soon as she walked in, Hayley and Seb recognized her. They had met on a campsite in mount Isa a week ago. Lauz also worked at Sunnyside in newquay for 3 months and knew people that Seb knew. Freaky!! She's from Liverpool, her family live in Swindon and she went to Uni in Cardiff. Lauz is far from being a freaky weirdo, so we agreed that she would come with us all the way to perth and maybe along the south coast back to Sydney. Then we met with Melvin who was about 7ft tall. Again, really nice kiddy so he's coming to Kununurra too. Sorted!
Went out for a meal with Sissy and Phil.

23rd
Tom woke up looking rather pissed off this morning. Turns out the girl sharing our dorm room who was sleeping on the bed under tom's, had bought a man friend home last night and they got rather friendly, with Tom on top bunk!! He wasn't best pleased!! Mike and I were flat out and didn't hear a thing. Poor Tom.
Spent the day at the Shady Glen campsite in their pool and got in big trouble for it cos we weren't staying there no more. Mike and Tom went fishing with Ginder and Phil but didn't catch anything, just a few beers and some sunburn.
Leaving tomorrow for Kununurra. Have to say bye to Thomas tonight. Going to the Fox and Fiddle for bingo. What a send off!!!

29th
What a shitty few days we've had.
Said cheerio to Tom Tuesday night (23rd). Was quite sad, but he'll probably be back out to see us in New Zealand. Felt weird straight away with only the 2 of us going back to the room.
On Wednesday, we picked up Lauz and Melvin at 7am and headed south to Catherine and then west to Kununurra. We drove pretty much all day and it was bloody hot. Come late afternoon, we could hear some hissing coming from the engine, so we pulled over to see what was going on. Lifted the seats (to get to the mid mounted engine) to find the engine steaming hot. We could see that the fan belt had come off, but nothing else. We waited an hour for the old girl to cool down and topped her up with coolant. Then started off again. We got about 3km, if that, when she started hissing again and the temperature gauge shot straight up. At this point, we're 100km out of Kununurra. We let her cool down again and this time noticed that the rod holding the actual fan up had snapped, so the fan was hanging off. We flagged down a passer by to ask if they had telephones at the West Australia border. He just happened to be a dab hand at mechanics and told us our water pump had collapsed and not to drive it any further incase we warped the head gasket. So, we made a 'TOW?' sign and the first 4wd to come along towed us all the way to the border which was 30km. This old man with 2 fluffy white dogs. He even went out of his way to take us there. We couldn't thank him enough and then had to decide what to do from the border. Mike called some garages in town to ask about a tow/low loader. It would cost quite a bit of money, but we didn't really have much choice. An hour later a low loader turned up and the old girl was winched onto the back. The four of us climbed into the cab and watched the sun set as we drove into town. What must Lauz and Melvin be thinking?? All I was thinking about was how much the bloody car was gonna cost us this time. The truck driver dropped Melvin off at his backpackers. He gave us $50 ($20 more than what the petrol cost - what a lovely chap) and we went and checked into a campsite. The truck then dropped the van off at their garage. We set up our 6 man tent in the dark. It was warm enough to only have the inner up. We then remembered that we only had our inflatable double bed. So there's the 3 of us in sleeping bags, laying on the double bed, looking rather too cosy. It was quite hilarious. Lauz must've been thinking how mad we were. First the bloody van breaks down on the first leg of the journey, then she has to share a bed with 2 complete strangers. What a cock up.

Thursday
Went and checked out the car at the garage. The water pump would take a few days to get in as it had to be flown in from perth, but they would fix it as soon as they could.
We went to an employment agency to see if there was any work around as we planned to stay here to do some more glorious fruit picking. It was still a little too wet and the farms were still boggy, so it would be a few weeks at least until any work started.
Met Carla and mark from the UK. Mark had a fascination with mines and spent all night discussing the mining industry with us. It was far too exciting.

Friday
Carla and mark let us do a bit of sight seeing with them today. We went to a mango and banana plantation- like we haven't seen one of those before. Drank banana smoothies in a very tranquil setting next to a pond under the trees. Then went to a rum distillery - even better, cos I absolutely love alcohol!!!
The garage called to say that the part had arrived already and they would fix it this afternoon. Excellent. We can get out of this hell hole tomorrow.

Saturday
Went to collect the car yesterday afternoon only to find that when they tried to start it, it wouldn't go. They did some more checks, only to find that there was water in with the oil. Bloody idiots - why didn't they check this before they repaired the water pump? I think we just got ripped off. Turns out that the head was either warped or cracked. Basically the car was fooked and we would have to get a new engine as they had no skimming facility to skim the head. Bollox. Bollox. Bollox.
We had absolutely no idea what to do. We called Tom and hayley and told them. Obviously Tom wasn't gonna fork out for new car parts as he was leaving. Hayley now had a new van and don't think she wanted to pay out a load of cash either. We said we would think about it and let them know.
I called mum in tears, seeking advice. Good ole mum. Always knows what to say to make me feel better. We realised that the car had gotten us pretty far and had done us well. But we we were not about to pay out $2000 for a new engine. Simple as that. So we decided to try and get rid of it as it was. We put up posters advertising the van. Another poster asking for a ride to Broome and another poster to try and flog some of our camping gear, including the 6 man tent and Mike's never used rubber dingy (yes Tom, he sold the boat!!!!). We never thought in a million years that things would go the way they did.
We were so depressed today, that we booked to go on a scenic flight over the 'Bungle Bungle's' and then go on a BBQ boat down the Ord river for tomorrow.
Went into town for a drink, only to be confronted by about 50 aboriginals, hanging out on the lawn in the middle of town, fighting with each other. Kununurra is such a lovely town to be stuck in.

Sunday
Went on our scenic flight today. It was definitely the best way to see the Bungle Bungles and the Argyle Diamond Mine, as well as Lake Argyle and the river dams. Did feel quite sick though on the tiny aircraft, especially when we hit some nasty turbulence and it felt the plane would snap in half.
Then this evening, went on the BBQ boat. Lauz and me bought a cheap nasty box of wine to drown our sorrows and got slightly hammered. The boat trip was brilliant, probably cos I was bolloxed. The food was soooo good. Loads of different meats and salads and as much as you could eat. Yum. I had definitely cheered up.
As we were getting off the boat, we had a phonecall. It was a lady called Helen. Her and her husband were heading to Broome tomorrow morning, leaving at 9 and they had loads of room as they were towing an airplane behind an F250 truck, so they had space in the truck and space in the cabin of the plane. They offered us a lift to Broome. We would have loads of room, it would be a comfy ride and we would have air con. It was too good to be true. Without thinking of the predicament we were in - having a bust car and shit loads of luggage - Lauz accepted the lift and said we would be ready at 9 the following morning. She was 'avin a laf!!

29th - Monday
Awoke at the crack of dawn to try and sort everything out by 9am. We knew it was gonna be a push and predicted that Lauz would have to go with them to Broome on her own whilst we stayed to get rid of the car somehow. However, at 630am, we had a call from a chap, claiming he was 'very, very interested' in the van. We arranged for him to come and meet us right away. Mike met him and they walked around to the garage so the old chap could look at the old girl. Lauz and I packed up everything and took down the tent. Then half hour later, a guy calls up and wants to buy the tent and some camping gear. He comes by in his car, Lauz jumps in and takes him around to the van at the garage and he buys the big 6 man tent, Mike's rubber dingy - that he never used and a few other bits. Things were going like clockwork. Then Mike comes back and the old chap has got his mate towing the van behind his truck. He was going to take it off our hands. He also gave us $300 for it - we were gonna let him have it for free just so we could get rid of it. The chap and our old girl were just pulling away when Helen and her husband turned up with a look of sheer horror on their faces when they saw all of our bags sprawled across the lawn. We said hello's and introduced ourselves - they were a really nice couple - from near Perth, in their 60's and did lots of volunteer work. We managed to cram the bags into the truck and then went to pick up the airplane. It was an old aircraft, in pieces, on a trailer that they were taking to Broome for their friend who runs an aviation school. It was interesting to say the least.
So off we started on our journey to Broome. We had totally lucked out. We sat in disbelief at how lucky we had been. The whole morning had been like a scene out of a Benny Hill sketch. We were all running around between 6 and 9am, but in the end it all worked out fantastically. We were glad to see the back of Kununurra.
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