Tuesday, 21 March 2017

38 special

December 8th-12th, 2016

So to finish off 2016, I got away for another 4 days bringing the 2016 nights under canvas to 38. This was to be a test run trip. The Paj, now almost repaired from the carnage on the canning, needed some local testing before hitting the rough again. The last item to go, the front cross member, was booked in for when I returned from this trip.

A late departure from Perth at 1400, had me on the road for a little spot I had spotted some 4 years ago that I reckoned would be a good camp. I wasn't completely sure where I had to go, but if stuck, I had my tracklog from that previous trip to draw on if needed. As it turned out, I found the start of the track easy enough, and then just had to follow my nose.

By 1710, after 240Km's of travel, I had arrived at my planned destination on the Collie River and set up for the night:

A beautiful little spot on the river with plenty of water around:

So after a pleasant, quiet night alone, come the morning, it was time for coffee, pack up and head off to meet Trev and Duffy dog at Gnomesville.

The mist on the water this morning, and the reflections in the mill pond still river, made a remarkable sight:

Stopping off on the way out for some scenery and track shots:

It was here I realised I'd gone bush without my front intercooler bash plate. I had removed it in preparation for the cross member replacement, and didn't think at the time going bush without any protection probably wasn't a good idea. I would have to gingerly sneak through the bush now.

And then I was making my way to Gnomesville, I caught up with Trev at 1040. Whilst marvelling at the sheer amount of gnomes placed here, I grabbed a couple of caches in the near vicinity and set a new trackable off on the start of his adventure:

We then made our way into Donnybrook for some lunch at the bakery and headed off to check out the Grimwade campsite. We had no real plans on where we were to make camp for the night. So out to Wrights Bridge we went. not being overly impressed with the site, we ventured on into Nannup.

I had two spots to recommend. Cambray and one I call Punch and Judy. As it was now 1600, I suggested Cambray, owing to the fact it was the closest and would accept dogs. There is nothing of interest at Cambray, but its a place to camp up for the night.

On arrival, Trev was very uncomfortable with the 1080 signs, and rightly so. That will take a dog out in no time. Whilst 1080 is a hotly debated topic with dog owners, I suggest the benefits to the environment far outweigh any inconveniences created. Foxes and feral cats decimate some of our most endangered mammals in our forests here. The limitations of 1080 baiting is all part of responsible dog ownership. We decide to move on.

My Punch and Judy site is at least 45 minutes away, and with it now being 1615, I suggest we head back down the Balingup Rd for Wrights Bridge. On the way, we checked out a few tracks giving access to the Blackwood River, and Trev stumbled upon a little site we could both squeeze into at 1730.

As it was now getting on, we spent an hour or so playing with Duffy dog in the water and got down to business: beer and dinner at camp :)

We both made the decision not to deploy awnings. There had been no dew the previous night and no reports of rain was forecast. At 0400, I woke up with a wet face - note to self:
1. If you have an awning and don't use it, then it will probably rain.
2. Same deal not having your swag flap done up whilst not under cover

Listening to the drizzle for the next hour or so, we got up when it stopped. Now I have a wet swag - fantastic. Swags are great, they keep you dry. But if wet and you roll them up wet, your bedding will also be wet when you unroll it the next night. This is alright for Trev, he is going home today, I however have another night to go. So I strip the bedding from the swag and plan to dry it out this afternoon.

We hit the road about 0830, making for Balingup, Where Trev heads North and I head South. I have no plan for tonight, just where ever I end up. I veer off down an unknown road that looks "interesting" just out of Balingup. This takes me through some rolling hill farmland. Some Tee junctions, some map reading and some decision making on my part get me into the heart of forest country. At another Tee junction, I study the map and whilst doing so, A fire truck appears on the opposite side of the junction. Expecting them to come over for a chat, they don't. I had to walk over to them.

It was then they started to give me a serve : mate, you shouldn't be in here, the roads are closed. To which I reply, well great, how about you put up a closed road sign in the direction I have just come from then. Apparently, there had been a large bush fire through the area during the week and they were mopping up. Once he was made aware that my father in law is a member of East Nannup bush fire brigade, his tone subdued a little. I told him I would make my way direct to the Brockman Highway, as I didn't want to be on any closed roads. At the junction with the Brockman, I found a little sign. Pity the same wasn't present at the other end:

I am now in familiar country. I make my way for Donnelly River Mill and then take forestry tracks for Graphite Road. So I have decided, I will make my last night somewhere here in the Manjimup area. I start taking various tracks looking for river access points. I spot a place where the Bibbulmun crosses and head down a rather long, steep hill. Its a nice little spot here and with some open ground suitable for a camp. However, its a bit windy and its under the canopy of some very large trees - widow makers - so I decide to push on for somewhere more suitable.

I find a site in Wiki Camps "Chapman Bridge" and decide to had for it. It also is on the Bibbulmun. Who knows: it may be full of Swedish backpackers. So that's it, destination decided. Knowing my luck though, all the backpackers will be sporting names of Sven and the like :(, not Ingred like I hoped would be the case.

I really should have plugged the co-ords into ozi because I spent ages looking for this place. All I knew was that it was a few Km's to the North of my present location, and multiple back roads didn't seem to take me there. I spent about an hour rooting around before I called it quits. I did spy this old bridge though. "Paling Bridge" or so I believe:

From there I made a dash for Glenoran Pool for a spot of lunch. And I had a chat with a Ranger about this Chapman site. She didn't know it personally, but gave me a lead on how to get there. So I took that lead, followed my nose (and off road maps) and found it eventually around 1500.And wouldn't you know it. It was about a Kilometre up a road I had been on when I was rooting around on the other side. If only I had ventured on......

First job first, get the swag out and dry for tonight whilst I still had some sun:

A nice little place nestled in among tall trees. A running creek, a hikers hut, a few camp tables etc. Perfect. And no sign of Sven :)

The trees are freakin huge:

So a quiet night and a bit on the cool side with some light wind blowing. Perfect for sleeping. A nice 3 night getaway, seeing some places I knew and exploring some others I don't. The trials on the Paj were all successful, building ones confidence for some more tougher work to come.

At 0830 I was on the road for home and by 1330 I was in my driveway, ready to start the unpacking process. I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but I sometimes wonder why I go away at all. The sheer volume of work to pack and prepare beforehand, then the unpack and cleaning once back home, makes one wonder. But I tell you this, once you're out there, you sure do forget about those chores pretty damn quickly.

Trip Log:

Trip Stats:

3 nights under canvas
976Km travelled
100L fuel used
for an average of  10.2 L/100Km
cost of fuel $130
camp fees Nil

And the vid for the trip can be viewed here:

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Plough Disc fire pit

Well, I thought this was a blog entry and I was incorrect. So I have reproduced the original article I did back in July, 2015

1. Grab one plough disc. De rust and hit it with rust converter.

2. Cut metal plate to fill the hole and weld in place

3. Weld leg sockets in place

4. Invert and fit legs

5. Paint with bot belly black

6. fire up some heat beads and pull the camp oven

7. Insert roast, peel vegies and have a few bevies whilst you wait for the spoils

Camp meals at home. Easy as.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

A Caning on the Canning, part V - Final

Arriving at well 6, Steve met me at the car door. Getting out I said, hey, can you smell diesel. Looking at the right hand rear wheel, you could see diesel had leaked from up on high. Thinking it was just some spill from the overflow, I said screw it, I'll look at it tomorrow. Priorities first: dry the mattress and swag from the rain overnight at well 3.

Pierre Springs IE well 6 was a fabulous place. Huge bloodwood gums every where, lots of shade and a restored well with good water. I was just glad to be back with my party again. We had been carrying them for so long, myself since Perth, it was time to break out the bickies and dip:

Everyone was just so happy to see me:

Ok maybe it was just "Harry's" load of firewood then.

Another great night by the fire ensued, back to the old creature habbits pre well 31. As it was a sort of home coming, more talk of aliens and the occasional bottom burp made it feel like home.

Day 19, and In the morning, Steve being a perpetual, well before sparrows, ariser, pointed me to a very pretty sight, which I just caught on the camera, before the stunning colours disappeared:

Packed up and almost ready to go, the boys collected some more water from the restored well:

The restored well, greater than 30m deep, and deepest on the CSR, would have been a real challenge for Canning and his team digging that one. We hit the CSR again at 0900, bound for well 5. Pretty soon into the trip, we pass a strand of Xanthorrhoea, or grass tree or black boy if you like. Its only a very small patch and very unusual to see this in this type of country. Stopping at the entrance to the now off limits Carnarvon Ranges track, the scene Northwards, towards Mt Salvado and the Inglebong Hills was pretty amazing:

Arriving at well 5 by 0945. The well, restored by the Chamberlain Tractor Club was certainly a stand out in its gawdy colour scheme:

But the hits just keep on coming. Walking back to the car, I remark it looks like my auxiliary tank is sitting on the piss.

Peter investigates:

and politely tells me the mounting bracket has failed:

Fan bloody tastic. Best we can do is buggerise around for an hour, trying to work out the best way to ratchet strap it to the body, so we can get both pieces home:

Finally under way again at 1100. Just prior to well 4b, the first of the 5 gates and the start of the diversion track to well 3.

And a long stop over and lunch at the remarkable Windich Springs. A group travelling North was here already. Noting our vehicles, one came over. It was King Brown from the Pajero forum. We told him what he had in front of him and look forward to hearing how he went when he finally pokes his nose out again. A bit of money has been spent here. A near new, large, steel information shelter supplies a wealth of information:

There are picnic tables and fire rings in the campground, shady trees and a dunny that someone kindly attached a mud map to - pardon the pun.

At 1330, we are on the move again after an hour and a half stop. Not long afterwards, crossing the steeper Kennedy Creek crossing.


Then we move down to well 4a. Whilst looking at the well I ask Steve how much movement he has in his bar. We compare and mine moves a hell of a lot more. Steve goes under and lets me know my front cross member has fatigue fractured in multiple spots. This is the last straw for me, I've had enough. I wont even look at the damage until I get home. The bar can fall off for all I care. I have certainly copped a caning on the Canning.

Through the Frere Range we go, picturesque with its numerous slow dry creek crossings. Then we get to the last bloody gate at 1500. We decide, with all the stops today, we will not make well 3, so will find a suitable spot for the last Canning camp. And at 1600, we find a most perfect clearing, free from the dreaded spinifex and plenty of timber for our last fire on the canning.

Steve sets up his u-beaut, engine warmed, bull bar mounted shower and comes out a new man:

It was a mixed feeling of nausea, tears and choking on laughter having that laid on you. Luckily, it disappeared to his private wardrobe very quickly. But it was a good laugh and you can see someone is enjoying having the boys tucked in. And now the last trip name, Mr Mankini is revealed.

Being the last camp, it was jaffle night again. baked bean, cheese and onion. The after affects of which this group will never let me have one again. They were bloody awesome. Even all through the night and the following day :)

Being the last night, jaffles brewing with my beer, bourbon and red wine, Brenda beckoned that we appease the anal probing aliens with our tin foil hats:

And so it was done. Tomorrow we would be rid of that blight known as the Canning Stock Route. I for one, couldn't be more thankful. 101Km's fro the day completed.

Day 21 and we are under way at 0800, making well 3 at 0850. I showed the party the frogs residing in the well. A couple of which made the 20m leap to the water below:

But before we leave, I have to show them the eagle's nest I found here two days prior, after changing that tyre of mine:

We are then through that rocky ground. Quite a few people have taken to doing their own art work in this rocky desert:

Then its through the small dunes, the corrugated plains in between, the dry boggy country, well 2 and 150Km's later, we celebrate. We are at the end of the Canning. Some of us might have done the lot, but others have done a lot more:

Onto well 1 so the others can tick that box off their list we make Wiluna at 1430. The general store extremely well stocked and quite a nice affair, a contrast with the rest of the township. Peter got an eye opener, visiting the pub with Steve for some more beer supplies.

I had managed to Convince Peter and Willie to let me take them on a back blocks tour of the Goldfields before they started their 4000+ Km journey home. I understand they must be well tired by now, but they agreed and I'm sure they are glad they did so. So all of us shot off for Sandstone, a quaint, pretty little town. Unfortunately we met with a road closed sign, so I devised a detour, hoping we could get through that way. But there was no way we would make Sandstone tonight, so we found a nice cleared area to rest up finishing up at 1600, 246Km's for the day.

Day 22 kicks off at 0830 and we find the detour allows us to get to Sandstone at 1000 for some fuel. A quick look around the town, some internet updates and we head for London Bridge and the like before setting of for Lake Ballard, arriving at 1430.

Peter and myself go and get some wood for the night and then we all tour the lake:

362 Km's done for the day and what better way to finish the night than a roast in the camp oven:

Day 23 and we hit the road at 0830. An hour in and we take a road less travelled. Stopping in at Kurrajong Rocks, we make our way for my favourite little place, Jaurdi Station:

210 Km's done for the day, mainly through back tracks and we make the homestead. I've never seen a person here till now. There is about 6 or so Dpaw guys staying here for the week, doing work throughout the reserve. We use their fire and a couple come and chat a little, but the remainder just left us alone.

Day 24 is a sad day. We all part company today. The last 3 and a half weeks has been bitter sweet. The tracks have been crap, but the company awesome. Its the coldest morning of the trip, a sheet of ice in my water container. A late start of 0930, we head off for the last 75Km's to the highway. There we say goodbye to Peter and Willie. Thanks for being such great travelling companions.

And 100Km's later, I say goodbye to Steve and Brenda. Refuelling at Southern Cross, they head for home, I head for a wheat belt rock. Thank you to you as well for being awesome company.

Making my way through all sorts of wheatbelt roads, I make Baropin Rocks at 1430. Here I have a mission to complete: To place the trackable I removed from the Wolf Creek crater. Mission complete, I grab some fire wood and warm up by the fire, in the shadow of a large overhanging piece of granite:

Day 25 and I have 350Km's to home. Leaving at 0815, I traverse fields of green:

And fields of yellow

Before finally seeing the vista of Perth city and reality begins to sink in. Now I've got a car to repair.

Well 3 to Well 6 and back to Cunyu Station:

Cunyu Station to home:

Tracklog for part V. Blue = in company, Black = solo

Trip Stats:

25 days, 24 sleeps in the swag
7675Km travelled
1130L fuel used
for an average of  14.27 L/100Km
cost of fuel $1716
camp fees $10 at Windjana
Best consumption Sandstone - Wiluna @ 11.2L/100
Worst consumption  billiluna - Kunawaritji 17.0l/100 (note the dunes)
Biggest fuel bill Kunawaritji. $3.40 per litre @ 122L = $415.0

Damage Bill (as known at the time of writing):

Peter and Willie - none

Steve and Brenda. One windscreen, Newman.
                             One shock, Broome
                             One robbed vehicle, Broome
                             One cracked new windscreen, Fitzroy Crossing
                             Two rear shocks, CSR
                             One partially fatigue fractured front cross member

Me                        One chipped windscreen, Pt Hedland
                              2 rear shocks, CSR
                              One fatigue fractured front cross member, CSR
                              One staked tyre
                              One failed rear aux tank mount, section of the tank
                              One failed front mount, aux tank, section of the vehicle
                              One hole in roof lining
                              Not one door panel without rub damage

Complete GPS log: