Changing of ….

Report 30 June
By Benno en Thecla

After the ritual morning check by Dirk van de T-Ford we drive a lot and see relatively few animals. Many species of birds that we can capture.

The environment is slowly but surely changing to a drier area with remarkable, dark, pointed rocks around Chillagoe at the end of the day. Besides the dusting we see an eagle eating from a dead Walibee. For the first time in the journey, dark clouds appear. And in light drizzle we arrive at the roadhouse of Chillagoe, a former mining village, which later went over to the mining of marble. Here we camp under a canopy, that in the night his service proves when it starts to rain.

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A Beautiful day

Report 29 June
By Benno en Thecla

It was very warm tonight and today also a beautiful day with a temperature of 35 degrees. Trudy and Dirk have deserved such a nice present. They have chosen a beautiful cathedral (termite mound) to be able to repeat the ceremony of their 46th wedding anniversary.

As a gift, they get a lot of sand and bulldust today, because of the many loose sand and holes and also the breezy dust of a single passing vehicle. On the map we see that we are driving parallel to a river, so after a lot of dust and heat we decide to leave the path and start looking for the river. It is still a dusty route than until now and after many kilometers we decide to make a right turn. When we are back on the route, a lake appears to lie after five hundred meters. Dirk and I take a glorious dive. And a few kilometers further we find the long-looking river.

The bank is the same as our sleep establishment, fully equipped with four-poster bed.

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Prehistoric meeting

Report 28 June
By Benno en Thecla

We are again for 540 kilometers dirt road to Chillagoe. So everything refueling and supplementing, because it will take us several days, and then we can go. Here too, the spontaneity of the Aussies strikes us. Enthusiastic about the world tour of the T-Ford and the charity; S.O.S Children’s Villages, they make a donation in the collection bus. Nice to experience that! The road is changing in condition and vegetation and whether or not termite hills, in large and in sculptures, where Gaudi would be jealous. We almost feel as beautiful on safari as we drive through these areas and each time we are surprised by other animals. Dirk spot a giant prehistoric, one and a half meter large iguana that quietly runs along the road. At every river crossing we screen the bank for crocodiles, partly because we are always warning signs in English, German and Chinese. Our pays are rewarded: a huge freshwater crocodile shoots and his still bigger brother stays motionless on the shore. The T-Ford keeps it perfectly well on these rough roads. Around the twilight we find a place in the bush again, we put together a meal and go to sleep ….

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Sunset on Karumba Point

Report 27 June
By Benno en Thecla

We leave Floraville Downs. First we drive over a huge plain, where many cows graze. On the small pieces of gravel we are regularly overtaken by roadtrains which, although the T-Ford does a great job, make Dirk and Trudy completely disappear under clouds of dust. We regularly see wallybees and cranebirds again, and another doubtful serpent that reverses and disappears into the scrub. We make purchases in Normaton. We drive to Karumba and even Karumba Point (only place on this side of this Gulf, where we can see the sun sinking into the sea.) Low-flying the T-Ford goes to the coast, we can hardly keep up with the Land Rover . Just in time we move on to a terrace on the beach and see, while enjoying a drink and a culinary meal, the glorious sun sinking into the sea. Then looking for a campsite, because most were full. But we find a nice place on a small private campsite.

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Hot Burketown

Report 26 June
By Benno en Thecla

On the way to Burketown we have asphalt today. It seems like we are riding on an endless plateau with giant wheat fields, but what is ultimately a kind of grass. We regularly see groups of cranes with beautiful red heads. In Burketown we stop at the local garage and we change the differential oil of the T-Ford to check the last repair. Fortunately, everything looks good, no more liquid gold!
Going into shopping. We see a hot spring with many wallybees around it. The local representative of Burke Shire, takes an interview and offers us a meeting at the mayor of the Shire (about 75 km from Burketwon).
Fantastic! Ernie and Kylie welcome us with open arms and offer us a fantastic meal and a beautiful overnight spot along the river. A warm bath. Dirk and I are taken to a safe croc-free natural rock pool, where we take a refreshing dive.

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Eagle hunter

Report 25 June
By Benno en Thecla

Every evening it is a feast for the eyes when the sun goes down in the bush.
In the morning we wake up abruptly when the morning sun awakes the animal life.
Wallybees hopping by while we always enjoy the tasty breakfast.
On route we drive through a gorge, the road is asphalted to allow it to be taken by large roadtrains. The heavy and fast traffic ensures regularly hit wild animals. Birds of prey seem to be able to gather their meal so easily and for us it is of course a fantastic opportunity to spot eagles. But many other birds show themselves well today. Another good chance that I sometimes take is to take a dip in the river (with Dirk on the lookout), so that we might be able to shoot (photo) a crocodile. Today we passed the Queensland border, where a herd of cattle regularly cross our path.

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Explosive temperatures …

Report 24 June
By Benno

We are on our way again in good spirits; with a controlled confidence of the differential. The road is again hopeless corrigated, so we are 60 kilometers further after 2.5 hours. The bush is re-adorned with countless termite hills that, as artistic sculptures, give the landscape an unreal look. We regularly monitor the temperature of the rear axle. At one of the stops for a river crossing, Dirk measures the temperature of the rear axle and immediately checks the temperature of the tires. Just as he is at the left rear tire, it bursts apart. We are scared to death. Dirk replaces the wheel while I nose around the car. In front I see that a thick bolt of the front axle suspension is broken. Fortunately, Dirk has a spare. So soon we can go through the deep river crossing, which goes without problems. There are five more, all of whom go without any problems, not even a crocodile that ends up between the spokes, or fish that end up splashing on the back seat. I dive into a river for a while while Dirk stays on the lookout. Along the way we see birds of prey, including an eagle, as well as cranes and smaller rabbits. We visit a sacred lake of the Aborigines, with many water birds. In the evening we camp again, red from the dust, in a beautiful spot in the bush. Trudy tinkers a delicious meal together, after which Thecla and I find a place under the stars, with in the background the twittering of birds that slowly change to the buzz of summer crickets.

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Ready for the colorful repaired flight.

Report 23 June
By Benno

Get up early to shoot some photos of the colorful birds, parrots to bee-eaters, kites, and variants of wagtail and magpie.

We take the rear wheels off to better ventilate the brakes, which gradually leads to results. After which the battlefield of parts and tools is cleaned up. An aboriginal family comes a long to shoot some pictures.  The bush fires behind our campsite have been happily canceled so we spend the rest of the day relaxing. 

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Real mecanics

Report 22 June
By Thecla

At the crack of the day risen and after breakfast the men start with tinkering.
Build up with all kinds of improvised tools. Trudy’s world kitchen must also believe, as well as found buckets, cardboard boxes, wood plates, jerry cans, boulders, steel angle profiles and so on. Everything that can be found on this campground. The acial bearings of the crown wheel are adjusted as the pinion, crown wheel, by means of different thickness gaskets. With the four of us we lift the rear axle to its place where we put it in place step by step. Plopppp !!!

At the end of the afternoon miracle oh miracle the T-Ford is back together and drives its first test round. The men are reasonably satisfied. In particular, the braking system still has to be vented and all kinds of other points have to be put on the i.

A hard day with a temperature of 30 degrees, but then you have rolling stock. The men also come back from their test drive with a big smile.

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Liquid gold in the differential

Report 21 June
By Thecla

Dirk also starts this morning with his ritual to lubricate the T-Ford, check tire pressure and check everything carefully, after such a tough day like yesterday. But to his horror at the level plug of the differential oil is a lot of gold chips (bronze) on the magnet.

This requires further investigation. So the men decide to do an extensive inspection, in which the oil is drained and a golden drab comes out to fright. This indicates a dramatic wear. It is decided to demolish the entire rear axle under the T-Ford today. In the interior of the differential there is a thrust plate broken (acial bearing) and dismounted. The pieces of bronze fly from the inside. After a few hours of demolition and having been in suspense, Dirk is fortunate enough to have a spare shaft with thrust plates. Mazzel!

Our campsite has raged for two days, in the jungle a violent uncontrolled fire and flights and the birds and other animals fly in one direction. The T-Ford stands without axle, petrol jerry cans support steadily waiting for mobility. We wonder if a lot of vermin, snakes and the like are fleeing to our camps?

The question now remains how did this happen? Many theory is added and this will be further explored in the coming days. After dinner around half past six it is dark and the original books are brought in and in the light of the petrol lamp a lot of things are looked at.

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