Goin' Up The Country

Sean
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Joined: Wed Jun 21, 2017 3:40 am

Re: Goin' Up The Country

Postby Sean » Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:27 am

PS: Even the Wi-Fi here works, unlike the last place where it was very slow to the point of not worth using. I am using it now, and it is just fine. Quick as one would expect in the city.
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Sean
Posts: 169
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Postby Sean » Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:51 am

I have never been this far north in Western Australia before. There are different birds in the trees up here, even. Why I kid you not I just heard a bird up in a tree outside that sounded just like a duck. It was quacking like a duck! Ducks don't land in trees though. They land on water or on the ground. They don't climb trees, them ducks. Stilll, it quacked like a duck, but it surely doesn't walk like a duck, so I'd say chances are it is not a duck. Goodnight on that note.
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Sean
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Postby Sean » Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:07 am

It's Saturday and I'm HAPPY! The weather is fantastic here in Northampton, the people are absolutely wonderful and I have been doing a little bit of carpentry this week. I still have not gotten around to photoshopping all the photos I've been taking of the town and all the surrounding landmarks, but I have just photoshopped two(2) pictures to illustrate why I have been too busy to sit at this desk and play with my laptop all day this week. I have been occupied with the Real World.

I have narrowed the bed-base from 900mm wide to 800mm, so that it fits the mattress and the sleeping carpenter, and cut out a diagonal at the foot of the bed, 100 lower than the rest of the bed, to make a kind of seat where my feet can touch the ground, and shrunk the desk to a more vanly kind of size, finally doing the last metalwork and carpentry this morning, and then, just for a special treat on a Saturday afternoon, I built a spice-rack.

I had to remove a sheet of masonite last week to attach the fire extinguisher properly, and was left with a hole which fit the imitation tupperwre plastic box quite nicely, so that is how I have finished off this week.

Here are a couple of photos:

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The new shrunken desk.

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The new spice-rack.
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Sean
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Postby Sean » Sat Aug 25, 2018 7:28 am

Just a quick update. Today I have moved around 20km west from Northampton Caravan Park and the wonderful Graham and Yani who run the place, and followed Kerry to a very remote little farmstay type of place called Elbenjo, which is named after their son, 'El', the lady, 'Benny', and the grentleman, "Jock', hence, El-Ben-Jo. The flies are proliferant, but it is a very quiet place, totally free from those pesky grey nomads, (apart from Kerry and I, who get along quite nicely, and respect each others' personal space). I have taken another 100 or so photos, and would have gotten around to editing them for the website this afternoon except that I have been busy dealing with the bloody blowflies and now I just want to play some music and practice the piano, and watch a movie and then go to sleep.

I will add some photos tomorrow, if all goes okay.

PS: I discovered why the auxikary battery has not been charging very well lately. My own DIY negative battery terminal has been coming apart from the wire, and it fell apart when I wiggled it this afternoon, so I have made a temporary fix for the moment, which I hope is enough to keep the fridge running overnight. I just put a whole lot of cold fresh food in that fridge, so I have to keep it running cool, and there is no 240V mains power out here. Only me and my auto-electrical prowess to keep the broccoli, tomatoes, eggs and chees from going off.

It is quite a nice warm day today, and I am parked in the Sun, so it is quite warm in the van, and I have at last been able to take off the t-shirt and wear a pair of boardies without getting a chill. What a nice warning about insulating the roof before it really gets hot this summer...
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Sean
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Postby Sean » Fri Aug 31, 2018 4:39 am

Update, August 31st, 2018. It is the last day of Winter today. Winter brings with it rainy days, and on Tuesday it rained at Elbenjo, and the dustbowl turned to a mudbowl.

I stayed one more night to finish trading all Kerry's movies with the best of mine, to fill up her external USB hard disk, and then almost got bogged in the mud when i drove over to say goodbye to her on Wednesday morning. Luckily I found a good stash of wet, mudsoaked sticks to drive in under the front of both Speed the Turtle's rear tyres and managed to extricate him from the mud after around twenty minutes of rocking back and forth, with Kerry helping to arrange the muddy sticks.

Then I headed back through Northampton to HWY 1 and drove to Geraldton for some new mortein, a broccoli and a new colander (after having snapped the handle off the old one), and a pair of battery lead connectors from the local Geraldton Jaycar distributor. Also, another 29.5 litres of diesel for $46. Speed is costing arounf $0.17 cents per kilometre as laden with all this weight in his belly.

Then I stopped at Macdonalds on the way out of Geraldton for a large bag of french-fries (full of gluten which my lungs are still recovering from) because it was looking like a long drive north to the Billabong Roadhouse and I did not want to do it hungry, nor stop along the way to cook some food.

That is where I am now. At the Billabong Roadhouse, which has a shower/toilet with hot water for a $20 key deposit on the south side, and a free camping area soaked in mud and bushticks on the north side. I managed to extricate the one and only bushtick that was eating away at my right forearm yesterday morning after I did the washing up out on the weeds by the van, in shorts and a t-shirt, not realising that touching or moving vegetation around here is tempting the ticks. Be careful of ticks up here. That was Thursday's lesson.

Now it is Day 3 here, and I hope to stay a few more days if they'll have me, and then drive a little further north to a place called the Overlander caravan park which has unpowered sites for $10/night. It maybe better or maybe worse than here, but it is closer to Carnarvon, and that is where I hope to be when I eventually run out of gluten-free bread, eggs, cheese, broccoli. With only five(5) eggs left, I'll need to make Carnarvon on Wednesday, or else a late breakfast in Carnarvon on Thursday, if I don't want to disrupt the Standard Breakfast Experiment by missing out on the ubiquitous egg on Thursday morning.

Still no new photos for the web yet, I'm afraid. I have been so busy sorting through all the new movies and generally just going through the motions of practicing van life at a free campsite with a single shared bathroom/toilet around 100m away, and this morning it was in use twice when I planned to go there.

Right now, just surviving is a 24hr job. Soon I will have time to sort out the photos and add them to this thread. See you then.
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Sean
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Postby Sean » Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:58 am

Day Five here at The Billabong Roadhouse on Sunday the 2nd of September. Not much to report. I have not driven the van a single millimetre since Wednesday afternoon at 1pm. I have just been starting the engine around four times each day for around thirty(30) minutes at a time to recharge the batteries. I think that the batteries are looking forward to a nice drive up to the Overland (or Overlander?) Roadhouse 50km up the highway at 110km/h to get a good solid recharge, the both of them, but this method has sufficed so far. I have used around 1/8th of a tank of diesel since arriving on Wednesday, which is around 10 litres, apparently. That is just sitting here in the same little patch of mud cum dust in the middle of nowhere. As I mentioned on the Ford Transit USA forum, it seems to work in practice, but the theory could use a little revision.

I've moved the old icebox back over the rear wheels and added a new kitchen bench, which still needs some adjustments after using it for the one morning's breakfast today. Works fine, but I can still move it back another foot or so to increase the walk-in space from the sliding door. This will eventually be an improvement, but I am going to need some kind of a concrete hardstand to unload a whole lit of junk out of the van to do it properly. That's gonna cost some money.

Another thing which I will a place to unload the van to make some room is the LED light that Kerry gave me, and which I installed yesterday as a bedside lamp.

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New bedside lamp, courtesy of Ms Kerry Binnie.

It works, but I still need to wire up the front end at the fusebox properly. The tricky thing is that I stuffed the stripped end of the +ve wire into the +ve hole in the drinks cooler last night, which meant that I did not make the mistake of leaving the drinks cooler on all night last night for a change. That tends to cause the food cooler to turn off for the low voltage at around 2am.

When I can get to a decent hardstand to unload all the junk and get into the electrical end of the project, I'll hook up a switch so that either the drinks cooler or the bedside LED lamp has 12V power, but not both! Then I will never forget to switch off the drinks cooler at last drinks / bedtime, because the bedside lamp will not work unless I do! Isn't that a lucky chance at a little 12V nomadic genius I never would have thought of if it hadn't practically been thrown at me yesterday!

Nothing much else happening here now. It is quite hot in this van in the Sun when the temperature is 25*C outside, so I can see that I must add some roof-lining and tint the side windows or it will be like a sauna here in a month or so.
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Sean
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Postby Sean » Wed Sep 05, 2018 5:58 am

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018.

This morning just before 8am I returned the key to the amenity at the Billabong Roadhouse and said goodbye to Jacque the manager; a really decent and friendly bloke, I'd say. Always made me feel welcome for the whole week I stayed there, for free, using their water - their hot water too for the shower, and never spend a cent in the shop ... yet. He knows that nobody stays a week at their free campsite unless they are desperate.

I still could not decide whether to drive north or south ... onward towards Carnarvon, or back to Perth to better find the secondhand parts to renovate the commerical van into a camper. I need sunshades to stop the heat getting in through the glass when the sun is shining, so I have discovered on Monday. There is good reason to return to Perth and fix Speed the Turtle properly. It was like a sauna in here on Monday, but that was probably because I kept the sliding door closed to fend off the blowflies. Yesterday I left the door open and dealt with the blowies on a more personal level, and the interior was not so hot.

Anyway, I was still in two minds: the sensible, cowardly mind, and the brave and foolish mind: south and north respectively. I tossed a coin: heads for north, tails for south. It came up tails. "Oh," I thought, "You didn't toss it properly, toss it again ..."

I tossed it again: tails again. Still, just before 8am, I pulled out of the Billabong Roadhouse and drove north. What a dumbass!

Stopped at the Overlander Roadhouse 47km north at around 08:30 and cruised the carpark. I didn't like it so I kept on north until I made the Wooramel Roadhouse 125km south of Carnarvon. I asked the young fellow behind the counter at the roadhouse where the $13/night caravan park was, and he told me it was three kilometres north up the highway, so I drove on and pulled into the driveway of the Wooramel Farm sort of place, and didn't much like that either, so like a fool, disregarding the twin coin tosses, I headed north again.

Around 70km south of Carnarvon, this happened:

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Blown LHR tyre at 250,014km on the odometer, September 5th, 2018.

I fixed it in half an hour. Lucky that there was a steep stormwater drain at the roadside, so I parked on a steep angle with the left side a lot higher than the right, and it made it easier to jack poor old Speed the Turtle up in the dirt.

Image

Replaced the blown tyre with spare. 78 series is higher profile than.

I stuck to around 95-100km/h for the rest of the foolish trip north, because I get a feeling that the 60psi in the truck tyre, coupled with the subtropical heat north of the 26th parallel on the highway tarmac, along with my doing 115-120km/h all morning before the blow-out, may have been the cause of the blow-out. On Friday I will fill up with diesel and while I am at the service station, I will reduce the pressure in all four(4) tyres to 55psi and hope that that reduces the chances of more blow-outs. This was my first ever blow-out in my life.

Now I am at the Norwester Caravan Park in Carnarvon. It is in a semi-industrial area out the back of the town, and there are two tyre repair places across Robinson Street, not fifty metres away. I will go and get some prices tomorrow.
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Sean
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Postby Sean » Fri Sep 07, 2018 4:14 am

Two new tyres were fitted at Beaurepaires Carnarvon this morning.

ImageIt's at 330 Robinson Street, on the south side, corner of Bassett Way.

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I arrived just before they opened at 8am, as arranged, and just had time to boil the kettle and make a
cup of tea & honey before parking on the driveway in front of the roller-door where they did the fitting.


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They replaced the shredded tyre and also the 70 profile spare with two new HIFLY SUPER-2000 215/75R16s.

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It only took half an hour all up to remove all four wheels, fit the two fronts on the back, on opposite sides, then fit
the wheels with the new tyres on the front, saving the remaining 215/75R16 RHR tyre (60% worn), for the spare.


Image
I'm happy with the reception at Beaurepaires Carnarvon. They were very helpful and professional.

Image
That's Rob on the right who I first spoke to yesterday, who split the difference between the normal price
of $320 for a pair and what I'd expected on Wednesday when it happened; $300, so that is how it came
to $310.00. I'll have to stop in tomorrow and ask that other chap's name and edit this post.


Ed - 180909G: That's Dan on the left there.
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Sean
Posts: 169
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Postby Sean » Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:20 am

Thursday, September 13th, 2018. Still in Carnarvon for the time being. It makes sense to stick around here for a few more weeks yet. Nothing much to report lately. Just passing the days, sorting through files on the computer. The Music Collection is now reorganised nicely. This is what useful work can be done which costs more time than money.
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