Broke in Alice

Published: August 16th 2013
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Because we have been quite busy throughout the week, we have not chosen to write a blog everyday to cover what we have been doing, otherwise you would be bored, so I am going to do my best to give you a précis of what has been happening while we have been in Alice Springs.

Early in the week it seemed like everyone has a problem, I have seen several vehicles loaded onto recovery vehicles and taken away from the camp site or dropping off the occupants in accommodation and then taken away, I feel sorry for them and wonder how far away they were when their misfortune struck. As our week went on it became evident that we were incredibly lucky not to have befallen the same fate to arrive in Alice Springs on a recovery vehicle.

It was Tuesday morning when everything started to open so we were up with the lark, or should I say "up with the Galahs" and the first on the list was to get Jack booked in for a service.

It was a bit too soon for the service, i.e. we were 3,000k's to early, but the truck has worked hard and Andy figured that it would be a good thing to get the oil changed etc, so with that done and the truck booked in for Wednesday we set about doing our other chores and in the process just driving round to see the sights, we had only intended on staying a few days in Alice before heading out to cover off all the sights from the outer areas.

Andy took the chainsaw into a Stihl dealer, because it had broken down and thus needed a repair and service, tick, another job done. We would have to pick it up later in the week.

We also went to the Post Office to collect our mail that our friend Lesley had sent up from Canberra (thank you Lesley, much appreciated).

We contacted the lady concerned with the monies for our overnight stay at Old Andado Station, she was grateful that we were so honest and we arranged to drop the money off for her. Thus we are thinking that the good karma would be with us, how wrong we were.

Wednesday arrived and the Jack went in for his service, when we went to collect him later we were told that we needed a new steering damper because ours had broken and also they were supposed to look at the window regulator which they said they investigated and did not seem to have an answer, so we rebooked the truck in for a new steering damper to be fitted, which turned out later on not to be required.

Andy checked underneath the truck to see what was happening with the steering damper and it was absolutely fine and when we went to cancel it they couldn't remember anything about it despite it being written on the service invoice.

Well it turns out that we have more serious problems, when Andy washed Jack, we found out why the tow bar was looking saggy, it had fractured and not only that it has also caused a fracture in the subframe of the Landcruiser. This is not good news especially as there was a moment when we thought that Jack would be written off if it had affected the chassis.

It looks like we are going nowhere until we

Cleaning the dust off Gypsy
get this sorted out, no way are we going to be able to hook up Gypsy until we are fixed, in fact we are very lucky that we have not lost her on the way to Alice.

We discussed it with the Dealership who were horrified, but not prepared to comment and we also discussed it with the place where we purchased the truck and then a whole bun fight started involving a couple of other third parties. As far as we were concerned this was a warranty issue.

Yes, we know we have done some dirt tracks and corrugations on this trip, but given the road conditions out here, you would think if that was the case there would be broken tow bars everywhere. The weight of our trailer is nowhere near the weight of some of these other caravans some of them weigh over 2.5 tonnes in comparison with our mere 1.2 tonnes!

I was not happy with the bun fight, everyone was blaming someone else, I started to look back through the photographs and it became very evident from the photographs that the problem had occurred fairly early
From Anzac HillFrom Anzac HillFrom Anzac Hill

A night view of Alice Springs
on in the trip, a long way before we did many of the dirt tracks.

Realising that the pictures showed the tow bar was dropping when we were in Farina, the first time, which meant that I could track back to when the tow bar was looking as it should and if you have been reading the blog, you will recall that we noticed that the tow bar was bent when we had an overnight in Copley.

To cut a very long story short, we have spent the last week and a half running around Alice Springs trying to get this problem sorted. The tow bar manufacture was not having anything to do with it, despite offering a lifetime guarantee on their product (??) they even suggested we drive the trailer to the weigh bridge just to make sure we were not over weight, I cannot believe they suggested we tow a trailer with a fractured towbar!!

Anyway now have photographic evidence showing that it may not have been fitted correctly, so we are still fighting the additional costs that we have had to pay out, including some substantial welding to the sub frame. Toyota in the meantime, as a gesture of goodwill, have replaced the tow bar, so whatever happens we can now plan for our departure from Alice Springs.

I really needed a haircut and this is the one thing that is always a worry, when you get your haircut somewhere new, lets just say that last time we were travelling, I ended up with some interesting cuts, so this time I was very determined not to make the same mistakes.

During the week I was talking to one of the locals and noted that she had long blonde hair, I asked where she got her haircut and she told me so I went there to book in for a haircut, she did a great job, the fringe is wrong but I have had a haircut and it is very difficult to convey to the hairdresser exactly how you want your hair and by the time I realised what she had done to my fringe it was too late! I think she did a great job though and this haircut will see me through for a couple of months until we get to wherever it
Inside GypsyInside GypsyInside Gypsy

This is what a rough road does
is that we decide to go.

One evening we had an early dinner so that we could get out to see the sunset from Anzac Hill, but when I was packing up someone drove up with a trailer and because he could not see out of his back window to reverse, Andy helped him out and of course we all got talking.

Turns out that the trailer rolled whilst journeying across Hamilton Station (easily done) on the way to Dalhousie and now the trailer is going in for repairs so they have had to rent a cabin at a whopping $160 per night until it is fixed and they can move on.

It just seems to be a week for it, but perhaps that is just business as usual up here.

We went to Anzac Hill, we had not missed the sunset and once parked we headed up to the top of the hill (looks popular with exercise fanatics) and watched the spectacular colours over the MacDonnell Ranges, it soon got dark and we headed back to camp.

A blog wouldn't be right without at
Mick JaggerMick JaggerMick Jagger

Oops,s o no its a Camel
least once discussing the weather, despite the quite hot days, the first couple of nights were quite cool, however the days got hotter at 30 degrees and so did the nights, I actually realised I was still wearing shorts into the evening, after all those weeks of being in jeans and fleeces constantly it felt great to have the freedom in shorts and flip flops (thongs).

Alice Springs locals have been saying that it is unusually warm for this time of the year, well I am not grumbling, this is far a more agreeable winter than the last few we have experienced in Canberra where the temperatures would be a fairly consistent minus 5 at night and for some strange reason early in the morning I would be compelled to go for a 5k walk around the lake but with those temperatures when I would get back to the truck I wouldn't be able to speak because I couldn't even feel my face!

So, throughout the week, we have gradually decreased the bedclothes, left every possible vent open to let the air circulate, just loving this weather.

Despite being a busy
Four wheel drive,Four wheel drive,Four wheel drive,

With such big plat feet, they are perfectly suited to crossing the desert, a bit like our Mickey Thompsons
week getting everything sorted out, I actually feel like I am on holiday! Whilst Andy was having a welcome nanna nap one afternoon I did the next best thing, sat in the shade reading and enjoyed a cool glass of Sauvignon Blanc.

Additional photos below
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17th August 2013

desert park
Hi Guys. Shame about the towbar difficulties.....but so much better to fix it now than out bush somewhere (silver lining??? ;-))) If you have time, try to get out to the Desert Park - a bit west of Alice. It's amazing! You can see all those little desert creatures up close in the nocturnal house. Hope you enjoy the West MacDonnells too...beautiful! all best Hillary and Glen
17th August 2013

What a nightmare
it's always the worst nightmare to have a vehicle problem on the road as we found out in Germany, we were lucky and except for waiting for Monday to arrive - never have a problem at the weekend - we were back on the road in three hours. Keep smiling

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