Travel mishaps

So one minute we’re happily bumping along the stony Lake Eyre access road and the next minute there’s an almighty bang, a strange scraping noise and a mountain of dust exploding into the air. My initial thoughts were ‘we’ve blown a tyre on the trailer’. Paul’s were ‘where is the trailer?’. After gliding to a standstill and arriving at the back of the car we discovered the weld on tow hitch had broken and the trailer was now not connected to the car. Thank goodness for safety chains or the Conqueror would have been off down the the road on its own.

The longer attached to the car

The trailer…no longer attached to the car

What happens now? We’re standing in one of the most remote roads in Australia at the end of the tourist season where we’d be lucky to see another car for a few days. The nearest town, William Creek, has a population of 10 but fortunately is only 45km from where we are. We have a satellite phone, but who do we call? What do we actually need?

And so our day unfolded.

Paul decided to head back into William Creek, and I stayed with the trailer by the side of the track. We were pretty sure no-one would be coming past but what if they decided to help themselves if they did? Paul’s afternoon turned into a chat with the locals in the pub, one of whom happened to work at the cattle station ‘up the road’  which happened to have a welding machine. The cattle station it turns out is Anna Creek, the biggest cattle station in the world. He gets driven out there, welds the hitch back together himself and returns to the pub to repay the favour with a beer. Country hospitality is really quite special.

Waiting for help by the side of the road

Waiting for help by the side of the road

I meanwhile am sitting staring at a very desolate road for the next four hours. All I see in that time is one car (containing a concerned Ranger), several small dust storms, two kangaroos, two wedgetail eagles and about 3,000 flies. Its hot. Even putting the awning up sends me into a sweaty mess. The silence is incredible and strangely hypnotic. On and off I stand up, walk around the van, look up the road, then down the road then sit back down again. My thoughts turn to a story I heard about this road from 1998 when a german tourist perished after walking 40+kms for help in the heat of the day when her car got bogged….always stay with your car out here in the event of a breakdown. When the Pajero later appears out of the dust a few hours later I am more than a little thankful.

Four hours after the calamity we were back fixed up and happily ensconced on the banks of Lake Eyre. Unlucky it broke. So lucky we got it fixed. (Note: this was not an issue with the Conqueror 490 but an issue with the hitch itself).

My view to the left for four hours

My view to the right for four hours

My view to the left for four hours

My view to the left for four hours


One Response to “Travel mishaps”

  1. Unreal – That’s something I wouldn’t expect to happen! Being flexible when you are travelling is pretty important; things don’t always go to plan!

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