Filling breakfast of granola, muesli, prunes, yoghurt and milk, and freshly brewed coffee, set us up for an interesting day.
Powered down the track, full of joy and optimism, and completely ignored the lesson of the previous day. Instead of following the tracks, I headed onto the shoulder of the road to the left (realised it was muddy), slewed across the very wide road to the even muddier right hand side, missed a small tree, and slowly lurched to a stop in the very, very thick, oozy mud. We were very obviously “in the shit”, and decidedly so when we jumped into ankle-deep and plus mud.
We discussed our options, and decided to deploy the Maxtracks. This involved digging shallow trenches in the mud under each wheel, and laying the Maxtracks. I then jumped into car, minus mucky sandals, and set the car to: manual, 2nd gear, no diff lock, but crucially forgot to disengage traction control. So, hit the gas, and did manage about 10-15ft before shuddering to a halt. Bruce wondered why I had stopped – as the wheels were not turning – duh – traction control had decided they were not necessary. Anyway, we repeated the above exercise – and some exercise it was – before freeing ourselves from the mud and getting back on track. It was only afterwards that I realized my schoolboy error with traction control – basically, you don’t want an automated system deciding not to power some of the wheels when you are trying to get of sand or mud (or indeed driving in it). We were, nevertheless, elated, that we had managed to get out of this sticky situation.
Passed the Boxhole Meterorite Crater on our way to the Plenty Highway, and eventually Gemtree Caravan Park, and a welcome coffee and vanilla slice. Had a delicious beef and onion pie for lunch. After that, an afternoon of fun, cleaning the car, shoes and selves of caked, dried mud.
And, now, I sit – yes NOW – surrounded by 1000s of my newfound friends, the Aussie bush flies. These little bastards delight in entering any uncovered orifice – and take particular delight in supping from the liquid in the corner of your eyes. And, their timing is impeccable, usually just as you are required to make some life-and-death decision on the road. The only way to entertain them is to wear a black net across you face, and the tolerate their embrace over the rest of your exposed skin. Morna – where are you and your flamethrower when we need you?