Great campsite last night, water and fire.
Made our way along Pingandy Road to the Meekatharra to Ashburton Downs station road. It was a little wider, but no better condition. Plenty of dips, floodways, wash always and muddy spots that kept me on my toes. There was a massive bog hole on Pingandy Road that you might want to check out, but not if you’re thinking of travelling these roads.
YouTube link to the boggy hole video
The VeggieCruza has front and rear diff locks, which were frequently engaged this trip. This means that all four wheels rotate exactly the same, despite and soppy mud, airborne wheels or other difficulties, providing maximum traction. Dragging the trailer is a disadvantage in such situations, but we’ve got through, unscathed!
The drive alongside the Ashburton river can be boring. The road is too far from the river to ever get any benefit of viewing the river and the flat floodplains are uninteresting, particularly combined with hard driving conditions. The big landscape IS big and frequently changing.
A roadside coffee break late morning was really nice. Mud was building inside the mudguard of the left trailer wheel, compacting and acting as a break over bumpy ground. Left alone, the heat can build up on the tyre rubbing on the now baked mud and cause a blowout. Not sure if the trailer axle has moved backwards. I’m not thinking so, but it needs watching.
At the Ashburton Downs Homestead, visitors not welcome, we turned north with only 57km to go to the bitumen road. In between was the fast flowing deep running Ashburton River and a floodway to cover. Convincing myself the travellers from Adelaide had got through the day before and it was likely the river had dropped since their passage, and I couldn’t see any sign of them floating down the river or a recent rescue, I engaged low range and entered the fastest deepest water I have ever crossed.
The water on my side was a little higher than Kerry’s side, as where the water hit the concrete floodway, a ‘bow wave’ formed, making it deeper. Before we got too far, I checked outside and found the water lapping the sidesteps on my side, not quite high enough for he body of the car to be pushed by the current, but very close. I’m guessing it was 200mm deep, but flowing very fast.. The crossing was about 50 metres long, and yes we made it. Sorry, no photos, we were rather preoccupied with our safety. On reflection, I am never ever going to cross a river like this again. It was really dangerous. We crossed safely, but I’m not going into such fast moving water again.
Eventually the bitumen Nanutarra to Munjina Road appeared. We’d completed an epic run of 1000km of dirt roads through some pretty spectacular and testing situations.
4WD turned off and front hubs disengaged, the VeggieCruza was released from those shackles and took to bitumen roads again. I still only sat on 80kmh, the comfortable maximum of the last days. How on earth I drove 600km from Kennedy ranges, several hours west of Cobra, to Tom Price all in one day with Chris and Cass is staggering. No wonder they don’t like my holidays! A lesser distance has taken three days this trip.
We’re camped up off the road around behind some trees. Few travellers are on the road after dark, and our dim camp lights and low campfire make us invisible should anyone be on the road. Today we saw no other vehicles on the dirt. Within a minute of arriving at the bitumen, we saw two, and then four or five an hour after that.
The weather is warmer, but the wind has a chill in it out of the sun. After dark the wind drops and the nights are generally pleasant. Tomorrow will be Onslow. After that, not sure.