1st June 2013 to 6th June 2013
In my last post I said:
“We have decided to make the trip all the same. We will travel to Alice Springs on our own.”
As of today, we certainly are not going to Alice Springs along the Outback Way. A couple of things have happened that changed our minds. When I got up on Saturday morning, the fridge battery in the LandCruiser was extremely low and was beeping like mad. Not sure why it was so low. Anyhow I managed to shut off the alarm and thought I charge it a little bit by running the engine in the LandCruiser. Getting into the LandCruiser, pressing the start button did almost nothing, except for lighting all sorts of alarms on the instrument panel. Flat battery as well.
I have started the LandCruiser from the van batteries in the past – so hook it up and give it another go. No success. After a lot of checking I find that the plug I was connecting to did not have the expected voltage. Almost 20V whereas the van battery is at 13.3V. All very confusing.
The park manager gives me a jump start from his truck – at least we can get going.
When we arrived in Winton, I opted for a caravan site with power. More troubleshooting reveals no power is going into the caravan from the battery charger, however it does charge the LandCruiser fridge battery. The fridge battery already had recovered from its very low stage being charged as we were driving to Winton.
Lots more troubleshooting revealed that the relay that prevents overcharging the battery was never letting any charge go to the batteries. Phone call to Terry who figured the relay is blown. To confirm this, he asked me to do more tests. I sent the results of the tests to Terry via email.
When I got up in the morning, Terry had already answered the email. More tests. I woke up Terry on Sunday morning. Yes, that relay was blown and needed to be replaced. In the meantime I had figured out how to charge the battery, bypassing the relay. I have to be very careful to disconnect the bypass when the battery is full, as any overcharge can kill the battery.
I checked the car starting battery – flat as anything. We can’t continue before replacing the batteries in the LandCruiser. Of course it is Sunday and, while we could have called out the RACQ, we knew by the time the batteries were replaced it would be too late to travel to Boulia that day so we decided to wait till Monday for the service centre to open.
No chance of catching up with the Kedron group if we only leave on Monday.
You may not have followed this all. But you might get a feeling of the frustration of these problems and how they affect us.
On the other hand these problems are minor if I think about a good friend who will undergo surgery for a brain tumour this coming Friday.
I am writing this on Thursday early morning in Camooweal. We managed to have the car starting batteries replaced first thing Monday morning and all these problems have been resolved. We had Terry send us a replacement relay to Mount Isa and from Winton we travelled to Cloncurry. This was mostly through very flat country, apart from this mountain range.
From Cloncurry we travelled to Mt Isa. Shortly after leaving Cloncurry the landscape changed considerably. We were now travelling through mountains (by Australian standards that is, not Swiss!)
We first checked at the post office whether the relay had arrived. As it hadn’t we checked into Argylla Caravan Park. The unpowered section is quite nice. $34/night less 10% for Big4 members. We returned to town, had lunch, did a bit of shopping and had a couple of chips repaired in the windscreen which we got from stones being thrown up by vehicles travelling in the opposite direction.
On Wednesday morning Terry’s parcel arrived. We had the gas bottle refilled at BCF – which only does refills after 9:00am. As we had to be out of the caravan park by 10:00am it was a mad rush hooking up and packing the new roof rack bag we bought to replace the fiddly tarpaulin, although Lesley had already packed up the inside of the van.
We arrived at Camooweal Billabong [CAW6 Qld 315] just after lunchtime. This is a beautiful spot along a river waterhole. There are lots of caravans here and we had to move south of the billabong along the dry riverbed. All the same a pleasant spot.
Now we are ready to continue our rush to meet up in Curtin Springs with friends who will be doing the second part of the Outback Way. Hopefully we will be able to travel with them to Leonora WA.