Wednesday 10th Fraser Range Station to Cocklebiddy
We had a glorious stay at Fraser Range Station last night, starting with being led to our camp sites by our host riding a bicycle while we drove the Bradfords over. We had the camping area to ourselves – no-one travels out here without the obligatory caravan in tow, or the campervan, except us. The night was warm and still, and this morning not a drop of dew. Bill and I, Ollie and Barry were up and about at 5:00 to see the sunrise and listen to the myriads of birds singing – we’re not sure about Robert and Rosalie’s times, as they are up-grading whenever they can and last night they stayed in the old shearers’ quarter’s. Robert is living up to his nickname – the notorious up-grader.
Today was an eventful one for the Bradfords, but the bush mechanics got it all sorted with minimal fuss. First of all we pulled 2km off the Eyre Highway to see Newman Rocks and have a walk around this huge granite outcrop. Off we start again, when SEE had not gone more than 3m (that’s metres, not miles) when Bill stopped, not liking the noise coming from her. Under the vehicle the men went, to discover that a cotter pin that holds the king pin in place, had fallen out and the king pin had risen out of its lower bush. Not a good idea, as the front wheel could have collapsed – very dangerous. A new temporary cotter pin had to be made from a 5/16th bolt, as a cotter pin would have been the last thing to think of as a spare. All the three Bradfords were then checked for any loose components in the suspension and steering systems. At our lunch stop the fuel bowl from SEE was removed and all the orifices checked and cleaned, as SEE was returning poor fuel economy by comparison to the other two Bradfords.
Later in the day, on the Nullarbor, AND developed a fuel leak at the outlet of the fuel pump. A neoprene washer was made there and then from the neoprene gasket rubber carried in the spares. The contribution made from the women was a pair of sharp scissors.
Today we travelled 350km at good speed, averaging more than the 1km per minute. We travelled the 149km of the straightest road in Australia (called the Ninety-Mile Straight) in excess of 70km per hour. We had a god following wind – about 6-7 knots.
The men had their best day yet, because they were under the Bradfords, on the tools, doing mechanical repairs and using ingenuity to fix things. We also loved being on the Nullarbor – really lovely arid country. Everyone was in such high spirits when we pulled into Cocklebiddy Roadhouse that we followed Robert’s lead and up-graded into rooms, and had our first meal in a restaurant (meal room in the Roadhouse).
Tonight we can hear the wind howling outside, and already at sundown the temperature had plummeted enough to put on jackets. We will see what tomorrow brings.
Cheers for now (we have had no mobile / internet coverage since leaving Norseman, so these will come in late).
Bill and Susan
Our camp site at Fraser Range Station. We pitched our tents under the peppercorn tree, expecting dew overnight and this would protect our tents, but the night was absolutely dry. This working sheep station is roughly 400,000 acres, and a very tranquill place. Barry is near WAIT and Bill is near SEE.