Saturday 20th – Broken Hill to White Cliffs

It is late afternoon and I’m sitting by a billabong-true! We got about 70km up the road to White Cliffs when AND failed to proceed. At first the men thought she had run out of fuel, but on closer inspection, it was fuel pump failure. We thought what a beautiful place to ‘fail to proceed’. We had just crossed over a dry creek bed, when AND stopped. We all said thank you for ‘failing to proceed’ here, and not on the other 70km of treeless hot country. We pushed AND into the shade of the Eucalypt trees, and commenced working on her. That was about 2hours ago. It appears that the fuel pump has disintegrated inside - at least we have all the parts to repair it. And I can sit here in serenity.

Rosalie has disappeared – sketching along the creek bed; the men have all been busy trying to fix the fuel pump, Barry has been both mechanic and photographer, and of course I have been filming too. Just now, the heat is going out of the day, there is a cooling breeze coming up, and I’m noticing larger birds such as Cranes coming down to the billabong, and would you believe we even have the jolly jumbucks in the watercourse about 60 metres off. There are lots of small birds such as Finches here, and it is really a lovely spot. We could give White Cliffs a miss and camp here for the night. However AND is fixed and running, so it’s off we go to White Cliffs about 10km up the road.

The evening sees us quartered comfortably in the Underground Motel which has been bored into the cliff of Smiths Hill (also known as Poor Man’s Hill, as no opals were found in it). The motel is so much fun as you can easily get lost in the labyrinth of tunnels leading to the rooms. We have just finished a three course meal and are settling in for the night.

It may be of interest to describe the routine that is done on the Bradfords every night. Today for instance the three Bradfords travelled 390 km which is a considerable distance for the two cylinders, so they are jacked up and greased - the king pins every day and the other points every 3 days or so. All the spring and shackle bolts are checked every day and of course the oil and water. It takes about half an hour to complete all three. Today though we had something extra as Wait showed signs of oil coming from the rear axle (passenger’s side) which turned out to be a loose wheel hub and the axle grease was being heated, generated by the friction of the hub on the taper, allowing the oil to run out onto the rear wheel.

Another 350km day tomorrow will see if the problem has been fixed. And by the way, we were offered the tail end of one of the fruit cakes today.

Bill and Susan

WAIT AND SEE mixing it with the big boys at Topar Roadhouse