Week 9 Weekly Blog 22/07/2021 - 28/07/2021
Last week saw us finally get to the tip and explore Cape York and finishing with us with no brakes and waiting for a tow from Bramwell Junction Roadhouse to Weipa. Read on below for what adventures we got up to in week 9 of Allan and I exploring Oz.
Woke to a beautiful, sunny morning, but everything was dewy. As planned Brian came to pick up Allan at 10am to take him back to Bramwell Station to fix the wheel bearing on our camper trailer. I had to stay at Bramwell Junction Roadhouse, as there was too much stuff in Brian’s car to fit me in. I spent the morning pottering around camp, chilling out and making sure the solar was still charging our battery in the car to keep the fridge running. Unfortunately, our second battery to run the fridge was not working properly, so we were going to have to replace it when we got to Weipa. Allan returned just after 1pm with some food supplies from the camper trailer, stolen beer from Brian and firewood which he and Brian had collected on the way back to the roadhouse. Allan told me that the wheel bearings in the camper needed two bearings the same size, not one big and one small bearing, so they had to use one of the old ones and one of the new ones. Thankfully, the old ones seemed to be OK after a good cleanout with WD40. Brian left us and we decided to walk to the roadhouse to pay for another night of camping. At the roadhouse a couple of boys with big Patrols were there and another one arrived slowly with a shattered windscreen and the front passenger tyre rolling on an odd angle. It looked like the wheel bearing had packed it in. One of his mates had a spare one and he asked a random if he could borrow his high-lift jack. The random guy ended up helping take the tyre off and removing the old bearing, which had melted the thread on the axel. To fix it they had to weld the new bearing on. This had already taken 3hours to take it apart and work this out. Someone in the campground had a welder and another person had a generator to power the welder. With the help of so many people and close to 5hours later (6:30pm), the guy got back up and running. He left the roadhouse pretty much as soon as his car was fixed and drove off. Over this 5hours we had walked back to camp and started cooking tea and I even went for a walk to look at the large termite mounds. Had tea and went to bed.
Woke this morning to a dewy campsite. We chilled out at camp, walked a few laps of the campground and had a look at large termite mounds in the campground that we hadn’t seen yet, scrounged some firewood that other people had left and relaxed. Allan decided to cook some marinated beef ribs in the Bedourie camp oven for tea tonight. We started a fire at 2:30pm to have enough coals for the camp oven. Allan lined the bottom of the Bedourie with alfoil, fitted the ribs inside and poured water in just so the ribs were submerged. We made a bed of coals next to the fire, put the Bedourie on the coals, then put a few coals on top. Over the next 3.5hours Allan kept changing the coals to make sure they weren’t too hot or too cold. By 6ish Allan took the ribs out the Bedourie, drizzled them in honey and smokey BBQ sauce and individually wrapped them in alfoil and placed them in the fire over the coals. Earlier, we had wrapped sweet potato in alfoil and put them in the coals and cooked some mixed frozen veg. The ribs were delicious and very filling. Went to bed with a full stomach.
Today was the day we were expecting to be picked up by the tow-truck and taken to Weipa. We woke up to another dewy morning, so we had to put the swag in the sun to dry. The tow truck rocked up just before 10am and Allan and I weren’t ready for it. Allan went to talk to the tow truck driver, and I started packing up the chairs, table, solar panel and the swag. It took 15minutes for us to be packed up, and the car loaded onto the tow truck. The ride to Weipa was a rough, bumpy ride. The road was extremely corrugated, the driver knew the road extremely well and knew when it was going to be rough and when the dips were, but his speed averaged from 80-105km/hr and he didn’t slow down for anyone who was passing the other way. It took just over 2 hours to get to Weipa from Bramwell Junction Roadhouse and we arrived at the mechanic in Weipa a bit after 12pm. The car got unloaded and put out the back of the mechanics. We took out some necessities from the car (clothes, toiletries, fridge and freezer food and our electronics) and called the RAA to organise accommodation. When we first opened the fridge, all I could smell was garlic. We had a jar of minced garlic, which had exploded throughout the entire fridge and a bottle of soy sauce that had leaked. I tried my best to clean it out, but it was just going to have to wait until we got the car back and we could take the fridge out the car. RAA were unable to get into contact with the caravan park, so they suggested we get a taxi to the caravan park and organise something in person. Unfortunately, the taxi in Weipa was under high demand and not answering their phones, so Allan called Brian to see if he could pick us up from the mechanics. We did try to start walking, but everything we had was too heavy. Brian had to make 2 trips to pick both of us up with our stuff. At the caravan park, they were extremely busy and only had one cabin left for tonight ($100 per night) which had a kitchenette, but no ensuite and another cabin which we could book for up to one week ($165 per night) which had both kitchenette and ensuite. RAA would cover the cost of 2 nights of emergency up to the value of $150 per night, so we took the 2 nights in the 2 different cabins. We couldn’t book any more nights because we didn’t know how long the repairs to the car were going to take. We got set up in the cabin, went to Woolworths and chilled out in the cabin for the night with the air conditioning on and a TV! It felt like luxury to have a bed as well! It’s so easy to fall back into old habits watching tv and sitting on the couch. Yet when you’re out bush you don’t even miss it!
We woke up to a smoky morning from people doing burning off. We packed up our stuff and took it to Sue and Brian’s to check out of the cabin we were in by 10am. We went to Reception to check out and see if the next cabin was available, which it was. The next cabin was literally across the road from the cabin we were in last night, so we carried all our stuff from Sue and Brian’s site to the new cabin for tonight. Allan chilled out in the cabin in the air conditioning and watched the Olympics, while I cooked spag bog to use the mince that had defrosted in our freezer yesterday. We went for a swim in the pool at the caravan park. We had planned to have nibbles and play games with Sue and Brian this afternoon, so we decided to walk to the Shell, there were 2 so we chose the closer one ~2.2km away to buy some chips (it was Sunday and Woolworths wasn’t open). It was a hot day and both Allan and I were sweating a lot! About halfway to the Shell, Allan really needed to go to the toilet. There were no public toilets, so he just had to wait until we got to the Shell. Once at the Shell, it was under construction and there was a port-a-loo which was locked. I asked the lady behind the shipping container desk if there was a key to the port-a-loo, but she said it was a staff toilet only and there were public toilets at the rugby field only a minute away. I asked how long that would take walking, because we were walking. She looked shocked and she was kind enough to lend us the key to use the port-a-loo. We bought 2 small packets of chips ($5 total) and walked back to the caravan park. We had a quick swim in the pool, then Sue and Brian decided they were cooking dinner. Allan and I had chips and cheese for nibbles which turned into tea and played cards. Sue and Brian came over after their tea and we played Sequence. Allan and I won 5 games, then we swapped partners and Allan and Brian won the last game.
We packed up our cabin and moved our stuff to Sue and Brian’s campsite again. We had to wait until the afternoon for RAA to call the mechanic to see how long the repairs were going to take. We chilled out at the caravan park, went swimming in the pool and went for a walk on the beach. Allan decided to go with Brian to find a dust cap for our camper and they dropped in at the mechanics to find out what was going on with the repairs and to pick up the swag just in case we needed it for tonight. It was almost 4pm and Allan called me from the mechanic to tell me that they had tried everywhere to find a dust cap and had to go to the fabricators to find one that will hopefully fit and that the car wasn’t going to be ready until tomorrow, so I should try and book a cabin for tonight. I went to the reception to book something and the only cabin available was the same one we were in last night. I also had to wait for Allan to come back to call RAA to get RAA to send a request for accommodation to the caravan park to be able to book the accommodation for the night. Allan rocked up at reception on the phone to RAA, so we were able to organise accommodation then and there. We walked our stuff back to the same cabin as last night and set up the cabin as we wanted. We were on our way to Woolworths to get some supplies when we saw Allan’s Aunty Jan and Uncle Trevor and their friends, Hans and Jo had arrived in Weipa today and were staying in cabins at the caravan park too. We decided to have tea at the Barramunchies (café) with them at 5:30pm. We went to Woolworths, then got back and went to Barramunchies for tea and had a few drinks before going back to the cabin.
Packed up the cabin for hopefully the last time today and once again traipsed our things to Sue and Brian’s campsite. We chilled out at their site, went swimming in the pool and went for a walk on the beach and went to Woolworths to get some steak for tea tonight. Sue and Brian booked us all into a sunset cruise tour (Christmas present for Allan and I) for tomorrow night. At 3pm Allan received a call from RAA to say that the car was ready to be picked up. Brian took Allan to the mechanic to pick up the car and I went and booked a powered site for the next 2 nights ($47 per night). We couldn’t get the same site for both nights, but we only had to move to the site next to us the next day. Allan returned with the car. We moved our stuff from Sue and Brian’s campsite for the last time and set up camp on our own site. We went to Hans and Jo’s cabin and cooked our steaks for tea, then we learnt how to play a game named perudo (dice game where you have to bluff what dice you have) and then a card game called “Bastard”. Allan magically disappeared pretty early on. I ended up ringing him only to find out he had walked off and gone to bed, soft. I wasn’t too far behind after what ended up being a long day but great night.
Woke up to an ABC news update that said a bulk carrier from the Philippines had 19 of 21 crew all diagnosed with COVID-19 and they were making an emergency docking in Weipa to get them flown to Brisbane for treatment. We were a bit frightened of this and so decided to go food shopping, get petrol and a new second battery this morning and stay in the caravan park for the rest of the day. We also decided to cancel the booking for the cruise for tonight just to be on the safe side. We had a lot of cleaning and rearranging to do in the car after the tow truck ride from Bramwell Junction Roadhouse and the mechanic didn’t clean up and left brake line fluid everywhere under the bonnet of our car. We moved campsite to the one next to us, cleaned out our garlic and soy sauce fridge as best we could, but it still smelt like garlic (gross). We set up our new battery system and made sure it was working properly. Allan used degreaser to spray on the spilt brake line fluid and then hosed the degreaser off with water. Under the bonnet has never looked so clean! Brian had gone on a fishing charter today and had given us some cod, which Allan and I decided to have for tea, because you can’t go wrong with fresh fish. We played Sequence, then went to bed for hopefully the last night in the swag.
This week we had an adventurous ride to Weipa in the tow truck a bit of a mess around with RAA and the mechanic and finally got our car back! Stay tuned for next week for us to hopefully get out of Weipa and get back on the road to get our camper trailer and continue our adventure!