• Thewhiteox

Day 13 - Gemtree Campsite (Plenty Highway)

Updated: Aug 19, 2019

Sunrise WAS in fact, bloody magical. Getting out of bed at 5.30am was a struggle, but it was worth it when the light hit Uluru. I had got out all my warm clothes the night before, Jade had not, and was therefore freezing and had to sit inside the ox, though we had been smart enough to face her towards sunrise (I like to face east so we don’t get too much blinding light/heat right in the morning) so it made for a good spot. I can’t believe we had the whole place to ourselves, it was amazing.

We packed up in basically a sand storm, the wind was crazy, it makes you thankful we can completely shut up the Ox while we cook and eat, I’d hate to have the set up 99.9% of people have where you have to be outside to cook, the wind would have made it impossible. Instead, we sat cosy warm inside with tea and sausage sarnies (+ obligatory timtam).

We hit the road around 9am, with some bluegrass and woody Guthrie to keep us moving, and got to Alice Springs around 2pm, and quickly set to work.

First up, oil (we use 10l of 15w-40 mineral, preferably shell rimula, is Ox’s favourite, though we could only get 20w-60 today) and genuine Toyota oil filter- regardless of being on the road, we’re fastidious about keeping up oil changes every 5000km, no matter what, and reckon that’s the secret to her near perfect condition.

Then new uni joints for the front prop shaft. We pulled it off, marked it up, and took it to a local mechanic to put the new joints in with a press.

While he was doing that, he got a muffler shop to look over our exhaust and see if he could sell us another bracket to secure nearer the manifold. When he saw our repair work, he offered us a job and told us there was nothing else we needed (Side note from the future- we've taken it to a few other shops since and a year later, it's still the same mount, and we've never had a problem with it since).

Then we went next door for a new seal and bearing for the prop shaft/transfer case, as it’s been leaking, and new swivel hub and seal.

Finally, we picked up some food supplies (and a bottle of Hellyers whisky, a 10year old single malt from Tasmania that is bloody lovely), packed up, went out for dinner (pizza at Casa Nova) and got back on the toad to the plenty highway, listening to two great Ted Radio hour podcasts, the first about the architecture of choices, and the second on death, which was heartwarming and inspiring.

Don't drop yer washer in yer oil bucket

We got to Gemtree campsite shortly after 10pm, and despite being very tired, did our oil change while our engine was still hot, before a nice hot shower, and finally being in bed now, at 12.30am.

Definitely want a sleep in tomorrow.

Jade’s snoring like a hippo… May murder him, idk. Next Day: Day 14 - Batton Hill and the Hay River Track

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