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Day 6 in the bag!

Alice Springs, Australia

Mike's Top Gear Challenge
Day 6

Today I woke up early at the Banka Banka Camp and quickly packed up. I checked the fluid levels on the car and the coolant was full and the oil level was correct though the oil is much darker now. 

Today will be another 500 k plus day- it is amazing to go so far so fast after the bike journey. And today I will see areas I haven't been to and finish up in the famous outback town of Alice Springs.

First I drove 100k to Tennant Creek and back to the motel I'd stayed in my last time through. I bought a coffee and spent almost two hours updating my blog and loading and captioning pictures of the Litchfield and Katherine Gorge Parks. I am working hard to keep this blog more up to date with the car taking me to places with computers or wireless connections nearly every day.

Then it was driving and driving and driving. The car ran well at 130 kph all day and never got hot. There are some noises at the end of the day that are a bit different from the start, but we will see. 

Today I saw an area they call the Devil's Marbles where there are boulders stacked on top of each other and some are eerily almost perfectly round. It is a small area and before I got there I saw a cyclist who I knew had a bad rear hub. I passed him and went back after seeing the Marbles and offered him my rear wheel. His name is Henrik and he is riding around the world on his bike. 

Henrik has ordered a hub to Alice Springs so after we found that my wheel would work I offered to take his wheel with me to the bike shop and he could ride my wheel in and leave it at the shop for me to pick up. I will go see Ulurru and the Kings Canyon over the next two days while he rides in and then I will come back to Alice Springs for my wheel. It means that I have to backtrack 159k one day, but a lot of people helped me so I need to give that back.   

I gave him a cold tangerine and an icy diet coke as well....little things that mean a lot in the hot sun on a bike.

I left Henrik and continued down the road. It looks more deserty here...dry dry dry. Before I forget I want to mention that everyday I have seen big bush fires right by the road. Yesterday it was flaming on the opposite side of the highway for about 1/4 mile and you could feel the heat of the flames as they devoured the dry trees. No one was firefighting they just let it burn. So much empty space to scorch. I saw a burned out car that looked to be the ignition source for the fire. Even "Cheap as Chips" wouldn't take that one!

I also played with the radio trying to get a station in and occasionally did, but my antenna is busted and that hinders my reception significantly.

I stopped for gas because I had dropped below 1/2 a tank about 200 k north of AS and they wanted a $1.93 a liter! I had discussed with Peter how foolish it was to shop around for cheap gas, but this was highway robbery- even in Daly Waters I only paid $1.83. I put in $ 15.00 wortht o be on the safe side and took off. 

As the fuel gauge crept down I remembered that some cars' gauges drop faster after the first 1/2 tank so I watched it like a hawk. Now I was never in danger of being stranded because I had 20 liters of gas in cans in the car, but I could run out or get it so low that crap in the bottom of the tank might cause problems. I was convinced that if I hit the 80k marker to AS before the gauge read 1/4 I would be ok. At 1/4 exactly 80 k sign appeared. The car went really low towards 'E' but the low fuel warning light never came on (if it works!).

So far everything but the A/C is working well, but I do hate the drivers seat. The last guy must have had a fat ass and rode it on his left hip because the left side of the seat is beating up my left kidney. I shift around and the pain comes back whenever I settle in. I need to try more seat adjustments. I can go forward or back, up or down or tilt it. There is a lumbar adjust but I have that off because it just pokes at me. 

Other than that the car is doing really well. 

I got into Alice Springs just after 4pm and dropped off the wheel. gassed up and found a caravan park on the south side of town for a quick departure tomorrow to The Rock.

More tomorrow on Day 7 of Mike's Top Gear Challenge.

permalink written by  Mike_Veine on September 5, 2012 from Alice Springs, Australia
from the travel blog: Mike's Top Gear Challenge
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Great to read the updates Mike. Have you tried using your sleeping pad to make the car seat a bit more comfortable?

permalink written by  Rob K on September 5, 2012

Sounds like you are having a great time, it's very nice that you are helping out Henrik. You're right though, others have helped you, so you must help others.
Rob had a good idea about trying to use your sleeping pad in your seat, that might just help a little bit.
Stay safe and healthy, I love you!!!
Your Sis

permalink written by  Kris Martin on September 5, 2012

My pad I'd a huge blow up style that is just too big but that was a gpod
Suggestion.. Thanks 4 the comments!

permalink written by  Mike_Veine on September 6, 2012

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