Check out the Fuso ready to join us for the Northern leg of The Great Rattler Run with Trevor at the wheel. The Fuso is going to follow us up the Old Telegraph Track. Will it survive Gunshot Creek cro...
Day Eight of The Great Rattler Run – Rest day at the Gold Coast They say there is no rest for the wicked! I must have been wicked in another life, or maybe I need to choose my friends more wisely (M...
Day Ten of The Great Rattler Run - Made it to Cardwell!
I finally made it to Cardwell!
Some statistics: 12.5 hours, 884 kms, 2 x 5 minute fuel stops, 1 x 20 minute flat tyre stop, 10 minutes sightseeing at the top of Castle Hill in Townsville, 1 sausage roll and 1 of the worst coffees I've ever had!
It wasn't just a long day for Shaneen and I in The Rattler. The last of my sweeps arrived 1.5 hours after The Rattler. The boys were racing against the clock to pull in to Cardwell as fast as they could as they were carrying my diabetes medication! Oops, did I hear someone say that it was in Shaneen's handbag in the Landcruiser? The same Landcruiser that was towing the car trailer? As a result, I couldn't risk eating anything after breakfast for fear of raising my blood sugar.
All in all, yesterday was still a great day. The scenery was absolutely stunning and is noticeably changing as we drive further into Queensland's Tropical North. Just see for yourself!
So I'll sign of for now and shout out a big thanks to everyone for a job well done yesterday.
It certainly has been an eventful morning. I've been in The Rattler for the last 7 1/2 hours and I'm currently ahead of the support crew by over 2 hours!
We left the motel at 5 am, and about 30 minutes into the trip, the car trailer was throwing off sparks. The boys all pulled over and found the inside wheel bearing on one side had collapsed. It was still not yet 6 am, when the other support vehicle turned around and went back to Rocky to try and source a new wheel bearing. After waiting until 7.30 for the shop to open, they got the part plus a spare and headed back to the trailer. They changed the wheel bearing and moved on.
Meanwhile, The Rattler is cruising up the Pacific Highway when I felt the vehicle pulling to one side. It didn't take me long to work out that we had another flat, the third one on the rear outside. I changed the tyre and moved on. But not before I made my mind up to swap out the cheese cutters tyres for the mud fats at the first available opportunity. Whilst I do prefer to keep The Rattler's period appearance, safety always must come first. So I'm going to dress the old girl up in a mini skirt, even at the risk of impersonating a hot rod!
But that isn't going to happen until we all make it safely to Cardwell for the night. Whilst I've been typing this message, the boys have phoned in, reporting that the other wheel bearing is running very hot. When the truck pulls up behind them, they are going to replace it with the spare that Trevor had the foresight to buy this morning. Good work Trevor!
Meanwhile, I'm cruising along and heading towards Inkerman.
I certainly hope we don't have any trouble in the next 3 1/2 hours on the way to Cardwell as I'll have to wait about 3 or more hours for my two support vehicles to arrive. The third vehicle is only carrying the camera crew and their gear, who are chasing us at the moment. I've slowed down the speed by 10 kmph to allow everyone to gain a little ground.
Day Nine of The Great Rattler Run - Gold Coast to Rockhampton
Having spent the day at home base yesterday, with a fully equipped garage, we didn't miss the opportunity to give The Rattler an oil change. After straining the oil we found very few filings that most likely came from the aluminium timing gear and backing plate. There were no metal filings from the bearings. As always, the Penrite Oil with its high zinc content is doing a marvellous job. We also topped up the underdrive box and differential with Penrite oils and used their special high temp grease on the nipples all around. I've been using Penrite oils since 1988, and they have proven so reliable over the years that I have never had a failure of any component when using it.
Today we were all eager to say goodbye to the Gold Coast and head North with two additional support vehicles, the Fuso and the Vito. It should take us another two weeks and one day to make it up to the tip of Cape York and back.
The weather forecast wasn't promising this morning and soon the grey skies were filled with rain clouds! By the time we got to the Sunshine Coast, about an hour North, the heavens opened up and engulfed The Rattler. Nothing much changed for the next 600 kms!
The Rattler is a left hand drive vehicle. When I first found her, she had a beautiful coach body which was not at all appropriate for the Australian desert or Cape York. So I carefully removed the body and now she has no doors, windows or hard top for that matter. When cars or trucks pass her, air pressure forces road spray and rain into the passenger side of the cabin on the right. As the trip North is on the main highway, there is no shortage of passing vehicles.
Don was at the wheel again today, with Mark at his side ready to take one for the team each time the trucks flew by heading South. It was also a bit chilly with the temperature hovering around 13 degrees centigrade the whole day. But there is just something about riding in The Rattler that makes you smile, and the rain just makes you feel alive! After a few hours of rain pounding, the boys used a little ingenuity and scavenged some old plastic shop signs from a service station, which they used as doors to keep most of the water out. Don and I used the same trick with pieces of cardboard on The Desert Rattler Run through the centre of Australia. With that problem solved they motored on into the afternoon with Don resisting every opportunity to let me take wheel and give him a chance to dry out in the support vehicles. As I said, driving down the highway in The Rattler just makes you smile, and exposure to the elements only heightens the senses and reminds you how blessed you are to experience this journey.
As we pulled into the first servo in Rockhampton this arvo, Don noticed air leaking from one of the rear tyres. I'd say that was very good timing, as the tyre quickly deflated. After filling her up and changing the wheel, The Rattler was back on the road and headed for our overnight stop at a very comfy and welcoming motel in Rocky.
First thing on the agenda was to get to the bottom of the tyre issue, with three flats now under our belt. On the black top we are running the cheese cutter tyres, and with the high speed they are not proving to be reliable. I can't wait to fit the BFGoodrich Tires (the mud fats) at Bramwell which is the last stop before we enter the Old Telegraph Track. We shouldn't have these troubles with those aptly named mud fats!
Tomorrow we are heading North with Cairns almost in our sights. It's going to be a long day, as we hope to cover at least 880 kms. I'll be in The Rattler and on the road at 5 am on the dot. I'm on a mission to cover as much ground as possible, and take whatever the weather wants to throw at me. Nothing is going to stop this road train from making it to the Old Telegraph Track!
So it's night night from Rocky, and, as always, hooroo!