All good things eventually come to an end, and so it is the case with…
Feral, the station mechanic for Gnaraloo, was kind enough to not only fix up the turtle wagon for us, but also to give us a day long vehicle induction. On Saturday morning Casey, Einat, Brendan, Nora and I all walked up to Feral’s workshop not quite sure of what to expect, having seen the massive orange machine being driven around the station at full speed.
Straight off we were shown how to check the tyres, oil and water on the big orange box. Inspecting the completely rebuilt engine under the bonnet and getting tips like ‘if the radiator pipe has a hole in it do this…’, ‘if you get stuck in the outback with no water don’t drink the radiator water, drink the water for the windscreen bottle’ and ‘don’t run head first into any bushes or you’ll ruin my motor’ was really useful, although some of it did seem to go over our heads a bit.
Things started getting a bit more serious when we had to change one of the tyres. Casey got straight into it, getting the bolts of nice and quickly. Nora and Einat got down on their hands and knees in the red dirt to take the ‘flat’ tyre off and put the new one on. I scrambled under the car to let the jack down. No dramas and now we are all pro’s at changing tyres in preparation for all our upcoming flat tyres out near Gnaraloo Bay and Cape Farquhar in the next four months.
It then got exciting when we hopped in the car for a practice drive. There seemed to be a thousand little things to remember to do before we could even turn the car on. All of us had driven manual before, except Nora who had a go and did great, flinging us around the air strip in 4th gear at 80kph as if she were a rally car driver. Driving the turtle wagon is just like driving a normal land cruiser, except a bit more rusty, more stiff and with harder steering and brakes. It will definitely give us a few interesting stories.
Feral then took us out on an adventure through to 10 mile, 6 mile and finally to Gnaraloo Bay. We all held on for dear life as we flew over the sandy terrain but made it out alive and a lot more car savvy.
So a few days later, Einat, Brendan and I got to see how much we learnt from our induction. It turned out we were slightly less experienced 4WD-ers than we thought we were when Einat didn’t quite make it over a sand dune and came very close to flipping the car over out in the bush. Brendan was hanging on for dear life yelling instructions, I tried to crawl out of the window, and Einat screamed Hebrew profanities but managed to get us out of that sticky situation. We all agreed we needed some proper 4WD lessons before venturing out into the bush again.