April 2013 around aus trip in the planning

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emjan
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Re: April 2013 around aus trip in the planning

Unread post by emjan » October 20th, 2013, 10:41 am

A long trip away certainly sorts out the need and don't need list.

We're feeling a bit disenchanted with some of the equipment our 4wd outfitter installed. 1- the Ark Pack. Hasn't been as good as expected and "power station" is a bit of an exaggeration. Wasn't impressed that it was a lead acid and not an AGM as we wanted in the first place. Takes an age to charge and then doesn't hold it properly.

2-the OzPig. This truly is a waste of space. A camp fire produces more heat and is better for cooking. Just not worth the 17 kgs we have to cart around. Friends told us it was indispensible. It isn't. Maybe one of those little fold up firepits would be better and cheaper.

3-UHF aerial. Not sure of the brand but the screw keeps coming loose and it wobbles around. Have to get out the duct tape. Should've insisted on a better brand.

4-MSA 50 fridge slide. Works fine except we were sold a size too small for our fridge and its cover. A real pain to get in and out.

5- Quick Step. A small step ladder is a better investment plus can be moved around and not confined to a wheel. We gave ours away.

We found a fantastic book by Collyn Rivers called "Solar that really works. Reading it was an Hallelujia moment for us. Highly recommended and worth the $42. Sorted out a lot of our electrical/solar issues.

Well time for a cooling swim it's gonna be a hot one today
Born again 4WD-er. 08 Navara D40 spain

TLC60S
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Re: April 2013 around aus trip in the planning

Unread post by TLC60S » October 23rd, 2013, 12:52 am

Hi emjan
I have been having troubles with posting photos on the forum . Before you had to keep the size of your photo to less than 1MB but I have had photos at 950kb crash the webpage so now I keep the size to a maximum 800Kb so I don't get the message webpage cant be found. So try shrinking your photos more before posting. I copy the photos out of MY Computer
& paste them into My Pictures then right click to bring up the edit , click resize then resize the percentage , click OK then save. I do this until the photo size is less than 800KB. Do all this before clicking Upload An Attachment.
Hope this can be a help for you. Cheers TLC60S

emjan
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Re: April 2013 around aus trip in the planning

Unread post by emjan » November 10th, 2013, 1:58 pm

Will give that a try TL60S.

This morning we did one of the revered tracks up here called The Widowmaker. It took us a while to find it as a lot of people were secretive about its location, but find it we did. There are 3 tracks that go up Widowmaker. The one on the left is the easiest but still a rocky climb. The middle track was quite steep with plenty of ups n downs and a twist near the top. The one on the right was pretty rugged with a pronounced granite ledge and metre plus drop beneath that would've certainly taken out our diff and rear bumper. We did the other 2....so steep could barely see over the bonnet. Great fun! We drove on through the West Macs saw plenty of good camping areas, so remote and beautiful. The views from the mountaun tops breathtaking.

Lunch over time to drive down the Ross hwy for firewood. Nothing beats the aroma of burning mulga.
Born again 4WD-er. 08 Navara D40 spain

emjan
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Re: April 2013 around aus trip in the planning

Unread post by emjan » November 10th, 2013, 2:54 pm

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Born again 4WD-er. 08 Navara D40 spain

TLC60S
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Re: April 2013 around aus trip in the planning

Unread post by TLC60S » November 10th, 2013, 4:14 pm

Hi emjan
Good to see you can post photos again & what I do to get the photo to show how steep it looks I take it from the side view of the car getting the horizon & the ground with any trees along the track. The only photos I can make look steep from taken sitting inside the car is photographing another 4wd in front on a different angle , maybe the pros have other ways so there might be some tips in the photography thread.

emjan
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Joined: November 5th, 2012, 4:59 pm
Location: Alice Springs, NT

Re: April 2013 around aus trip in the planning

Unread post by emjan » November 16th, 2013, 9:15 am

I left the hospital at Alice Springs last Tuesday & started a 12 month contract at Congress Aboriginal health care. First day I felt like the life had been sucked out of me. Very different. By yesterday afternoon was loving the new job. From a nursing world where everything is double checked into another of complete autonomy consulting, prescribing, problem solving...it was a huge transition which with time I should settle into well.

So it means of course that we're here for a lot longer which of course means a lot more exploring & getting to know the NT a la Alice.

Tomorrow we're heading down towards Ross River for Wayne to see if he can find an obscure gold bearing area. Might do the water crossings over the Binns track again as well while we're at it.

Next weekend we're heading up to the Davenport Ranges to camp at the Old Police Station Waterhole for our fishing fix as it's some months since we had that opportunity. The weather is heating up, had another mostly 30C night, but it's a glorious thing & loving it. Something about the red dirt that gets in your blood.
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Peter Aawen
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Re: April 2013 around aus trip in the planning

Unread post by Peter Aawen » November 16th, 2013, 9:31 am

Didn't someone tell you that the place gets under your skin?? Lots of people have gone up for a working holiday, extended the first contract or signed on a new one, and next thing you know, it's 15 years later & you're still there...... :D

But, there's lots of places to check out, things to see, people to do.... err, no, try again... people to see, things to do, places to explore - keep on enjoying it and keep posting pics, whenever you can. ;)

BTW, the restaurant purchase fell thru, we tried for over 5 months & spent a fair bit of time, effort, & money on it, but the vendor didn't ever get their stuff in a heap. The development applic for the kitchen re-location they did 3 years ago flopped a few times & the unauthorised variations they'd made to other things screwed the liquor licence transfer and we just couldn't keep on waiting for them to sort it all out. The staff I had on standby to go in couldn't keep on waiting (even tho a few weeks holiday was nice) & I couldn't afford to keep paying them without some income from the place..... Maybe we'll try again next year, it's shut now, the licence has been pulled, and they owe a lot of people a lot of money, all cos they 'like to fly under the radar' with DA's & Licence variations etc, so once it's back in the owners hands again, maybe we'll get another chance.... or possibly we'll find another place nearby, with just as much potential!! We'll get there eventually!!! :D
An Ex-Service person is someone who thought enough about their country & how great it is, how lucky we are to live here, to write a blank cheque made out to 'The People and Commonwealth of Australia' for the value of 'Up to & including my Life!'

emjan
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Re: April 2013 around aus trip in the planning

Unread post by emjan » December 1st, 2013, 10:40 pm

Sorry to hear about the sale falling through Peter, but you never know what's around the corner of business opportunities.

Yes Alice does get under one's skin, what a great place, so much to see & squeeze in before the sweltering summer sets in. It really is astounding beauty & there are so many tracks off the main drags to explore. I found a town map of all the Aboriginal camps invaluable for not ending up in the wrong place.

It was 41 here today & we sweated & sweated. The dogs took themselves into their clam shell pool at least 3 times for a cool off & we were appreciative of a cool swim in the big pool as well. The heat is different to Melbourne heat which seems hotter & humid than up here, but the nights here have been very warm & we wouldn't have survived without our 12V fan & evap cooler. We're clipping the dogs fortnightly to keep the hair length to a minimum. Empty soft drink bottles get filled with water & refrigerated frequently as we try to keep our water levels up. Still we have another 3-4 months ahead or searing heat to survive.

We're continuing to have major issues with our Ark Pack & the company so far has been receptive in resolving the problems with constantly blowing fuses & depleted battery. We've had to move the Ironman Ice cube into the camper trailer & connect it to power as we just couldn't keep the fridge running on the little charge produced. So far we have found it difficult to find anyone in Alice who knows how they work.

Hard to believe Christmas is almost here! No doubt a camp oven roast cooked on an open fire in 40C+ heat will be the go, maybe a bit of desert camping with the family....I think the pool will win somehow

My job has been more difficult & intense than I initially expected & I hope it gets easier with time. It looks like Wayne might be able to pick up seasonal maintenance work at the showgrounds & will be going in tomorrow to finalise details.
Born again 4WD-er. 08 Navara D40 spain

TLC60S
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Re: April 2013 around aus trip in the planning

Unread post by TLC60S » December 2nd, 2013, 12:01 am

Hi emjan
I hope you don't melt in the heat & keep up your fluids with the water.
Also good luck for Wayne with the job
Cheers TLC60S

emjan
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Joined: November 5th, 2012, 4:59 pm
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Re: April 2013 around aus trip in the planning

Unread post by emjan » December 3rd, 2013, 8:58 pm

The heat so far has been very hot, but doesn't worry us too much, there's always the pool & we refill the soft drink bottles put them in the fridge so there's always water to drink. We're about to concoct a tropical roof with a tarp so hopefully that'll help too. The issue is the dogs. I've put them on a diet of chicken rice & vegies which I cook up for them, something digestible, find a lot of dogs around here vomit with the heat. They amble over to their doggy pool, hop in & lie down in the water. We're clipping them every 2 weeks to keep their coats down.

The Ark Pack has gone back to Ark today & we tried running the Ice Cube off the battery which just won't hold the charge. Dread having to buy a gel batt when this lead acid is only 10 mths old, but it's never quite cut the mustard & we would never have gone for a lead acid by choice. More ph calls.....
Born again 4WD-er. 08 Navara D40 spain

emjan
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Re: April 2013 around aus trip in the planning

Unread post by emjan » February 6th, 2014, 8:55 pm

Ok let me have another go. The internet is so bad here that I've already tried 4 times to give an update & the rotten thing wouldn't got through.

We got the Ark back with a new inverter in it. So far we haven't tested it out because we've been running the fridge out of the car for the last couple of months. We were sure the DC lead acid batt had cacked itself but when we had it checked all was ok with it....just not a good choice for a power pack. I found a 4X4 mag in the waiting room of the local dr's & it had a great article on the pros & cons of batteries so I nicked it for a read at home.

The lead acid takes longer to charge which it doesn't maintain or hold so not a good choice for power packs. But for the time being we'll just have to put up with it until we can afford to replace it.

The heat has been pretty much constant & for us heat lovers we've totally enjoyed enjoyed it. Probably been a bit cooler than down south. The nights are very warm & we couldn't survive without our 2 fans....1 each...keeps it all civilised. 1 is a Bora fan from JTS. Great little fan but I'd have to question the point of the weird little base on it. The other, a transcool evap cooler was not what we expected but once we got used to the noise of it on the 2nd setting all was ok & I love it now.

Haven't done too many drives as the weather has been too hot to head out of town & away from the pool, We did do a nice one down the Ross Hwy, past the Ross River airfield & took a track through a little driven area with mud bogs & fallen trees across the track. It's only supposed to be 30C this Sunday so we might do it again & head a little further off the beaten track.

Our latest acquisition is a mosquito net for our awning. Can't wait to try it out.

We're still up here in the caravan park. You really have to question why some people choose to manage these things....a young couple in their mid 20's with no prior experience, he has no desire to maintain the park as it should be. We have spent about $200 on chemicals to eradicate ants without much success & the managers are not remotely interested in the massive swarms we have here. The pool is mostly under chlorinated, there are hordes of wild rabbits everywhere that have burrowed under the buildings & are undermining the foundations, the showers are putrid & mouldy, he empties the overflow of the septic tank in front of where we're camping (we have the EPA ph no handy for the next time he tries that stunt) & over near the front fence is a massive heap of garden refuse & rubbish, He allows family & friends to bring all their garden waste in & leave it on the heap. We also heard yesterday they have approved the agisting of about 14 camels next to where we are camping! FFS!!!

Still, we love the spot where we are, our 1/4 acre block Wayne calls it, with our fire pit & plenty of space which is why we have stayed on, but there must be some sort of council bylaw for agisting animals in a tourist zoned area. But I guess that's the NT for you.

If any of you have a good tip for getting rid of ants we'd love to hear....we have tried fly spray, surface spray, lime, bleach, dettol, ant sand & baits.
Born again 4WD-er. 08 Navara D40 spain

TLC60S
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Re: April 2013 around aus trip in the planning

Unread post by TLC60S » February 8th, 2014, 11:24 am

Hi emjan
Have you tried putting your campers legs in tins then placing the tin into a larger diameter tin or tub filled with water & jack your campers wheels up & place them in tubs filled with water. If you don't want your tyres in water remove the tyres & place blocks holding up the van in water. This idea is OK for you cause your not moving regular as most people travelling. As for the electrical lead keep it up of the ground & before it goes into your camper smear high temp wheel bearing grease around the lead & do the sink drain hose if it touches the ground the same way . Make sure nothing come in contact with the ground unless it's in water or have grease around it.
Cheers TLC60S

emjan
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Re: April 2013 around aus trip inw the planning

Unread post by emjan » February 9th, 2014, 7:06 pm

Thanks but I think fly spray is a helluva lot easier TLC60S, plus we like the flexibility of packing up & taking off when we want to. We have so many ground contact points with the annex & awnings that to do what you suggest would be a bit counterproductive, plus it's the ground outside that's teeming with the blighters. We need something that's going to knock the little mongrels off.

We have a young coupe here & have heard they're planning on bringing in & agisting 14 camels here at the Caravan park in a couple of weeks. Unbelievable! I have a feeling we will be moving on when they do that. Obviously customer service doesn't come into what they provide here which is not a great deal.

Today I was hanging out for a day trip so we headed off down the Ross Hwy & headed inland at its end. We drove for hours & eventually ended up near Atnarpa. We took the track down to the Binns Track/Numery Road & headed back along that to the Ross Hwy once again.

I was saying to Wayne that if we're here next year we should set up a tour company, taking people out in their 4wds to some of the more remote places around the East Macs like some of the station tracks & Ruby Gap, & the Binns Track via Arltunga up to Tennant Creek, camping inland from roads. Something we'd both love to do so we're going to look into the process & insurance etc. Most of the tracks round here are long & gruelling on a 4wd but not too challenging for the inexperienced 4wd-er with a bit of instruction.
Born again 4WD-er. 08 Navara D40 spain

emjan
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Re: April 2013 around aus trip in the planning

Unread post by emjan » February 23rd, 2014, 1:30 pm

Ok guys, so doing an appraisal of the equipment/brands we've used on our Nav & how they've done the past year with a good thrashing:
ARB lockers & breathers - A+

Cooper tyres - A. Done 25k, minor wear if that & 1 superficial cut to one tread after rock climbing. Haven't had a flat yet. Airing down really does work.

ARB bullbar A+. Fog lights got flooded during a water crossing & ARB replaced free of cost. Excellent service up here

Smittybuilt winch - A+ - haven't had to use it since leaving Colac but test it every couple of months & hang it out to dry after water crossings

ARB air compressor - C. The under the bonnet unit which is smallish & struggles to get through airing up. We're planning to keep that one for our lockers & buy a more powerful portable model for airing up, especially for when we air up 6 tyres.

Uniden UHF radio A. Despite what some say this has been a great UHF radio, especially when the portable handset is used with it for out of car trailer hitching/ track instructing/advising.
The aerial is another matter E- ....it's a medium gain that has a stub screw to secure it which became chronically loose after all our trips. About to replace it with a better brand.....medium AND high gain

Ark Pack D- probably would've been better if we had been sold a gel batt with it instead of the Lead Acid marine batt, which would discharge too quickly. Had issues with the way our Isolator had been installed (crimping issues) & zilch charge going through. Issue addressed & charging better but still looking to get a gel battery for it

OME suspension A. Has been great but would've liked more lift. Pretty tough & handles the hard going well but there is an annoying squeak/rattle which I think comes from the left hand side. Have checked underneath & in the engine bay but can find the culprit.

Great White 14 in LED bar AA+. Indispensible!! What a great light! Gives excellent light coverage.

HID Xenon driving lights B. Not as good as we thought they'd be, maybe with an alignment the road focus would be better

Steinbauer chip and Beaudesert exhaust A. Mostly don't have the chip turned up unless we're towing and need extra power in the lower gears, otherwise there's too much power and the Nav takes off with an almighty thump. Fuel consumption improvement is marginal, but the real benefit is when towing under load.

ARB canopy with vent C. Keeps everything secure & dry but the dust that gets in even with the vent is pretty bad. Not impressed with the design of the rear door window which we think would be more robust if in a frame that was secured to the canopy.

ARB roof rack C. Does the job but we're at a loss to understand why ARB didn't bother having front and rear bars on the frame to stop cargo drift. Handy as is for carting firewood but everything otherwise has to be double strapped.

Nissan snorkel C. Does the job but we would've liked one with an interchangeable head for better entrapment of dust & dirt.

Ironman 65L Ice Cube A+ Absolutely fantastic fridge!! Can't fault it. Even did ok through the heat of summer up here, much better than the Waeco 110L bar fridge in the CT.

MS50 drop down fridge slide A. Can't fault this piece of equipment except the 60L would've been a better fit

Bushranger Quick Step D. Waste of money for us, we gave it away & bought a small step ladder which is a more useful piece of equipment for accessing high places.
o
Ironman drawer system AA+. Not a flash unit by any means but the cheapest on the market at the time & only weighed in at 50 kgs with a metal frame. Holds all our tools, repair & recovery gear. Considering all the dust in the canopy none of that has got into the drawers. Amazing! Highly recommend!

Roo awning C+. This is a 2 person job to put one one of these up. The hand tighteners on the posts are a bit dodgy, loosening at will. It's a pretty good awning & have used it heaps. There are a couple of fatigue holes near where it rolls up in the holder from the metal frame. Nothing that a repair kit won't fix though.

Have now got a Tigers11 mosquito tent (B) to go with the awning. Took a practice go to get it right...no instructions...disappointed that it didn't have D rings or something similar along the ground edges to peg it down to the ground. Give it a gentle breeze & it fills with flies. We're going to do some inventive adapting here because it's a great piece of equipment & really necessary up here if you want to eat/sleep without the intrusion of flies/mozzies, etc

McMurdie PLB & Inmarsat satellite ph....haven't had to use them but damn glad we've got them! Great peace of mind for all the remote travelling we do every weekend

HN6. Pass. I think we'd give this overrated piece of nav equipment a C-. The fuel consumption is only maybe accurate if we fill the tank when at the same level every time, otherwise there are wild discrepencies. The GPS coords for Hema are not compatible with Google Earth, so the GPS coords for a goldmine we were looking for in the East Macs put us right in Pacific Ocean between Japan & Indonesia. Just makes me wonder actually how accurate Hema coords are. We don't like it mounted on the dash as it does impair our vision, pleased to see it now avail as an in dash version. Considering this is our 2nd unit (the first had a major software issue), & it hasn't always been smooth sailing using it we will probably look at other brands/options next time round. Maybe if we could find someone who actually knows how to use one of these things that could help us troubleshoot we could address some of our queries. The online Knowledge Base seriously needs improving as does the 144 pg quick start manual. We tend to get from tech support phone call: go online, get a ticket no, send it back....not good enough, we use it every weekend for tracking.

Our fantastic camp ovens, hot plate & other Roothy approved products have been fabulous, really grateful we had these on board when we set off last June, not only made life easier but fun.

Lots of other stuff but I won't bore you with all that. By the way...by default we found citronella oil very good for killing ants. Have to repeat it a few times but it certainly makes an impact
Born again 4WD-er. 08 Navara D40 spain

emjan
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Location: Alice Springs, NT

Re: April 2013 around aus trip in the planning

Unread post by emjan » February 23rd, 2014, 1:45 pm

Just a couple of photos about 2 hrs East of Alice when we headed out past the Ross River airfield & drove along a track that hadn't been used for years, probably since it was last graded. Every 30 metres or so for a few kms it was blocked with tree branches we either drove over or around. I think it was probably done by the local Aborigines who didn't want people to use this track.
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