So Flash say’s it’s only a medium trip to Mt. Walker!
Flash – Defender ute.
Max (Tusker) – Defender
Disco Owner – Discovery
SamD - Discovery
George – Defender
Ricey – Disco2
WillVine – Disco2
Simon(Slunnie) – Disco2
Andy – Defender
Aziz – Patrol
Dave – Patrol
Disco Dave - Discovery
So Flash say’s it’s only a medium trip as we all gathered around at Lithgow Macca’s. I felt bad in many respects as I was under the impression that he felt the need to develop a trip that would test man and machine, such as on the highly successful Tuff Trips that Max leads every month with LROC. I tried my best to reassure Flash that it wasn’t a problem, and sometimes it’s nice to just go out and drive. Well, just didn’t that set the scene as our day unfolded.
There was a great turnout as we left Macca’s enroute to Lake Lyall, the convoy included Flash, our fearless leader in a Defender tray, Max in Tusker on Roids, Disco Owner who… well…. owned a Disco, SamD also in a Disco, George in his Xtreme, Ricey in his fearless Disco2 TD5, Will Vine in a roaring Disco2 V8, Simon also in a Disco2…. All of these Disco2’s, it was like finally realising there was autopia after all! Andy in his go anywhere Defender, a duo of Nissan Patrols with Aziz in the Blue 3.0TD and Dave in the Silver 4.2TD and of course the regular psycho being Disco Dave who was our Tail end Charlie for the day in his Disco.
The roll in was sweet but before long we were airing down in preparation for the gnarly stuff. Now let’s reflect for a moment, as Flashes comments about it being a medium trip…. We descend the mild crossups down the shale hill. Flexing suspension, picking lines and we were all down easy. Park for some viewing and all of a sudden there’s a rush!
Did you see that! Did you see Andy!!! As Murphy would so have it, naturally I missed the action. Andy the Brave descended not the easy track, not the moderate track…. and you can see where this is going! Well, I can only relay the story as it was to me, though rumor has it that Andy dropped in through the nuts stuff, threw the Defenders rear leg way skyward that the birds were getting out of his way and traffic control were diverting flights until he got off the brakes and quite possibly onto the Imodium! By all accounts his skillful driving and accurate reflexs saved the day.
Everybody had a bit of fun testing and climbing various lines up the shale hill face, with varying degrees or success, bravado, driving styles and of course degrees of sphincter moments with cross axling and unnerving side angles.
When the fun was over it was time to move on to the next bit of play equipment in the yard as we spaced out (from each other) and climbed a rutted hill… Pick your line and up we go. It’s one of those hills that seems to un-nerve enough to generate caution, but generally straight forward to drive. Beware those that throw caution to the wind, especially if damp!
Next we moved onto the fence line track. I’m still not sure why we ever drive this track. Everytime we do, we all scare ourselves senseless with the side angles that we drive. Every time it feels like a the Disco is going to lay over on its side, and irrespective of how many times I drive that track it never gets any easier, but the destination is the journey and so what follows is a minor creek crossing followed by a deep ascent with deep crossed up ruts. Hmmm, yes it is. So what’s it take to drive this hill. We’ll to set the picture I tried to walk up this hill hanging on to my dog. The final destination was the bottom of the hill once again, except this time on my butt with a dog on top of me. It was loose, it was deep and it now had SamD in his Disco stuck in the middle of it! After some good perseverance it was called quits and Max was kind enough to throw a snatch strap down to drag the sticken Disco off its diffs and out of the ruts. Snatch strap on and Tusker initiates the discovery recovery procedure and then BANG! For Max and the Tuff Trippers it was a familiar sound. Like Pavlov’s dog’s the symphony of an exploding diff meant that it was lunch time with greasy fingers. Tusker was driven out to the top of the hill for repairs and thoughts turned to bush repairs, evacuation plans, what was Max to do and then making it happen. Flash was also kind enough to complete the recovery. While this was happening it would be remiss of me to omit Disco Daves drive of the day, managing everything right in getting his Disco up and through the frame twister while unlocked on 31’s! Just stirling!
Max’s repairs were to pull the half shafts and propshaft from the rear axle to limp home later in the evening. The driver side shaft came out before it knew what was going on, but the passenger’s side half-shaft was a little more cunning and so the learning process began. It seems that a maxi halfshaft has locking splines that are too large to slide out through the end of the axle, and the entire spindle needs removing to get it out! As the majority of the group finished lunch before progressing on to Mt Walker, so the tear down and rebuild began!
Well, as if those words of Flash were echoing in my mind about it being a moderate trip, and the main man himself was gathering an update on Tuskers progress via the UHF radio…. the God’s of Mt. Walker were today in no mood for fun or games as the main party approached and assaulted the hill. The rear propshaft of Disco Owner was the next victim at Lithgow with it breaking at the Uni-joint during his ascent. While Flash and crew recovered and bush repaired the stranded Disco, Max Slunnie and George were inbound with a boot load of tools.
Well, when we arrived at the bottom of Mt Walker we decided to drive it. The bottom section being a gnarly, rocky track is usually drivable with a bit of caution and by carefully picking the correct lines…. and a pair of lockers… Well, I didn’t get it quite right. In the middle of the gnarliest part I couldn’t quite lift a rear wheel up a rock ledge. With the nose pointing skyward, on a side angle with a slider on the same rock I was trying to climb, crossed up with a wheel way in the air my traction was not enough to keep moving forward. So steep were the angles, 50 litres of fuel in the long range fuel tank was still not enough to prevent the fuel pump running dry as the TD5 ran dry. It was about now my passenger bailed… I didn’t think it was that bad, perhaps being in the minority. The winch pulled the nose back down but not enough, but a double line pull through a snatch block was enough to bring the nose down and pull me clear before repriming the fuel lines and restarting. It was good to see George follow up with a great drive, successfully negotiating the rock garden.
Well, that was a day. It was a fairly uneventful drive out for the group, travelling back towards Lake Lyall to pick up Tusker and head out.
Well, that was the plan…
On the drive out, like Max’s fortunes were not already low it was that all too familiar sound again. While negotiating a short pinch there was another failure, with suspicions being a CV this time. It was a flat tow out to the road where we said our farewells, and then again to the Lithgow Shell where a flat top tow was ordered for Max’s homeward journey.
Great crowd, great day and an expensive day.
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