Cape York 2015 “Boys Trip Disaster”
Cape York 2015 “Boys Trip”
Let me just start of by saying this was a very emotional trip for me! from the very start everything was against me, at the start of the planning stage I owned a fully equipped 80 series Landcruiser, it had every thing that was needed for an epic trip to tackle the hardest of hardest tracks, I did a quick 2 week family holiday to the great ocean road and the motor started to play up a fair bit, I was sinking a lot of money into it and it was time for a rebuild, I decided it was time to get rid of it and I ended up buying a 2007 Hilux.
Now I was basically starting from scratch, first I put a steel bulbar and winch on, next was tyres, I took it for a couple of runs and it just didn’t have the offroad ability that I was used to, so then came front and rear ARB air lockers, it completely transformed the ute into an offroad weapon, I built a steel canopy and the rig was ready!
we had some issues at work with a contract which found me basically unemployed waiting for work to start back up again, being spoon feed a heap of lies we adventually started back up 4 months after work ceased, leaving me 3 weeks of work before we left, my money situation was of real concern but this never deterred me! it just meant I couldn’t do the extra things I wanted to do.
Along came May and the boys were keen as mustard, final preperations were carried out and we were set for a 4am start, everything was running great until about lunch time, my friends dual cab 80 series started to overheat a little so we pulled in to Nindingully pub for lunch and I began the task of checking out his engine, it was overfuelling a little so I adjusted the fuel screw and to the embarrassment I overtightened it and snapped the fuel mixture screw!
my heart sank as I built up the courage to tell him that I think I just screwed our trip up, this wasn’t an easy fix this would require a whole new pump housing and it was not something the local parts shops carry, we rang every wreckers in a 500km radius and nothing was about, I was feeling so bad, I couldn’t believe our very first day and we were going nowhere fast! we made a couple of phone calls to some mechanic workshops to see if they had an alternative fix and luckily 50km away a guy had an old pump sitting out the back and $50 was all he wanted, it was a massive relief, we picked it up and then a quick change over of the top housings and off away we went!
we stayed at Mitchell for the night at a free camp near the river, great little spot, it was our first night and we were all buzzing, the next morning I noticed my alternator wasn’t charging, I just couldn’t believe my luck, my last trip to the Cape and I had alternator issues as well, I rang around and found an alternator at Mt Isa, had a friend that lived at Cloncurry and surprising enough they were in Mt Isa when I rang, so they picked it up and took it home waiting for my arrival.
I detoured to catch up with some family for the night in Aramac central QLD, and had a closer inspection of the alternator to find the overrun pulley wasn’t engaging, a quick zap of the welder and the alternator was back charging again. In the morning we checked out the nearby town Muttaburra, boy there are some awesome metal art works in the main street.
We tracked on to meet up with the friends at Cloncurry to grab the alternator, called in to McKinley once again for some happy snaps and a beer before getting some scenery shots on one of the hills just off the highway, man what a view! once on our way from Cloncurry everything was running smoothly, I was enjoying a few beverages in the passenger seat as I got a bit carried away at Cloncurry, I was lapping up this holiday! I love the open road and the adventure.
It was all great until about 200kms south of Normanton QLD, we were travelling along doing the standard 100kph and out of no where on a straight road, Bang! goes the engine! we had oil spewing out of the exhaust and engine everywhere, doesn’t matter how much oil we put back in it was bleeding from everywhere, after 5 kms of trying to keep us moving to civilisation we decided to pull up and hope that someone could stop to help.
We eventually caught the eye of some older blokes travelling to Karumba for a fishing trip, they were towing a boat and a caravan, they were nice enough to unhitch the caravan and tow us to the Burke and Wills Roadhouse which was 35kms down the road, that night was beers all round for the boys that helped out, we rang NRMA and out came a tow truck but instead of going backwards to Cloncurry like most people would I decided to get it towed to Normanton, glad I did nothing better then going fishing while you drink away your sorrows thinking what are you going to do with a blown engine.
After some brain storming, we tried looking for another 4wd to buy around town but with no luck, we made a few phone calls to work out what we were going to do. Since I’ve already been to Cape York before, my main focus was to get my friend a seat in someone else’s vehicle, I managed to get a hold of some friends that where actualy on there way up but wasn’t sure if they were going inland or coast, with a bit of persuation they came up to Normanton to pick my friend up, since there was only one seat available I started to sort out how to get myself back home.
I got hold of a family member that had some time off and with a kind gesture of an all inclusive paid holiday to Cape York, they were on their way to pick me up in a heart beat! I spent the next few days fishing waiting for there arrival, we transferred all my gear over to their Triton and off we went to continue an epic adventure!
First stop was Mitchell River unfortunately it had hardly any water flow and since the last time it had attracted a few more people and there was campers all on the south side, so we found a camp half way up around the bend on the north side and settled in for the night. I had a friend that was a keen fisherman and I told him if he was going to catch a Barramundi that the Mitchell would be the place. half way through the night what do you know he caught his first ever Barra! funny enough he lost his camera so no proof once again of these mysterious creatures lol.
due to time requirements this trip now turned into a fast one with minimal stops, and only seeing the major things, so straight to the Old Telly Track with no time to lose! First crossing was Palm creek, since this was a spare of the moment trip for the Triton it only had Muds tyres from my Hilux and that’s it the rest was standard but I tell ya it didn’t scare the Triton one little bit, we needed a winch up and out of Palm creek and that was the only assistance that the Triton got from then on in.
We stayed at Dulhunty River for the night for a quick bath and feed, following morning carried on through the south Telly track, to the north with stops at Fruit Bat Falls, Twin falls and Elliot falls for a quick dip
Then onto my favourite camp spot on the whole Telly track Sams Creek. took the boys down to the secret swimming hole and chillaxed the afternoon away while I had my roast cooking in the camp oven, I don’t know what it is about Cape York but the feeling you get when you can just relax and forget about the world is priceless!! later that night after dinner I went down to the creek to grab some water for washing up, there was a lot of little red eyes staring straight at my, I was a little nervous but turned out to be little Yabbies, I started chasing them around the waterhole and caught quite a few indeed, took them back up to camp and cooked them up for dessert, truth be told they were not that bad!!
Next day we shot gunned to the very tip for our photo with the sign and then it was time for the very long boring drive home.
As much as this holiday was going backwards from the very start, I found a way to make it work, instead of having 3 weeks it was limited to 2 weeks, a lot of driving long distances without much stopping to check the sights out, I put a side $3,000 for this trip and I still came home with money to spare, NRMA payed for the fuel of the Triton from Muswellbrook to Normanton and back, without the support of family and friends and a big help from NRMA roadside assistance I would of been looking at a lot more money out of my pocket.
Hilux was sitting on about 13.5lph and the Triton was running 10lph, with the amazement of the ability of the Triton, I soon fixed the Hilux up and Traded for the wagon version of a brand new Triton which is our new Mitsubishi Challenger so far, its a very impressive bit of gear!!