Turners River!

I arrived in Australia in October 2008 with little in the way of expectations but some media generated preconceptions e.g. all sun, sea and surf. Although I knew some of the distances involved in circumnavigating the continent it still came as a surprise to find my next destination would be three days driving away. What I was not in anyway prepared for are the extremes experienced in Australia such as weather, flood levels, bush fires and some of the wildlife.

The country is vast and sparsely populated; the people warm, generous, and what I particularly liked, individualistic but with exceptional community spirit. I believe it may have many parallels with parts of the United States of America although I doubt that I will find the Americans quite so generous.

It has been an immensely interesting visit during which I have travelled over 11,500 miles bringing the total for the first two legs to almost 22,500 miles. Names, previously unknown, but now indelibly burnt into my memory are The Nullarbor, The Barkly, The Kimberley and Pilbara.

We are now approximately at the half way point of our journey and I am getting ready to move on to Argentina where we will join the Pan American Highway. The journey from Freemantle to Buenos Aires will take Bridget around seven weeks which means that there will be no more updates until some time near the end April.

With regards to Bridget’s health, it was my belief that the valves or a piston ring on number three piston of her engine was broken. The morning after arriving back in Perth I took Bridget back to The Sports Car Garage owned by Tim Harland. We chatted about the symptoms and agreed a course of action that I should take. I removed the head and we checked the valves; there was nothing to implicate them and so I had to remove the suspect number 3 piston for inspection. Once out it was immediately confirmed that the ring was broken and so I had to remove the others for checking. Two of the other three pistons were showing signs of disintegrating and so it would be necessary to replace both the pistons and rings. I had been very fortunate to actually make it back to Perth as the separators between the piston rings were breaking up and on one, the cap was also disintegrating. I can’t help wondering if this is partly the result of the fuel supply running so lean very early on in my journey. On looking back at my comments in the diary page for Iran I found a warning of just such potential problems.

Whilst the engine was stripped down Tim also advised me to replace the big end bearings which I have done and so it has resulted in almost a complete re-build.

It was also necessary to replace a windscreen wiper, carburettor breather hoses, starter motor and repair the window winders on both passenger and drivers doors. Bridget also had a full service including checks on the timing, carburettor tuning and the points and valve clearances. I have replaced the waxoil coating underneath the body shell that was washed off by the Australian Quarantine people. All in all Bridget is in first class shape to tackle the third leg of our adventure in South America.

We look forward to sharing more of our adventures in a few weeks time, and from both Bridget and myself, “Thank you, Australia”.

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