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Mark Moxon's Travel Writing

Australia: Start of the Breakdown

A shredded tyre
The rather sad remains of my rear tyre after ploughing along the dusty dirt roads of Karijini with a puncture

Karijini was when disaster struck. On the way from Kalamina Gorge to Fortescue Camp I blew a rear tyre, but because of the way your back end slides over dirt roads, I didn't realise until I'd reached the camp, when I saw this lacerated and melted tyre hanging limply round the wheel hub. Cursing, because I'd only got new tyres in Perth and they still had plenty of tread left, I hoisted out the jack and set to work, but however high I jacked the car, I couldn't get the tyre to lift: it just stayed on the ground. Stumped, I assumed I'd smashed the rear axle or the suspension; this looked serious.

Off to Tom Price

The next day saw me waiting for the pick-up truck in the boiling sun, and eventually this old guy turned up with his winch and hooks. Imagine my embarrassment when he hoisted it up onto his truck, and took a look; the axle was fine, and he couldn't see any problems with it. We put on the spare tyre and it seemed to drive perfectly. I simply hadn't put the jack on the right spot; I'd put it under bodywork, rather than chassis, and this, of course, makes quite a difference, as I'd been jacking up the car body instead of the chassis. It would be an understatement to say that I felt like a total muppet.

Plans Going Astray

I'm still in Tom Price, staying in a wonderful caravan park just by Mt Nameless, a huge, jutting, red mountain outside town. I've had a shower, washed my hair, and even washed my clothes, though the dreaded red dust is absolutely everywhere; even my black clothes are going red, though don't ask me how. The car engine is red, and the paintwork is that yucky sort of brown you get when you mix red and green, but what the hell; it's worth it.

1 If you've ever wondered what Pty Ltd stands for – it's after every company name in Australia, like just Ltd in the UK – it's 'Proprietary Limited', and much like limited companies back home, these are companies that have limited liability for shareholders, in return for certain restrictions.