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Baladjie Rock: Oh, trouble, trouble, trouble on the track

15 July 2011 | 45 km | zzOz total: 1,858 km

Clunk.

Issue of the day: terminal rear-ist wheel, ie, trailer. It’s on last legs.

I find this out 10 minutes after spending time talking with two guys in a ute heading for Southern Cross, the last of my company for the day.

The wheel had detached, one bearing having disintegrated a while back, the suspect bearing jammed solid. My usual now deserted road for such occurrences.

Some fiddling gets me another 5km then I have a tour review.

On the negative, let’s get that out of the way: there’s 5 loose ball bearings rattling around on one side of what looks like the remnants of a sealed bearing; it’s Friday and I can’t do much until Monday; no help is likely; not too many 16” wheels out here.

On the plus side of the ledger: the other bearing is holding up; fiddling around seems to enable a little more progress; I do have 5 ball bearings in there; there’s a sealed road about 15km ahead, it’s triple that in the other direction, and I could get picked up if the wheel totally collapses; most cars out here are utes.

I’m not letting this get to me but clearly there will be some change of plan.

In the end I realise that the wheel has been somewhat wobbly since at least Albany, should have fixed it there, durr. I’ll cobble something together, see if I can make the campsite tonight then probably head east to Mukinbudin.

Later, at the rock, more interesting here with caves, and a huge salt lake inches deep in water, spectacular views, I come to the conclusion I might as well head east to Southern Cross. It’s slightly closer, 60km, on the highway, and with a name like that, it’s a compelling case. Can hitch, or somehow get to Perth, I guess, pick up a new bulletproof wheel and bus it back. The theory is that way I can continue with my itinerary with just a few days diversion.

Despite all that, I love it out here.