Kimberley - Bell Gorge and Manning Gorge June 21 - July 5 2018
  a few seconds earlier, and in a different pic, this bird had its beak well and truly inside the flower.

but the bird book is silent.

  and even more silent.

We think its because we use colour to help recognise birds as well as shape.

  We are at Bell Gorge. Camped overnight at Silent Grove then up early to drive and walk into the gorge.
  not content with the first pool we walk over the top and round the corner to an even better swimming hole.
  Deeper into the gorge.
  Ever onward.

This was one of three road trains, with trailers full of cattle, on private station road the other side of the fence.

We saw the dust from a couple of km so were somewhat relieved when it didn't effect us.

  Adcock Gorge is a couple of km south of the main road.
  Not natural, but of indeterminate age.

Rock painting is much more difficult for us than petroglyphs.

  The painting was tucked in on one side of the pool.
  We refuelled at Mt Barnett, and crossed the Barnett River.

The ford has a concrete floor.

  About 20km later we came to a grinding halt.

It wasn't bad fuel, it was a complete loss of water from the engine.

The temperature gauge registers normal once there is no water covering it. I knew that ...

After a long time cooling the engine starts but immediately pressurises the radiator.

We can drive about 5km from cold before the water boils.

  We camped where we stopped, about 20m off the side of the road.

I took to this sphere with a hammer to remove the outer shell. Its either natural or the ball out of a ball mill.

  Next morning we drove, in a sort of start - stop fashion a few km at a time, to Mt Barnett.

These vehicles aren't in trouble. Just stopped for a chin wag. As one does.

It reminds me of a phrase we will hear lots over the next couple of weeks ..... "This is the Kimberley". I like the idea.

I walked down for a chin wag and waited for our engine to cool.

  Mt Barnett Roadhouse.


But what a nice reception. The easy answer to my question about freight and camping was "we'll look after you". And so they did.

My plan was to remove the cylinder head myself and hopefully just replace the head gasket.

A satphone call to daughter Jennifer set in motion finding a gasket set and shipping it to us.

Plan B was to ship to Derby and replace the engine.

After looking at the nuts that held the exhaust manifold, they were a bit rusty and rounded (like they'd been off previously), and after a short attempt to undo one, I realised I would probably do more damage than good. At least the engine was running, if only for a short while.

So organise moving truck to Derby.

  In the meantime, Kelly and Karl gave us a lift the 7km to Manning Gorge for a day trip. They camped at the gorge and drove back to the roadhouse in the morning to pick us up.

A little bit of history. A few days earlier we'd used the satphone to have Jennifer locate a windscreen in Derby for their vehicle.

Once at the gorge car park a boat to cross the river.

  And a look back at the escarpment. The Gibb River Road runs just below the escarpment.
  Some very vague art at the gorge.
  And a look from the top of the waterfall.

Very nice swimming in deep pool in front of the waterfall.

  Back at the roadhouse. The head gasket kit and thermostat I ordered was due to arrive. Unlikely long shot given the symptoms, but I thought I'd check the old thermostat.

It came out easily and worked as expected.


  The gasket set was delivered with the help of a couple of road trains.

Derby Stock Supplies transport leaves Derby on Tuesdays. Wednesday at Mt Barnett Roadhouse. Thursday or Friday return depending on where they have to deliver.

  So we walked down to the river crossing and explored up and downstream.

Up was clear water, down muddy water.

Not sufficient depth for swimming.

  The Aboriginal Community of Kupungarri is across the road from the roadhouse. Beyond it is Bloodwood Pool.

I followed a cattle track and found the pool within a couple of km.

Isn't gps wonderful.

  This week seemed to be the week when all sorts of medical services are provided to the community.

Which included dental and school nurse.

We aren't very good at asking for help, far too independent. However, within a couple of minutes of starting the "who are you what are you doing" sort of conversations one has we were offered accomodation in Derby.

And a lift to and from the gorge when people finished work for the day.

And sharing movies in the evenings.

  And so the week passed.

It was Thursday evening when the returning road train arrived, and Friday morning (at 6am) when we drove our truck onto it.

The loading bay was a ramp dug into the earth with a concrete slab across the end.

  Straps to hold our truck down. Hitch up the trailer. All ready for about 300km to Derby.

In a sort of convoy with the two other returning road trains.

  A loading bay in Derby next to workshop.

A heavy equipment fitter rather than the very busy automotive shops.

  We initially planned for the head to be taken off for investigation.

After discussion we changed to plan B.

But in the meantime we had accommodation on the assumption we wouldn't have the truck available.

  And time to dismantle the door lock and re-assemble with parts from two locks. Old lock barrel wouldn't fit new lock, new lock barrel had failed previously so new lock removed and replaced with old.

Old handle had failed so handle from new lock fitted to old lock.

Easy really.

  Our electronics is mostly 12 volt. The truck has no external 240v entry.

On the assumption we would lose the truck for some time I purchased a battery charger and a motorcycle battery to give us 12v.

Terminal block with cigarette sockets, hella sockets and usb sockets.

Phone, modem, radio, computers, etc.

We soon realised we could use the truck which was then parked outside the shed.

This is our "bridgehead". We have normal internet and mobile phone rather than just the satphone. Priority was to aquire a replacement engine .... which took about an hour. Transport to Derby at least a week.

After a week our host was due to go away on holiday. We moved to the caravan park which also has rooms, some with kitchen. A bit of juggling with bookings but we are confident all will be well.

Kimberley - Derby and Mowanjum July 6 - ? 2018

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