Day 4 Mystery Box Rally – Getting There - Streaky Bay to Burra 17 October 2018

Thursday, Oct 18, 2018 at 05:00

Peter Beard (WA)

Blue skies greeted Pete as he took Henry to have his toe-in seen to at 08:30. While poking around at Eucla trying to find the source of the mysterious intermittent steering pull to the left he noticed the front tyres had begun to feather on the outer edge of the tread blocks, indicating too much toe-out. He had booked it in yesterday by phone from Nullarbor with Crowder’s Tyre Service in Streaky Bay, just around the corner from the pub they are staying. It’s the same place that loaned Pete and his brother Paul a hoist to fix a fuel leak on Henry on the way to Mackay for the start of the 2016 Shitbox Rally. They didn’t remember Pete but they did remember Henry.

Grey skies had returned at 10am when Pete and Ali hit the road out of Streaky Bay in a “fixed” Henry. A light breeze ruffled crops of wheat and other nameless cereals along the road to Poochera and coffee.

On to the Eyre Highway and the last major section of the epic link between WA and the eastern states.Wudinna, Kyancutta, Kimba, Iron Knob - Henry ate up the kilometres as the sky cleared and the sun shone in. Biggest attraction on the trip is, of course, the big pink and grey galah at Kimba - or big COCKee as Pete is wont or call it. What is it about Australian country towns and the desire to build lame big stuff?

The T-junction 20 km out of Port Augusta, where the long, straight road from Norseman finally ends, is a rite of passage for those crossing west to east. It is the signal that you are no longer in the wilderness, you have made it to the “Eastern States”. Pete steered Henry gently into the slip lane that feeds traffic east to north, not wanting to trigger Henry’s puzzling steering issue. The tendency to pull to the left has persisted and all theories on its cause have been debunked. The symptoms: Turn right, Henry steers straight. Keep straight, Henry steers straight. Turn left and Henry no longer steers straight but pulls left. Stop, turn the steering wheel full lock from side to side Henry steers straight again. The theory of it being an over-helpful power steering boost was dashed by experimenting with the engine off - Henry still pulled left. All nuts and bolts within access to Pete’s fingers are tight. So what is it? This is a mystery that is bound to reveal itself over the coming days.

Fuel and sandwiches at Port Augusta then back on the road - south until Crystal Brook then east cross country though beautiful, rich, rolling agricultural fields to Burra. Pete and Ali booked in to the Burra Motor Inn and headed for the Burra Hotel for a cleansing ale.

They then met up with fellow travelling West Aussies Kirsty and Sean, who are also on their way to Mildura for the Mystery Box Rally – and only left home YESTERDAY, for a beer at the Jumbuck Bar. Kirsty and Sean are a support crew for the Mystery Box so are in a 4WD and towing a recovery trailer. They are camping free tonight in town out the back of the hotel. Pete and Ali are enjoying dinner before retiring to a comfy bed. Time enough for roughing it on the rally!


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