Bringing Henry Home - Broome to Port Hedland

Wednesday, Jun 21, 2017 at 10:00

Peter Beard (WA)

A much appreciated rest day in Broome yesterday - Henry did not move from the car park, Pete and Ali opting for public transport and walking to get around the lovely town. Henry did, however, have his gearbox and other vital fluids topped up in preparation for the final leg home over the next few days.

First stop this morning was Cable Beach where Pete ignored the ‘4x4 ONLY’ sign to take Henry down for a drive on the beach. It was only a short foray but well worth it. Then it was onto the highway for the long drive down to Port Hedland. Gone are the boab trees; the long section down to Sandfire Roadhouse crossing first the flat, featureless Roebuck Plains (lots of low dry grass and circling raptors), then a long stretch of scrubland, then the Sandfire Flats covered in golden spinifex. A stop for tea and fuel, then on to Pardoo and Port Hedland. Crossing the mighty De Grey River the landscape finally takes on that classic Pilbara shape and hue - deep red rocky outcrops, the land itself looking rusty.

Waking up at Tobermory Station for the fifth day of the Shitbox Rally, Pete and Kris noticed Henry's rear tyres were a bit flat. They had let air out of them to protect against punctures but in the cool morning air they were a little bit too baggy so they started the compressor and pumped them up bit. Not too much, the softer tyre approach was working a treat. As well as minimising punctures, it is amazing the difference it makes to comfort and control over gravel - and let’s face it, anything that can make driving a shitbox safer and more pleasant has got to be good.

The day's drive turned north up to Mount Isa for a spot of lunch and vital supplies (beer) then back to the gravel for the trip to Burke and Wills Roadhouse. Team Flamingo had to stop for roadside repairs, the shock towers at the top of their suspension finally gave up the ghost. Fortunately they had purchased replacement parts in Mount Isa - just in time.

Team Lost Claus's Saab received another plug in the fuel tank but as with the last one it didn't last long so it was back on the trailer for the trip. Team Thunderbox managed to get a lift with Team Two Dicks, crammed into the back of their car.

Camp for the night revolved around the State of Origin rugby, broadcast to the crowds on a single TV outside the roadhouse. While everyone else was watching Queensland get rolled by NSW Pete took the opportunity to have a shower - for once there was no queue.


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