GRAYnomad Nature Photography :: Untitled


4 Dec 1998

Mobile again, the wiring is finished, the spray painting is finished and I'm keen to do some driving. I've boarded up the hole in the rear of the cab (so we won't be sucked out by the vortex, a common problem with high speed vehicles), installed the seats, bolted in the windows and I'm ready to roll. I'll take it home tonight as a short trial.

I start the engine and move the truck out of the workshop, hmmm, it seems to be idling a bit fast. Then I remember that the cowling was pressing on part of the throttle linkage. I was supposed to fix that. Not to worry, the cowling is hinged to allow access to the engine so I pack one of the hinges to raise it from the linkage. Let's go home.

My first priority is to get some fuel, I've already run out once before and once is enough. I've still got the tiny fuel tank and no working gauge so I'm a bit paranoid about this. The fuel tank has a spout that extends from the tank for refuelling. I never really saw the point for this device but used it anyway. This time it refused to be pushed back into the tank. Luckily I had a tool kit with me and that kit included a hammer, a tool I once heard described as "A device used for changing the shape and/or position of an object". That sounds like just the thing. I certainly want to change the spout's position, and I don't much care about it's shape. A few minutes later the spout is safely inside the tank and I'm on my way. That's a handy tool, I think I'll be using it again before this project is done.

5 Dec 1998

It's time to ditch the truck's old tray, I've offered it to Steve as part payment for the work he did on the motor and chassis extension so we must drive back to Goulburn. I'm looking forward to being on the road, even if it is only for a few of hours. On leaving Canberra I spot what looks like a green 4x4 truck-based motor home travelling south on Northbourne Ave. There's nowhere to turn and anyway we must get to Goulburn. Bugger, I'd really like to check out that rig.

The engine cowling is not finished and the noise is uncomfortable (actually I think Chris used the term "excruciating"), fortunately I had the forethought to bring two pairs of ear muffs. They're bright yellow and don't really co-ordinate with the purple of the cab but what the heck. We can't hear the engine much now but also can't hear each other, still that didn't stop us yelling and nodding replies for a few hours. Who knows what I agreed to. Too late I realised that this would have been a good time to ask if I can buy that new colour scanner.

This vehicle sure draws attention, on returning to Canberra we drive down Northbourne Avenue and receive strange looks and smiles at each intersection. One couple appeared particularly dumb founded and I think I now realise why. They were struck by our appalling lack of fashion sense, yellow ear muffs and a purple truck. It just isn't done.

So anyway we're cruising down Northbourne Avenue when Chris tells me to turn right, "It's a short cut" she says. Why the alarm bells didn't set off with those words I'll never know. Maybe they did but I just didn't hear them through the ear muffs. I turn right, pass a street or two until she tells me to turn left. It's a really tight corner and one I could do without after hours of driving. We pass several houses then the road sweeps left. We pass several more houses and come across a T intersection. Chris looks puzzled, "What road is this" she asks. "Northbourne bloody Avenue" was my measured response as I make a left turn and proceed in the direction from which we came.

On returning to the workshop I decided to see how badly covered in bugs the truck's face was. Walking to the front I start to count them. As it happens there was 13. Not bad for several hours of driving, then I realised why there were so few. Have I mentioned how slow this truck is? It's very slow. How slow? Well let me put it this way, the only place I'll ever get booked for speeding is in a school zone...between the hours of 8 'till 4. Anyway, it's extremely slow and thereby hangs the answer to the bug-free truck face.

Most of them were going in the same direction as us.

I know this because I saw several of the faster ones pass by. The proof then should be at the rear of the vehicle, I saunter down and sure enough, it's covered in splattered insects.

30 Dec 1998

I've been a bit slack haven't I, still it's the holiday season so what the heck. Anyhow I have done some work, most notably I've replaced the old manual handbrake with an air operated spring chamber.