I have just returned from a gold prospecting trip here in Western Australia, the trip was organized by my good mate Bob,and it was to be a 2 week away jaunt.
There were two vehicles and a trailer and 4 guys along with my SOUR DOUGH culture setting off from Perth on a saturday morning, we had some rain overnight but the spirits weren't dampend as we picked up the two hire detectors (minelab 4500's).
The drive took us up the Great Northern Highway which is the main route used by trucks going to the North West servicing the Mining Industry, Iron Ore being the biggest along with gold, gas and a multitude of other minerals our state is blessed with.
Everything here is big and it is not long before you are sharing the road with road trains , huge trucks pulling 3 trailers, we had our 2 way radio on and could here the colourfull truckie lingo from time to time, and very handy to let these guys know that you are ready for them to come past if they are in a hurry or if you catch them on a hill and are going past, most of thes guys are real pros.
There is also a large number of grey nomads heading north for the winter warmth and they are usually the truckies nightmare as their speed is quite a lot lower, they are often elderly and can be oblivious to faster trucks trying to earn their living. The air displacement of a truck passing can also upset caravans quite easily. How ever if trucks loose there momentum and have to slow to 80 klm it takes them a long time to build it up again.
We did come up behind an escorted load of two dump truck bodies on low loader that according to the escort vehicles were 8 and a half metres wide so therefore took up the whole of the paved roadway.
The lead vehicle travels a good way ahead with flashing lights advising over the two way the size of the following load giving traffic in the opposite direstion time to pull of to the gravel shoulder of the road this is followed by a police escort vehicle that ensures the traffic is off to the side then come the outsize load followed by tail end charlie that advises of following traffic. We were treated to the site of a triple road train passing the two dump truck bodies at about 80 klms an hour.
It started with calls between tail end charlie and the truck and then the lead escort identifying a floodway further up the road as a passing point , The Overtaker then drops back a bit and winds up ready for the manouver, it seems to take for ever. but safely past we are the called to come past as the dumpers have lost a bit of omph, but the road way is not as wide as in the floodway and we have 2 wheels in the dirt and most of the dump tray over us with various attaching items sticking out at you with dayglow flags flapping almost in your face we were baulked half way past as the roadmarkers were in danger of being flattened.The truck driver barks encourgement to go for it. Bob thought we would have a yellow mark on the side of the Prado we were that close, although he did think that it could match the brown mark on his side. Anyway our second vehicle got past unscathed and we made our first nights stop at Cue. Two of Bobs friends were joining us here and had been kind enough toput us up for the night in two of their caravans.
I was able to feed my sour dough here as i intended baking bread in the campfire oven when we were set up in camp. (to be continued)