Week 19 - 5 December 2006 to 11 December 2006

By Steve & Alison Kruger

Day 127 Tuesday 5 December 2006

Rest Day today.

Now some people may remember in Week 16 we photographed the Exmouth antenna array from the ground. Today Alison located the antenna array on Google Earth which shows how it would look if viewed from above. It really looked so mathematical and very artistic.

Day 128 Wednesday 6 December 2006

Today new tyres were on the agenda as well as having fitted the new steering component. Phone conversations lead to a mix up with Bob Jane and we suddenly needed help to have the steering rod fitted before the new tyres were fitted and the wheel alignment done. Michael from Automasters in Cannington was able to help us out, and had the job done in 30 minutes. We received excellent service once again. The change of this component highlighted that our steering damper had also failed. Anyway back to Bob Jane's, where a big problem was about to be revealed. The next stock of BFG's All Terrains into Perth would not be until December 20! To their credit they gave us a competitive price on a set of BFG Muddies which have given the Maverick an incredible new feel. They also think the muddies maybe better for the conditions of where we are going. Of our original 4 tyres,  3 of which had done about 25,000kms and 1 about 13,000km, none were suitable for use as a spare. We both know that some of the areas we have been accessing have been extremely rough and tough on the tyres, but it was certainly worth it!

We were lucky enough to be taken out to dinner by Gavin, a dear friend of Alison's. Gavin took us to Fremantle to Cicerello's Fish and Chips, which sits on the waters edge adjacent to the marina. During our conversation Gavin told us how he is building a new house and to our delight he had the plans there which Alison enjoyed pouring over. The block was in the suburb next to the caravan park so we stopped there on the way home. On our way there Gavin took us to King's Park to see the night sky. To our delight the moon was just rising over the skyscrapers and made the photos look great! It was great catching up again and thank you Gavin for a very enjoyable evening. Be sure to forward those construction photos as the house takes shape!!!



Day 129 Thursday 7 December 2006

Today we played tourist around Perth. The city centre was wrapped in Christmas decorations and reminded us how close Christmas is. There were buskers like these 3 Elvis', actually what do you call a collective of Elvis? Elvi maybe? We also passed the bus which was in our caravan park last night. With its small boxed sleeping compartments on the rear it really looked an uncomfortable way to be accommodated. Passing the His Majesty Theatre, with its fine architecture, we had to put our nose in to have a look. To our delight they do tours and we met Lucille who showed us around and told us of the history of the theatre. Lucille was wonderful and we learnt that she had also been on the stage. The theatre seats 1200 and we saw the stage from every angle. A wonderful experience. Well worth the gold coin donation.

After a day of wandering we found ourselves outside a shop called Camera Electronics where we met Saul. Steve's Nikon camera's CCD badly needed a clean and due to our short stays in places (and lack of shops able to do the job) we have been unable to leave the camera anywhere. Saul had his team on the job and finished in 1.5 hours. He then had one of the guys drive us back to our bus stop so we would not miss our bus - simply a fantastic experience! The shop was also like a museum with Alison's first Minolta 110 water resistant camera in a display case, there was also bellow cameras and many other bodies and lenses. Steve found it hard to resist the Sigma 10-20 Wide Angle Lens. Maybe in the New Year!!!


We had been lucky enough to receive an invite for a BBQ with Dunc and Kerrie, fellow forum members, who co-incidentally live just around the corner from the caravan park we were staying in. We have longed for a decent BBQ since we left Brisbane. Dunc proved he was a master of the BBQ, cooking up a feast which a Royal family would have been pleased to have been presented. The conversation was wonderful and we really wished they would emigrate back to Kenmore with us. (Maybe we should consider moving to Perth would be their reply:)) It was very late by the time we headed home, but a better night we can't remember for a very long time. Thank you so much Kerry and Dunc - you really helped make our stay in Perth a memorable experience and our door is always open in Brisbane for you both! PS Dunc's photo's were great - I think we need him as our official photographer!

Day 130 Friday 8 December 2006

While we were in Kalbarri a few weeks ago, we came across an OKA Omnibus which was carrying the local tourists around. It struck us that this was an awesome 4WD which we wanted to investigate further. We had only seen one older model which a friend's father is currently restoring to a camping status. A quick google search confirmed (an idea we had) that the factory was near Perth, so we visited hoping we might get to see the new NT model we had read about. There website is http://www.oka.com.au/ and contains all the finer details on their new NT model.

We were in luck and we met Emmanuel from OKA who was happy to shows us the factory, sorry readers, photographs were limited in the factory so we are just going to have to tell you about it. The new OKA, for which they are currently ramping up production, has been re-engineered from the ground up. They have increased engine performance by close to 55% and have used a mentality uncommon in today's vehicle manufacturing market; they have reverted many of their parts back to more easily available and some commonly used items. The engine plant is a 4 cyclinder, 4 litre turbo charged Cummings Diesel , with wastegated turbo charger with air to air intercooling, which achieves a healthy 18l/100 kms. Our Maverick achieves 15l/100km, and it currently weighs a healthy 4,000kg (fully loaded), is 2,500kg lighter than the unloaded / un-optioned OKA.

To our surprise we learned the wheel tracks of the OKA was very similar to Maverick. How the rims on the OKA unbolt is very clever, which means changing a tyre is easier, requiring less tools and removes the need to carry a rim. Add a set of bead lockers and the tyre system is well thought out! When we were given the chance to sit in the drivers seat of the OKA it felt amazing. The seats hugged us like we were the hands of a loving mother.

The space in the cabin also surprised us both and they had mounted more electronic equipment on the dash than the star ship enterprise! Those who know us know our love of all things electronic! The electronic equipment included satellite phone, UHF, army grade PC with backup file server, GPS, MP3 player and touch screen, to name a few. If you would like to see more on this particular OKA, it's proud owners (Susi and Ruedi) have a web page that is impressive and certainly worth a visit. http://www.schoensleben.ch While you are there, remember to wish them luck on their up and coming incredible tour! 2 incredible people!

We have scraped together the following photographs, which have come from 3 sources:

  1. Primarily Susi and Ruedi's personal web site including the incredible water spraying shot which we guess was shot by Susi

  2. Supplied by OKA, thank you Emmanuel

  3. Our own shots, namely Emmanuel from OKA and Steve in front of Susi and Reudi's OKA and the OKA that from Canoe Safaris in Kalbarri that sparked our interest.

We reluctantly tore ourselves away from the OKA factory and headed for the Maritime Museum in Fremantle where Australia II is stored plus many other relics of our past including the huge Oberon Class Submarine "Ovens". From here we decided to have a light meal (picnic) in Kings Park as the sun set and take some more photos. This is such a incredible park so close to the city!




Day 131 Saturday 9 December 2006

We bid Perth goodbye today; it was difficult for us as we have met so many wonderful people along the way and it is sad to know it will be a long time before we see them again. We left a small Christmas pack with Sarah and Kevin, it was delightful to see the happiness it brought them. We then headed around to bid a farewell to Dunc and Karen who were incredibly generous with their hospitality and made us feel like old friends. We then fuelled up, purchased and fitted a new steering damper, as the old one had lost its damping ability totally!

The first stop of the day was the Perth Mint and as fate had it we missed the last tour arriving just after midday. Damn you daylight saving!! From here we continued to the Perth Bell Tower for a bite to eat and a look at the bells. The tower is composed mainly of glass and reminds you of a yacht sail. The bells peeled their song out with a monotonous rhythm. Sadly we cut our time short here, as a local youth who was chroming decided to take her frustrations out on one 4WD defender in the car park. Fearing our vehicle may targeted next we left for our trip south to Dwellingup State Forest.

Arriving at Dwellingup SF we headed for the first challenging track we could find as we were eager to try the new rubber and see what difference there was. With the assistance of the diff locks the BFG Muddies gripped the steep rutted out incline and did it flawlessly and yes that is the front wheel up off the ground in that photo. We think we were also getting a more cushioned ride over corrugations and bumps - anyway a little too early to comment but so far so good. It is nice to be back out of the city again and in the relative isolation of nature.

Day 132 Sunday 10 December 2006

Today we headed to Mandurah to visit John and Margo who we met near Point Samson.

Day 133 Monday 11 December 2006

We had a wonderful lunch yesterday, which somehow turned into dinner, breakfast, lunch and dinner again. We feel totally spoilt, and do so much love their company. Alison worked on their Apple Macintosh for the day solving a printing problem the experts had been unable to solve for the past couple of years. It took her 8 hours and she has never used a Mac before, but she solved it! Steve checked the car out to find to our horror, the rear axle is cracked again, the fuel tank is leaking slightly and the top radiator hose is dripping. We put a post onto the Exploroz Forum and within 2 hours we had some helpful information of some businesses that might be able to help us with the cracked axle and the offer of 2 welders. Thank you Phantom, Stu50 and Bilbo so much.


Stay tuned as the adventure continues...

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