Wow, what a day. The sun set a few hours ago and the first leg of my latest adventure is over. In just 1.5 days we’ve driven over 1600km from Adelaide to Yulara, the township next to Uluru (Ayres Rock).

Friday morning started with picking up 2 new friends Jonas (Germany) and Elissa (Wales) who were joining me on the trip. Joel, an old Canberra friend was also joining us. That morning, I also ended up with a few unexpected mechanical problems, a busted heater hose and cracked thermostat housing. After bush mechanicing the problems, I went around town finding spare parts.

We hit the road and left Adelaide at 6pm. With a blown radiator hose at 2:30am, we pulled up for 30 minutes, letting the engine cool down, replacing the hose and filling her up with water again. Being prepared and having a little knowledge is so important in the outback. We setup up for camp at 3:30am just outside of Coober Pedy.

The next morning, we pulled up to take photos of the Coober Pedy sign, ran over with some shrapnel and ended up with a puncture.

I rolled into Coober Pedy and made a bee-line for the tire shop. Yarning away with the bloke running the show I found out that he’d been working in Coober Pedy for 15 years.

With two flat tires in tow, I asked if he could pull some magic to repair the tires. Knowing that they were done for, I was dreading the bill that was about to follow (two tires would set me back $700). At this stage, I still had 5000km to drive and a couple hundred dollars in my bank account.

I prayed like mad in that moment, knowing that I had absolutely no control of the situation and asked the bloke to do what he needed to do for me to hit the road with at least one spare.

I watched him work and we chatted about life in Coober Pedy. 20 minutes later, he’d found, patched and fitted 2 second hand tires. “Not the prettiest tires” he said “but they’re better than two flat ones”. I asked what I owed. “Don’t worry about it, glad to be able to get you back on the road” was the reply.

The situation changed from a $700 to $0. God sure pulled through in that moment!

We hit the road again, heading for a fuel stop in a town called Marla and then travelled onwards from Marla to Yulara.

Along the way, we stopped for dinner on the side of the road and cooked some pasta as the sunset in the middle of Australia. How spectacular! You can see it in the photo above.

We pulled up at 10pm. Much better than the 3:30am night before. Planning for a 5:30am start to see the sunrise over Uluru, we hit bed pretty quick!

Red dirt, come at us!

Zzz.

I learnt some interesting things today.

  • If you’re running a questionable looking spare, run it on the rear, even if it means rotating tires. A flat rear tire doesn’t affect your steering nearly as much.
  • Tires have a ~6 year life regardless of tread depth. This is when the glue in the tire starts to fail.