Day 53/54 – flooded roads and welding the wheel

Many people warned us against the rainy season and flooded roads but only today we got to know that indeed these were not jokes. No idea if it’s a matter of soil or the amount of rain, but after 1-2 days of rain the fields become full of water, the levels of the rivers increase for few meters and the water start to flood the roads. Apparently it happens every year because in all trouble spots are special stakes with scale – without them it would be hard to evaluate the depth of water on the route. But why evaluate that? To know if it’s possible to pass without flooding the engine.

When we reached the first flooded road, we were shocked. The trees on the both sides of the route were standing in the water and its level was high that it was impossible to see where was the beginning and the end of the road. The stream was very strong. The post was around 20 meters away from us, so we took binoculars – 0,55 m. We weren’t sure if we could cross this depth so we parked the van on the side and waited for other cars to come. One off-road car passed and without any hesitation entered the flooded way and drove away. It was convincing enough so we started the engine.

The van entered the water with a speed of 20km/h. When we hit the water, the van immediately slowed down – the resistance of the water was overwhelming. We slowed down, but the engine was working on highest rev. The stream started to push us aside. We stepped on the gas and turned against the current. The van was slowly moving forward and the water started to pour inside flooding the floor. Eventually we got to the other side. We opened the doors and removed the water. We made it!

Later on we came cross flooded Road few more times but the water was only dozen centimeters high so we passed without any problems.
In the afternoon we reaches a town Kununurra. We heard some strange sounds from the back. At first we thought that it’s the muffler again, but then it seemed to be something else. We listened carefully and located the problem in the right tire. When we took out the cover, the screw, on which the tire was fixed, fell off. We had absolutely no idea how the hell it could broke!

While searching for any car garage, we found one owned by tipsy Deek who offered us his help. He said it’s impossible to find a new screw so the only option was welding. Fortunately he had everything we needed and he agreed to help. After an hour the case was solved and Deek assured us we could go round whole Australia twice thanks to his welding. We took a test drive. Everything looked ok, so we said goodbye to Deek and set off toward Broom. For the night we camped in the rest area several dozen kilometers away.

Next day we continue on our way. Yesterday’s evening welded wheel begins to squeak, so we reduce the speed. We want to get to the first locality and find some workshop.

After a few kilometers from the opposite direction starts to coming up a huge road train. While its passing us it makes such a big blast that tilts the bus up and.. the wheel fall off! During the ride our car touches a road and starts to go crazy. We manage to apply the brakes by the skin of your teeth, because fortunately, we drove only at a speed of 50km/h. Nobody is hurt. The main bolt that keeps the wheel near the nut broke off. A buffer and inner wheel arch are also broken.

We are in the middle of nothing. Here’s no reception or cities. We need to get to the civilization by bus (somehow)…


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