by George W Rehder
My Wife and I had gone shopping at Newman.
For us it was the closes place to do our shopping as we were working at Jigalong Aboriginal Community. It had been raining continuously for weeks and all the Roads were closed to all traffic by the Main Roads Department. We were getting short on some food items and others.
So, we decided to take the backroad through “Sylvania Station”. Either way was about 170 kilometers of water and bog, plus we had to cross two Creeks. While in town we met up with John our Boss who had just returned from his Holiday in Albany with his Family. John was not just our Boss, but we had also become good Friends with him and his Family. Both John and I had good SUV, s and seeing I had made it into Town alright we thought there shouldn’t be any problems getting back.
John was not a very confidant 4 Wheel Driver, but he said that he was going to stick with us. So off we went. Before we even left the Bitumen, John got a Flat-Tyre. I had an Air Jack which is very much like a Balloon. You place it under your Vehicle near the Flat Tyre and then inflate it using your Exhaust System. But the road was wet, and the Car was wet, and we were getting wet. That is a lot of Wet. Anyway the “Balloon” kept on slipping so we got the “Kangaroo Jack” out and using both Jacks we soon got John on his way again.
When we came to the first Creek, which was on “Sylvania Station” we stopped ad had a Sandwich and a Drink. We then crossed the Creek without any problems. On the other side I suggested to John that he drive in front that way if he got into trouble, hopefully I could get him out of it. I said whatever he did, not to stop. So, we drove off and it was going amazingly well. We kept in contact by 2-way radio but there wasn’t much talking as we had to concentrate on the road. Most of the time we didn’t know what the road was like as all we could see was extremely muddy water. Sometimes we were over our Headlights in the water. But we were quite cheerful as we were getting closer to home.
Suddenly John stopped; I didn’t get any warning over the radio so all I could do was stop the vehicle a few meters behind him. I got out of the SUV and stepped up to my knees into dirty water cursing John. He had a big grin on his face and calmly announced that he was bogged. I told John to start clearing sand away from the front of his Wheels. Which was no fun as it was drizzling at an even pace. Luckily it was pretty warm.
I got a 10 meter “Snatch-Strap out of the back of my vehicle and hooked it up to the front of Johns Vehicle and the back of mine. Told John to put it in 2nd gear and I was going to go past him as fast as possible. I started my Vehicle, hit the accelerator and nothing happen. I was hopelessly Bogged too. Well, we made a few feeble attempts to move either car but to no avail.
As we were standing around talking “PW” one of the Elders from the Community came by and as he could see that we were bogged he stayed well on the other side of the Track. He sang out he was going to come back with help. I was getting thirsty and John said that he had some warm Coca Cola. I said that was alright. While I grabbed a can of John my Wife came over with a bottle of Scotch Whisky. Well, we kept drinking till it was all gone. The Scotch was gone not the Coca Cola.
I was hanging onto John’s Car Antenna to keep me upright, but I broke it off and fell into the water.
John said it would be nice to have a long-handled Shovel. I said, What, like that one, pointing across the track where there was in plain sight a Shovel standing in the Dirt. We all laughed, and John got all energetic.
But again, no luck. After a while we saw a couple of 4wheel drives approaching. It was PW he had brought his son and my Mate Tom from the Store. Believe me we were glad to see them. The first thing that happened was that PW, s Son got bogged too. But he was in a good spot; we just used a Kangaroo Jack and got him out of trouble. Tom then took PW, s Vehicle and the longest Chain that was available. He first hooked on to Johns Vehicle using the Chain and my Snatch-Strap.
He drove like mad and with a terrific twang pulled Johns Car out. Once Tom had him on hard surface, he came back to get me out. When he looked where John was bogged, he found a Jerrycan that Johns Vehicle had sat on. He then proceeded to my Car, told everyone to push while he was going to give it a hard pull. He had to try a couple of times before my Vehicle started to move. It sat on the Mud and the suction was holding it down.
My Wife and PW, s Son where pushing at the back. When we started to move, my Wife being under the influence of Alcohol fell flat on her Face into the Muddy Track. PW, s son couldn’t help but burst out laughing. PW made him apologize the next Day. But we still had 17 kilometres to go to Jigalong. The road was absolutely full of running water and we couldn’t wait to get home.
Before you get into the Community you have to
cross a small Creek. Yes, you guessed right we couldn’t get across. We had to sit around for about 2 hours before the water was down enough to get across. The last thing John said to me before retiring was.
I am not going to join your 4-wheel drive club.