Friday, November 26, 2010


In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Murphy's Law

You all know about Murphy's Law right? 

It is that atavistic force that causes inanimate object to fail for no reason at the worst possible moment. 

If it can go wrong it will.

Well, not quite and, like many of these things if you drill a little deeper, the whole story is much more interesting as well as yielding some practical lessons.

It grew out of the experiences of a Colonel Stapp USAF, a pioneer in studying the effects of deceleration on humans. He was challenging the conventional wisdom that 20gs was fatal to the human body so there was no point in making the harnesses in fighter planes any stronger. Stapp begged to differ and in an heroic spirit of self experimentation put his own life where his mouth was.

After a SNAFU of the sort that any Technician or Engineer has seen many times, Stapp muttered something which eventually became Murphy's law.

To paraphrase:

If there is a way of buggering something up - eventually someone is going to do it. 
The corollary being ; If you can build that possible failure mode out or plan for it's contingency - not a bad idea to do so.

The bigger story makes for an engrossing read.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Tennant Creek to Kalgoorlie - 5

Burbled on back to Kal.

That's pretty much it and only a tiny fraction of the photos and videos I made.

The whole lot can be seen on Picassa.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tennant Creek to Kalgoorlie - 4

I only made it to Curtin Springs Roadhouse the following day.  Another terrific place to unroll a swag.

That night there was a spot of rain. Mostly virga and lightning, hot and very beautiful.

The day after that I moseyed on over to Ayers Rock which does had an intriguing dark redness to it early in the morning.  I couldn't be stuffed driving all the way up to it. There were a bunch of coaches parked at it's base.

The Olgas, on the other hand, are utterly irresistible.  I had it in my mind to stop and have a stroll about, but wound up doing the entire walk. It is about 10 kms in total. What is great is that they close the track due to extreme heat and only a very few visitors ignore the closure and you find yourself experiencing the hike almost alone. It has an intoxicating presence about it. I will make it a mission to return there one day when the rains are falling. It is the sort of thing that would make a life defining experience. Maybe I will fly over in my RV 4 ?

That night I swagged out at Warakurna Roadhouse. Absolutely brilliant spot with tremendous amenities. I saw a television which seemed alien and on it was Hillary Clinton going for a Guinness Book attempt on the platitudinous non sequitur record being egged on by a bunch of pasty moonbat youngsters from some damned university.

That morning I stopped off at Warburton Roadhouse to gas up and found that they had a load of peacocks living there. This time round I did take a photo of the sign that says "no photos". I cant blame them for wanting the rubbernecks to stay away. It was the same at Docker River. The lifestyles of the aboriginals can look pretty alarming and make easy fodder for the grief tourist style of journalism.

Giles Weather Station was way cool.

That afternoon I got to Tjukayirla Roadhouse and swagged out there after a blissful swim in the pool. I finally got to photograph the Stop Dog which had mysteriously vanished on my last visit.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Leaving Rover One for Alice Springs - 3

A few words about why all this is going on. I was tasked to ferry a Toyota Troopie to Rover 1. I would pick up a Mitsi Cantor and return it to Kal after ensuring the Troopie would run the survey and transfer all the tools. I would get the Cantor serviced and determine the feasibility of back loading a "Dog Box" to the workshop in Kal.


Rover 1 is a brilliant little camp. Guys are all very friendly and the cook is a genius. Kiwi guy from Mandurah called Marlo. He made a banana cake that is the best any one on the planet - even my Mum - can make and topped it with a cheesecake topping finished with passion fruit. 

I had spent a few late nights at Rover 1 due some operational things I wanted to observe. 

Rover 1 is an exploration drilling camp.

I woke up at 3 o'clock on the departure morning to complete the tool transfers and hit the Rover 1 access road at sunup.

I was determined to get to Barkly Engineering to get the "Dog Box" loaded good and early.

Having sworn I wouldn't repeat the fatigue brush I had on the way up I wound up setting up another one. It wound up taking till 13:00 to get the "Dog Box" loaded and all the buggerizing around done. These things take as long as they take and to try to giddy them up is a big mistake. Jack (above) was very helpful and his outfit in TC do a fine job of mechanicing.

I wanted to make it to Desert Oaks Roadhouse 130 kms South of Alice that evening. I did eventually make it about an hour after sundown but the sleep debt I had built up at Rover, plus the long day meant I was totally shagged.  I vowed that I would curb my natural enthusiasm and take it easy for the rest of the trip. The owner and his lady friend and a backpacker itinerant worker called Tatiana were well oiled. Tatiana make me some toasted sangas and got me a beer. The owner laid some very refreshing right wing polemic on me as well as some catastrophic meteorological and astronomic predictions about the earth's magnetic poles. They had an insane dingo called Dinky. The following morning I slept till 10. This pretty much payed off my sleep debt.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Trip to Tennant Creek - 2

Day 2 - Warburton to Alice Springs.

Me trying to look wizened and exploratory.

Docker River bed - dry sand.

This was a mistake. I had it in my head that I wanted to be in Alice Springs that evening and wound up driving about an hour after last light. I arrived in Alice to find the Saturday evening yobbos made it to risky for a tired, lone, out of towner to be on the streets any how.  I should have swagged out here. Fatigue is far and away the biggest hazard of a job like this.

The following day saw me in Tennant Creek having taken no more photos due flat batteries.