We left Tilmouth Well and I felt that feeling you get before any big moment, those nerves in the bottom of your stomach. It is harsh country out here and as previously mentioned anything can and will go wrong! The bitumen continues up the road for roughly another 70km. From here on out it is pretty much all the same, rough, dusty and unforgiving. Even though my TJM suspension was doing an unbelievably good job of taking every last bump and my Stratos Suspension seat taking care of the rest I couldn’t help but think about how hard this drive is on any vehicle, no matter how well built, this is one rough track! As I drove on the edge of my seat with concern my partner, Jenn, somehow found the corrugations and rough conditions therapeutic, and managed to sleep for what I would call the majority of the day!
I began to question if this road was really that much better than it use to be? And if it was what the bloody hell was it like back in the day! As with many of the roads out here, the Tanami was started as a droving route before eventually being used as the shortest route for transport between Alice Springs and The Kimberley. It was for this very reason that we were on it. The Tanami is made up of only 20% bitumen with the rest dirt and gravel at 1035km long that is a lot of off-road Km’s.
Considering the rough conditions we were making good time and everything was holding on tight so far. We arrived at our destination for the day of Wolfe Creek Crater, took some footage and some photos and enjoyed the absolutely spectacular view. It is worth noting that the road in and out of Wolfe Creek Crater is as terrible as the rest of the Tanami. We decided that we could make Halls Creek before nightfall and with the ever looming fear of Mick Taylor arriving we set off again. I was keen to make up for the lost day in Alice! This is where we came a little unstuck. I have never heard of this happening, nor did I ever think it would happen to me but I guess that’s why this road was and still is considered one of the worst. I lost the top bolt out of the Rear Panhard Rod that mounts to the chassis and while moving across some corrugations heard the most odd sound. At first I thought it was a tyre, we looked around the vehicle at the front and couldn’t see anything, it was then we noticed the back! I couldn’t believe my eyes! With night approaching and still over 100km to go I have to admit I panicked a little, I ran up the road 500m in search of the bolt but it could have fallen anywhere. I searched for a bolt in my spares but not surprisingly there was nothing close to being that size! Out comes the wire again, I strapped the Panhard up to the chassis so it couldn’t fall down again. Ran as much wire through and around as I could and with those nerves in my belly again we began to drive. It didn’t get any easier, with the sun behind the hills it was dark, and as we approached one of the largest stations in the area there was cattle every where on the road.