We have now done about 6000 km of which 1300 km has been on dirt. We arrived in Boulia today. In summary: Brisbane west to Morven, north via Longreach, Winton, Mt Isa, Camooweal, Tennant Creek, Alice then west via the gorges to Kings Canyon, Yulara, Alice again then east to Trephina Gorge, Ambalindum, then the Pinnacle track to Gem Tree then east via the Plenty Hwy to Tobermory and today Boulia.
Isuzu: Ambles along hour after hour and seems at its best on dirt. Although to be fair most of the uncomfortable bits have been more to do with the state of some of the sealed roads in Qld. We adjusted the tyre pressures for the dirt and stuck to the suggested max speeds - frequently lower at times - certainly slower than everyone who passed us! So lots of dust and lots of corrugations - and no dust in the cabin to speak of. Inspected the air filter today and a bit of dust. Will be interested to see how the fuel consumption fared although as previously noted, it is difficult to consistently fill the tank.
Hot Water System: our attempts to stop the dripping with an application of new plumbers tape were not successful. The dripping continues whenever we fire up the system but after watching over several uses is not any great loss of water - so will leave it until we get home.
Electric Steps: We went fossicking at Gem Tree - gem hunting in the Gemhunter - and the steps failed - fortunately in the closed position while we were at the dig site. Checked the fuse when we got back to camp and yes, the fuse had blown. Replaced the fuse - all fixed. The next day the fuse blew again when we stopped for lunch along the Plenty highway - this time the steps were locked down. Changed the fuse again and got them closed. Can't see anything obviously wrong but only had 2 fuses left so we have not been using the steps during the day just in case they fail in the down position somewhere along the road. It's a big step up and down! Probably won't get any attention until we get home and hope that replacement of fuses remains the answer.
Dust : no dust has made its way into the house over the dirt roads.
That's a funny noise! After fixing the steps the first time we set off again looking forward to another couple of hours of corrugations. A loud noise was suddenly reverberating through the truck cabin. Checked the door between the house and truck - no, properly closed and secure. Checked the rubber boot that joins the house to the truck - maybe it had somehow rattled loose. No - all good. Then we found that one of the actuators (that lift the roof) was loose and despite only a small amount of play on the pin the noise was being magnified through the rear wall of the truck cab. Sounded like something major was about to fall off! Deborah stopped the vibration (and the noise) with two strategically placed rubber bands. For some reason, this one has developed a lot of play around the washers near the securing pin at the bottom end. Hope they are good rubber bands.
MaxTrax : we strapped them underneath the rear bar as an afterthought - meaning we didn't design a place for them and didn't want them inside the rear locker. They were secured with two webbing straps and never showed any sign of the ratchets loosening. We had no cable so locked them on with a bicycle D clamp - which was readily at hand before we left home. Yesterday, we drove into Tobermory Homestead with them dragging on the ground. Both the straps had snapped sometime after lunch - more likely the vibration effectively cut both straps and the only thing that kept them attached was the bike lock at one end! We now have 4 MaxTrax with one end worn away but not enough to affect their use.
Airhead Composting Toilet - any smell? Still nothing although today after we set up at Boulia had a few moments when there was a suspicion of an aroma when we opened the house. Turned on the associated fan just in case - which we may not have done in the last day. Waited for a bit and still some vague suspicion of some smell - neither of us were sure. In the end we just had to know so Deborah opened the solids tank and gave it the direct sniff test - no smell even at that close quarter. We expected some trial error in managing the system, for example we don't know how often to put the fan on. The guidelines I think said put it on occasionally. We have now concluded in the absence of any other source, that it is most likely the semi stagnant waterhole in the creek bed immediately beside the camp site.