Saturday, 17 September 2011
Urandangi features in the Fart of the Nation this weekend, which is slightly coincidental, as not so long ago I was at a reunion of those of us who worked in Education Queensland's Regional Office in Mt Isa during the mid nineties, and the topic of the Dangi came up frequently.
Urandangi reminds me of the scattered car keys at the turnoff, the smell of camel in the morning, and a sign on the bar of the pub which said - "Stay on your side of the bar and I'll feed you Dangi grog - move to my side of the bar and I'll feed you to the Dangi dog".
It looks like the sign has been taken down. That's a pity.
The school gets a mention. I was there at its birth.
I'm far too sober now to tell Dangi tales - but one day......
In the meantime, the Fart of the Nation barely does it justice.
One of the problems associated with driving in the outback is the availability of fuel. I have an obsession about always filling the tank prior to setting out on any journey of more than 50kms, as you can’t always assume fuel will be available where it was last time.
If bowsers break down, it can take up to a week in some places to get them fixed. Fuel trucks also break down. Sometimes the delivery schedules get disrupted because of flooded roads, a situation which was a major issue early this year.
This situation has been alleviated somewhat by improvements in vehicle range (the Hyundai Santa Fe diesel will travel over 1000km on western roads on a full tank), but you get careless at your peril.
Something that is not going to help at Quilpie, at least is the closure of the Ausfuel depot in town. Strictly speaking, it’s not closing – they’re turning it into a robotised self-serve operation.
This is not a good idea. The technology is unreliable in the heat and dust, and Quilpie is usually my stepping off (and refuelling point) for Thargomindah. Quilpie-Thargo-Cunnamulla is about 500km, and I can’t buy fuel in Thargo on the fleetcard.
Friday, 16 September 2011
It took a while, but I figured it out in the end.
Last week I was driving a Nissan X-Trail diesel along the Warrego on my way west to work. They’re a neat little machine, and quite enjoyable to drive. The usual fleet equipment for these trips is Hyundai Santa Fe.
This particular vehicle, however was not behaving as per specification. When cruise control was engaged, it would immediately downshift to fifth gear, so the motor would move from 2000rpm to 2300rpm, resulting in more noise, and I assume, higher fuel consumption.
It was easily fixed by moving the auto selector across to manual mode, selecting top (sixth) gear without disengaging the cruise, but it was a nuisance and bothered me, because I don’t like unexplained phenomena when I’m driving.
When I refuelled in Roma, I noticed both front tyres looked a bit underinflated. This step (of looking closely at the vehicle before driving it) was something that was drummed into us at the last driver training session I did. I've been driving since 1964, but still attend these Q-Fleet sessions when they're offered, as they're usually good value.
I should have remembered what I was taught.
Both front tyres were about 10 psi lower than they should have been.
When they were pumped up to the recommended pressures, the cruse control reverted to normal behaviour.
It seems unlikely, but in the absence of any other explanation, I’d have to accept that the slight drag caused by these low pressures were the source of the problem.
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