Posts Tagged ‘western australia’

Yarrie 

September 22, 2016

img_2707Just a quick pic I took several trips ago at Yarrie mine site. I was waiting at dawn at the main gate to the site and snapped a few picks like this one.

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DJI Phantom 4

July 28, 2016

Well, it’s been a while ( a long long while ) but I dug out my login and decided to put up another post. The holiday with the rooftop tent on the Hilux is long over and I’ve been hard at work keeping the miners in the north-west of the state supplied with food, beer and toilet paper. In fact, I’m due to leave again tonight on another run with three trailers stuffed full of goodies.

Recently I picked up a quadcopter, or DJI Phantom 4 drone. Neat bit of gear and I’ve only really begun to scratch the surface when it comes to learning it capabilities and uses.

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DJI Phantom 4

I started out taking a few aerial stills. Yeah, all very basic stuff – familiarising myself with the quad and camera. It really is easy to fly. I have two other quadcopters, one I built myself, and this thing is like the luxury car version of them.

Took some video too. This is pretty rough stuff but I’m just feeling it out.

When I bought it I had the idea that it would be great for taking aerial photos, or surveys, of properties or areas of interest. I didn’t realise at the time how easy this would be. I found several apps that will run on my iPhone and iPad ( the Phantom uses iOS or Android devices to control it during flight ) which automate the whole process of flying a grid and taking photos. At the moment I’m using Map Pilot for planning and flying the “missions” and Maps Made Easy for processing the images into something useable.

This photo is a series of 71 images stitched into one. I’m going to re-fly the grid and get a little more coverage on all of the boundaries – especially the bottom, top left and top right.

DarlingDownsSurvey20160727

Here is a neat representation of the heights of objects on the ground.

DarlingDownsSurvey20160727-COLOR

This is the really cool part – this link will take you to an interactive page where you can zoom right down and see much finer detail than the two photos above. Do it! This page is what it’s all about.

 

Holidays!

March 22, 2015

Well it’s been a long long long time since I updated this blog so at the start of my 2015 holidays (my first in 3 or so years) I decided to pull my finger out.

I’m going to drive from Perth to Melbourne, get on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry and get myself down to Ross in Tasmania to visit dear old Mum and Dad and then catch a plane back to Melbourne then to Wellington, New Zealand, and hop on an even smaller plane for the last leg to Westport. In Westport I’ll probably drink too much but that’s OK because it’ll be at a wedding and that’s kind of expected.

From the wedding I’ll retrace my steps (sort of, via Auckland this time) back to Tasmania for a few more days and then load up the trusty Hilux for the 3000km+ drive back to Perth in the west. This whole adventure is supposed to take 21 days….mmm maybe.

It will be the longest holiday I can remember taking for, well, I can’t remember one this long! I’ve always just sort of kept on working – even taken my holidays and spent the whole time working for someone else. Yeah, possibly very stupid but I’m just used to working.

My plan this was to get out of the state for a bit so I could ignore any phone calls pleading for me to come back to work. To do that I used the excuse that I needed to visit my parent (who retired to Tasmania) and go to a wedding in New Zealand. All perfectly plausible.

Camperlux

Roof top tent fitted to the Hilux

I could have flown all the way both ways but the reason I bought a four wheel drive was so I could go and see the place. I have driven across the country many times in a truck but always with a deadline to meet and no time to stop and really enjoy the trip – this time would be different!

So I bought a roof top tent. I was going to use my swag all the way across but I’m getting older and a bit softer and the tent looks bloody cool! I look down on people in swags now, literally. The frame supporting the tent is something my brother and I designed and put together in an afternoon – total materials cost was around $100 .I haven’t had time to fit a long range fuel tank so I’m doing it the old way – got a 44gal drum and filled it with diesel and a hand pump. Should see me most of the way there. I have to ditch the drum before I get on the ferry because they frown on that sort of shit but I’ve organised with someone near Melbourne through a 4WD forum website to look after my drum until I get back. Networking!

I would have liked to have the roo bar fitted too but that will have to wait until I get back. I did manage to get the dual battery system installed so I can run my fridge 24/7 without worrying about the vehicle not starting in the morning. Also a few other little extras where chucked in like a valuables lock box that can be secured to the vehicle – it won’t stop a determined thief but it definitely will stop an opportunist.

MaxTrax

MaxTrax slung under the tent

Tomorrow (the day before I leave) I’m going to see about installing a “helper” spring leaf to my rear spring packs – the standard Hilux springs are feeling the pressure a bit with all the fuel, water and equipment on board and I need something to level the vehicle out or face realigning the headlights and driving nose up all the way across.

I also expect my fuel consumption to be higher with the tent sticking up into the wind and the extra weight. This will be the first real test of the Hilux even though I bought it new over two years ago. Prosser Toyota in Gosnells took care of the service several days ago and I’ve got my hands on a modest selection of spare parts such as filters, hoses, fan belt and my usual collection of assorted nuts/bolts/cable ties/electrical joiners/fuses/brake fluid/etc. When I tried buying the hoses and fan belt (non genuine) three stores I asked did not have them in stock so I can only imagine what sort of downtime I would have in the middle of bum-fuck waiting for such a simple part.

Tomorrow I hope to have everything organised and mostly packed onto the vehicle and the day after I will buy my perishable food supplies and head off at midday on my first leg of the trip, Perth to Hyden, where I will stay overnight with friends before travelling on the gravel road to Norseman.

Quick Clip – Homeward Bound

December 1, 2013

Just a quick clip I threw together after finishing unloading in the Gt Sandy Desert at Telfer gold mine and the Nifty copper mine. Trailers all hooked up and heading back to Perth, albeit a little covered in dirt.

Driver Training!!??

June 25, 2013

Well, here I sit in the passenger seat heading north out of Perth to Tom Price in the Pilbara. In the drivers’ seat is “the new boy”, otherwise known as Stewart. Tagging along behind us is two fridge trailers and a dry pan – loaded with a weeks work of supplies for Windawarrie, Brownfields (Jundunmunnah) and a dozen or so pallets for Pilbara Food Supplies.

It’s been a few years since I’ve sat in the passenger seat and this time it’s in a borrowed truck as well. My truck is in the workshop getting a bit of attention so I grabbed the boss’s truck (cleaned his crap out 😉 and set off last night.

Stewart is along for the trip to give him some experience with triples and so he can learn where the various runs go and generally get a feel of how we do things. As soon as he is up to speed on things and we have the new truck on the road he will be chucked into the thick of it on his own.

The new truck is expected to be handed over to us on Friday 28th – only four days from now. I’m going to be the lucky driver getting this one so I’m pretty keen for Friday to hurry up and arrive. We had a look at it yesterday and there’s still a lot that has to be done to it. Someone had better pull their finger out!

I have a 3500 watt 240 volt inverter on order for it – that will power a microwave oven/laptop charger and will even be big enough to power an ordinary kitchen kettle if I want. Expresso machine, maybe? 😉

The weather up ahead of us is pretty bad. Last reports I heard from Karratha are that over eight inches of rain has fallen in 24hrs. The highway between Roebourne and Port Hedland is closed, which won’t affect us but if that weather continues to the south-east we will be in for real trouble.
At present, just north of Paynes Find, it is completely overcast. Meekatharra has had some rainfall. I think Newman has had two inches and Tom Price has already had three inches of rain. This is more than enough to start water flowing over the highway at the floodways so things might get interesting later on today. Wish I’d brought my GoPro camera long.

Ok, I’ve got to get back to criticising someone’s driving skill, bloody hard work 🙂

Cheers, Mike.

That New Car Smell

March 29, 2013

Woo! Picked up my new ute three days ago and still getting high on that new car smell every time I open the door. I chose a Toyota Hilux Extra Cab because :

  • It runs on truck fuel (as long as I’m nice to the boss)
  • They’re pretty common in the bush-parts should be easier to find if needed
  • They’re economical to run compared to, say, a Landcruiser
  • The extra cab space gives me a little more stowage area behind the front seats

Image

At the moment if looks pretty Plain Jane apart from the nice metallic paint job which will end up scratched despite my best efforts. It has factory standard tyres which I’m replacing next week – hopefully. I have to hold off fitting the bullbar until I rebuild my funds a little but that will alter it’s appearance dramatically. Following that will be side steps and (probably) side rails connected to the bullbar. In the distant future is a fibreglass canopy and maybe a winch.

The idea is to have a four wheel drive vehicle capable of taking me to all the spots around Australia that I have driven past in the truck and never had the time (or been able) to turn off the road and have a look at.

A lot of work to do

Cheers, Mike.

Oh What A Feeling

March 29, 2013

Oh What A Feeling

Raised some dust today but no rain-no mud. My new ride.

Trouble In Paradise

March 4, 2013

The joys of transport, I didn’t know they existed. Sorry, in a bad mood. I’m sitting in an idling truck I don’t dare shut off. The problem is all the magic smoke leaked out of the starter motor and now it doesn’t work. Sounds silly but I saw it and it doesn’t work.

However you look at it – the starter motor fried and the only way to get the truck started was to tow start it. Right now I’m quite happy I’m not driving an automatic. As per Murphy’s Law I’m as far from home as possible this trip and its a public holiday and no one will answer their phones.

I do have the truck running after borrowing a prime mover from one person and a driver from another and tow starting mine. I need to keep it running for the next 48 hours. That should see me home and able to fit the new starter motor sitting in the shed waiting.

I can’t help but feel a bit “why me?” because it seems the last few weeks have been one drama after another. Yeah, yeah, things aren’t that bad but they aren’t that fantastic either. A string of flat tyres and blowouts, a sprained ankle, a cyclone, a fire, a stuffed alternator, a blown hub seal, a…well there’s more but you get the idea. All of this has put a dent in my savings plan for my new car and its kind of got me down a bit.

It’s not the end of the world and I’m sure this icy cold Little Creatures Pale Ale will help improve my short term outlook. Now…if I can get the top off…it’s…it’s not a twist top…and I don’t have a bottle opener….Nooooooooo!

Cheers, Mike.

Video – The Telfer Road

October 13, 2012

Just finished editing some video I shot with my GoPro HeroHD2 camera on a recent run to Telfer up near Marble Bar in the Pilbara.

Here’s another quick clip I filmed on my iPhone 4S on the Nifty road, a few hours further east.

Go here to see the rest of my video’s on YouTube.

Cheers, Mike.

Stuck In The Pilbara

August 2, 2012

Oh the joys of transport! I had a really productive day today (being sarcastic here), started at around 5:30am and unloaded six pallets from my second trailer. Moved onto the next drop 150km up the road and (after a 30 minute delay due to an oversize load and getting stuck behind another truck for 60km) seemed to enter an alternate dimension where time slowed down and all of the people around me had totally different priorities from my own. Past experience has shown me there is no rushing these people so I had to sit tight and bite my tongue.
Six hours later I’ve unloaded everything that had to come off and reloaded two trailers of backloading that had to go to Perth. Complete all the paperwork, hook up the trailers and released the park brake and…and…go nowhere. Check all the airlines : ok. Check all the air taps : ok. Walk back to the cab and check the brake buttons : yep, I haven’t gone suddenly stupid – both buttons set correctly. Walk up and down all three trailers rechecking airlines and taps : all ok. Crawl under each trailer and dolly to see which brakes are on and which are off : ok, second trailer hasn’t released it’s brakes – all other brakes have come off.
So it looks like there is a problem with one of the valves on that trailer so I do what on a computer would be called rebooting. I disconnect the airlines and reconnect them and hey presto, everything works. Yeah, I know, sounds stupid but you would be surprised how often it works.
Sweet, I’m outa here. I get back out to the highway, about a 25km drive, and by this stage it’s been 10 hours since breakfast so I take 15 minutes to shovel some food into me and keep going. I get to within 10 kilometres of the third drop and ring them up to let them know I’m not far away and get “Nah, you’re too late – have to unload tomorrow” from the person on the other end of the line.
I was actually pretty restrained. I managed to get out a “Fine. I’ll be there tomorrow” in a flat voice before I hung up and threw the phone across the cab. This was shortly before 4pm. I am now spending 15 hours parked on the side of the road with the nearest roadhouse with a shower and a meal 115km south of here. I put in 11 hours work and made $78 before tax for the entire day. Is it any wonder I’m not happy?
What none of these people seem to comprehend is I make my wages by driving down the road, not by sitting around on my arse while these idiots waste my time. I am payed by the kilometre – not by the day or by the hour or by the task. In order to make it worth the effort I was counting on clocking up 400-500km tonight before I climbed in the bunk. I was also looking forward to getting home for my two days off for the fortnight.
At moments like these I really wonder why I drive trucks, why I work longer hours than most of my friends and why I pay taxes that go to those lazy shits that cant be bothered finding a job. Maybe in the morning when I’m finally on my way home things will seem different but right now I don’t really care all that much.

Mike.