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Down a rolling road 1 van, 2 girls, 5 states, 6 weeks, 24 gigs, 10106 kilometres, ... oh and 8 fingers crossed ...

Day 21 - 23 Broome, Fitzroy Crossing and possible LIFE THREATENING SCENARIOS...

AUSTRALIA | Sunday, 9 March 2008 | Views [2204] | Comments [4]

Broome is a great little town. It's also very hot at this time of the year... so I have to admit straight up that we spent most of our days in Broome chilling out in our very plush very air-conditioned resort! In our defence we had spent a month in Broome last October and we really did all the touristy stuff then, including the awesome Stairway to the Moon, which happens 3 nights a month from March to October... It's one of the most spectacular experiences, watching the massive golden moon rising over the mud flats of Roebuck Bay.

But this trip we were mostly just happy relaxing at Mangrove resort. It doesn't make for particularly interesting reading though... so maybe I'll skip to Saturday when we drove out to Fitzroy Crossing to play at the Fitzroy River Lodge.

Everybody had primed us for an “interesting” experience of Fitzroy Crossing, which is well known up here for the alcohol restrictions which were brought in a few months ago to try and get a handle on the problems in the Fitzroy area. The restrictions mostly affect the sale of takeaways (which aren’t allowed at all unless you are a guest of the River Lodge and even then it’s very restricted) but can also be enforced on over the bar sales, in fact our impending presence in the town meant that they only sold light and mid strength beers for the whole day leading up to the show. The drive to Fitzroy Crossing was, in keeping with the reputation of the Kimberleys, absolutely stunning with massive Boab trees and what we’ve come to refer to as “Simpsons Skies” (as in the cartoon… ) because they look almost too perfect to be real. We crossed some very ominous creeks and rivers and tried to spy a croc but the closest we came was logs poking out of the water and two very overactive imaginations…

We got to the River Lodge in time to partake in their special luncheon for International Women’s Day which was a surprisingly gourmet 3 course meal with champagne to boot. Then we set up our camp and had a swim in the pool where we met Jeanie who was one of our security guards (we had a small army of security should anything get out of hand) and also worked in one of the big Diamond Mines. We chatted for a while about the life of a mine worker and decided it wouldn’t be all that bad – 2 weeks off at a time, great money, getting to hang out in this amazing part of the world – Jeanie seemed pretty content with it all.

Ok, so the gig… it was an awesome night, one of the best nights of the tour. The crowd were incredible, particularly Dorothy who was an aboriginal lady who was the first to get up and start dancing. Her dancing was incredible and the whole crowd gave her some pretty rapturous applause, oh, and so did the band! We chatted to Dorothy after the show and she told us she painted down at the gallery and we said we’d pop by when we passed through again later in the week.

Anyway, we had an absolute ball, so much so that we arranged to come back and play another show the following Wednesday on our way to Halls Creek.

We had one last show in Broome on Sunday afternoon so we got going reasonably early the next morning so we could get back to Broome and chill before the gig. But about halfway there we noticed the temperature gauge on the van start to rise and heard that awful engine bubbling sound that no one in the middle of nowhere wants to hear. So we pulled over and waited for the bubbling to stop before opening the motor cover. It’s always funny being in the situations that you imagine when going through all the possible scenarios of what could go wrong on a tour. The van breaking down in the middle of nowhere was certainly one of the possibilities we’d thought of and put in the “I really hope that doesn’t happen” basket. In the hours and hours and hours of driving we’d come up with a lot of scenarios… Julz is the master of “what ifs” and they have been getting more and more elaborate as the kilometres accumulate. There’s the obvious ones, like “What would we do if we hit a water buffalo, and it was still alive and the van was smashed up and we couldn’t get out of the van because the Buffalo would be sure to attack” and “what would you do if I got taken by a croc and the only thing you had to fight him off with was a mobile phone?” then there’s “If the Woolfe Creek murderer had a small knife to your friends neck and you think you can get to the tire iron are you best to run at him with the tire iron hoping he doesn’t have time to slash your friends throat, or do what he says, hoping to find a better escape plan?” or “If one of us was standing near the river and one of us was in the driving seat of the van and a croc had em by the leg, should you get out of the van hoping to find a rock to bludgeon the croc with, or try to drive over the croc, avoiding the friend under attack and try to pin the croc down and free your mate?”

This list goes on and on and on… but back to us being stuck broken down on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere…

3 cars passed us while we were waiting for the motor to cool, and neither of us had come to a firm decision on “if you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere and could flag down a car, keeping in mind that the chances of it being the Woolfe Creek murderer are extremely high (being within a 500km radius of the Crater) would you lock yourself inside the van and hope that you would come up with an ingenious plan to fix the engine, or would you take your chances and most likely end up with lock ties around your wrists kicking yourself for making the wrong choice?”

Thankyou television, Thankyou.

Obviously I’m still here writing about the incident so it clearly ended well… Julz and I have both owned old cars and have dealt with their idiosyncrasies a lot so we’re reasonably savvy with these kinds of problems, not to mention that we have the utmost faith in our trusty van. It turns out that the radiator cap had blown off the radiator and a lot of the water had spurted out (thus the bubbling sound) so we had to wait until it was cool enough to restart and slowly fill with water and hey presto, 45 minutes later and we were back on the road. Whew.

The rest of the trip appeared to be trouble free until we were about 40k’s out of Broome and we noticed a massive storm forming right in front of us. We somehow managed to just catch the tail end of it and enjoy a pretty spectacular cloud and lightning show as a bonus, but later heard that the storm tore up Meekathara quite severely. Our last gig at Mangroves was great fun and our next stop is Derby before a massive week of 6 gigs and a whole lot of driving in between. Here’s hoping it’s trouble free!

Julz praying to the gods to make our engine work again!

Julz praying to the gods to make our engine work again!

Tags: ambassador van, fitzroy crossing, hussy hicks, outback



The 'what if's' had us both spluttering.
Enjoyed reading your exploits. Especially about the trouble with the van.... I have no experience with old cars, so feel a bit at a disadvantge... thanks for the little mechanical lesson thingy.. :)
t and a and j = TAJ

  allwelcome Mar 15, 2008 11:58 PM


Interesting so far girls & yes you have got to stop watching tell-lie-vision, that wolfe creek guy would be little match for you two anyways....., you can come and fix the many troubles we are having with autos when you get back too! I reckon you could paint a dead tree in the middle of nowhere & hang boots on it and such in great Australian outback tradition also! ( if you have time between giggin & driving of course!, look forward to reading next blog, luv bec & Scotty

  Rebecca & Scotty Mar 18, 2008 8:38 PM


Hi guys,

Yeah, I saw you guys on the roadside that day and meant to stop but had to race home and get Mum's washing off the line before the storm hit...

Maybe we'll catch up for a Red Bull next time you're through town?

Love to all,

Woolfe Creek Murderer XOXO

PS. do u know any Marylin Manson covers?

  woolfe creek murderer Mar 22, 2008 2:32 AM


Get some video of the gigs and post to YouTube, they sound awesome!

  simon_monk Apr 26, 2008 10:09 PM

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