The Canning Stock Route: Part IV – Disappointment

Disappointment reeked of sewage and brine. Worse than I expected. We were well into a rough day by the time we reached it.

Several days earlier, our confidence was slashed along with our right rear tire. It was a small but malicious rock that did it. We were only a few days in to our expedition and one of our six tires was now utterly unusable. We were down to one single spare. Not so good. A sense of vulnerability entered the cab that day. The ease and coolness we previously exhibited over rocky crossings was replaced by tense silences and occasional curse words; to boot, those stony sections seemed to be becoming more frequent.

A rock slashed one of our tires.

Relief seemed to come when we started coming across more and more dunes. To aid us in getting over sand hills, we have had to deflate our tires by 20 or more PSI. Unfortunately, there appears to be a flaw in one of the wheels that pinches its tube every time we do so. We are basically down to no spare tires and we still have a long way to go.

Cue the rough morning: Gavin has decided that rather than detour off the stock route to the not-so-nearby town of Newman, that he will attempt to repair one of the tires. He has never done this before. This is his first time; out here; in the middle of nowhere; in the blazing sun. Now, I admire Gavin’s unflinching and “can-do” spirit. It is one of the reasons I love him. However, his tenacity and Saturday-morning-cartoon-credo that says ‘anyone can do anything if they try hard enough and believe in themselves” can prove exceedingly frustrating at times.

It was clear to me that morning that my beloved partner was embarking on a potentially lengthy mission to waste time, even if it was far from obvious to him. He can’t be told these things. I assume it is the same with many good men.  So, he went at it with a tire iron, a hammer, and brute strength. How much actual knowledge of tire engineering was involved in the process, I refrained from asking. Some things you just don’t want to know.

When the tire was obviously good and, to use the Australian vernacular, “fucked” I decided to just keep my mouth shut and drown my objections with a couple of healthy gulps of, “goon”, to once again use Australian vernacular (translation – boxed wine).  I also pulled out my iPad for the first time since starting the trip and played a cathartic game of Farm Frenzy 2.  One-and-a-half-hours later, Gav reached the conclusion that I had reached three-and-a-half-hours prior: We needed to detour to Newman for spares. It wasn’t ideal but a day off the Canning was better than never reaching the end.

So we loaded up the two useless spares and made way to Newman, via Lake Disappointment. The lacustrine depression lacked water, appeared larger on the map, smelled awful, and was therefore aptly named.  We didn’t spend long there. We had to venture back into civilization.