Day 6: Horde of (Happy) Fools

G’day mates,

CalSol with Vern from Rangeview Caravan Park

Last night in Port Pirie, we stayed at the Rangeview Caravan Park.  The owner Vern was very kind to us; besides offering us a discount for the night and letting us check out late (for us to work on getting Impulse ready for the road), he is also storing our huge fiber glass loading ramps for us! We used the ramps to load up our container back in the States (donated by the guys at the RFS), and because we were not sure on how the (un)loading process would be here in Australia, we brought them over as well.   They have been very difficult to drag around mainly because they are huge and not very flat, not to mention they are heavy and worsen the fuel economy of the Amarok. We are so grateful for Vern’s help and accommodation; thank you Vern and Rangeview Caravan Park!!

Brian with Voltaire
Brian opening up Voltaire(our new battery box) to inspect the cells.

Today the team made its way up the road to Port Augusta, the entrance to the Australian Outback.  In the morning while we were still in Port Pirie, we worked on implementing our new and improved electrical system including a new run of PCBs with more vibration-resistant connectors.  Unfortunately we under-estimated the time it took to get the system up and running, and in order to stick to our driving schedule we decided to resume our work on Impulse tonight.  We also ran into some difficulties getting Impulse loaded and secured onto our car carrier and thus got an even later start.

We also just remembered today that we are not allowed to test drive on the Stuart Highway in Northern Territory by the race regulation, so we decided to abandon our original plan of driving up to Coober Pedy and set up our base camp in Port Augusta to get the car ready for the next few days as this provides us with a longer range of highway testing and better access to shops and water.

Soon after the team resumed working, we also realized that we had forgotten to pack many necessary parts and supplies, and unfortunately, with tomorrow being Labor Day, most shops are closed and we will have to start looking into different alternatives.

Steven working hard for his carrot

Despite all these downers that we came across today, the team is still having a good time while trying to resolve all of our problems.  Check out the below pictures to see for yourself about how much fun we’re having!  And look at these weird dove-cockatoo hybrids (so cute!) that Australians have in their parks instead of pigeons!

Bird at the park in Port Augusta
Un-identifiable bird at a city park in Port Augusta.*
Chris is doing something weird with an orange in his mouth at Nicole

Go Bears!!!

Narc (Nicole+Marc) + Jessica

*Update: Thanks to friend of the team and avid bird enthusiast, Kirk Waln, this bird has been identified as an Australian Crested Pigeon!