If anything odd or strange is going to happen to anyone it will be to the Jones Boy
Waking before the sunrise and watching the early morning mist hanging over the lake was like watching a live masterpiece of landscape artistry.
As the first rays of the sun touched the water the trees around the lake were perfectly mirrored in the reflections on the still water.
A couple of Kookaburras broke the morning silence and it was as if their laughing was the permission needed for a myriad of other birdlife to wake and begin a symphony of delicate sounds.
The mist began to dissipate from over the water’s surface as the sun began to rise and we sat in silence with a morning coffee taking in the beauty of the surrounds.
After a walk down a bush track to the weir wall we packed up and rather reluctantly moved on headed for Monto.
We decided to make for an area about 20km past Monto were we could free camp and then go into the Cania Gorge tomorrow.
The drive was quite steep but the Nissan was handling it all very well and using less revs than normal with the new fuel chip.
We reached Monto and had a quick look through the little town after heading out to the free camping spot.
Kerrie was driving and on a steep, narrow road she suddenly screamed, “We’re on fire”!
Sure enough a large white cloud of smoke was all that I could see when I looked out the back.
We pulled over on the precarious narrow roadside and pulling up behind us was a procession of 3 caravans all with hazard lights on and excited inhabitants rushing toward us.
The first bloke told us they were following right behind when flames stared shooting out from under the car and the van.
I crawled under the Nissan to find the joint where the new exhaust from the chip conversion joined the catalectic converter was glowing red hot and some material around the joint was burning.
Just then the inhabitants of one of the other vans excitedly informed us that the flames had started and ruddy grass fire ON BOTH SIDES OF THE ROAD!
I got Kerrie to grab the fire extinguisher and rush down to the bush fire while I tried to get the fire out from the car.
Out of the corner of my eye I spotted another Gray Nomad doing a mad dance over the grassfire with only his thongs on trying to stamp it out.
Between Kerrie and the other aging assistants the grass fire was subdued as was the fire under the car.
The totally uneducated verdict from the onlooking Nomads was, “You’ve blown the Turbo Charger Mate”.
After checking all was OK the other Nomads proceeded on their merry way leaving us on the thin road elbow pondering what to do.
We decided to turn back and slowly make our way the 22km to Monto since Biloela was still 80km hence and over many hills.
No loss of power, no increase in engine temperature, no more smoke.
We arrived back at Monto and parked the van in the local Caravan Park, unhitched and took the car to the local mechanic who was totally perplexed. We got the feeling that “these newfangled diesel autos” were a bit beyond him although with three of them in attendance they were adamant it was not the turbo.
They did not refused to touch the car since they new nothing about the chip and although they were very nice and courteous the verdict was, “Jeez mate don’t know what you’re gonna do”.
We rang the bloke who installed the chip and he was adamant it was only a “burn off from the catalectic converter and we should not worry about carrying on. He will ring us tomorrow to see how we are going.
Based on the advice of this 4WD sage we decided to head out to Cania Gorge without the van since we had paid for the night anyway.
The Gorge was a lovely site with the setting sun over the water and highlighting the craggy sheer cliffs.
We headed back toward Monto when suddenly a malfunction light started shining on the dash.
The handbook’s instructions for this light are find a Nissan Dealer, don’t tow, don’t drive over 70kmh and avoid hills.
Oh great! The nearest Nissan dealer is in either Rockhampton or Bundaberg.
Bunagerg is closer but we would need to take the Kalpowar road which is unsealed, steep and unsuitable for vans.
We decide to leave the van in the Caravan Park at Monto and leave at 3:00am in the morning to be at the Nissan Dealers in Rockhampton by opening time at 7:15am.
Now all we need to do is nurse the Nissan to Rocky!
We’ll give you the next instalment tomorrow.