“G’day. Alex I presume?” I said as I climbed down from the Beast and greeted the man who was standing under a tree about fifteen metres from the GPS co-ordinates he’d given me.
Considering he was also standing about fifteen metres from his four wheel drive and the tree it was shading under I guess we again proved that out in the middle of nowhere GPS locating really is a godsend.
“Yes, that would be me. The guy who had a five foot snake and couldn’t keep it between his legs!”
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “start out as you hope to proceed” well at least from that opening line we knew what we were getting with Alex. Honestly I don’t blame him completely, because of his job he spends days and weeks out in the remote Aussie outback alone and often not seeing another soul for days, much less actually having a conversation. It’s that kind of loneliness that many people wish for but believe me when I say it can really get to a person when the only person around to laugh at your jokes is you. The longer you spend doing such tasks the more you realise how hard it is to fit back in with people when you get back to normal life. How some truck drivers do it amazes me, they spend weeks talking to themselves, laughing at themselves, crying at themselves, then when they get home they are suppose to just fit back into society and society’s constraints. I commend any worker able to do that and offer a pat on the back to all those who struggle to make it happen.
“Don’t worry Alex, you’re not the only man to have trouble controlling something between his legs.” My poor taste joke was only made to support Alex who was obviously nervous…honestly! Then to make sure there was no more snake jokes and definitely nothing about Matthew’s snake I held my right hand out and introduced us. “I’m Dean, this is my brother Matthew.”
We all did the hand shake thing and then went off to inspect the vehicle, from a distance first of course.
Alex had done a good job of parking his Toyota and he was probably lucky he had a bullbar on it. The driving lights and light bar mounted to the bullbar might not think so but the bullbar looked like it had done it’s job and taken the brunt of the impact without too much damage to vehicle. The bar had pushed itself into the grill but given that on most newer vehicles these days that area is all plastic it’s was not unexpected. There was water sitting under the front of the car but it wasn’t much and it wasn’t green which to me meant the radiator hadn’t sprung a leak.
“You haven’t had any trouble with the radiator or the cooling system before now?” I asked Alex.
By his reply I was fairly confident in my thoughts about the water not being radiator water because genuine Toyota engine coolant is an almost iridescent green colour and being a mines vehicle there is no chance that the thing wasn’t serviced to Toyota’s specification. The water was more than likely from a wiper bottle which on the model we were looking at was inconveniently located down behind the passenger side headlight.
On top of that I could also see that the driver’s side front wheel was flat, it was either deflated or punctured, I wouldn’t know which until we got it out. The rest of the front end looked pretty good.
“Ok, so she doesn’t look too bad.” I said. “Might reveal a bit more when we pull it out but if a bit of plastic at the front and a flat tyre is all you’ve done things are looking good.”
“Yeah except for the fact that I’ve only got one spare and it’s on the back end.” Alex replied.
It was neither my place or the right time to question why the mining company mechanics sent him out where they did with only one spare but the fact that he was using that spare already did strike me as a bit of a bummer. If Alex had told me before we left town that he was a spare down I might have been able to get one from either my stock pile behind the shed, I must tell you about that stockpile and how I came about it one day, but not now, or from Steven who had a few rims floating around that fitted the most common vehicles we saw around our way. But alas there was no point dwelling on such a mistake or pointing it out to Alex.
“Oh well you know what they say about bad luck coming in threes. I think you’ve pegged it for your three.”
“If it wasn’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all!” Alex said then laughed heartily at his own joke. When he realised he was the only one laughing he stopped and asked another question as if nothing had happened. “So you can get me out?”
As I remembered that loneliness of the long distance driver thought from before Matthew stepped in. “Getting you out of there is the easy part. Not getting your new friend out with it might prove more difficult. Are you sure it’s still in there?”
“I haven’t see it come out and I haven’t had much else to do since I called you. I suppose it could have made it’s way out before I called you, but I wouldn’t like to say definitely either way.”
Matthew and I both looked at each other and nodded, then in unison said. “You would say that!”
Previous Outback Rescue story here.