Thursday, 31/07/30

At Haast's Bluff the C.A.G.E. expedition starts the day in confusion and argument, the 'Bluff presents two possibilities for further progress west, Lasseter recalls travelling to the south of the 'Bluff on his 1897 journey and Blakeley firmly points out that the expedition will travel to Illbilla via the northern route as agreed back in Sydney, Lasseter, with some backing from Coote protests but Blakeley is unmoved, noting Lasseter's sudden recollection with suspicion, Coote is annoying always butting into arguments and adding to Harry's crotechy liver.

Perhaps to mollify Lasseter, the Captain, Coote and Mickey set off along the southern side of the 'Bluff in Colson's sedan and make an easy run of it for half an hour before returning to last nights camp where they are amazed to find Blakeley standing on a small hillock madly waving his arms and shouting, it turns out the Boss has been stranded!!. Taylor alone in the Thornycroft has forged ahead at a cracking pace, finding some top gear going at last, Colson, Sutherland and Lasseter in Sunrise have followed closely, The sedan now with Blakeley aboard sets off in pursuit, he is determined to chasten Taylor, Blakiston-Houston and Coote are highly amused, even Mickey sees the funny side.

They overtake Colson and there's another round of mirth at Blakeley's expense, both vehicles now pursue the errant Taylor, who is enjoying a good drive, it becomes a chase with Lasseter firing his revolver to attract attention, Taylor is eventually cornered and receives a broadside from Blakeley, Taylor looks blank and can only say he thought the Boss was on one of the other vehicles. The men explode with laughter and even Blakeley has to see the humour in the incident, after all they have made good time more or less in the right direction.

Still chuckling they push on west, making good headway over the claypans and finding the mulga manageable, at midday  a steep sandy creek halts further progress, all hands set too, cutting down the banks and corduroying the bed, it's a tough job. The Thornycroft negotiates the obstacle successfully but Colson's truck breaks the differential while hauling up the steep western bank in 2nd gear. And there Sunrise rests pushed off the track by the Thornycroft.

A council of war decides that Coote, Colson and the Captain will return to Alice Springs in the sedan and pick up a replacement diff and Coote and Colson will return in the plane, the Captain, his leave running out takes the opportunity to return to civilization, he will spend a few days about Alice Springs before returning to duties in Brisbane. Meanwhile the remainder of the expedition will set up camp and clear an airstrip under Taylor's direction.

The men for Alice Springs set off  after a hasty lunch, but it's a slow and troublesome journey, the flattened mulga from the outward track is now facing the radiator on the return track. They arrive at Dashwood Creek late that night.

LASSETERIA