Yo – Dave here.
After enjoying the sunset at the most northerly point of mainland Australia, we went to check out a deserted resort a couple hundred metres back from the Tip car park. The resort was abandoned back in 2000 and had some potential for free camping.
We followed a track into the resort and found ourselves confronted by a creepy, overgrown building and a rusty, smashed up caravan. Needless to say it was a little creepy, especially at dusk, so I slowly backed the Troopy out the way we came in.
All of a sudden, we felt a little nudge, and saw nothing but a tree in the way. After I let out a few profanities, we headed back to the Tip carpark to find a less deadly place to spend the night. Once positioned, we promptly inspected the Troopy’s rear end. Juz reckoned the tree hit up high but all was fine. We figured the Troopy and the tree walked away unscathed until we tried to open the back door. It wouldn’t open, and thus we found where we had hit the tree – the left hand rear bumper was bent in and arched upward, so we couldn’t open the door. Bugger.
Friendly neighbours to the rescue
Levering the bumper back into shape was the primary plan but all of the necessary tools were in the back of the Troopy, behind a door we couldn’t open. Fortunately for us, a couple of guys we’d met earlier were camped next to us and we borrowed a piece of pipe from them. Despite having the pipe, I couldn’t get any leverage where I needed it, so the bumper was going to have to come off completely. This job required the socket set, which was neatly packed away in the back of the Troopy behind a door we couldn’t open. Bugger.
Once again, our new mates Tim and Tony came to the rescue with their socket sets, and some beer to ease the pain. We promised that we’d return the favour with some Mt Uncle rum that was tucked away behind the jammed door.
With their tools, I was able to take all the nuts off except one, which was only accessible if the tail light came out first. I cursed, we all had a laugh, and then I sucked it up and started taking the tail light off. After lying in the dirt under the Troopy’s rear end for over an hour, the damaged bumper was off and we could finally open the door. I grabbed the bottle of rum and some cups and we had a couple of celebratory drinks with Tim and Tony. Woot!
Finishing the job
At first light the next morning, I got to work bending the bracket back to where it was meant to be. Next came the hard bit – bending the actual bumper back into a shape that wouldn’t interfere with the opening of the rear door. After trying to smash it with a hammer and wishing I had a vice, I had a brainwave and used our high-lift jack and the weight of the Troopy to bend it. Within 20 minutes, the bumper was straight enough to bolt back on and still allow the door to open.
While the tail light was out of the bumper, I figured this would be the best time to fix the wiring issue that had started not long after we left Alice Springs – the brake light was flashing instead of the left indicator. Once I got that sorted, the Troopy was back to its old self, but with a new battle scar.
On our way back to Bamaga, we returned to the spooky abandoned resort to have a look around.