DAY 185: My first bogging

4 Mar

AS a wet-behind-the-ears motorist, I’m not overly keen on driving in the country, what with everyone else expertly hugging curves at gravel-spitting speeds, turning possums into roadkill, tickling sheer drops with one wheel and blowing the hats off posts – all with a dog balancing on the back.

On country roads I find I’m always wrestling Old Dog’s ute, which seems to want to drift sideways when I want to stay straight. It zigs left when other utes approach, then zags right as the hedgerows loom alarmingly. I’m not a mechanic, but he might want to get it looked at.

So off-road’s the ticket. I take us down a few tree-lined ravines to a rattling Billy Childish soundtrack. When we get down to the beach, Old Dog observes that there are other four-wheel drives around that could pull us out if we get stuck, and I chuckle to myself, knowing him to be hamming it up for my benefit. Bravo!

A tree-lined ravine.

Heading down to the surf, I skirt the waves, spraying Old Dog’s ute with refreshing salt water, and then back on to softer sand, where we grind to a halt and stall. My first bogging – ripper. I’m not quite adept enough a driver yet to unbog us, so Old Dog takes over.

How to unbog a ute:

1. Drop the clutch to almost stall the engine.

2. Try and get some traction by rocking the ute between first and reverse.

3. Curse.

4. Bounce in low gear by tapping the accelerator.

4. As soon as the wheels get some grip, fishtail your way out of the rut.

And we’re free!

Minutes later, though, we discover that the modest stream we’d crossed earlier has become a river, into which the sea is gushing resolutely. I assume we’ll just set up camp on the beach for the night and that this adventure has been ‘allowed’ for my benefit… but one look at Old Dog’s furrowed brow reminds me what happens to beaches when the tide comes in.

He goes off a-wading into the river, stamping down to see where the bed is most sturdy. It’s balls-deep, for want of a more technical term, but having selected the most likely crossing point, he jumps back in and hoons us across, with Bucket the dog hanging grimly on to the back.

Balls-deep, as it were.

Triumph. Wahoo! Etc.

Keeper? Once my ute’s roadworthy I’ll load it up with peanuts, a sleeping bag, matches and water-wings… because if I get bogged alone, today’s A-Team moment is unlikely to happen.


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