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ďCameronís Corner 05 GatheringĒ

Part 1

 

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Event Date: 9th - 10th July 05

Our Start Date: 29th June 05

Our Finish Date: 28th July 05

 

Firstly I will give you a run down of the trips agenda (Remember this one for later on in the report);

 

 

 

Now what really happened;

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Day 1

29th June 05

 

With all the preparations done, a few small glitches and a well camouflaged wallet (on the dinning room table Ė smack dad in the middle) keys organised so the plants wouldn't die we finally headed off on what was going to be a very interesting holiday.

After a slow day travelling as we had heaps of time, we finally arrived at Mataranka Caravan Park around 5pm.  It was $19 for 2 people per night un-powered, which we were happy with, so we decided to unpack and start setting up the tent.  This of course was our first problem, where were the tent poles?  In our excitement we had forgotten to pack the poles and pegs for the tent.  We didnít have too many options as Mataranka didnít have any spare tent poles or anything really, so we were refunded our camping fees back and returned the 4 Ĺ hours back to Darwin to get our poles and pegs.


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Day 2

30th June 05

 

            Departed Darwin (Again) at 4:30am to make it to Mataranka about the same time we would be having breakfast the previous day.

            Now that we were on schedule and had a bit of time on my hand as christie was now driving.  Prior to setting off we purchased a new camera Ė The Canon 20D, so I had a bit of a play as the batteries were changed now and there wasnít too much else to do as the passenger.  Whilst playing I discovered there was a dot on the images, so after some investigation found a chip or crack in the Image Sensor.  We knew we should have checked it before we took it out of the store, but we didnít.   Will have to wait till be get reception on our mobiles and make some calls to the shop

            Due to the amount of driving we did today we pulled into Tennant Creek as it was getting dark and putting the tent up in the dark is a real pain.  Was a fairly quiet night in TC, we walked up to town just to do the touristy thing, were quickly reminded why all our friends have said bypass TC in the past.  It was kind of scary, so we returned to the safety of the park quick smart.

               

                Breakfast at Mataranka

               

                This is our Trip Mascot, "Kenny The Tour Guide Croc"

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Day 3

1st July 05

 

            We arrived at Devils Marbles around lunch time, so we set up tent and then proceeded to have lunch with the thousand or so flies that were there too.  We just sat around the campsite for the sun to go down and have a few wines, as we were keen to get in some photos of the sunset and marbles.  Today was the day that we actually got to see the camera really work, took some really nice shots.  The sunset was great, so many colours and the way it painted the rocks was awesome.

            After sunset it was dinner with some damper, turned out nice although I havenít perfected it yet.

            A little after dinner, the next campsite over started to light up some fireworks so christie went over and experimented with the camera whilst I sat in my chair next to the fire and sipped some more of my wine.

               

                Devils Marbles

                                               

                                                Kenny at Devils Marbles

                

                Campsite at Devils Marbles

                                               

                                                Relaxing Enjoying the Serenity - Getting pissed actually

                                               

                                                Sunsets at the Marbles are awesome

                                               

                                                Take great opportunity of the 360 degree view

 

 

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Day 4

2nd July 05

 

            Today was the day that was going to change it all, so far shorts were still the chosen item of clothing.  When we woke up, the wind was nearly gail force with a chill factor of about -2 degrees.  Quickly we reached for the winter clothes that in Darwin were lying dormant at the bottom of the drawer.  Was a funny feeling wearing long pants again, however it was warmer. We packed up and got back on the road heading for Alice Springs

            About 70 km out of Alice we had under estimated the distance that we were traveling or had traveled and had to use the first of the jerry cans that we packed, luckily.

            Arrived into Alice around 3pm, now that we had service on our phones we made all the check-ins so that our mumís wouldnít put Australia on full alert.  Also had a chance to call the camera shop and see what we can do about the Image sensor, they seem fairly happy and said they would see what they could do.  However it was going to be hard as the lack of coverage for contact over the next month was going to be interesting.

            After a few wrong turns we found ourselves checking into the Mac Donnell Caravan Park which they had only 2 sites left un-powered of course, which didnít really matter we were only there for the night.  Had a chat with the next door neighbours Doug and Wife who had just came back from Broome on route back to Vic.

            Once everything was set up we headed into town for a look see and walked thru the mall, only problem was when we were unpacking I had put the solar panel on the roof as it was in the way of the tent.  You can guess what happened on our way into town.  We were surprised how long it stayed on the roof.

               

                Sunset at Alice Springs from our campsite

               

                Campsite at Alice, amenities were good and very close

                                               

                                                Kenny in Alice Springs, was happy to be in the sun for a bit

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Day 5

3rd July 005

 

            If we thought it was cold in Devils Marbles, it was bloody cold today and didnít look like it was going to get any better.  Being a Sunday and in the Mac Donnell Caravan park, it was free Pancakes for bífast.  Bring your chairs and cutlery and have a good time, meet all the other campers.  A really good idea.

            So after our feast of pancakes it was time to pack up again and get on the road.  We filled up with water and fuel and a few other stores that we needed and started to travel again.

            Once again, we didnít realise how cold it was going to get on the way down.  As we stopped for lunch, this was a fast stop as it was freezing especially coming down from Darwin. 

            Just after lunch we made it to the SA/NT border, took a couple of snaps and made our way south again arriving at Marla at 3:30pm.  Being so late and for the whole trip we really didnít want to travel too much in the car all day so we inquired about camping behind the servo at Marla.  We found ourselves a piece of grass and set-up tent, then sat down and had a few well deserved beers.

               

                Border NT/SA - It was already starting to get very cold, a rare shot without our jackets on.

            Dinner was a funny one tonight, as I have had a few beers and it was my turn to cook.  We still hadnít really become comfortable with the workings of the back of the car yet (Getting used to cooking out of the back of the truck Hmmmm).  The Set-up, we have one of the drawers with a false lid so all the tools fit underneath as I donít require them all the time but we needed an extra bench.  This drawer moves in and out, so does the fridge on top.  Now if you mix beers and a functioning kitchen, you have onions seasoned with dirt because you forget that the onions are on the false lid and you need another beer.  Not too happy Jan!

            Even though the onions were a little sparse, dinner was nice and the beers were better.

               

                Shot of the Oodnadatta Track information board at Marla - Camp here for the night as it was getting late

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Day 6

4th July 05

 

        After a nice shower and some bífast we left Marla around 10 am which was about the same time everyday, we found it too hard to get up on the cold mornings.  Filled up with fuel again, asked for directions to get onto the Oodnadatta Track then eagerly got back into the car and headed off.

                                               

                                                Kenny keen to get onto the Oodnadatta Track, Don't think he realised his facing the wrong way.

        The Oodnadatta Track didnt seem to be to much of a problem, we taped up the rear vents and turned the air-conditioning to recycle.  We had a dust free trip for our first go of doing this.  As soon as you opened the window, dust everywhere.  You could even taste it.  Lunch was just a stop off on the track, took it in behind the trees so we were out of the wind.

               

                Kenny was worried about the spot we picked for lunch, didn't think that we would be able to get back to the track

                                               

                                                Just getting a little sun

        After Lunch it was Christie's time to drive, it was probably the shortest drive yet, she had us bogged in less then a minute.  So switched over again after locking in the hubs and took us to the main track.  After that Christie was OK!

        Well pulled into Oodnadatta around the 3pm mark, our first glimpse was a little scary.  I thought that it would be a little tidier or less industrial waste laying about.  After the initial  experience we went into the Pink Road house and had a chat to the girl working behind the counter about camping, after a camping spot was paid for we had a quick look around the shop.  Shortly after we went around to the caravan park, which mind you was just as good as the front.  So we looked for the best dirt patch we could find and set up camp once again.  We were a bit worried that we were the only ones camping when we arrived, everyone else just kept on trucking.  The mind was starting to play tricks.

        Later on that night, about 5 cars from SA turned up and set up camp next to us.  Had a chat to one of them about the railway up to Darwin, about how much of a waste of money it is.  We were a little less worried now, saying that we went up to the bar for a couple of drinks

               

                The Pink Roadhouse - Me just sitting around as per usual

               

                Campsite at night, was trying to get the night sky, however someone pulled up and started setting up camp

 

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Day 7

5th July 05

Breakfast today was one we had been waiting for a while to have, we had fruit muffins with banana's and yoghurt.  Something we have just about everyday at home - nice.  Once again we set off at 10am (Don't think we can get off any earlier) Although it was an easy drive the Oodnadatta Track was proving to be a little more interesting today, just that little bit more to stop off and see.  All the different ruins of the Ghan and the Outstations was great.

               

                Remnants of the Old Ghan Railway

               

                Kenny was really interested in the old ruins

               

                Christie Posing for the Camera

               

                What ever Christie could do, Kenny could do better

                                               

                                                Just to prove that we went

        If anyone is on there way back there, if you look at the above picture you will see where we parked.  We think this is where my $2000 ring fell off the seat because I have to put sunscreen on and put the ring between my legs on the seat.  Forgot to put it back on and whoops, never to be seen again.  So keep an eye out for it.

               

                Just showing off with the new camera

               

                The Old Ghan Railway

        After a while we came across the Peake Settlement ruins, 21km of the bumpiest road we had taken so far.  We were actually thinking about turning around, however we ran into some people on the way back and said that it was worth the look.  We continued on.

               

                Peake Settlement Ruins

               

                More of the Peake Settlement Ruins

        Whilst staying at Oodnadatta we ran into some people heading the other way, we were going to head into William Creek for the next night, they told us push on for an extra 70 kms and stay at Coward Springs.  I tell you what, it is a little oasis in the middle of no where.

        We had been on the Oodnadatta Track now for a couple of days, it was amazing the traffic.  However not too many people wanted to slow down when an approaching car was coming.  Was starting to get a little annoyed as we were slowing down, we have a few extra stone chips in the bonnet now.

        Coward Springs was a nice little spot, its all privately owned and they had built a natural spa from the springs.  There was a nice tree surrounded area to camp in and they supplied sleepers for campfires.  This was going to be our first campfire for the trip.  We were looking forward to the extra warmth and not having to go to be early so we could keep warm.  The shower was a put belly warmer and natural spring water with toilets, I gave the showers a miss as I didn't want to wait 1/2 and hour for the water to heat.

               

                The Spa - Coward Springs

               

                The old telegraph office at Coward Springs

                  

                Some of the trees to camp under

                                               

                                                Setting up the Camp Fire - How good was this going to be

               

                The old toilet/shower block

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Day 8

6th July 05

        Left Coward Springs Fairly Early and headed up the road a few KM to the Mound Springs.  Here Kenneth (Kenny) got his first taste for puddles, there were a few on the way in.  Just before we parked there was a dubious noise from under the car and when we stopped I Realised that the lower shock mount retaining bolt had come off and the shock had popped off the bush.  Luckily we were only traveling for a short distance like this, would have been fatal to the shock if we took a while to notice.  Luckily I also brought with me 2 new rear lower shock mount bolts, it was just the pain of putting it back on the shock and actually getting it out of the car spares box.  Here are some shots.

                                               

                                                This was the spare old shock that I brought with us, Was easier to fix the one that was on there.

               

                This was one of my first attemps, we ended up needing a flat bit for the shock side to make it fit, so it was off looking around for one.

               

                This was my last attempt and pic as Christie had to give me a hand in seating the shock on the bush.

        After all that we finally had a chance to view the springs which were as the name states "Up on a Mound" quite an interesting spot and nice view of the area.

                  

                   The Blanche Cup

        A bit further down the track there were the bubblers another natural spring which bubbled from under the mud bottom, stirring up big bubbles of silt under the waters surface.

               

                Bubble Springs

        With a newly repaired shock we took to the road again for our next stop which was lunch at the viewing area for Lake Eyre (South) where we had a nice warm cup of soup and bread for lunch we then continued to Marree to fill up with some fuel and head off for Farina Ruins for the night.  Whilst at Marree one of the local old hens was telling us about the road crew just before Lyndhurst and to watch out as they were going real fast and not giving way.  Thanks was the call and off we were again.

               

                Kenny didn't want any soup, he was quite content with the view.

Just out of Marree we came across the place that we saw in LUXY's DVD of there Simpson Trip with all the Junk Welded up and abstract art, so we had a quick look around and put some money in the money box just before getting on the road again.

                 

                   The Gates.

               

                Another Famous Pic

               

                And what does the Crystal Ball say today - If only he made it closer to the ground

               

                Christie and the Care Taker

               

                Last one - Very interesting

        We arrived at Farina ruins in the early afternoon and set up camp on the dusty ground under some shady gums, we then got the camera gear ready and walked up to the ruins for a photo shoot. 

        The ruins were of a town originally named Government Gums, but was changed to Farina Which means "Flour" in Italian, as the towns people were planning to grow wheat before realising the environment was unsuitable - Seriously who would have guessed, crazy people

               

                North Terrace in the old days.

               

                Funny how the Bakery was the last building left intact.

               

                Inside the Bakery

                                               

                                                One last shot of the ruins

        This was also a nice campsite, flushing toilet and shower (once again pot belly system) and supplied wood so it was another fire tonight.  It was snags and veggies cooked in the Bedourie tonight with a few vino's

               

                The campsite and fire

               

                Just a few veggies ready for the roasting in the Bedourie - These were my first ones

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Day 9 - Day 1 at Montecollina Bore

7th July 05

        Woke this morning to rain I had heard the rain start around 5am, I contemplated getting christie up so we could push on before it got worse.  We ended up staying as the rain wasn't too bad, only a light sprinkle every now and again.  Breakfast was a quick one today.  I had baked beans in the can and Christie had the usual (But not toasted).  As we began to pack the rain was getting worse, most of the top layer of dust has turned to tacky mud.  This mad it a pain to pack.  With everything packed it was off again as we had to get onto the Strzelecki Track before they closed it and the road had become un-drivable.

        The road to Lyndhurst was greasy, when we actually arrived the car was brown and caked in mud. It was funny, the road was still open and the construction workers were still trying to repair the road.  Mind you, shortly after we went thru we heard over the radio that they were making no ground so had to call it a day and head for the pub.

        When we arrived at Lyndhurst we talked to the publican who told us to head on thru before it got too bad,  as he had heard that the road was still good to Cameron's Corner.  We also found out that NSW Won the State of Origin, which both Christie and I were very happy about.  Wahoo.

               

                Onto the Strzelecki Track - Look at the Weather we were going to find awfully quick

               

                Where we had come from, hoping to out run it.

               

                The car was spotless yesterday

               

                Kenny had to get his head in

        Shortly after getting onto the Strzelecki Track Christie needed some bladder relief so I pulled into a dry river bed to let her have some privacy, which was when I notice the rear drivers side mud guard had come unstuck due to the mud.  So with a few more cable ties I made a few repairs so we could get back onto the road again.

        The weather was getting really cold now, the heater almost wasn't putting enough heat out.

        We arrived at Montecollina Bore at 2:40pm the rain looked like it was going away (What a joke that was), well until we put up the tent that is.  Montecollina Bore is a very sandy place with lots of sand hills, it looked very beach like.  There is a heated bore here which proved nice.  After a lot of rain we decided that it was better to stay in the car, because the tent was leaking like a sieve due to the heavy rain and then fell down.  This turned out to be very cold, but very dry, but we needed some alternate sleeping.  So we ripped out all the wet stuff and put it in the rear, and all the clothes to the front.  Opened up the sleeping mattress put the sleeping bags and pillows on top and sleep width ways across the Cruiser.

               

                We had the tent set up in a spot that was fairly protected from the winds, however the rain still came.

                                                 

                                                This is the spot that we picked for our tent the next day -  What were we thinking

 

        Its funny what you miss whilst you are camping, as we were in the car we were very bored and hangman was getting very tedious.  So I put the old AM radio on and picked up the news, where we had found out that London had been bombed only 1hr before.

 

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Day 10 - Day 2 at Montecollina Bore

8th July 05

        Didn't Start real good at all, it was a very cramped sleeping space although dry.  It was still raining and it was still too cold for breakfast, so we had left over trail mix (Nuts, Sultanas, Dried Fruit and Yoghurt cover stuff).  We decided with the other members in the camp spot who were also trapped and were on a strict time schedule too, that we would try and make a break for it (foolish I know, but you have to learn somewhere).  So we packed up the tent, which was wet and covered in sand (A real pain in the arse).  We finally got the things packed up and were ready to get back on the road (Read: Mud), so we said our by's to our neighbours as they said the track to CC wasn't as bad as this one yesterday. 

        Even just moving around the campsite was hard, I should have stopped it there as one to the environment but no I had to push on.  Leaving the campsite was going to prove hard, so it was low range 3rd and a heap of right foot and bang we were on the road.  Covered in mud and confused with the patches of water we didn't realise that we actually turned right when we should have turned left.  When we got to the sign "L" with 240 underneath it we realise what we had done and also that we were only stuffing up the track. 

        We returned to the campsite with out tail between our legs, one for ruining the road and two for going the wrong way and having witnesses.  So the rest of the day was going to be a long day, as everything was wet and it was only 10am.

        Later that day we decided to go and check out the damage we had done to the road and walked to the track with no shoes as it became very hard to walk in the mud with shoes.  It was easier to keep feet clean in the warm bore.

                

                Heading to the Track in bare feet.

               

                This was me trying to turn around in the camping ground - What was I thinking.

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Day 11 - Day 3 at Montecollina Bore

9th July 05

Woke up sore (It's very confined in the back of the Cruiser), There was a beautiful sunrise with no clouds and no wind.  Breakfast was on today as the weather has gave us some time to set everything up and cook some porridge. After breakfast it was off to check the road again to decide what we were going to do today.

        So after walking to the track again in bare feet to see that it was still glug and wouldnt let us out.  The mud was that bad that when we walked on the track we were sinking to our ankles, what was a car going to do.  Returning to camp well sort of camp we decided it was a good time to set up the tent and let everything dry whilst the sun was out.  We picked a better spot this time, although the wind had picked up quite a bit which made putting the tent up very cold.  however the wind was what we needed to open the road up.

        After the tent was set up and drying we went for a walk around the area to see how much water was around, there was heaps.  We took the camera for a walk with us so here are a few snaps.

                                               

                                                You would almost think this was a beach

               

                Thankful that the bore was warm, extremely warm.

        Due to the wind and how cold it was we moved the car up to this little spot to get out of the wind and cook dinner or lunch.  This happened for about 2 days that we were over in the new campsite

               

                The wind was a little less here, so we had our meals up here.

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Day 12 - Day 4 at Montecollina Bore

10th July 05

        The sun was shinning and the wind was light so breakfast today was pancakes, they were wonderful.  Was just the thing we needed to boost the spirits after have to spend 3 days in this sand/clay pit. 

        There was another walk to the track again this morning, christie decided to wear shoes for the first time in 2 days.  Getting there wasn't too bad, the road out of the bore camping area is getting better however there were some really sticky spots.  After the walk it was back to camp to clean up and have a look at the car for a bit.

        Whilst looking in the car, I found that I had forgotten the camp shower was in the car.  So I quickly set up a hitch and hung it over the table supplied to us so we could have a shower with the hot water from the bore, knew it would come in handy one time.

                                               

                                                Me taking a shower at the bore, this is what life is all about.  20Lt was just enough.

        Now that the weather was looking good, Christie started to gather the clothes for washing.  We had a few (Christie did anyway) as the last time we washed was  in Alice, so off to the bore we went.  Whilst Christie was washing, I put the flags up for the car.  We had a green boxing kangaroo and the ANF just under it, took me a while to find.  It was like the wallet at the start of the trip, eyes just aren't working the way they are suppose to.  Well so Christie keeps telling me anyhow.

        After all the washing and chores were done, the usual walk around the campground in bare feet was done.  Took a few more photos and returned to the camp ground.

        A very easy meal was had for dinner tonight, sausages with tomato and onion gravy with a few sweet potato chips.  I lost most of the chips in the sand due to the sliding drawer problem again, I should learn not to get a beer whilst I am cooking or not be drunk.  Whilst we were having dinner a car came into the campground, did a U-turn and headed back out again.  Strange, so turned on the UHF to see if anyone else was around.  The UHF was alive with chatter, one lot were talking about heading into Montecollina Bore as there was a phone that they could use to phone someone in Lyndhurst to collect there 4Runner as it had done a clutch in all the mud.

        I got on the UHF and said that there was no phone, or it was well hidden as we had been here 4 days and couldn't find it.  So for the rest of dinner we listened to the radio and watching all the cars go past.  Eventually a group entered the campground and set up camp informing us that the road had been open since 12pm that day.  It wasn't worth us going anywhere at this time so we remained there till the morning.

                                               

                                                Just experimenting with painting with light whilst there was nothing to do at the campground

 

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Day 13

11th July 05

        We started the morning with a mammoth breakfast of the leftover pancake mix and porridge.  Then continued to pack up, said our goodbye to the other fellow strandees as they were ready to go before us, Imagine that.  I had a shower whilst Christie returned to the old ways and went to the bore to bath.  The finally we were on our way again.

                

                Sunrise the morning we left, no clouds.

        The track was pretty cut up, a truck had come thru earlier yesterday and made a mess.  Was hard to keep out of the tracks of the truck and not go off the side of the road.  There were still heaps of water spots and mud everywhere, so was hard to see why they had opened the track.

        Due to the stay at Montecollina Bore we almost didn't really want to go the distance to Cameron's Corner, however it was going to be a long time before we get to do this again.  With a lot of water on the track and mud everywhere once again we finally pulled into CC at 2pm.  Stopped in at the pub for a beer and met the publican Bill Mitchell, who is a bit of a character and just the sort of person they need to run a place out there. 

        Had a chat and bill asked me for my hat that I was very reluctant to part with so he swapped it for a bright yellow FOUREX Gold hat.  we wrote our name and date on the beak and handed it over.  It now proudly hangs just to the right of the bar near the door opening, after this we brought some souvenirs then headed over to the camping area/paddock (roughly anywhere within the 500 hectares down the fence line was what we were told).  We parked relatively close to the pub as we were the only ones other then some UNI students that were leaving that afternoon.

        When we set up camp the local dogs turned up thinking that the fire was great and that the sticks were there for them, which they decided to take away and chew or hide.  Was funny to watch.

                

                Beau enjoying the fire, had left the sticks alone by this stage

               

                Still fairly clean considering - CC05 and we were late

 

               

                Christie showing us she was there too.

        We found out that only 5 cars out of the 50 or so made it to the CC05 bash.  The last of which left just hours before we turned up.  We saw from the visitors book that and Andrew and Christy from Melbourne made it there, so we left them a reply.

        We moved down to the pub at around 6pm for one meal, there was a couple beers before they brought our meals out, Christie had the Burger and Salad.  I just went for the Scotch Fillet, very nice and superbly cooked I must say.  After a while heaps of people turned up and the bar was full of chatter and smoke, everything was going good.  Then this guy had turned up and had a problem with his shock mounts on his 100 Series Cruiser, I said "For the next round you can have one of my spares".  10 buck came out and I quickly went to retrieve the part and hand it over.  The had come in from Broken Hill and the corrugation was apparently bad.

        Some more beers and some free cheese and tomato toasties and we were off to bed for the next part of the journey.

        Here are some of the photos of the actual weekend that we were suppose to be there.

                                               

                                                

                                                

                

                

                

                Would you trust this man to serve you drinks....   Of course you would, it's Bill....

                

                                                

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Day 14

12th July 05

 

        It started to sprinkle rain on the tent early in the morning, so not wanting to be stuck again for 4 days we got up with sore heads and started to pack.  We had creamed corn and toast for breakfast, all cooked on the fire as we didn't want much washing up.  Beau joined us for breakfast, which he enjoyed a bit of bread with creamed corn too.  Probably not the best thing for a dog in the morning, oh well we didn't own him and didn't have to put up with the leftovers.  We refueled and headed for the Strzelecki Track at lightning speed.

        Lunch was a Moomba, which was just a shed at the corner of the track and the new road.  As we were eating lunch one of the workers pulled in and said that we should be getting on our way as the weather was looking a little grim in Innamincka for the next couple of days, so we rushed our lunch to get back on the road again.  Speaking of which was as greasy as, had to keep it in 4WD as every time we had a corner the arse end would swing out.

        The sprawling metropolis that is Innamincka and the amount of people there, believe it or not.  Walking into the local stall I noticed some cars in the lot and walking past as I do look for the FORUM sticker just in case.  Low and behold, here is this maroon jackeroo sitting there FORUM sticker and everything.  I couldn't believe it, another FORUM member.  I thought that I would never see anyone for the rest of the trip due to the rain.  It turned out to be Mike from SA with his group of friends, we couldn't believe it.  We had a chat then went to set up our tent and settle in for a couple of days.

        I don't think we could have chosen a better camp spot I reckon, there was tree for cover and lots of water too.  Mind you could have had a little more grass.

               

                The campsite at Innamincka

        Again it was sausages for dinner, however I did have to test my skills with the bedourie.  So it was roast veggies as well, I had to see my limits.  They probably turned out to be the best veggies yet.

        With a fire and some booze we ended up just sitting around the fire till it was time to head for the sack, just to see what tomorrow was going to do.

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Day 15

13th July 05

        Today was time to settle in and get some sites around Innamincka as we didn't really have too much to do, we had a couple of days up our sleeves so thought we would pace ourselves.

        The Dig Tree, Burkes grave, King's Tree and a few others were the first thing on our agender, we didn't realise the road out there was atrocious and would be able to get above 65 km/h other wise it was to bumpy below and unsafe above as there were a heap of areas of the track where you had to slow at short notice.

               

                Me sporting my new cap from CC at Burkes grave site

               

                The area around Burkes grave

               

                The Dig Tree Area - We ended up seeing some of the people that were at CC here.

                                               

                                                The Dig Tree Area

                                               

                                                Kenny hadn't been around for a while and wanted his pic at the Dig Tree

        After the Dig Tree and all the other sites it was back to the campsite at 65 km/h as we had to prepare ourselves with some drinks and nibblies for the boat cruise along the creek.  It was more of a bird watching cruise then anything else, however we did stop at the King Tree for some local knowledge on what really happened.

               

                Just along the bank of the creek

               

                Just a quick snap

                                               

                                                The King Tree

        After the King Tree it was back to the boat and return along the way you came, quite an interesting journey as you could still see the tide/flood marks from the floods all those years ago.  Would really recommend it next time your in Innamincka.

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Day 16

14th July 05

        Due to needing to do some washing we have made the decision to stay in Innamincka for another day, otherwise Christie would have nothing to wear.  So Christie headed up to the township to wash and I stayed back and did the breakfast and last nights dishes as we couldn't be bothered doing them.  Tried a bit of macro with the new camera just to see how it went.

               

                The flowers after the rain or weeds?

                                                       

                                                        More flowers/weeds maybe

        Then it was onto river shots, to see how I could make the river look.

               

                From where we camped

               

                The other view from our campsite

               

                There was a stick in the river that the birds loved, so decided to capture a few on film (so to speak)

 

               

               

                Then there were the pelicans again

        After lunch I went up to the bar to see what the menu was just in case it was like the menu at CC where they had to defrost the meat before they cook it.  Which they didn't so booked a table for two at the pub for some grub.

        It was off to Will's grave then, only to be disappointed as the track was still closed.  We carried on as there are a few other things to look at on the same track.  About halfway down we saw the ranger coming out and gave us a wave, we shrugged it off as nothing just her checking if anyone had gone down the closed tracks.  We turned around where it was suppose to be closed and headed back to the main track, thinking along the way that maybe the tracks are now open and we will be able to see the grave site.

        Low and behold we got back to the track marker and all the tracks were open, there was nothing else to do except turn around again and head back for Wills grave site.  I am glad we did, Will's grave site would have to be the best area of Innamincka (well after the rain anyway).  It was so green but where he died was beautiful.  I just wonder what it would have looked like to them.

               

                Apparently he died in the river.

               

                The marker stating that he died in the river

               

                Site marker

               

                The wild spinach that was all around the place after the rain

                                               

                                                    Kenny at Will's Grave site

        On returning from Will's grave site we went straight into town as we had a table booked at the pub for some grub.  I had the Scotch Fillet again and Christie had the Nile Perch this time, they were huge meals and very well done.

               

                Night shot of the Innamincka Township

        After dinner it was off to bed for a real early start, as we had to make up some ground tomorrow to make it to Birdsville

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Day 17

15th July 05

        We were on the road at 9am, this was even after fueling and buying water as we were running short now.  We have filled up with water since Alice, I also didn't want to go as far as Birdsville today without the extra water.

        After some pictures of the crossing at the top of Innamincka we made our way to Birdsville, the road was slow going due to the corrugation.  We had lunch just before Codillo Downs Homestead, which it was then Christies time to drive.  This turned out to be my time to open all the gates.  Seriously how many gates does a property need?

               

                Showing the road, not too much to look at.

               

                Stopping for lunch on the side of the road.

               

                The road was like this most of the way, only thing was this one had a little by-pass around it.  Most didn't

               

                Along the track were some wildlife, have never seen these in the wild before.

 

        Shortly after lunch we came across the Cordella Ruins which were in a quite pleasent area, when the rains had come it would have been really green and a river flowing.

               

                Chook House, I think

               

                The Standard shot everyone had seen.

               

                The last one

               

                Just had to put this one in, like the sky in it

        Then there was a shock, WELCOME TO QUEENSLAND, get a load of this road.  We could do 100 km/h easy, it looked like it had be grated the day before.  We were so happy, we wouldn't have made Birdsville if it was like this.

               

                Was good to get onto a road that you could do 100 km/h without you fillings falling out.

        Birdsville here we come, it was only a couple of hours till we reached the end of a long journey.  Only to start a new one tomorrow, the first phase was complete.  We checked into the caravan park then went for a look see at birdsville.  We went to the other pub in Birdsville first, however no one was serving there.

               

                The Royal Hotel, Birdsville.

               

                The Birdsville pub, we will be back tonight for a few beers

               

                The campsite, wasn't too full.

        Later that night we went into the Birdsville pub and had a few drinks, meeting a fellow that introduced himself as Bazza.  We had a chat for a while, he was camping further out and only came here to checkout Big Red and head back again.  After a few rounds we tidied ourselves up and headed back to the warmth of the tent (Sleeping Bags) ready for Big Red tomorrow.

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Day 18

16th July 05

        Was another early start again, some yoghurt and fruit and we were off.  Having purchasing water in Innamincka there was no need to get any in Birdsville.  Shortly after leaving Birdsville we were looking at Big Red, first thoughts were - It was suppose to be bigger.  Whilst Big Red was lurking over us we aired down to about 25 psi for the sand, then headed off.  We were the first of the group that arrived this morning and I was a little worried that I would be the first one stuck.  This didn't happen as it was very easy, I reckon you could have done it in 1st gear high 4WD with ease so I was a little disappointed. 

               

                We were there alright, little did we know that the real big red was where someone had marked on the map.

               

                Just about ready to air down the tires, just checking on UHF 10 who if anyone was on the other side.

               

                Looking into the fire

                

                Christie heading up the back side of the Real Big Red.  She got bogged a little further up as she slowed down on the top.

               

                

                Me just about over the top

               

                On the back side now.

                                               

                                                The view from up here was awesome, well worth the walk to the top

               

                Christie at Big Red

                                               

                                                Kenny was there too, very keen to keep going on though, there were a lot more dunes to go

        After a few photos we headed of to tame the Simpson, we got in and found the real big red and turned up to give it a go.  First go I was up, not too much of a challenge.  So I let Christie drive down and up the Birdsville side of Big Red, she did alright till she got to the top, I had to take over as she wasn't giving it enough right foot in the sand to get it over the final peak. 

        After crossing our first couple of dunes the scenery didn't change much, occoationally we got to see some camel tracks but no camels.  Lunch was just a stop off on the side of the road, not too much just something to eat and swap drivers.

        We found a campsite as around 4, as I though it better to get in early and have everything set up and get some wood for our first meal and night in the desert.

        Dinner in the desert, as this was going to be our first meal in the desert it was going to be the best.  Dinner was Darwin Tiger Prawns which we had carried the whole trip so far, in a garlic sauce accompanied by coconut rice served on a lettuce bed.  This also had a piece of fire roasted pumpkin side dish (this was all on the same plate to save water in washing up). 

            In the picture below you can see the size of the prawns by comparing it with the knife handle.

               

                Darwin Garlic Prawns with Coconut Rice accompanied by Fire Roasted Pumpkin - Hmmmmm

 

                After dinner it was a little wine and sit in front of the fire content with how everything up till now had gone.  We were now veterans of the Simpson

 Desert (Well that's how we felt anyway).

That's the end of part 1, it's now time to move onto part 2, just click the button below.

                                                                                                        Part 2

bye