Day 11 Mystery Box Rally Stage 5 - Silverton to Mildura 24 October 2018

Thursday, Oct 25, 2018 at 06:00

Peter Beard (WA)

A big night at the Silverton Hotel with Mystery Boxers dressed in all sorts of outlandish costumes. Dinner was excellent, beer was cold (even had Coopers Pale!) and the entertainment was provided by the box game - young fit things trying to pick up a small box off the floor with their teeth without hands or knees touching the ground – and of course Twiggy’s boom box. Most of Buddy Group 14 have either beer bellies or dicky knees so the box game was out - except Das Po Po's junior member Jules, who wisely declined. The prize? First on the road tomorrow. Ha! Buddy Group 14 doesn’t need that!

Pete and Ali trudged the kilometre back to camp from the pub around 9pm, had one more beer and a last look at the drama of triage before hitting the swags. Last day tomorrow.

A strong, cold wind swept into Silverton around midnight, sending campers reaching for the sleeping bags. It was still howling in the morning as all Mystery Boxers trudged back across to the pub for breakfast and the briefing. No surprises on destination today - Mildura. Ali accurately predicted the route, down through Menindee and Pooncarie to Mildura, making the whole trip a sort of figure eight with a tiny head.

Buddy Group 14 was fourth on the road, being waved out by Mick as he walked around the field. A short stop in Broken Hill for a splash of fuel and some stickers for Behaving Badly then it was a quick trip on the tarmac down to Menindee, Henry in the lead. The team stopped for a code yellow (that’s a pee) about half way then into Menindee to take a picture of the cars next to the Darling River - the first sign of water in five days. Just incredible. NSW is certainly in the grips of harsh drought.

The dirt road starts just out of Menindee, a light, talcum powdery track throwing billows of dust high into the air. Fury Road had to contend not only with Henry’s dust but a fine spray of super-heated transmission fluid leaking from the power steering box out the back and occasionally on the exhaust creating a puff of blue smoke. The team ate up the kilometres and soon reached Pooncarrie for a lovely lunch - provided by the local P&C, who was very happy with the payment associated with feeding 300 Mystery boxers and support people. The raffle the P&C was running also looked like it made a good profit. They are doing it tough out the back blocks of NSW and Queensland and the Mystery Box and Shitbox rallies are happy to share the love and pay a fee for service. Buddy Group 14 followed Digger Boys to the pub and to enjoy a quick beer before the final dirt stretch into Mildura.

A mob of kangaroos tried to clean up Henry along the way, then another buddy group zoomed past while Buddy Group 14 made space in one of the cars for a member of the film crew, spraying everyone with rocks and leaving Pete fuming. The rules say they should slow down to 25 kmh and not pass at speed like. Must be the last day.

Finally the Silver City Highway appeared - the same route out of Mildura as five days ago. Pete handed Henry’s reins to Ali to bring him into town and she happily led the Buddy Group 14 procession into the finishing area. What a brilliant adventure!

Tonight is party time - but first a shower. Or maybe two...

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