A newbie crossed the Simpson Desert solo east to west :-)

Yes, I am very happy to report that I just made it through and had a ball of a time. The French line must be the best sand driving rote in Australia, despite the unpleasant rhythmical depressions dug in the sand everywhere before and after each dune.

The car – a Freelander 2 SD4 SE, with 18” stock rims/tyres behaved brilliantly, never skipping a beat along the way. I bogged myself only two times (my own doing due to lack of experience on the first day), but retrieved the vehicle using MaxTrax and more importantly, the long handled shovel (my best friend now).

I cannot express enough my gratefulness for all of the information I got from you on this forum, especially Stephen L, whose advises were all right spot on. I followed every single one of them and did right.

Along the way I met quite a few driving parties and they were all very good, even though some could not hide their dismay, looking at my Freelander 2. Around Dalhouse Spring the rocky roads are horrid, but then the people at Mt Dare are wonderful and most helpful. I was happy to meet with Jeff, who is just a great guy.

Well, my trip continues - from Uluru now, down to the Painted desert, Oodnadatta Track and then the Flinders ranges. Wish me luck with those stock tyres. A full and detailed report of my trip will follow soon.

In conclusion I will plead with anyone going into the French line. Please, please, please people: drop your tyre pressure down to 10 – 12 psi and go easy on the dunes – it works much better.
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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 07:51

Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 07:51
Hi Vesko

Great to hear that you had a great time cross the Simpson. Also great to hear that you heeded to my advise. You would not believe the number of people that you advise how to tackle the dunes, and then just completely disregard it, then only to continue to have a lot of trouble and cut the track up badly.

With your next section, I always drop my tyre pressure by 20% to what you use as normal highway pressures. In return, keep your speed below 80 kph and slow down in the real rocky sections. If you have not been through the Flinders Ranges before, I hope you have allowed a good amount of time to explore the area, there is just so much to see and you will be blown away with the scenery. Make sure that you do the Gorge drives as they are a must do.

Looking forward to see how you tackle the next section.

Travel Safely


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AnswerID: 509429

Follow Up By: Member - Fab72 (Paradise SA) - Tuesday, Apr 23, 2013 at 09:21

Tuesday, Apr 23, 2013 at 09:21
Hello Stephen and Vesko,
Ah....so you were the lone traveller in the Freelander.
Ok...well not to rain on your parade or anything, we came across you between Poepells Corner and the QAA line. We were in a party of 3 cars led by a 75 series cruiser. Just a bit of desert ediquette for future trips.

1. Ditch that 0.5 watt hand held UHF. Get something better and actually use it. The reason for a lead vehicle to call "Party of 3 travelling from West to East along the French Line" is so you can gauge proximity of where others are and acknowledge their position in relation to yours and avoid a head on. That means actually replying on a radio that can be heard over at least one dune.

2. Speaking of head on.... our lead vehicle was not too pleased about firstly almost wearing you as a bonnet emblem and secondly having to reverse up a dune, back over the crest and back down the otherside to allow you passage when you were only half way up. Common courtesy would have been for you to back down.

3. You mention highway pressures.... I didn't see much bagging out of your tyres. I did see many failed, rutted out attempts along the dunes. I'm sure not all your doing but it does serve as a reminder to lower pressures BEFORE you enter the desert.

Vesko, I understand that as a first timer, it is a steep learning curve. Use this forum and many others like it to prepare yourself better. You'll never prepare yourself fully until you're actually out there doing it....it was my first time too. But some of the silly oversights almost ended your first crossing before it even began. Yes this might seem harsh but I want to use the fact you're getting so many views to educate others. Your Freelander would have been no match for the solid steel bullbar of a 75 series cruiser. Lucky my guy saw you in the nick of time and did a stall stop to narrowly avoid the head on.

Please take my advice, the advice of others and learn by it. Don't be put off by what might seem like harsh criticisim....LEARN....we're all still learning everyday.

Fab. :)
FollowupID: 787496

Follow Up By: Vesko P - Monday, Apr 29, 2013 at 17:52

Monday, Apr 29, 2013 at 17:52
Yea, Fab - I'm listening :-)
FollowupID: 788035

Follow Up By: Member - Fab72 (Paradise SA) - Monday, Apr 29, 2013 at 19:45

Monday, Apr 29, 2013 at 19:45
Hello Vesko,
Well done on completeing the crossing. There are many people with a lot more experience than you that would only dream of doing what you did.

It's great to see and prove that you don't need a big four wheel drive with thousands of dollars of accessories to get out there and have fun.

I think we both learnt a few things on our crossings. Glad you made it safe and well. Enjoy your future adventures and stay safe.

Take care.... Fab. :)
FollowupID: 788040

Reply By: Echucan Bob - Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 08:13

Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 08:13

Well done. I remember well the enormous sense of achievement after my first desert crossing (two Pajeros). Keep following Stephen's sage advice and you'll continue to have a great trip.

AnswerID: 509430

Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 09:46

Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 09:46
Certainy brings back memories doesn't it Bob.

Good on you Vesko.
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FollowupID: 787312

Reply By: wombat100 - Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 11:29

Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 11:29
Good on you Vesko...
So that's one you can cross off 'the bucket list' !!!
With a lot more to go.

AnswerID: 509452

Reply By: Candace S. - Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 13:38

Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 13:38
I'm inspired! Thanks for proving that it IS possible to safely and without drama cross the Simpson solo. ;)
AnswerID: 509464

Reply By: J.T. - Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 13:54

Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 13:54
Good on ya Mate.

I did that same route in my rebuilt series 2A Landrover.

I rebuilt everything as it needed and added 240 litres of fuel and 120 litres of water. Did not have one issue. Had the tyres low over the sand.

Go Landrovers.
AnswerID: 509466

Reply By: mikehzz - Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 15:25

Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 15:25
Good one Vesko...where are your fabulous photos of it? The rocks on the western side are pretty horrible. How much fuel did the FL2 use?
AnswerID: 509477

Follow Up By: Vesko P - Monday, Apr 29, 2013 at 17:50

Monday, Apr 29, 2013 at 17:50
For the 5000km trip it held average 9.1 l/100km, but in the desert it seemed to consume a lot more. I realised that the sand program uses more diesel (made the mistake to keep it on all the time in the first day), but later, when I relaxed a bit, I switched it on only on the more serious dunes and consumption dropped to about 10l I recon.
FollowupID: 788033

Reply By: Lyn W3 - Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 19:13

Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 19:13
Well done,

Just goes to show that a newbie can complete a difficult trip with adequate preparation.

Some of the naysayers on the forum should take note when they recommend that you should travel in a group or stay home.
AnswerID: 509489

Reply By: Bushranger1 - Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 19:26

Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 19:26
G'day Vesko,
Well there you go. I guess the Freelander 2 IS a much better vehicle than the series 1 that followed me on a trip & bottomed out all the time.

So now I guess I should "eat humble pie" & maybe accept that the Freelander "soft roader" aint so soft after all!

Having done a lot of solo vehicle travel in my lifted Hilux, travelling on your own & stopping when & where you like is pretty good I reckon.

Well done & enjoy the rest of your trip.
AnswerID: 509491

Follow Up By: Vesko P - Monday, Apr 29, 2013 at 20:45

Monday, Apr 29, 2013 at 20:45
You are right. My main problem was the clearance under the FL2 belly. Very often I encountered deep ditches, dug by heavier vehicles and if I followed the track, I would've been always stuck, like it happened at the beginning...

I resolved to aim at clever angles, avoiding the slip into the deep ditches, brushing sometimes the surrounding shrubs. At the time a few scratches on the paint seemed less important.

Hey, I also find that I am at my best, when I travel solo :-)
FollowupID: 788049

Reply By: Member - VickiW - Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 19:30

Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 19:30
Well done Vesko & enjoy the rest of your trip - looking forward to updates.

I've just started planning a June trip via the Flinders so will be good to hear what you find.
AnswerID: 509492

Reply By: Brian J8 - Tuesday, Apr 23, 2013 at 21:53

Tuesday, Apr 23, 2013 at 21:53
Hi Vesko I hope that you remember me as I was driving the 75 series cruiser that almost landed on your bonnet when I came over that sand dune and you where there . the hole point to these forums are to shear information from people and everyone can travel in safety.I'm glade that you made it safely as you could of been Killed on that sand dunes .Hear is a couple of things to make your trip safer .

1) Get a proper two way radio so you can get signal and be able to communicate to others traffic on the track and let them know of your position and you can get there's .Don't just use that little toy radio that can even get signal past 10 meters .

2) If your getting good advice like lowering the pressures in the tires its is best that you do it before you go in to the dunes and not half way through them . Your tires looked like pizza cutters when you went past us and may be you would not have had to spin the wheels all the way up the dunes .

3) When you get a dessert pass it comes with some handy help full information like to be on channel 10 when your crossing the dessert . that way everyone can keep track of people and do the trip in safety .

I mite sound bleep off but when you come with in 3 seconds of killing someone and it not your fault it makes you a bit made . please get some help or listen and learn before your stupid behavior gets you or someone else killed
AnswerID: 509634

Follow Up By: garrycol - Tuesday, Apr 23, 2013 at 23:01

Tuesday, Apr 23, 2013 at 23:01
You are saying it was his fault and he came within 3 seconds of killing you. As I understand it he was going up the dune and and you came over the top of the dune.

Another way of looking at this is that you came within 3 seconds of killing them by not stopping on top of the dune and not making sure there was no one coming up.

I would say that if an incident did occur you would have been just as negligent - maybe more so.

I think that maybe you holier than now attitude was a contributing factor.

FollowupID: 787579

Follow Up By: fisho64 - Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013 at 11:35

Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013 at 11:35
seriously Brian?
You came over the top of a dune without physically checking what was there, placing total reliance that
a/ he had a radio
b/ it was working
c/ that he heard and fully understood you
d/ he was in the car and not outside digging or broken down

and it would have been completely his fault, pretty funny only because noone was hurt
FollowupID: 787600

Follow Up By: Vesko P - Monday, Apr 29, 2013 at 17:44

Monday, Apr 29, 2013 at 17:44
Hey Brian,

That was fun, wasn’t it. When I saw that massive vehicle of yours coming down at me with such a great speed, I was properly terrified!

But then I was amazed by the skilful way you had the situation under control and was very impressed by your generosity to reverse and let me through. I really wasn’t sure what to do in a situation like this, but mind you – I would’ve reversed myself if you just stood there for a second.

At the beginning I simply didn’t know how to use my UHF radio. Afterwards I kept it switched on and learned how to establish early contact with the incoming driving parties. I found that my 5 watt UHF radio was pretty adequate – I could talk to people some 5 or even 10 kilometres away and over numerous dunes.

Mate, I hope our next encounter to be at a more relaxed place, like Birdsville pub for example (the drinks are on me).
FollowupID: 788032

Reply By: garrycol - Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013 at 10:00

Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013 at 10:00
Hi Vesko - I see that you have not come back into the forum after you original post - after seeing some of the comments on this thread and the "other" thread I guess you are wishing you had never posted at all and are maybe thinking of staying out of the forum.

I would suggest you ignore the tone of the people who have bagged you out but certainly take on board some of the underlying points. I have been 4wding since 78 and still consider myself to be a novice and am prepared to admit some of my choices when offroad may not be the greatest. Unlike you I have never done the Simpson.

You took the time to come onto this forum and ask advice and seem to have taken that advice to heart and I am sure you will take onboard some of the issues raised in these threads, I certainly learnt a thing or two and maybe your protagonists have as well - just ignore the lack of tact in how the message was delivered.

You should be proud of your achievement and the extra experience and 4wd knowledge you now have.

If you are already not on www.aulro.com then join up as there are a lot of FL2 drivers on there who also use their vehicles as they should be used.

AnswerID: 509650

Follow Up By: Vesko P - Monday, Apr 29, 2013 at 18:05

Monday, Apr 29, 2013 at 18:05
Hey Garry, sorry for not coming back on the forum sooner. At the places we stayed, there wasn't reliable internet connection and also everything else was so interesting - we were constantly exploring around and were dead tired each end of a day.

I've learned a lot from all of the comments here and really appreciate how people wish me well.

Thank you for your support and encouragement.
FollowupID: 788036

Follow Up By: garrycol - Monday, Apr 29, 2013 at 18:11

Monday, Apr 29, 2013 at 18:11
Glad your back and happy.
FollowupID: 788037

Reply By: Vesko P - Monday, Apr 29, 2013 at 17:39

Monday, Apr 29, 2013 at 17:39
Sorry for not getting on the forum sooner.

We are back in Sydney after a most wonderful trip. Everything was great – the places, the people, the weather. We had only one puncture driving on the Oodnadatta track (I expected more), fixed for $50 at William Creek.

Along the way I’ve learned a lot and now I can say that I am not a total newbie any more, and I am ready for my next adventure.

Thank you guys for your sound advice and for all your good words of encouragement!
AnswerID: 509996

Reply By: fisho64 - Friday, May 03, 2013 at 21:14

Friday, May 03, 2013 at 21:14
Good to see you back Vesco!
Somehow id got the impression you were some sort of an axe murderer but you seem to be quite the gentleman after all.
Good on ya mate
AnswerID: 510275

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