Comment: Ryan's Rambles - Planning first Outback trip

What a pity I have not been keeping my blog up to date!
Thanks to Barb for her good wishes - you'll enjoy reading about what happened next
The trip mentioned above turned out to be quite an educational adventure. We loaded up the Coromal Camper-van in Tewantin with supplies for 10 days, and headed west. We made it comfortably to Womblebank station and headed for Mount Moffatt, - along the way, the roads maintenance guys were laying down and rolling in a new top layer of dirt, but quite quickly, the weather deteriorated, and as we crossed a number of small rivers and streams, I began to wonder were we wise to push on., but we did . . .
We reached the camp site at Dargonelly Rock Pool, and were very satisfied with what we found - a nice grassy, flat, sheltered camp site with bore water and clean drop toilets - but it was still raining and it rained all night. I didn't sleep well, as I was thinking about those streams we had crossed and wondering how much deeper they might become with all that rain.
Next morning, as we were thinking a strategic retreat might be in order, the Rangers arrived and advised us that they agreed - "leave now or be prepared to be stuck there for a long time.." So we packed up and headed out.
The good work of the road maintenance team now became our worst enemy, and the dirt layer had turned to extremely slippery mud - 100kms of it.. The trailer swung from side to side alarmingly, dragging the tail of the Prado with it, making it very difficult to stay on the crown of the road; eventually after about 50 kms I made a poor choice of track and the left side of car and trailer settled in soft clay. Several attempts to drive out were unsuccessful, so rather than digging us in deeper, we put up the roof and settled down for the night, hoping that the rain would have stopped by morning.
Next day, as the rain continued, our isolation became more apparent, neither the small hand-held UHF radio nor the Mobile could obtain any signal, and our lack of recovery gear caused me some alarm; I decided that we were just going to have to get out using old-fashioned methods, and started collecting rocks, thorn bushes, saplings and dead timber to build a "road" so that we could drive out of our slimy trap. After three days hard work by all 3 of us, I was satisfied, but I didn't want to fluff our one chance, so we waited another day hoping that the sun, which had reappeared after two days, would improve the driving conditions a little if we gave it a chance.
Eventually, after four and a half days of isolation, we packed up and gave it a go. There was a fair bit of wheel-spin, but after two attempts, the Coopers got a grip on the rocks and branches, and we were out!
The road from then on was like a ploughed field in many places; the tension in the car was extreme as I struggled to keep it between the ditches on either side, the rivers and streams turned out to be no problem, and we eventually reached tarmac late on the fourth day after leaving Dargonelly.
I drove as far as Miles and decided that going any further would be foolish, as exhaustion and relief had begun to cause deep tiredness, and sleep was required.
We got home next day and spent two days with the gurney trying to get rid of the mud.
Lessons learned:
- Carry emergency communication equipment
- Carry recovery gear
- Fit a winch on the Prado
- Avoid freshly-topped dirt roads in wet weather.
I would love to go back there again - in dry weather!
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