Rig Road - Simpson dessert

Submitted: Monday, Mar 29, 2004 at 11:42
ThreadID: 11650 Views:1501 Replies:8 FollowUps:13
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Can anyone tell me if the Rig Road is OK for an "off road" camper trailer
I have read that the track was originally designed for exploration machinery.
What condition would it be in now, wash outs, sand drifts etc.
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Reply By: Member - Ruth D (QLD) - Monday, Mar 29, 2004 at 11:47

Monday, Mar 29, 2004 at 11:47
No it is not an "off road" camper trailer road. yes it originally( about 40 years ago) was built for the purpose of oil exploration but has not had an upgrade and has had a summer of high winds and very steep sand blows. When are you planning to travel - which month determines the condition of this TRACK.
AnswerID: 52386

Follow Up By: ValA - Monday, Mar 29, 2004 at 11:57

Monday, Mar 29, 2004 at 11:57
Thanks Ruth,
We are considering the Simpson Dessert crossing around mid May this year.
We are towing an off road trailer as this is only part of a 8 week trip.
Towing vehicle is a turbo charged LC

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Follow Up By: Member - Des Lexik(SA) - Monday, Mar 29, 2004 at 12:20

Monday, Mar 29, 2004 at 12:20
None of the Simpson Deserts tracks are suitable to tow camper trailers across it mainly because of the additional damage done to the tracks caused by vehicles attempting to do what you wish to do. You will get responses from numbers of people who do do it but they don't see the damage done in their rear view mirrors. The cost of recovering vehicles and trailers in this area is very severe.
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Follow Up By: Member - Ruth D (QLD) - Monday, Mar 29, 2004 at 12:24

Monday, Mar 29, 2004 at 12:24
ValA, if this is part of an 8 week trip then here are two options:
1. Leave the camper in Birdsville and do a double crossing or,
2. Leave the Simpson Desert until you have more time and can just explore the Desert (without the camper).
The Desert is really not just a place to pass through.
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Follow Up By: Vince NSW - Monday, Mar 29, 2004 at 15:31

Monday, Mar 29, 2004 at 15:31
Ruth I value your comments as they are founded on local konwledge and common sense. What about trailers to Poppel Corner & down the K1 line
Regards
Vince
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Follow Up By: Member - Ruth D (QLD) - Monday, Mar 29, 2004 at 19:35

Monday, Mar 29, 2004 at 19:35
Hello Vince - no, the post below has hit the nail on the head - as well, the dunes on the Rig Road have been difficult the past couple of years. To add to this is the moral issue - it's not that we can or cannot do it - it's whether we should or should not. If the S.A. government does not wish/recommend that trailers be taken into the SD - that should be enough.
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Reply By: Peter 2 - Monday, Mar 29, 2004 at 18:15

Monday, Mar 29, 2004 at 18:15
Agree with the earlier posts about trailers and the Simpson, (and yes I have towed light <500kgs camper across several times) but the tracks are getting rougher as traffic and lack of maintenance takes its toll.
I've been crossing the Simpson regularly since the early 80's and sometimes the rig road can be harder than the French line due to the sand blows and erosion on the clay cap.
Still lots of big dunes on the QAA to Poeppels, there are a number of broken trailers abandoned on the K1.
While the K1 itself would be ok I suspect that after the flooding that the Warburton crossing and the flood plain would be very damp, not a place to be with a vehicle let alone a trailer.
Peter
1996 Oka Motorhome

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Follow Up By: Member - George (WA) - Monday, Mar 29, 2004 at 18:38

Monday, Mar 29, 2004 at 18:38
If you tow a trailer and reduce tyre pressure on car and trailer down to
16 psi would you make it along the QAA and French line ?
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Follow Up By: Peter 2 - Monday, Mar 29, 2004 at 21:46

Monday, Mar 29, 2004 at 21:46
You might have no probs at all, you might have heaps of probs with soft sand etc, depends on the amount of traffic, weather conditions and how much rain there is/has been before you go.
Your vehicle will work much harder towing the trailer than by itself which puts additional strain on drivetrain and cooling system.
I would hazard a guess that if you are towing with a cruiser wagon that most of the fuel, water and equipment is in the trailer which means most of the weight is in the trailer, something that most are not designed to do when hammering over very corrugated sand dunes.
There are lots of variables involved, tyres, tow vehicle, number of people in the party, other vehicles etc. I wouldn't even consider towing out there if you are a lone vehicle.
My advice to anyone contemplating taking a trailer into sand country is to go to somewhere like Stockton or any other dune area to learn first hand how much harder it can be with a trailer on the back. Try reversing down a 100 yard long dune etc.
The authorities and locals ask people not to take trailers across the Simpson due to the added track damage and the prospect of having to recover the trailer at their expense when it is abandoned.
I can see down the track that there will be prohibition on towing trailers in the Simpson.
Peter
1996 Oka Motorhome

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Reply By: Rob from Cairns Offroad Training & Tours - Monday, Mar 29, 2004 at 20:12

Monday, Mar 29, 2004 at 20:12
I cant see the problem of a well set up purpose built camper trailer being towed vitually anywhere. Anyone spending up to 30k on such a trailer would consider it a waste if they werent allowed to use it in the places where they need it most rugged isolated country. I have towed trailers in the past that I wouldnt even consider towing now to some tuely isolated areas. Let practical common sense be your guide, be responsible for your actions. Any experienced competent well set up person would have no trouble on either the Simpson or Cape York with a camp trailer from my experience. Cheers Rob Berrill
AnswerID: 52469

Reply By: Voxson (Adelaide) - Monday, Mar 29, 2004 at 21:25

Monday, Mar 29, 2004 at 21:25
As everyone is entitled to an opinion,, here is mine....

Just ban all trailers from the Simpson Desert and then No damage can occur from trailers doing the crossing....Hell, no matter how good you are at crossing sand dunes,, a trailer will make your rig do more damage to the desert than not....

It is a very simple rule, almost as basic as building blocks and sand castles.........

If your vehicle has to pull a trailer over a sand dune it will most definately cause more damage to the dune than without it... How simple is that?.....

You may do less damage towing a trailer over sand dunes than the dropkick in front of you with 30psi in his tyres and in 3rd gear high range but the fact of the matter is that you could do less by not taking the trailer...

I like camper trailers, but in the right places...

AnswerID: 52489

Follow Up By: Crackles - Monday, Mar 29, 2004 at 22:37

Monday, Mar 29, 2004 at 22:37
I travelled accross the Simpson with a family of 8 in their Turbo Cruiser towing a trailer. Because of space they had no choice but to tow one. Should we ban them and not allow them to see the Desert? They packed light and checked the sand conditions before leaving then let all their tyres right down for a hassell free crossing, while overloaded cars with over inflated tyres were getting bogged in front of us. (maybe we could ban them). As for trailers damaging the dunes these comments obviously come from people that have never towed one. I'm yet to see an experienced driver cause any additional damage from towing.
Inexperience and poor driving skills causes most of the damage out there.
So if you haven't practiced towing over sand in a controlled area, have a top quality trailer, powerfull car and travell with others, I'd stay out of the desert. I'll get off my soapbox now. Craig..................
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Follow Up By: Member - Ed. C.- Monday, Mar 29, 2004 at 23:35

Monday, Mar 29, 2004 at 23:35
Crackles,
You hit the nail squarely on the head!!
Couldn't have put it better myself.......

Regards, Ed. C.

Confucius say.....
"He who lie underneath automobile with tool in hand,
....Not necessarily mechanic!!"

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Follow Up By: Voxson (Adelaide) - Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004 at 07:53

Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004 at 07:53
Again i state the OBVIOUS !!!!!!!

I agree that an experienced driver with a perfect setup and a powerful 4x4 will breeze across the dunes without even a second attempt...... I totally agree with you.....

But here is the obvious.........

He would cause less damage by not taking one..... How can you argue with that comment.... It is like arguing with someone that says at 12 noon it is daytime....

Taking a trailer across the Simpson is like the same disrespect of smoking in a non smokers face whilst he eats dinner....and argueing about doing it is the same.....

Whether i am right or wrong that is my opinion....
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Follow Up By: Lech - Wednesday, Mar 31, 2004 at 18:54

Wednesday, Mar 31, 2004 at 18:54
Hi,

another two cents from a tourist from Central Europe concerning damage.

A few years ago I was crossing Simpson Desert in January. I was undoubtly the first car after many months. There was absolutely no sign of any damage from last winter. Every "season first car" must have similar experience. I wouldnt overstate damages caused by vehicles to dune systems, because wind blowing over 170 000 sq kms moves probably more sand every hour than than all vehicles in the whole of French Line history (maybe I am exeggerating a bit). Sand dune systems are extremly resilient and recover incredibly quickly.

I don´t know what was French Line like 40 years ago but I suspect it was very similar to today´s one, regardles of cars

Of course I wouldn´t like to follow a vehicle with a trailer, reversing on every second dune.

For everybody interested in land management, damages to various landforms, human impacts etc., I deeply recommend a brochure issued by Meree Soil Conservation Board "More than meets the eye".

Lech

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Reply By: Ralph2 - Monday, Mar 29, 2004 at 21:28

Monday, Mar 29, 2004 at 21:28
The S.A.gov don't like you to tow a trailer because if they are abandoned they have to remove them,so most of the trailers that get left behind proberly wern't up to a crossing in the first place, I can't see any body leaving a $20k+ camper out there. If tyres are deflated and you drive accoringly you will do less damage than those that don't reduce tyre presure.There are a lot of trailers taken across.
AnswerID: 52490

Follow Up By: David O - Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004 at 05:49

Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004 at 05:49
I have to agree with Ruth here. It may be possible but it should not be done. We all sit here and bitch and whine about the way we are portrayed in the media as destroyers of the environment and then when we have the bodies responsible for looking after that environment discouraging us from harming it by towing trailers across it, we say bugger em!

I quote the Desert Parks Pass booklet- IN BOLD!
"It is strongly recommended that traveller avoid towing trailers across the Simpson Desert"

There are several reasons given, most relate to track damage.

In my opinion a responsible 4WDer would not take one across.
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Follow Up By: Member - Ruth D (QLD) - Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004 at 11:26

Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004 at 11:26
Thank you David for your support. This is a very emotive issue. Maybe if people looked at it from (physically) where I look at it from they might see the damage. What damage - I see the women, the kids, the fathers, the people following the trailers (and the idiots in vehicle who refuse to let their tyres down) and then I get the stories about what REALLY it was like. the simpson Desert and all it's tales - it's like living in a small town - nothing is secret out there, nothing at all, good or bad.
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Reply By: Member - Ruth D (QLD) - Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004 at 08:19

Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004 at 08:19
This is the FINAL word on trailers in the SD! I posted about 10 days ago that Big Red had claimed it's first victim - Big Red being the FIRST sand dune going east to west - Big Red has claimed a second vehicular victim now - in exactly the same way as the first. Busted front diff housing. What would happen if you were trying to tow a trailer as well. Also remember that there are dunes as big as, if not bigger, in the Desert. Added to which if you were coming from weat to east Big Red is the last dune to cross and usually causes the most problem in any year, without the exception of this one.
Also remember this, it would not take much more for the SA Government to CLOSE the SD to everyone and I for one would be very unhappy about that and would be at the forefront of the queue saying I told you so. And, like I said in the last post on this subject - just because you can (able) doesn't mean that you should (without permission). That means, because I can do 120 klms in the streets of Birdsville I will, even though the speed limit is 40 klms and the main street to the Sd passes past the school, so I will. ENOUGH.
AnswerID: 52525

Reply By: David O - Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004 at 18:48

Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004 at 18:48
No thanks required Ruth, though it is appreciated.
As an ex-extreme sports person, and a genuine adrelaline junkie, I realte to both sides of the story. But it really does come down to maintaining the opportunities we now have, for our children. I want all Australians to be able to experience these things. Lets do what is asked of us, lets not ahve fires if fallen timber is important to nutrient recycle and wildlife habitat, lets not tow trailers if we dont really have to ( and I cant think of one reason why we would have to).

Lets leave the Simpson as we found it..then my kids can one day aspire to travel through it and appreciate it.
AnswerID: 52586

Reply By: David Cox from Mount Dare Homestead - Thursday, Apr 01, 2004 at 16:12

Thursday, Apr 01, 2004 at 16:12
As the owner of Mt Dare Homestead I travel in the Simpson many times during the year.
It is good to see that most of the comments made here are by sensible people with common sence, as described by many, just because you can tow a trailer, doesn't mean you should.
The comment regarding the damage to the Dunes caused by vehicles in general is ridiculous, if you want to see what the track looked like 40 or so years ago just look left or right 10m and you'll see. Where's the ruts or scolloping of the sand dunes now, the wind can't fix this.
The western approaches are extremely damaged by vehicles with trailers and or too high tyer preasures. There is no reason why any vehicle with 18 - 20 psi (hot) in 1st gear high range can't get over most of the sand dunes in the Desert 1st attempt. You don't need to get a 40 kph run up as this bouncing will make the track worse. Remember to check the tyer preasure more than once, it will go up as the tyer temp increases and may need reducing some more, (3-4 psi will make a difference)
Just last September I saw a vehicle approaching Big Red at no less than 100 kph, after several attempts, bouncing wildly they made it to the top, the amount of stupidity here is undescribable, placing many peoples lives at risk just to say "they did it". "Big Red" can be crossed without excessive speed, 40 kph is plenty for this (2 nd gear, high range) and if you can't do it then why risk your vehicle or your life traveling at stupid speeds to prop up your ego.
AnswerID: 52826

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