Canning sand dunes versus Rig Road dunes

Submitted: Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015 at 18:49
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For those who have done both, which track has the bigger dunes? We did the CSR Wells 5 to 22 heading north towing a camper in May 2013 which you can see in all the pix of those wells. That last dune near CSR well 22 was a good 25 metres. Now thinking of going east to west on Rig Rd in Sept with same gear as slope is easier in that direction. Your thoughts ladies and gentlemen....... W
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Reply By: Frank P (NSW) - Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015 at 19:43

Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015 at 19:43
The slope is easier going west to east. Regardless of direction, suggest you leave the trailer behind so you don't ruin the track for everyone else.
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Reply By: Kyle H - Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015 at 20:21

Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015 at 20:21
Did it both ways last September the slope is far easier going west to east but it was far harder going because the people towing trailers went that way thinking it would be easier and dug the faces of the dunes up so badly it was like trying to drive up a stairway.
To be honest, looking at your rig I would leave the trailer at home. The reason we did a double crossing is we had to return to Birdsville to pick our trailer up.
Haven't done the CSR but have been around the Billiluna area, the dunes on the Simpson I would say average 30 meters and there are around 1100 of them one way.
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Follow Up By: Shaker - Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015 at 21:29

Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015 at 21:29
I suppose it couldn't possibly have been caused by overloaded four wheel drives with incorrect tyre pressures, no of course not, must have been trailers!

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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015 at 21:43

Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015 at 21:43
Rig Rd damage is mostly erosion of the clay caps on dunes, some nasty turns on tops of those in places too, deep holes of soft sand.
Towing can be hard and I reckon it is such a track that towing can cause more damage than by 4WD vehicle only.
It's just the nature of those particular dunes, moreso than WAA or French Line even. (Of course running correct pressures, as well as running in 4WD !!)

SA Parks discourage taking trailers, probably as much to do with how often they suffer breakages out there, and delays they can cause to traffic during busy times.
You might need to do a fair few back downs for second attempts, and it can be tricky backing up sometimes a hundred metres or so, often with turns etc.

I have never done a crossing with anyone towing a trailer, and to be honest, I haven't seen too many trailers out there being towed either direction.
Maybe people heed the Parks office advice.

If you do decide to tow, just deflate trailer tyres to 18psi or so along with the vehicle, and go less if needed.
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Follow Up By: Kyle H - Wednesday, Jun 10, 2015 at 17:10

Wednesday, Jun 10, 2015 at 17:10
Well I guess the guys travelling from east to west must travel with the correct tyre pressures because the dune faces were good, the guys from west to east don't know what pressures to set because the dune faces are crap????
Last year on my double crossing strangely enough I never saw or passed a trailer being towed from east to west but I passed half a dozen being towed from west to east.
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Follow Up By: Member - Warrie (NSW) - Wednesday, Jun 10, 2015 at 17:27

Wednesday, Jun 10, 2015 at 17:27
Hmmm, interesting Kyle re E to W or W to E. If you think of Big Red then the W face is much steeper as the prevailing SE winds sculpt the dunes with vortices and have made that one dune steeper on the W side. Now IF the same laws of Physics apply to the remaining 1199 dunes then I' d go E to W. That is the $64 question. In 2009 we went from Big Red to Eyre Creek for a play and did the biggest 20 dunes twice. Time to do it again. We also went 110km east of Dalhousie to where the Rig Rd veers off the French Line. The dunes are much lower and trailer friendly. My whole point is to go via Rig Rd to have less dunes and dunes that are less steep. Anyway research is part of the trip planning fun and it's only day one.... W
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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Wednesday, Jun 10, 2015 at 18:41

Wednesday, Jun 10, 2015 at 18:41
Kyle, most people say that West to East is easier, due to 2 reasons.
One, the more gentle slope of the western dune faces, and . . .
Two, as you get further East the dunes get larger (so with less fuel, water, food on board it is then generally easier driving).

The Western dune faces certainly seem much more rutted though.
6 weeks ago, I noticed there were only a few Eastern faces that surprised us with 'hidden' bumps to keep it interesting (French Line).

Who knows why this is, maybe it's like corros, with a little wind starting the disruption, then people not getting enough momentum, lowering tyre pressures enough, or indeed the extra strain of towing across might all add to this over time.

Personally, I find either way has it's own challenges, and not much difference in overall difficulty.

As I mentioned in another post, many of Rig Roads dunes are as (or more) difficult than FL, due to the clay caps eroded away and big holes of soft sand present, often accompanied by a shapr turn on top and off the dune.
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Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Wednesday, Jun 10, 2015 at 20:02

Wednesday, Jun 10, 2015 at 20:02
Would the eastern faces be smoother because the sand from the western side gets blown over the top and settles on eastern side, being the lee?
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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Wednesday, Jun 10, 2015 at 20:14

Wednesday, Jun 10, 2015 at 20:14
Quite probable Michael, though holes that fill with sand seem to be less on the eastern faces.
Either way I'm happy with that, in 3-1/2 weeks FL East to West, so looking forward to easy ups, and slow long downs with the ruts on the other side :)
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Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Wednesday, Jun 10, 2015 at 00:38

Wednesday, Jun 10, 2015 at 00:38
Phone up the good people at Mt Dare or Birdsville and get some good, honest, up to date advice. I've been out there maybe a dozen times and the conditions are different everytime we go. The Rig road used to be near impossible on the far eastern end as you approached the K1 Line. Don't know what it's like lately. The rest of the Rig road can be a lot rougher than the other tracks because of ruts and washaways.

I know (via LCOOL) the Mt Dare people have reported that there's been a few bent chassis so far this year.
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Reply By: Sigmund - Wednesday, Jun 10, 2015 at 13:53

Wednesday, Jun 10, 2015 at 13:53
It'll be towards the end of the season so the track will be relatively chopped up.

And with a trailer the bleep e hits the fan if the claypans are boggy.
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Follow Up By: Peter - Wednesday, Jun 10, 2015 at 14:06

Wednesday, Jun 10, 2015 at 14:06
We have just completed rig road and Canning last year without trailer. The canning i believe were easier. the rig road was mostly easy except for the top of dunes where there were significant blows that were soft and you needed to do some major turns on them.

Personally I would leave trailer behind
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Follow Up By: garri - Wednesday, Jun 10, 2015 at 14:11

Wednesday, Jun 10, 2015 at 14:11
canning which way???
north to south is easier
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Follow Up By: Member - Timnivo - Wednesday, Jun 10, 2015 at 15:14

Wednesday, Jun 10, 2015 at 15:14
G'day Peter. I've been looking for a bit of up to date info. Planning on doing Innamincka to Mt Dare using Walkers Crossing and Rig Road tracks next week depending on forecast rain. I have done this before West to East about 6 years ago. I remember some pretty big tough dunes on the eastern end. There were some reports that the track had been rebuilt last year though. How was your trip and your opinions of doing East to west?? I'm in a 200series no trailer and have NO problems letting tyres right down. That said, I need to get to the Alice and I'm not really interested in a really difficult trip. Love to hear any comments. Regards. Tim.
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Follow Up By: Member - Warrie (NSW) - Wednesday, Jun 10, 2015 at 16:59

Wednesday, Jun 10, 2015 at 16:59
Thanks for info so far. We need Westprint and HEMA to add some dune heights which will add to comments like " Live sand dunes in this area often make travelling difficult " which refers to Rig Rd west of Kuncherinna Oil Well. I hate all this relative stuff, give me some absolute values any day!! LOL.
Word is that the graders did the Rig to Poolawanna Oil Well last year but a years worth of winds may have negated any benefit.
Maybe I should take K1 line from the oil well up to Poeppel Corner then go west on French Line.
Expecting a post from Timnivo to give us all an update when he travels next week....... W
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Follow Up By: Member - Timnivo - Wednesday, Jun 10, 2015 at 21:21

Wednesday, Jun 10, 2015 at 21:21
I'll be happy to do an update if I go that way. I'm a bit worried about the forecast rain for Fri/Sat/Sun. I don't really have any spare time to sit around waiting for tracks to dry and open. Might be having a very boring trip on the bitumen. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Tim.
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Follow Up By: Peter - Thursday, Jun 11, 2015 at 07:07

Thursday, Jun 11, 2015 at 07:07
So the canning was from north to south but we were early in the season.

As far as the rig road go the dunes are a bit steep but mostly solid till the blows at the tops. there were a few drive a rounds on the plains between dunes not hard though.Warburton crossing was fine and very dry across the planes. As were going around the Salt pan/lakes.

As stated the blows at top of dunes were a bit steep to get up on. Some 2m tall but ok. We had to tow out one of the crew on the whole way. This was probably due to inexperience first 4X4 First sand dune crossings

The road from blood creek to Mt Dare was very very rocky and slow.

I would not class it as difficult.
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Follow Up By: Member - Timnivo - Thursday, Jun 11, 2015 at 10:50

Thursday, Jun 11, 2015 at 10:50
Many thanks Peter. Sounds pretty similar to the last time I did it. If the first couple of big dunes off the K1 are too tough I'll head up to the French Line with the rest of the hordes. That was the best thing about it being a bit tough last time, I didn't see anyone else for a couple of days!! Weather may still get me too. Regards. Tim
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Follow Up By: Peter - Thursday, Jun 11, 2015 at 13:13

Thursday, Jun 11, 2015 at 13:13
So just to clarify my bad wording :
"We had to tow out one of the crew on the whole way. This was probably due to inexperience first 4X4 First sand dune crossings "

We only had to to him out once. he was driving a std BT50 no mods lifts or big tyres.

We also only saw 1 truck in the 3 days on rig road.
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Thursday, Jun 11, 2015 at 14:33

Thursday, Jun 11, 2015 at 14:33
Natmap topos have notes on dune heights in the Simpson. They're around 4 m around Alka Seltzer bore in the West progressively getting higher towards the East side.Big Red I've seen listed as either 30 or 40 m.

As has been mentioned, on the French line and I'd guess this would be true of other routes, many crests have proved too steep for drivers and there's a dog leg on the East side. Barrelling up the West side that's no drama - other than getting you in the merde if you don't get off the throttle and turn in time. But if you were pulling a trailer I think it would make many East side approaches 'interesting'.
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Thursday, Jun 11, 2015 at 14:44

Thursday, Jun 11, 2015 at 14:44
Tim,

Just been reading Weatherzone, and they are "suggesting" you'll be travelling via the bitumen on your way to the Alice.

Rain kicking off Sat-Sun, and easing by Thursday 18th.

In excess of 15mm around Windorah, and falls of 30-50mm next week.Winton & Isisford are to have best winter rain for 3 years. Will believe that when I see it..........still maybe I'd better clean the gutters out before Saturday.

Birdsville has 80-90% chance of falls over weekend, and into next week too.

Safe trip,
Bob

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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Thursday, Jun 11, 2015 at 15:33

Thursday, Jun 11, 2015 at 15:33
Ouch.
Av dune heights on East side 15 to 22 m.
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Follow Up By: Member - Timnivo - Thursday, Jun 11, 2015 at 15:53

Thursday, Jun 11, 2015 at 15:53
G'day Bob. That is my sad prognosis at the moment. Wife and kids are flying to the Alice. My life will NOT be worth living if I'm stuck in the desert and am not waiting at the airport!!! I'll give it another 24-36 hours before I make my final decision. There will be other adventures and I've been across the Simpson twice before. I love driving nearly anywhere, but home-Broken Hill-Port Augusta-Alice Springs is not up there in my favourites. Still, by the time I get to Yunta or Peterborough maybe the Oodnadatta track will be open again!!!
You know if you clean the gutters you won't get a drop, and if you don't it will bucket down!
Regards
Tim
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Reply By: Member -Pinko (NSW) - Wednesday, Jun 10, 2015 at 17:02

Wednesday, Jun 10, 2015 at 17:02
Some of us are going some other place after a desert crossing. May be away for three months.
Ever followed a tag along on the CSR, some take half a dozen attempts before they disappear over the top in their hired vehicles ?
Pfft !
Living is a journey,it depends on where you go !
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Follow Up By: Member - backtracks - Wednesday, Jun 10, 2015 at 19:28

Wednesday, Jun 10, 2015 at 19:28
Although I would never tow a trailer in the simo, I think those that do may be getting a bad rap. A clown in a 4wd with tyre pressures too high is just as bad as any any possible trailer combo. I've followed one ! Anyway, the mogels add extra interest !
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Reply By: Member - Timnivo - Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 09:06

Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 09:06
G'day all. Had to make a decision this morning. 10mm at Birdsville with more to come. Birdsville track closed. Have to be in the Alice next Saturday. Boring bitumen for me now. Pity you can't transfer unused Desert Parks Pass!!!
Tim
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Monday, Jun 15, 2015 at 16:47

Monday, Jun 15, 2015 at 16:47
Hope your bitumen travelling is going well, Tim?

32mm at Birdsville, 30mm at Mt Leonard, 36mm @ Cowarie Station, near Muggeranie and over 14mm @ Marree over the past 3 days. Fog too, this morning apparently.

Hey, I haven't cleaned the gutters out yet, Tim, and it still hasn't rained. What am I doing wrong? :-)

Bob



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Follow Up By: Member - Timnivo - Monday, Jun 15, 2015 at 17:43

Monday, Jun 15, 2015 at 17:43
G'day Bob. Rain has been a bit patchy again. 30mm in Wilcannia, nothing in Broken Hill. I'm in Peterborough tonight. Hopefully the Oodnadatta track might open tomorrow morning. If not, I'll head up the bitumen. Will have a look at Owen Springs reserve if I've got any spare time. At least I know I'll be in the Alice on time.
Sorry about the gutters. It usually works!!!
Hope Warrie sees this too. Sorry for not replying to your mm.
Tim
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