Willem's Big Trip. Report No 1

Submitted: Thursday, Jul 14, 2005 at 14:34
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Alice to CSR to Georgia Bore............. Start date 20 April 2005

After waiting for three days to obtain a permit from the Ngaanyatjarra Council to traverse the Gary Junction Road we gave up and pushed off without the permit. Talk about bureaucratic incompetence! Applying for permits is a total waste of time and energy as there is no one out there asking to see your permit.

That aside, we got out of Alice late in the afternoon and on the spur of the moment decided to camp at Red Cliffs Gorge on Ellery Creek. There had been no rain for quite a while in Central Australia and my recollection of Red Cliffs with its beautiful pool was bleep tered when we found it bone dry. We turned around and on the way back to look for a half decent campsite I snagged a rock, which altered the straight lines of the GQ’s right hand side step. At the same time a small sapling bounced off the bulbar and broke the side indicator light. Nice start to the trip, eh?

Darkness was falling with speed and we made camp on some rocky ground higher up out of possible flood waters, should if by some miracle, it would rain during the night. This was the first sleep in the new Oztent Ranger (same size as RV4). The tent proved to be very good over the coming months and we are very happy with it.

Day two saw us drive through the magnificent West MacDonnell Ranges past Glen Helen Gorge, Haasts Bluff and on to Papunya Community and then further on to refuel at Kintore. We ran out of bitumen at Glen Helen and from there onwards the roads were pretty ordinary with long sections of severe corrugations. Both Papunya and Kintore Communities are a sad reflection of the hopelessness the aboriginal people subject themselves to and a far cry from our more ordered European way of life.

At Sandy Blight Junction we met up with fellow travellers in a 100 series Landcruiser, towing a camper. We noticed the tail light of the LC was loose and helped out with some screws and a screwdriver. They led the way in to Kintore and promptly picked up a nail on the main access road resulting in a flat tyre. We went and refuelled at $1.59 a litre from a fuel bowser, which was enclosed inside a brick building. When we were done we saw the bloke with the Landcruiser still fiddling with the flat tyre. It turned out that they were from the east coast and that the wheel nuts were rusted on. My mate George, and I, helped out with advice and a breaker bar and managed to get the wheel off without damage.

We pushed off on to the NT/WA border and once there decided to have a cuppa. Soon after the LC people rocked up and stopped to say thanks for the help. While we were chatting the bloke leaned on the front indicator light of his LC. It gave way suddenly and the whole light fell on to the ground, ripping the wiring out along the way. In an instant Judith sang “Oh what a feeling”………I could have wrung her neck! The bloke did not know what to say. They took off soon after that, making excuses that they were in a hurry.

We only made another 10 kilometres from the border when I spied a gravel pit and decided that at 4pm it was time to camp. The last week of April was still quite warm and a there were a few bities around. The flies were extremely annoying.
We scratched around and found enough wood for a fire to cook dinner on.

The country side flattened out a bit on the way past Kiwirrkurra Community. We did not drive the 3km in to the community. We started seeing lots of camels and over the next three weeks I estimate that we would have seen at least 1000 of them.

At one section of the Gary Junction Road we came across this beautiful piece of road construction, formed higher above the plain and passing through a stand of Desert Oaks. Our spirits were lifted thinking that the road from here one was going to be good. Unfortunately it was only 2km in distance before reverting back to a corrugated track. We made our way past an abandoned community, searched and found one of Len Beadells originals plaques and made for Jupiter Well for a rest. In the middle of nowhere the road reverts to a hairpin bend and the unwary could easily come off the rails (road) at this point. There was also a stretch of severe bulldust for about 20km. Then we passed a road construction gang just before Jupiter Well. They were working on a washed out section of the road.

We spent two days doing nothing at Jupiter Well amongst the Desert Oaks. The flies drove us nuts, A friendly Two-lined dragon lizard made itself comfortable in the camp resulting in many photos being taken. George erected Jimmy’s Thunderbox, which was located very discreetly inside a toilet tent and downwind from us. It was to be the only time we used this device. It is too cumbersome to set up and the old tried and tested method of bush ablutions works the best. No travellers passed while we were at Jupiter Well.

At Gary Junction we turned left along the Gary Highway connector road and made for Wau Wau Bore and then after a short search found the overgrown track in to Veevers Meteorite Crater. We camped at Wau Wau Bore that night. The next day we made our way to Kunawarritji Community at Well 33 on the CSR picking up a 60 series LC grille, which from then on served as a shower, stand. The welcoming sign at the entrance of the community is in stark contrast to other communities and you are made to feel welcome at this community. We filled up our diesel tanks and jerries at $2.20 a litre and bought souvenirs and some supplies. I had a chat to JayJay, a community elder about the weather and all things pertinent to community life. He introduced me to his son whom he said was a “Yellafella” seeing as his mother was white. The son seemed to ignore the comment.

Well 33 provided good water and we caught up with our washing, topped up our water containers and took mobs of pics of the finches at the waterhole. The Canning Stock Route south from here was quite overgrown in places and we established that we were the third mob to pass along the route in 2005. We looked at some of the Native Wells and also for Well 31. The track disappeared in to a thicket. I got out to walk a short distance when the mournful howls of a number of dingoes close by stirred my senses. I made a hasty retreat to the truck.

At Muginjerri Cave we found that it had fallen in since the last time we had passed this way. Between Well 26 and 25 we met our first traveller since Kintore. A man of senior citizen stature who told us that he couldn’t stop to chat as he was running out of fuel and was making for Well 26. He was driving a petrol LC. He had not made provisions for the harsh terrain and there was no petrol to be had at Cotton Creek. He mates, he told us, were following a short way behind, and one of them would have to drive to Kunawarritji to get some petrol.

About another couple of kilometres further along we intercepted radio talk of how difficult it was getting over the particular dune. We interjected and said that we would come over before them. On the other side we found 5 other vehicles from Adelaide. All senior citizens (about may age or more) driving new Prado’s and a 100 series with a trailer attached. When asked about tyre pressures they were running 30psi. I am afraid I lost it momentarily and told them in no uncertain way to drop their psi to below 20. The lead vehicle fella told me to “Get F………..” and took off at a rate of knots churning up the dune track with the trailer in tow just making it over the top. The rest followed, each one had to have two goes at this relatively easy dune. We shook our heads and drove on. Then we heard someone say on the radio that maybe I was right and that they were dropping their tyre pressures. The rest added that they would do so too.

It was late afternoon when we got to the intersection of the CSR and Talawana Track and after a brief visit to the Capricorn Roadhouse fuel dump at Well23 we made for Georgia Bore. The Talawana Track has by far the worst corrugations I have ever experienced in all my years of outback travel.

It was good to get to Georgia Bore and to have a nice quiet camp. The water out of the bore had small black flakes in it and it was necessary to filter it. We managed again to find some dead wood and have a warm fire for tucker and
Port before tucking up for the night.
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Reply By: Al & Mrs Al (Vic) - Thursday, Jul 14, 2005 at 14:46

Thursday, Jul 14, 2005 at 14:46
Hi Willie,

great read so far, I can just imagine you losing your cool with some of the travellers you meet :), can't wait to read more.


AnswerID: 120352

Follow Up By: Willem - Thursday, Jul 14, 2005 at 14:57

Thursday, Jul 14, 2005 at 14:57
Hi Lynda

Hmmm yes Must control meself lol

Working on the next instalment. Maybe later tonight or tomorrow.
FollowupID: 375408

Reply By: Member - George (WA) - Thursday, Jul 14, 2005 at 15:07

Thursday, Jul 14, 2005 at 15:07
Well done Willem, that is a great story I really enjoyed that.
I followed your track on the Oziexplorer maps.
Looking forward to your next instalment
AnswerID: 120355

Follow Up By: Member - Marion C (VIC) - Thursday, Jul 14, 2005 at 16:01

Thursday, Jul 14, 2005 at 16:01
Hi Willem, this is a great read can't wait to read the rest. Can't wait until we do the CSR next year if all goes well. Keep up the great writing.
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Reply By: Nudenut - Thursday, Jul 14, 2005 at 16:50

Thursday, Jul 14, 2005 at 16:50
didnt you see the funny side of what Judith said...gee i drive a toyota and i can!

good read...keep em coming
AnswerID: 120363

Reply By: Member - Luxoluk - Thursday, Jul 14, 2005 at 17:22

Thursday, Jul 14, 2005 at 17:22
A fine piece Willem. Lookin' forward to the next installment!! Cheers
AnswerID: 120368

Reply By: robak (QLD) - Thursday, Jul 14, 2005 at 17:36

Thursday, Jul 14, 2005 at 17:36
Thanks Willem, a great read

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Reply By: Member - John (Vic) - Thursday, Jul 14, 2005 at 18:20

Thursday, Jul 14, 2005 at 18:20
As usual Willem your prowess with the pen (Keyboard) is second to none, your writing and the experiences they reflect are always a great read.

It is of concern that the two situations you describe (Below) continue to happen in this day and age.

"A man of senior citizen stature who told us that he couldn’t stop to chat as he was running out of fuel and was making for Well 26. He was driving a petrol LC. He had not made provisions for the harsh terrain.

"When asked about tyre pressures they were running 30psi. I am afraid I lost it momentarily and told them in no uncertain way to drop their psi to below 20. The lead vehicle fella told me to “Get F………..”

Is this a reflection of the stupid "My 4wd can go anywhere" attitude of some?

Nice bloke to speak to you like he did after you offered such pertinent advise, He was obviously stressed because he was out of his depth.
Wonder what he would have said if he had asked you for help later on and you replied with the same attitude. (Knowing you would not)

Cheers mate look forward to the next part.
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AnswerID: 120382

Follow Up By: Willem - Thursday, Jul 14, 2005 at 18:56

Thursday, Jul 14, 2005 at 18:56
Thanks John

Yes, came across some others in the Simpson running 40psi. Must say it was after the rain and the sand was compacted. Talked to them on radio stating drop your pressures. "No need to mate" came the reply as he gunned it up Big Red. Halfway up he sank to the hubs. Backed down and tried again with the same result. Eventually the message got through.

Some people are wise....some people are otherwise.....lol
FollowupID: 375448

Reply By: Member - Nick (TAS) - Thursday, Jul 14, 2005 at 18:34

Thursday, Jul 14, 2005 at 18:34
Gday Willem,its a shame you didnt call into Kiwirrkurra as we found it a great look and there is a womens centre just opened up where you can go in and buy art (very good prices and they send you a certificate for authentisity and picture of the artist)work and stuff.We were made feel real welcome here by an old aboriginal bloke "Jim" who couldnt do enough for us.The people running the store opened it up even though it was closed for her lunch break.Really liked it out there.
We met some blokes along the Kidsen track who had just done the CSR and were saying how bad the dunes were,saying it took them two or three goes to get over them,some even required snatching the second vehicle over.What tyre pressures were they running--56psi.i mentioned letting them down but no no no theyd get flat tyres then.
By the sound of the roads when you were there.Im glad we were a month later,dirt highway most of the way.
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Follow Up By: Willem - Thursday, Jul 14, 2005 at 18:50

Thursday, Jul 14, 2005 at 18:50
Hi Nick

Yeah maybe next time. We did however stop at the Warburton Community Art Centre on the way back and made some purchases there. They have put a lot of time and effort in to building a superb Art Centre, Shop and Council Chambers. One can only see so much, unfortunately.
FollowupID: 375446

Follow Up By: Member - Nick (TAS) - Thursday, Jul 14, 2005 at 19:57

Thursday, Jul 14, 2005 at 19:57
I got a phone call from ???(forgot her name) inviting us to go to the womens art centre,she hadnt been there in the community long and was trying to get things happening .Im taking that she got our details from our permit(arranged 3 months prior) as I had no contact prior to then.
I know what you mean about dogs to.
FollowupID: 375459

Reply By: Bob of KAOS - Friday, Jul 15, 2005 at 17:23

Friday, Jul 15, 2005 at 17:23
Great stuff Willem
we were in Kintore in May and they were still talking about the bloke wearing the matinee jacket, and an attitude to Toyotas (why else would the dingoes and toyo drivers get upset with you?)
We spent quite a lot of time collecting garbage at Jupiter Well last year - I wonder if was already befouled again when you went through?
AnswerID: 120516

Follow Up By: Willem - Sunday, Jul 17, 2005 at 21:56

Sunday, Jul 17, 2005 at 21:56

Jupiter Well was very clean but there were signs of old rubbish. The road gang had graded some camp sites in to the spinifex. Enjoyed the camp but the flies drove me insane lol Next time I will go later in the year.
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Reply By: Richard Kovac - Sunday, Jul 17, 2005 at 21:41

Sunday, Jul 17, 2005 at 21:41
Hi Willem

What was the run out Veevers Meteorite Crater like, as in the track and the crater?

should be near there in about 3 weeks


AnswerID: 120848

Follow Up By: Willem - Sunday, Jul 17, 2005 at 21:54

Sunday, Jul 17, 2005 at 21:54
Hi Richard

About 15km in as I recall. Easy run but a bit washed out in places.
Turnoff is about 2km south of Wau Wau Bore

Always worth a look. Smallish crater. We looked for Tektites but found none.
FollowupID: 375897

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