Willem's Big Trip. Report No 6(Last one)

Submitted: Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 22:09
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Kulgera, Eringa, Dalhousie, Purni, the Simpson, Birdsville, Peterborough

I had planned to travel north along the Sandover Hwy from Alice over to the east to Brighton Downs Station to visit Member Bob Y. But a week before we were due to leave 100mm plus of rain fell in those areas and closed the roads for weeks. Whilst thinking of alternatives I saw that Member Eric and Member Crazie and their friends were at Coober Pedy, so I rang Eric on his mobile and got a reply. Anyway we stayed in touch by Sat phone and arranged to meet at Purni Bore on the French Line. At this stage in our travels we had our dog Jeddah with us and we thought we would take the chance through the National Park disguising her as our Grandma. This is what she was referred to over the next few days over the radio.

We did the run down the bitumen to Kulgera and then swung east along the road to Finke. We visited the Lambert Centre, the Geographical Centre of Mainland Australia. There seem to be two tracks in all leading to the same spot. So I drove one in and another out. There was 100 metres difference in distance. Near Finke the graders were working on the road and we got a smooth run for a few kilometres. Then we threw a right at Finke and headed past New Crown and on towards Charlotte Waters. There we got lost, driving in to an aboriginal settlement. After back tracking I found what looked like a possible campsite. I was doing about 10kmh and turned in slowly only to look in my mirror to find 60 series right up my bum missing me by metres. Found out it later it was a friend of and travelling with Member Jiarna. We had a good camp. No traffic but in the early morning a tame donkey came over from the aboriginal settlement to annoy us. The dog didn’t scare it and waving my stick at it didn’t help at all. Some well-aimed stones had little effect as it stood a few metres away looking sad at being rejected.

We took the road to Abminga Siding Ruins and with many water puddles did quite a bit of skirting around the edges looking for hard ground. Then on to Eringa Station Ruins, which was where, Sir Sidney Kidman started his cattle empire. We backtracked and made for Blood Creek Bore and then Dalhousie. Did not swim this time as we have been there twice before and did not want to draw attention to our travelling companion. Along the way to Purni Bore we caught up with Member Jiarna and his mates having lunch on the side of the track. While we were talking a group of 4x4’s bore down on us hardly slowing down their pace and passed by with only a nod of the head and the dust that followed. Bush etiquette seems non-existent these days.

Around the campfire at Purni were Member Eric and his son Dean, Eric’s mate Jim and his son Costa, Member Crazie (Adam and Kir), Member Jiarna (John, Anita and children) and Asleigh and Evan (friends of John). These days Purni has a thermal shower, laundry tub and long drop toilet. There is also a shaded picnic table. Quite civilised compared to days gone by. I got everybody up early the next morning but by the time everyone had his or her act together it was 10am!

We took the WAA line, the Rig Road and Judith and I took the WAA line again forgetting that I had done it before. Adam and I took the vehicles off to look for the abandoned airfield and the lake at the Erabena Track turn off while the others went on to Lone Gum. While we were on the WAA line and crossing some rocks with the GQ lurching from side to side ‘Grandma’ let off steam by telling me off in no uncertain terms that she did not appreciate all these bumps. We all had lunch at Tilly Junction and made for The Knolls. About 17km along the French Line we turned north up the track to Lake Mirranpongapongunna and found a very nice sheltered campsite.

Poeppel Corner was an event for everyone and my third time there. The site is well managed these days to contend with heavy traffic but there are still those who are intent on vandalising the area by driving diagonally across the salt lake, breaking down the barriers and walking over areas where regeneration is taking place. The run up the lake to the QAA line was very rutted due to recent rains and vehicles pushing through the wet sections. Eric had a few small hiccups with his gas fired 80 Series but lying underneath and fiddling with some wires got it going again. Once out of the National park we stopped for lunch before young and old went for a play on Big Red. We arrived in Birdsville at about 4pm to a warm welcome from Ruth and Ian Doyle at the Birdsville Caravan Park.

We spent ten days at Birdsville camping for six days and in a cabin for four. We experienced a full cycle of Birdsville touristy things and had great meals at Member Karsten’s, Big Red Café and cold beers at the Birdsville Pub. It rained, the roads closed, it was cold, damp and almost miserable but then we had a great National ExplorOz meet. On the Sunday we had a play on Big Red and a cook-up at the bottom of the dune. The roads dried off and on Monday the Birdsville Track opened to Maree. We took this window of opportunity to scoot the 930km back home to Peterborough in 14hours, ploughing our way through around a 100 mud patches and sloppy creek crossings. Just north of Mungerannie we met up with Member Roachie and his entourage and had a chat.

It had been a wonderful holiday and now we have vowed to disappear every winter from this chilly place for three months at a time.

Mechanical wrap up:
GQ 299,000km
We did 15700km in 89 days
The Cooper STT’s (old style) acquitted themselves very well. We had no punctures but the sidewalls and some of the tread show distinct wear and tear. They have done 20,000km

The waterpump died and was replaced Replaced one belt
The Rotronics battery isolater died. Ran batteries in parallel
The oil sender died
The temperature gauge died
The radius arm bushes clunked for 10 thousand km
The mudflaps got torn off and flares dislodged
The engine rear oil seal is leaking again after being replaced
Broken side light and bent sidestep
Broken Wog Pole

GU 51,000km
Windscreen wiper stalk spring expired and switched wipers on over corrugations
Tore off both front flares
Replaced LH shockie rubbers.
Goodyear Wrangler MTR’s did well on splits but had two tube failures.
Changed fuel filter
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Reply By: Des Lexic - Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 22:38

Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 22:38
Thanks again for another couple of great reads. I certainly have enjoyed your adventures.
Grandma Jedda, now thats a new one.
Cya in a couple of weeks
AnswerID: 120699

Follow Up By: Willem - Monday, Jul 18, 2005 at 18:58

Monday, Jul 18, 2005 at 18:58
You will have to make time to come on one of my adventures :o)

Keeping the donuts warm....................
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Reply By: Member - John (Vic) - Sunday, Jul 17, 2005 at 02:12

Sunday, Jul 17, 2005 at 02:12
Bloody hell Willem, You broke the wog pole!!!!!?????
I remember the trauma involved in getting that sophisticated piece of equipment and now you have gone and busted it.

Do they have such things in SA or will you have to get one when your next over here?
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Follow Up By: Willem - Monday, Jul 18, 2005 at 18:56

Monday, Jul 18, 2005 at 18:56
Yes mate...'twas a sad day.

Looking at ways of resurecting it with some fibreglass stuff I have lying around :o)
FollowupID: 376038

Reply By: Member - Athol (NSW) - Sunday, Jul 17, 2005 at 05:36

Sunday, Jul 17, 2005 at 05:36
this has been a very interesting read. Sounds like the kind of trip we all want to do, and some day hopefully I will make it to retirement age and be able to do all of these trips. But for now I'll have to be content with a few weeks a year.Brings back memories of doing my apprenticeship in Newman, that was the start of my 4wd expirences borowing the old mans series 1 landy. Then I bought an old Fj55 and went out around wittenoom and other spots, ah the memories!!

Thanks for the yarn, Athol
AnswerID: 120736

Reply By: Member - Gary W (VIC) - Monday, Jul 18, 2005 at 14:47

Monday, Jul 18, 2005 at 14:47
Yeah Thanks Willem,

Well written - can't wait to get out again.

AnswerID: 120928

Reply By: Redback - Monday, Jul 18, 2005 at 18:47

Monday, Jul 18, 2005 at 18:47
Hey Willem thanks again for everything it was a pleasure meeting you again and finally meeting Judith who is a GREAT cook and a lovely person can't wait for our next meeting, Ness and Kerry say hi as well and of coarse not forgetting Jedda, we have just arrived home and Pepper is fine just a couple of missing teeth no major injuries, a relief for us i can tell you.

The EO gathering was good eh.

AnswerID: 120974

Follow Up By: Willem - Monday, Jul 18, 2005 at 18:54

Monday, Jul 18, 2005 at 18:54
Hi Baz

Good yo hear you are home safely without any other mishaps. Good to hear also that Pepper is on the mend.

We must do the EO gathering again sometime but have to find a spot and a time when it doesn't rain lol
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Reply By: Mad Dog (Australia) - Monday, Jul 18, 2005 at 20:02

Monday, Jul 18, 2005 at 20:02
Thanks for taking the time to share your adventure Willem. I throughly enjoyed every installment.
AnswerID: 120997

Reply By: Wombat - Tuesday, Jul 19, 2005 at 11:21

Tuesday, Jul 19, 2005 at 11:21
I've got that feeling that you get when you've just finished a decent holiday. Now I've got to go back to work. Thanks for taking the time to document your travels for those of us tied to our desks, Willie, you do it so eloquently.
AnswerID: 121089

Reply By: Nudenut - Wednesday, Jul 20, 2005 at 08:39

Wednesday, Jul 20, 2005 at 08:39
just finised reading 4- 6...great adventure!

but ..but.... whats a wog pole?
AnswerID: 121261

Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Wednesday, Jul 20, 2005 at 13:37

Wednesday, Jul 20, 2005 at 13:37
A highly technical piece of 4wdriving equipment, owned only by very experienced 4wdrivers who understand the obvious benefits of such equipment.

They are as rare as .460 Weatherby Magnums are for rabbit shooting.

Willem must have applied a fair degree of the enjoyment factor to break his.

A sad day indeed when you break your wog pole.
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Follow Up By: Nudenut - Wednesday, Jul 20, 2005 at 18:43

Wednesday, Jul 20, 2005 at 18:43
i know its a broken nissan ...but i cant fathom why you'd call it that
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Follow Up By: Nudenut - Thursday, Jul 21, 2005 at 08:38

Thursday, Jul 21, 2005 at 08:38
you guys treat like a mushroom....keep me in the dark and feed me bullsheit!

who needs you lot when I have a friend called google...
FollowupID: 376525

Reply By: Tessysdad - Thursday, Jul 21, 2005 at 22:58

Thursday, Jul 21, 2005 at 22:58
Hi Willem,
Thank you for the detailed account of your trip. I not only found it interesting and informative, but also appreciated the manner in which it was written, especially the humour. A good read. Thank you.
Happy camping,
AnswerID: 121533

Follow Up By: Willem - Friday, Jul 22, 2005 at 08:53

Friday, Jul 22, 2005 at 08:53
No worries, Mike. Glad you enjoyed our adventure.

Now I have to improve aspects of storage in the truck and save up for next winter's 3 month trek to a warmer climate, somewhere in the north of this great country.
FollowupID: 376699

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