Wheels Across a Wilderness .....

Submitted: Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 22:57
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I just watched the Leyland brother's movie, Wheels Across a Wilderness.
Wow, what a trip!
Hard to believe it was 40 years ago & straight across the Simpson, no tracks, with 2 Land Rovers, one towing a 2 ton trailer!
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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 23:05

Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 23:05
Don't always believe what you see Shaker.

No Tracks?

The French Line, or was it the QAA Line, had already been graded at that time.

Bill


I'm diagonally parked in a parallel Universe!

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Follow Up By: Shaker - Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 23:43

Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 23:43
Maybe it had ...but they didn't use it!
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Follow Up By: Footloose - Saturday, Jun 03, 2006 at 08:24

Saturday, Jun 03, 2006 at 08:24
It was the French Line. There's a recent post which points out the various inconsistencies in the film.
Still it's easy to look back and pick holes in history. It was a remarkable journey, as I think all their early ones were.
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Reply By: Member - Ian S (NT) - Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 23:12

Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 23:12
Hi There ,

and 40 years later the re-enactment or is that tribute to the Steep Point - Byron Bay Crossing is coming through Mt Dare in August this year with a Leyland as a celebration. Sound good, be there!!

Ian@Mt Dare
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Reply By: Member - Stephen L- Saturday, Jun 03, 2006 at 08:51

Saturday, Jun 03, 2006 at 08:51
Hi Shaker
It is still possible to do the same, yes even 40 years later. We have just returned after, yes 15 days in the Simpson, pure Cross country for 500 Kilometres. Some of the places that we went to we were the first ever white people and vehicles. Don't forget that the Simpson is the largest parrell dune system and white man has just touched the tip of it. It is still as hard now as it was then, though we had the comforts of GPS and OziExplore, real time mapping.
If you want the challenge and are prepared for some very slow days(at one stage it took us 2 hours to travel 6 kilometres) it is still possible to find out find first hand.

All the Best

Stephen
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Follow Up By: Jugs - Saturday, Jun 03, 2006 at 09:27

Saturday, Jun 03, 2006 at 09:27
Stephen L

Would like to hear some more on your trip do you have a post up ?

Jugs
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L- Saturday, Jun 03, 2006 at 13:18

Saturday, Jun 03, 2006 at 13:18
Hi Jugs,
How much do you want to know. You can not compare the trip that we did with your normal Simpson Desert Trip. Out in the desert propper, the going is tough, low range 1st and 2nd most of the way. Lots of punctures - we were running 14psi front and 16psi rear. The unexpected can always happen, as did with us. As you might know, those mulga stakes are so tough. One hit up under my front wheel arch and broke my metal brake line. Tried crimping it off, but still leaked and 1 litre of break fluid does not go far. This cut our desert section short by 2 days. Even in low range 1st at a crawl, you still need stopping power as you crawl over giant sand blow outs and your vehicle lurches forward and hit a mound, not much fun. I could send much more than this, if you want more, I will write more. The only thing that I would say that this trip is for the experience desert traveller only. Our slowest day was 22kms and most days were 33kms - yes you could have walked faster. It was one great trip

Regards

Stephen
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Follow Up By: Jugs - Saturday, Jun 03, 2006 at 16:09

Saturday, Jun 03, 2006 at 16:09
Apologies for the slight thread hijack
Stephen
I haven't done a desert trip would be glad to hear your route and the highs and lows. Just as much as your comfortable with. What did you find invaluable, what will you leave at home next time. Where will you go back to at the drop of a hat. I look forward to hearing and seeing some of your trip.
Jugs
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L- Saturday, Jun 03, 2006 at 17:54

Saturday, Jun 03, 2006 at 17:54
Hi Jugs
If you send me your email address, I can send you a full report. I am having a story in one of the National 4WD Magazines, as well as 4Wheelin SA. There was nothing that we could have left at home. We had to take 110 litres of water, 275 litres total of Diesel, as I am a 4 cylinder diesel, as well as supplies for 1 month. The age of you vehicles does not matter, just as long as it is 110% mechanically sound. The only problems that we encountered with the vehicles, should never have happened.

1. Alternator mounting bracket bolt lost---Had the Alternator serviced before the trip and they did not do it up, no fault of vehicle.

2. Lost count of the number of punctures for the group. As I was the lead vehicle, I was clearing the way, so all punctures were by the first 4 vehicles.

3. Take extra tyres changing gear, as by the end of the trip, all puncture gear was getting very low.

4. Front circlips on driver side front drive shaft came off, not put back correctly when they checked my front wheel bearings before the trip, again no fault of vehicle.

5. Broken front brake line front mulga stake, again no fault of vehicle.

Make sure that you go with people that you know. We are all friends, so we all get on great. Have heard of some bad stories of some groups not getting on.

We have travelled the Simpson many times an every time it will be very different from your last trip. Make sure that you do get out there, as if you like that country, you will want to go back time after time.

In a nut shell, Madigan's Camps 1 and 2, then cross country to our first confluence of S25º E136º, we were the first ever group there, cross country out to Colson Track. Down Colson Track approx 10kms, then cross country to Geosurveys Hill. Up to next confluence of S25º E137º, find along the way much evidence of early aboriginal occupation-stone chippings, grinding stone etc, then down to the Geographical Centre of the Simpson Desert. From there east to old shot line - good condition. Only 6kms as crow flies, but 2 hours of hard driving. South for approx 40kms, then east cross country to more old shot line. These were very hard to find even with OziExplorer. They had not seen a vehicles in decades. They would dissapear as quick as we found then. South Again towards Thomas Oil Well. This is when I had brake problems, so made a B Line for the French Line. This cut our trip by about 2 days short in the Desert propper. Once back on the French Line, it was like driving an a seales road.

Again, if ou want a full story, let me know.

Regards

Stephen
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Follow Up By: Willem - Saturday, Jun 03, 2006 at 18:21

Saturday, Jun 03, 2006 at 18:21
Hi Stephen

My account of our Simpson adventure should be up on my website by Monday afternoon. I am busy working on it now.

I am surprised at the many punctures you lot had. On our 1987 trek we had none and this time around I had none in the Simpson, truck number two had 2 and truck number three had none. Truck 1&2 were running 265/75/16 and 17 Cooper STT's at 15psi hot and truck 2 was running 315/75/16 BFG Muds at 15psi hot. He was just unlucky to pick up at first a small stake and second a spike, when we drove through an old survey camp of 1979.

I do believe however that further north in the desert there is more dry broken timber. A mate of mine led a trip along the Madigan Line in 1987 as well and the ten vehicles notched up 45 punctures between them.

Let me have your email address so I can let you know when I am coming your way again. You can send it through www.kempen.id.au

Cheers
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Reply By: Willem - Saturday, Jun 03, 2006 at 09:37

Saturday, Jun 03, 2006 at 09:37
Yep pretty good stuff.

First people into and across the desert by vehicle is attributed to Reg Sprigg and his family when he was doing survey work out there in 1962.

The Leyland Brother really excited the adventure spirit of many and made it interesting so that we would get out there and see the place.

Here is an interesting read at www.simpsondesert.fl.net.au/sponsors/

I am not taking sides.

As StephenL says. It can still be done. I did a crossing north/south in 1987 and was out there again in May. The desert has changed since 19 years ago and is far drier than before. But if a bit of rain was to fall it could be lush green again.
Still, there must be water out there somewhere as we saw quite a few birds deep into the desert.

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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L- Saturday, Jun 03, 2006 at 13:07

Saturday, Jun 03, 2006 at 13:07
Hi Willem,
On the subject of Birds. - On one of our nights on our way to Geosurveys Hill, on Dust we had 8-10 swifts flying around our camp. At first we thought that they were bats, but no, they were swifts. There were also other birds in the area, which as you know, the desert is as dry as chips at the moment. If we had extra time, there would have been a native well near our site. I have contacted National Parkes here in SA and they are going to contact their counterparts in the NT. When your going through Clare next, let us know.

See you soon

Stephen
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