Day 7 Mystery Box Rally Stage 1 - Mildura to Milparinka 20 October 2018

Sunday, Oct 21, 2018 at 22:00

Peter Beard (WA)

Thunder and lightning - what a way to start the rally! Pete and Ali were up early and had Henry locked and loaded by 07:45. Just a short drive looking for sandwiches for lunch then down to the start line and put Henry’s team stickers on. Then the threatened rain was about to hit. So it was stop in the middle of town and scuttle around Henry trying to get him dressed before the rain hit. They just made it. Henry is now proudly sporting Henry’s Dream stickers over his Beardies’ Bucket of Bolts tags.

The rain subsided for the briefing but everyone thought rally founder James Freeman either brave or silly to be standing on top of a 4WD to deliver the daily briefing and reveal Stage 1 destination with lightning flashing close by. After a welcome and a reminder of the safety warnings provided the previous night at the briefing the destination was announced - Milparinka in NSW.

Milparinka is a tiny spot in the far north west of New South Wales about 80km short of Tibooburra, the state's most north-westerly town. Buddy Group 14 was soon on the road heading across the Murray River into NSW, following the Murray west for a bit then straight north to Broken Hill, Das Popo’s big green and white VW transporter leading the way, Henry happily slotting in as tail end Charlie. Along for the ride and bringing up the rear was Support 4 “Hippie Support”.

Not far out up the road the first big challenge turned up in the guise of a three trailer road train hauling ore. The team in front of Buddy Group 14 had a nervous driver in the group so it took ages to get past. Once the one car blockage got through it was a steady stream of Mystery Boxers overtaking with ease.

The landscape rapidly turns from farming country to drought affected desert as the Murray and Darling rivers fade into the south. It is really, really grim out here. Buddy Group 14 lapped up the kilometres north and was in Broken Hill just after midday to join the chaos of the fuel queue. Henry needs 98 octane premium fuel to avoid serious detonation so Pete and Ali queued at the BP. The group regrouped at the Miners Lookout - a restaurant/bar/cafe/lookout in the middle of town. As Pete quipped, “If you’ve got a great big slag heap in the middle of town you may as well build something on top of it!”

Henry and Behaving Badly picked up passengers at the look out - the roving blokes from Production, the amazing crew that take photos and videos of the rally - hopped on board for a lift out of town. A short stop at an abandoned railway station for a photo opportunity then on up the Silver City Highway towards a roadhouse with the unlikely name of Packsaddle.

Nate, Henry’s passenger, interviewed Pete asking him for a “dashboard confession” for the main production video. Pete’s confession involved urinating on national monuments around the world including a 12th century church altar in Copenhagen, which made Nate gasp in horror, until Pete explained that the church had been converted to a pub and the altar was now a urinal, which made Nate laugh. It seems the Danes don’t take religion all that seriously.

Fury Road and Good the Bad and the Ugly both had unfortunate incidents with a kangaroo, hitting it full pelt. Fortunately for the kangaroo it was already dead. Unfortunately for Fury Road and Good the Bad and the Ugly large bits of the 'roo attached itself to the undersides of their cars. The smell of roasting, rotten kangaroo was likely to pervade the trip for days until they removed the kangaroo bits - by now kangaroo jerky - from underneath their cars with a stick at Packsaddle Roadhouse. Sorry Skip.

The people at Packsaddle didn’t know what had hit them - a full rally complement descending for fuel, food and beer. Buddy Group 14 removed what was left of Skippy then hit the road for the final 100km of bitumen and dirt to Milparinka. Behaving Badly thought they had a flat tyre but it is just the suspension finally giving way. It’s going to be milkshake ride for the boys in convict garb for the next five days!

Milparinka is full to gunnels with happy campers. The beer is cold and dinner will be served soon. Time to sit back, watch the sunset and enjoy the camaraderie. Stage 1 successfully completed!


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