Cape York via Simpson Desert 4 June 2015 – Day 3

Sunday, Jun 07, 2015 at 00:25

Peter Beard (WA)

Only a short post today, despite a long leg of the trip. Tonight is our first night in the rooftop tent this trip. We are on the Blackstone Warburton Road about 60 km east of Warburton, parked in a quarry off the road. It is sheltered, flat (necessary for a level tent and a good night’s sleep) and out of the way of any cars or people. Dinner is done – pasta sauce from the freezer heated on the gas stove, pasta and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese washed down with a cold beer. All good.

A long drive today, the 580+km from Laverton to Warburton on the Great Central Road was fairly straightforward but we still needed to keep our wits about us driving on gravel. The road is very well graded and wide, a few corrugations here and there but a comfortable trip. To keep us focused we started a game of trying to identify the model of abandoned cars that are smashed, burnt, rusted (or all three) littered along the side of the road. By sunset tonight we had counted 154 dead cars. Holden is out in front with 42, followed closely by Ford with 40. A bit like watching Bathurst. The leaders are followed by a range of Toyotas, Mitsubishis, Valiants, Jeeps and the outliers of a Mini, a Cadillac (yes a Cadillac, but it is now an advertising hording for a roadhouse) and a golf buggy. Over 50 of them we nominated as “unknown”, being too smashed, burnt, rusted (or all three) to easily identify.

The land up here is open and almost empty – very few “live” cars, we came across about 20 all up driving along the road. There was a road crew from Laverton working about 50km out of Tjukayirla; a couple of graders, rollers and a water truck. The vegetation is sparse, lots of low spinifex and scrub with occasional trees in the valleys that manage to gather enough water. A few well-spaced sand dunes roll across the landscape, and here and there rocky outcrops rise out of the flat land. In terms of wildlife we saw a kangaroo and a bunch of camels, the main life out here seeming to be birds – lots of crows and budgies, hawks and a few eagles – and flies. There are lots of flies.


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