The travels of Saddhen

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 07:51

Member - Saddhen

Hi Merrili,Family and Friends. Love to all.
I am doing this with a portable broadband router from Telstra so whenever i have a good mobile signal i can make an entry.

Day 1 Left home after loading up the car at 0800 hr on Sunday 27 May on a misty Morning. Stopped at Atherton in light rain and drove on to very foggy Ravenshoe.
By the time I got to Mt Suprise glorious sunshine and a very happy Saddhen. Arrived at the Historic mine and chimney camp-site at 1500 hr. and had a very pleasant and peacful night as it was about 300 mt off the road.

Day 2 Got up at daybreak, reloaded the car as i needed to give the springs a rest overnight and set off finally stopping as the temperature rose to a comfortable level and had my cooked the night before porridge. I put oats and dried fruit in a wide moth flask and add boiling water will preparring dinner and by morning hot porridge and juicy swollen fruit. I'll do the for the whole trip. I do the same at Breakfast time only with rice and sometime beans and it is ready at night. This saves an amazing ammount of gas on my camping stove. arrive at Bang-Bank off the road free campsite which is about 100 km after turning south near Normington. It was great fun tring to put the tent up in a strong typical swirling wind that happens alot in the outback about 1400hr. It calmed down as night fell.

Day 3 I didn't rush to get going today i waited unti the wind died down so as not to loose my tent. By 9am all calmed down. when i woke at about 0530 hr without my glasses on i could see what i thought was the moon, only it was in the wrong part of the sky. On putting my glasses on it revealed as Venus, so huge and bright in the clear early morning air. Just driving today and nothing very new as i have travelled this road a few times before. Had lunch at Burke and Wills roadhouse and continued on to Cloncurry where i posted my grand-daughter's B'Day card. Then onto find a spot to camp the night, The one i planned for at a dam was closed becauce of Blue-green algea so onto the next one which was almost full about half way between Cloncurry and Mt Isa, a bit noisy with mobile phone calls and generaters but all peacfull by 2100hr.

Day 4. Arrived at Mt Isa at 1000 hr made a left turn down the first new to me road. Rolling hills with reddy brown outcrops of rocks and bolders. A Beautiful suuny morning and hopeing it will stay that way as i havn't been able to generate much solar for my second battery which runs a small fridge. It was only a 3 hour trip and i was glad of that as my tummy was complaining and i didn't feel like eating much. I will stay at the grounds of a deserted rail head which the local community of mainly aboriginals has kept to help travellers. It is free camping with showers and toilets but extra if you need power. There is an old cottage and barn which houses all sorts of relics from the past, tools, radios, old household gadgets some would be worth quite a bit.
The collector and owner past on last year and the locals open it up every day. Such a wonderful pride the locals have. Nothing has ever been taken. The local hotel owner said "This is the best and friendliest community she has ever had the privelige to be a part of.
If i feel no better in the morning i will stay until right again. It is now time to join with my beloved ones in Atherton and do our Wednesday meditation.

Day 5. Well I did feel much better by morning so at about 0900hr i set out for Boulia a small town-ship will lots of water. Three bores of good water feeding the watertower, sprinklers going everywhere as green a town as you could wish to visit. After leaving the dry town of Dejarra which by the way was at one time late 1800s the largest cattle railhead in the WORLD. It was quite a contrast. It was only a 2 hour drive but as it continued the landscape got more and more sparse with just stunted trees and small patches of grass scatered here and there in the red-brown gravelly soil. Had a cup of coffee at the classy Min-Min cafe, only $4 a mug and a good drop of coffee it was as well. I really needed a quite day away from other campers and night road trafic which had been mostly road-trains. I found a place about 5km out of town which was listed in the "Camps 6 book" and it turned out to be really superb. Next to the river on sandy soil dozens of little tracke leading all over the place. Thanks to my in-car GPS it shouldn;t be a broblem getting out. So quiet and peacfull, a lunch of eggs cooked in coconut oil on sprouted rye bread, who could asked for more. A nice stroll after lunch followed by a quiet time and an hour or so of reading. Then a surprise the sun shone through a break in the cloud and i was able to get a 2 hour charge with my solar panel and boost my semi depleted battery witch keeps my fridge going. The only noise i heard all day was the hundreds of Galahs in waves looking like a swarm of bees at about dusk.
Yes i got my peacefull day.

Day 6. Today still in Boulia and staying at their caravan park, really great folk here. My First shower since leaving home having only had a damp wash in the vitals up till then. Have put going to Birdsville off for a few days as unseasonal rains have turned the roads into bogs. 4 roadtrains bogged with cattle on board. That will take a bit of sorting out. So i have decided to spend a few days at Diamontina National Park one of the top 10 of aussie parks.
I was going to visit on my way back so only a slight detour in my imaginary ittinery. Yesterdays Galahs turned out to be White Correlas which became evident in the daylight. There may be a break in my blog for a few days as no mobile connections will be available.

Day 7. Got away by 0900hr on a foggy Morning this seemed to be just hanging around Boulia as it soon cleared. I headed on the road to Winton and turned right after 26 km onto the dirt road to the National Park. For those who may not know the idea on dirt roads is to drop the tyre pressure by 20 percent and lock the drive if you have that ability. This allows the tyres to spread a little and also renders the tyre less likely to punture when driven over sharp rocks. That done we proceeded through flat pasture country trveling at about 80 km to ride the corrugations with the occasional slow down on soft sections and washout caused by recent rains. Once you get into the park the senery changes with tall grsses and lush trees and shrubs although there are so many other types of feture such as clay pans, sand dunes, deep river gorges, stoney desert and of course the beautifull Diamontina river. ther are two camping areas one open grass next to the river, i choose this one beacauce of my nead to have sunshine to keep my battery charged up. the other is amongst coolebar trees and lots of shade. After setting up camp a walk along the river taking a few photos many different water birds as well as others i can't name with the predeters falcon hawks gliding effortlessly lookking for that opportunity for and easy meal. Then a quiet late afternoon just
relaxing doing nothing inparticular just breathing in the pure air.

Day 8. Woke to a very dark cloudy sky so i knew it was no good having a day sun-bathing. So decided to drive the Warracoota curcuit drive 87km plus 20 to get to the start and 20 to also visit the old and restored Diamontina Homestead complex 127km when i went to school. It took over 4 hours of driving not counting all the stops and walks i did. This was to be my first real off-road drive in this Suzuki Vitara. A little over 32km per hour. Twice needing to go into low ratio gear, also a first. The car went very well and i only got nearly bogged in the mud once. A truly enjoyable experience. Many diferent bird at the many lake and clay-pans, Pelican, Heron, Hark, kestrel, even a couple of Eagles and birds i know not the name. On land The magniicent Brolga and a various wagtails. A walk in to see ruins from the late 1800s and the old steel holding yards for the Cattle. Altogether an unforgetable day. And so to Bed.

Day 9. An eazy day today, walking around the area near camp and waiting for the wonderful sun to re-charge all my gear and battery. After lunch a short drive to Janet's leap lookout which is the hills accross the river from were i'm camped although you can't see the river or the camp without risking a slide over the edge becauce of the trees lining the river. Only 60km so was back in time to do a bit of just sitting watching the birds do there thing. Now wait for the Moon eclipe to begin, so far very clear view of the moon rising, ripe and full.

Day 10. Left the park to go back the same way to Boulia. The only difference was that at one of the 6 gates that you go through i had just got out of the car to open it and i saw about 30 cattle thundering down towards me. as i was on there side of the gate i jump in the car and drove through, i don't usually move this fast. ran back and locked it jump back into the car and moved towards them just in time. I was doing about 30 km/ph by then and it stopped them in the tracks, they stared at me for 2 or 3 seconds and then gave way. It was very important not to let them through as it lead to the Springvale property with better grass as they keep horses. Back at Boulia i went to inquire re the road to Birdsville and was met by a guy who introduced him self as the Mayor of the area, sixth generation Aussie named Rick. he told me high clearence vehicles were getting though via a detour and i should be OK to go in a couple of Days. Here's hopeing.

Day 11. And a very special greeting to my friends in Atherton. Not much happened today. Clothes washing and praying that the cloud would lift so as to view the Venus Transit. It just seemed to hang their all day. Then all of a sudden a small break and although there wasn't time to get my telescope into action i did manage to view it with binoculars with my Solar filter held in front. An interesting experience. Tried to reorganise my car so as to make it more logical to get to stuff without moving other stuff. suceeded only a little bit i got it fairly OK when i started out by the looks of things.

Day 12. Set off at 0930hr for Bedourie around 200km a cold morning as skies were clear. A few boggy bits on an otherwise excellent sealled road. Starting to look more desertlike the further i go with small sand-dunes appearing. By the time i got half way there was a 100m hill to a scenic lookout and the cloud returned. Well worth the steep climb to the top as the 360 degree view gives an impressive idea of how and why the flood plains steer the flood waters through the area. The farmers jump for joy when the water is over 4m deep as they know the cattle will gain weight quickly on the lush grass that follows. some gaing 1k per day. Got to Bedourie, set up camp and had lunch and then went to explore the township. Meet a lovely girl from Townsville at the info centre and she loves the area and it's people. She showed me a video of the whole area which made for a nice afternoon break as it was interesting and well made. There is an aquatic centre free of charge which is feed by a hot bore. most of the bores around the whole of this large area produce water at about 90 degrees. They build Turkey dams are a circular wall of earth 2-3m high to store the water to give it a chance to cool down.

Day 13. Set off at 0930hr to go to Birdsville. The main road was still blocked so i had to make a detour of about 70km round passed a large lake. It to was a bit wet and boggy in places and two road gangs were out with graders trying to get this road servicable. Along the way i came around a bend and coming towards me was a wagon being towed by 4 camels. Unfortunately their was no were to stop for photos, but it is something i will not forget. Some of the private roads going to properties had decorated there sign posts by hanging many different shoes, boots and thongs on them. One even had a concrete table and chair out their in the middle of the semi desert. Got to Birdsville at around 1430hr and decided to stay 3 nights so as to give "The Birdsville Track" a bit more time to dry out. Found a nice spot by the river with no mozzies although lots and lots of bush flies during early afternoon.

Day 14. Today i delighted in exploring Birdsville. It's a great community here. The Council and local aboriginals have set up a walk depicting the dreamtime story of "The Two Boys". It's about the travels from one end of the desert to the other. Their are rock enclosures for the male and female rituals and initiations, lookout points above the surrounding area to keep watch for fire, animals movement, other tribes and dust storms with always someone on watch. A nice hour can be spent dreaming ones self. Getting the imagination going. It was a similar feeling as going into a famous Cathedral, lots of spiritual vibes. Next a look at the Airport run by Aust Airlines, it was interesting to see the guys uniforms had the old Anset insignia on the lapels. Mainly used for local tourist flights as well as bringing in supplies. Even twin engine jets, quite big were operating. Of course the usual old Hotel fromthe late 1800s and a great new Medical centre plus general store a grest school and large green oval and indoor sports centre as well as a community hall. To round it all of the famous Birdsville Bakery silver medel won in whole of Aust for there pies.Don't tell anyone but this mainly Vegitarian endulged in a Rabbit pie, delicous!!!

Day 15. Still in Birdsville just waiting for it to dry up a bit more for the next section of road. Had a lazy day, reading, an hours walk along the river bank, more exotic lunch and a reminising tour of the Landrover's club very old to newish are those were the days when nothing could stop us. Their was even a 6 wheeler and all wheels locked when needed. More reading and reflecting on my wonderful life and so to bed.

Day 16. Decided to go have a look at the edge of the Simpson Desert. Becauce the main track was flooded in fact there was a full sized lake up to a metre deep with Pelicans and other water-birds, their was a 10km detour to get around it. Not a bad track just a few wet bits. When i arrived at where the real track was and the sand began i lowered my tyres to 15psi and stuck my sand-flag up. Not far away was ""Little Red"son of the largest dune "Big Red" it was about 50m high so i decided to go up. Changed into low range 3rd gear and charged up at 40 kmp/h. Not a worry all went well. stopped at the top for photos. Then went down the other side and along the desert track feeling quite thrilled at the red desert colours. Round a bend and water on the track which was not very deep, but it got boggy and their was no turning back as their were 500mm banks each side eventually i bottomed out and was stuck, not enough clearence. Try all the tricks i new to no avail. Tried the mobile, out of range, got out thr uhf radio, switched to desert channel 10 and put out a "may day". Fortunatley The Landrover Club was in range and they found me within 20 minutes Meanwhile i got chains out and fixed them to my towbar. Within 5 or 6 minutes they had me out. I then returned back to Birdsville for a cleanup and rest.

Day 17. Birdsville to Mungeranie. A long slow at times trip. Close to 100 water crossings but no problems if crossed in the centre of the road as they all had gravel bases. Many boggy bits and i realise that even a couple of days earlier and i wouldn't have got though. A couple of deep boggie bits were touch and go as it was. Alright for large high clearence vehicles though. Saw a very healthy Dingo on the road, most of the ones i've sighted before were very mangy looking. The cattle to look really great. The road passes through many small dunes so your up and down in the world. The Hotel and camp ground was a welcome sight and the served sit down dinners at 1830Hr As i arrived just before dark i decided to skip cooking in the dark and settled for a nice Barramundi, chips and salad for $24. All in all a very satisfing day.

Day 18. Today i went to Marree. The road was still a bit boggy for the first 50km and once i got to Cooper Creek their were 2 teams of graders that had worked from Marree and The Birdsville Track became The Birdsville Freeway, top class!! Witness the droving of a mob of cattle by motorbike, very skilful rider trying that on The Stony Stuart Desert with Gibbers and saltbush everywhere, Stopped in the Van park and enjoyed a beautiful sunset after the 22 degrees sunny afternoon although it was very windy so setting up camp was a bit of a challenge..I unintensionally went to bed early as i suddenly realised SA is half an hour earlier than QLD.

Day 19, A front of some kind went through at 0100Hr and i felt the wind lift the floor of the tent and my feet with it. The strongest gust my RV Oztent has ever experienced. It held itself very firm otherwise and i feel even more confident of the design. Leaveing Marree i turned right a couple of km out of town down the Oonadatta Track and headed out towards Lake Eyre a good road for the first 45km but after the camp ground a sandy-gravel road had corragations that did not work at any speed in the end i found that 40-45 in 3rd gear was about the best. A very noisy and battering hour spent each. Unfourunately the water was a long way out but still an interesting time was spent photographing various aspects of dune habitat. Then proceeded to Coward Springs to camp for the night and found on the way that the lake comes within 1km of the road and their was plenty of water but as it was getting late i could not spend tjme to walk in that far however it was a beautiful sight to see so much water. Hopefully the short trip to William Creek camp site tomorrow will give more time to experience the lake.

Day 20. It looks as if i was too late to see bird life on Lake Eyre as the water is receeding but at least i witnessed the beauty of it yesterday. William Springs has turned out to be a really great place. I decided to have a veggie-burger their for lunch at the Hotel and was amazed by the size of it at least 140mm high full of salad, veggie pattie, eggs, cheese and onions, and Chips done the old fashoned way cut with a knife and nice and thick. Not much shade in the camping area which is good for me as my need for sunshine for solar. Will stay here for another day.

Day 21. Just reading and cleaning up and chatting to other campers.

Day 22 Left about 0930 hr and drove to Cooper Pedy on a good road apart from a couple of bumpy floodways. Mainly went their for fresh supplies and was supprised by how reletively cheap the supermarket was. I visited 12 years ago and felt a very depressed community, but want a wonderful transformation. It is now quite a nice little town, Stay at the Riba campsite on theWilliam Creek road about 6 km from the centre of town. Cheap and clean and very pleasant owners.

Day 23. Drove to Archaringa Homestead on the way to Oonadatta. turning left obout 50-60 km which was a good to excellent road. The next section varied from moderate to quite rough and bumpy, but it was so worth it. An absolutely great place to camp. The manager built a big fire and invited all 10 of the campers to wine and chat. So many great tales were told and it went fairly late under a blanket of brilliant stars when we retired. Before that though a few of us took the 15km trip to the Painted Hills at sunset. This turned out to be the most precious experience of my trip so far. We took a 40 minute trek up to a lookout and it was a really splended experience. Anyone in this area should not miss it.

Day 24. Left for Oonadatta early and arrived their about 1100hr. The phone was not working which i was hopeing to call my contact Bob and the camping ground was in the middle of town and i was a bit turned off by it so decided to push on to Dalhousie Springs. Allow at least 3.5 to 4 hours for this trip as it is a bit rough with a few deep soft gravel sections and lots of deep dips and floodways, no water but can give you quite a jolt if you go too fast. Had another campfire and with 2 campers who I had spent the previous night with. The Hot thermal springs their are really ,crockery, stove and chirshuge like 8 or 9 olympic pools and at 35 degree they turned out to be most welcome and relaxing.

Day.25. Another day at the Springs. took an 1,5 hour walk around the Spring and up to a great lookout which gave a 360 view other the area. Photographed at least 12 different flowers on that walk. More bathing, beats cold showers. on and warm sunny afternoon, however their was ice on the roof of the car when i got up at about 0700.

Day 26. Left early for Mt Dare on good advice as the road is hard with big gibbers all the way 30 -40 km all the way. The hotel their is another good outback pub clean and lots of charecter.On the advice of the manager their i decided to go through to Old Andado To camp for the night, a wise choice. TThe road to there is smooth and sandy and becauce of the recent rain green and a pleasure to drive. It is really a great old heritage homestead still all intact and a listed property. All the old desks, stoves, crockery and different gadgets of old. A great experience.

Day 27. Headed out to The Alice early as it is a fairly long drive. The road presented all types of conditions from super sandy highway to loose sand, gibbers, dried out sand where cars got caught in the rain and bone hard and bumpy from Saint Teresa to alice. It went through the east side of the Simpson Desert between the dunes with lots of sudden bend that were sometimes almost hairpins, and with all that space i wondered why? I will be in Alice for two days to get reorganised, that's my way of saying to have a rest. Ordered new plastic plates for under the engine bay that were lost when i got bogged. they will take a week which is fine as i want to do some walking in The McDonald Ranges and will come back to Alice anyway.

Day 28. Four weeks gone like a flash. Took a walk into Alice about 2 km from where I'm camped. It has certainly changed since i was first here in 1975. Very clean and Coles was similar price to Cairns so i stocked up on some fresh food to suppliment my dried and canned food. And what do you know my favourite fast food store was just down the road, Subway, grabbed a veggie delight added a few slices of Tassie Salmon, instant lunch. It is still very cold for me at about 1 deg rising to 15 mid Arvo, but the wind chill factor has seen me leave my padded jacket on, at least i'm cosy in that. Looking forwards to walking ing the Standleys Chasm tomorrow.

Day 29. Off early to Simpsons Gap. Great to be back on sealed roads after 3 weeks on the dirt. This is truly a great area with spectacular steep coloured rocks and beatiful walks, Then a short drive to Standleys Chasm for even better rock formations and finally camping at Ellerys Hole with a warm afternoon after the big freeze in the morning followed by a campfire chat with three beautiful couples. I'll stay for two nights and do some walking tomorrow.

Day 30. Another great day a Ellerys with lots of walking along the dry river beds and up the ridges to get an overall view. 8 or 9 walkers also camped, as this is part of a long distance trail. This morning saw ice on the fabric of the tent so my guess would be -2 degrees. This site has hills east and west it dosn't get light much before 0830 hr and the sun has gone by 1700 hr. I would recommend this site, free Gas burners and flush toilets but bring your own firewood as no collection is allowed in the park.

Day 31. Continued on through the rest of The West McDonalds To Glen Ellen, They all have similar feature with the exception of Ormaston, Their is a fabulous walk to the top of the hill with a huge metal structure that overlooks the whole pound. For those brave enough you can continue the circular walk however you have to cross a billabong about waist deep, Needless to at 9 degrees air temp at the time yours truly chickened out and just walked back down the track, an beautiful experience Bush camped at Serpentine chalet site. no ammenetis at all. I was their all on my our although the Dingos could be heard howling ing the early morning. I enjoyed that camp very much except for the -3 and an iced up car.

Day 32. On the way out i almost hit a large Euro Kangaroo, however i managed to miss it but in the procces i hit a bunch of rocks at the side of the road in the same spot as i hit before and now i get a vibration every time i change gear. So i am calling it a day and heading home to my own mechanic. If i take it slowly a mechanic at a van park thought i would make it. So back to The Alice and a slow drive on a 130 speed limit road and made it to Tennent Creek by 1800 hr.

Days 33-35 Drove all the way to home and made it by 1700 hr on Sat 30 June.

Stats. 7400 km ave 9.6 lt per 100. Best Alice to Tennents Creek 7.7 Worst Dalhousie to Mt Dare 12.7. The end of a wonderful experience that i will treasure always. My little Suzuki got though even though the universals and transfer box got dust and grit in them from bottoming out.

Namaste
Namaste, The gesture is an acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another.
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