Simpson Days 9 - 14

Sunday, Jul 28, 2013 at 18:54


Day 9, Monday – Somewhere on the QAA Line to Lindsay Junction
An easy, uneventful, day. Slow travelling – around 20 km/h average. Lunch at Poeppel Corner with the obligatory group photo at the corner marker. Poeppel Corner marks the intersection of Queensland, NT, and SA. It is a popular camping spot but I would not like to camp there; there is used toilet paper just about everywhere in the area – many peoples toilet habits in these remote areas leave a lot to be desired.
We make camp about 10km past Lindsay Junction.

Day 10, Tuesday – Lindsay Junction to WAA Line
A clear night, and frost this morning. Our plan had been to visit the Approdinna Attora Knolls, but yesterday afternoon we went right past the turn off (Lindsay Junction) and didn't realise we had missed it until later. It was only about 10km back so this morning we back tracked and turned south on Knolls Track. The Approdinna Attora Knolls are only a few km south; well worth the visit. From there we proceeded south to the WAA line and turned west.

It was ALMOST an uneventful day, but as we were looking for a camp site Les comes over the radio and says “I've done a torsion bar.” We found a camp site 200m further on. Les's Brumby was sitting very low at the left rear because the torsion spring for that corner had broken.
An unexpected failure, but probably not helped by the extra (unplanned) load he was carrying - after taking some of Bev and Martin's stuff.

What to do? The Brumby has been unloaded – everything being crammed into Jamie's cruiser, and Bev and Martin's stuff that Jamie was carrying will be shared among the other vehicles. Damian has sacrificed a bock of wood he was using to hold his draws closed; it has been split and cut down to size, rubber matting added either side, and taped onto the control arm under the bump stop, so now the Brumby is sitting level. With no load, and that tyre deflated to be very soft level, a test drive shows promise. So tomorrow morning we depart as normal and see how it travels.

Our earlier plan was to get to Purni Bore tomorrow night, but even without this problem that target was probably too far given our progress today – averaging about 20 km/h.

Day 11, Wednesday – WAA Line to Purni Bore
Another cold zero degree morning, with the full moon shining brightly just above the western horizon until shortly after sunrise.
We were a little slower departing this morning because of more re-arranging of goods and people. Damian has cleared his passenger seat so Martin can ride with him – since Jamie's spare seat is now full of Les's stuff. But, we were still away by nine.

It was not far from camp to the Rig Road where we were able to travel much faster. Les was able to travel at a quite respectable in the Brumby and we all rolled in Purni Bore together at around three – an unusually early stop for us. The timber/rubber wedge under the bump stop is holding up reasonably well, but with lots of corrugations expected tomorrow, Les has added another layer of rubber to help soften the shock.

The hot artesian water at Purni Bore has been tapped to provide a nice hot shower for weary travellers. A small volume of water still runs into the lake here, and while it waters much wildlife, the dominant watering animals appear to be camels and donkeys – based on the heavily trampled ground around the lake.

Day 12, Thursday – Purni Bore to Mount Dare
Another zero degree morning. Les and Jamie departed at 5:30 am, planning for breakfast and a swim at Dalhousie Springs. For the rest of us it was a late departure – about 9:30. By that time Les and Jamie had already left Dalhousie Springs – including having a swim. The rest of us arrived around midday and partook of a very relaxing swim in the spring – in about 35 degree water, followed by lunch. Next stop was Mount Dare, and we were there around 3:30. Les and Jamie were in there in the workshop rebuilding the bump stop wedge. The mechanic advised that they would be best to continue in their present manner, but avoiding unnecessary travel; the job would be bigger than he would like to tackle, and procuring the replacement part could take up to a week.

Mr Grumpy in the pub is not a good PR person. From getting upset with some of us walking past the pub without first checking in, or Jan sitting at the unsigned staff dining table (to read - in an otherwise deserted restaurant) an hour before it was needed for the staff, and being told to move, to refusing to sell Damian petrol at 5:50pm when the petrol hours were clearly labelled as eight till six, he managed to upset four of our party of ten. Not a bad effort.
Fortunately tea at the pub pleased all.

Birdsville to Mount Dare: Fuel consumption for my turbo Forester: 84 litres, distance: 579 km.

Day 13, Mount Dare to Old Andado
Martin partook of a very impressive breakfast at the pub, while the rest of us managed with our normal camp breakfast.
Once everyone was fuelled and ready, we had the obligatory car line-up in front of the Mount Dare Hotel – including Les and Jamie's vehicles, making six in total.
Les and Jamie are having a lay day at Mount Dare before a slow drive out to Kulgera tomorrow, then down the highway.

We were finally moving by 9:30. First stop: Charlotte Waters, or the remains thereof – an old telegraph station. Then up to Finke where the annual Finke Desert Rally starts. We drove down the first few hundred metres of that track (that was enough – it was really rough) before popping up onto the old Ghan line and following it to the Finke River where we had lunch in the shade of the gum trees. Then back through Finke and west to Lambert's Centre – the geographic centre of mainland Australia. Peter is still having shoulder problems, so here we said goodbye to Peter and Jean as they were heading west to Kulgera, then south to Coober Pedy to seek medical attention. They had hoped to make it all the way but only got as far as Mala.

The remaining three vehicles (what a high attrition rate – from eight to three) turned back to Finke and continued on to Old Andado where we have camped. What an amazing place! I will leave it interested readers to look up the recent history of this place.

Day 14, Old Andado to Oodnadatta via Bins Track
A mild night, hot showers in the morning, a visit to Molly Clark's grave site (no headstone yet), a run up to the top of the nearby sand dune (for Stephen and Damian), and we were off by 9:30.
The road from Andado to Mount Dare, while suffering from the recent rains, was otherwise quite good and we made good time. Mount Dare was our refuelling point before continuing south. There we learnt that Les and Jamie had departed around nine, heading for Kulgera via Finke, planning to drop into Lambert's Centre on the way past (but leaving the Brumby on the main road for the trip into Lambert's Centre).

A good route from there would have been via Dalhousie Springs for another swim, but the road to there is terrible, as is the road south from there. So we decided to take the main highway (as the barman called it) which goes via Bloods Creek, Eringa, then Hamilton. That road to Hamilton, while not great, was much better than what we experienced between Mount Dare and Dalhousie Springs.

Lunch was at a very pleasant spot on the banks of Lindsay Creek, right beside the ruins at Eringa.

Hamilton now has a very new, very large camping ground; we tried out the nice clean but airy long drops.
The road south from Hamilton was such a contrast; most of it was some of the best dirt road I have ever driven on.

We have found a pleasant camp site on a creek just outside of Oodnadatta; a nice fire, spuds cooked in the coals. Aaahhh, beautiful. Tomorrow morning we are planning on packing up early, then heading into Oodnadatta for breakfast and a good coffee.

Peter and Jean have made it to Coober Pedy, booked in at a caravan for two nights. Peter has been given some pain killers, and they are hoping to be able to rejoin us tomorrow.
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