Birdsville to Kulgera Day 23 - Georges Corner to Dalhousie

Tuesday, Jun 25, 2002 at 00:00

ExplorOz - David & Michelle

Day 23 - Tuesday 25/6/02
Start - Just short of Georges Corner
Stop - Dalhousie
Trip Odometer - 179.7km
Stopped time - 2:34 hr
Moving average - 46.9km/hr
Moving time - 3:50 hr
Max speed - 77.3 km/hr

Last night at camp we talked about our options for getting replacement shocks and they were either Oodnadatta or Mt Dare. Both locations were out of the way of our planned route and neither will probably stock what we need so we need to contact them prior to arrival.

With all the comms gear we carry it was no trouble (but a lot of time and messing around) to arrange them to be delivered to a convenient pick up location. For those that are interested - neither the Pink Roadhouse in Oodnadatta nor the Mt Dare Homestead have an interconnect with the VKS 737 network. We certainly don't carry around all the phone numbers, and neither of these businesses advertise on ExplorOz so although we have a copy of our website on our laptop with us you can't find their numbers in our Business Directory. If we knew the numbers we could have phoned them direct using the BushFone service that we decided to trial for this trip or even the Satphone that we hired.

In the end, we used the Satphone to call directory assistance and then the Satphone again to call each of the numbers. Oodnadatta said the next delivery from Coober Pedy for parts would arrive at 2am on Thursday and they way we calculated it we would arrive in Oodnadatta on Wednesday so there would be some waiting. At Mt Dare it was much the same, but the delivery wouldn't be in until Sunday. We decided to wait till we got to Dalhousie and try to find a way to get parts from Alice Springs to be delivered somewhere along our route.

They are an easy replacement so it caused us little concern but it was a complication that we had to contend with for a few days.

The driving along the Rig Road is high range 4WD with the surface being covered by clay, although this was done many years ago and is now very broken up in places. The dune run ups are also laid with the clay capping but have become extremely eroded, especially following last year's floods in the region.

All the dunes have a layer of deep soft sand at the top requiring lower tyre pressures so a compromise of pressure is necessary for an easy run over this track. 22-24psi is about right for a fully loaded Landcruiser.

The track is scenic, heavily vegetated, and varied. This track was built by Santos to enable the rigging machinery to be brought in to drill the oil wells that are dotted across the region so the track follows the easiest route over the dunes. Although it is significantly longer than the French Line, travelling the Rig Road takes about the same amount of driving time as the average travelling speed is faster. Much of the route zig-zags between the dunes corridors and then over the dunes at their lowest point.

There are many points of interest, such as salt lakes, camels, dingoes, old rig sites, abandoned airstrips and even a memorial grave site. All these sites are clearly marked on the Hema and Westprint maps.

We finally crossed our own path at Freeth Junction where the Rig Road meets the French Line and so the final run west to Purni Bore appeared much rougher than last fortnight when we came across from the other direction. It appears that a fair amount of traffic has been through and the sand is starting to get corrugated.

At Purni Bore we had a good look around and tested the facilities. The 2 sheds are still operational - one for the pit toilet (with a bird's nest in the roof) and the other for the shower and laundry tub. The shower is hot. Also of interest is a hose on a tap - although the sign warns that this is untreated water which should not be drunk without boiling. I tasted it however, and it was only slightly saline. I've drunk worse. It was about the same water quality as at Mt Dare.

We had an easy run into Dalhousie for an early afternoon arrival.

When we arrived at Dalhousie we used the Ranger's phone and his Yellow Pages directory to find a store in Alice Springs. Tuff Stuff had the right gear at the best price in stock and for $13.20 arranged bus freight on the Greyhound to ship the parts down the Stuart Highway to the Kulgera Roadhouse. A big thanks to Jack from Alice Springs Tuff Stuff - who had no idea that we were the ExplorOz Team and didn't do us any special favours based on that.

Once the parts were arranged we enjoyed our second dip in the fantastic springs of Dalhousie - much to Leah's satisfaction!
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
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Always working not enough travelling!
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