Coober Pedy to Birdsville Day 11 - Bush Camp between Colson Tk & Erabena Tk to Poepell's Corner

Thursday, Jun 13, 2002 at 00:00

ExplorOz - David & Michelle

Day 11 - Thursday 13/6/02
Start - Bush camp between Colson Track and Erabena Track
Stop - Poepell's Corner
Trip Odometer - 112.2km
Stopped time - 2:02 hr
Moving average - 22.3km/hr
Moving time - 5:02 hr
Max speed - 50.8 km/hr

Breakfast: jaffles (egg, bacon, cheese)

The desert seems even better this time for me - and having Leah enjoy it so much is even better. This section is very slow, bumpy and twisty and there are not many good camping options from our start point towards the Erabena.

After the Erabena junction there are many very good camping options most of the way towards Poepells corner, particularly around the salt lakes before the Knolls track turnoff. From the French Line you can actually see the Knolls as you approach the turn to the AAK track on the right. We are keen to reach Birdsville quickly so we did not deviate from the French Line on this trip.

By mid afternoon we realised we could probably make it to Poepells Corner just before sunset but then Leah was carsick again. We were only about 15mins drive from the corner so after a cleanup we pressed on until we got there right on sunset. Surprisingly we were the only campers - although we could hear a convoy talking on the UHF not too far away.

We listened in for some time and could make out that they were trying to find Poepells Corner. We nearly laughed ourselves crazy as the group of 6 vehicles whizzed along the western edge of the salt pan totally missing the deep furrows and mazes of tracks across the middle of the salt lake that lead directly to the corner post. They overshot the track by a few kilometres before turning back and then we watched in amazement as they started to head deeper into the desert to the west!. We had to let them know that Poepells was just a few hundred meters in front of their noses to the east as it was approaching dark. So David got on the radio and put out a call to them.

They had themselves convinced there were right and were a little sceptical as to how we knew they were in the wrong place, because they couldn't see us. We had to explain that we were actually sitting at Poepells watching them drive by and hearing every word over the radio. We convinced them to turn around but even this was not without incident. One got bogged and needed to be snatched out so they missed the sunset and had to setup in the dark. It was probably the largest group we've seen in the desert, numbering 20 people in 6 cars (lots of kids) but they were all happy, easy-going folk who seemed to enjoy their first day of adventure in the Simpson Desert.

The thing that amazed us in all this was that a few of them actually had GPS units but like many people we find, they don't know how to use them.
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
Always working not enough travelling!
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