Perth to Coober Pedy Day 5 - Barrell camp to 20km west of border

Friday, Jun 07, 2002 at 00:00

ExplorOz - David & Michelle

Day 5 - Friday 7/6/02
Start - Barrell camp
Stop - Bush camp - 20km west of border
Trip Odometer - 275.9km
Stopped time - 2:09:13 hrs
Moving average - 51.5km/hr
Moving time - 5:21:05 hrs
Max speed - 91.3km/hr

We still haven't encountered any other vehicles in either direction but we can just make out faint wheel tracks of this single vehicle that we guess is still travelling one day ahead of us. We certainly are hoping that we don't catch up - its so nice to be out here alone.

From our camp this morning, we drove for just under one hour before reaching the marked turnoff to the wreck of a light aircraft. The signage is a little comical, and also a little misleading so you may find our trip data of use here.

According to the GPS data, the trip in took 21 minutes, averaging 18km/hr. The one-way distance is 6.4km.

Turnoff: 28° 19.742 S, 126° 57.029 E
Crash site: 28° 16.406 S, 126° 58.295 E

The track swings away from the main Anne Beadell track roughly to the north for about 6km and so crosses a number of sand dunes. It's a beautiful drive and is a refreshing change of driving style and scenery. We took exactly 66 minutes to drive in and out including a 25minute stop at the site.

The plane is a Goldfields Air Services flight that crashed around 26th January 1993. The track was made in 1995 by a West Australian who received the lat/long of the crash site from a pilot. Back then the plane was totally intact, less the instruments. Vandals have since taken the engines and by reading the visitors book it seems many other items are slowly "disappearing". Even the visitors book went missing for a few years but it now back in place together with a new book.

By reading this book we found that the mystery vehicle we are travelling behind is a day ahead of us.

Back on the main track we travelled just 10minutes before came across the first of 4 new bush camps that have been erected between here and the WA/SA border. They are very new and at some the ground is still quite rough from the bulldozer, however most camps have a 4,500L water station (roof runoff into tank) and very clean new toilets.

Note: camp 1 is in the best condition of the 4 but we didn't check if the water tank was full (the others are); camp 2 is on the junction of the Aboriginal Business Road and has no water tank, camp 3 has both water and toilets, camp 4 also has both toilet and tank but the area is left in a mess with construction rubbish laying around.

45km (about 2hrs drive) east of the Aboriginal Business Road is a track on the RHS that tracks down to a large salt lake. It's just a short downhill drive of about 600m and there is a small campsite on the way down. Once at the salt lake the wind may make camping a bit unpleasant but its a sensational sight.

The travelling in this section is over softer dunes but after the salt lake turnoff the conditions vary from twisting dunes through dense and varied vegetation to areas whee the track is very tight and almost overgrown. There are also washouts and ruts that slow travelling speed to around 30km/hr, especially in the last 100km towards the WA/SA border. We were aiming to camp at the 4th of the new camps but had to stop about 20km short of it because Leah was carsick yet again.

Dinner: Roast lamb in camp oven with potatoes and sweet potatoes.

We often listen to the scheduled road and weather broadcasts transmitted on the VKS 737 HF frequencies. Following these scheduled reports the network take voice calls from members. We didn't actually give our position today, having given it yesterday but another member used the network to request a discussion with us as they were concerned about meeting us head-on. It turned out they were just 20km away at the camp site we had planned to stop at tonight but didn't reach.
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
Travelling fulltime in 2024
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