The Gibson Desert - On the cleared line (21 km west of Eagle Highway) WA

Tuesday, Jul 01, 2008 at 00:00


Tuesday 1st July, 2008 (Canada Day)
Cleared Line, 21km east of the Eagle Hwy
24 45 28.07 s 124 10 6.27 E

This evening the acacia are festooned with bunting and even the dunny shovel acts as a stand for a rosette sporting the red maple leaf of you know where. Yep it’s Canada Day! God help us. First things first, we awoke to a chilly morning. While enjoying a jaffle for breakfast I noticed the trailer was on an odd angle. Sure enough, one tyre was flat on the bottom. Out came the compressor and I soon located a small stake in the side wall which I removed with plyers. In went the plug and it was all over and I was back to my tea within 10 minutes. God I love the spaghetti puncture repair! Viva tubeless!

We were on the road by 8:30 a.m. and heading north once again through the spinifex and mulga of the Hunt. We reached the ON 1 survey mark in good time and then started in the 11 km journey along the graded line. While terribly overgrown and no real track to follow, by keeping a look out for the small mounds of stone pushed to the sides by the initial grade of the track back whenever, and by taking visual lines, it was pretty easy to maintain a straight line. We met a big mob of 25 or so inquisitive camels at the half way mark all of whom were very keen to come forward for a look at us. All in very good condition. When we moved off, there were camels silhouetted against the ridgelines in the distance to our north. Damn things were everywhere.

The last several kilometres of the track were heavily wooded, all of it intent on doing as much damage as possible to our vehicles. We did however reach the Gunbarrel unscathed, or so I thought. Once crossed the Gunbarrel, we moved west again only to reveal my second flat for the day. Front left hand tyre again. It was easy to find as I could hear the air escaping. Another side-wall stake but on the inside. It was fixed inside ten minutes and then time for a cuppa before heading off again across the stony ranges and into the sand and spinifex towards the Eagle Highway and long abandoned Mungilli outstation.

The Mungilli outstation stands as an odd collection of buildings, sheds, toilets and tanks and one amazing bush oven! There was some water available so I took the advantage to get washed out near the woodpile. I felt great for it to. I topped up my general purpose water before heading north again. The Eagle was in good nick considering. Some patches were great, others overgrown with scrub forcing a more winding route off track. At Eagle Hussar we located the No.1 bore, shed and remains of the old airstrip before turning left onto the cut line and beginning our journey west. The cut line was a different kettle of fish all together. Much slower and heavier going with little or no track at times. Again, in some areas the gibber provided a highway like surface for a kilometres before deteriorating into nothing.

In the growing shadows of the afternoon, hazards were becoming hard to see so we pulled over in a copse of acacia for the night. We’re some 20 kilometres east of the turn for Mount Madley. I whipped up a smoked salmon risotto and a fair bit was drunk culminating with Scott calling Canada at $3 per minutes for the best part of an hour. HAPPY CANADA DAY.
''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903
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