We trundle out to Glendambo, on the Stuart Hwy and it is here that the weather turns to shit.
By the time we get to Woomera and then up to Roxby Downs it is throwing it down, we arrive in Roxby to find they have closed the Borefield track 15mins earlier.
What to do?
After much consensus, and the fact that we are like drowned rats at this stage, we decide to return to Woomera and await developments on the weather front. (It's OK Chris, I found later the Tanami was closed too, so the rabbits were out of reach)
The Pub in Woomera resembles nothing so much as a 1950's military base, which indeed is what it was. Some of the accutrements remain.
Next morning dawned fine (ish) so a plan was hatched to slab it to Coober Pedy and then hatch another plan.
Phone calls were made and it was decided to press on with plan A-Z, which was to try to get to the OCR come hell or high water.
Firstly we would trek out to William Creek and wait for the Oodnadata track to open.
Rivetting scenery along the Track.
At William Creek we discovered the Ood was open down to the Borefield, so, in view of the fact that it was blowing it's guts out and there's no cover at WC, we decided to cruise on down to Coward Springs were there is a great little campground.
This loverly surface you see here turns to shit very quickly with a bit of rain on it, it's the sort of stuff that when you walk on it, (with difficulty) you grow about a centimetre with each step, it also has a gret affinity with bike tyres, and come to think of it, with anything else it touches.
I was leading at this stage, slip sliding away and when I stopped, not seeing lights behind me, about 20k's from Coward Springs and had a bit of a look around, it looked like this.
Good spot to retire.
The old Ghan line used to follow the Oodnadata track and I thought the abandoned rail line might give us a camping spot out of the mud, but no, the railbed was just more mud.
The pics don't really do this mud justice, but the 2 GS's had great difficulty, with mud packing between the front tyre and guard, locking up the front wheel, with predictable results. Chris came off 5 times in as many k's and Robin 3.
Paul, on the Thundermiester ADV had no front guard, so had no problems and the GS800, with it's narrower front wheel and more clearance around the brake calipers and stuff, seemed to handle it better.
Or maybe I'm just a legend rider
Chris removed the front guard of his 12, but Robin's 1150 has a crossover brake line which made this impossible, so out came the Leatherman......
Pretty cool mod huh?
By this time we had run out of light, so it was camp in the mud time
The good thing about this crap is it dries as quickly as it wets, so by the morning it was ridable to Coward Springs, where Chris, who had hurt his back in one of his offs, tried out Paul's Gay Bed.
Coward Springs comes highly recomended, a sandy oasis in a sea of mud.
Great bathroom with "Donkey"
And a spa, courtesy of the Great Artesian Basin, at a constant 22deg.
As I said earlier, the Oodnadata Track follows the old Alice Springs to Port Augusta rail line, the legendry "Ghan"
I travelled on this train in the 1976, it took a day and a half from The Alice to Marree and averaged 15km/h!
It was some trip, I don't remember Coward Springs (don't remember a lot, we drank the train dry!) but it was a siding on the way, the old buidings remain.
This was the train drivers accomodation.
We had a relaxing day at CS, did the washing, even had time for a gratuitous plug for Smelly Dog.
The momentous morning arrived and we weaved round the mud puddles to Maree, where we ran into Stevered and the boys from TBAM who had come down a very muddy Birdsville Track and informed us (wrongly) that the Strezlecki Track was closed.
This was the straw that broke the camel's back and when we arrived in Lydhurst, to hear another shitty weather forcast, Robin announced he'd had enough and was taking his bat and ball and going home.
The others agreed.
Me? "Fuck no, I'm not going home, I only just got here."
In the next exciting episode I tackle my next iconic Aussie track.....alone.