Starts getting interesting now..
Day 6 Innamincka to Birdsville via Walkers Crossing
Originally we were to be heading north to Cordillo Downs, to see the famous historic Woolshed, but apparently there is nothing left but a big empty shed and from reports of various people we talked to the road was so bad, just about every vehicle that goes sustains some sort of damage. We chewed that over and decided to go for plan B, Walkers Crossing.
From reports I had read here and other sites, this was a pretty full on track, that crosses the Strzelecki Desert and over the north eastern side of the Sturt Stoney Desert (the Gibber Plains), sounds tasty! However, during the trip planning I had not gone over every inch of this track on Google Earth, so I just hoped there were road signs along the way.
The first leg out of Innamincka was the ‘Fifteen Mile Track’ running WSW for 47km, intersecting with a gas field road, north for 8km then back to a track going NW. Some section where deep sand also there was a lot of gas field utes and semi-trailers hauling wide loads to keep you on your toes.
So far things have been going ok, the signs have been…there.
One piece of kit that I have failed to mention is Yogi’s trailer. 7x4 Nathan with an extended draw bar. For the trip it got new wheel bearings, tool box and light truck tyres. Once the bikes were off, we loaded it with camping gear, fuel, water, spare tyres and half the luggage. Considering the shit roads we went on, it did a marvellous job without a failure or flat!
Tanks drugs had not really done the job for him, so Pryo took over on the DR. We are just about to get into real maze of the gas fields. The whole thing starts to unravel about 5 minutes later. The battery on my UHF dies (helps if you charge the thing), I thought the track was pretty good, so crack along at 90-100kmh, I can see Yogi’s light through the dust…for a while.
Navigation was determined by where you were told not to go. My RACQ map says the following:
“Many wide well graded roads radiate from the Moomba gas installation leading to various well heads.”
So I thought it was pretty straight forward, tracks going off to the side would have a “Private Road” sign, you stayed on the road you were on. In hindsight it may have been when the Emu tried to take on the Tiger I may have missed the sign. After not seeing Yogi for “a little while” I pulled up at a Tee Junction with sign posts, Innamincka (where I had come from), Birdsville (right), Private Road (left) and waited for “a little while”.
Nothing. So I turn around and start heading back. Come to think of it, after the Emu the track had got really sandy. Then Yogi turned up, we had a bit a discussion and said Pyro had turned down another track. Not good, also it was rather hot.
So we headed back some more, meeting up with Pyro struggling though the deep sand with the Prado not far behind. Flash hangs out the window, “you missed the turn-off”
Dirt “what fucking turn-off”
Flash “the one back there”
Anyway it went on for a bit and got a little heated. The track Pryo went down the sign had been bent around, the Tee Junction was a proper sign, we followed that direction with the plan is to stop at every intersection until the next person arrives (as it should be, yes you can all roll your eyes).
So we’re travelling along this sandy track, gas pipes to the left and right in between dunes in the mid-morning sun. Then there was a track to the west “Fly Lake”, ok this looks like what’s on the map, we should be continuing North West. Well that only lasted a couple of kilometers, then the track takes a turn to the east, not like the map, over a dune into a Tee Junction.
This new road seems to be a major gas field private road, the sign post are just for the gas fields and don’t give any clue to which way to go.
By this stage Flash is getting a bit agitated, Tank is cranky but keeping it together, Pyro’s not happy but getting on with it and Yogi is just pissed off. Oops I think I may have screwed up here!
We could be,
Just a little bit,
To be continued…