This was the start of the ride proper for me, until now, most of what we had been doing was transport
and while we had a fairly long run on bitumen today
to get through the oilfields, we would be doing the Walker's Crossing Track and starting to enter smaller Deserts, like the "Strzelecki" and "Sturt Stony Desert".
Never having ridden these parts of Australia it was all new and much anticipated, the ride through the oilfields shows the importance of Oil and Gas, with smaller fields being beavered away at.
Most of the road from Noccundra to Innaminka is easy, with the vast openness that is pervasive through central Aus, agoraphobics beware. With my photography skills so lacking, it incredibly so difficult to capture the feeling of seeing so much open. It has it’s own unique beauty that is lost on some but to me is breathtaking.
There is only a small section of sand to keep your mind focused, taken at speed it presents no problems.
Crossing Coopers Ck (some history associated with Bourke & Wills, early famous Australian explorers following this creek up, and dying on it’s banks) saw a considerable amount of water still within its banks from the floods earlier in the year in far northern Queensland, the massively long flows from FNQ lending credence to early settlement theories of an inland sea.
Just before Innamincka sees the grave of Robert Bourke, a thoughtful moment is spent pondering the difficulties faced by these pioneers and a continual respect for the abilities of the Aboriginal Australians to live off the land and survive its seemingly harsh environment.
A quick stop at Innamincka sees us refuel and purchase a Desert Pass from the SA Parks and Wildlife service. Obviously designed by a bureaucrat, the folder is so large it's virtually impossible trying to carry it on a motorbike. I removed the parks pass, a couple maps and "*long grassed" the rest, Steve "pissed and moaned" about the "size of it" but managed to sequester it among the rest of his gear. He made a mental note to send them a terse email when he returned, you followed up with that Steve ?
Leaving Innamincka after a quick check the Walkers Crossing Track was open "yeah mate, a bit of sand but u'll be right" assured us it was okay, blasting past Wills Grave, I felt we had somehow shown this early explorer a disservice by not paying him the respect he deserved.
We shortly entered the Strezleki Desert, where upon the big kid in Steve had to go play
What's that speck on the photo ?
Why it's some dirty dirtbiker !
We has timed the crossing well. 4 weeks ago had seen wide spread rain fall through the desert areas, and the wildflowers were still out, acres of them, truly beautiful. I was definitely more enamoured of them then Steve.
Let the photo's speak for themselves
The "Walkers Crossing Track" is recommend for all bikes,
it has some sand but winds it’s way through the Strezeleyki and Sturt Stony Deserts and makes for a much more interesting ride then sticking to the main roads and Birdsville Track, a misnomer for what has become a dirt highway.
You want to know why it’s called the Sturt Stony Desert ?
Now you know
Back onto the "highway" that is the Birdsville Track saw a short run up and into Birdsville
We got in at a reasonable hour, the town had started to comae alive in preperation for the famous outback Birsdville Races that were to be run next week, horses and I never got along, and gamabling seem's a nonsense to me, so I had no real interest other then in the kerfuffle (now there is a word you don’t hear much these days !) it generated each year.
Steve changed the oil in his bike, we did some minor repairs and maintenance, fuelled up, attached the fuel bottles to the bikes and then decided on a meal at the Pub, where Steve befriended some local who suggested a close spot to camp on the banks of a local creek.
The next day was to see us attacking the Simpson Desert proper.
* a coloquial North Qld term used to describe throwing something useless into the long grass. Hopefully in an environmentally concious way of course !