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Old 10-23-2013, 01:07 AM   #16
dirt_bloke OP
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Day 3 Currawinya National Park, Hungerford to Mt Wood

Hungerford is on the edge of Currawinya National Park, two blokes Frank Manthey and Peter McRae have been on a crusade to save the native Bilby. http://www.savethebilbyfund.com/
They have got this u-beaut enclosure in the park to protect the Bilbies which I had contributed to funding (I reckon native animals are generally pretty cool). So I wanted to see how things were going, so we set off after breakfast to have a look around the National Park.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macrotis


(Pyro and his very well set up Toyota, I’ve been riding with Pyro for over 25 years. He’s done a lot of four wheel driving with his family and is one of those quiet understated people who make things look easy)

On advice from then park ranger and publican we set off in the Prado. Firstly to the ‘Granites’ then to the ‘Woolshed Complex’. All the while keeping an eye out for the elusive Bilby.

There are two types of Bilbies, the ‘Greater Eared Bilby’, they are cute getting all the attention and then there are the ‘Lesser Eared Carnivorous Bilby’ (thought to be extinct in the 1950s, but that was a government cover up) they eat Swedish Back Packers. Here at the ‘Granites’ Yogi points to a burrow with the remains of Inga the Swedish Back Packers bones.



As we didn’t has any Swedish Back Packers to lure the evil Bilby out, we continued on to the Woolshed Complex. Now we weren’t sure if there was lots machinery components that made the place complex or that the place was small and it had a complex because of that.






This place was a bit of a gem, lots of the old machinery, well preserved shearing shed, tally office, shearer’s quarters, butchers chop shop, boss shearers quarters, pretty much a Woolshed Complex.

Right next to the woolshed was a Bilby information display complete with funky sculpture, information panels and a 15 meter replica of the fence. You see the location of the enclosure is a secret so people won’t upset the bloody Bilbies! FFS I’ve donated money and rode 1000km to some God forsaken hellhole next to the bloody desert, I don’t want to see some figgen replica, I want the real thing.





Large pick of sign> http://people.aapt.net.au/~groovin/desert_ride/d306.JPG

As the day was getting on a bit, the others weren’t keen on looking for it, so we went back to Hungerford and got kitted up to go riding.



Notice how clean, happy and shiny we all look. How long do you think that will last?





Heading south across the border into New South Wales, this is the Dog Fence. Personally I think this fence is locked when the State of Origin Football is on to keep the southerners out of the Pub.


With the cool change came a howling southerly that blew all night and still a gale. The track to Wanaaring was loose with plenty of drifting sand, Tank and Yogi struggled in sections. This was supposed to be an easy run. At the intersection of the Bourke road we were warned the surface was a bit dodgy for the 10km ride into town. Dodgy is a good way to describe pot-holed corrugated loose sandy rocky poor excuse for a road!

At the Wanaaring Caravan Park & Store (well critiqued from the OCR – Off Centre Rally held every two years with at least 200km of dirt riding) their supply trailer had succumbed to the poor road conditions to Bourke and there was no fresh food for sandwiches etc, so we settled for some fried chicken pieces.

Riding west from town the road was in far better condition and we made good time. Arriving at Mt. Wood camp site in the Sturt National Park, 20km east of Tibooburra with a couple of hours of day left. We set up camp with the only argument being about how beer there needed to be in the fridge.



The Brisbane guys had pre-cooked meals, tonight it was Tank’s spicy spare ribs. Everything was going along well, then a group of four wheel drives rocked up, setting up camp. They were nice enough but insisted on lighting up the camp site with all their LED flood lights and sang ‘Kumbaya’ type songs!

210km riding for the day 1430km total, Tiger making the ride easy (especially with no luggage). In the soft sections it was a case of point, roll the power on and the bike just does it. Yogi took a while to get on with the DRZ some of the clips from his GoPro were entertaining, Tank, making a return to riding was slowly getting into the groove.
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Old 10-23-2013, 01:16 AM   #17
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Bloody windows 8, cannot edit the last post. *argument being about how much beer*, shits me.

Also forgot the map:



That's better.
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Old 10-23-2013, 05:26 PM   #18
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I'm hooked

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Old 10-24-2013, 12:58 AM   #19
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Good to see we have a few people along for the ride, these RR's take a bit of time!

Day 4 Mt Wood to ‘The Old Strzelecki Track’

I was up before the sun woken by sound of snoring that cut down a few rain forests, so did a bit exploring. Here I found a ‘Sturt Desert Trap Door Spider’, they feel the vibrations in the ground, hide under the web and pounce on the unsuspecting Swedish Backer who ventures too close. BTW these little fellas are venomous so best not to get them cranky.



After yesterday’s ride our breakfast was supplemented by various prescription drugs containing Codeine as the old bones were a little sore. By the time we packed up camp the pain killers had kicked in and we were on our way to Tibooburra.



Pyro was riding Yogi’s DRZ and Flash was doing some filming while Yogi was driving, this image is from the clip. The running commentary goes like this:
Yogi “Welcome to the metropolis of Tippaburra”
Flash “It’s not Tippaburra, its Tib-or-a”
Yogi “IT’S TIPPABURRA even the people of New South Wales call it Tippaburra”
Flash “Do not, only you call it Tippaburra”
Yogi “Alll right we’ll see”
Flash “We will….see the top of that motel sign-
Yogi “Tippaburra”
Flash “Tibb-oooo-ooo, Tib-ooo-burra, it’s hard to say actually”

Anyway we get into town and fuel up. If you are trip planning and looking for Pub accommodation, Tibooburra looks like it would be a must stay. Heading west the vegetation started to disappear.



The day was starting to heat up, out to Cameron Corner conditions were a bit more challenging with lots more sand. At some sort of treed area with not much shade we took a break.




(I like my personal space)

Dropped into Fort Grey Compound and camping area for a quick snack and drink. This place had been mentioned in other RR’s, if you are trip planning I reckon it would be a good place to camp with better facilities than Mt Wood (part of the Sturt National Park).



There were quite a few more sections of soft sand and having to dodge kangaroos before we made the border fence. Then over to the Corner Store had some lunch, looked around, took touristy photos and fuelled up the Jerry Cans.





On the road heading west into South Australia marks our start of the ‘Strzelecki Desert’. The road was generally well made but corrugated and sandy in parts and crap in other parts.



We had been warned of some dodgy patches of road marked with red flags. Usually these were just over a crest of a dune, so after the first red flag (a Flag Marshal had raided the flag kit, sticking the flag in the ground by the handle!) we knew what to look for.

At Merty Merty we continued headed north along ‘The Old Strzelecki Track’ coming across this:



Always up for a good photo opportunity! Not really surprising as we were in the ‘Wherethefugarewe Oil & Gas Fields’. (Somebody here will know what these pumps are called).

With a couple of hours of day light left we found large flat area to camp. This was good as there had been complaints about Flashes snoring (he feels the complaints were unjustified). So he was banished an appropriate distance to put down his kit.



324 km for the day. First trouble for the Tiger, with the corrugations the left hand bolt on the Centre Stand had come loose and fallen out also losing the bushing. This bolt also secures to side stand. Pyro had some spare 10mm cap screws with a ‘Nyloc’ nut. This was quickly fitted with bolt head helping to locate the Centre Stand, cable ties did the rest.

Precooked meal was an outstanding Chicken Korma prepared by Flash. Alcohol and bullshit flowed around the camp fire under a new moon with the full brilliance of the Milky Way on display. These adventures with good mates gets burned into you being for your life time.

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Old 10-24-2013, 01:46 AM   #20
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Oh now I'm envious. Wish it was me on this


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Old 10-24-2013, 02:18 AM   #21
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Quote:
Somebody here will know what these pumps are called.
In Alberta and all of North America as far as I know that's a pump jack.
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Old 10-24-2013, 03:08 AM   #22
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Thanks RedDog, interesting thing to watch. I'd imagine there is an art to setting them up.

mettalique, philth will probably be going next winter...
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Old 10-24-2013, 08:09 AM   #23
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If my new employer (yet to find one ) lets me I would like to do it as well. Noah who's riding rtw is keen too. I'll have to warn the 'merican about the carnivorous bilby We've only got the drop bears here, and they only target people without aussie accents. FACT http://www.australiangeographic.com....says-study.htm
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Old 10-25-2013, 01:38 AM   #24
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Hi Craig,
As you can see there isn't too many trees for the Drop Bears to fall out of. As with most things in nature, there is always the 'Alpha Predator'. In that part of Australia, it is the Lesser Eared Carnivorous Bilby. You don't hear too much about them as not many back packers get there, and you also have the government cover up.

BTW, how are Patty's folks going with the fires?
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Old 10-25-2013, 01:57 AM   #25
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next day..

Day 5 ‘The Old Strzelecki Track’ to Innamincka.

With the daily ritual of caffeine, bacon & egg sandwiches and prescription drugs done, it was time to put out the fire, clean the camping area, pack and hit the track.



Flash was having a ride on Tanks bike, heading north we intersected the ‘Strzelecki Track’, this is where we really made a blue. Sand riding was not working for Flash, I thought he was doing well. We decided to head east then north along the ‘Strzelecki Track’.

Things were looking good until 20km south of Innamincka. Fair dinkum, Fred Flintstone must have built this piece of shitty road. The suspension was copping a flogging picking a clean line was next to impossible, Yogi lost his number plate, at one stage I hit a rock so hard it broke my lower front mud guard and mounts also later found a bend in the rim – grrrr.

Despite the bone jarring ride we all arrived safely at Innamincka. Booked into our accommodation to be told that they had double booked the Bunkhouse, but we would be upgraded to the flash rooms, score! It was also getting hot, so we had to have a few drinks in the bar to cool down with.





Just how bad are roads out here? ‘Old Mate’ in the VW had broken a drive line while doing the Father/son holiday bonding thing. Cost him a shit load of money to get towed, then get the part transported up. The 13YO son races RC cars and was quite handy with the repair. So in the end they had a good but expensive bonding trip. VW reckon that ‘nobody had ever done that before’, naturally!

For our overseas readers, Innamincka is a rather special place in Australian history. Ill-fated explorers Burke and Wills meet their deaths on the banks of the Cooper Creek near the township, mainly because they were pretty hopeless Bushmen. There is bit of reading to make sense of the whole sorry tail.

http://www.burkeandwills.net.au/index.php

For us it good to see these places first hand to see what they endured and putting that part of the countries folklore into prospective.



The ‘Dig Tree’ at camp 65



The face of Burke carved by Bushman John Dick 1898 (50 years after the ‘Dig Tree’ incident)



Did I mention it was hot? The Queensland part of the road back to Innamincka. The South Australian part of the road is the aforementioned rocky road from hell.



Stupid horses standing in the midday sun.



When you get to 50, an afternoon nap is quite ok.



Meanwhile Flash was giving this Truckie a hand to load a crashed Harley. This bloke was a funny bastard! He was going off about the ‘complete dickhead who tried to ride that piece of shit out here, had no fuckin’ idea what he was doing, look at the front tyre nearly completely bald’ then he went on to tell us stories of having to load up 4x4’s that ‘city fuckwits who drive too fast for the conditions’ had totalled, the best stories were of the wives that had ‘totally lost their shit’ with the lets go explore the outback trip!



If you find something lying about in the bush, place it next to a bowser and people will photograph it.



Map shows us travelling the Old Strzelecki Track, gave up trying to get it to work.
We only did 89km, which was planned so we could do the touristy thing. Cable ties came to the rescue with the front guard.
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Old 10-25-2013, 04:14 AM   #26
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Good tale well told, keep it up ,thanks.
I know some of that country, thanks for giving me the revisit.
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Old 10-26-2013, 12:26 AM   #27
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I think it was the same truckie loading a BM the night I was there in August.
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Old 10-26-2013, 01:09 AM   #28
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I think it was the same truckie loading a BM the night I was there in August.
G'day Porty, he said he's up there every couple of weeks. Supplies in/ damaged vehicles out. Crusty old bugger, dry sense of humor, be tops to have a few drinks with!
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Old 10-26-2013, 01:20 AM   #29
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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!


Just maybe,


We could be,


Just a little bit,




Lost.



To be continued…
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Old 10-26-2013, 01:38 AM   #30
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Nice report - keep it up and stay safe out there.
And thanks for sharing a bit of the history.

BTW, with what camera did you take the wide shot, Day 5?
It turned out great.
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