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Old 08-21-2014, 04:12 AM   #1
TwoUpTourer OP
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Birdsville Track solo

I retired two weeks ago at age 60, and I'm now free to realise a long held ambition to ride up through central Australia, with no time limits, and no particular destination when I get there, other than I'll make my way home again by some other route. I'll be heading out on my 2001 BMW F650GS.

This won't make the annals of ADV, because much of the time I'll be far from cell phone coverage, but I'll put up what I can when what counts for civilisation out there is within range. I'm setting off from near Adelaide in South Australia, and heading north up the Birdsville Track through the Simpson Desert to the remote town of Birdsville, a town of about about 100 people, which rises to about 8,000 during the annual race meeting.

I'm travelling solo so that I can stop and go as long as I like, but have a Spot satellite tracker so my wife can see where I am, and have that little red button if the need arises. One of the objectives is to 'bag a confluence point' on the way - see Confluence.org to see what it's about, but in brief it's about being the first to go to where a full degree of latitude and longitude cross, and take a bunch of photos according to specific rules. In the US about 90% have already been visited, and the 10% that haven't are all in Alaska. In Australia it is 70%, so if you want one with your name on it, you better be quick!

Leaving now has big advantages at the destination, where it will be around 20c+ (70F+) during the days, but two months later it will be 40c(100F+). Downside is that nights on the way up will be zero(32F), so I won't be dillydallying down south for more than I have to.

So that's it for now, next post will be from Orroroo in the mid-north of South Australia on what will probably be a very cold night. Hope the sleeping bag works!

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Old 08-21-2014, 04:31 AM   #2
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Good on ya, TwoUp!
We'll be watching to see what you find and how you go.

Good luck, eh.
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Old 08-21-2014, 04:53 AM   #3
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Hey TwoUpTourer, Have a great ride. Starting in Adelaide might suggest you have been where you are headed before. But just in case you haven't might I suggest a couple of good camp spots along the way.

First anywhere in the Flinders ranges (East Brachina is a great bush camp with toilets. Make sure you get into one of the 4WD sites)

A night at the Mungeranie pub can also be very educational depending on who is there.
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Old 08-21-2014, 05:21 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by AngryAndo View Post
Starting in Adelaide might suggest you have been where you are headed before.

First anywhere in the Flinders ranges (East Brachina is a great bush camp with toilets. Make sure you get into one of the 4WD sites)

A night at the Mungeranie pub can also be very educational depending on who is there.
Nope - first time north of Wilpena Pound.
Re the East Brachina camp site, where is it exactly? I was thinking of staying at Angorichina camp site, only because its the only one I know.

Mungeranie pub - well its famous isn't it! I'm planning on spending a couple of days there. A stretch of water in the middle of the desert with bird life etc has got to be worth some time.

My other thinking is that if I'm finding it too cold at night, I might push north and come back via the Flinders Ranges a month on when it should be a bit warmer.
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Old 08-21-2014, 09:24 AM   #5
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East Brachina

Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoUpTourer View Post
Nope - first time north of Wilpena Pound.
Re the East Brachina camp site, where is it exactly? I was thinking of staying at Angorichina camp site, only because its the only one I know.

Mungeranie pub - well its famous isn't it! I'm planning on spending a couple of days there. A stretch of water in the middle of the desert with bird life etc has got to be worth some time.

My other thinking is that if I'm finding it too cold at night, I might push north and come back via the Flinders Ranges a month on when it should be a bit warmer.
Probably a good plan as it certainly gets cold in the Flinders this time of year.
East Brachina is a camp site (No facilities other than a toilet and fire pits) It is in Brachina gorge quite close (less than 1 km) to the corner of the Bunyeroo gorge road. There is usually plenty of fire wood in the 4WD camp sites.
Coming through Bunyeroo gorge from the Wilpena end you turn left into Brachina gorge rd then turn right a short way along.

It is well sign posted.

When are you heading off?
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Old 08-21-2014, 03:28 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by AngryAndo View Post
Coming through Bunyeroo gorge from the Wilpena end you turn left into Brachina gorge rd then turn right a short way along.

When are you heading off?
I'm off tomorrow morning, Saturday 23rd August.
I looked up that campsite and found it - thanks for the tip.
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Old 08-21-2014, 04:13 PM   #7
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Look into spending a couple of days up at Arkaroola as well?

Coming home, look into some of the other tracks. Walkers Crossing to Innamincka, then Old Strzelecki to Cameron Corner, through to Tibooburra. Then toMilparinka and down some nice rural roads to stay off the highway to Broken Hill. Down to Yunta and then nice dirt roads / Railway line to Peterborough

I've got GPX files if you want (for GPS) or can print out a map to give you some ideas.

All doable by the average rider on a 650.
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Old 08-22-2014, 03:41 AM   #8
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Old 08-22-2014, 05:00 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by dnrobertson View Post

I've got GPX files if you want (for GPS) or can print out a map to give you some ideas.
.
Thanks for the offer of the gpx files, but I've just plain run out of time as i'm off in 11 hours. Its a lot of work preparing for trip like this, and i'm buggered.
Tomorrow night, Orroroo caravan park. I hope to see Arkaroola on my way back south.
cheers
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Old 08-22-2014, 06:00 PM   #10
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Good luck on your trip. I'll be looking forward to your posts. Very intrigued by the confluence thingy.

Had I known lol. Past one recently heading to Darwin. Might have had a go at it.

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Old 08-25-2014, 08:35 PM   #11
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Currently in Marree camped at the pub, doing this post from my phone using the pub's expensive satellite internet, so I'll be limited in how much I can put up.
I set off from the cold Adelaide Hills with heated grips doing their thing, dodging massive black clouds and rode under blue skies. Which brings a tune to my lips. Fans of Midnight Oil will remember Blue Sky Mining on their album Diesel and Dust, well here is the album cover

Located a few kilometres north of Burra.
Terowie is a town whose existence resulted from the decisions of geniuses who built railway lines from opposite ends of different gauges, and so all traffic had to stop where they met, swapping trains at the platform. Streets of substantial stone buildings, halls, churches, now mostly abandoned.
An outcome of this made it world famous in WW2 when US General Douglas McArthur got bailed up by a local reporter who got wind that he would have an enforced stop there whilst on his way south from Darwin to Army Headquarters in Melbourne. When pressed for a comment, McArthur said "I came out of Bataan(Philippines), and I shall return!" It flashed around the world, and it happened in Terowie!

Pushed on past Wilpena Pound to the gorgeous Bunyeroo Gorge

It is every bit as good as it looks, and about 35 km long.

I was told I should drop in to see the Aroona dam 5km from the coal mining town of Leigh Creek, and after 6km of twisting rough track this is what you get.




How foreign was the thinking of people in the 1800's to us now that they thought nothing of moving to a desolate place like Farina, north of Lyndhurst. 300 people called it home, with its two hotels, bakeries, shops of all kinds, there to service the railhead and all the cattle that were funnelled there by the Sidney Kidman Pastoral empire, which owned 310,000 square kilometres of cattle stations. And who funilly enough recently offered me part time job!




One thing I have really learnt about on this trip is about tyres. There has been a lot of rain here recently, with a lot of vehicles driving on the dirt roads, leaving longitudinal furrows the entire way, and without the right tyres it is really hard work.

I have some Mitas E0 something that is a 50/50 road/dirt, great for what is around home, but not here. It is just too hard watching every metre for 550km, and I know I am going to come a cropper. I should have had TKC80s.
And so this is as far north as I am going to go. I anticipated corrugations for sure, but not longitudinal ones.

I have just retired after 27 years in the same place, and I'm not going bugger things up now for a tedious landscape.
The Flinders are far more spectacular anyway. The Confluence project would have been cool, but not an end in itself.

Start of the Birdsville track.


Next lot will be more of the Flinders Ranges, Brachina Gorge etc.
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Old 08-25-2014, 08:41 PM   #12
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Trouble with doing all this on a smart phone is sometimes it doesn't lay out like I expected. Here is the missing Bunyeroo Gorge picture.
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Old 09-03-2014, 03:57 PM   #13
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we passed you the other way 2 klrs 2 tigers,bugger all bikes at all on the road,great weather for it.
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Old 09-03-2014, 05:52 PM   #14
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Fabulous, looking forward to this report. Just finished a three week trip, Melbourne to Darwin. Got stuck on the Oodnadatta Track and Marree due to unexpected rains. Terrific ride.
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Old 09-03-2014, 06:10 PM   #15
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Thanks for the RR. Like Canada, Australia is so damn big with a good many options for riding. Thanks for the insight.
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