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Scott & Gaby's Australian Adventure

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Written on: Tuesday July 10th, 2007

Weather cleared up ? roads were opened again and we headed down the Canning Stock Route (CSR) from the north end. Our first few km into the CSR we met a couple heading out who had already lost their way at the first junction on the track. They had found out that this track was a shorter way around to their destination than back along the Hwy to the west coast. We got our maps out and told them where they probably were and realized after chatting with them that they were really ill equipped to travel this track however they were heading back to the aboriginal community for extra fuel. When leaving Scott noticed that one of their tires was also bald , needless to say we continued on and hoped that they would change their minds about traveling here. Unfortunately we have read that several people have died in this area taking the wrong track and getting lost.  It?s not hard to do this because we even had to sit down and calculate using our GPS to find our way.

This top end of the CSR is quite different from the bottom.  We could actually reach mach speeds of 40 km at times and went over 100?s of sand dunes, but the corrugations between them were hell at times and really slowed us down to a snails pace.  On this trip we saw many species of birds including falcons, dingoes and finally after 2 days we spotted some wild camels, 21 in all. We visited some graves along the wells of drovers that had died on this track and some were speared by aboriginals, the oldest grave being from 1907. We also saw drovers initials carved into rocks along the route and also aboriginal?s spear sharpening marks.

One of the highlights was when we came across an 11 km dry salt lake bed where we let ?er rip to a whole 60 km ? oh what a thrill. The next lake we came across actually had water in it due to the recent rains.  Only problem was that the track led into the lake and with binoculars we could see the track exiting the lake at the other side.  We scratched out heads for a few minutes, took off our shoes and waded into the water and thought it better not to chance it.  We circumnavigated the lake and finally found the continuing track on the other end.  At this point we wondered what would have happened to the ill equipped couple.

Our next challenge was finding well 41. There were numerous track everywhere and no signage and it was apparent that other people had the same problem because a lot of tracks turning around everywhere. We finally picked the right track and found well 41.  We decided we would help other travelers by dragging an empty 45 gallon diesel drum back to the junction showing the directions towards the well and also left our mark by drawing a Canadian flag on it.  Yaaa Canada.  That evening we met 2 vehicles one which needed repairs.  This vehicle had the fuel tank fall off, both front shocks caught on fire, both front rims were cracked and prior to that the vehicle caught on fire due to spinifex (grass) burning on the muffler but it was extinguished.  The fire only damaged the Speedo cable and charred the undercarriage and if that wasn?t bad enough a few days prior the front 4wd hub fell apart but the guy saved the bits and pieces. Luckily a third vehicle came along and the fellow was a mechanic, thank god because he was able to get the vehicle up and running and even knew what to do with the pieces.  These Aussies like our friends Michael and Hugh know how to enjoy meals in the outback.  They had roast beef one night and t-bone steak with fresh baked bread planned for tonight.  We went back to our campsite and had our regular can-in-a-fire-dinner under the beautiful stars. Mmmm good.

The next day we came upon a well with a white board attached to a tree keeping a history of Billy the king brown snake, the 2nd most poisonous snake in Australia.  There were several sighting noted on the board, in 2003 he was retrieved and saved from the well also the most recent sighting was a week prior, he apparently lives  in and around the well.  At this point Scott went running one way and I went to the well to find Billy, but he was nowhere to be found.

We decided to avoid the corrugations that were even worse up ahead of us on the advice of fellow travelers that we met.  One guy described that the corrugations were go bad that he had to hold his double chin and  the other claimed that he had to hang on to his false teeth.  Our original plans was to exit the CSR about 40 km up the track but to avoid the chin wobbling, teeth rattling and vehicle damaging corrugation we decided to exit down an old 32 km track that is not often used.  Our only concern on this old track was the high spinifex which can cause a vehicle fire so we stopped regularly and cleaned it out from under the truck. It was a great track and at the end we had a great camp under the stars.

From here we drove 1100 km on a gravel road to Alice Springs and headed south towards Melbourne knowing that we were ending our journey. The rest of our trip was on Bitumen (pavement) boo hoo, however I think our poor truck had a sigh of relief and believe it or not it was on this road that a road train decided to  hit the gravel and throw rocks up on our truck which gave us 4 stone chips in our windshield.  BUGGER.

In route we made a stop at Coober Pedy (pop 3500) the opal capital of the world where 60 % of people live underground in dugout homes. Summer temp reach up to 50 deg outside but temp underground stay a constant 21-23 deg. From here we hired a plane and flew over moon like terrain, the famous Lake Eyre and stopped off at an outback pub in Williams Creek in the middle of nowhere for a beer, cold one at that.  Population of this town is 10 during peak season. Took off again and flew over the world?s largest cattle station, 5 million acres but can only support 16,000 head of cattle and back again to Coober Pedy.

We  are now sitting in our camper spending our last night with a bottle of wine before heading back  to Melbourne at Chris and Drew?s and stopping off at Ivan and Leone to say goodbye. 

 

How appropriate to send this blog from Swan Hill.  For those of you who know Scott?s favorite song, I should be wearing tangerine socks and Scott?s hair should be slicked way back.  I am chewing juicy fruit and he PK.

For those who don?t know what the hell we are talking about, just ask Scott when we get back to hear his favorite song.

 

See ya all when we get home.

Cheers!!!

 

From Mom on Jul 13th, 2007

Glad to hear you have had a great trip. All is well here. Anxious to see you on Wednesday. Love mom

From Kristyn on Jul 13th, 2007

Can't wait to see you guys!!! It seems like forever since we've seen you... but Wednesday will be here soon... drive and fly carefully... love from Free-Help #1 :):)