MONDAY 16 AUGUST PURNI BORE TO RIG ROAD SOMEWHERE 136kms
I crawled out of the tent about 7am and joined the queue for the shower. This was my last chance to be clean for a few days, and especially to wash my hair. We are conserving our water, so after this it will be Baby Wipes for getting clean! It was a very pleasant and appreciated shower.
We did not leave Purni until after 10. John had to program the GPS after we were packed up. It seems to be a very fiddly process. He also emptied one of the fuel jerry cans from the roof into the tank – less weight on the roof now.
We let the Truck tyres down to a softer pressure, as we will hit the dune country properly today.
We drove out along the French Line and were soon into small dunes. The track was not too bad, but needed care in driving. The sections between dunes were far more vegetated than I had expected.
It did not take us too long to cover the 30kms to the French Line/Rig Road corner. At that corner, which was signposted by one of the Oodnadatta Pink Roadhouse signs, we turned to the south, onto what appeared a much better track – initially at least.
Our first N-S run between the dunes was quite a good track, but it was obvious that the dunes were getting higher around us.
We stopped briefly at Mokari Airstrip, once used to service the oil rigs, but now for emergency use only.
After the airstrip, we were onto a W-E section, and dune crossings, for some 36kms, to the junction with the WAA Line track. We had lunch here.
The next 35kms was SE again, mostly between dunes, though we crossed the occasional one.
Stopped to look at the Macumba No 1 Well, now closed down.
Our final leg for the day was back to heading east, and crossing dunes regularly.
I drove some sections today – the first run south, to Mokari, and later some of the W-E track, including some quite badly broken-up east faces of dunes, with big gullies. I did not find it any hassle – quite enjoyed myself – and John was being an excellent passenger.
We stopped for the day about 4pm, some 25kms before Walkandi Junction, in a valley between dunes.
We had not seen any other vehicle since leaving Purni – which made us feel pleasantly isolated.
John was able to get through for the afternoon radio sched.
Set up the tent, trying to angle it into some low bushes, for a little protection – maybe – should camels come through!
The dunes we crossed today were really varied. There is nothing boring about this desert!
There had been some light bits of cloud in the sky during the day, and this made for some pretty pastel sunset effects. It got cold quickly, once the sun went down.
Tea was a tin of soup and a packet of macaroni cheese. I cooked some dried apricots in a little water for dessert.
We bundled all the fridge stuff that was now going off into a double layer of garbags and left it in the fridge.
We had wood on the roofrack, that we had gathered a couple of days ago, so were able to have a campfire to sit round after tea.
We read, and watched the stars, which were so bright. It was a most enjoyable evening. At one stage, I walked up on to the high dune behind us and looked all round – there was just pure darkness in every direction. No sign of any other people. Just occasional rustlings from little critters.
We slept well.