This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

1999 Travels August 16

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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.

08-16-1999 between dunes french line.jpg

Between the dunes – the western end of the French Line track. Not all that desert like.

08-16-1999 01  french line near purni.jpg

The French Line track not far from Purni Bore

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.

08-16-1999 03  cnr French and Rig roads.jpg

French Line straight ahead. Rig Road to right

08-16-1999 04  cnr french and rig.jpg

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.

08-16-1999 05  Mokari oil well former  airstrip.jpg

Mokari Airstrip

08-16-1999 06  Rig Rd at Mokari.jpg

The Rig Road at Mokari Airstrip

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.

08-16-1999 07  rig road.jpg

The straight line of the Rig Road on a west to east section

08-16-1999 08 cnr Rig rd and WAA Line & bad rig tk

Corner of Rig Road and WAA Line. We go right.

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.

08-16-1999 10  Macumba No 1 oil bore.jpg

The shut down Macumba No 1 oil well

Our final leg for the day was back to heading east, and crossing dunes regularly.

08-16-1999 rig rd e to w

Looking back to the west along the Rig Road, and down the easier slope up the western face of the dune

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.

08-16-1999 09 rough tk wendy driving

I drove this section of the track. The eastern face of the dunes were often cut up and eroded

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!

08-16-1999 12  rig rd camp.jpg

Our camp beside the Rig Road

The dunes we crossed today were really varied. There is nothing boring about this desert!

08-16-1999 11 dune patterns Rig Rd.jpg

Sand dune patterns

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.

08-16-1999 14 rig rd sunset.jpg

Sunset coming. Evening light on the dunes at our Rig Road camp

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.

08-16-1999 15 Rig road camp by fire

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.

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