Having left Alice Springs and the pancake breakfast,
the travellers drove down the Stuart Hwy to Marla, which is advertised as the gateway to the painted desset. The night was spent here ready for the next day. On the way some more cloud pics were added to the vast volume of pics collected already.
On the move earlyish next day we had to throw out some good fruit and vegs due to more quarantine regulations. The possibility of an on the spot fine further down the highway if stopped by the road blocks also helped this decision. Talking to a fellow traveller after we tossed our vegs and she had the same problem but cooked her vegs first so she could put them in the fridge and use them later. Remember this for next time. After enquiring at the local police station regarding the road conditions we were all systems go. We had heard that the Oodnadatta area had had a lot of rain and we did not want to get bogged and have to wait for summer to get out.
The road in was a bit rough but there was some interesting views as we passed onwards. ABOUT 40 KM in the trevellers detoured off the main road to read a sign some 100 yards in and found that there was a look out further in on the detour. If we had not gone to read this sign we would have missed the best views in the desert. This area of the desert is on Arkaringa Station and these hills are the Arckaringa Hills.
At the look out we met some other travellers who informed us about a walking track to the top of the hills and heard that a tour guide had said that this view of the hills was the only place in the desert worth looking at. Being doubting Thomas's we thought we would find out for ourselves and press on through the desert.
He was right.
You can judge for yourself on the views, if my pics do the real thing justice. Having been there helps/.
The perspective alters the impact of the size of the hills but still great. Or I think so.
We were climbing one hill when this was taken.
Having gone right through the desert the travellers turned South onto the Oodnadatta Track 190 km South. Half way there and it became a race to see if the travellers could make Coober Pedy before dark as while the road was good, there were rocks and floodways that were best done in daylight.
Incidentally, the Oodnadatta Track is now a three lane great dirt road apart from the above hiccups.
It's not the track that books are written about.
About 5.00pm it was clear we would not make it through in daylight so we looked for a place to camp. The first was not really good so we pressed on to another and that was where we stayed for the night. About 35km from Coober Pedy and in the middle of nowhere. A flat area just off the road with not a tree, bush or anything in sight for 360 degrees. Only sand and rocks just like the moon with out the craters.
Although there were a few craters when we left after taking a shovel for a walk.
Hard to find a tree to hide behind way out here, Just have to wait for dark.
Beaten by about half an hour.
Up went the tent and down went some dinner. Sausages and eggs. We had thrown out our vegs and had not filled the food box. Possibly here I could mention my two souvenirs for the trip , both cook books. First was the No 2 Leggo's cook book full of yummy pasta dishes and the second is a collection of recipes from people on cattle stations across the top end. Put together for the McGrath foundation and breast cancer this book is full of yummies like sticky date pudding, great stews, risottos etc etc. All of which the travellers have not yet tried. They will have to wait. Also a lot of gluten free dishes for those who require these meals.
The night was closing in and so was the cold. A quick wash of the essentials and into the thermals and into the sleeping bags.
Some time about 3.00 I got a dig in the ribs and woke to noises At first it appeared to be some thing digging at something near or in the tent. On with the torches and it was discovered that a wind had come up and blowing the sides of the tent which in turn was moving and crackling a plastic bag we packed gear in. 2 minutes later and the wind was gone.
Off with the light and back to sleep to awake again about 7.00am. Waiting for the sun to come up above the horizon it was noticed how cold it was. The first rays of sun started so we arose to take pics of the sunrise. Boy was it CCCCCCCOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLDDDDDDDDDDDDD.
Probably about 1 degree.
So cold the gas burner would not function correctly and it was out with the Metho Trangia stove from bush walking days.
The sun could wait as we retired to the tent to get warm and have some breakfast to help us move our fingers etc. After some muesli and porridge washed down with hot tea we were warm enough to pack and hit the road further South towards home.
We got as far as Woomera and decided to make that do for the day and set up in the camp spot. Tomorrow on to Port Augusta and washing clothes, self and trying to look nothing like some thing that just blew in from the desert..
Woomera is very interesting with the historical society having displays of artifacts and rockets, aeroplanes, and the history of the place. It is a village in the middle of nowhere and where millions must have been spent over time. The place is still in use and at the moment the Army are there doing some testing of something that the residents know nothing of and there is a "Scram Jet" firing listed for January 2013. When these get going you will get to the USA in a couple of hours.
Just so they can save meals on the flights. Quantas are cutting every where.
The lack of good scenery in the painted desert has put us forward in our timings which could now see the travellers home about the 24h. Then it will be trying to get rid of the red and brown dust, haircuts to help not look like something the cat dragged in and processing over 2000 pictures into what could be printed etc. Washing everything that was coloured other than reddish brown to get it back to what is was.
Bookings have already started for future baby sittings and transport of family here and there so if you are one you had better book soon or miss out. Then there are alterations to camping gear to make extras to obtain and planning for the next trip......... If there is to be a next trip????????/