Desert Love Affair – Simpson Desert Part 2 – Getting to the Start

Day 1.15Day 1.1Getting to the desert is an adventure in itsself. We joined together with three other riders in a convoy to the start line. Of course in the desert you will need to carry everything. Fuel, Water, Food, Gear, Spares the list is huge.

Day 1.2Day 1.3Water was carried from Brisbane for three of us 300 litres (80 Gallons). A lot of weight. You can see int he photos the back-end of the 4×4 is sitting very low. The car need so many repairs upon return to Day 1.5Brisbane that it was sold and a new one purchased.

20 years ago portable fridges were not exactly perfect strong yet. Garry had purchased a new one for the trip it cost over $1000.00. Three days in it needed to be returned broken.

Day 1.7Day 1.8Driving the main roads was not a problem, when on the tarmac. After Charleville the dirt begins, ruts, bumps and car damaging but passable roads begin. It then gets worse after Birdsville.

Day 1.9I can’t remember where we stayed the first night in a small hotel between Charleville and Birdsville but the water smelt of sulphur (rotten eggs). It was bad you smelt worse after having a shower. We used the water we had int he car to drink in that town. Water needed to be carried all way from Brisbane because water is an expensive rare and limited resource in central Australia. That is the entire town a Pub/Hotel.

Day 1.10Day 1.11Making it to Birdsville felt like such a mile stone. It was just the beginning. In the Pub a drink was well-earned. Local road conditions were discussed with the local police to ensure we could pass and we also got permission from the local (native) people to travel on their land.

Day 1.13If you get a chance to get to the Birdsville pub it is well worth the visit. One it is cool in the pub (hot outside). The bar tender was a local named Stoddy. he had many a great story to tell. About 8 years later when my wife and I went to Lake Eyre, Stoddy was running another remote pub in Innamincka in South Australia.

Day 1.14After Birdsville the desert tracks begin. You travel on roads for about another 200k then the fun begins. Travel slows right down. It took 2 days to travel from Brisbane to Birdsville a distance of 1600km (100miles). Then to travel the last 500 km took 3 more days.

Day 1.17At one stage we had all three 4×4 snatch strapped together to make it through, around and over stuff. It was quicker walking than driving. For 3 sand dunes in a row we had to completely unpack the cars and carry everything over the top of the dunes. Then re-pack the car to drive to the base of the next due to do it all again. Half a day to travel less then 3km (2miles).Day 1.12

Day 1.18At another point we had the car sitting in the sand down to the axles so we had to dig the car out. We used a shovel a lot to make the track passable.

Day 1.21What I found amazing is that these people were going to ride a bike back across this. In true style while were digging the car out a huge 4×4 Bus came the the other way accross the desert. It was full of people on a tour. Day 1.22They got out took a bunch of photos of us digging the car out then got back on the bus.

The Desert is tough and beautiful place. The local dingoes are skinny.

The photo with a single tree in it is significant. This is the only tree in the Simpson Desert. It stands alone and looks healthy.

Finally once at Pumie Bore. A oasis in the Desert that is teaming with life.

Day 1.23Registration began. This is 20 years ago in the days of 1 inch of suspension.The bikes amazed me. They where state of the art. And people brought out very expensive stuff.

Day 1.24At this race I learnt that it is not the value of the bike but how big your heart is that wins races. One rider had a bike that he picked up at a bargain shop for less than $50.00.

He rode the bike making repairs all the way across the desert. He was in it for the adventure, it did not need to be an expensive adventure. Others had bikes worth more than the cars that got them to the desert and did not complete the first day.

Day 1.26 DingoWe made it to the start. Registration now began. 34 riders would register this year. 4 will finish the race.

The desert stretches on forever.

Day 1.25Pumie Bore – Camp for two-day. Don’t drink the water it will make you very sick and help is days away. It was very inviting and we did enjoy a swim. The water is not cool as it is a hot spring. But still a welcoming dip.

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