GDEC 2011 - The Anne Beadell & Beyond (or as big a dose of culture shock as you can suffer!)

Monday, Apr 11, 2011 at 04:25


10th April, 2011
Anne Beadell Hwy SA

Ok I must confess I’m a xerophile, someone who thrives in a desert environment yet even by my dry and dusty standards, it was hard for me to reconcile that in 48 hours I have swapped the glacial valleys of New Zealand’s south island for the dry, arid plains of the South Australian outback. Yet here I sit on the same vast plains that John McDouall Stuart struggled across 150 years ago and where often the nearest tree is still not visible passed the horizon. I’m sitting by a fire, the wind is sighing through the mulga and apart from the vicious little black mozzies that are keen on stealing a pint of blood from me, I’m loving it!

Our day began as so many have in our travelling to this part of the world, at the Port Augusta Big Four van park. Al and I had gotten in about 9.00 p.m. and grabbed an ensuite unit.John and Suzette were still on the road having had some last minute pump issues on the Ulty and wouldn’t arrive till much later. While the cloud above us was grey, it didn’t seem to extend to the north, our direction of travel. This was a good thing. There was some last minute supplies to be grabbed and we were off on the road northwards about 9ish. The banter across the UHF was comforting and all that was missing were the dulcit tones of our absent GDEC comrades. We decided in their absence that as 60% of the GDEC crew were present, this trip would be given official GDEC status.

Thundering north, we decided on a stop to stretch the legs and fit the nose bag at the Glendambo Road House. While here we encountered a convoy of the most heavily overloaded 4x4’s I’d ever seen and coming from me, that’s saying something! These vehicles had so much gear hanging of them as to be gaudy. We couldn’t help but wonder just where they were headed with such a load on. One particular hundred series had a dual rear wheel carrier fitted. Sticking out behind the two wheels were a further two jerry cans, one on each side. Together with the back fully loaded and the roof rack from hell, the vehicle was all but scraping it’s arse on the ground. Jaydub and I could only wonder what state the rear spring tower supports would be in after some rough stuff. A Hilux dual cab with what looked like a circus tent packed on the rear. Talking to one of them, they were apparently off to the God. Ten vehicles full of gung ho weekend warriors overloaded to the bleep house, I’m glad I’m not leading that lot.

We had a hamburger in the restaurant and after a minor milkshake mix-up, headed back out to the car park. A couple with a caravan who had parked next toour cars, Cliff and Lou (ise) indicated they had an issue with the wheels on their caravan. On the left hand side, one of the wheel studs had broken and on the remaining 5, the wheel nuts had managed to work themselves loose allowing the wheel rim to move and eat into the studs. Talk about lucky as I reckon they'd have only made it another few kilometres along the road before the remaining studs snapped through. The rim was now stuffed as well. They were so lucky. Jaydub organised to check out a few things in Coober Pedy for them and get back to allow an informed choice as to whether to head north or south for repairs.

Hitting the road we had an uneventful trip north for the remaining 280km to Coober Pedy. Our stop in Coober conprised fuel, a few enquiries & water at the rip-off pump before heading out of town to the Mabel Creek turnoff. The first 30 kilometres was well graded and in great condition. It was fantastic to have the feel of the gravel road under the tyres again. The Tojo ate it up enthusiastically. In no time we were at Mabel Creek and the Tallaringa Track turnoff. The sun was getting lower and spying a stand of trees in the distance I headed for them as a potential camp spot.Camp was a quick affair with a great fire. Globalstar came to the rescue of John who had forgotten to activate his satphone prior to leaving home and he now had to ring his provider. At 7.03 p.m. the space station flew overhead giving us a brilliant glimpse between the clouds every now and then.

For the boys, dinner was snags with fire roasted vegies. Suzette whipped up a stir fry for she and john with Outback Al skirting the pack for leftovers. It was a great night by the fire and a toast to the start of another GDEC adventure.

Seraphile: "a person with an affinity for arid places"

''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903
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