desert dreaming part one or no life at the moment

The water filling lake Eyre and making the desert come to life brings back memories, seeing my life is snowed under right now I might as well reminisce.

When we headed out into the desert years ago lake Eyre was full to the brim, the flinders looked like the New England and the desert was literally crawling with life but let’s start at the beginning.

Follow the rain

We gained a couple of extras for the trip west on the first day, Tom and Craig joined Billy, Phil and myself. Starting the ride we all cleared baldersliegh road without hitting roo’s, cartwheeling through rocky fields or jumping into rocky gutters. The rain was stopping us having it too good though, fairly heavy we finally punched through about Bundarra, only for me to turn off and dive straight back into more heavy rain.

We punched through that over to Kingston and just to cheer everyone up we changed direction again, much to billy’s amusement dived straight back into more heavy rain.

The rain was making the loose roads slippery and the DR’s where doing their normal wander, rocking back and forth across the road, roughly staying where you pointed them give or take a foot or two. Just normal DR behavior, no point fighting it, just go with the flow. Craig and I laughed how the bikes were gently trying to rock us to sleep just as Billy pulled up, on his first ride on a new DR he looked a bit pale “This thing is trying to kill me” Billy screamed and then questioned my navigation, saying I was just following the rain.

I reassured Billy things were normal and changed direction and headed back into the rain in the direction of Barraba. The huge burgers at Barnaba fuel and food (which shrunk to normal size a couple of years ago) and the last of the rain lifted everyone’s spirits. As we stashed raingear little did I know everything I had in the raincoats pocket would be lost to I returned home two weeks later?

Waiting for the crew at a corner for a couple of minutes was unusual so I doubled back and found everyone surrounding Toms beloved Dominator. The chain had come off and wedged itself tighter than a politicians grasp on entitlements and was refusing to budge. This was not helped by the fact they were trying to knock it out the opposite way to the chain wedged in.

I said “you have to knock it out the way it went in” to complete silence and no change in procedure. Just then Craig who can fix anything pulled up had a quick look and said: “you have to knock it out the way it went in”.

Everyone straight away agreed and started knocking the chain out the opposite way, Phil thought this was just too funny and couldn’t stop laughing at me being completely ignored but Craig mentions something and everyone jumps.

Fancy having no faith in my mechanical ability

We had a bit of an explore between Barraba and Narrabri as I was checking out a new area to keep of the dreaded tar, some unkind people in the group thought I was lost, me never. Narrabri turned up just before dark, tea, drinks and a fun session of bench racing and relaxing caried on for quite a while as everyone was hyped.

Split west

Tom and Craig left for home and we battled the ruts out through the Pilliga, devoured lunch and an ice cream at Come by Chance, this was new county for me and with only a route sheet (not Ozzo’s) the desire to explore became too much, the roads were fun we were going somewhere so all was good, the route sheet wasn’t making much sense but it sure was fun.

I spotted a rain cloud in the distance and made a beeline for it, well it worked yesterday, we were nearly into another storm and a roadsign shattered our world and the guy’s faith in my navigation, ‘COBAR 30km’.

Cobar is not exactly on the way to Burke and after the boys objected to me exploring the place we backtracked and rolled into Bourke. Some unkind comments suggested I was lost, me never, who doesn’t enjoy a good explore.

We stocked up on food and drinks and headed for wanaaring, not in a hurry we stopped and camped off the side of the road 100m into the scrub in a small clearing long before roo-o’clock, cooked a nice meal on a few twigs, amazing how much energy stored in trees out there and settled in to a long session of relaxing over a few drinks..

Billy’s food bus

By Wanaaring the next day I must have been too relaxed, after paying for fuel, about necessities were falling out of my bumbag, billy poked them back in but 50m after taking off I lost another, Billy picked that up too, further on as the small dunes started Phill returned my thongs, for the first of many times unfortunately.

We filled up again at Tiboorburra, Tom had given me a huge pile of Trailrider Adventure stickers and I had been plastering them all along the longest day route on fuel pumps, continued doing this till I run out a week later.

Camerons corner was another refuel, the dunes started to get bigger, the washouts on the downslopes could swallow a 4wd and there was feed and fat cattle everywhere. Not exactly what I was expecting the desert to look like.

The famed yellow double-decker bus turned up, too good a landmark to pass up so despite being fairly early we made camp, well Phil and I made camp, Billy claimed the bus, through down his bedding and set up the kitchen. For the middle of nowhere, the food bus was remarkably good value. We settled into our usual routine as bilbies bounced around the camp

Dirt drags.

The shortcut across to the Strzelecki was a blast, tight with deep sand, the Strez was a disappointment, 3 lanes wide and smooth as a baby’s bum, the hot bore was a welcome soon we turned off a nice respite and soon we turned off at Mt ? lindsey?and headed for Arkaroola. This livened things up as the road constantly split into two then joined back up . We let Phil go ahead then me and Billy would take a lane each and race till they joined, then stop and laugh like loons, let Phil get ahead and repeat, way too much fun.

We explored sidetracks into Arkaroola and had a blast, the boys suggested I slow down a bit on these tight tracks but geez they were fun. We headed for Parachina were we had two nights accom but the urge to go exploring again overwhelmed me, after a 60km  detour and back the boys were waiting patiently and unkindly suggested I got lost, me never, who doesn’t like a good explore.

next week flinders fun then west again.





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