Friday, June 22, 2012

Day 13 shower time!

CSR Day 13
We got woken a few times during the night by rain drops on the tent. Not heavy, but just enough to make everything damp and muddy. Not something you expect in the desert!  No sunrise today with the cloud cover, so we packed the tent up first, leaving the awning available to sit under for breakfast. It was much warmer last night as well, so the rain did have some benefits.  We hit the track around 8.45 am continuing on from yesterday's lovely scenic  run along the sand dunes. The track is very tight, twisting and turning, almost back on itself at times, through lovely desert oak stands. Lots of camel, dingo and bird footprints in the sand, but couldn't sight any of the owners.  Well 35 eventually turned up, after a bit of mucking around with GPS to find the right track in. The well itself has long collapsed, as have most of the wells, and there is only a bore cap with water about 1 meter below the surface. Apparently the water is OK, but we decided not to try our luck.  We had smoko just near the well, and then continued on south. The track takes a sudden right turn about 4km from the well, and the country changes completely once again. Suddenly you are out in flat country, with the spinifex so tall it blocks the view. The plain continues all the way to Kunawarritji. We hit the fastest speeds of the trip so far, getting up to 60kmh in a vain attempt to defeat the corrugations. Straight and narrow, the track spears across the plain, with only the occasional diversion around a fallen tree. No nasty little turns or sudden direction changes, so we could maintain the speed easily enough. A quick stop at the well 34 junction, to check the roof racks and dampers ( pretty hot) and away again. The corrugations are bad, but not the worst we have experienced. Being able to travel relatively quickly meant the punishment was only short. Our arrival at well 33 was noticed by the galahs and finches drinking at the overflow of the windmill, and that was all. The area had been modified since our last visit, with bollards and a camping area around the windmill. The old windmill foundations can still be seen, and there is a modern plastic water tank. The overflow of the windmill still flows out but is now collected in a ditch and is enjoyed by the local wildlife, including camels. We met the local school teacher, Lynn and her husband Tony. They had arrived to water a boab tree that Tony has planted and is desperately trying to stop the camels from trampling it. We got the rundown on the community and decided to head in. Unfortunately, the community does not have many residents at the moment, due to a funeral being held for a 14 year old local girl who was killed in Newman.  We pulled up at the fuelling shed, and waited while the truck that delivered the fuel to the community fuelled up! Luckily, he only took 1,200l, so we didn't have to wait long! Fuel is $3.40 per litre, and we filled up with 104 litres. Not sure what our fuel economy has been, but it has been pretty good. Jon bought 100 litres, but didn't fill all the way to the top on one tank. We drove the short distance to the shop, parked and went shopping! The community shop is very well stocked and considering how remote it is, reasonably priced. We stocked up on a few things we needed, and a few things we didn't need, just for the novelty value!  We paid for a shower and washing machine and got stuck in. We now smell a whole lot better than we did! The accommodation block is new and very impressive, with 6 rooms and attached shower and toilet block. We decided to lash out and stay the night, as it would be too late by the time the clothes washing was done to go back anywhere to camp, and besides, we wanted to smell nice a little longer. We got chatting to the truck driver who delivers the fuel, he is based in Alice Springs and hasn't been home for 6 weeks. He loads in Alice, drops fuel all along the way, including road camps and communities. If he gets the chance, he shoots some camels close to the community and helps them bring them in. The accommodation is very tidy and clean, just what we needed after the days in the scrub. We have washed and scrubbed everything in sight, and re-charged batteries and cameras. The community generator has been running red hot! We even got to watch TV!  Well, 5 minutes worth, which was long enough to work out not a lot has changed while we have been bush, so we turned it off. We met a couple of blokes traveling the Canning south to north, staying here as well. Believe it or not, they are both from Ravenshoe! They gave us the report for further south and updated us on Scotty, the jeep owner (not as far south as he wanted to be, and his mate with the mechanical issues is still holding them up) and the two camper trailers just in front of us. Lots of camels to look forward to further south, as well as some cold weather. As well, they have said to keep the radios calls happening, as not many people have been answering their calls, and Tony and Lynn mentioned a head on collision near well 30 about 6 weeks ago. Time to be more careful! We have topped up the water tanks, so both vehicles are back to maximum weight for the trip. Tyre pressures may have to be adjusted in the morning, we'll see how we go. Clothes are dry and batteries recharged, we should be all back to normal tomorrow. We had a yarn with Graham, the town jack of all trades. He has been here for 5 years, and helped to build the accommodation block., he also runs the shop and fuelled the car up.

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