Simpson Desert, part 6

Day 6. 473k into the desert

Simpson wildflowers_07Wanting to savour the morning I woke early and sat up in the swag, watching the sky lightening and listening to the birds greeting the day. The number and variety of birds out here is amazing. And gorgeous song birds. The mornings really are the best time of day out here as the chirping from the night shift finishes and the birds take over for the day shift.

A lot of the desert wildlife is active during the night, so unless you’re lucky you don’t see it, except for dingoes. But you can hear things. While I lie in my swag watching the stars I can also hear chirping, and the rustle of the breeze through the trees. And dingoes howling, you do get dingoes howling at night, but at least then you know how far away they are from you.

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Simpson Desert, part 5

Day 5. 337k into the desert

Simpson wildflowers_08I’ve probably only got a couple more days in the desert so decided to make the most of this one and took my time this morning. I still got up just before sunrise, but I took more time to pack up and enjoy my morning coffee. And I went for a walk. Not too far, and keeping the car in sight, but I had a look around. And found more wildflowers. They are so small and delicate that you really do have to look for them. That’s what I love about travelling slowly, taking the time to see these things.

I got on the road at 8.13am. Four hours and forty minutes later I’d travelled 20k and arrived at Poeppel’s corner. Not because I was driving slowly, because I had to dig myself out of a hole twice, well three times actually. On the same sand dune!

Animals arriving in my campsite are not a good omen for the next day’s travel!

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The Simpson Desert, part 4

Day 4.  286k into the desert

Simpson Tree camp4No near roll overs, no having to dig myself out of a hole today. All in all, a good day.

The problem with getting on the road early is that I’m heading east – straight into the rising sun. While the sand is harder, it’s more difficult to see the detail of the track on the side of the dunes that I have to go up. And sometimes at the top of the dunes, when the car is at a certain angle, it is impossible to see anything at all, let alone the direction the track is taking.

So, I misjudged my first dune this morning and had to roll back down to make another attempt. Second time lucky, I was up and over the top. Because of the difficulty seeing properly I was probably a bit more cautious this morning than I needed to be, and used low range where it wasn’t necessary. Though, better to be safe than sorry. As the morning wore on, I could see better, and I was more used to driving the conditions, I used low range less and less, only for steeper dunes and those where it was particularly cut up at the top.

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The Simpson Desert Part 3

Day 3.  215k into the Simpson Desert

Simpson second camp_01My how things change, and in a short space of time.

From being cruisy and not in a hurry to get anywhere, I was up before dawn this morning, and straight into packing up. I wanted to get onto the dunes while they were still cool, because that’s the easiest time to drive them.

Though I wasn’t in that much of a hurry that I couldn’t relight last night’s campfire and make myself a coffee. Which I enjoyed while watching the first pink rays of the sun appear over the dunes.

I was on the road at 7.23 this morning. Still not really early, but that was just as the sun was appearing over the dunes. Sunrise isn’t too early either.

I’ve changed my course at the last moment twice today. And both times I paid for it.

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Travelling the Simpson Desert. Part 2

Day 2. 155k into the Simpson Desert.

Simpson landscape_03Not being in any hurry, I lay in my swag and watched the sunrise. If only somebody was here to make me coffee! That’s the trouble with travelling on your own, you have to do everything yourself. Eventually I had to get up and make my own coffee, after relighting the fire from the night before.

After taking my time and having a look around I thought I’d better pack up and get on the road. As per usual with my travels, it was 9am before I got away. No sense in hurrying anything!

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What is it really like to drive across the Simpson Desert (part 1)

Day 1. 89k into the Simpson Desert

Simpson corrugationsI don’t like to admit it at the beginning of a trip, but I was a bit worried. I decided to come into Dalhousie from Oodnadatta rather than go through to Mount Dare. That meant an additional 130k worth of fuel usage before I started in the desert. I’d calculated that from Oodnadatta, based on all information I had, I would make it through the Simpson and have around 10 litres of petrol left when I got to Birdsville. Not a lot, and no room for error, but I was fairly confident. Sort of. The car had been using a lot of fuel before I got the head gasket fixed, but it was ok now. Wasn’t it? Problem is, if I ran out of fuel most other people passing would have diesel, so it might take a while before I could get any help.

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