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Australia 2007

Alice Springs - Dalhousie Springs - Coober Pedy

Leg details

June 2 - 9, 2007
Alice Springs - Old Andado Road - Old Andado Station - Mt. Dare Station - Dalhousie Springs - Oodnadatta - Painted Desert - Coober Pedy

Leg map (click to enlarge in separate window)

On Saturday, June 2nd 2007, it is time to say good-bye to Alice Spring and hit the road again.
The plan is to travel south on the Old Andado Road. This road leads along the red sand dunes of the Simpson Desert. Molly's Bash, a get-together at Old Andado Station, is on this coming weekend and we would like to be there.
Then we would continue on to Dalhousie Springs and then decide if we want to go to the Finke Desert Race or head further south on the Oodnadatta track.

We will be travelling together with Marc and Teri Mendelson, American travel companions. They have a Nissan Patrol and pull a TVan trailer.
We had met Marc in Alice Springs last year and stayed in contact since.

We leave town and follow the signs to Santa Teresa. Right after the Alice Springs airport the bitumen ends and dirt start … and also the corrugation.
We hope that the road will improve after the turn-off to the community.

Soon the Ooraminna Range appears with the typical layers of different rocks covered by Spinifex. It looks very colourful.
The road gets worse with holes in it now as well. Ruedi has to concentrate and be prepared to react quickly.
The area must have received some decent rainfalls recently. The grass is green and stands high, the acacias are blooming.
As we approach the Santa Teresa (Ltyentye Apurte) community the amount of green cans increases drastically. Then we reach a gate and a sign warns that the community is a dry area (= no drinking of alcohol in public, some of them have no alcohol allowed at all).
After the fence miraculously the cans disappear almost completely. We are impressed about this cleanliness as we are used from other communities that the closer one gets to them the more the sides of the road are littered with the green VB cans.
Afterwards we learn that dry communities have a “green zone” around them … this is the area where all the green VB (Victoria Bitter) beer cans are dumped before people enter the community.
Why VB cans?
Well, it's the strongest beer and you can get drunk for the smallest amount of money …

In 1950 a Catholic mission was established in Santa Teresa. It looks funny to see a bitumen road starting at the dirt track and leading to the church in line with the cross on top of the hill.

After the community the road gets narrower and the corrugation improves but the holes in the road stay.
We pass the Deep Well Ranges and the Allambie Station.

The road make a 90° turn to the left and if you miss that turn you end up directly in the station's hangar.

Sand starts taking over on the still badly corrugated road.
Thanks to Marc we get some nice OKA pictures :-)

After Mitchell's Bore the first sand dunes appear. It is very quiet in the sand dunes.
Even though many animal tracks can be seen we cannot spot the animals themselves.
But you bet they have spotted us a while ago!

Driving along the Train Hills with the afternoon sun giving them that extra bit of red colour is quite a sight.
We are surprised about the large amount of Eucalypt trees there.

Because the flies are a real plague Marc and Teri want to drive until the flies have gone to sleep.
We don't mind the flies that much as we mostly live indoors, where the mozzie-screens keep the miserable little critters outside.

We continue on along the Arookara Range, the last range before the sand dunes.
The next 130 km will be sand and dunes so we decide to set up camp here. We have not a clue what to expect on the track and don't know how the OKA will cope with it.

Teri finds us an excellent spot with lots of small firewood.
Together with the wood Marc and Teri have brought along the camp fire will keep us warm for a long while.

Note to the reader:
We are not used to making campfires in the evening so we also don't carry fire wood with us.
So we have a new task for tomorrow and the days to follow: keep your eyes open for good fire wood when crossing creeks.

Ruedi finds that the professional "backing" of the tyre has not survived long. He tries applying a patch over it but does not really think it will help much. Since we drive on gravel with 25% less air in the tyres, the defective area is under a lot of strain.

The fire keeps us warm, even though as usual the wind changes every few minutes blowing the smoke in our direction.
The almost full moon rises spectacularly on the horizon. Marc tries his luck with pictures.
Ruedi also gets his first theory-class in astronomy and how to find south.

When we wake up after a cold night with only 6°C on Sunday morning Marc is already busy taking pictures of the sunrise.
Doesn't it look pretty?
Thanks Marc for the pictures you have given us for the web page.

We invite Marc and Teri over into the cosy warmth of our cabin for breakfast.
Mind you, they have a heater that runs on Ethanol keeping their TVan warm too, but the kitchen is outside and even though they positioned it so that the sun shines on it in the morning it is still cold outside.

When packing up the TVan, Mark finds this little visitor ...

As we leave into the dunes the track gets narrower; it's more like a trail now.
The corrugation in the sandy track is even worse than yesterday.
The sand on the track is very hard and it is not a problem to drive on it in between the very distant dunes.

Soon after we reach an Aboriginal Reserve, signs prohibiting camping for the next 20 km.
Lucky we stopped for the night just a few kilometres down the road.

The gate is an interesting construction as it can be adjusted to what ever you want to let through.

As we drive through the dunes we realise that the few clouds that are still around have a red touch.
Teri explains that this is the red of the sand reflecting in the dunes.
They have seen the same during their sailing trip where turquoise clouds meant corral reef and better had to be avoided.

Today we have some traffic coming against us.
The third one also has a TVan so Marc stops for a chat.
We then find out that the get-together at Old Andado Station was yesterday … ah well, we'll go there next year.

We reach the fence of Andado Station. Mac and Molly Clarke had run this station with their son from 1955 on.
In 1978 Mac and his sun died leaving Molly alone with the station.
Then all cattle had to be destroyed because of tuberculoses and brucellosis. The signs are still on the gates ....
At that time Molly gave up und sold the lease on the land. She kept the buildings of the station and runs Old Andado Station as tourist attraction since then.

The country changes again. The sand dunes retreat making space for a large Gibber Plain.

Gibbers are small stones left over from the original hard surface of this area. Their dark red to black "varnish " is caused by a coating of iron oxide polished by wind and sand.

The area looks very hostile and uninhabitable but still cattle can be seen grazing on the horizon.

We turn into Mac Clark Conservation Reserve and pass a group of dead camels.
What might have killed them … thirst? … bad water?… or bullets?

Mac Clarke (Acacia peuce) Conservation Reserve protects one of the most rare and interesting trees in arid Australia.
Acacia Pence, or Waddywood is found in just two other places, near Birdsville and further north near Boulia Queensland, all on the edge of the Simpson Desert.
The name waddywood comes from the Aboriginal fighting clubs called waddles which were carved from the hard dense timber of these trees.

Acacia Peuce is a member of the wattle family. Most wattles only live a few years but some of these trees are believed to be 700 years old.
The name Peuce comes from the Latin word 'peuke' which means 'pine-like'.

Acacia Peuce is remarkable as one of the tallest Acacias.
The trees can grow up to 17 metres tall, despite extreme summer heat and an average annual rainfall of just 150 mm.

Even though it is not very warm the air shimmers on the Gibber Plain and the trees seem to float.

Acacia Peuce survives these harsh conditions by having deep roots which tap underground water, and waxy leaves with a small surface area to reduce the amount of water lost through evaporation.
The prickly nature of the trees helps to protect them from grazing cattle.
Acacia peuce can cope with searing summer days and freezing winter nights but not so well with soil disturbance caused by cattle and fires.

A large number of trees were cut down to build stockyards in the early days.
The wood is so hard that it is difficult to drive a nail into it. Besides that it is resistant to termites.
Amazingly some trees have survived the logging and regrown.

The Reserve was named after Mac Clarke, husband of Molly.
This reserve was originally part of Andado Station, the old water tanks can still be seen at the entrance of the reserve.
Mac's concern for the trees led to this Reserve being declared in 1982.
Over 1000 trees are conserved within this 3000 hectare Reserve.

Two vehicles arrive. The people keep to themselves, are not interested in other tourists at all, which is rather unusual out here.
When we see a very old lady is sitting in one car we assume it is Molly and her family, visiting the old sites after the bash.

We follow the road to Old Andado Station.
More and more water puddles appear and the sand dunes are covered with shooting plants.
Soon this place will be covered on flowers.
As we are only entering the area where the big rainfalls had been two weeks ago we have hopes to be able to experience this further down the road.

We reach Old Andado Station.

The fires in the camp are still smoking and the whole place looks like people have just left it a short while ago.
As the donkey is still hot we take the opportunity to have a warm shower. Bliss!

Nobody can be found and a sign explains that Molly only lives here during certain months.
As she is over 80 years old now she lives at Andado Station close by.
But people are still invited to use the facilities and enter the house.

When the cattle had to be destroyed because of tuberculoses and brucellosis Molly had to sell the station just keeping the house.

Then we visit the house, Molly's home.
It is like stepping back in time.
The whole house is like a live-in museum, the old things left in space and only every so often something new e.g. fridges and a new stove having been placed beside the old appliances.

We find a magazine displaying Molly and now are certain that the lady in the car had been Molly.
Shame we could not talk to her.

Outside the original first hut is still preserved. Also the old cars are kept on site.
It all reminds us of our visit to Gwalia, a mining town in Western Australia, that was left by its inhabitants in 1963 and all gear and even personal belonging was left on site making it an outdoor museum of a special kind.

We continue south, pass Andado Station. Now we are entering the Simpson Desert and warning signs have been put up to warn tourists.
But as we are only heading out to Mt. Dare and possibly Dalhousie Springs we don't really worry.

We take a last chance of collecting firewood (and flies ....).
Susi gets excited about seeing the first plants blooming.

We set up camp between dunes close to Mt Peebles, a fire is started and Chorizos (the last one from Goetzinger from the Gold Coast, thanks to long-life vacuum packages) and sausages sizzled.

Then Ruedi gets the guitars out.
Marc used to play the guitar but has not played for at least 25 years (the story goes that he actually serenaded Teri at the beginning of their relationship …).
We all have bit of a play with Marc's percussion instruments as well.

Then Teri gets the Marshmallows out and shows us what “s'mores” are:
biscuits with melted Marshmallows and chocolate in it.
But careful!
The melted Marshmallows dribble and can be very hot!

After another cold night with 7°C on Monday morning we get ready to continue south.

The drive through the sand dunes is very pretty with the red of the sand against the blue of the sky.

Marc and Teri are bird watchers and will take their time, giving Susi time to have a look at flowers.

Also a hill close-by needs to be climbed onto and the views to be enjoyed.

Also more and more the dunes are covered with lush green bushes and grass.
It is all so beautiful.

As we intend to again have a camp fire going tonight we collect fire wood as we go.

When we reach Mayfield Bore we get a bit of a laugh about our efforts before .... there are so many trees here one must almost call it a forest.
Besides many birds we also spot dingoes but they are shy and run away.

Shortly after the Mayfield Swamp the track turns and follows the Finke River.

The river is dry but has seen quite some water lately. There are large puddles of water left and the road has suffered a fair bit.
The road becomes narrow and windy but we get through ok, it's never as narrow as the Holland Track was.
After crossing the border into South Australia the track turns leaving the Finke River bed.
Shortly before Mt. Dare we enter the Witjira National Park.

At Mt. Dare we get some Diesel and have a chat to the couple running the hotel.
They have been on the road for three years and travelled a lot of the tracks tracking their GPS positions for Hema maps.

Marc gets all details of the Simpson Desert tracks and now has to make up his mind on how to proceed.
We will for certain not go with him as we don't feel ready for such a trip yet.

We head out to Dalhousie Springs to camp for the night and get a soak in the water of the artesian bore.
Once we reach the Gibber Plains the road gets better, still rough though but not as badly corrugated.

At 3 O'clock Creek Watertank we stop to top up our drinking water supplies.

Marc and Teri realise that they have a shattered back window in the Patrol.
A rock must have hit the TVan in such a bad angle that was sent flying back to the car hitting the window of the back door and cracking it.
As it is the door the use all the time it will not take long for the glass to fall out so Marc and Teri fix it with duck-tape as good as they can.

We continue through some stony deserts and cross an impressive salt pan.

On the other side there is a rubbish disposal.

As Marc and Teri dispose of their rubbish they hear this hisssssssssing sound …… yes, the side-wall of the back tire has a large peace of wood sticking in it.
Marc wants to put the spare on but in this type of terrain with all the rocks and sticks it would be a waste as tyres.
So the tyre gets fixed in no time and we are ready to hit the dirt again.

Then we see some kind of a vertical rainbow.
The clouds indicate a change of weather, but Marc recons it will not rain.

We reach Dalhousie Springs and set up camp.

The camp fire keeps us warm and some yummy hamburgers are grilled on it…

We wake up to a Tuesday morning with overcast sky and some 9°C.
But soon the weather improves and we are ready to explore the area.

Morning mist floats over the surface of the warm water.
It is very quiet, just some birds singing.
It is such a peaceful setting, one could stay and watch for ever.

The waters of the Dalhousie mound springs escapes through approximately 80 holes, cracks and fissures in the earth's crust streaming up from the Great Artesian Basin that occupies about twenty-two percent of Australia's land mass. Discovered in the late 1870s, the Great Artesian Basin is one of the world's largest artesian basins.

The waters, some of which travel from the Great Dividing Range and the Northern Territory, are very slow-moving under layers of hard rock and believed to be more than 3 million years old.
A further area of mount springs is west of the Simpson Desert and Lake Eyre.

Solid matter, dissolved minerals from the springs, dust and other windblown debris settles around the area from which the water escapes.
As the water evaporates these minerals are left behind as solids.
Over time they accumulate with the ancient sand and clay to form mounds around the spring outlets.

The Dalhousie mound springs were first sighted by Europeans on 10 December 1870. A small party of surveyors working on the Overland Telegraph Line, who in search of water, reported sighting of a wonderful set of pools of water and waving green reeds that were ascertained to be 18 feet high.

The main pool about 150m by 50m and is fringed by paperbarks and reeds.

The high temperatures of the earth's core heats the waters of the Artesian Basin.
West of the main pool the spring flows at a rate of 160 litres per second at a hot 43°C
The water in the main pool is a warm 34 - 38°C and up to 14 metres deep.

The ranger has supplied some swimming aids, Ruedi's favourite is a Dalmatian .....
We all like it here and decide to stay an extra day.

Marc calls up Mt. Dare on the Sat-Phone to get their opinion regarding crossing the Simpson Dessert with a broken back-window and a fixed spare.
They recon it should not matter and they would go.
Now all Marc needs is a flag-pole and a flag to be seen in the dunes. He will shop around in the evening and see if somebody coming from Queensland is willing to part with his flag.

During the day we explore the surroundings of the springs.
There is a whole network of springs in the area. Now springs keep forming and certain areas are closed off to the public.

For thousands of years the springs have been the only natural source of permanent water in the desert.
The beautiful Rainbow Serpent spring is important heritage to the Aboriginals and closed off for swimming.

The ground around the spring in certain areas is very soft, more like dust.
It's a creepy feeling to see the shoe disappear in the dust and not feeling solid ground.

Later on Ruedi tackles the task of finding the reason for the loss of air in his front tire.
He has not much luck with the tyre ....

Ruedi also gets a lesson in weather from Marc.
It sounds really easy … The deep turns clockwise, the high anticlockwise or was it the other way round?
Well, he keeps the drawings and will use them as reference.

There are also lots of birds at the springs; some of them are really obviously used to the tourists.

In the afternoon the camp fills up.
At dusk there must be at least 20 – 25 cars, some of them with trailers, some with caravans, in the camping area.
It gets really busy at the spring with all the people coming down for the later afternoon swim, the guys with a cold one in their hands, the ladies just happy to soak and relax after all the dust of the last few days. The crowd is fun and news about the road condition and the tracks are exchanged.

In the evening we enjoy another camp fire dinner with Steaks, Rösti and Swiss style carrot salad.

The night is cold one with the temperature dropping to 6°C.
In the morning large clouds of mist soar into the blue sky.
We hop into the spring and enjoy another soak.
If you remain still in the water small fishes, the 3 cm long Dalhousie Goby, come and start nibbling on your skin; it is really ticklish.
Being in the warm water feels great, getting out of the water is another story as a cold wind is blowing.

We leave and head to the rubbish dip where we happen do find a pole for Marc's Patrol.
Now there is no more excuses to cross the desert. All they have to do is make up their mind.
Marc decides to get his broken window as well as his tyre properly fixed in Coober Pedy before making the final decision.

So we continue south together. The road is very bad but the country is very pretty with the red mountains and makes up for the discomfort.

At Dalhousie Ruins Susi almost gets run over by another car.
Marc can just in time stop her as she is stepping out in front of the OKA.
All she wanted to do was join Marc and Teri on a mountain on the other side of the road.....
Who would have expected a car out here at that very moment?
We are so used of being alone.

Dalhousie Homestead Ruins is looks quite beautiful with its palms, like an oasis in the desert.
But the introduced Date Palms (Phoenix dactylifera) cause negative impacts on the Dalhousie Springs environment with their extensive and invasive dense root mat and high transpiration rate.
They also change the fire regime creating an intense heat when the dead palm leaves burn killing adjacent vegetation such as Melaleucas and Eucalyptus, while the Date Palm is rarely killed.

During the time that the property was used as a station, Angora sheep, horses, camels and cattle were bred.
In an effort to conserve the mound springs and their valuable ecosystems, the 7769 square kilometre station was purchased by the government and dedicated as Witjira National Park.

We continue on the Public Access Route Nr. 8.

There are still marks of the recent rains; the road has still not fully dried up.
The red of the Emery Range goes well with the green of the shrubs that are growing because of the rain in the last few weeks.

The stony desert-like landscape is fascinating, the road is ba-a-a-a-a-a-d.
It is so bad, that we even turn the navigation PC off.

Then area around Pedirka Ruins is even worse because of the curves.
The sign says it clearly … drive carefully or oh shit might be the last word you say ....

We reach Hamilton Station.
The road has been graded and is like a Highway over the dunes.
It feels so much better than the bad corrugation we have had for the last 75 km.

It is amazing how the country changes on the other side of the Hamilton Creek.
Even though we are in the sand dunes of the Pedirka Desert they are all covered with shrubs.

We continue through Mt Sarah Station.
After the Fogarty Claypan grass starts reappearing amongst the desert vegetation. We haven't seen it for a long time.

Eventually we reach the Oodnadatta Track and are very disappointed to find another dirt "Highway".
Even though the owners of the Pink Roadhouse have tried very much to point out the "interesting" things, we consider this stretch of the track as being rather boring.

We reach the Pink Roadhouse Oodnadatta, get some fuel and Marc has his tyre repaired.
The Roadhouse might be famous but we don't find much excitement in it except that it is very expensive.

We head out to the Neales River were we find a place to camp for the night.
After this cold and windy day (max. of 19.5°C) all we want is a warm fire.
Tonight's menu is beef roast cooked in the Cobb and spuds, yams and onions from the hot grill plate.

Then we allow ourselves the luxury of eating in the OKA as the wind just doesn't want to go to sleep.

Dear Reader,
Should you be one of the really tough 4x4 drivers that go bush with just a swag you might find the next part too distressing ....

After dinner Marc proposes to watch a video.
As the wind has died down we move back out to the fire, Marc gets his large flat TV screen (approx. 60 x 40 cm) and video player out and the OKA supplies the power.
And what movie would you watch in Australia out bush with a camp fire to keep you warm?
You got it: Crocodile Dundee!!!!
It gives the whole movie a completely new feeling … the bugs crawling over the TV screen are live, the Galahs deciding to have their say every so often too …. it's just soooo good.

Then Marc get the Eagles “Hell freezes over” video out and Ruedi is equipped with some wireless headphones.
As we sing along and Marc and Teri have a dance to the well known song the moon gets up over the horizon …
We all agree hat this is quite a good way of experiencing the outback experience.

On Thursday morning, June 7th, we make up our mind and decided not to drive up to Finke again (500 km on bitumen and dirt or 360 km on badly corrugated dirt, no thanks) and to visit the race next year.

As this is our last morning together with Marc and Teri Marc gives us a slow run-through the packing up pf the TVan.

We continue in direction of Coober Pedy over desert-like Gibber plains between two ridges.
The red and white hills look pretty against the blue sky.
Then we leave the hills behind us and there is only Gibber and every so often a creek bed with some Mulga in it left to see, just wide open space.
The ridges of the Arckaringa Range start appearing.

We turn into the road to the Painted Desert.
Even though a cold wind (15.5°C) is blowing strongly and there is clouds the view from the lookout is spectacular.

We continue further west and after a short while find the turn off to the walk.

Here we separate from Marc and Teri as Teri's knee is still playing up and she wants to go on to Coober Pedy. There they will make up their minds on where to go next.
We agree to meet in Coober Pedy at the Greek Tavern tomorrow at 7 PM for dinner, showered and in fresh clothes to celebrate the last evening together.

We continue west through this very beautiful landscape of creeks vegetated with Mulga and the colourful mountains with their mesas and escarpments.
This is a very pretty drive and highly recommended. It is also in easy reach from the Stuart Hwy using an ordinary 2WD car.
Later in the afternoon we find ourselves a spot for the night.

We hit the bitumen again near Cadney Park, head south to the start of our quest of Confluence Point E 134° / S 28°.
A Confluence Point is the crossing of a degree of latitude and longitude.
The Confluence project on the Internet ( ) has the goal to have all Confluence Points visited.
All visits can be registered but off course the first visit is the one that counts.

It has been one of Susi's dreams to be a first visitor of one of these points.
We tried it in Greece in 2003 and failed.
And we had unsuccessfully tried last year when we were travelling with “Dude” the Toyota.
Then we had gotten as close as approx. 6 km only to be stopped by a fence with no gate to sneak through with the car.

We know that it is approx. 13,5 km from the bitumen to the Confluence point following the station tracks.
This time we will take the bikes so we can pass them over the fence and continue on our way.
Will we manage?

Ruedi gets the bikes ready.
We pack lots of water, a puncture repair kit with at least 15 patches, 2 spare tubes, helmets, fly-nets, 2 GPS', spare batteries (tested this time, they work, not like last time when we got stuck with flat batteries out bush …) and the loaded route points from last years trial.
We leave a note where we are going and when we expect to be back, just in case something happens. One never knows …

We leave the OKA at 11 am look for the start of the station track.
It has been almost washed away by the weather and we criss-cross around looking for it.
Then we find one that more or less matches last years first route point and drive on it.

After approx. 1 km Ruedi realises that his tyre has rolled off the rim. Luckily it can be refitted easily.

After 2,6 km we reach the railroad crossing and stop for some silly pictures.

As we want to continue Ruedi's bike is in a very sorry state: both tyres are flat.
Large very pointy thorns have passed straight through the tyre puncturing the tube.
We find that we have no means of marking the punctures on the tube, no pen, no chalk, nothing.
This means that once the thorn is out of the tyre we have no clue where the puncture is except by poring water over it and see where it bubbles.
Luckily the puncture bubbles nicely and the fixing of the punctures goes well.

Susi checks her bike for thorns, finds one too and pull on it … pfsssssssssss … another one to be fixed.
It looks like our bikes are not really made for the Australian Outback …

We check our spares and agree on continuing with our quest until we have used up half of the patches.
We also agree that we have to drive on the tracks only as the thorns seem to be more frequent on the open country.

We reach the fence where we had to stop last year, pass the bikes over it and feel great.
We will manage it this time!
We continue on the track which ends at a windmill with a few small pools of water. From here it is cross country.
We try to stay on the Gibber and not drive over bush.

The Ruedi's bike it hit again … pfssssssssssssss … next tire.
Thinking that Ruedi knows where the puncture is Susi pulls the thorn to get all ready for the patch.
Hmm, that was too early.
Ruedi can't find the whole anymore and no matter how much water we pore over the tire, no bubbles appear.
We have no choice than walking back to the little pools at the windmill to duck the whole tube under water.

It is already 1.30 PM, we are still 3,5 km away from the confluence and we have used up at least half of the patches.
Walking back to the pools and fixing the tube will take at least 30 minutes.
Well, this is it, we have to give up again.
Susi is so frustrated but she can't change things.
Next year we will try again but by foot.

So we head back to the pools.
By then both of Ruedi's tyres are flat and one of Susi's starts loosing air.

So we remove all three tubes and check them.
All of them have at least two holes. We have 6 patches left.
We decide to fit the new tubes one to each bike and fix the tube with the smallest amount of wholes.
At 3.30 PM we leave the pools and drive towards the gate.

Susi's back tyre starts loosing air …
We check it and find it to have 3 wholes.
The last patches are used up in this puncture fix.
Now we will have to see how we manage.

We drive on and soon Ruedi's front tyre starts loosing air.
He pumps it up and hopes to get a few kilometres further.
No such luck.
In addition Susi's back tyre starts going flat too.

We are still approx. 4 km away from the OKA, it is past 4.30 PM and the sun has started to set.
Walking to the OKA would mean that we have to walk in the dark.
So we decide to continue driving the bikes until the tyres peel off or get destroyed.
If needed we will remove the tyres and ride back on the rims.
That way we move with 8 – 9 km/h comparing with 4,8 km if walking.

It is hard work but it works.
Every so often Susi needs a bit of a walk to recover some of her strength.
We are not really trained for this …

Shortly after 5 PM we reach the OKA, very happy to be “home”.
We call Marc and Teri up and cancel the dinner appointment in Coober Pedy we have with them.
It is already dark and finding a spot for the night is close to impossible so we decide to stay where we are.
Then we have a warm shower, dinner and head straight to bed.

The next morning we deviate to The Breakaways.
They are very beautiful.

Looking out over the Breakaways, it is hard to believe that over 70 million years ago, this area was covered by an inland sea.
Fossils of the original sea creatures can be found throughout the area.
Being one of the hottest places in Australia, summer temperatures often reach 45°C, and ground temperatures as much as 65°C.

We also pass The Dog Fence , the longest fence in the world

The South Australian section of the dog fence is 2'250 km long.
It forms part of an unbroken barrier that stretches over 5'300 km through South Australia, Queensland and New South Wales.
It is the only barrier that prevents dingoes entering the sheep grazing country in the south.

Large numbers of dingoes still exist outside the dog fence.
When they breach the fence, the attacks on livestock that follow are a chilling reminder of how much the multimillion dollar sheep industry relies on the dog fence.
There is no doubt that in South Australia the old saying "No dog fence - no sheep industry" rings true.

We reach Coober Pedy, the Opal Town where many houses are built underground.
The temperature in those dug-outs never changes no matter how hot it gets outside.

Many homes are built into old tunnels whilst the active mine continues in the next tunnel.
The old equipment is just dumped in an unsused area. You can find "left overs" of some really old cars and equipment there.

We find ourselves a spot far enough from town so we don't bother anybody but where we still have Internet connection and stay a few days.
Ruedi again tries to find a solution to his leaking tyre ...



No liability for timeliness, integrity and correctness of this document is accepted.
Last updated: Friday, 08.02.2019 8:44 PM

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