Saturday, 26 March 2016

3 Corners & a Double Simpson Desert Crossing - Day 4

Day 4 - 26/3/2016 - Cameron Corner to Haddon Corner

The wind finally started to ease off and it started to cool down a little in the hours leading up to dawn.  That was about the only respite we received from the temperature.  Even when we started packing up fairly early in the morning you could feel the temperature starting to rise.

My Camp

Once we were packed up and starting to leave at around 8:30am QLD time it was already around the 27deg mark and it steadily climbed all day.

A majority of today was going to be spent driving through the Strzelecki Desert and we were starting to get a lot more of the dunes.  So much so that we had to stop for a bit as Lachie was feeling a bit car sick from the fast dune “woops”. 



The Strzelecki Track is not so much as a track but a dirt highway and it was also in great condition.  You were easily able to sit on 80 to 100kph.  You just just had to watch out for the occasional bulldust holes.


And the return of The Carp.  I haven't seen that logo for a few years!
And another one.
The reason why the Strezelecki Track is in pretty good shape is because it is a heavy transport route to Moomba.  Moomba is where a significant amount of oil and gas is extracted and piped to Brisbane, Sydney and Adelaide.  It is petty amazing to see the size of the operations.  While we were at the lookout looking at Moomba we were able to pick up mobile reception.  So there was an extended rest break while we were trying to catch up with everyone back home.

The Moomba working township.  No public access
A bit of a description about Moomba
A Google Maps view to show where Moomba is.  A lot of infrastructure in the middle of nowhere!
From Moomba we were heading towards Innamincka.  There was a number of different ways that we could head into Innamincka.  We headed east along the main track for about 40km and then turned off onto the Old Strzelecki Track.  It was an unmaintained track so it was in no where near the condition of the main track.



As we arrived into Innamincka we saw that the Public Access Route (PAR) to Walkers Crossing was still closed.  We were planning on taking this way to Warburton Crossing and onto the Rig Road at the southern end of the Simpson Desert which would then lead us through to Mt Dare.  So we still had to stick with Plan B which was to head towards Birdsville via the Cordillo Downs Road and Haddon Corner.

Track conditions still not the best
Heading into Innamincka township
We all refuelled at the Trading Post.  And again all within about 5 litres of each other.  The two tritons were closer and using slightly less fuel than me.  It was an interesting experiment as the engines were all the same.  My pajero was unmodified but had the 5 speed auto transmission, Selwyns triton was chipped and also had a torque converter lock up switch, and Snowys had an aftermarket ECU tune and torque converter lock up switch.  Both tritons were 4 speed autos.

Innamincka Trading Post
To head out the Gordillo Downs road we had to cross the Cooper Creek at that causeway which currently had a good flow over it.  Cooper Creek flows into Lake Eyre.  So we took the opportunity to wash off some under body dust :-)


After leaving Innamincka we starting getting back into the rocky open plains.  Here are a few shots of along the Gordillo Downs Road in the Innamincka Regional Reserve.


The only real flock of bird life on the trip

A bit hard to see but 41deg C at 3:25pm QLD time!!


Then we crossed from South Australia back into Queensland.

From SA and back into QLD
Not long after we came to another opportunity for cleaning the undercarriage :-)



After the recent rain it was pretty special to see how green it was.  Considering some of the roads were still closed only a couple of days before we left it was no wonder.




After another long day we finally made it Haddon Corner, the corner of Queensland and South Australia.




After the corner photo shoot it was off to try and find a campsite for the night.  We didn’t camp too close to the corner because there was still a lot of water lying around and we didn’t want to camp near any potential mosquito habitats.  So we headed a back towards the main road and found a site not far from the intersection.

Sunset from camp
Unfortunately just after we setup camp, Selwyn found that his fridge wasn’t staying cold.  After a bit of investigation we found that the Redarc BCDC charger was not working and charging his fridge battery.  The fridge battery had also dropped to about 11.2 volts.  Which is not good.  Generally with AGM batteries you don’t really want them to go below about 12V as it starts to severely impact their life.

So as a quick fix we pulled out the jumper leads and I ran my vehicle for about 2 hours to try and get his fridge temp down and also put a bit of charge back into his fridge battery.  After the couple of hours the voltage came back up to around the 12.5 mark.  This was enough to keep the fridge running throughout the night.  It was decided that Selwyn was going to take off as early as possible in the morning to try and make it Birdsville before the shops closed on Easter Sunday to see if he could source any spare parts to install a bypass around the BCDC to get charge into the battery.

After a bit of bush electrics we finally had a bit of time to sit back and look at the stars.  This is what the trip was all about.  It was our first real night with no cloud cover so we made the most of it.


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