Saturday 6 July (posted in Marla SA on Wednesday 10 July)
Friday ended with a rendez-vous with friends with whom we’ll next catch up in Alice Springs so we can travel together across the Tanami Desert to the Kimberley. On a cool night, we opted for the outdoor barbecue at the Birdsville Hotel.
If you’re going to wake up in Birdsville, one shouldn’t be surprised to hear the songs of Slim Dusty streaming forth. I would have hoped that the fan might have drawn the line at a 5.00 am start. Cold as it was, by 7.30 we were watching six planes take off over our lodgings in short succession.
After a fuel and milk stop, we set off for the Inside Track on another dry, sunny, big blue sky day. “Just turn left after the stockyard”.
The early stages south are sandy tracts.
It wasn’t too long before the landscape changed. It’s a little odd to be describing a dry season landscape as reedy with occasional bulrush, but that’s what it was.
The track boasts few signs, so I guess you had to pay attention to this one.
Before long it was time for the serious business of Sturt’s Stony Desert – a wee bit of gibberish if you like. It’s said that the gibbers are the biggest risk to tyre health on the track. I went for a walk at this point with the GoPro to capture the rig going over the red surface on wide angle video.
Lunch stop-overs are a race between the sandwich-maker and the bush flies. We pulled over at Flaggy Creek and found a suitable spot under a tree. Flaggy Creek proved more saggy than flaggy as we watched the front left tyre deflate. Needless to say, that break lasted a little longer as we (I say we as I proved a useful assistant to the tyre changer) managed what will no doubt not be the last tyre event on the trip.
The remainder of the trip to Mungerannie Roadhouse/Hotel camp site may have been a little quiet as both of us contemplated the prospect of another tyre injury with only one spare remaining. That second spare is on the roof and not a light and easy lift.
Some wildflowers diverted my attention.
We pulled in to camp at Mungerannie, where good facilities including hot bore showers are available for campers. It was clear from the graveyard of tyres out the back that we were not the only ones who’d suffered a sharp rock incident.
The birds on the water were active at this time of day. It was peaceful and noisy at the same time. These Australasian Shovelers were dabbling about across the way. Just near and above us were flocks of corellas and galahs.
At dusk, there was an all-out turf/tree war over roosting spots where the galahs had the numbers both on site, and in flocks of reinforcements against the out-numbered sulphur-crested cockatoos.
After my Slim Dusty wake-up call, once the birds settled down, sleep came earlier than usual.