Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Day 33 BINNS TRACK TO DALHOUSIE SPRINGS Tassie to Darwin

We had a massive day ahead of us. We really need to get to Dalhousie Springs tonight otherwise it will mean spending an extra night in the dessert and that doesnt fit with our now shrinking schedule so we were up early, packed up and on the track not long after the sun came up!


This track goes through a few cattle stations so there are a lot of gates to open and close along the way. The track varies from a pretty good almost graded type of road to extremely bad corrugations to very soft sandy sections or bull dust sections and then to nothing more than a rutted out goat track. So it had it all, which was fantastic, I just wish we didnt have to rush through it so fast.




The cattle were regularly on the track and quite amusing at times!






Sarah wanted to have a proper look at these strange desert melon things so we stopped and had a play!





We are now driving along the western side of the Simpson Desert running parallel with the sand dunes, the changing scenery is just stunning. You really need to get out here to appreciate it.





We arrived at Old Andado Station which has Molly Clarkes old residence all set up exactly the same as it was the day she walked away from it. It is now heritage listed but sits in this very remote part of Australia for all of us to come and see. 
The best part for me was that the proceeds for the camp grounds and the donations are all sitting on the table in cash and are only collected every now and then. Everything works on an honesty system and besides some scum bag pinching Mollys prized salt and pepper shakers, the whole place is left untouched. Good old Aussie spirit is alive and well in the outback.
I wont ramble on about this place too much, but its worth googling it if your not familiar, it is amazing.










Yep, even her cars are still here.



After spending some time looking around this place we were again off towards Mt Dare Hotel where we planned on having a latish lunch.

Some cowboys rounding up the cattle ;)


And off to Mount Dare we go.




The road all way is still extremely rough. Its very difficult to describe just how punishing it is and everything is compounded by towing a camper trailer that is weighted to its limit.
Here is a quick youtube video that shows a snap shot of what some parts of the track was like, in fact it doesnt even come close to showing what it was like but you only have to listen to the Patrol rattling around to get some idea just how relentless this track was.


We arrived at Mount Dare Hotel and had lunch in the car park. The place was packed with broken campers and broken four wheel drives. The workshop area was so busy it was laughable. For those that dont know, Mt Dare provides the recoveries this side of the simpson desert and Birdsville provides the recoveries for the other side of the dessert. So any repairs that need doing out this way have to be done here, and its easy to see why so many are here with problems LOL



Mount Dare also represents the end or should I say the beginning if your heading north, of the Binns track as such, even though the road to Dalhousie only got worse!


We contemplated staying at Mount dare for the night because going by the amount of 4wd's in and out of the Hotel and because it was now late in the day it was obvious to us that Dalhousie would be packed. But they took our camping fee's for Dalhousie and we paid our parks pass for 24 hours and headed over to Dalhousie to take the risk that we would get a spot.


And as luck would have it, we did get a suitable spot :) So we set up camp.

As soon as we set up we all went to the hot springs and had a nice warm swim. The flies were shocking around Mount Dare and here so it was good to get in the water to get away from them!





After we had a swim I was sitting down at the back of the camper and wondered why I could smell burnt rubber. After a bit of a look at the camper I realised we had an issue with one of the campers suspension arms because the inside of the tyre had been rubbing on the chassis! 
So I spent the next few hours removing the wheel, tightening what was a bit of a loose wheel bearing and inspecting the Urethane bushes that the suspension pivoted on. Nothing seemed too worn or out of place so I put it all back together and adjusted the camber back out as far as I could (the suspension is adjustable so it can be wheel aligned easily) giving us a gap between the tyre and chassis again. But for whatever reason the gap wasnt as big as it was supposed to be so as an emergency repair or bush repair if you like I asked around the other campers/4wd's at the camp ground for some washers and I thought if i got into trouble I could pack the wheel out a bit more if needed. Some people helped me out with washers so I was very grateful.

While I was doing all this the others went for another swim and I got eaten alive by mozzies because I was in my shorts and singlet all night too worried about the camper than worrying about the mozzies!




As the sun set and we had a really nice barby and salad tea while the dingos were out looking for food!






I have to admit I dont think I slept a wink that night I was so worried about what had gone wrong with the campers suspension and thinking of ways to over come it if it become more of an issue.

The worst part for me is that I built and designed the camper myself, including its suspension! So failure was not an option, especially being so remote so I had no choice but to take it easy to get back out the highway and now nurse our broken Patrol and broken camper home!

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