Western Deserts - Kiwirrkurra Road & Jenkins Track April 20 - 21 2018
  out of the dunes and on to the plains.

Headed roughly north west to Gary Junction.

  We'd read that the desert has sand plains.

We are in one.

Gently rolling hills.

  With the occasional dune intruding. Lined up in the right direction.
  A long straight stretch of road.
  Camels run with alternating two left feet, two right feet. The sort of lope and roll from side to side.

Eventually it loped off the side of the road.

  There are no mountains, or ranges. Just sand hills.

Someone had placed a survey marker on the top of the highest dune, before there were no dunes if travelling the same way as us.

Its at -22.9036, 126.2663

  We walked up to have a look.

Looking back, whence we came, the dune curves around to the right.

  Looking forward continues its curve until it fades.

Just about like a very wide crescent dune.

  Otherwise, rolling hills.
  And a lonely truck.

We see one other vehicle all day. Headed the opposite direction to us.

  Across the plain is a patch of dunes. The road has a kink in it.

Almost as if two bits of road didn't quite line up.

We aren't used to road furniture.

Corrugations are fascinating. They are most severe on any uphill section and on the inside of corners. They also occur randomly as drivers apply some acceleration.

The road surface, it depends where the material came from, is also more or less susceptible. And of course when the road was last graded.

I tend to hug the right hand side of the road, so that the broken spring has the smoothest path. Sometimes where no-one has driven for a long time. But that means switching to the left side of the road when approaching crests or sharp corners. Which means finding the right distance before the obstacle, before the corrugations are too severe.

  More rolling hills.

And beautiful colours.

  After 157 km we reach Gary Junction. The Jenkins Track is to the right. To Kunawarritji. The left fork is the Gary Highway. We'll stop for the night.

A bit tiring at an average of around 30 km/hr.

The last 50 km had "unavoidable corrugations". Very slow.

Looks like at least another 5 days to Newman.

The Telfer Mine Road is shown as "private road" on some maps. With a phone number. The number is no longer in use. Friend Peter tells us it hasn't been private for a long time.

  The temporary sliding plate has been pushed out. The good news is that nothing else is broken. The second leaf looks ok. Phew!

Its currently 38.6 degrees C at 16:00 NT time. 36.9 is the temperature of my blood. I hope!

About 15 minutes. I'll adjust the plate in the morning. And add more grease between it and the second leaf.

I've pondered adjusting the shock absorbers. They have a soft compression and hard rebound. I can make both harder. Just the camera angle that makes them look odd!

I don't have the instructions.

  Of course the day is never over. A quick look at the wheels while sending the almost daily "we are here" satphone sms. Outside because the shade of the tree hiding us from the sun hides us from the satellite.

I now have a large piece of paper on the driver's seat with "wheel nut" writ large.

It's right hand front wheel. The one hitting vegetation as we hug the right side of the road. The plastic thingo is broken, it may be just the plastic that's rotated.

Then again ..... Only one way to find out .... try to tighten the wheel nut. And keep checking.

  A quick constitutional, from campsite to junction. And back. As the sun goes down.

Signs of recent grader tracks.

Replica of Len's plaque. 512 km from Sandy Blight Junction.

We like the look of Gary Highway. Doesn't seem to have been turned into a road (yet)!

  The plaque is welded to a bit of oil drum. As is the empty container for a visitors' book.
  Looking north from the junction.

There is not a hill (or mountain) in sight, in any direction.

The Callawa Track (not in this pic) looks a bit overgrown. Just like the sign says.


  One of the problems with a sandy desert is there aren't many stones to use as an anvil.

The "wear plate" is nicely scratched and worn, but also distorted. So difficult to locate under the end of the main leaf.

I have another piece. With lots of grease its now in place. Held by the other u-bolt!

  We are still on the rolling sand plain.

Though dunes re-appear after a while. Wide apart.

We are also now in the Great Sandy Desert.

We aren't quite sure where, or when, we left the Gibson. Something else for the internet to tell us.

  The "second junction". Signpost for people travelling east.

Its hard to become lost.

  Very rolling plain.

This valley in the distance holds the Canning Stock Route. Roughly north to south. We are travelling east to west.

Canning Stock Route starts somewhere south of Halls Creek and ends at Wiluna after "a very long way".

From here to Wiluna is about 1,000 km, from here to Halls Creek is about 950 km. If we drove at 35 km/hr we could just complete the 1,950 km.

Its a long way to drive cattle.

  And indeed it is that particular valley.

With a reminder from the Martu people.

  The Canning Stock Route. Looking south.

Must be something for a future trip.

We'll hopefully see a bit of the northern end when we start back to Brisbane in August. A circuit of Lake Gregory as a detour off the Tanami Road.


We have no need of supplies.

Our fuel consumption since Walungurru (Kintore) reflects our slow rate of progress. An estimate is that we will manage nearly 1,000 km on one tank. Our total range could be 2,000 km. Though a very slow range.

I normally think of our range as between 1,200 and 1,600 depending on speed and terrain.

  Still on the plain, west of Kunawarritji.

Limping along ....

  The little blue markers are geodetic survey posts.

Definitely not Len's.

  The second rocky hill we've seen today. The first one was a bit small for a mention.

On top a cairn.

And a rockhole.

About a half meter diameter and a meter deep. A few drops of water in the bottom.

  We walked up to the cairn to catch a glimpse of Lake Aulda.

About 8 km away.

Looks salty. But a different patch looks like it has some water.

  Definitely salt.
  There's a truck parked on the road.

It has water.

We haven't walked far, but we are very thirsty.

  We camped next to a small part of Lake Aulda.

Just east of where Kiwirrkurra Road meets Nyangumarta Road (Kidson Track).

  The small part has water in it.

Very few birds. Almost none.

  The rest of the lake is on the south side of our road.

It extends about 50 km south. Part of a series of lakes that extends through the Great Sandy Desert. There  seems to be a connection from Ruddall River, through Lake Dora.

Western Deserts - Lake Dora April 22 2018

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