Western Deserts to Pilbara - Carawine Gorge April 23 2018
  We remain intrigued by the termite mounds. We have cross ventilation in the truck, but maybe need a chimney.
  We are still a thousand km from the coast. We see our first water bird.

Today we will probably leave the desert. Though what that means we are unsure. An arbitrary line on a map, or a distinct change in landscape.

A water bird is perhaps the first indication of change. Though we are still at least 200 km east of the Gregory Ranges where we suspect change will be most noticeable.

  We are still in the Great Sandy Desert. In this part we have tall dunes, wide apart. As if a continuation of the corridor we have travelled in.
  The brakes work. While listening for noises from the spring.

Though why that should be a concern I'm not sure. Apart from the spring remains upmost in the mind.

I thought at first a snake. Then a piece of rope. Then I noticed hairs blowing in a non-existent wind.

  29 hairy caterpillars. The caterpillar equivalent of a road train.

They haven't been well educated in convoy etiquette. Occasionally the rear ones try to move too fast and squeeze one out. Then order is returned as a loop is formed when it squeezes back in. Then the front one moved too fast and the whole line straightened with a couple of gaps forming. But, yet again, order is restored as the front slowed down.

  As we get near to Telfer we think the world looks greener.

Much the same plants, but more of them, taller, and greener.

There are still dunes, but superimposed on rolling hills.

Driving on the wrong side becomes less sustainable as corners and hills restrict visibility. We haven't seen any traffic, but it only needs one vehicle to mess things up.

  Over the top of a hill. A long dune meandering into the distance.
  We think we haven't seen this sort of plant since the Simpson.

All sorts of subtle changes occurring.

  What? Trees. And it looks like a creek bed.
  The Telfer Gold Mine mullock heaps. About 7 km away. Smothering the horizon.
  Just in case we missed it. A close up.

A couple of dunes between us.

  Definitely greener.
  And ranges of hills.
  A bit odd.

We are being warned we are entering a remote area.

We thought we were leaving one.

Will we survive all these hazards?

  We think the major hazard is dust from passing vehicles.

Limited to about 30 km/hr due to spring concerns we pull off the road to let a road train pass.

The Telfer Road is wall to wall corrugations. Not big. In normal circumstances we wouldn't comment on them. But right now .... horrible.

There is sensibly an 80 km/hr limit. And vehicles are well behaved, slowing for us to keep the dust down.

  But wait .............. a few km of relief.

Sealed road.

  Sadly, the seal ends.

To be replaced with roadworks.

  A road train travelling in the opposite direction (I knew that).

Very much slowed. At 80 km/hr we would have been driving blind for a bit.

  More indication of change.

There are roadside bores which look like they are part of mine infrastructure. And an underground gas pipeline.

  The Gregory Range.

If we have to we can think of this is as good a border for the desert as we'll find. Its sort of a border between desert and not-desert. A few hills and a bit of surface water and water courses makes a big difference.

The Pilbara is one of the biogeographic regions.

  Even the spinifex looks more green and less yellow.
  Its 1978 since I visited the Pilbara. These are the distinctive colours and shapes I remember. To me, with a slightly romantic view inspired by youth, its like velvet.

Way to the south of us is "the Gascoyne" biogeographic region. Its also an administrative area. We heard on the intermittent radio there is rain forecast for the Gascoyne.

We doubt it will, but if some fell on us now we would stand in it.

  And now we really do have a creek, with water.
  We reach the Ripon Hills / Woodie Woodie Road junction.

Tar seal.

Kunawarritji 426 km.

The "Gibson Desert Economy Run" ended a few km ago. We have two 120 litre diesel tanks. I had to change over tanks. We managed 974 km from one 120 litre tank. It expired on a short uphill section. I could have changed back on a level bit of road and eked out another 26 km but to what end. Our consumption to Uluru was roughly 16.5 litres/100km. Our consumption since Kintore was roughly 12.3 litres/100km.

To achieve that our average speed was less than 30 km/hr and we were in 2wd.

While the economy was somewhat forced on us its not the first time we have achieved such levels. With good springs we probably would still have achieved 800-900 km range at a higher speed.

  What a contrast.

We have definitely left the Western Deserts behind.

  We are headed into Carowine Gorge. A 13 km detour.

We can appreciate the flat topped jumpups.

  And more colours.
  Then yet more colours and shapes.
  Its the same spinifex as the desert. But it all looks totally different.

We will spend a few days at Carowine Gorge as the new spring is tracked to Newman.

Hopefully we get a bit of warning of its arrival. Its about 400 km to Newman. Although confident of the broken spring we will still travel slowly.

Courier tracking is retrospective. It tells us that something has happened. Trying to extrapolate to what will happen can be a bit of an unpredictable challenge. It involves a bit of hope, and an act of faith, while confident other items have been successfully delivered. But no change in tracking information for 5 days does create some doubt.

Pilbara - Carawine Gorge and Skull Springs Road April 24 - 25 2018

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