Your Trip Right presents
The Great Central Rd Guide
YOUR TRIP RIGHT RADIO
After checking out Dalhousie ruins we headed into the desert. Only a couple of kilometres from Dalhousie Springs was a rubbish drop-off point. Though we did not have too much rubbish we were keen to dump a few dirty nappies!
The dunes on this part of the French Line were small and very regular for the next few hours as we headed east. Before long we had reached Purni Bore for lunch.
Purni Bore is an artificial spring that resulted from the drilling of a bore. Purni was once a much larger expense of water but due to the impact that it was having on the Great Artesian Basin and surrounding sites such as Dalhousie Springs the bore was capped. As much wildlife had come to rely on this water source it was decided that it would not be capped completely.
The wind was blowing its head off, so we all sheltered behind our cars as we made lunch. We made friends with a group of motorbike riders who we would see frequently over the next few days. At Purni Bore there were flushing toilets and showers. With the bird life that is attracted to the area and the facilities, I imagine this is quite a popular spot to camp.
Some of the group was keen to check out the bore and were rewarded. It was hard to get an appreciation for the site on the ground. We put the drone into the air and we were spoilt. What a magnificent site!
14km east of Purni Bore we came across an unfortunate situation. A bloke with his son driving a Troop Carrier had broken his wheel studs. Luckily he had a sat. phone and had already called for assistance from Mt Dare. After we had a yarn and established there was not much we could do for him we kept on our way. This really made Jess and I nervous. We knew we were limping across the Simpson with a repaired cracked rear diff and towing the Tvan. We were preparing for the worst.
The Simpson desert started to heat things up for us. Whilst Jess was at the wheel the Prado had our first trouble. Nothing a little more speed didn’t fix.
This was not the last problem the Prado and Tvan would have on the French Line. Our biggest problem was that the ruts approaching the sand dune limited the speed you could carry into the entrance of the dune because we were carrying diff issues we were not willing to hit anything with everything we had. We were quite happy to get tugged over the top of the hills by one of the other Toyota's.
We quickly realized that the Treds were the trick. If we could get close to the top of the dune the two Treds were all we needed. People ask how soft the sand was on the French Line and although there is no way of describing it or predicting it, I can say we could not climb the same size sand hills had we been on Stockton Beach in NSW. The desert was hard compared to Stockton.
Even with the Treds we still had to do a bit of roadwork to some of the dunes after we got over them. Luckily for those who were following our convoy across the Simpson we had a few cars behind us firming up the track.
We set up camp 107km east of Dalhousie Springs in a clay pan along the French Line. There are many of these clay pans through out the Simpson Desert. They make for great camping spot's for larger groups. We all enjoyed our first night on the Frenchline and the campfire was as good as we imagined it would be. Glenn and Deb in their 200 series had a bit of mis-fortune during the day, one of their plastic containers had been crushed during the day of bouncing and hard knocks.
The next morning Jess was less than impressed with the temperature. This left myself to do the majority of the packing up. We were in convoy by 9:30am however the temperature was still only 12 degrees.
Jess noticed a noise coming from the Prado early on in the morning. It was really quite odd. It happened when the suspension was under load but on inspection we could not find anything wrong with the suspension or the Tvan. It was not until I was jumping on the car like a monkey trying to re-enact the noise did it occur to me to check the jerry cans on the roof. Success! With a few simple ratchets we were noise free. About 10km later one of the Hilux's in our group with the exact same problem.
At times during the morning we could hear a lot of chatter. Not all of it was from the Frenchline. At one point we were picking up chatter all the way from the Rig Road.
We pulled up for lunch at 12:30 and Jess was still not impressed as the temperature had only got to 16 degrees. In our first 3 hours of travel we had only covered 35km’s.
The afternoon drive got no quicker. The Prado and the Land Rover had some issues getting up and over. The Land Cruiser's and Hilux's had a bit of fun playing on the most challenging tracks. Jess was smiling in the afternoon as the temperature had soared to 18 degrees, so she was a little more willing to get out and do some filming and photography.
We pulled up at 6:30pm between a couple of sand dunes. We had only covered 76km of the French Line for the entire day. This started to make some of the camp nervous as some were on tight schedules and we had only two days left to go and needed to cover 240km. We also knew that the sand dunes were to get bigger the further west we travelled through the Simpson Desert.
The sand dune camp made for some great exploring. Not all of this exploration was voluntary some of it was forced as there was a scarcity of wood in the area.