Back on the Rig

The Rig was also pretty corrugated to start with. We came across James and Trinity from Bulldust and Backroads who we had been chatting to via the MySwag forum, it was nice to meet face to face and see that they were safe and enjoying their own adventure on the Simmo.

Approx 6km further up the Rig is the Lone Gum Tree, which is not actually a gum tree, it is a Coolabah tree which is a box eucalyt.

There we met another couple of fellow adventurers travelling in some sort of truck off road motor home, I’ll let the photo show you what we mean.

We chatted to them about where they had been and they told us some stories about the accidents and mishaps some of the trail bikes had been having. An ambulance had to do a late night run out to Poepple Corner to attend to someone who had seriously hurt themselves on their trail bike, and this was before the Finke race. It’s a long way from help out here.

A few kms past the Lone Gum Tree we pulled off the road to stop for the night. Didn’t take us long to setup and find we had plenty of wood for a nice cosy fire.

We heard a dingo howling last night and the wind came up for a while. We re started the fire to have breaky by it. On the road a bit earlier this morning.

It was slow going on the last 100 odd kms on the Rig. The road was corrugated, narrow, very rutted in places, windy, sandy. This end of the Rig is certainly rougher than the end we started at. Chris hardly got out of second gear.

Markers are placed at 5km internals along the tracks so that travellers can easily identity their position if they should break down, need assistance or communication with other traffic. The markers have 2 components 1) A track designation code of 3 letters which is an abbreviation of the track’s name. 2) The number code which show in km’s the distance from Dalhousie. In the photo below, the marker shows we are on the Rig Road and 158km’s from Dalhousie. We found these could be hard to find and the tops were often missing or chewed off.

At lunch time we stopped at the base of a sandhill and had a bit of an explore.

We came across some more Finke riders and their support vehicles as well as 2 lots towing camping trailers.

We have heard from several travellers that the French Line is pretty churned up from all the traffic and people towing trailers. Hopefully it will settle back down before we come back across it.

We stopped for the night 2km from where the Rig joins the French Line, tomorrow we should be at Dalhousie.

Simpson Desert – Rig Road

The Rig Road was originally constructed by the petroleum companies to support semi-trailers carrying heavy oil rig equipment. The road was clay capped to make it easier, now the road is badly eroded in some parts. The Rig crosses the southern part of the Simpson Desert.

On the Warburton we were driving along the swales, as soon as we turned onto the Rig Road we started going over Sandhills. Some of these were very rutted, some were very soft and sandy on the top, some like to give an extra challenge with a turn in soft sand at the tops.

Peera Peera Poolanna Lake was a dry salt lake, that was absolutely huge. You drive along the edge of it for km after km. We stopped and went for a walk on it, totally fascinating. Dry cracked clay making interesting patterns encrusted with white salt. The top layer was hard and crusty but not that far under the surface it was damp.

The lake seemed to go on forever, just when you think you had come to the end of the lake and went over a sandhill you came to another section or side to it. It seems Peera Peera Poolanna Lake is a series/group of lakes.

We only saw one other traveller coming in the opposite direction that asked about the condition of the Warburton and told us what the Rig was like.

You would think out here there would be plenty of places to find a camp spot, but in a tent you want to find a flat spot void of vegetation hopefully in a bit of a sheltered position as the wind does come up a bit. We often saw tracks leading off to such spots were other travellers had gone in search of a similar spot. We found our spot between 2 Sandhills on a flat clay pan, approx 110km from the yards we left this morning.

After a quick wipe down last night it was sooooo nice to have a shower tonight. We ate our tea watching an awesome sunset over the Sandhills. And sat under the awning reading until it got too cold to stay up.

It was a bit cooler last night but warm enough under the covers. Cool morning with the sun not up and since we were at the western base of a sandhill it took a while for the sun to reach our camp spot. Note to self camp on the Eastern side next time.

We had several trail bikes and 4×4 pass us in the opposite direction. The guys on the trail bikes were being a bit silly and doing one wheelers.

We stopped at the old Poolawanna Oil Well for some photos.