Parks and Wildlife and the Diamantina Council and Police opened the road on the Tuesday after the Birdsville rces so we set off for "Big Red"After running up and down Big Red we headed for Eyre Creek.We finally forded it after a long and arduous detour down one side and then back to the main track after it - .7m deep and a few star pickets to guide us-quite scary!!!!!
Then it was sandhill, watercourse, sandhill, watercourse, sandhill, watercourse---get the picture? In one very muddy watercourse John became bogged and we got first use of the snatch strap to pull us out-such fun!!!!Soon after that we settled in for the evening near a site 4 just past Gidgea Tree Plains.
"Go west young man" and so it was. We then started skirting claypans which suck you in like quicksilver. Finally arrived at Lake Poeppel and travelled down the east side 11 kms. This took about an hour and we reached Poeppel's Corner. Any way down the road a bit we hit the French Line but when we arrived there the Lake was too impassable so had to return to where we were and find a circuitous route around the north of the lake and then go 12kms down the western side until we at length came to the French Line again Whew!!!!!
So after 2 nights camping and a few kms we came to this boghole across a claypan type lake about 750 m across. Well, we became hopelesly bogged. Byron got us out as he carried maxi-trax. They are remarkable inventions!!! Set off again and unfortunately something went wrong with our Toyota. Just gave up the ghost. John and Byron checked all the basics and they were fine. Byron and John checked all the fuses and they were O.K.---starter motor? ignition? diesel? fuel lines? tried everything - no luck.
Luckily we had borrowed Johnny's staellite phone so rang and organised a recovery. He was committed to a job in Boulia so it meant 2 nights extra in the desert. Friday, Byron rose early and got the fire going. Saturday, Beryl rose early and stoked up the fire. At 11.30am on the Saturday, Don, the park ranger arrived and towed us around the bush until we met up over the eastern side of Poeppels wih Peter, who had an enormous blitz type German army tray-back and he winched John' s vehicle on to the back.
Weeellll!!!!! what a hair-raising ride home - Wow!!!!Let you imagination run riot as to how our poor car jumped about. John lost some stuff off the back -compressor-retrieved - a high lift jack - NOT retrieved etc. Peter seemed intent on getting back before midnight and I'm telling you night travelling is no fun in the desert on boggy roads. Shelves in the back that carried our beds and matresses broke apart. What a mess!!!!
Have some lovely photos of all the wildflowers and although it was a very expensive exercise - we do believe we have been fortunate enough to see the desert in the best of times.The desert is supposed to be dry and sandy and dusty and we saw it when it was wet and green - quite a remarkable sight.