17 March, Sunday
8.30 am and we’re on our way. This morning we were already up at 5.30, making sure we did not oversleep again. We had more than enough time, too much actually, for coffee, a wash and breakfast. Our gas burner is not working so well. I think the pipe is too long and too flexible. Bernard, doing his social rounds, is very talkative and entertaining this morning.
Following the French Line, today we crossed-over some dunes that were higher than those of the previous days.
On most of them you had to make a sharp turn on the crest, so as to get your angle right for the descent on the other side. The reason is because of the angle of the prevailing winds. At this point we are the only vehicle so far that has not been stuck in the sand yet.
The flies are unbelievable! They appear out of no where when you step out of the vehicle and within seconds there are at least a hundred sitting all over you. The nets that cover your face are absolutely essential. They even manage crawl in under the nets as well. Wearing the head-nets, takes some getting used to.
I think everyone forgets to remove the net at times, when you try to drink or eat something…. even brushing your teeth. Everyone must have swallowed at least one fly at some stage.
Our overnight campsite today ended up being in a dry salt pan. The wind is still blowing strong from the South. Once again we had a day temperature of in the upper thirties.
18 March, Monday
8.30 am and we’re on our way again. This morning we decided to skip coffee. We surfaced at 6am and even that was still too early, everyone else was still asleep. Our first 25 litre water can is now empty. The surrounding sand dunes look ominous like black walls in the shadows of the rising sun.
We stopped for tea at Poeppel’s corner. Here you can stand in South Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory, all at the same time.
You could celebrate the New Year three times over here in the same spot on the same day, since all three the states have different time zones.
The sand dunes are now becoming steeper and higher. We are still the only vehicle with a clean slate, of not getting stuck yet. We are now travelling in the Queensland part of the Simpson Desert.
It is almost as if the sand is softer and has more of a red shimmer to it since we crossed into Queensland. The surrounding scenery is also beginning to look more like a desert, with more sand and less grass and shrubs to be seen.
It’s already late afternoon when we cross from the Simpson Desert into the Adria Downs, a very large pastoral lease, used as a cattle station.
Our campsite for the night is in a dry river bed……. that was flooded in 2012. Apparently the width of the river was 13 km at that stage.
We are now in the Queensland time zone, which is 30 minutes different from South Australia. These South Australians are weird, do they really think 30 minutes makes any difference?