6th May 2019
Bush Camp – Well 5, 59kms
It was an early morning, with both guys up before the sun. I just snuggled under the tarp, and dozed some more. Will restarted the fire, and cooked us some bacon and egg wraps. Max got onto making some proper coffee. I got up just in time for both. Perfect start to my day.
Will has decided he needs to get up before the flies, which is usually before the sun. This way he gets a little “Will” time. I just wait till there is coffee.
The sun had some bite in it already, and as the boys got going early (8am), I sat in the shade, relaxing and enjoying my coffee. The bloody flies, were even more ridiculous today, and as I tried to play a little guitar, they were insane. One got up my nose, and as I tried not to inhale it completely, one flew in my mouth and I swallowed it. Ugh! A big swig of water, sorted that one, but the one stuck up my nose had to be blown out with force. After that, I just couldn’t sit around anymore. So I casually (while waving madly) packed everything up, and plodded off down the track.
Our goal today, was Windich Springs, apparently there is a lovely waterhole, and we can get clean, refill water, and enjoy. It was only 25 or so kilometres, so we got to it. After catching up with each other for a short break, and some drone footage, I headed for the springs. On arrival, it looked promising, and as the boys arrived in no time, we excitedly, headed for the spring. Devastated! Completely deflated, and downtrodden. No bloody water. Dry as a bone! We walked along the river bed a bit, following cattle trails, only to find a fetid pool of cow piss and poo. Deflated, we rejoined the vehicles, ate some lunch, and decided to try for Well 5.
Well 4a, another one in ruins, with no water. We could camp here, but why? The track is pretty good, they boys were going okay, so let’s get going.
Man, what a let down. We had all envisioned a swim and good wash. Dry as a friggin bone.
Another travellers monument, and we just had to know how bad it was inside. I was the only brave one, so ventured in. Well, the smell was not the worst I have experienced, it was as clean as could be in the desert, so I used it. But only for small business on this occasion, so I didn’t have to add a cup of lime (which was actually ash from the fire pits).
There was Well 4B, on the way, and we could call it a day there. Bush camp, or make number 5. The terrain was wonderful, we had a tale wind, and were all going fine. As 4B, was derelict, we pushed on. I was to drive on to Well 5, and report back. I got to where Hema maps said the Well should be, and there was a shiny silver sign, telling us we are now on aboriginal land, make sure we have permits, and respect the cultural sites. We most certainly will. There was no sign for the Well, so I decided to follow a track to the right. I could see something orange through the shrubs. Crawling over the water damaged track, weaving my way along, it opened out to a nice clearing, with a magnificent orange, fully restored Well 5. Holy fresh water Batman, this is awesome. It even had a brand new shelter, thanks to the hard work and dedication of the Chamerlain 9G Tractor club. What an incredible thing they have done.
I radioed the boys to lift their spirits a bit, and it wasn’t long before they arrived to this fantastic oasis. With great excitement, we got about getting water from the Well, for a shower, and to top up our supplies. We decided to cook on the Colman stove tonight, and forgo a fire. While I got dinner started, Max headed over to have a shower, and we were all surprised to hear a vehicle coming. Anthony, a clean cut guy, in his late fifties, with a well equipped land cruiser, helped with the water collection, and Will did the same for him. He wasn’t a very personable man, and chose not to hang about this Well for the night, and carried on. We were all quite okay with that, and enjoyed the pleasure of the new undercover, concrete table and benches, before crawling into our sleeping arrangements. Again we were amazed at the incredible display of stars.
Yes, this is my “Boys on Bikes” they are just battling the little Bush raisins. The tractor crew have bolstered our spirits with this Well refurbishment, and we are so happy. Even Will, who almost got stabbed by a random stick. His trusty Keens sandals took the hit.
7th May 2019
Well 5 – Well 7 47kms
The boys again were up before the sun, and decided that we should filter the water from the Well. So they set about doing that with the two platypus filter systems we are all carrying. It took them about an hour to filter 40 litres of water, into the two Blu Bags. We filled the hard jerry can with unfiltered water.
The “Blu Bags” are actually collapsible jerry cans/bladders, for water. They are going well, and are making life easier. Unlike the bloody flies.
That really took a lot out of the morning, and Will, especially, was not filled with the usual energy to ride. To add to that, the track was much more difficult today, and even in the car it was slow going. Huge corrugations, lots of Sandy sections, and even a proper sand dune. In the car the sand dune was way easy, it was only small, but on the bikes, the guys said it was difficult. Good on them, though, they rode up it.
Loving the colours, and the changing landscape. I was excited for my first proper dune. Boys weren’t.
We stopped at Well 6 for lunch, sardine, cheese and tomato wraps, and in hindsight, should have stopped for a half day there. Max tried to encourage it, but Will was determined to push on to Well 7. Well 6, Pierre Springs, exceptionally nice. Beautiful old river gums, a restored Well with great water, and a lovely bit of history too. While there, another vehicle arrived, carrying Glen, Billie and Axel the dog. This young couple, have taken a year off work, and set off from their home in NSW, to explore this country. Good on them. They have a 1991, 80 series land cruiser, older than our Old Girl, and very well equipped.
Some nice driving today, I really enjoy having the time (average 20kms/hr) to take it all in. Just wish there were more lizards and maybe a camel or two.
Pierre Springs, what a pretty spot. Beautiful river gums, and so much shade. The restored Well had great water, and it would be a nice camp spot.
It was a nice break, and after the boys head off, I had plans to sit and draw, but the pesky bloody flies, were doing my head in, so I shoved everything in the car and headed off. Five kays on, the boys were heading off a side track to check out Ingebong Hill. It was a short climb up a moderate track, to a nice rocky range. Max took a short walk up to the top, and Will had a play with the drone. It was a nice panoramic view from up there.
An interesting little side track, and the rock formations were cool. Some lovely views, and even though the sun was in the wrong spot for great photos, we still tried to get some pics.
Once again the boys rode off, and this time I did take the opportunity to relax in the surrounds, and draw a little. Glen, Billie and Axel, arrived shortly after, and we enjoyed the views, a chat, and Billie showed me a few things with their drone, which is the same as ours. They are a great couple, and Axel is a lovely dog. Eventually we both got going, and as we did, the track got tougher. The poor cyclists, it was rough. Sandy, then hugely corrugated, then rocky. Tough going.
With about 4 kays to go, before We’ll 7, they were ready to call it a day. It was time to park up (3pm, is our designated time), but we decided to push it out to the Well. The track was practically following in the water course, and was very slow going for me. The boys, however, were smashing it through this section, and caught up to me. I actually had to let them pass. They arrived at the Well before me. Even after we stopped to check out a large sand goanna, that was lazily wandering about. Watching Max diving onto the red Pindan, trying to catch it was amusing. He did actually grab it twice, but it was too strong and wriggled from his grip.
Well 7 is derelict, but set in a nice grove of Mulga trees. Glen and crew were already there, and after another chat, decided to spend the night with us, and we all had a fun night, chatting about all things adventure. They are a super nice couple, and we hope to catch them again.
8th May 2019
Well 7 – Well 9 47kms
This morning I decided to have a go at making scones in the Spun Steel camp oven. The fire was going, and there were enough coals, so I mixed up a small batch, lined the bottom of the oven with a double layer of foil, put the lid on, and let it do it’s thing. Coals on the bottom, coals on the top, and fifteen minutes later, whala! Delicious fresh scones. Billie and Glen hung around to see how they went, and also gave us a little bag of corn cornels to make popcorn. Holy cow, why have we not thought about that before! Light weight, easy to cook, and yummy.
Glen and Billies outfit. Looked pretty comfy, and well equipped. Okay, the scones were a little over cooked, but they were soft and delicious in the middle.
The boys rode off, then Billie and Axel walked off, with Glen plodding along behind in their 80 series Landcruiser. The oldest car we’ve seen on the track so far. Sorry Old Girl, theirs is older. I did the pack up, covered the fire, and did my own plodding along the track. After a couple of kays, I caught the young guys in the old car, and Glen was now jogging with Billie driving slowly behind. Glen is jogging 60kms in May, to raise money for MS. He isn’t a jogger, and he is toughing it out, actually doing 3-6kms a day. He is going to smash it. We’d like to sponsor/donate to his cause, but have no connection out here. Something to keep in mind for when we do. Well done you guys. Have a great journey.
A lot of corrugations today, and it was pretty slow going for all of us. Well 8 is a derelict Well, and we got our pic and carried on. We reached Glenn Ayle Station, and Well 9. Glenn Ayle Station wow, how awful. So depressing, filthy, degraded nature, dead cows. Live cows eating dead cows. Do we really need to farm like this? Tough, emotional end to an overall good days riding. It was a wake up to reality and how hard it has been to farm out here. They are massive properties, there isn’t enough water holes, and the animals are not native, or suited to this environment. There was no way we could camp here.
We found it hard to get clear and relevant information on track surface, and Well condition. We were told Well 8 had water. It does not, and is in ruins.
Half time break for the guys, coffee, scones and flies. They are most seriously the worst we’ve ever experienced.
At Well 9 there are some ruins of “Forrest’s Hut”, which was actually a Fort. Built to protect themselves from attacks by aborigines.
It was not a happy place, Well 9, with a rough history, and a vision of reality out here, for farmers. It is always important to see the reality, but not easy to cope with. It was an emotional day for sure.
I drove off looking for a spot to camp. It was a bit difficult. The bikes could get off the track easily, and they could get to quite a few decent spots, but it is too risky to drive the support vehicle off, in fear of staking a tyre. Finally the boys found a spot, behind me, so I turned around, and Will guided me through, avoiding any possible problems. It was a bit desolate, near a dry water course, and good enough for the night. What a rollercoaster of a day.