Friday, 7 September 2018

Day 5 – Halfway Across the Gunbarrel

It was quite a surprise to find the track east of Carnegie Station was reasonably well formed.  I’d been anticipating falling of the end of the earth.  However the Wiluna Shire border extends for another 100km to just beyond the Mungilli Claypan and the junction with the Eagle Highway heading north and the David Carnegie Road going south.  Of course both of them are tracks rather than roads!
Luck was on our side as the shire grader was just completing the final maintenance when we passed through this section of the Gunbarrel.  The grader operation is actually a road train.  This far away from civilization means the grader operator can’t go home at night.  Instead, his home travels behind on a trailer.  Actually the grader tows two long trailer whilst grading.  The first trailer usually holds a large diesel tank and generator whilst the second has a portacabin and toilet.  Behind the 2nd trailer was the operators ute.
With the track in such good condition we made excellent progress.  Five hundred kilometres along the Gunbarrel we reach “The Oval”.  This is a large cleared area of land which was created as a sports ground.  It’s where the Wiluna and Warburton communities used to meet to play football.
Football Oval
Some Aussie with a great sense of humour had left a sign opposite the oval
IMG_2586WACA (West Australian Cricket Association)  MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground)
It was at this point we met our first vehicle on the Gunbarrel.  A husband and wife from Perth heading in the same direction but without a trailer they were travelling much faster.

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It was still quite early in the day so we pressed on to the next major landmark, the “Truck Wreck”
Thirty kilometres further on and the road was still in reasonable condition.  At this point we reached the Mungilli Claypan.  There isn’t much risk in crossing the claypan provide there has been no recent rain in the area.  As we were passing through immediately prior to the period of spring rain the surface was firm.
Shire Border
Very shortly after the Mungilli Claypan the track deteriorated significantly.  Our speed dropped accordingly and we started to make very slow progress averaging 25km/h.  Approximately 550km from Wiluna we reach the Geraldton Historical Society Bore where potable water can be obtain using a hand pump.  This is also the junction with the Hunt Oil Road which heads south towards the Great Central Road.  This road was create by Hunt Oil when they were surveying this part of the Victoria Desert for petroleum.  This also marks the end of Wiluna Shire.  From this point onwards the track isn’t maintained. 
We ‘bounced, groaned, and squeaked’ our way for a further 40km to reach Everard Junction where the Gary Highway heads north to the Tanami Track.   Monique signed the visitors book whilst we stopped for a look around.
The land is as flat as a pancake covered in Spinifex grass   with the odd stunted sheoak.
The track was now starting to get bone shaking rough with thousands of corrugations hammering the hell out of the suspension.  We slowly crawled on to reach Mount Everard.  OK ‘mount’ might be more than an exaggeration, but then the land is so flat that any hill gets named “mount”.  My middle name is Everard so I guess Mt Everard has some connection to me! Winking smile
There are panoramic views from the top.

This next video shows the way we have come

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And this video shows our future direction

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We are a long way from anywhere!

By now it was starting to get late and we needed to find a campsite.  Fortunately traffic noise wasn’t an issue and we found a suitable clearing on the north side of the track.   
And the sun went down.


Mike Griffin said...

Excellent, best blog I have read, a geography and history lesson rolled into one. Thanks.


Mike Griffin said...

Good choice of vehicle, a Land Rover/Range Rover would be useless bearing in mind reliability issues.

Tom and Jan said...

Mike we never saw a Range Rover on the Gunbarrel but one did overtake us on the Tanami. Len Beadell used a Land Rover as his pathfinder vehicle when surveying the route so it must have been reliable and rugged.

Mike Griffin said...

'LAndies' were years ago, but now they have become 'gentrified' they have gone downhill.

Tom and Jan said...

I assume that means the manufacturer identified the major market opportunity as something other than basic and rugged?