Days 21 to 23 – The Birdsville Track continues

Days 21 to 23 – The Birdsville Track continues 1000 620 Alanna Schultz

Day 21 – The Birdsville Track Continues

In the distance I could see a small mountain range, which I figured should be Uwinya Hill and somewhere in-between would be Mungerannie Gap. A good sign I was getting close to the Mungerannie Hotel, fuel, food and a drink rest stop. Just then there was an old piece of corrugated iron standing erect on the side of the road with the word Fuel, painted in big black letters. Yes, now I knew I was close. Looking forward to sleeping on a flat surface, I’m a bit stiff and sore after last night in the Ute. My leg has gone numb again, so I need to rest. Being one day ahead of schedule, the opportunity to rest will be just what I need.

I saw two emus just before I reached the Uwinya Hill they didn’t mind at all me stopping and taking photos, they were busy eating. So far on this journey I haven’t seen a single wild camel. A few travellers have mentioned the same thing.

The Mungerannie Hotel was one kilometre off the Birdsville track and what a dusty old road it was. The entire place is just dust with the exception of the wetland over through the tree line. No Camping is allowed past the front of the tree line. They have showers, toilets, fuel, meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and cold drinks (well, it is a pub). There are cabins and campsites for everyone, caravans, trailers and campers. There were still a few campers here when I came in. I could have camped there last night for $10 and showered for an extra $5, Oh well, I’ll know for next time.

There are two incredibly funny things you see when you arrive. Firstly, a set of lights (second hand and obviously don’t work) and secondly, a huge ‘McDonalds Coming Soon’ sign next to the bus stop. It’s so funny, they must have a wicked sense of humour, I suppose you have to out here.

You’re welcomed here as if you were a long lost friend, outback folk are wonderful people. Every wall and the ceiling of the Hotel is adorned in memorabilia of some sort – hats, caps, notes, whips, just about everything. There is a sign on the bar, ‘you’re welcome to

take photos for a coin donation for the Flying Doctors’ and it’s just about full.

I’m now set-up for a couple of nights, and more if I need to. The only issue for me is no Telstra service only Optus same as at Gem Tree NT, only with no Wi-Fi. I’ll have no contact with Lan to download photos or blog until Wed 28th next week at Marree. There is a Telstra telephone box here and I still have a phone card with funds on it to ring the family……”Hi guys I’m safe”.

Please enjoy the photos.

Cheers Kenny Mac

Day 22 – The Birdsville Track – rest at Mungerannie

I saw two young children having lunch here at Mungerannie with their Mum and Dad, they were slowly heading to Birdsville for the races. It was a special holiday break, they wanted to do a few of the spectacular tours before everyone arrives for the big race week in Birdsville. Scenic flights and the Big Red was a couple they mentioned. I told them that the Big Red sunset tour I did was sensational.

You don’t see many young families travelling out here in the outback mostly the grey nomads…..ha, like me.

I also saw Graham the grader driver and his offsider during lunch, they were picking up the last of their gear (shed, fuel tank), shifting camp 60 or more kilometres up the road towards the border. They load all the gear on trailers including the grader, truck it up to the new camp and continue the same process until they’re finished.

I walked all through the wetlands and to the top of the sand dune on the far side. I found a great spot for sunrise photos, a must do, early tomorrow. I did a lot of writing in the dining area of the Pub, which was a great spot, I got to meet and chat to a lot of people coming in for fuel, a drink and some even stayed for something to eat. The food here is unbelievably good.

Late in the afternoon a group of old men (yeh, okay I hear you, like me) arrived, driving old Ford Falcons. They were the Woodend Rejects doing their ‘2019 Reject’s Rally’ with two or three guys in each car. They lined up all the cars at the fuel bowser, filled and moved every car until all were full. The bill was $468.00. They seem to be having a great time on their drive to Mildura, Menindee, White Cliffs, Tibooburra, Innamincka, Birdsville, Mungerannie, Gammon Ranges, Wilpena Pound, Renmark, Big desert and back home to Woodend. They washed down the dust with several beers while filling their cars and after dinner, partied until one o’clock in the morning.

Cheers Kenny Mac

Day 23 – The Birdsville Track – clean out the back of the ute day

I got up early before sunrise to get to that spot I found yesterday. Sometimes you have to walk that little bit further and find a particular area to put yourself in for a great picture. While I was out this way I walked around the wetland again, they’re slowly drying up. It is amazing that from the flood waters in March to now, more than three quarters have dried up. If it wasn’t for the Great Artesian Basin this place wouldn’t exist.

Back to have some breakfast and then attack the dust in the rear part of the Ute. I’ll shower after that, ‘cause this is going to be a love hate situation. Dirt, dust and more dirt and dust! It took around three and half hours and it’s somewhat clean, may not look it, but much better. Oh, my clothes are now brown, dirt brown!

Two motor bikes rode in from Marree and parked next to me. They were staying the night and on their way to Birdsville. One guy was in his fifties and the other was in his sixties. They asked me about the next 320kms up the track. I told them about the graded section, smiles all around. That changed pretty quickly when I told them about the detour and the sand, the old guy said he had great difficulty riding in the sand.

After watching me finish the last bit of removing the dust, they unloaded the panniers off their motorbikes and had the same issue with huge amounts of dirt, stones and dust. I had to laugh, it’s the same no matter what mode of transport you have.

I’m happy with my clean up, makes it easier for my next few nights ahead of me camping at rest stops and roadsides. I had to wash my pants in the shower, they were so dirty. In the shower you ask? – There are no washing facilities here. I will be doing a big wash at Marree next Wednesday.

I have been practising with my camera on my Samsung S9+ mobile phone. I taught myself how to take pictures of the stars and the milky way. The night skies are big here in the outback, really big and beautiful. I think I have taken some great shots! Yes, you can be the judge of that.

Cheers Kenny Mac