Thursday, September 26, 2013


Whilst the Birdsville Track was generally in very good condition and being upgraded in places, the washouts contained very sharp stones. The track had been chopped up by the Birdsville Races traffic a very localised rain of up to one inch! Shortly after crossing one such floodway, we heard a strange flapping noise and stopped. Sure enough we had a puncture! We had pulled over to what we thought was a relatively flat spot and took all the tools out. This was a very hot, arid area, in the midst of drought - no shade to be had!

The fun started when we tried to loosen the wheel nuts. A compressor had obviously been used to attach them and there was no way we could shift them! We had a proper wheel brace, which we both pulled and hauled. We tried jumping on it, jacking up the brace - all to no avail! A spot of silican spray was tried and then a longer lever! Not a soul came passed! Finally brute force won the day and the wheel nut loosened!

Then we found that the jack did not lift high enough to be able to remove the wheel. I went to look for some rocks, wood, anything to place under the jack to give us more height. Peter thought more laterally and dug under the wheel with the spade so that there was enough wheel clearance.

We were just tightening up the nuts having now changed the tyre, a truck and then a farm ute came passed, both offering assistance. Their main concerns were that we had enough water!

We pulled into Mungarannie Pub further down the track, because we knew they did puncture repairs. Sadly the tyre was a write off as the rock cut was too long to repair. We were however able to purchase a new one, which we did even though we had another spare. We had seen too many other punctures and blow outs besides our own!

The Mungarannie Hotel was a delight. It is the local watering hole for the stations in the area. When the station hands have any time off they come here. Dinner was great, typical hearty steak, but with untypical delicious Mediteranean salad. The owner was keen to yarn to anyone and everyone, so it was welcoming and friendly.

A campsite beside the artificial billabong was a great spot for the night. A warm Artisan spa (fairly manky!) was fun! And a big plus was the plethora of bird life.

The stars were a delight - no light pollution!


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