31-Mar-2007 -- 29s 126e was our 15th confluence and is situated 230km north of Rawlinna in Gidgi Lakes area of the Great Victoria Desert. Our usual crew of Jake, Ron, the two boys and myself were joined by a couple of mates from Perth, Carl and Drew plus another mate from Kalgoorlie, Joey Jarvis.
We left Kalgoorlie on Friday morning 31/03/07 in 2 cars, our vehicle plus Drew’s Nissan patrol and headed east along the transline towards Rawlinna. I had forewarned Drew about dramas we’ve experienced in the past with tyres in the harsh scrub out there and he was pretty confident his tyres would stand the test. His offroad tyres are prominently advertised in most Australian 4WD magazines and are endorsed by a well-known outback identity for their durability and ruggedness. Much to our surprise they failed to live up to their reputation on our trip. Not more than 80 kilometres out from Kal, his first tyre suffered separation rendering it unusable.
After changing it we continued east arriving at Rawlinna around 2:30pm. From there we headed north along the “Connie Sue” and setup camp for the night about 70 kilometres south of the CP. Early next morning we left our camp setup and headed north again until we arrived at the 29S latitude. From here we left the track and followed our GPS’s east along a 26-kilometre route I had digitised from the Google Earth photo of the area. Our route of least resistance through the scrub turned out to be not so bad, to play it safe though we parked up Drew’s vehicle and all traveled in one vehicle to halve our chances of staking tyres. Just past midday after around 80 minutes of off-track driving and one staked tyre we arrived at the CP, the required photos were taken and we headed back to pick up the second vehicle then returned to our camp. Unfortunately Drew suffered his second flat tyre an unrepairable sidewall stake less than 200 metres from camp. After changing the tyre, we packed up camp and headed back along the Connie Sue, instead of following it all the way back to Rawlinna we decided to take a short cut west and follow the track that connects the Connie Sue to the Cable Haul Road. We drove till dusk then set up camp again for the night.
Sunday morning was another early start, we packed up and headed off west again. It wasn’t long until we came across the abandoned 4WD where 2 men tragically perished last Christmas, 60 kilometres north of Kitchener. Their 4WD had broken down on this remote track and both died in the 40-plus temperatures experienced out there over that period, their bodies were found a couple of weeks later.
We continued on to the Cable Haul Road that led us south back to the “Transline” at Kitchener and then headed west back towards Kalgoorlie. On the way we called in to have a look at the dam at Karonie, Drew suffered his 3rd flat whilst driving over the railway crossing there, an old dog spike staked the tread and rendered another tyre useless. With no more available spares for the Nissan, Drew had to fix the sidewall damaged tyre with 7 plugs and use it to get the last 100km home. The plugs kept the tyre up for about 10km each time before we had to stop to fill it up with air from our compressed air cylinder, pretty tedious but it did get us back home again.
All up it turned out to be an expensive trip for Drew, over $1400 in tyres and $350 in return airfares as he had to be back in Perth for work the next day whilst we sourced replacement tyres to enable him to return and drive the vehicle back to Perth later in the week.
Trimble Pathfinder DGPS (precision sub-metre)
Magellan Explorist XL
Map Name :
SH5108 Plumridge 1:250,000
Australia’s Great Desert Tracks (SW Sheet) 1: 1,250,000