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Old 03-23-2015, 05:30 AM   #1
Aussie Jase OP
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That Lake Gairdner Trip......Outback South Australia

So it has been a while since I last attempted getting to Lake Gairdner in South Australia (2009, broke my leg on the way and had not made it) and figured with this year being the 25th anniversary of the DLRA Speed Week it was a good time.
The original intention was to ride with an old roomie; unfortunately due to circumstances beyond our control he had to pull out.
So I planned to go solo sorted out a Delorme SE tracker as my safety and communication device and set about trying to figure out which Pastrolists I would need to contact for permission to access their properties.
Another ADVer, Godzilla had also kindly offerd to bring me in some extra supplies.
Contacting the stations took some persistence and assistance from neighboring properties, within 2 weeks and many phone calls, emails and a fax permission was gained.
Once permission from all six properties was received and with the weather forecast predicting mild conditions for the week the plan was to put a new tyre on the bike on the Wednesday and do some basic wrenching, then pack the bike on the Thursday and hit the road first up Friday morning. I was expecting to overnight somewhere on Friday night and get to Mt Ive Station sometime Saturday.

Wednesday fairly straight forward apart from forgetting how hard the walls on the rally raids are (worn Michelin Desert off and Rally Raid 908 on using 11 inch tyre levers - theory is if you cant change the tyres in the comfort of your shed with the tools you use on the road you have no hope in a break down situation).
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Old 03-23-2015, 05:42 AM   #2
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Wednesday was filled up with having tyres changed, quick mechanical checks completed, pannier racks and tourer teck rear racking fitted and re-register the bike (as I had been using my xr400 a lot lately in the steep rocky country around home) the bike was pretty much ready to get loaded - it was a long day so packing and loading scheduled for Thursday.

Thursday; started to pack and a hot change came in, shed temperature was up un the mid 50's (centigrade) it was unbearable so the bags got packed in the house, swag rolled and re-rolled and the rest was put off for the cool of the evening.....it didn't cool down a lot that evening so the plan was now to chew into Friday morning with a final pack and balance the bike out.

Friday late morning the bike is finally packed, feels a bit top heavy and being mindful of the sand dunes a couple of the station owners warned me of... it's going to be interesting.
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Old 03-23-2015, 05:50 AM   #3
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I finally hit the road, the bike balance is very different but it's not every day you carry an extra 10 litres of fuel, food and clothing for a week, tent and swag, tools, hard copy maps, chain lube, engine oil...... and the list goes on.

.....So I got moving later than planned so decided to cut out my first detour and just hard top it to Hawker, refuel then head cross country from the south East of Lake Torrens.

First stop was at Beltana Roadhouse to check on the packing and tighten up any loose straps.

There has been fuel here for ages however its the turn from the highway to the historic town ship of Beltana and the amazingly bike and 4wd friendly Warraweena Conservation Reserve.
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Old 03-23-2015, 05:53 AM   #4
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Checked the tie downs, made sure nothing was coming off had a look over the bike and watched a Willy Willy come in across the plain - small thermal whirl wind blowing up dust.
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Old 03-23-2015, 06:02 AM   #5
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Jumped back on the bike, stopped off at Parrachilna waving to the first influx of grey nomads I have seen moving North this season. Stopped and checked the panniers and top bag for stability, everything was still nice and tight, I was confident that my gear was not going to move. I said to myself to still check once I get on the dirt later ....anyhow dropped into the surveyors memorial just north of Hawker, info on the plaque that I read, (the plaque is heavily faded it pretty much explains the early settlers surveying needs and mentions a number of South Australias famous blokes) the stone pile is called a "cairn" and according to the plaque many of the surveyors original "cairns" can still be seen across our landscape to this day.....so there you go!

The Flinders sits in the background.
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Old 03-23-2015, 06:18 AM   #6
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Got to Hawker had to put 9 liters of fuel in to cover he 155 Kms just done than headed back up the highway for the Hookina Road turn off that would take me to Warrakimbo Homestead.

There are a few hills in the distance that you climb through, all very easy riding unsealed gravel roads, the bike skips along the corrugations in the roads and everything settles into an even groove, no traffic here at all, silent and relaxing just watch out for emus, roos and maybe a station 4wd or bike - I didn't see any vehicles from the stations, the wild life was about and got a few interesting looks from the cattle, probably wandering whats the noisy orange thing.
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Old 03-23-2015, 06:27 AM   #7
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Obligatory luggage strap check and double checked my position on the map against the gps reading and I was bang my left hand turn down toward old Warrakimbo Woolshed, which I needed to pass.
I remained on this road, its condition changed a number of times, slowing down for the line of trees dissecting the road expecting washouts where flood-ways and seasonal creeks cut through the road fortunately none too severe. A few sand coverd sections of road and a few rutted sections but i would still consider easy going stuff.
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Old 03-23-2015, 06:39 AM   #8
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Having passed Warrakimbo and Heading towards Yadlamalka I recall the warnings from the Station owner to be careful on the dunes, and in particular watching out for potential head ons with oncoming traffic.
it has been a long whilesince I have been sand riding - I used to love it as I was taught to ride in the stuff....I wonder if I remember any of it.
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Old 03-23-2015, 06:42 AM   #9
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It was not until Yadlamalka that I saw any reasonable sand, this was just outside the Homestead.
Still very tame compared to what I had been used to.
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Old 03-23-2015, 06:44 AM   #10
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And the forward facing view.......
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Old 03-23-2015, 06:51 AM   #11
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With the weight high up on the bike i found it hard to get my own body weight over the back wheel, as long as i didn't go any slower than 75km's p/h the bike handled reasonably well, there were a few moments that I had to bring it back under control by gunning on the power and getting it closer to 100 k's but fortunately it was not too often.

There was a good mix of red sand, hard pack clay which then gave way to higher white sand ridges (seen in the distance in this shot); the same techniques were applied and the same level of control was had.
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Old 03-23-2015, 06:59 AM   #12
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The track I was looking for could not be found, according to my GPS I was sitting directly on the turn off yet it must have long past grown over and returned to the remains of pasture.
I decided I had committed at this stage and was not turning back, further more I had described the tracks to the pastrolaists as Burts Crossing and no one had responded with "thats no lonegr there" or similar so I surmised it was a temporary issue.
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Old 03-23-2015, 07:02 AM   #13
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So being at Tom Tank and no track to my left I decided to venture a bit further on, Tom tank (to the right of this image) seems to currently be a shearers quarters or old hut complete with donkey (hot water system).
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Old 03-23-2015, 07:05 AM   #14
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I pushed on further to the bottom of soakage swamp.
There is a shearing shed here and a track that heads to the left, I was hoping my map was a bit out or a new track had been put in on higher ground to replace the other which may have been subject to flooding ......I was hoping!
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Old 03-23-2015, 07:07 AM   #15
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......the swamp!
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