Dead Men's Shoes.

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July 30th 2013
Published: August 9th 2013
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Tuesday 30 July

I woke early when I heard sounds of something rummaging in our gear behind the swag, I saw a dingo, I think my stirring must have disturbed him as he moved away quickly and I saw him drop a plastic jug that he was carrying.

Because we have no plastic tubs left (destroyed on the Simpson crossing), we left a few things on the ground last night, we were not too bothered because dingo's are really only interested in food and leather shoes. When we are reunited with Gypsy we will have a sort out of our gear again, it might be time to dispose of some old and worn items.

I think it was about 6am when Andy started talking to me, I soon put paid to that and went back to sleep again before opening my eyes again just before 7am when we both got up and headed off for a shower. This might be the last decent hot shower for a couple of days as the showers at Dalhousie are cold, although we are both looking forward to dipping in the hot springs again.

Grabbing a toasted sandwich and a coffee from the William Creek Hotel on the way out, we were rolling again before 9am and the benefit of today's drive we covered some of the Oodnadatta track that we have not yet done, albeit that went past in a blur.

Stopping at the Pink Roadhouse in Oodnadatta for a coffee, internet and diesel, the internet was not working properly so we grabbed a coffee and some Diesel and we soon headed off again.

Crossing Hamilton Station land, we checked out the camp site, just to see what it was like for future reference then back on the road again, we found a great camp site, which would be great for another time, Andy said to me "I would like to do the Simpson Desert again". I gave him a look which I cannot really even describe.

It was about 3.30pm when we arrived at the Rangers Station in Dalhousie to collect Gypsy, it was so good to be reunited with her, we had been away just hours short of 7 days and in the process had covered 1536 kilometres.

Old AndadoOld AndadoOld Andado

Inside Molly Clarks House

Already bustling with campers we just about managed to pick a spot and had hoped for a bit of a rest, but both of us still felt a little wired from the journey so the best thing to do was to go and have a bob around in the hot springs which would help us relax.

I think it worked we were both in bed by 8pm, we have two days ahead of us we will sort out our gear and rest before getting on the road again.

Wednesday 31st July

In order to get the sunshine fully onto the solar panels we moved Gypsy to a better site, in fact it was the site that we had when we were here last week, so as soon as the current occupants vacated, we moved, dead men's shoes.

I am not really going to write too much about these next couple of days because we primarily spent time sorting out our gear (what was left of it!) putting everything back in its rightful place and having some relaxation time, the last 7 days had been pretty full on with the driving and camping out in the desert so we felt we had earned that much.

One important job that I did was to clean the chairs up, one of them had taken the bigger hit with the curry sauce and milk, but now they look like new again.

Andy spent time working on the truck, but he had to take one of the wheels off because when we pulled in on the Tuesday night we realised one of our airbags had a puncture, not a major problem but it does need sorting and a quick call on the sat phone gets a new one on order that we will pick up when we arrive in Alice Springs.

Of course we spent time having a bob around in the hot springs, even during the evening, this time without the moonlight and the bubbles with Hilary and Glen, but the mosquitos are rife and any skin exposed out of the water is fair game to them.

Thursday was a complete relaxation day, it was all I could do to get the washing up done after breakfast, it was even an effort to get drag myself into the hot springs.

Of course while we were there we met some more great people, Wayne and Carolyn also had a Landcruiser, he was most upset to see the wheel removed from ours and as he went past he jokingly said, "Hey, put the wheel on, your letting the side down", Their group were supposed to move on and indeed had left Dalhousie but they returned later in the day and then came over to explain that a Nissan Patrol in their group had broken a spring, they had no option but to drive very carefully back to Dalhousie.

Their problem being that a new spring was being sent down to Kulgera Roadhouse from Alice Springs (via Greyhound) a couple of them would drive out the next day to collect it but that meant a return road trip of about 500k's and a long day and a great deal of hope that it would actually arrive.

A group arrive late into Dalhousie one evening, there are a few motorbikes and a couple of support vehicles, one of the riders had his arm in a sling, they have just come out of the Simpson Desert.

We meet a couple called David and Torey, they have a T-Van and are very pleased with it, we swap tips on GPS mapping and gadgets (glad I am not the only one!) and the best pieces of equipment in order to protect those important gadgets whilst on the road.

There are a couple of Dingo's on the prowl around here, one of them is exceptionally skinny, they are normally very lean, but the bones showing on this Dingo are quite severe. We wonder if it was going to last very long here. The last time we were here there was a huge animal skeleton near our site, this has gone completely now, we had heard a Dingo chomping on it one evening. Alas we cannot get involved in the wildlife, it is wrong to feed the Dingo's as they would become a nuisance and could make things dangerous for people in the process, so nature will no doubt take it's course with this one.

The nights were not feeling as cold as they had been and we were not compelled to do the hot

Note the decoration around the mantel which is made out of newspaper.
water bottles, I remember when we absolutely would not consider getting into bed unless we had done them.

Friday 2nd August

When I awoke this morning, I was very thankful that it was our day to move on, as much as we have enjoyed Dalhousie hot springs, the mosquitos here are relentless, they are in abundance and despite slathering up with repellent and trying to keep covered up, the little blighters have still found a way to leave their mark and I am covered in itchy lumps, I even have bites on my face which has never happened before. Andy is also complaining about the mosquitos so it must be bad.

Andy also appears to be getting back into a routine of getting out of bed early again, I find him sitting outside reading a book enjoying a cup of tea in the morning sunshine, this pleases me as Andy is not a big reader and to see him relaxing and reading is good.

We say our goodbyes to Wayne, Carolyn, David and Torey and we set about packing up, a fairly easy job this morning as we are on top of everything (for a change!).

By 10am the temperature has reached 17 degrees and climbs steadily, so the air conditioning will be most welcome today.

Our first stop was at 3.00 Creek, we could top up on fresh water here as the water is pumped up from a spring, it will be nice to have some spring water and hopefully dilute the weird tasting town water that we have picked up from somewhere (good job I packed the Brita Water Filter!).

Andy started the truck and I did a quick double check on the hook up just to be sure that everything was tickety boo. It just goes to show that it is always worth a check, even though we had only travelled about 15 kilometres it was enough to finish off the electrical hook up between Jack and Gypsy, the plastic socket on Jack had already started to fall apart and Andy had to fashion it together this morning, but it had become dislodged on the short journey and now both parts of the socket were missing from Jack and Gypsy.

There was nothing
The Old Andado shedThe Old Andado shedThe Old Andado shed

How cool, a thatched shed
that we could do except to put a small sign on the back warning other travellers that we had no trailer lights.

We would not meet too much of an issue on these roads anyway, it would be when we get closer to town that it could be a problem, we figured that we could get a replacement when we got to Kulgera Roadhouse which would be the start of the bitumen.

It seemed that Blood Creek Track was closed, so we took the track to Mount Dare which was terribly rough in places, but we arrived and headed in for some refreshment, I asked if they did coffee and the guy behind the counter said "yes"! Great I am thinking a decent coffee, so I asked for a skinny flat white, then with a grin he said "instant". Oh joy, he raised my hopes and they were dashed in an instant, forgive the pun.

There are literally hundreds of stubby holders hanging from the ceiling, some have been there for a long while, faded, covered in dust and cobwebs.

Fortunately Andy was mooching around and found a

Inside Gypsy, all the storage containers, just go everywhere
trailer plug, it cost $20 but it was necessary and would help get us out of trouble with the trailer lights until we got into Alice Springs.

Before we set off, we had a look at the big map on the noticeboard, I saw the Binns Track marked up (funny really because although the track showed on my map it was not marked as the Binns Track), this is significant because a friend of ours had recommended taking the Binns Track to Alice, it was about 427 Kilometres .

I had wanted to go to Finke and follow the old Ghan line up to Alice, however we were warned that not only is this track rough, there were some of the old large nails sticking out of the ground in places that you had to dodge, so we figured that skipping that track would be a good idea, and now we had seen the signs for the Binns Track, we looked at each other and thought "shall we?"

Well, we are here and it is as good an opportunity as any, so we turned off and headed up the Binns Track which is also part of the Simpson Desert. Now I have to explain, this is not quite the same as driving across the Simpson Desert dune system, the Binns Track runs nicely up between the dunes and is a pretty well graded track that crosses over a few dunes and some sandy creek beds.

Exciting nonetheless so approaching it with our usual thought, if it is bad we can always turn round and go the other way.

We find a very acceptable track, and not long into it, at 2.06 in the afternoon we slip over the border from South Australia into the Northern Territory. Finally after spending the best part of the last 2 months in some of the remotest parts of South Australia, we still have not seen everything South Australia has to offer and now we are on the home stretch to Alice Springs.

The landscape has changed, a few kilometres before the border we started to get trees, and now we are driving through sandy roads with green trees either side of us in amongst the sand dunes.

There are cattle across this landscape,
No Lights,No Lights,No Lights,

Luckily no policemen
but as we travel through toward the Andado homestead the greenery starts to thin out again and becomes a little more barren with the expanse across the claypans.

A sign appears telling us there is a gate ahead, so I prepare to jump out and open the gate to let Andy through. When we get there, the gate is closed but closer inspection reveals that there is no fence on either side, the track diverts through the gap in the fence.

Eventually Andado Homestead appears and just beyond we take our right turn to continue on the Binns Track and toward the Old Andado Homestead where we intend on camping for the night.

Arriving a Old Andado we see two other campers, one of them came over to tell us the story of Old Andado, I thought he might be a volunteer but Paul explained that he wasn't he was just happy to pass on the story that he was told by the volunteer that left earlier in the day.

Andado Station was sold by the Mc Dill brothers in 1942 and then changed hands several times, eventually to be owned H. H. Overton in May 1955. Overton formed a partnership with Molly and Malcolm Clark called the ‘Andado Pastoral Company’. Malcolm ‘Mac’ Clark had been employed as an overseer on the station since 1949.

In 1955 a new homestead was built 18 km’s west of the old homestead, leaving the ‘old place’ to fall into ruin. By 1969, the Clark family owned Andado Station outright.

The name Andado comes from a southern Aranda (Arrernte) Aboriginal word for a stone implement.

1972 saw the huge job of restoring the old homestead, with the help of her family, to its former glory eventually operating a tourism business, ‘Tjauritchi Wanda Tours Pty Ltd’, which showed tourists how life was in the earlier days in the outback without modern amenities.

Molly and the family experienced a double tragedy in 1978 when they lost Mac to a heart attack while flying his light aircraft and in 1979 their eldest son, Graham, who died when his semi trailer collided with a freight train.

Andado Station was one of the first cattle stations in the Northern Territory to undergo Brucellosis & Tuberculosis testing. Because the station bordered with South Australia they
Boarder CrossingBoarder CrossingBoarder Crossing

South Australia-Northern Territory
had to de-stock (cull) their cattle and subsequently lost the property, having to sell it in 1984 for a pittance.

In January 1987, Molly secured a Crown Lease over 45 square kilometres of land around the old homestead, re-naming it ‘Old Andado’.

Once we were set up for the night, we wandered over to the homestead for a quick look and to suss out if we could get a shower, Paul had told us that they had a shower this morning, the water was still warm from last night when the donkey had been lit. I put my hand over the drum, you could still feel the warmth.

Andy and I ventured into the homestead, it felt somewhat rather weird as if we were intruding in someone's home, it was exactly as she had left it, books, food (ok so the perishables were removed), nicknacks that had been collected over the years, the furniture, it was all there for us to look at with the exception of two items.

Sadly someone had taken it upon themselves to steal a salt and pepper pot, now it may not have
Cattle station landCattle station landCattle station land

Its the norm to drive through these cattle stations, life just goes on and so do you.
been particularly valuable but that is not the point, they were part of Molly Clarks collection and there is a notice on display asking for someone to return it. We hope that it does get returned.It was truly amazing, walking in to the homestead, it looked like Molly had just walked out, the table was laid, her stuff was there, but its now what you would call a living museum.

Once we had a good look around, we headed back to the truck to get our shower stuff in the vain hope that the water was still warm in the donkey. We made a small plan that perhaps we should share the shower because otherwise if we have a shower at different times then one may get the warm water and the other may get the cold water if there is not enough, it is also recommended for 4 minute showers because of water shortages, so figured that sharing the shower would also help.

So we choose the ladies and in we go. Fortunately the water is plenty warm enough for a decent shower and we both feel the benefit. We were both dressed and packing up to leave when a woman walked in and she looked very shocked to see me and Andy in there.

Well we didn't think it would be too much a problem, we are in the outback and we were being conservative with the water. Still we apologised and explained and left her to it, not sure that she was comfortable with the explanation though.

That evening Andy starts to work on fixing the trailer lights, he can only go so far with them and then it gets too dark really so abandons it until the morning.

What can I say? But another beautiful star studded evening in that dark blanket of sky.


10th August 2013

Was that look "are you crazy" or " in a heartbeat"?? Great pics, great blog. Awesome venture across The Simpson Desert. If you want/need more followers, send me some pictures of The Simpson and I will put them on my FB page.
11th August 2013

Hi Gary
Hi Gary, I think the look was are you crazy" Caroline said she has been a bit slack and will put some Simpson pictures up. Man we need all the followers we can get'!! Our best regards. Andy

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