The Outback is next …

There is always a chance of over planning something.

And sometimes I feel I am well guilty of it.

On the other hand, given the temperature outside my tent the other day maxed out at 57.6 C and enhanced by winds from the deserts exceeding 60 kmh, there is an imperative to make sure I know what I’m up against.

It maxed out at 57.6C. Here it's chilled down to a mere 55.7C!
It maxed out at 57.6C. Here it’s chilled down to a mere 55.7C!

I could feeeel the moisture being sucked out of my eye balls even though the breeze made me think it wasn’t that hot. Cross a place in a wind shadow and boy did I feel that sun.

The National Parks authority closed the national parks throughout the Flinders Ranges. Not quite sure what I’d do if were in the or a national park when they decide to close it. Given I expect there to be no telecommunications capacity I won’t know when a day hits ‘Catastrophic’, as it was yesterday.

Catastrophic risk concerns fire risk. High 40s temperature, which is mid 50s in the sun + high dry winds is a firestorm just begging to be given a chance. Already in Western Australia around Salmon Gums where Rob and I camped but a few weeks ago four people have died in fires. Don’t fuck with an Australian summer!

I spent the afternoons at the swimming pool.

Refuge from the heat
Refuge from the heat
Sooo ... at a swimming pool, in the carpark, where kids are likely to be running around we still prioritise the car? It's the only zebra in Quorn.
Sooo … at a swimming pool, in the carpark, where kids are likely to be running around we still prioritise the car? It’s the only zebra in Quorn.

The crew in Quorn’s Tourist Information Bureau have been overwhelming tolerant, patient and above all helpful as each day I turn up with my maps and pick their brains regarding my plans and possible routes. With them I’ve come up with a good doable not-too-risky and not-too-exerting plan. I feel much better because of that.

It's a good but not exact approximation of my route to Blinman
It’s a good but not exact approximation of my route to Blinman

Even though my current water carrying capacity exceeds 25 litres, I’m reorganising my rear-panniers to accommodate a 1.5 – 2 litre water bottle in each, thereby increasing my capacity to somewhere near 30 litres. Unlikely to be necessary on the Next Bit to Blinman, nor even Blinman – Arkaroola – Leigh Creek – Maree. But Maree to Oodnadatta and beyond? Then I may need as much as I can carry.

Today, 20 November all my parcels have arrived. The new steel front end, the coupling arms, from Cyklorama for Ziflex, a new Cyklorama high-viz flag, a phone and some food supplies from Stuart in Adelaide.

The steel forks (L) are twice the weight compared to the aluminium ones (R). They feel far more capable, which is very reassuring.
The steel forks (L) are twice the weight compared to the aluminium ones (R). They feel far more capable, which is very reassuring.
New ones (R) with a smart modification to prevent the coupling arms from going awry as the aluminium ones did
New ones (L) with a smart modification to prevent the coupling arms from going awry as the aluminium ones (R) did
The new and the old. The old one barely stays on its mast
The new and the old. The old one barely stays on its mast

I’ve planned my route north to understand just how much water and food I need to carry.

The satellite version
The satellite version

I’ve checked with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority – http://beacons.amsa.gov.au/index.asp – under whose jurisdiction falls emergency rescue who pays for it should I hit The Big Red Button on my Personal Location Beacon and the troops come and rescue me. It is a free service, I am told.

I’ve called ahead to Wilpena to check if indeed they do sell (some) food supplies. And Arkaroola even further north.

Where I hope to head after Blinman
Where I hope to head after Blinman

I’ve provided Stuart an excel spreadsheet (no shit) with my planned travel dates and places I’ll overnight. If the shit hits the fan the authorities will call Stuart first to check it is a bona fide ‘come rescue’ me call and not an accidental hit of the button.

Stuart will also be the only person who’ll have a good idea of my route and subsequently is an essential risk-management asset. If he doesn’t hear from me after an unspecified but troubling length of time, he has the right to start emergency rescue proceedings regardless of whether I hit the button or not. For example, perhaps I’m so disorientated by dehydration or I have an accident and badly knock my head that I can’t hit the button.

I’m going into that kind of place.

Quorn has come to an end and the Outback is about to begin. Quorn has been good to me. Gary and Bronwyn at the caravan park taught me some new greeny things pretty much each day. They are avid enviros. The tourist information centre were particularly helpful in planning what comes next. A local woman in the IGA supermarket gave me useful tips as to where to visit enroute Wilpena. The Swimming pool provided a wonderful respite during a short intense heat wave. Emily’s bistro provided excellent espresso and fattened me up on Anzac biscuits they can’t sell coz their broken and told me of their grand plans currently being contested by grumpy neighbours.

Emily's Bistro. Excellent espresso and great Anzac biscuits
Emily’s Bistro. Excellent espresso and great Anzac biscuits
The retro-styled interior of Emily's Bistro
The retro-styled interior of Emily’s Bistro

The supermarket staff helped find the little things I needed and commiserated with me should they not have what I want. The Austral Hotel provided very good inexpensive fish’n’chips for takeaway. A treat before the Outback begins in earnest.

Since I do not expect to have mobile signal until … well, I don’t really know when, but a good number of days and more likely weeks, I won’t be able to update my blog quite as frequently as I have up to now.

Bear with me though … I’ll Be Back …

 

Max

Impending departure from Quorn, 20 November 15.

 

 

3 thoughts on “The Outback is next …

  1. Good to hear from you Max, and to know you are thriving and enjoying it even if fish and chips in the outback is a bit over-luxurious!! The adventurous part of me wishes I was with you; the armchair part says I’m glad I’m not!! Cest la vie 🙂 Take care and keep in touch, enjoy and above all come home safely, and full of stories. Much love, Dad.

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      1. Hi Max, as always good to hear from you and know your are safe and enjoying yourself even if you are complaining about the cold !!! You Europeans!!
        The old arm chair she ain’t what she used to be but I am planning to convert to 4WD!
        Where will you be at Christmas? Be good to see you then.
        Much love, happy travelling, take care,
        Dad

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