Trek Across Australia – 2000 Dispatch 2

The 9G Tractor Trek 2000 is now some 1700 km. from Steep Point, passing through Warburton community en route for the W.A. border.

The past three camps have been on the ‘infamous’ Gunbarrel H’Way which has taken the Trekkers through some of the most scenic country in Australia. Huge flatlands of Spinifex interspersed with wattles and gums and a multitude of native flora, a lot of which is flowering.

Two high quartz, granite and gravel landmarks were Mt Everard and Mt Beadell, both of which were scaled as to allow spectacular views of the surrounds & some memorable photographs.

The weather has been extremely kind with warm days and mild nights and though the road has been testing, it has been conquered by the 9’s with relatively few problems. Most Trekkers have agreed that worse roads have been faced in our various home shires.

Apart from two rear tractor wheels being staked, numerous front tire punctures and mud guards falling off, the major headaches have been with trailer problems due to the long periods of corrugations.

Many broken and cracked welds and joins have been repaired, either on the road or later on, whilst in camp. When Esperance’s Peter Barr’s camper trailer broke a spring between Mounts Everard and Beadell, all sorts of repair options were offered and discussed.

It has taken most of the less experienced campers most of the time till now to get the non- essential gear stowed away and a routine for making & breaking camp. Everyone seems to have packed too much gear and food and, it appears that all have managed to leave behind an item that was to have been packed, wasn’t, and would have been used a number of times already.

There have been numerous fuel blockages and oil leaks and minor inconveniences but generally the tractors have coped very well.

Scraggy’s crew were forced to return to Carnegie due to a broken, over-loaded roof rack. After getting the job done, they returned to the spot where they had left their gear and proceeded to repack. However by now it was dark & when it was time to drive on they found that their battery was flat. All 5 crew had to push an over loaded Land Cruiser on one of the roughest roads in Australia to eventually get it going

Sadly, after driving his non-restored 9G from Esperance, nearly 4000 km, Don March is on his way home as his 9G has suffered fatal injuries, all to do with losing water and oil some 50 km. from Warburton.

You can’t throw 130 relative strangers together, in a foreign environment attempting a feat as the Trekkers are achieving, without a few conflicts, however they have been relatively few and the co-operation & assistance to those in need has been incredible and often ingenious.

The Trekkers are divided into regional based groups i.e. Dongara, Jurien, Bullsbrook, Albany and Esperance. These groups travel and camp together and tend to socialise together. However any occasion for the convoy to get together en-mass is well attended. The last big bash was at the Carnegie Homestead when Wes Henderson turned 21 with the aid of balloons, cake, fireworks and champagne, live music, poetry recitals and some very interesting skits.

The next three days will see legs of 150+ km and 235km to get the convoy to Docker River, with a 250 km day to Yulara, as it is not allowed to camp within that area. However the bonus is that there will be two rest days for sight seeing & re-organising.

After that it is on to Alice Springs for a short week of festivities celebrating the Transport Hall of Fame’s 100 Years of Transport celebrations.