Filled up with diesel when the store at Kiwirrkurra opened at 9:00AM. Talked to a few of the locals, both Indigenous and European, everyone was very helpful. There is a new health centre being built and not so long ago the buildings arrived on the back of trucks accompanied by a film crew. Apparently there is a series being made of “The worlds worst roads” or some such thing, no one was really sure exactly what it was called. Anyway the film crew was busy filming these trucks when the monthly fuel road train arrived with his three fuel trailers. He apparently just shook his head at all the fuss as he drives the road all the time. But the road had been graded specially for the trucks carrying the new health centre so that was lucky for us.
There was a ratio of about ten dogs to every person when we went to the store to pay for the fuel. Today the fortnightly supply truck is due in so everyone was eagerly waiting on fresh supplies. Went to the local council office then as there is a sign as you enter the community requesting all travellers to report to this office before proceeding on their journey. Never did find out why this was requested but had a good talk to the lady who seems to run the place. The office was just three rooms and with no air conditioning the doors are left open. This of course means the local dogs wander in as they like. Apparently a meeting was being held in one room and one of the participants decided there were too many dogs in the room so she was ejecting some with the aid of her digging stick!
The community did have a nice feel about it. No high fences or barb wire in sight. Don’t think suburbia when you think of a desert community. There is a road system but it appears rather haphazard. No sealed roads so there are shortcuts every where and whilst they have bores for water there are no such things as lawns or gardens. Plenty of spinifex grass and trees however. This like most of the desert communities is a “dry” community, no alcohol allowed. There are also only two types of vehicle fuel available, diesel and Opal. Opal is a substitute for unleaded petrol and does not produce a high when sniffed. So substance abuse is minimised.
Len Beadell’s burnt out ration truck has been moved from its original position into the community. Anyone familiar with Len Beadell’s books will know the story of his ration truck fire. Whilst constructing the Gary Junction Road this truck caught fire and destroyed most of their food supplies and camping gear. This necessitated a 500 mile emergency trip to replace the destroyed supplies.
The road was still in good condition as we headed the 130 kilometre to Jupiter Well, our next camp. The sand hills are now becoming closer together and we are crossing them more frequently. This is not hard as we are running almost parallel with them and are crossing them obliquely at low points. However driving in the swales as we are is hot as the sand hills prevent the breeze reaching into the swales. Once again we are travelling through ever changing country and I have selected a few photos for this blog to try and show some different types of desert. We are travelling in an area that is the convergence of the Gibson Desert, Little Sandy Desert and Great Sandy Desert however there is not much sand visible. Don’t think it is like say the Sahara, it is not. Most sand hills are covered by some form of vegetation, mainly spinifex and shrubs.
Around 12:30 we reached our camp site at Jupiter Well. This well was built in the 1960’s by the National Mapping Council and is near where Len Beadell’s Gunbarrel Road Construction Party’s grader broke down which necessitated a tow by the dozer all the way back to Giles. Now it is a pleasant camp site, shaded by Desert Oaks with a hand pump to draw water from.
We have made the most of the water by doing a bit of washing, both of clothes and self. Have not seen anyone else on the road today. At around 5:00PM a truck went past, we presume this is the supply truck for the local communities.
Jupiter Wells, Gary Junction Road – Monday 29 August 2011