Driving down the Tanami

The sign is RED... that means caution!
The sign is RED... that means caution!
A 1000 k's of dirt, sand, corragations and not one town between each end
A 1000 k's of dirt, sand, corragations and not one town between each end
More dust
More dust
The tanami desert, flat as far as the eye can see, late on afternoon two.
The tanami desert, flat as far as the eye can see, late on afternoon two.
An acasia (I think) in flower
An acasia (I think) in flower
 A long way from anywhere. Did I mention no town  for a 1000 k's. The sign says.. Alice  Springs 644 (K's) Halls Creek 406 (k's)
A long way from anywhere. Did I mention no town for a 1000 k's. The sign says.. Alice Springs 644 (K's) Halls Creek 406 (k's)
Desert gum.... in a water course
Desert gum.... in a water course
Love those rich colours late in the day
Love those rich colours late in the day

Did a bit of a trip last fortnight.

Just over 10,000 k's in 12 days. Loved it!

Right in the middle of the trip was a road that is one of Australia's great four wheel driver trips. Just so happened I had to deliver goods to two mine sites on that road.

It is the Tanami road which runs through the tanami desert in central Australia.

I left Kallgoolie Monday (20/6/11) and headed north to Karratha and Port Headland and completed my first two deliveries. Then it was off to the far north of W.A. to Halls Creek to the Tanami turn off. The tanami runs a thousand kilometres in a south easterly direction from Halls Creek in northern W.A. down to Alice Spings in the Northern Territory. By this stage it was Thursday (23/6/11) about 10:00am and I headed off. Within the first one hundred metres one of the hubcaps on my prime mover bounced off. So I stopped, grabbed it and pulled the other one off and stuck them in a tool box. A portent of things to come!

I rattled, slept, drove and photographed my way down the track for the next three days arriving at the intersection with the Stuart highway 20 k's north of Alice Springs in the evening of Saturday the twenty fifth of June. I did also make two excursions to mine sites waiting for the goods they had ordered weeks beforehand.

Unfortunately, I took so many photos and videos of that part of the country I ran out of batteries for my camera. I thought.... no problem, I'll just get the spare battries that I keep in the pocket of my camera bag. Hmmmm... apparently the spares where already in the camera and someone... no names please.. had not replaced them!

And no... it was not Mrs Dags.. she never uses the jolly camera! Oh well.

In fact, I had just taken that photo of the truck in front of thje sign to Alice Springs 644 k's to go and moved the truck right up next to the sign to make a better photo and RED lights flashing and no more photos! The depressing thing about that photo is that the other part of the sign indicates that I had only driven 406 k's from Halls Creek and it was already late in day two of the track.

There were many four wheel drivers travelling the track this time of year. Most going the other direction and mostly in groups and all doing about 100k's an hour. Mostly I was jogging along at about 20k's an hour with occassional spurts up to 50 or 60 k's.

I'll show why so slow!

Just check out the video below.

I would say there is probably one wrecked car/four-wheel-drive per hundred k's and numerous dead trailers off in the saltbush. I didn't see any camels although often saw their footprint in the sand bed of the road.

Once I made it to the other end, it was down to Alice Spring to refuel and head north towards Darwin for my last drop. By the time I had made that delivery it Monday afternoon of week two and I happily turned PM 592 toward home.

I made it back to Kalgoorlie by 7:00pm the following Thursday evening, one shock absorber and two engine mounts later! Still... I was one happy camper!



Comments 8 comments

CMHypno profile image

CMHypno 5 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

Looks like an awesome trip. Coming from the UK, I just loved the emptiness and space in WA and the contrast between the blue sky and the red soil is amazing


dags the drover profile image

dags the drover 5 years ago from still lost in Western Australia Author

Hi CMHypno, thanks for coming by. and yes I agree about the contrasts of space and colour. I just love being out there. It is the longest and most remote trip we do in the company I work for. I probably won't get to do that trip again for 2 or 3 months. Thanks for your encouragments again. cheers Dags


Springboard profile image

Springboard 5 years ago from Wisconsin

Very different than what we get here in the States. Rattled would be putting it lightly. And to have to do several days of that? We have a stretch of highway I travel often, I-43 from Beloit, WI to almost all the way to Waukesha County, which is a good 50-60 miles, which is bump, bump, bump all the way. That's bad enough. :)


dags the drover profile image

dags the drover 5 years ago from still lost in Western Australia Author

Hi Springboard, thanks for dropping by. I had 9 great days in the States on Jan of 2000. Spent some time in Nashville, seeing some folks there and then over the Tulsa, Oklahoma for some more meetings and then home from there. 9 days.. 9 planes... I was exhausted! Quite different from my most recent travels. Cheers Dags


attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 5 years ago from Australia

Hi Dags, what a bumpy ride that was, i love digging up driveways with a mattock and shovel but no one believes me, except you perhaps. I really can believe it how you love that long straight, tumble weed infested, dust ridden, bumpy, thirst inducing, sandy, fly ridden, heartbreaker of a track. I haven't made it into the interior yet but your travelog sounds inspiring. I'll get there one day and hope that i can share a beer or two with our knock about lucky truckie. From your knock about brickie mate, Keith.


dags the drover profile image

dags the drover 5 years ago from still lost in Western Australia Author

Aah Keith.. great to hear from you again. It was a great trip which I will get to repeat at some time in the future.... may be a month or two. I'm off down the south west of W.A. today... only be away a couple of days this time though. I look foward to seeing you on the track mate. Cheers dags


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

A brilliant hub which thoroughly enjoyed and I vote up.

Here's to many more to share.

Take care

Eiddwen.


dags the drover profile image

dags the drover 5 years ago from still lost in Western Australia Author

Hi Eiddwen, thanks for dropping by and reading. I really enjoy what I'm doing these days. I listen to books on CD all the time which I borrow from the local library and I really enjoy that. It exposes me to many authors I would not have "read" otherwise. cheers Dags

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