7 August 2017 Monday
Woke to a very clear morning even if it was a bit cold. As the sun rose it warmed up very quickly.
We packed up and headed towards the Information booth to find out about the Breakaways. I had never heard of them let alone seen any photography of them. A brochure at the caravan park caught my eye and we just had to go and explore. There was a loop road that would take us out of Coober Pedy, through the Kanku-Breakaways and then back onto the highway 20 ks north. It cost $10 for a permit that funds the conservation area maintenance. We happily paid and the guy behind the desk said “now go out on the highway and travel 20 ks north and then turn off”. Up pipes me “ I thought I would go out on the loop road” . “Why in the hell would you do that” he replied. Don't you want to be surprised by the splendour when you get there”.
We followed his instructions turning off the highway as directed and the 17 kilometre drive along a dirt road through flat uninteresting country and suddenly out of nowhere we came to a cliff and there was the splendour. Words can't describe the feeling. I posted some iPhone photos on my Facebook pages and they do not do the scene justice. I will upload some pics onto my website from the Nikon when I get a chance to process them. We spent 2 hours driving around stunned by the spectacular beauty of the place. Part of the area is like a mars landscape and has been recognised as the most like mars landscape on this planet. Also parts of Thunderdome and Mad Max 4 were filmed there. But the strangest thing is I don't remember seeing any reference to this place in any landscape photography sites or books. It would be magic to photograph at sunrise or sunset. We will come back one day and do it as we just don't have the time this time.
As for the rest of Coober Pedy you can keep it. Outside the caravan park there was nothing of interest.
We have been monitoring our fuel usage and doing some tests before we head on the Tanamai where we will be doing 1200 Klms between fill ups. On the first day averaging 100 Klms an hour we used 17.7 litres per hundred. Next day we dropped back to 90 Klms an hour and the usage dropped to 16.7. Yesterday we dropped down to 80klms an hour and consumption came down to a very respectable 14.4. So guess what speed we are doing today. The savings over the 23000 Klms of this trip will be quite substantial and most probably adds 30 minutes to travel time each day. So we are re ally becoming the 80kph grey nomads.
Anyway we arrived at Marla at about 3.30pm and booked into the caravan park and set up in a lovely private spot and cracked a few coldies. Marla is a service town and nothing else. We watched the moon rise in the clear outback sky and had dinner and turned in for an early night and an early start in the morning.
Day 6 and 7 8 August 2017 Tuesday and Wednesday
Up early and boy have we got the pack up down to a fine art. We were on the road at 8.30am.
The drive from Marla to Alice was pretty uneventful and really nothing to report except that at 80 Klms an hour our fuel consumption is down to 14 litres per hundred kilometres. We arrive in Alice at a little after 3pm and booked into a caravan park we stayed at 2 years ago when we did the Simpson Desert . We got the last space and the town was booked out.
After setting up we were straight into town to resupply. And then back to the caravan park a few coldies and then dinner. We have decided that in the morning we will not rush, get refuelled and fill the jerry cans as the next leg is 1000klms up the Tanamai through the desert. We are now doing the first leg to Tidmouth Wells where we stay the night, double check all equipment before the rough part starts. We will also have free wifi so I will upload these blogs as that will be the last chance until we get to Halls Creek.b
We have arrived at Tilmouth W Ellis and what an oasis it is and free wi fi to boot but no phone. Oh well in the desert you can't have everything. It is a nice balmy 28 degrees so there will be less blankets on the bed. Tomorrow we start the real adventure as we head up the Tanamai. We will be off air for 2 or 3 days until we get to Halls Creek, so until then. This afternoon we are just vegging out.