5 Kiwis - 30 Days - The Australian Outback Tour (page 13)

The next leg of this trip saw the group split up again, this time for a few days. While the Simpson Desert crossing was firmly etched in as one of the key highlights of the trip, there were a few growing reservations.

Back in New Zealand at bike prep stage, Mark unfortunately ran out of time to get his XR650 suspension setup properly. It was shipped to Australia with an over-sprung CRF450 front end and an under-sprung stock rear shock. Needless to say it was not handling well on the sand. Jeff, Nigel and James found the sand riding more energy draining than expected and were questioning their energy reserves. With the Simpson Desert consisting of a 550 km sand track crossing over 1,100 sand dunes, they decided to play it safe and give the Simpson Desert crossing a miss.

This left me with the decision to either join them on their planned detour to Birdsville via the Plenty Highway, or do the Simpson Desert crossing solo. The answer came easy. I was really looking forward to the Simpson Desert crossing and the bike I had setup specifically for this trip was handling like a dream. I was thoroughly enjoying the sand riding and couldn’t wait to crack into the crossing.

The next morning we parted ways with the plan to all meet up in Birdsville in 2 days
It was quite a novelty to see the Finke Race track running alongside the road as I headed towards the Ghan Heritage Road
One of the side-tracks planned for the day was to go and see Chamber Pillar
It was on the Chamber Pillar track that I encountered my first lot of bulldust. It looks very innocent, but this is not the case. While it appears soft and fluffy on the surface, you simply sink through this fine weightless top layer and discover all sorts of rocks and jaggeder edges on the bottom that want to fight with your wheel and throw you off the bike. Hitting bulldust at speed is certainly an experience and a half!
What a spectacularly unusual rock formation! I spent a bit of time walking around having a good look. A very cool place indeed
With daylight running out, it was time to setup camp and get a campfire going
Later that night I had another play with my tripod, slow exposures and light painting
Author of this article: RMOTO