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  • Day24

    Coober Pedy - the Outback

    October 17, 2019 in Australia ⋅ ☀️ 12 °C

    It's really cold and windy at 05.30. I unearth my kagoule in the end so get some protection whilst we're eating and striking camp.

    We're at the control point in good time for our 08.00 start, despite taking two wrong turns. Rob's in the scout car with me today. It's very busy leaving Coober Pedy at this time of the morning. There's a lot of traffic and a lot of solar car teams need to pass us. It's probably an hour and a half before things settle down. All seems to be going well. We've orchestrated two slick driver changes but the batteries suddenly give up the ghost and the convoy stops to trailer.

    We head for Glendambo to charge the batteries. We're there with the relentless flies for an hour and a half. Finally we set off, only to get caught behind a road train transporting camels. There's time to swing briefly by our first salt pan. So flat, so white, such a magnet for the boys...

    We're heading 150km down the road to a series of conveniently located parking bays so that some of the less experienced drivers can have a chance of driving the car in the Outback for short distances of about 10km each. The first driver has a longer than expected but clear run, the second a shorter run with lots of passing cars and the third has the fun of Rob and I almost completely missing the parking bay as it was not only early but unmarked too. We whip into the far entrance and fly back to the one the solar car will use, assessing it's state as we run. Luckily I remembered to grab the cb radio as we jumped out of the car so we were just able to advise the convoy of the state of the entrance (reasonable) as they approached. Too tight though.

    Then the car is reloaded and we trailer the last 20km to Ranges View rest stop for our night camping in the Outback. It's the same routine with tents and dinner but this time there's a blazing fire and music. There is no light pollution so we can see a galaxy of stars and even the Milky Way strewn across the heavens. It's bloody cold in the tent again. I'm fully dressed with socks and a hoodie but I'm freezing. I swear my sleeping bag spends the entire night trying to spit me out.
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