Raid Day 22, Saturday 19th September

Raid Day 22, Saturday 19th September

Today was to be 500km of the same type of road from Borroloola to Escott, near Bourketown, via Woologorang and Hells Gate.
Most Raiders were up before dawn to be ready to leave at first light, about 6am. We were in a group of about 8 cars to leave at 6.15, we headed east into a rising sun on a very dusty road, there was high light cloud and you could tell the day was going to be quite hot. After about half an hour of driving, the road was getting worse by the kilometre, a check of the speedo showed we had only done 15 km, at this rate it would be 9 or 10 o'clock tonight before we got to Escott even without problems.
Paul and I decided to go back to Borroloola and go via the bitumen to meet the main party the next day at Lawn Hill, we called the other Raiders on the C.B. and told them of our decision.
When we arrived back in town we found David Gries and Ruthard Wolf discussing the direction they would take, also they didn't have any petrol, after a quick meeting we all decided to go via Camooweal to Lawn Hill. A party of 3 cars, our Dyane, Jost and Alex in the Red AK van and David and Ruthard in the 2CV, left Borroloola at 8AM after David had got fuel. We drove down the Carpentaria Hwy to join the Tablelands Hwy, here at the Road-house we added 12 litres to the Dyane and topped up the jerrycans, the plan was to go down the Tablelands Hwy and Barkly stock route instead of to the Barkly Road-house, this would cut 100 km off our journey but there was no fuel until Camooweal some 580 km away.
The road from the Carpentaria Hwy junction was good fast bitumen and soon the stunted trees of the coast gave way to the vast plains of the Barkly tablelands, we followed this road for about 2 hours and just after noon turned onto the Barkly Stock route, here we added 10 litres of fuel to the tank and drove off down the good dirt road there were only a few rough patches where trucks had been bogged, and we were able to do about 80 kph most of the way, again the scenery was the grasslands of the Barkly and as we drove on we ate lunch from our emergency packs. About half way along the stock route we came to a large property called "Alexandria" we didn't stop, and by 4.30 had reached the bitumen again at the Barkly Hwy, here we added the other jerrycan of fuel to the Dyane and set off for Camooweal about 90 km away on the Queensland side of the border.
At about 5.30 we crossed the border into Queensland and the road went from a wide smooth bitumen highway to a narrow bumpy secondary road. About 10 km from Camooweal, David Gries who was in the lead stopped, what's wrong, we asked he was out of fuel so we bled a little fuel from Josts long range tank and arrived in Camooweal soon after.
We added 22 litres to the Dyane and filled both jerrycans, next thing was to get more food and replace our emergency rations, also a cool drink from the fridge went down a treat. We then left on the Bourketown road and drove until sunset, about 40 km, here we made camp on the roadside, after a meal of jaffles and soup we sat around the camp-fire until about 9pm when we turned in to watch the stars on a moonless night, it was the best star show I can ever remember.

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