by Michael and Paula, driving a ’62 ID
Edited by John Paas
29 July 1996
Raid is now well and truly on its way. At Burke just arrived as we were leaving, Steve Wedell finally arrived, It turned out that he helped another Raider with his 2CV after nearly “giving the game away.”
The journey around Sturt’s Stony desert down the Strezleki Track was wonderful and then tip to Oodnadatta on the Oodnadatta track. The desert is beautiful and ever-changing. We stopped for- the night at a camping place and lo and behold, a spring bubbling up which has had sleepers built around it to make an idyllic pool.
After that we drove to Ayres Rock. Bitumen roads, tourist buses, supermarkets. A bit much to take after the remoteness of the desert.
Rain. After seven months they’ve had the first rain just when we’re here, Quite spectacular really. The cloud formations and the water- running down the Rock. Away from people we do a 7 km walk through the Olgas. Absolutely wonderful!!
On arriving back at the campsite we are surrounded by 2CV’s. Heaps of them. Yesterday, after leaving the rock, we drove through the gate on to private land at Mt Connor. The rain had caused the sand track to flood. A CX and a 1968 ID 20 owned by Lil and Geoff from Kalbarri, WA got bogged. Paula and I had no trouble eventually driving across the sand on either side of the track. Nothing even looks near- to stopping us in the I.D. At night we build a big fire and natter away. The I.D., with the back seat out, is great place to sleep in on these freezing nights.
David Gries is welding up a 2 CV suspension bracket using, a star- picket. We hear the endless natter of a Victorian called Bernie, who’s driving a D.S – crazy bloke. These French, lots of them – and even crazier. A metallic blue 2 CV that was at Gayndah from Germany. Owned by Kristoff and Annja. They have been travelling the outback ever since but had a major breakdown just outside Ayers Rock, on their way to the start, A trailer was required to bring them in. The problem was overcome only to have the suspension collapse the next day. They wired it tip and drove to Alice Springs, where we had just arrived. After spending two days on repairs we see him near completion. Sitting here in the caravan park, dressed only in togs, using a welder and grinder. You wouldn’t believe it he is an Orthopaedic surgeon, back in Germany.
One more day here and we spend the next week in the Tanami Desert. I’ve given the I. D. a good greasing and its going brilliantly.
6 August 1996
I’ve been walking around with an empty wallet for 2 weeks now but apart from fuel, which Paula pays, we don’t need money at all. Going bush has been great. The last 4,000 kms we have travelled on dirt roads. Yesterday we were given the option of driving on Highway One from Halls Creek to Lake Argyle, or on the Duncan Road which follows the N.T. border for 550 kms. The bitumen is 450 km.
Twelve cars out of the sixty three chose tile dirt and we were one of them. As usual the scenery was spectacular, Without the tourist traffic we had the road to ourselves. Apart from killing a kangaroo at 60 mph the car has performed beautifully,. Most others have had punctures, but so far we have been lucky. Another grease and an oil change. The 2 CV’s break down continuously. Things shear off (break) all the time. Most have had their exhausts ripped off, Suspension arms break, you name it they do it. At least every night an engine comes out. The Europeans love it- The harder it gets, the happier they are.
I hear Dave Gries saying goodnight telling our W.A. friend Geoff that tomorrows road to Gibb River in N.W. Western Australia is regarded as the worst road in Australia.
Well I must get to bed. I hope I can sleep, as it is hot up here in the tropics.
12 August 1996
Phone call. South of Bi-ootne on tile coast. flaviiig a holiday for 2 days. Still no punctures. These off road tyres prove their worth. Still no problem. The Gibb River road taking its toll on the 2 CVs michelin tyres. Ripping them to shreds. People getting along well. A wonderful time. What can I say – See ya.