Slipping and Sliding along the Road

Finding affordable places to stock up with food and fill up with diesel is hard work in remote parts of Australia. After several weeks of being in north-eastern South Australia, we were getting low on everything.

Camped at Muloorina Station, near Lake Eyre, we ran out of oats for porridge, brown rice to make more rice milk, and eggs to make more bread. Even worse, the coffee was getting low, and I was out of soy milk. Apparently I don’t cope so well without my coffee … actually, Peter now offers to make me a cup of coffee if he thinks I’m in a bad mood (in other words, if I’m not doing what he wants).

As Roxby Downs is a smallish detour off the Oodnadatta Track, we went down the Borefield Road to do a large shop at Woolworths. When I say smallish detour…it’s 120km. Anyway, we headed down and got the boring necessities out of the way before pulling over just out of the township for the night.

The grey clouds were gathering as we headed off in the morning. I heard the familiar noise to let me know I had an email. It was my best friend complaining about a government report she had to write for work and asking where I was up to. I replied, “We’ll be heading up to Coward Springs. Looking forward to going to the thermal springs there.”
“I hope it doesn’t rain before we get there. I don’t mind if it rains once we get there and we have to stay for a few days, but I want to get there.” I said to the others, as we watched the streaky clouds that gave away that the rain was bucketing down not too far away.

We’d nearly reached the Oodnadatta Track again when the car started sliding along the road. The rain had been through that section, and there the red sand just turns to slushy, sticky goop with a bit of water. I could see that Jarrad was pale and concentrating hard, as Susan cried, “Dad! Dad! What’s happening, Dad?”

I silenced the kids as Jarrad slowly regained control over the campervan as it slid and slided along the track, fishtailing out of control. Finally he was able to safely pull it up to a stop.

“We’ve gotta go back,” he told me, “I just hope the rains haven’t been in behind us since we’ve come up, or we’ll be stuck here for a few days until it dries.”

I walked along next to the car as Jarrad reversed back the way we came from, looking for somewhere to turn around … sometimes in control, sometimes stopping as the car or campervan started sliding again. I grew taller with each step as the mud clung to the bottom of my shoes. The tyres looked similar, with an inch of mud firmly coating them.
Finally we could turn around, and we went slowly back down the way we’d come from. Thankful that the rains hadn’t set in behind us. Disappointed at not being able to sit in the thermal springs, and see the rest of the Oodnadatta Track. Cursing myself for having been so unsympathetic towards my poor friend writing her report. I think a report might have been more fun than sliding along a track.

Travelling Australia in a campervan since 2009 with our four children aged 4, 7, 10, and 11. We are a family living on the road. Stopping to work in rural and remote towns as we need more money, we love this lifestyle. The four kids are homeschooled as we work our way slowly around Australia.

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About Amy and Jarrad

Travelling Australia in a campervan since 2009 with our four children aged 4, 7, 10, and 11. We are a family living on the road.
Stopping to work in rural and remote towns as we need more money, we love this lifestyle. The four kids are homeschooled as we work our way slowly around Australia.

Comments

  1. Lisa Wood
    Twitter: newlifeonroad
    says:

    Gosh that sounds like one scary ride! So glad that you got out ok, and that you were able to turn around.

    The hot springs would have been nice, but not at the risk of you having an accident. Glad it was a happy ending!

    Cheers
    Lisa

    • admin
      Twitter: livinontheroad
      says:

      Yeah, it was pretty bad at the time, the roads out there just turn to slush with the slightest bit of water.

      I really did want to sit in those hot springs though! Oh well, maybe at another place …

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