I traveled with the young man who had to be the worst driver I have ever driven with. He drove in the dust of the vehicle in front and would not listen to any advice from me who had already driven the Birdsville Track 7 times. He also kept swerving from side to side and along with the rocks and then the bulldust it was a journey where I chose to put the seat down, cover my head and eyes with a soft hat, and pretending I was in a train, tried to sleep away the 4 hours it took to get to Birdsville.
The drive was exactly 197 kms from the Homestead of Clifton Hills to Birdsville. The first 70 kms is part of the Clifton Hills Property, in the red Stony Desert. The track had been graded and the dust had blown away so it was not as bad as in earlier times. There are 8 grids between here and Birdsville and after 70 kms you hit the white sandy desert where the track is thick with fine dust, faster and the wheels slip and slide in the fine sand which is now grooved by the vehicles.
Finally the radio called the border and welcome to Birdsville.
…and it was 20 kms to the Birdsville Racetrack, where we stayed this time.
It was 6.30 and I went to town with Frank in the Ute to use the Public Toilet Facilities, and we discovered that everything in Birdsville, except the Hotel, was closed. There were a few cars parked at the Roadhouse looking for petrol and food. We went across to the Caravan Park to see if a room was available for the night to be told there were 3 rooms only at $89 a night. Cabins were $135 but he did not have any available. He had closed the accommodation as it was the low season and no-one around. I felt like telling him to look out the door to the Roadhouse Car Park which had a dozen vehicles parked with owners disconsolately walking around like us, wondering what to do.
Next we went to the Birdsville Hotel which was full of people, including 4 policemen all having a jolly good time. We asked at the Bar about accommodation to be told that rooms were $135 each with 2 beds, and $155 for a single. Obviously this was not affordable either so we went back to tell the team the details.
They all returned to the Hotel for dinner and was given underdone steaks with some salad obviously cooked by the bar staff. I chose to stay behind and clean the kitchen which was covered in ice cream which I had made with condensed milk and evaporated milk. This had fallen out from the unsealed fridge and was now all caramel on the floor with heaps of dust. I swept, mopped and cleaned out everything putting the boxes back on the fridges and table so the team would have a hot drink and cereal and toast if they wished. I had a cup of coffee and after cleaning out the dust from my small room, set up the computer and settled to some Internet …
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