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CMI Toyota & LCOOL's 2004 Double Simpson Desert Crossing

Day 1 - 5/7/04

It seems that the corellas roosting along the river in Birdsville Caravan Park never sleep, and they try to prevent everybody else from doing so too. But we managed to get out of bed and pack up in time for the excellent tour at the Birdsville Working Museum. After that a quick look around town, a last cappuccino and pie in the winter sun at the Blue Poles Gallery & Caravanserai Café, numerous group photos in front of the Birdsville pub and we were on our way.

The desert was carpeted in yellow daisies after unusually heavy rains. Darren planned a short drive for the first day so that the drivers had plenty of time to pit their vehicles and driving skills against Big Red.

After lunch there was quite a lot of oncoming traffic to wait for so the convoy became strung out over about 10 kms. The last arrivals at the overnight stop scrambled to get organized before dark. The day’s activities provided plenty of reasons for Mitch, the sergeant-at- arms, to levy fines as we relaxed around the camp fire.

Anne and Edmund

A small snippet of the working museum. Sad indeed when you are one who can remember using much of the stuff inside the place. Sadder still when your 16 year old thinks it's "cool" that his Dad is a living relic.

Morning driver's briefing at the Birdsville Hotel. Darren laid down the law and introduced David, our man from CMI Toyota.

Mind you, it was difficult to take him seriously when he pulled these sorts of poses.

You always took this guy seriously and went out of your way to look after him. He was our Sergeant at arms and collected many a fine in his feared tin can - all for the RFDS.

We all lined up outside the Birdsville Hotel for group photographs. The kids of course thought it was really cool.

We had a swag of cars, each a slightly different shade of white.

Simon and Katie pose in front of one of the very few non-white vehicles - a very cute silver 120 Series.

Our final meal at the Blue Poles Gallery - one of the loveliest and interesting places around. The food was great!

Blue Poles is a bit of a stir run by Wolfgang and his Son Karsten.

Onwards to Big Red. This was the approach to Little Red that crosses the dune further south than the infamous Big Red crossing.

A brief wee stop and air down.

The convoy makes its was across Little Red.

Simon crests Little Red. His 4.0L 120 Series Prado made short work of the sand.

As did Edmund in his turbo diesel 120.

Terry follows Simon over the dune.

Peter's 100 Series was at home in the Sand.

Mitch' 35 inch tyres floated everywhere, though his excuse of a new engine ensured that he backed out of anything technically difficult.

Arrive at Big Red and it's time for fun. The "bloke's" run straight up and chickens to the right.

The gang lined up at the base of Big Red. Darren's on his way for a biiiiggggg run up.

Darren bouncing his way up the hard side of Big Red.

The view from the top of Big Red showing the track we were to follow disappearing off into the distance.

Dave had several attempts before getting the knack of driving up soft sand dunes.

Simon's cute 120 Series. Who's a proud little boy?

It's all smiles as Dave makes his way up and over the dune.

The 100 Series diesels struggled for power but most made it up eventually.

The conquerors of Big Red parked at the top.

Edmund drove up and parked on top of Big Red.

Dave Sheridan playing around on top of the dune.

Kristen and kids watch the action below from a safe vantage point. Kristen might look tough with her arms crossed but she was a sweetie at heart.

Terry driving up and over. Terry's first attempt was his only successful one. From there on GG jumped into his 80 and the extra weight was a tad too much.

Darren doing his Damnest to get up Big Red.

Terry throwing his hands up in disgust. No doubt he had been caught doing something inappropriate.

Darren slowly makes his way over the crest.

Daz making his way down Big Red.

Video Action from Big Red
A ride up Big Red from inside GC's turbo 80.


Edmund Gives it a big go in his diesel 120 Series.


Edmund again makes it over.


Dave Sheridan makes it over.


John Porter nearly does it.


Craig came oh-so-close.


Dave gives it another big go.


Terry makes it up and over.


John hammers it.


Norm (2) nearly does it.


Terry trying again but this time with a lot more ballast.


Norm just flew up and demolished the dune with his intercooled and Dtronic powered 79 Series.


Simon hits it hard and literally flies up.


Beryl giving all the thumbs up as Norm (2) backs back down.


Darren shows all how it's done with very low tyre pressures and a Dtronic to help the 90 climb the dune.


View from Craig's mirror up the next dune after Big Red. 2 down, 1098 to go...

Well on our way now, the convoy spreads out amongst the dunes and dry lake beds.

Ivan drove the living pants out of his petrol Prado and loved every minute of it. Even though it was heavily loaded, it never let him down and got over everything he attacked.

The convoy over the dunes on its way to Poeppel Corner.

Fields of wild flowers early on was a mark of things to come.

More and more flowers along the corrugated track that is the QAA line.

An 80 speeds past through the fields.

Ivan does his best to cloud the photographer in dust.

Terry was a tad more considerate by slowing down...

Forward Ho..... after a brief photo stop.

Craig approaching the border of the Simpson park.

We expected at least some damp patches at the creek crossing, but alas no. Probably just as well.

Sand, sand and more sand - but contrasted with vivid blue skies and the shadow of a sand flag.

There's something magical about a dirt track that disappears into the horizon....

The fields of flowers were never ending.

Camel prints in the windblown sand on top of a dune.

A reserved placard from the Birdsville Hotel followed us everywhere.

Fines by Mitch $1 donation to the Royal Flying Doctor

  • Darren late to 11.30am meeting outside Birdsville Pub – was on the phone and not lined up
  • Helmet first injury – fell over outside the pub
  • Terry late to meeting – getting water not in the middle of the convoy as requested
  • Greg & Darren booked into the motel at Birdsville Caravan Park while everyone else was under canvas
  • Darren said he was being “gentle” on his first few failures up Big Red Won the shortest run-up competition!
  • Terry claimed he took no more than needed – Cath was only allowed one small bag while TJL had 270 litres of fuel, 120 litres of water, 7 tyres, 4 batteries and a mountain of spares!
  • Simon For the Best Run up Big Red
  • George & Norm N for driving off the beaten track
  • Darren demonstrated the Prado Pogo – likened to a Rangie without shocks and failure to proceed on several occasions
  • George drove off with tailgate down and wheel carrier open
  • Terry hogging the track up Big Red and blaming his passenger (GG) for his failure to proceed
  • Greg the passenger that stopped Terry going up Big Red (nothing to do with weight)

Click Here for GPS Track File

Day 0
Birdsville Dinner
Day 1
Birdsville - Gidgee
Day 2
Gidgee - Knolls
Day 3
Knolls - Purnie Bore
Day 4
Purnie Bore - Pedirka
Day 5
Pedirka - Oodnadatta - Eringa
Day 6
Eringa - Old Andado
Day 7
Old Andado - Dalhousie
Day 8
Dalhousie rest day
Day 9
Dalhousie - Somewhere in the desert
Day 10
Somewhere in the desert - Clifton Hills
Day 11
Clifton Hills - Clayton
Day 12