Journal entry – Glenelg River to Big Desert, and Silo Art

   I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce J, my new travelling companion.

J on Moonah Track, Big Desert Wilderness Area

J on Moonah Track, Big Desert Wilderness Area

   At the time of this photograph—approaching sunset, 3 Jan 2017—J was not travelling anywhere, and it won’t take a seasoned 4WD veteran to see why. We did feel some trepidation with the sand becoming softer and deeper as we progressed, and did consider turning back a couple of times before getting stuck in this predicament, but since it was getting late and my camping site guide had promised me that a conventional 2WD could traverse Victoria’s Big Desert Wilderness Park to the Casuarina Campground where I had decided at the last moment to spend the night, I was not about to let my growing fear of the unknown dictate that I turn and retreat—“J is a 4WD… we can do this,” I foolishly fooled myself. In hindsight it would have been sensible to weigh up some of the extenuating factors: I was carrying no tyre gauge, no air compressor, no recovery kit, and I was following my sat-nav directions rather than the directions in the camping site guide. Indeed, there are two roads in and my sat-nav put me on the road that a conventional 2WD can’t traverse.
   I started letting air out of the tyres but, not having done this before, did not know what the recommended 18PSI might look like on a tyre sunk in sand in the absence of a gauge. I feared I might further complicate my situation so resigned to calling Emergency – 000, the only number I could call from here.

Call details
Outgoing 5m8s 03/01/2017 19:56
Outgoing 10m35s 03/01/2017 19:37
Outgoing Not connected 03/01/2017 19:34
Outgoing Not connected 03/01/2017 19:34
Outgoing 3m49s 03/01/2017 19:29

   Shortly after 11pm that night I had arrived at Casuarina Campground, with assistance from an out-of-town police officer and local farmer. One of the tyres was almost completely flat when we arrived, and another was sitting mangled in the spare wheel compartment after it popped off the rim along the way. The campground was empty, so the local farmer returned in the morning to re-inflate my tyres and I followed him back to Patchewollock along the safe track.
   The whole experience was extremely embarrassing, and I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Roger and Irene for extracting me from the danger I had foolishly placed myself in, and to Kevin at Patchewollock Rural Supplies who gave J a checkup at no cost before we limped off to Mildura on three standard wheels and one undersized space saver to have my damaged tyre replaced and wheel refitted.
   I will know in future exactly how to be prepared and what to do if I encounter sand like this again, and since there is always a bright side that will be it, but if I had done a one day 4WD course when I bought J the bright side would have been Casuarina Campground with me with my feet up watching the sun set, and this would have been a journal about the day starting beside Glenelg River at sunrise with beautiful birdsong,

then setting out for the Silo Art trail through Sheep Hills,

Sheep Hills silos

Sheep Hills silos

Brim silos

Brim silos

and Patchewollock
Patchewollock silo

Patchewollock silo

via a dry Albacutya Lake boat ramp to boat ramp track crossing
Albacutya Lake

Albacutya Lake

topped off with an exciting sandhill adventure. They say you live and you learn. If you haven’t taken the appropriate precautions it’s ‘If you live, then you learn.’

About Brad Frederiksen

Engineer and analyst of electro-mechanical and digital systems by day job. Practitioner and student of life and art (broadly construed). View all posts by Brad Frederiksen

9 responses to “Journal entry – Glenelg River to Big Desert, and Silo Art

  • John Looker

    Well, I reckon it took quite a bit of nerve to make that leg of the journey on your own late in the day! Makes good travel writing though!

  • anon20

    Glad you are still alive!

  • kathi

    that’s great. ya gotta love those opportunities. i wonder about pride and whether swallowing it would be nourishing or toxic haha. at any rate you laid it aside for the greater good of all:) the silos remind me of WPA artwork, great photographs!

    • kathi

      just want to relay about the audio – upon reaching that point, it was an unexpected turn, a delightful one. at the time i wondered what sort of recording device? but then i remembered our friend paul who used to say that questions like that seem to ignore the essence and dive for the jugular haha. questions like “how long did it take to do that?” “what technology did you employ” etc. so i am not asking that.
      but aesthetically, it seems like, and being into audio, on a need-to-know basis:), did you do some noise reduction? :)

      • Brad Frederiksen

        I’m glad you enjoyed the birdsong, Kathi. It has been normalised to -1 dB, but no noise reduction or other adjustments. I’d be happy to send you the pre-normalised recording:)

      • kathi

        ok, i see, or i hear haha. being as how that -1db normalization is the only thing you did, i am compelled by the search for truth to ask the witness the one question no one wants to hear or answer: what recording device was employed? sorry, my bad, paul might wince. if it was a phone well i have to get one:)

    • Brad Frederiksen

      It’s good to know the recording quality is good enough to have piqued your interest, Kathi. I used an Oppo F1S – A1601 with their standard sound recording software. The camera is decent on it too – the photos in this post were taken with it. Not bad for a phone – the only thing it struggles with is phone calls!

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