09/09/2014 – 432 days/39095 miles

I’m out of National Park territory and heading back south.
Rather than going back down the Stuart Highway (the main north/south road through the middle of Australia, and the road I took north through Coober Pedy and to Uluru) the whole way, I headed east off of it, on the Oodnadatta Track, a dirt track, which was smooth, fast, and nearly empty (there was a period of over 3 hours where I saw only 3 cars). The route it follows is the Old Ghan Railway, so you can often see the old track bed or small bridges from the road.

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There wasn’t much out there, other than a roadhouse every ~200km.
The first one I found was the Pink Roadhouse, in Oodnadatta…the name was rather fitting.

There wasn’t much to see outside of the natural landscapes, but every now and then I came across an old building that was long since abandoned, or some other artifacts to prove people were once in this area.

Came across the occasional saltwater lake that was dried up for the season

I stopped in a little town called Williams Creek for lunch, and when the bartender asked where I was headed and I told her Coward Springs, she asked if I’d bring them yesterday’s mail. I was a bit confused at first, but she explained that the mail man only comes as far as Williams Creek, and then they just look for random people that are traveling further down the road to deliver the mail to Coward Springs (which it turns out is just one house).

One of the few vehicles I came across was this camel-drawn wagon…they were headed towards Adelaide, their trip was planned to be 2000km, and they were averaging about 20km a day

Near the end of my first day, the wind was getting pretty strong. Not only was it blowing massive amounts of dust, but it also was kicking up salt from the dried lake beds. It felt a bit like there was a blizzard on the horizon.
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Nope, thats not snow…

After I got my tent set up for the night at Cowards Springs, and got the mail delivered, I headed down to the almost lukewarm spring fed ‘pool.’

In the morning, I got back on the road, and luckily the wind had died down a bit
Not far down the road, I passed South Lake Eyre…the biggest salt lakebed yet.
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And a bit further on was the Mutonia Sculpture Park
Artist, Robin Cooke, started coming here in 1997, making a new sculpture every year.
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The Big Dog
And best of all…Plane Henge…

Next taste of abandoned-ness was Farina
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Unfortunately the bakery was out of donuts

Towards the end of the second day, I started getting into a little more hilly and mountainous landscape, the Flinder’s Range.
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