Overnight clear skies prevailed and we shivered in our swags. Ice formed on the top of the fridges and froze the wet mugs we had washed and left on the table. Reports came in of some jets flying past overnight low and fast, and at 6.00am some poor souls flew past high up in passenger jets returning from holidays in cheap destinations in Asia. We looked up and smiled. This wasn't a holiday, this was an adventure.
Everyone was up and working to throw off the cold and enjoy the rising sun in the clear sky. Joc got up and we gathered to hear his prognosis. Not needing Doctor Google as he is a Paramedic, he had worked out that he had probably broken some ribs and damaged his shoulder, along with general soreness. However, he was going to ride on. Award ceremony was held, and Joc got the day’s award for having the biggest spill. He was issued with new glasses so he could see the trees before he hit them, an RFDS Nurse Teddy Bear that the Flying Doctors had dropped off overnight to treat him and to cuddle if he felt sad and a blue bandana, as that was the colour he would end up when the bruising came out.
Joc mounted up (with difficulty) and we rode. We didn’t go far before another issue was noticed. His red BMW 800GS Adventurer was a bit worse for wear. An examination showed that there was a bend in the rear sub-frame and the rear shock absorber had leaked out its oil, meaning the back bounced up and down like a pogo stick. Joc shrugged this off as well and still he continued on. It was 30 kilometres from our camp to Vokes Hill Corner, our first objective. We made it around 11.30 and settled to enjoy the serenity. Here we would turn off to the south on the road to Cook and Nullabor and leave the Anne Beadell behind.
A group of four decided to continue on in our quest to reach the famed Vokes Hill. We went further west along the highway and then north to the spot that was showing on the GPS. The track grew smaller and twisting, with sandhills presenting challenges to the crew in the D Max. The land gradually rose and we looked about in eager anticipation of seeing the mythical hill. Twisting and turning the arrow on the GPS came closer and closer to the mark on the map and as we came through the scrub we saw the carpark of our objective…with a car parked there already. Here in the middle of nowhere was a young couple already enjoying the spot. They welcomed us as we tumbled out of the ute and walked the last metres to the top. Although not overwhelming the view was nonetheless splendid and well worth the efforts made by all the team to get there. In recognition of the three who didn’t come to the top of the hill we took their helmets and had a small ceremony to mark this turning point of our trek. From here we were heading home.
Back at Vokes Hill Corner we lunched and gathered our thoughts. It was late in the afternoon but we would continue south now on the road to Cook until 4.30. The track changed now as we started going across the line of the sandhills rather than parallel. It reminded us of previous tracks such as Goog’s or the road between Emu
and Maralinga. The bikes started doing it hard in the soft sand while the D Max and Monster Chuck covered the
ground fairly easy, albeit selecting 4wd for the first time in the trip. We struggled to get far in the soft conditions, eventually calling it a day and setting up camp in a swale about 25 kilometres south of Vokes Hill Corner.
It proved to be a good choice as it gave us an early finish to the day and the opportunity to enjoy the serenity and the beef ragu; a good bunch of blokes enjoying good goon. Concern for Joc was high as we drifted off to bed to watch the stars above. We had to lift him off his bike and help him out of his clothes and he went to
bed early to try and recover enough to continue