CROSSING FROM THE BIRDSVILLE SIDE

CGG's road is virtually straight across the middle of the Simpson Desert so drivers today can take their chances on which direction to take - from east or west.   As well, there are interesting detours along the length of the French Line to add to the variety of journeys that can be undertaken.   It is noteworthy that every other access road used in the desert today is an offshoot of CGG's original Line B.

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Be mindful more than 60% of the Simpson's traffic is coming your way as you head west from Birdsville.   It also pays to be careful what you carry on top.   Roof racks are taboo when used improperly according to many experienced back-country drivers because heavy items like spare wheels, water or fuel drums slung up high change the centre of gravity dangerously in a rocking, swaying vehicle - the standard driving mode faced on the eastern slopes of the dunes.   Mounds of rough going in your path as you climb take on the shapes of moguls reminiscent of the snowfields.   Nevertheless, roof racks are indispensable for bulky but light stowage of swags and tents and folding chairs.  These are usually the first items thrown off the roof after the nightly camp site is chosen and a run has to be made for firewood.

Although I drove a Chev Blitz prime mover carting a 17-ton workshop trailer in fits and starts every couple of weeks on camp moves all the way across to Glengyle, in a convoy that included four other heavyweight Blitzes - a feat which took nearly a year, I cannot recommend anyone contemplating towing a trailer of any description along the French Line these days, no matter how well prepared it might be.   I know people do it and get away with it, but many fail.   My co-drivers and I had the backup of bulldozers and a team of mechanics to get us over the steepest of dunes, those we could not master with a runup.  As I understand it, if it is not the springs that let you down with a box trailer, it's the bearings.   Sporting a flag on the antenna helps when the traffic is mostly against you going west also.  My party had the first head-on collision in the Simpson around August 1963, when a Dodge weapons-carrier driven by the CGG surveyor knocked out a juggies' Lannie on a crest.  We were forever going backwards and forwards on the 'Line so it was a wonder it was an isolated incident.

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In no event shall the editor Kevin Murphy or his former workmates of the French Line construction team be liable for any damages whatsoever resulting from any action arising in connection with the use of this information or its publication, including any action for infringement of copyright or defamation.