Driving a Haval H9 to the middle of nowhere
Part 4: Tibooburra to Cameron Corner
This is Part 4 of our adventure to the middle of nowhere Australia with a Haval H9, which we baptised Ivanhoe. See Part 1: Melbourne to Mildura here, Part 2: Mildura to Broken Hill here and Part 3: Broken Hill to Tibooburra here. We now leave Tibooburra and its gymkhana New Year’s Eve celebrations to try and join Cameron Corner store where we are supposed to spend New Year’s Eve across three time zones. It’s 2pm when we turn the ignition on, which should give us plenty of time to get across the 173 km itinerary. Or so we thought…
“Google maps tells us it will take 6h30 to join Cameron Corner from Tibooburra”
Google maps tells us it will take 6h30 to join Cameron Corner from Tibooburra. It turned out this timing was a little bullish as we had to stop many times along the way…
Cameron Corner it is. Plus we can link westward through to the Strzelecki Track onto Lyndhurst and travel back via the Flinders Ranges, closing the loop I opened during the Birdsville trip. Calling Cameron Corner Store – the only building in Cameron Corner is a hotel-pub – well ahead to book accommodation on the “busy” New Year’s Eve, I inquired whether there were any chance we would get rain and muddy tracks on the way – it’s mandatory unsealed roads to get to Cameron Corner.
As we leave Tibooburra with two bungee straps holding half the underbody protection that dislodged itself in the last post of this series, we can see a storm is brewing on the horizon. We can only hope our itinerary won’t cross its path. It would turn out the storm affected the road we are taking, just not at the same time as us. We need to stop a couple of times over the first 20 km to check on the bungee straps that are getting smashed by the muddy terrain we are crossing. It doesn’t look like they will hold up until Cameron Corner.
46 km away from Tibooburra, we come to an intersection that leads to Tooney Gate or continues on to Cameron Corner via the aptly-named Cameron Corner Road. Turns out Cameron Corner isn’t 173 km away from Tibooburra but a mere 142. Too easy! Except we are now coping the effects of the storm mentioned above and the track is getting muddier by the minute.
We are now in fill mud mode the whole of the time. We stop again to check the bungee straps: one has disappeared and the other one is totally dislocated and destroyed. What to do? Do we retrace our steps and spend the night in Tibooburra or do we push through and hope for the best? We decide to do the latter (but I have a feeling you knew this already).
Feeling somewhat reassured that we won’t worry about the underbody from now on, we start the engine again with an extra bit of motivation. A mere 20 km later though, the track just disappears into a clay pan. Now we are really thinking it’s time to return to Tibooburra. A few pictures were taken to emphasise the incongruous situation, we could bet that a couple of hours ago we would have been able to cross here, but the storm we saw preceding us is the culprit.
We would have confirmation of these timings once arrived in Cameron Corner as two other blokes came this very way to reach Cameron Corner and could go through, simply because it was earlier in the day. Thankfully, there is a backup plan…
“the car goes through every single one of them with ease”
Just before coming to the flooded pan, we had noticed an alternative option in the form of a track seemingly taking a left turn to contour the pan a few hundred metres back. Now this is the real test for Ivanohe our Haval H9. Fresh muddy ruts abound but the car goes through every single one of them with ease. We breathe a sigh of relief when we are able to connect back to the main track as pictured above.
We have decided to let nature do its thing and capture our underbody protection. We will need to be extra careful for rocks in order not to damage anything underneath the car. It is now 7:30pm and the sun is setting. Just as we thought we were in for the last straight, we come across a bogged down truck – it would end up being the only vehicle we passed between Tibooburra and Cameron Corner. We must stop to help, as we would expect the same if it was us that were bogged down. We spend the next couple of hours helping, notably by placing dead wood under the wheels, repositioning it at each attempt. We even used Ivanohe to link and give direction to the truck as it was trying to get out of the side of the track, in vain. Note we did not actually try and tow the truck as it was way too heavy for Ivahoe our Haval H9 to pull. We leave the poor bloke for the night as he assures us he’s got everything he needs. It is quite a sizeable truck and he assured us he can sleep in and wait for the muddy track to dry out by tomorrow.
Article excerpt from Best Selling Cars Blog
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