John   and   Howard   drove   back   to   Leonora   to   get   unleaded   fuel   for   the   bike   and   extra   fuel   for   the   4WD.      It   took   quite   a   bit   of   time   to get   the   fuel   as   ten   20-litre   jerry   cans   had   to   be   filled   just   for   the   bike’s   requirements.     Three   more   jerry   cans   were   filled   with   diesel for   the   4WD   in   case   the   150   litres   they   had   in   two   tanks   were   not   sufficient.      They   left   Leonora   knowing   that   it   was   probably   the last   town   before   their   destination   of   Halls   Creek   over   2   000   kilometres   away.     Heading   north-east   they   proceeded   to   a   place   some   kilometres   north   of   the abandoned   Nambi   Homestead   [Lat   28   23.120S,   Long   121   40.632E]   where they    were    looking    forward    to    setting    up    camp    to    await    Alan's    arrival sometime   soon.      It   was   dark   well   before   they   got   there   and   the   kangaroos were   out   and   about   in   great   numbers.      They   hit   and   killed   one   instantly   and another   one   broke   the   front   left   indicator   before   hopping   into   the   scrub.     They proceeded to set up camp some ten metres from the road. Meanwhile,   Alan    was    heading    towards    two    claypans    near    Thooto    Pool where   it   was   likely   that   Carnegie   started   his   journey.      These   claypans   [Lat 28   35.391S,   Long   120   56.970E]   had   a   lot   of   green   herbage   around   their banks   and   they   contained   fresh   water.      Alan   searched   around   one   of   the claypans   (above)   but   found   nothing   of   interest   except   an   old   ring-pull   can.      Heading   roughly   east-north-east,   following   tracks   and fencelines,   Alan   rode   towards   where   the   others   were   supposed   to   meet   him   some   76   kilometres   away   as   the   crow   flies;   easier said than done. Alan    realised    now    the    honeymoon    period,    if    there    ever    was    one,    was already    over.        From    that    moment,    and    through    to    the    very    end    of    the expedition,   it   was   going   to   be   hard   going   and   tough   as   the   normal   rules   of contemporary   civilisation   do   not   apply   out   there.      One   has   to   be   totally   self- sufficient   and   self-reliant.      He   had   anticipated   meeting   the   others   a   few hours   after   he   left   so   he   only   took   minimal   provisions.      As   it   got   dark   it   also got   very   cold   and   he   regretted   leaving   his   jacket   in   the   4WD.         The   tracks and   fencelines   he   was   following   had   not   been   used   for   years   so   it   was   fairly slow   going   in   the   night.      Later,   every   ten   minutes   or   so   he   would   stop   the bike   and   rest   his   back   up   close   to   the   motor   for   warmth   as   he   was   literally shaking   with   the   cold.      Longing   to   get   back   to   the   others   and   camp   could   be considered   an   understatement.      Many   kangaroos   were   seen   hopping   out   of the   bike's   path.      Just   after   9:00pm   he   arrived   at   the   camp   the   others   had   set up,   very   tired   and   ready   for   a   quick   bite   to   eat   and   bed.      He   certainly   learnt an   important   lesson.      Never   again   would   he   set   off   without   suitable   clothing or provisions as one never knew what to expect.
14 April   2003   was   the   first   full   day   out   in   the   bush.      The   group   was   already   behind   schedule   so   it   was   decided   that   for   a   while Alan   (by   the   bike   there)   would   travel   with   John   and   Howard   on   roads   and   tracks,   Irwin   Well   being   the   first   destination,   perhaps for   morning   tea.      Soon   they   all   arrived   at   Head   Well   where   John   and   Howard headed   north   to   Four   Corners   Well   then   east   to   Irwin   Well,   and Alan   headed due   east   to   Irwin   Well   as   the   track,   though   rough   and   along   a   fenceline,   was perhaps   a   quicker   way   to   get   there   than   the   better   road   the   4WD   was   to take. About   five   kilometres   down   the   track Alan   looked   south   to   see   if   he   could   see the   “large   white   quartz   blow   standing   out   from   a   saltbush   flat”   a   kilometre away   mentioned   by   Carnegie.     He   didn't   see   it;   it   was   rather scrubby   and   the   fence   had   no gaps   in   it   so   he   continued   on   towards   Irwin   Well.      On   arriving   at   Irwin   Well   Alan noticed   a   lot   of   water   around,   certainly   no   shortage   of   water   here.      There   was   a lot   of   grass   growing   on   the   surface   of   the   mud.      He   waited   for   the   others   to   arrive and shortly they did—on the other side of the nice green grass! Howard,   who   was   driving,   saw   Alan   and   straight   away   headed   in   his   direction, despite   frantic   waving   of   Alan’s   arms.         Soon   all   the   wheels   were   spinning   and the   4WD   was   nicely   bogged.   After   over   two   hours   of   digging   and   fetching   wood for   extra   traction   the   vehicle   was   freed   and   the   group   went   on,   Howard   having learnt   the   lesson   today.      A   few   kilometres   up   the   track   the   group   had   a   lunch   of pasta, already quite exhausted and the day was only half done. The   group   split   up   again,   the   4WD   headed   north   for   a   while   and   the   bike   headed east   to   Lake   Irwin,   as   Carnegie   did,   though   he   did   not   name   the   lake.     The   picture   here   is   taken   from   the   south-west   of   the   lake and   the   land   in   the   distance   is   actually   an   island.      The   dead   kangaroo   says   a   lot   for   the   harsh conditions   of   the   country.      Carnegie   crossed   the   lake   here   and   camped   on   the   island,   as   an excerpt   from   his   exploration   map   shows   (below).      It   was   not   until   the   next   morning   that Carnegie   realised   it   was   an   island   and   he   had   a   hard   time   getting   the   camels   over   the   lake   as his   drawing   shows   (below).      Alan   also   visited   the   island   and   when   he   got   to   the   other   side decided   it   was   too   risky   to   try   and   cross   the   salt   lake   as   there   was   quite   a   lot   of   water   in   it   and he   had   neither   the   patience,   time   nor   energy   to   spend   the   afternoon   digging   the   bike   out.     Therefore   he   rode   back   to   the   south-west   side   of   the   lake   and   followed   the   bank   about   sixteen kilometres   towards   the   north-west   to   where   a   track   crosses   a   narrow   section   of   the   lake.      Here he   noticed   that   John   and   Howard   had   earlier   crossed   in   the   4WD.      He   was   behind   schedule again   so   gave   up   on   the   idea   of   travelling   straight   through   the   bush   and   reverted   to   using   old tracks   and   fencelines   again.      This   was   unfortunate   as   there   were   a   few   waterholes   in   the   area   which   Carnegie   had   found   and which Alan would have liked to locate and identify. Earlier,   John   and   Howard   had   started   travelling   along   the   Nambi-Bandya   road.     They   met   up   with   a   young couple   on   the   road   who   said   no   one   had   headed   that   way   for   some   time.         They   said   they   had   last checked   the   road   further   north   two   weeks   ago   and   it   was   impassable.      John   and   Howard   decided   to   see for   themselves.      There   were   numerous   places   where   there   was   water   across   the   road   and   they   had   to find   alternative   ways   around   but   managed   to   avoid   getting   stuck   in the   mud.      The   water   was   generally   heading   in   the   direction   of   Lake Irwin.         They   crossed   the   lake   at   the   narrow   crossing   where Alan,   on the   bike,   was   to   cross   later.      After   passing   Bandya   it   started   to   get dark   and   there   was   still   over   40   kilometres   to   the   meeting   point.      At 6:30pm,   after   hitting   another   kangaroo,   they   arrived   at   the   designated   meeting   point   and looked   for   a   good   place   to   camp.      Not   ten   minutes   later   they   saw   the   headlights   of   the bike   approaching   through   the   bush   so   turned   on   the   flashing   light   on   top   of   the   vehicle   to guide   Alan   to   camp.      Alan   had   run   out   of   tracks   and   had   to   ride   the   last   five   or   six kilometres through the bush in the dark.
On   Saturday   12 April   2003   about   11:00am   three   men   left   the   comfort   of   their   homes   in   Perth,   Western Australia   and   started   on a   journey   that   would   in   less   than   four   weeks,   if   all   went   to   plan,   take   them   across   three   deserts.      John   McCall   (67), Alan   McCall (33)   and   Howard   McCall   (30)   set   out   to   retrace   explorer   the   Hon   David   Wynford   Carnegie   and   his   exploration   party's   epic crossing of the Western Australian central desert in 1896. Using   copies   of   Carnegie's   original   diaries,   excerpts   from   Carnegie's   Spinifex   and   Sand   (C.   Arthur   Pearson   Ltd   1898)   and other   available   literature   and   then   overlaying   this   information   on   over   40   maps   purchased   for   the   trip,   most   of   Carnegie's   route was   established.      This   information   was   then   transferred   to   some   mapping   software   for   further   analysis   and   correction.      Points of   interest   and   nearby   modern   tracks   that   might   be   of   use   when   travelling were    then    uploaded    onto    two    Global    Positioning    Systems    for    later retrieval and navigation. No   electronic   navigation   was   required   to   get   to   their   first   camp   (pictured) which   was   ten   kilometres   east   of   the   township   of   Yellowdine   on   the   Great Eastern   Highway.      John   and   Howard   practised   putting   the   tent   up   whilst Alan spent half an hour getting the fire going with wet wood. The   first   major   destination   the   next   day   was   Doyles   Well   [Lat   28   31.259S,   Long   120   57.664E]   near   Leonora.      Before   then, though,   they   passed   through   the   mining   towns   of   Coolgardie,   Kalgoorlie,   Menzies   and   Leonora.      The   group   of   three   arrived   at Doyles Well about 2:30pm, a bad sign as time was against them all from the start. Even   though   Carnegie   camped   several   miles   south   of   Doyles   Well   (or   Cutmores Well),   it   was   of   significance   as   Carnegie   bought   vegetables   from   a   caretaker there   the   day   before   he   began   his   journey.      Here   he   had   his   last   meal   with   other white men for a long time to come. These   days   the   actual   well   serves   a   windmill   but   some   200   metres   to   the   west are   various   ruins   including   that   of   a   hotel   (right)   and   imported   flora.         Old   broken bottles abound as do old metal parts. Here   the   group   planned   to   separate   into   two   groups,   each   to   assume   different roles   for   the   remainder   of   the   trip.      John   and   Howard   would   keep   mainly   to   the tracks   in   the   4WD   (Landcruiser   Trayback)   whilst   Alan   would   ride   a   motorbike (Yamaha Quadcycle), and try to keep as close as possible to Carnegie's route. The   group   spent   an   hour   unpacking   the   bike   and   redistributing   the   load   on   both the   bike   and   the   4WD   before   it   was   time   for   them   to   separate. After   best   wishes all    round   Alan    took    off    at    4:30pm    heading    south    whilst    John    and    Howard watched and wondered if they would ever see him again!
Beginning, Blunders and Bogs