The journey, not the destination

Graham Cahill. — September 18, 2014

“It’s about the journey not the destination.” A much used (perhaps often over used) quote seen on motivational posters and self-help guides the world over. Despite the slightly corny connotation, it’s a maxim I try to focus on where possible; given my movements this year it’s been fairly easy to do. However I’ve just returned home from a trip that highlighted this concept above any other in a long while.

Our plan was to cross theSimpson Desertwith a hefty detour overland to the geographic centre of the Simmo (a point whereby if you could hold the desert on your finger, it would balance perfectly….imagine that if you can). In anyone’s book, that’s one worthy, ambitious and challenging destination with an earned feeling of satisfaction in achieving. Without letting the cat out of the bag (another corny quote!) I will simply say, it was an amazing trip (you will have to wait for the DVD to see how it unfolded) but, for me, I had gained just as much enjoyment getting to the very start of our journey, as I did the destination itself.

See I was to drive from Yallingup in south west WA, across to Mt Dare on the edge of the Simmo in SA. My route was to take me up toPerth(to drop my hairy mate off in doggy day care), then on to Laverton before rattling my way east over theGreat Central Roadtowards that big rock in the middle of the country. I hadn’t given all this much thought, other than to confirm fuel stops and a cursory glance at road conditions. I was in for a very pleasant surprise.

Firstly the weather was champagne, couldn’t have been better; crisp morning turning into perfect blue sky days followed by cloud free and windless desert nights. The road was in better than average condition (well, the WA side was, the NT section was horrid) and I had a bit of time up my sleeves to stop and smell the roses (or Desert Peas as it happened).

The good folk at Hema had set me up with maps and guides for the region so over a cold beer in Laverton I hatched a bit of a plan to be on the track at sun up to allow maximum time for side trips as I crossed.  The outcome was one of the single most enjoyable drives to work I have yet done!

Leaving the blacktop behind at 5.30am in Laverton and pointing the big GU eastward, I was instantly greeted with a carpet of red and green in the form of a good showing of Sturt Desert Pea. 45 minutes later plus a few dozen photos, Id done 32 km’s out of 1100; pretty glad of the early start!

The rest of the day saw me take in the white cross up on the Hoffman Range, the caves out behind Tjukayirla, a remote puncture repair in the middle of the GVD, found an ancient grinding stone which still had the rub marks from eons of use (I left this hidden where Id found it) and of course a solid day of outback driving across the mighty GCR.

That night I managed to snap a simply stunning campsite east of Warburton nestled in behind a large rock outcrop. Alone but for a the howl of dingoes and the odd sound of camels moving passed once in a while, I had a perfect night under stars and canvas. I could not have asked for a better nor more fitting end to the day.

The second half of the track out towardsDockerRiverand on to Ayres Rock were equally as enjoyable with lunch under shady mulga groves, an close encounter with a huge herd of wild camels and of course, that stunning view of the Olgas as I neared the blacktop at the other end. The GCR may not be a track on your radar but for me, that’s the second time I’ve now done the crossing and I sincerely hope its not my last. Spectacular doesn’t do it justice.

With my mind set firmly on Mt Dare and the Simpson, I hadn’t given much thought to the journey of getting there yet as I was to find, those couple of days spent ambling, rattling and shaking my way across the Victorian Desert were two of the single most pleasant of the year. I guess I’m just going to have to say it….It’s about the journey not the destination!