We got going early this morning wanting to be at the Leigh Creek gas station at 8:00 (its opening time) to get the flat tire fixed. However Leigh Creek does not fix tires, I was directed 5 km up the road to Copley where the task was completed promptly. More evidence for me that Copley will eventually win out as the tourist stop on this part of the trek.
A little way north of Copley we came upon the Retention Dam for the now closed Leigh Creek Coal Mine and spent an interesting hour exploring this little body of water. Quite curious. The sign at the entrance makes a point of telling travellers that this lake/dam is not a recreation facility, and that the water should not be drunk, and that swimming was not recommended, but once near the water we found old picnic tables.
The local wild life seemed to be very happy with the water. There were lots of black swans and a few pelicans swimming on the dam and the waters edge was thick with kangaroo tracks. There was even green vegetation on the edge of the dam.
The mud of the recently exposed dam floor had dried into enthralling patterns.
One of the newer scenic/tourist attractions along the road to Marree was Farina, a ghost town from the days of the Old Ghan Railway. Some of the old buildings are being restored by a group of enthusiasts and there is a nice bush camping ground near the abandoned town. Fees from the campground are used in the restoration of town buildings. One of the more interestring features of campground was the hot water system. An old wood fired Donkey - 40 gallaon drum full of water with a wood fire undereath it.
There after onto Marree, one of Australias Iconic outback towns, and another town that owes its existence to the Old Ghan Railway. Now a major junction of the Birdsville Track and the Oodnadatta Track.
As I write this I am being a perfect tourist, sitting in the pub at Marree drinking Coopers Ale (a beer made in South Australia).
Believe it or not this town has three (3) caravan Park camping areas, two charge a fee, but the pub allows camping in their yard for free and only charges for showers, $2 seemed very reasonable considering how scarce water is.
Late this afternoon there was a significant change of plan. Instead of staying in Marree for the night and continuing on the Odnadatta Track tomorrow we decided we should make a slight detour and pay a visit to the towns of Roxby Downs and Woomera over the next two days. After all this only adds 500 km to our route.
So at about 3:45 we started driving again, along the Odnadatta Track, about 70km, to its junction with the Borefield Road
At that junction on a very bare patch of earth with the horizon visible in every direction we camped for the night. We passed three other vehicles in our late afternoon drive and none passed our camping spot during the night until about 5:00 am when I heard a road train rattle along the rough road.