Our plan was to do a blog as we travelled but it turned out that we were out of range for the whole rally. Our buddy group consisted of six cars. If one stopped, we all stopped until we could all go on again together.
Being new at this rally business it was quite daunting rocking up for the evening meet and greet, but we were soon enjoying the company, with lots of speculation as to where we would be heading when the rally started.
Next morning, we all gathered in a car park near the Murray River with cars and costumes galore, and to top it off, Mildura doused us all with a thunderstorm.
Rain gone, huge group meeting, and the first destination was Milparinka.
Day 1: Mildura to Milparinka. 588km, about half sealed and unsealed, leaving the bitumen between Broken Hill and Packsaddle. Excitement and a little anxiety as we roll on out of town - will we be the nana drivers that hold everyone up? Adapting to the chatter and rally language of the CB radios and trying not to say the word ‘mine’ because if you do, you have to do 10 push-ups immediately (rally rules). Learning that ‘code yellow’ over the radio means we’re pulling over for a wee stop. Fuel up with Jerry cans at camp and the tank spits out fuel - turns out Babs has a perished overflow hose.
Day 2: Milparinka to Innamincka. Today is dress-up day with a National Lampoons theme, so we set off looking French and Swiss. A long, hot and fun day with 317km unsealed out of 382km total, cruising through Tibooburra and stopping off at the Burke & Wills Dig tree along the Strzelecki Track. Bumper comes loose with lots of rattly and loose rocks. Babs ends the day in triage with her rainbow lights on as the incredible mechanical support team fixes her overflow issue. Entertainment for the night after an amazing meal put on by the Innamincka crowd of seven station families, was the locals’ favourite game of ‘seeing how far we can chuck a dead cow’s tail.’
Day 3: Innamincka to Arkaroola. 421km, all unsealed. Cruising along when we hear a rattle - exhaust pipe is dragging on the ground and is soon strapped to the roof, where it stays for the rest of the rally. Babs now sounds ‘fully sick’, as the hooligans would say. This greatly pleases our inner rev heads. We stop at an artesian bore for lunch and spend a while wallowing in this wonderful bird-poopy oasis in the desert on a 38+ degree day. Babs starts to heat up flying through dips and cattle grids, which turns the air con off and on intermittently. Driving towards the Flinders Ranges provides some of the best sweeping views and s-bend curves of the rally. We camp nestled in the hills with a live band playing and the moon big and bright.
Day 4: Arkaroola to Silverton. Our morning starts cruising over hills and around gravel corners when our windscreen wipers and the washer suddenly turn on and won’t stop. Cue removal of fuse, which also controls our indicators (so flapping hands it is, as we drive through Broken Hill later in the day). We finish the day with a beer at the epic Silverton lookout before heading into camp. Rolling along the same hills and roads that Mad Max did is extraordinary. That night we don fancy dress again, with Chris lighting up the night as a jellyfish and Amy relishing having a beard while dressed as a quite believable pirate. Beers and impossible drinking games ensue.
Day 5: Silverton to Mildura, with 200 sealed and 226km unsealed. Everyone is very sad to be heading back into civilisation and onto long straight gravel roads. We have a stop in Pooncarie for a delicious lunch put on by the locals. On our way again, the glove box hinge breaks and we get lost for the first time heading back into Mildura (our buddy group clearly prefers navigating feral goats and roos to navigating through traffic). We roll into the finish line to a parade of horns, super soakers and glitter bombs - big hugs and beers all round to celebrate making it through.
We met amazing people on this rally. It was unreal - every single person was genuine, eager to help out at the drop of a hat and ready to laugh at any mechanical misfortunes that befell them. The support crews (all volunteers), mechanical and air (tyre) kept us all running and were so capable, working well into the night to get cars back on the road. Saw some incredible bush mechanics at work and a trailer load of tyres switched on and off rims as needed. There was a limo left stranded half way between Milparinka and Innamincka but that team swears they will retrieve it and be back next year.
The medical support teams kept us entertained and were there when things did not go quite as planned.
We are stoked to be part of the Box Rally family now.
Bab’s raised over $5,500 for Cancer Council and we are motivated to raise even more for next year’s Mystery Box starting in Byron Bay. The grand total raised by 150 cars in Mystery Box Rally 2018, and announced last Friday was a wonderful $800,000. All of which goes to the Cancer Council.
A huge, huge thank you to every one of you who donated and supported us in getting to Mildura.
You are all brilliant and we’re glad to have you in our lives!
Babs, over and out.
Winner of the Team Babs Mystery Box Rally-Raffle for the Cancer Council
A very big thank you to everyone who bought a raffle ticket in our raffle. We sold quite a few as we travelled across Australia to Mildura so it could have gone anywhere.
The lucky winner was a number 9, Owen Dare, so the prize stayed local. Congratulations Owen.
Article by C.Bairstow