From what Nick had told me the rescue was going to be an easy one so I didn’t need to grab anything special out of the shed before leaving. As you may have guessed already I trust Nick and therefore if there was going to be anything difficult, or anything that made the rescue risky he’d have told me on the phone. He may not have known my job as well as me but he knew how to recognise a job and it’s difficulty rating.
There was no point turning the GPS on to give me directions to Murphey’s track because it wasn’t listed on any GPS that I’d ever seen. Partly because the name Murphey’s was a local name and not the official name recognised by any council or government body but mostly because it didn’t have an official name, in fact there was probably only a handful of people outside of Halls that even know it exists. Most of the action it sees these days is from travellers who get lost or take the track by mistake.
The main reason the track is unnamed is because it goes no where and unlike the city where no through roads might just end with a sign and space to turn around Murphey’s track goes for nearly a hundred kilometres then just peters out to nothing. It wasn’t a dangerous track but it’s remoteness and the fact it lead no where did make some what risky for those who did not know it and just about all the rescues I had been too on Murphey’s track were a result of drivers not knowing what they were headed for. From Nick’s description that’s exactly what I was headed to this time.
The reason the locals knew it as Murphey’s track was, well because locals needed a name for it, but the reason for Murphey’s and not something else like Dazzling Dean’s track was because I’ve never been silly enough to get lost out there, Murphey did.
It was before my time but local folk lore has it that Dennis Murphey, who owned the local service station nearly thirty years ago decided he’d head out the then unnamed track looking for a place to dump his waste from the service centre. Don’t judge the guy too harshly it was a long time ago and things were a lot different in the middle of the desert when they could count the visitors to town in any given year on one hand. Even back then the track was known to be a dead end and very unforgiving and it took old Murphey four days to walk back to town and get someone to help him retrieve his Landrover.
I know that wasn’t an overly exciting story but you did ask how the unnamed track got it’s name….didn’t you? Oh well at least now you can go to sleep tonight night knowing you’ve learnt something interesting and you’ll have a wonderfully entertaining fact that you can share with people at your next trivia night!
Where was I? Oh yeah not needing a GPS. I headed out the driveway and turned right, I had to go most of the way back into town before I could pick up the highway and turn left. I had several times thought of short cutting the track between my driveway and highway back to Broome, it would save me maybe ten kilometres each time I wanted to go in that direction and there really was no problem with the Beast handling the terrain. I guess the main reason I have never done it is because in the big scheme of things is saving a few minutes really worth making a track that doesn’t need to be there? I know you can’t really answer that, it was rhetorical.
Had the trip I was going on been any longer I would have run a quick visit to the servo and topped off the tanks with diesel but I knew exactly where Nick was and two half tanks was going to get me there and back easily.
When I came to the highway intersection I had to wait for a road train to pass before I could safely pull out and turn left. The road train was slowly gaining speed after leaving the sixty kilometre speed zone that ran through Halls Creek. Many drivers seeing such a thing would race to pull out in front of him to try and stay ahead but I knew the few seconds I’d save and the extra diesel I’d use buy doing such a thing was not really worth it.
As I waited for the truck to approach I recognised it from about five hundred metres away, it was the truck of Graham Stevens. Gray drove his three trailer road train carrying supplies for remote communities in northern Wester Australia, his journey’s could see him do anything up to 10,000 kilometres per trip taking him on roads no other trucker in the country, maybe even the world would dare to travel. Gray often stopped in town for a break or just to say hello, I’d even had to help him pull his truck out a few times when he’d got suck on the Tanami Road, he was a good bloke doing a service few others were brave enough to do.
I waved to Gray as he drove past me, he gave me a blast on his horn and kept going. He was obviously on the homeward run with a back load to somewhere because while his first trailer was tarped and loaded his second trailer was piggy backing his third trailer.
Gray and I chatted on the radio until just before I was ready to turn off the highway and head down Murphey’s track. Because he was driving a few kilometres per hour faster than me by the time I was turning off the highway Gray was out of sight and the radios were cracking up due to the hot weather and distance.
I turned right onto Murphey’s track, stopped, aired down the tyres and the started heading north north west. The trees Nick had mentioned for landmark purposes in his call were about twenty five kilometres up the dirt tack and with my speed at about forty kilometres per hour I knew I’d be there I no time.
Previous Desert Rescue story here.