Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Trip preparations have started

Not the real thing as yet! I signed up for an "All Terrain" course, making sure we get to know the limits of our vehicle and generally learn about 4WD and the Australian outback. This course was run by Austracks and it was useful and lots of fun. One day of sand and one day of water crossing, rocks, uneven terrain and very steep decents. It included one night of camping in the forest, complete with camp fire, heaps of stars, lots of stories and during the day, lots of flies.....

Here we see a Danish tourist couple crossing a creek ^.

Deep ruts that scrape the bottom of the car and challenge approach and departure angles, it was all part of the course. This is our Landcruiser 80 series ^.
Playing in the sand bowl, tyre pressures down to 15 lbs (110 kPa) does wonders, it is like steering a boat. All five vehicles in the picture managed to climb the hills in the background, which was amazing considering the fact that some of these cars weigh over 3 tons, loaded. Afterwards we assembled to get all the tyres back to road pressures (280 kPa) thus testing different sorts of pumps and other equipment.^

Some people wonder why you would leave the comforts of home for the heat, the cold, the wet, the flies, ticks, leeches, snakes and more; here is a quote from "Tent commandments" by Susan Duncan, it just tells it all:

"The birds wake you in the dove-grey light of pre-dawn. What would seem like punishment at home becomes a privilege in the bush. Every sunrise is a brilliant daily performance, every new campsite a home with a strikingly different view: hills the colour of wild salmon, deserts with soils that range from ochre to black, turquoise oceans, creeks the colour of beaten gold"

" At each new campsite, the rituals quickly get pared back to a minimum. Routines are simplified to a degree that would seem impossible at home. What seems spartan at first soon feels liberating. The billy goes on and the prospect of a hot cuppa in an enamel mug holds more thrill than a five-course dinner at the best restaurant in town"

I would like to add that eventually our return to "civilized" surroundings will give more creature comforts but we will still have the memories of the wonderful sites and the feeling of having been close to nature and being at peace with ourselves, away from stress, deadlines and commitments.
Not seeing our kids is what we will miss most.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Waiting for papers

It is getting warmer now and we are wondering if our trip through the desert, direction Uluru, is going to be a risk due to high temperatures and the long distance (1000 km of only nature), meaning we may follow the south coast and go to Tasmania first.
We are waiting for one more letter regarding the permit to use the degreasing facility of the garage and then I can expect an offer for a new 10 year lease.

Our planned departure date is now December 12th, 2006.

There are still things to do like securing the new fridge in the car and sorting out boxes with goods and tools that we want to take with us.
I have signed up for a weekend "all terrain" training, that is one day sand and one day rocks, with the trailer. These people are highly experienced and I just want to get to know the car and what it can and cannot do. It will also be a useful time to run through tools and equipment and to get familiar with the HF radio.
We have a total of 110 liters of water and probably 185 liter diesel on board. It is the old dilemma: take too much gear and you will get bogged or break down due to the excessive weight; take too little and you won't be able to get yourself out of trouble when something goes wrong.
We have bought a booklet "Australian Bush Survival Skills" which is fascinating reading. It tells you how you can weld with car batteries, how to make drinking water from sea water, bush tucker (food) and -in emergencies- how to catch animals and fish when you are desperate. We are very much aware that the dangers of the Australian bush are not to be underestimated, common sense and good preparation are critical.
Meanwhile Bas is already working hard in Norway, Renee is packing and getting ready to join him early in December. Then Lieke and Andrew will go to Sydney for 3 weeks. Tim, Leah and Montana will be in Perth a few days before we leave (that is why we stay a bit longer) and then Shoko will go back to Japan two days later. We will miss her, she is such a nice person.
After the weekend I hope to post a few more pictures.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

De Waard siblings together at the wedding

The wedding of Bas and Renee was such a special occasion! And to see our siblings joined together on one photo does not happen so often any more, especially with Tim up north, Bas in Norway and Daan traveling almost every month.
I am keeping this photo on the desktop, it makes us very happy!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

We are back in Australia, for a few weeks in:

Subiaco in fact! Daan and Imogen are renting a friend's terrace house and they have offered us a room! It is wonderful to experience inner city living for a change: shops, bank and railway station are within walking distance. It certainly is a complete contrast to the camping trip we are about to begin.

Daan and Imogen are getting ready to spend a week in Dubai, work and holiday. From there, Daan will fly to Capetown for a week's course.

Bas has arrived in Norway and Honeywell did not waste any time to get him started. Meanwhile Renee is packing their belongings and organising the rental of their home; she will leave for Norway during the first week of December.

Our days are spent sorting administration, taxation, lease contracts for the garage, shopping for the trip, testing the new camper trailer, making repairs and alterations to the Landcruiser, seeing doctors and dentists and sorting out insurances. I have re-joined the gym and go there three times per week. It was great to see so many old friends again. The same for the chorus (Vocal Evolution), they are getting stronger and better all the time. I will try to add another blog just before we leave.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?