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.

Are you taking the roads around Australia or just drive through the wilderness?? Didn't you have enough experience in Africa? This reminds me of Kommerzijl...you always liked to play in the sandbox.
Klaas: The plan is to see some of the places that we could not reach in 1990 due to bad roads or remoteness. This time we can travel virtually anywhere, short of high dunes with soft sand.
It does mean lots of red dust and thousands of kilometers of corrogated roads with very likely repairs to car and trailer. We want to do it now, before old age and arthritis gets us.
Hey the course looks very inspiring - probably something all drivers should do! But do you not take the trailer?
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