Well it’s been a long long long time since I updated this blog so at the start of my 2015 holidays (my first in 3 or so years) I decided to pull my finger out.
I’m going to drive from Perth to Melbourne, get on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry and get myself down to Ross in Tasmania to visit dear old Mum and Dad and then catch a plane back to Melbourne then to Wellington, New Zealand, and hop on an even smaller plane for the last leg to Westport. In Westport I’ll probably drink too much but that’s OK because it’ll be at a wedding and that’s kind of expected.
From the wedding I’ll retrace my steps (sort of, via Auckland this time) back to Tasmania for a few more days and then load up the trusty Hilux for the 3000km+ drive back to Perth in the west. This whole adventure is supposed to take 21 days….mmm maybe.
It will be the longest holiday I can remember taking for, well, I can’t remember one this long! I’ve always just sort of kept on working – even taken my holidays and spent the whole time working for someone else. Yeah, possibly very stupid but I’m just used to working.
My plan this was to get out of the state for a bit so I could ignore any phone calls pleading for me to come back to work. To do that I used the excuse that I needed to visit my parent (who retired to Tasmania) and go to a wedding in New Zealand. All perfectly plausible.
Roof top tent fitted to the Hilux
I could have flown all the way both ways but the reason I bought a four wheel drive was so I could go and see the place. I have driven across the country many times in a truck but always with a deadline to meet and no time to stop and really enjoy the trip – this time would be different!
So I bought a roof top tent. I was going to use my swag all the way across but I’m getting older and a bit softer and the tent looks bloody cool! I look down on people in swags now, literally. The frame supporting the tent is something my brother and I designed and put together in an afternoon – total materials cost was around $100 .I haven’t had time to fit a long range fuel tank so I’m doing it the old way – got a 44gal drum and filled it with diesel and a hand pump. Should see me most of the way there. I have to ditch the drum before I get on the ferry because they frown on that sort of shit but I’ve organised with someone near Melbourne through a 4WD forum website to look after my drum until I get back. Networking!
I would have liked to have the roo bar fitted too but that will have to wait until I get back. I did manage to get the dual battery system installed so I can run my fridge 24/7 without worrying about the vehicle not starting in the morning. Also a few other little extras where chucked in like a valuables lock box that can be secured to the vehicle – it won’t stop a determined thief but it definitely will stop an opportunist.
MaxTrax slung under the tent
Tomorrow (the day before I leave) I’m going to see about installing a “helper” spring leaf to my rear spring packs – the standard Hilux springs are feeling the pressure a bit with all the fuel, water and equipment on board and I need something to level the vehicle out or face realigning the headlights and driving nose up all the way across.
I also expect my fuel consumption to be higher with the tent sticking up into the wind and the extra weight. This will be the first real test of the Hilux even though I bought it new over two years ago. Prosser Toyota in Gosnells took care of the service several days ago and I’ve got my hands on a modest selection of spare parts such as filters, hoses, fan belt and my usual collection of assorted nuts/bolts/cable ties/electrical joiners/fuses/brake fluid/etc. When I tried buying the hoses and fan belt (non genuine) three stores I asked did not have them in stock so I can only imagine what sort of downtime I would have in the middle of bum-fuck waiting for such a simple part.
Tomorrow I hope to have everything organised and mostly packed onto the vehicle and the day after I will buy my perishable food supplies and head off at midday on my first leg of the trip, Perth to Hyden, where I will stay overnight with friends before travelling on the gravel road to Norseman.