I was apprehensive. And I suspect Dave was also.
Dave’s brother Keith generously offered us the use of his monster truck, a 6.5L Chevrolet Suburban with a 150 litre diesel tank and comfy leather armchairs. Cup holders, but no air conditioning. Dash cam and rear camera. Well optioned for a car of its day, circa 1998. The Beast would be ours for a month exploring the Outback.
On a road trip we always share the driving, swapping every 2 hours. That’s how we roll – a bit of driving, a bit of navigating, a bit of dozing (me). But in this case we were going to be getting about in this vehicle that has no business being on suburban streets, though we knew The Beast would work like a dream on the Outback highways.
Heading out for a test drive Dave pulled over and said, ok your turn. Sure thing, I can do this. Whoa, the brakes were spongy, the steering was wobbly, the truck was so high off the ground and we were going through the busy Sunday traffic of the Pine Rivers Country Markets. Bumper to bumper. I was terrified I’d hit someone, and yet I’d have to get used to it pretty quickly as we were leaving in a couple of days.
The Outback has vast areas with no mobile phone service and with very dodgy characters about. We would need a satellite phone, and with only a few days before take-off Dave set about finding one for our trip. Interestingly, every call Dave made was answered by a Perth operation (despite googling Brisbane). These companies were charging anywhere up to $1000 for the 4 weeks of our trip, and the phone would have to be mailed across. No time for that, and way too costly.
This didn’t look like it was going in our favour but Dave stuck to the task and finally found a mob in Ipswich that looked promising. GlobalSat would be happy to hire out a phone to us for just $75 per week and we could pick it up on our way out of town. Crikey, you wouldn’t believe how much information we had to give them to get the hire contract completed but it all came together and we could tick that one off the list.
Monday departure day. With the start of the engine we woke up the entire suburb and headed off towards our first stop in Roma, via Ipswich and the sat phone. Woohoo, here we go.
We were so excited about the trip. With everything that had happened so far this year it was a great relief for us to get away from Brisbane on our marvelous Outback adventure. I’d never been out to the Red Centre, though Dave had been many years ago in a previous life and he’s always been keen to get me out there.
There were naysayers! We were told that the trip couldn’t be done because: it will be really cold out there, it will be really hot out there, you’d be driving so many kilometers each day, it will be so expensive for fuel and accommodation, what about the crazy people, what if the car breaks down, what about the flies.
We survived to tell so many stories about the amazing Outback. And I will start to tell those stories here on this blog, over time.
Thanks for following along.