Well here’s the rig ready to go! Today we head up to the Hunter, then Tuesday set off on the big drive to the Kimberley.
It’s been a challenge to try and think what we will need for 6 months on the road – no doubt we have too much but its hard to know on our first trip. We know we will be facing some cold nights in the deserts, and despite being winter, some mid 30s days in the Kimberley. So plenty of layering options in the clothes and bedding dept. The car has had a good service with new brake pads, air filter etc, and Premium Plus NRMA membership as our comfort blanket. The shocks are good – tyres OK but have some wear already so expecting to replace at least a pair. The van had its first service as well, and is designed for the types of conditions we will encounter, so let’s see. We know we have things to learn, like how to pack the fridge to cope with the corrugations. We accept there will be casualties.
In the toy department. we have our new packrafts all stowed and ready for the Ord river in the Kimberley – slightly worrying to see this article last week!!
We are also taking our mountain bikes, we have had racks mounted on the extended drawbar by Wardy – did his work allow for corrugations deeper than small children? We will find out 🙂
The car is also crammed with camping gear as we intend to leave the van a few times and head up some tracks too rough and steep for even the mighty Zone RV. In extreme circumstances we might even climb into our hiking boots 🙂
In the power dept we have 3 x 300W solar panels mounted on the roof of the van, and a generator as back up in case of cloudy skies. There’s also a “solar blanket” for car camping – a flexible panel you can lay anywhere to catch some rays. We have carefully organised the majority of power needs to be USB chargeable (right down to the electric toothbrush!) so we can maximise our ability to stay off the grid on 12v. So 3 AGM gel batteries should give us enough juice to keep the essentials going (fridge/freezer).
Tools – well as most of my friends know I am barely able to recognise the right end of screwdriver to use – but a good socket and screwdriver set is on board, together with recovery gear if we get stuck. A couple of sets of MaxTrax on the roof, to put under the wheels if we’re bogged in soft sand, snatch strap to get a pull out from another vehicle, and a electric winch on the bull bar if we on our own or on a steep hill. An axe and bush saw to clear a path if a fallen branch is blocking the track (and for firewood when we are allowed to gather and burn it).
Then we have all the gear for those evenings round a campfire; a portable fire pit to contain a fire and minimise damage to the ground, chairs and table, and a rather large supply of red wine (carefully packed in inflatable sleeves – $6 for 50 on Alibaba direct from China!).
The larder is packed with all those spices and sauces we don’t expect to find on the shelf of an outback store. The fridge and freezer bursting with the contents of our newly immaculately clean and empty fridge in the house.
In the entertainment dept we have digitised our complete CD collection, Catherine has her sketch pad and paints and I have my e-books. We do have a TV (I know!) with DVD player so last night Catherine downloaded the final series of The Good Wife (yes we are addicted we have been binge watching on Netflix), and a whole series of Australian Geographic documentaries.
So its time to lock up the house and cross our fingers we soon have it rented to pay for this trip, or we will be coming home earlier than planned!