Friday, January 2, 2009

T minus 5 and sinking

There was nothing remarkable about that sunny December day when Kris and Siam set out for the promised lands. The car was stocked with rations for the night, camping gear was at the ready and excitement hung in the air like the smoke around a rastafarian tent at a reggae festival.

The countdown to Kris and Sar's excellent adventure had begun and their trusty big red truck (aka BRT) was on its first outing since packing had commenced.

It was a 'boys only' affair that day with only the kids in tow, wives and girlfriend left behind.

First mistake... Lesson 1 - always take the voice of reason with you when venturing out into the bush.

All was well until the black clouds of an approaching storm swiftly surrounded the BRT. The other camping companions had already arrived at the pre-arranged destination and all thoughts were on making base camp as the first drops of rain started lashing the car. No one could have predicted what was to come.

The puddle ahead looked innocent enough, the BRT had taken hundreds like it before without thought. On the other side lay shelter, a warm fire and a cold beer.

The BRT inched into the puddle, newly greased shackles and springs working in perfect synchronisation, new all-terrain mud lark tyres eating up the muddy surface with ease.

Suddenly, the car shuddered and ground to a halt, tyres screaming to gain purchase on the slippery ground beneath it. Kris peered over the bonnet in dismay to see the BRT slowly sinking into a deep crater hidden in the murky depths of the puddle.

"No problem" one would think for a well-equipped, 60's-series Landcruiser about to embark on a 6 month off-road adventure around Australia. Just pull out the winch and winch rope, perform a textbook 4WD recovery manoeuvre and disaster averted.

Second mistake... Lesson 2: Recovery gear is ineffective when it is sitting in the garage at home.

With the storm now enveloping the car, and with no immediate help in sight, options were limited. The rest of the afternoon looked something like this:

Part 1 - Attempt to accelerate out of the hole ... disaster!

As the car sank further, tyres wedged in the thick sludge, Siam furiously praying to God for a rescue, and no sign of camping companions to help, the tent was raised and all thoughts of rescue diminished with the fading light.

Part 2 - The cavalry arrives!

The earnest prayers of a faithful 6 year old were answered with the arrival of a snatch strap, 2 camping companions and a Ford Courier. As Kris donned flippers and a snorkel and dived into the brown waters to secure the strap, suddenly the heavens cleared and a the bright light of the sun shone down like a beacon straight from God.

Part 3 - The rescue!

The groans of the Ford could be heard from Coffs Harbour as the BRT was painfully dragged out of the crater. As the back end sunk down, the entire rear food storage compartments were filled with thick sludgy water, enough to add flavour to the sea salt shaker and leave a lingering aroma which should be gone by the time we reach Darwin in April!

The Ford Courier, our saviour of the day, emerged unscathed if not stretched about a metre under the enourmous strain of towing a 3 tonne truck out of a ditch.

Part 4 - The analysis

All in all, not exactly the most encouraging trial run for our beloved big red truck. However, the countdown continues and with only 5 days to our scheduled departure, the frenzied preparations continue.....

Disclaimer from Kris: Sarah's interpretation of the story may not match the actual truth!


Anonymous said...

From the Friel Gang, Pete, dee and 3/4 and Jack, we hope your sojourn is full of adventure and stories to inspire the rest of us. Wish I was coming along to support the BRT.

Madhu Dube said...

ok friends me also following you on this journey...only my transportation mode is different...its my mac on information of luck...n yes...every breath you take...every move you make...i'b watching you

Kt said...

wow sounds like all is goin alone well, BRT is getting a great test run! you guys will be ready for everything that comes your way!
enjoy! im totally jealous and cant wait til your adventure beings to read all the fascinating tales!

Anonymous said...

Wow guys, it sound like a wonderful adventure ahead of you. I will be following the movements of the BRT closely with the enjoyment of one who has bogged a 4WD up to its arm pits many times. Have a great time!!

Anonymous said...

Hey Guys! well you both know I'm missing you, Sarah I still have not done that rose. I was wondering if I sent you a picture you would be able to help me solve it. I did ask Lily but she told me to ask you. Hope all is well and I want the first fight posted on the blog, love both heaps and big xxxx