Just joined and thought I'd introduce myself and our Troopy. It's a long story, so this posting will just be a quick overview, and I'll fill in the details over time. Lotsa pictures to come.
Black Rock Desert, Nevada, September 2010
Our Troopy is a 1998 HZJ75, which we bought in Australia in 2002. Of course, it came with the 1HZ engine and dual diesel tanks, but it was otherwise bare bones empty. Only 70k kilometers.
We spent about one month in Sydney, kitting it out - beefed up the suspension, installed a rear ARB locker, added second battery, outside shower, front bull bar and winch, rear bumper with dual tire carrier, full-length roof rack, and roof-top tent. Inside, added a very small bench seat, a cargo barrier, an Engel 45, two 55 liter water tanks, and lotsa shelves and pockets, nooks and crannies for stashing stuff.
Namibia, July 2009
We spent about 10 months in Australia. Up the east coast all the way to Cape York, down to and all around the center, including the Simpson Desert, back up north to Darwin, and then across the top to Broome, then down the Canning Stock Route to Perth, and across the bottom to Melbourne, where we parked and headed over to Tasmania. The Troopy stayed in Melbourne, while we headed back to the States.
Two years later, I shipped Troopy to Cape Town and it spent the next five years in Africa, and we went back and forth when time permitted. The first trip was 5 months in South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia, Botswana, and Zambia. The second was similar. The third took us through South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Rwanda, Congo, Uganda, and Kenya. The idea was to drive on through to Europe, but I got a job offer I couldn't pass up, so the fourth trip was from Kenya back down to Namibia (which is a much better place to stash a vehicle). The fifth was what was starting to become the 'usual circuit' of Namibia, Botswana, and Zambia. The sixth and last was just desert Namibia, because with a seven-month old, we opted to stay out of the malarial zone.
Changing a shredded tire (yes, very dangerous - mea culpa)
Zander wants to help.
Troopy was then shipped to Seattle, where it landed about two months ago. We headed down the coast to California, across through Lassen and then spent most of our time poking around the Black Rock Desert area.
High Rock Canyon, Nevada
Ever since we returned, if you ask Zander "where are you going?", he says "desert!". That's my boy!
I only have one year in the States with this Troopy (it is still registered in Victoria, Australia) and then one year in Canada. After that, we'll hopefully be ready for the Alaska to Argentina portion of this journey.
I plan to use this year in the States to modify Troopy to something more appropriate for 3-person, non-desert travel. I will probably convert it to a BushCamper-style or perhaps a Pop-Top. Perhaps turbo it, finally get the Hi-Lift sorted out, etc. I'll have lots of questions for the collective wisdom.
Thanks for all the great tips and stories I have found on the forum thus far.
Chris, Karin, and Zander.