The Land of Aus - Australia E7 Trip Report

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Expeditions 7 Australia - Part Five:


Camels, Cruisers and Cable Beach

We rolled into Broome just as the sun tucked below the horizon of the Indian Ocean. Our view from Cable Beach was unparalleled-- the sun, the sand, a passing trains of camels. We finished off the evening with a quick bath in the warm ocean waters. Going to Broome turned out to be a blessing for more than just the scenery and surf. Not only was it a fabulous beach town with some fascinating history, but it also, luckily, had a modern and well-equipped hospital. It turned out the stomach pains Bruce had been suffering a few days previous weren't just a simple case of indigestion but in fact appendicitis. He would need immediate surgery to resolve his woes. We set him up in the local Broome hospital, where he would ‘relax' for a few days. With flight departures looming, Greg, Kyle and Earl departed back towards Alice Springs, leaving Jeremiah and I with the Sherpa and Fernwey to watch over Bruce.


Broome Hovercraft Tour

Bruce was going to need a few days to rest following the surgery, so Jeremiah and I figured we would be good mates and keep him company. We made the best of our Broome visit, touring the back roads, taking a hovercraft trip out on the ocean, and sneaking things into Bruce's hospital room at every chance. Bruce didn't wait long to make himself at home, by day two he was on a first name basis with all of the nurses and we had to wait in line to get to see him. If you have met Bruce you won't be shocked in the slightest.


Bruce & JP getting a quick brew fix

After crossing Australia nearly twice, all of the E7 rigs desperately needed service. Scheduling maintenance work at a Toyota dealership in Australia isn't just showing up in the service line and dropping off your keys. The Toyota dealership in Broome was regularly 3 weeks out on an oil change, and the Alice Springs location wasn't much better. Scott was able to work some magic and get us all appointments in Alice Springs. Jeremiah and I would need to depart Broome a day earlier to get the Sherpa to the dealership, so it was time to motor. It was tough to say goodbye to Bruce after a month on the road together, but his plans had been altered in a whirlwind. He would be flying out of Broome, and then onto home in the US following his recovery.


E7 and camels


Mmmmmmmm... 1VDFTV Engine

Jeremiah and I didn't have much time to get to our appointment in Alice, so we burned the midnight oil. We made good time driving from Broome to Halls Creek, where we topped off the tanks and quickly grabbed some groceries. From Halls Creek we traveled the Tanami Road back to Alice Springs. This 1035 kilometer-long, high-speed dirt road crosses the arid Tanami desert and is frequented by the infamous Australian road trains, semi-trucks hauling up to 6 trailers, creating a dust cloud that blinds the road for miles. It's literally a king of the road scenario in which smaller vehicles just yield to the behemoths by pulling off the road completely during a pass and hanging tight until the dust settles.


Jeremiah transferring fuel from the Sherpa's fuel drums


Who dat?


Kangaroo's, everywhere!

To be continued...
 

digitaldelay

Explorer
What an awesome trip report!

Btw, Kurt, you look waaay too excited with that turbo-diesel, lol. I could see that fitting into a Pelican case for the flight home, hehe.

Jason
 

cruiseroutfit

Supporting Sponsor: Cruiser Outfitters
What an awesome trip report!

Btw, Kurt, you look waaay too excited with that turbo-diesel, lol. I could see that fitting into a Pelican case for the flight home, hehe.

Jason
I am absolutely in love with the 1VD-FTV, it is a fantastic power plant that has served E7 extremely well. I'd love to own a 70 or 200 with the 1VD.

Oh, and the block was just a tad to heavy for my luggage. I tried :D
 

1leglance

2007 Expedition Trophy Champion, Overland Certifie
Great write up Kurt and good to get some behind the scenes tales of the adventure.

Lots of logistics to manage with folks flying in & out, fuel, vehicle service and more. Impressive.
 

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Expeditions 7 Australia - Part Six/Finale:


Sunset on the Oodnadatta Track

Back in Alice Springs we reconnected with Scott, who was now traveling with his father, Larry, as well as Kyle and Earl, who would be departing Alice for the US shortly. All three trucks were now at the local Toyota dealership getting a full fluid change and some minor service work. Our deadlines didn't stop there, though. Following the service work, we needed to get ourselves and the trucks to storage in Melbourne before our flights departed in just a few days.


Telegraph pole along the Oodnadatta Track


Pink Road House


Train track trestle along the Oodnadatta Track

Jeremiah and I had some decisions to make. Our stay in Broome was a few days longer than planned and the service work in Alice Springs had taken most of another day as well. While there are a handful of neat ways to trek from Alice to Melbourne, we didn't have much time, but no worries as the Australians say, we would make the best of it. Departing Alice Springs, we stuck to the Stuart Highway south to Marla, where we opted for a far more remote travel route, the Oodnadatta Track. We camped at north end of the track and woke early to take advantage of the daylight and visit the historical sites, including Lake Eyre and a half dozen ghost towns. These towns are remnants of the rail road that once extended as far north as Alice Springs. We continued along the track through Maree, camping between the small towns of Hawker and Farina, where we landed back on pavement. We had been pushing hard since Broome and our pace wasn't about to slow. We were on our way to see a treasure at the end of the rainbow a thousand miles to the east in Canberra. The treasure was a 1959 Toyota FQ15, one of Toyota's earliest truck models and often considered the grandfather of the Land Cruiser. Greg had handed off this lead before departing back to the US, and with some luck I was able to track down the owner and arrange a meeting. Now we just had to get there.


Ruin along the Oodnadatta Trac


Oodnadatta Track Sign


Ruin along the Oodnadatta Track


Ruin along the Oodnadatta Track


Yacht Club @ Lake Eyre

It isn't every day that you get to drive a truck so rare that you have never actually even seen one in person. And when it happens to be a rare, non-US ancestor of the Land Cruiser, you take the time-- even if it means driving a little over 12 hours out of your way. I mean what is half day on top of the hundreds of hours of seat time we now had behind us? Jeremiah and I detoured to a suburb of Canberra at the opportunity and soon we were pulling down the drive of Mark's house, the owner of the FQ15. Mark was a most generous host, showing us not only the prized FQ15 but the rest of his vehicle collection as well, featuring various models of Toyota, Land Rover, Dodge, etc. vehicles. To top it off Mark offered us a quick test drive in the FQ, something neither Jeremiah nor I expected. What a treat to motor around in such a rare truck in such a unique environment. We spent a few hours with Mark, discussing the history of the FQ as well as his other collection pieces.


Outback Ghost town


Ferry Crossing


Jeremiah, myself and Mark with the ultra rare Toyota FQ15

With the FQ mission successfully behind us, it was time to rally once again. We'd be flying out of Melbourne in just a couple of days and we still had to get there and re-connect with Scott. Our final mission was to get the vehicles to ARB's headquarters in Kilsyth, on the outskirts of Melbourne, for safe keeping following our team's departure. We wasted no time and drove deep into the night, stopping once again at Wagga-Wagga for the evening before continuing southward to Melbourne. We rolled into ARB's parking lot with just minutes to spare before the gates would be locked for the evening. Scott and his father were already there cleaning their goods, and Jeremiah and I quickly jumped in and did the same. We bid a farewell to our faithful steeds and hopped in Scott's truck for the ride to the hotel. Dinner that evening would be somber as this would be my last night in Australia, and while I was excited to get home to my wife and work, I was already missing Australia and I hadn't even left. I will be back Australia, I will be back.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover” – Mark Twain

You can watch the official Expeditions7 Australia video segment here:
http://vimeo.com/87254932

Learn more about Expeditions7 here:
http://www.expeditions7.com/

Another fun video of our Australia adventure:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5kSt71rscQ
 

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Extra Pics:

I took several thousand photos during my travel and I tried to choose the best ones for my above trip report. That said I did have a few more I figured were share worthy. Take 2000+ photos and you'll end up with a few that work :D


The trucks get some attention after the rough Russian adventure


Twin-turbo charged VDJ200, yeah I'll take it for a spin


Simple trail side dinner, just the way we like it.


Heli Filming on the Canning Stock Route


Heli Filming on the Canning Stock Route


Outback sign, welcome to nowhere!


Bruce Interviews Kyle, the cinematographer never sleeps


Pierre was a major help with logistics upon our arrive in Brisbane


Mark from ARB Coopers Plain, our lifesaver on the Sherpa II build

Thanks for reading!
 

Dakar Dan

New member
Great report, Kurt. Glad you enjoyed playing in our back yard. I'll be heading up the Oodnadatta Track to Alice and back with my family over the next three weeks. I'll be sure to write up a trip report myself.
 

cruiseroutfit

Supporting Sponsor: Cruiser Outfitters
U my friend had one epic adventure. Thanks for the write up and pictures!
Thanks Mike!

Great report, Kurt. Glad you enjoyed playing in our back yard. I'll be heading up the Oodnadatta Track to Alice and back with my family over the next three weeks. I'll be sure to write up a trip report myself.
Right on, I'll look forward to reading it.
 

p1michaud

Expedition Leader
Fitting end to an epic Australian segment trip report. Australia is a place that will remain close to my heart.
 
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