10 Apr 2001
We leave the showground and drive to Lake
Wyangan, just north of Griffith. This was used as a staging area
before and after the rally and when we arrived there must have been
20 rigs parked in the camping area. I decide it will be too much
trouble to do a hard right and join them so we drive straight ahead
to the picnic area and park on the lake side.
Fig 1. Parked on the shores of
For a while we had some peace but as I was taking
the above photo, with my camera on the ground and bum in the air,
I heard "What's he doing", then "Taking a photo I
I stood up and faced two men who were by now looking
at the truck. "Did you build it yourself?" they asked.
We chatted for a while then they left.
I took some more photos then noticed a swarm of
women heading my way. It seems they were artists and, when they
heard I was a photographer, had to come over and check things out.
"Did you build it yourself?", "How long did it take"?,
"What kind of photography do you do?", "Just travelling
around eh? I'd love to do that".
Eventually they left and I retreated to
the lounge room, collapsing into my trusty recliner. I raised the
footrest and closed my eyes.
Fig 2. Relaxing in the lounge room.
It was such a peaceful place, delightfully warm
with a slight breeze and the sound of water gently lapping on the
shore. Perfect for an afternoon nap. I started to nod off...
There was a scrunching of feet on gravel, then...
"Did you build it yourself?"
11 Apr 2001
We stay with Steve and Jill in Ardlethan
on the way home, they are the current owners of the Bedford we were
parked with at the rally. Arriving just in time for dinner we cracked
open some of Steve's home brew, had a nice meal, then settled in
to watch some videos showing their exploits in the truck.
Steve and Jill have owned the Bedford for 25 years
and it's been a proven performer. Some of the video footage will
make your hair curl as the 9-tonne beast is bogged on sandhills
in the Simpson Desert, gets it's mirrors, lights and just about
everything else ripped off on the Anne Beadel Track and slides violently
in the mud on a rain soaked Corner Country plane.
Chris is looking at me as if to say "We're
not going to do that are we?".
Well the answer is "Probably not" as
our truck is larger than the Bedford and it's also our only major
possession so we have to be more careful.
Next morning I rise just before the sun and climb
onto the roof to get a shot of Steve's two WORTs, the old and the
Fig 3. Part of Steve and Jill's
has already "knocked up" an A-frame for the Suzuki (a quickie
but better than most jobs I've seen) and they will be delivering the
Bedford to its new owners then returning in the Suzi. The exchange is
in Geraldton, 4000ks away. That's an 8000k (5000 miles) round trip with
no sightseeing, just driving. Rather them than me.
Fig 4. Steve and Jill's two WORTs.
They are selling the Bedford because Steve is
finding it too hard to drive and Jill doesn't drive it at all. The
replacement can be seen in the above two photos, a Bedford chassis
with an Austin bus body.
Obviously there is still a long way to go with
this project but it will get done and should be a serious piece
of gear. Because it's smaller and has amazing approach and departure
angles it should really be able to go anywhere. Probably more important
is the power steering which means Jill can share the driving.
We were parked in Steve and Jill's ample back
yard, along with their two trucks, a house boat, two caravans, a
gantry and assorted chassis, VW kombi bodies, sheds etc.
Fig 5. Our truck easily fits into
It drove home to me something I originally
thought of a couple of years ago, that is that visiting friends
is going to be different from now on. Normally, when travelling,
you drop in on your friends, park in the driveway and stay in a
When you travel in a 14-tonne truck
you don't just park in someone's driveway, you have to find somewhere
that can handle such a vehicle, a nearby vacant lot or maybe a caravan
park. The whole dynamics of the visit has changed, now one of you
has to commute to the other.
So instead of being able to sit up
'till 3am with a few beers then stumble into bed, somebody has to
drive home. Instead of the girls retiring early and the boys sitting
up for hours (or vice versa) getting tipsy and telling lies, you
have to drive home together.
I hope most of my friends can accommodate
the truck, if not in their driveway, at least within walking distance.