Steve & Buddy (our Dalmatian) are on a 4 week road trip from Melbourne to Lake Argyle to film updates for the 2019 edition of Discovering Lake Argyle and making a YouTube video series about their trip.
The last couple of weeks have been the usual flurry of working through the last minute ‘to do’ list items that precede any road trip, especially one’s like this one to the top of the continent and back.
For the last couple of years I’ve been promising Charlie who owns the resort/caravan park at Lake Argyle that I’d get back up there and film some updates for my ‘Discovering Lake Argyle’ documentary that I shot during our Big Lap trip.
Since filming the first edition, a lot has changed in the East Kimberley with the expansion of the Ord River Scheme and the general growth in tourism and we are both keen to keep the film relevant and up to date.
The film sells on a DVD at Lake Argyle and a couple of other places in the region (and is included in our All Access Pass) and it’s been very popular since it’s release around 7 years ago.
No matter how you do it, by car or by plane, getting to Lake Argyle from Melbourne is an expensive proposition so rather than burn $1500 plus on airfares, I opted to put that money and a bit more into the fuel tank instead and drive up there and back.
Jen and the girls however had other plans, a week in the sun in Honolulu, Hawaii and despite inviting me to join them I opted for the road trip instead.
So a couple of days before I was due to hit the road I dropped them at the airport and waved them off and got back to working on my to do list.
I'm taking Buddy the Dalmatian with me so this is really a ‘boys’ trip and rather than waste the opportunity by just driving there and back by the quickest and easiest means, we’re instead going to make an adventure out of it and look for a route more ‘off the beaten track’.
I’m also using the opportunity to ‘vlog’ (video blog) the trip . . . in other words, 'film it as I go' to make a series for our YouTube channel. With 8000+ km to cover and big chunks of it off road, there’s bound to be some interesting things happen along the way.
Getting our Landcruiser ready for the trip is always a big job and this one is no exception. I spent a big day replacing the front brakes and wheel bearings and Terry at Mr Mods replaced the timing belt and fixed the fuel filter mounting bracket which had broken on a previous trip.
I also replaced the second battery (deep cycle) and built in a jumper cable between the two batteries so in the event the main starter battery goes flat, I can turn a switch which connects both batteries and it should kick over.
I’ll show you how I did this in a YouTube video soon.
So after a trip to the supermarket to stock up on food, a fill up with fuel, a trip to the vet for some anti inflammatories for Buddy (he’s got a dodgy knee), we managed to get on the road late afternoon last Thursday heading for my Mum’s place in the Adelaide Hills.
With just me and Buddy to accomodate we can actually both sleep inside the Landcruiser - all I need to do is put one side of the back seat down flat and it aligns perfectly with the top of the drawers in the back. I can then roll out my swag and lie completely flat inside the car and Buddy has the other side of the back seat next to me.
It works really well and is a game changer in terms of moving quickly and minimising set ups and pack ups.
Being able to pull over at roadside stops and just sleep in the car adds another level of flexibility to the trip, not to mention saving money on camp sites.
And on cold winter nights like we’re experiencing at the moment it’s even better!
So on our first night we put it to the test, pulling over at the VIC/SA border at about 11:30pm and crawling in the back to sleep.
It's a wet and rainy night as well which just added to the ‘joy’ of being inside out of the weather and not having to deal with a wet swag/tent in the morning (am I getting soft?!).
The tailgate makes a great ‘kitchen bench’ and everything I need is in the drawers in front of me including a little butane stove and the billy so with a cup of tea made we hit the road and arrive at my Mums in the Adelaide Hills early afternoon.
I remember from a previous trip over to Adelaide that there are some scraps of sheet metal in a pile of scrap at the back of my Mum's place which will be going for recycling and I’ve been wondering if there is a suitable piece I can cut down to make a wind deflector for the front of the roof rack.
In preparation, I brought my drill and angle grinder and a can of matt black spray paint to cut a piece to size, paint it and attach it if I can find a suitable sheet.
So as soon as I get there I head out to the scrap pile and luck is on my side when I find a sheet that is literally exactly the right size - no need to cut , just clean it up and drill the holes to match the mounts for the current (much smaller) perspex deflector, give it a few coats of paint and the next morning I mount it on the rack and I have to say I’m pretty happy with the result.
Next Episode: ONTO THE OODNADATTA TRACK (EP2)