Expedition Prep. 2 weeks out.

My last two posts round this were labelled Expedition Planning, safe to say we are past that point. Now it is just ‘doing’.

Need to catch up?

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Rounding off the pre-trip maintenance. The new radiator got new foam seals to keep the air going through rather than round it. Service. New Penrite oils for the transfer and the differentials front and rear, means I have now changed every fluid on this truck. I had a good poke around while I was under there and decided some of the bushes around the rear axle were more worn that I was comfortable with, not bad, but enough. Re-bushed with Nolathane, same as the front axle.

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The old bushes needed pressing out, but the new ones are two piece and can be easily fitted with no special tools. As with the front I just let the truck sit level and worked under it without jacking it up, with the handbrake on hard and the wheels chocked. This way nothing is under odd forces, and can be removed and replaced quite easily. The most difficult thing was having to get my big man muscles out to undo the big bolts on the trailing arms, with little leverage or room to manoeuvre under the truck, much huffing and grunting ensued...


Spanner stuff done, it was time to turn my attention to our gear and packing the truck. I had unloaded the truck for the first this year, only to re-pack most of that stuff for a cheeky weekend watching mad V8s spitting rocks.

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So I emptied the Cruiser, and I mean really emptied. I went through every nook, cranny, compartment, under seats, everything. If it was in the truck, it needed to justify being there (trust me, I interviewed some random objects pretty hard). Anyway, if you’ve never done it I recommend it, it was a pretty cathartic experience.

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Then a good clean of the interior. It was start to moving things from the FOB (forward operating base - aka - the guest room) giving them an audit and then packing them or not.

Newish portable AC turned out to no longer be operational, so that went back to Snowys to be swapped over. Let’s see how long this one lasts... New camping toilet also had issues (the legs had been forced past the locking tabs, making the locking tabs not very locking - apart from that it seems like a really good design), so had to be swapped over too. Small hiccups like this make me glad I started getting ready when I did.

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Kitchen/cooking set up. I had felt this needed a rethink for a little while. The picnic basket v2 had begun to self destruct pretty much as soon as we started to use it (previous lasted 10 years and was still going strong, who would have thought there was such a quality discrepancy in such things...?). So I spent an aimless Sunday a while ago wandering various camping/outdoor/hardware stores, looking for options. This is what I ended up with.

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The little pliers are for pin boning fish.
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So yeah it is a tool roll for the utensils and knives (incidentally I did a quick count of how many knives I have, at least 25 it would seem. I have just given several of my old Army knives away too...). Then everything fits inside a tradies tool bag. The Trangia needed to fit inside this bag too as I needed as much out of the ‘pantry box’ as possible to fit groceries in, as we will be unsupported for food for the first week of this trip. Anyway it all fitted pretty well in the end, and the bag fits nicely in its spot when packed. I am also taking the dutch oven, I will try and use this as often as possible when we can have fires to save on fuel for the Trangia.

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Rightyho, time to get on with the packing. Apologies for the dodgy lighting in these photos, however, it was great to see Mr Sunshine.

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I tried to use all the various compartments inside the 105, making notes what was where as I went. Also note the wiring for the Thumper.
The only things I didn’t move was the hand winch and cable. These are bloody heavy and where they are in the rear footwells is the best place for them.
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This box lives in the truck most of the time. As with everything else it got emptied, cleaned and an audit of what was coming and what wasn’t before being re-packed.
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Snatch strap/recovery kit near the top.
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That contraption on the top is for strapping the MaxTraxs to the spare once they are covered in mud.
The dogs knew something was going on. To save them getting under my feet I just put them in the truck, then they know they are not getting left behind.
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Ok, recovery box in. Then the pantry box, as you can see that has had a clear out. Thumper in.
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I was keen for the High Lift to not be across the back any more, so it lives here with the other ‘land tools’.
We are carrying an extra 40L of water for this trip. Making 100L in total.
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I tuck the fridge cover inside the lid when not in use, so to leave a small air gap and stop it getting musty inside.
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Ok, so far so good, so familiar. Now it was time to work out where the extra stuff we’d be taking on this trip was going to live.


Spares kit.

In timely fashion Ronny knocked out a video on this very subject as I was putting mine together.

As usual I agree with a lot of what he says, but not all of it (Coolant? Wouldn’t you just use water in a pinch?). Showing we are all shaped by our own experiences, he takes a spare wheel bearing, I take a spare alternator.

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Brake fluid is the only thing missing from this photo, that has since been added. This kit is still a work in progress, but you have to start somewhere. Some manufacturers list ATF as a manual gearbox fluid, so I figure it would probably serve as a diff fluid in an emergency, then driven out very slowly...

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Packed.

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Wishful thinking?
Compressor on top of general tool kit behind drivers eat. Cooking bag on top of dutch over behind passengers seat.
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I like to leave the space relatively empty. Give the fridge and the Thumper some room to keep cool.
Coming together nicely.
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The tables have migrated to the top.
Then the tent sits on them.
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This is our new pop-up en suite.

Bedding. This trip will also see us trailing the new bedding set up. I’m still taking a couple of sleeping bags as back up.

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Strapped down, there is a small amount of rear vision.
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Once fully loaded I went and filled up both fuel tanks and then to a public weight bridge. 3.1 metric tons (approx 3.4 US tons). Still under GVM for the 105, which is good.

260-270 litres of fuel. 100 litres of water. Multiple recovery options and lots of tools and spares. Plus lots of camping gear, etc. Lucky I’m pretty happy with the set up, as there isn’t really room to add anything of major weight (or size) without losing something we already have. I’m sure there are some detailed refinements that could be made, you never really stop tinkering with it. Isn’t that part of the fun? I think so.

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Mapping, and some naughtiness from Hema...? Not having any detailed paper maps it was an easy excuse to visit one of my favourite shops, The Map Shop Interesting how all the stand alone book shops in Adelaide have shut, from online competition I would suggest, and yet this little place seems to show no signs of going anywhere soon. For that I am glad, and do not bother checking prices on-line for stuff I buy there. If you want these businesses to continue you have to support them.

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I guess one of the reasons places like this survive is the fact you can walk in and say “I need some maps of Googs Track” no pre-amble, no need to explain what that is and where it is. Despite the fact it is a relatively little known track. The chap in the shop showed me four maps that covered the area. One of them was a Hema map, I explained I had the Hema app. In the end I still liked the paper Hema map and all four maps were different enough, and cheap enough that I grabbed all four.

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My mention of the app sparked a conversation around it. How did I find the app? “It’s great, really easy to use. Much easier than the HX-1 my mates have just bought and lent to me for one weekend to use. Not to mention that the iPad screen is bigger than the HX-1. It is just a shame you can’t get the 1:150,000 mapping on the app that you can get on the HX-1...”

At which point the old boy in the shop set me straight on a few things. The ‘1:150,000' mapping on the HX-1 is no more detailed than the 1:250,000 mapping on the iPad app. In fact it uses the same data, just re-configured for that scale. He then points out that while the coastal periphery of Australia is mapped to 1:150,000, the interior and therefore the vast majority of the country has only ever been mapped to 1:250,000. He knows, he was part of the 80 man company that mapped it. He also knows the family behind Hema and says they are great people but that 1:150,000 claim is a bit cheeky, unless the 6 odd people who work for Hema (?) have managed to re-map the whole country...

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This would explain why, when we were recently in the Riverland we were comparing the app and the HX-1 side by side. The detail on the mapping was identical. I just presumed we didn’t have the correct map loaded on the HX-1, as it’s not quite as intuitive as the iPad app.

Anyway, I’m glad Hema exists. Their focus on maps and products for people like me is great. Also the one time I had a problem with a map they were very good in their customer service response. Lets just say I’m glad I hadn’t splashed out on an HX-1.

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So were are just into the final details now. Non-perishable groceries and a trip to the Op Shop (thrift shop) for some books as internet will not be a thing for a lot of this trip. Which is fine by me.

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Now I have finished this, it is one week to go. So this will be my last post.

Catch y’all in a few weeks.

Thanks for reading along.

Cheers.

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