The other day I received this email from a young (I presume) man who must have got the Club’s email address from the internet; it read in part:
To Whom it may concern,
I am planning to make up a convoy of 2 to 5 vehicles this end of July. Meet say at Ayres Rock, Monday 28 July 2014 and proceed west along OLD Gunbarrel Highway to Wiluna in mid W.A.
I was planning to do this trip solo however I am not allowed by law to do this, must be a convoy & permits are required.
Andre was writing to invite members of our Club to join him and for reasons that will become apparent, I did not give any of you the opportunity to do so !
As I’ve not been that way myself and keen to provide this adventurer with good and accurate advice I consulted “Long Trips” Peter, one of our seasoned members with lots of challenging bush experience. Peter was immediately alarmed and although still suffering from jet lag having just returned from overseas that day, replied within hours and his counsel ensured that I did not encourage any of our members to join this, possibly foolhardy venture.
This trip he is planning is no “walk in the park”, it requires a massive lot of planning, permits for Gun Barrel and Canning etc, plus vehicle preparation. The permits he requires have to be lodged for approval and usually take some weeks. He says July 28th. 2014!!!! He must be kidding. If it was 2015 I may be able to help him. I would not recommend anyone from our Club do this with him as it sounds a bit fanciful and risky, with such short notice to prepare a vehicle for such a long trip with conditions that would be the hardest in Australia on 4 wheel drive, and its driver and passengers.
His email makes it sound very simple, and I feel he may have no idea of what he has to prepare for. I may be wrong, he may be a very experienced 4 W driver, but his request would give no one else in our club time to prepare for it.
This prompt response from Peter was certainly appreciated and I passed this cautionary advice onto Andre, with a little tactful editing and a strong recommendation that he does not proceed unless he is very experienced, well prepared and was not going solo. As I have not had a reply I do not know if he still intends to attempt the Gunbarrel Highway in late July 2014 or not.
As I believe he is from Adelaide I have extended him an invitation to come to one of our meetings — he certainly has a keen interest in serious four wheel driving and if he was to join the Club he may find others to make these trips with, provided there is adequate time allowed for planning and preparation — the key to safe and successful Outback adventures.
Two up-coming long trips that I have no doubt have had adequate planning and preparations made by the Club members participating are the Len Beadell’s Tracks departing July 6th and the Madigan’s Line (northern Simpson) trip from the 11th to 29th of August.
I’m sure all Club members will be keen to hear reports of how these trips have gone a bit later in the year.