I am taking some boys on a camping and football trip and my Shire troopy* is not yet repaired. So Lachy drove down to meet me half way along the Tanami with the Youth Town Troopy so I could use it for the trip. He took my own Taistealaí back to Halls Creek. Taistealaí is not covered by Shire insurance for transporting kids. Australia does not have an ACC system. Here we need public liability insurance and face litigation over traffic accidents, sport accidents or even work accidents in some cases.
It is because I did not have private health insurance, and did not injure myself at work, that my left arm is now partly disabled. Had I lied about how I injured my arm, I might be a nearly whole man today. I was not covered for prompt treatment or for compensation. It was a year between the injury and the operation, by which time it was too late. That would not have been a problem in NZ but I did not know this about Australia until too late.
But I digress.
The town troopy is much cleaner and tidier than mine! Note to self….
It was quite illuminating to drive a 4.2 litre six cylinder diesel up the road for an hour, and immediately switch to a 4.8 litre V8 diesel going back over the same route. That extra .4 of a litre and two cylinders of the troopy does make quite a difference in the feel of the vehicle. Definitely more power there. I had not noticed it so much before because there had been a longer period between driving one or the other. I am not at all concerned that the six is less powerful, because it is much more economical on fuel, and in any case it still has all the power I am ever likely to need. Even if I end up in the future as a grey nomad towing my home behind me it will not be a huge affair, just a little caravan or camper trailer.
Also on the plus side, I realised that the suspension and ride in Taistealaí is more comfortable.
Both cars handle really well on the rough Tanami. So nice to have a good vehicle. I realise now just how inadequate the Holden Colorado was. Particularly if one drives thse roads regularly.
One thing I have learned in the time I have been up here, is the value of a good 4WD on rough unpaved roads. When I first got here I wrote somewhere on my blog that some locals were quite proud of the fact they drove down the Tanami and Duncan roads without ever engaging four wheel drive. I even did it myself in the Colorado. What a dick. I have since learned, both by training and experience, that this refusal to engage 4WD on unpaved roads is a foolish and wrong attitude. It is dangerous. The reasoning most people give for staying in 2WD unless they are likely to get bogged, is the dubious claim that there is less wear and tear on the vehicle when running in two wheel drive only, and the probably reasonably valid argument that fuel economy is improved. However valid these assertions may be, they are strongly counterbalanced by the incontrovertible fact that traction, control and handling, and stability are far greater on rough roads when in four wheel drive. Therefore it is safer! When conditions can change from shingle to sand to bulldust to rock within a few metres, control is necessary at all times Safety is paramount on these roads. It is a bloody long way to hospital, if you’re badly injured it will seem a very long time until help arrives -assuming there is some way to call for assistance, or that someone finds you before you bleed out. A serious accident will require helicopter evacuation because ambulances do not travel these roads. Anyone who feels that saving a few dollars on maintenance or fuel is more important than the lives of the occupants of the vehicle, or is more significant than the increased chance the vehicle itself might be wrecked in an accident, is not thinking clearly.
And that is all I have to say about that.
*For my overseas reader(s) – a Troopy is a Toyota Landcruiser “Troop Carrier” A vehicle that I am told was developed specifically for Australia. It has a long wheel base and long range fuel tanks. It seats ten to fourteen on a front bench seat and on two long seats along either side at the back. Troopies have been the pick for people movers around the outback for years. Now they are no longer in production many people are wondering what can replace them.