Circumnavigating the Simpson – Prep and planning

Only 2 days until we leave on our 3 week trip. It’s been a crazy month of planning, buying, weighing, packing, unpacking, repairing, begging, borrowing and stealing.

Mother Nature hasn’t been helping, with large dumps of rain across outback South Australia, and Queensland. I’ve been frantically checking road conditions: closed, open with caution, open, more rain, closed.  I’ve aged 10 years. Roads in the outback are mostly sand or dirt tracks (apart from the main routes). They’re also irregularly maintained. So when the rain comes they get closed to prevent damage as they are the life lines for the stations and communities out there. So when 20-50mm of rain falls in a day they get closed for a long time. At one point two weeks ago all the tracks we are meant to be on we’re closed to all traffic.

But we are almost ready. I’ve spent a small fortune on accessories for the pioneer platform to hold our gear. The amount of stuff you can buy for the Rhino Pioneer Tray is astounding. 

This trip is all about weight. 5 people in one car across the desert for 6-8 days need a lot of water (100kg) and food (47kg), and then a reserve. I’ve meticulously been weighing everything, entering it a spreadsheet (sleeping bags 2.1kg each) and calculating loading (very close to GVM). The Prado has even been over the weighbridge so I know the Tare with all the accessories on it. I’m becoming obsessed – our plates even double as chopping boards so we dont have to take any. 🙂 It does
mean I’ve had to leave behind some spares that I would have liked to take.

Mannell motors in Thornleigh did a pre trip check for me but forgot to fix the leaking air bag… 😦 Luckily it’s an easy job! So that’s another job ticked off the list.

The aux input into the stereo died last week so our plan of using the Seagate wireless  drive and the iPhone to provide road trip tunes has fallen flat. So I’ve been frantically ripping music to MP3 cd’s. Should give us about 24 albums worth of music in the Toyota 6 cd stacker.  

Lou has been great and worked out a great meal plan (with very few cuppa soups) and precooked all the food and vaccumn sealed it. Evening meals can mostly be reheated boil in the bag style, and we will use the left over hot water for washing up. Which reduces our water usage. That’s the plan anyway. Others just take paper plates and burn them when finished. This is all our dried and non refrigerated goods for the trip. 

No room at the inn
Food for 5

We are going to try and eat at pubs and roadhouses on the way to Maree and the Oodnadatta track as much as possible in order to limit the restocking we do in Alice. 

The bulky swags are on the roof along with the second spare tire (20kg) and gas bottle. I tried to get away without it the second spare, but John insisted. But I’m only taking the tire and not the wheel. Apparently the lead car last year got 13 punctures pushing  through the spinifex. 
We’ve wired up a powersupply to charge the kids tablets up whilst on the move.

Charging station
Charging station
The older kids will have some squashed legs as we are carrying 47litres of water (47kg) in the footwell tank. But it is what it is. We also added some seat back organisers to try and control their junk.

Footwell tank and organisers
Water tank and rear car organisation
I also knocked up some rear cargo area shades using some $10 windscreen shades from super cheap auto. The idea here is to help keep the rear cool with the sun beating down all day. The Prado does have rear air con but hopefully it will help the fridge out a little bit and keep the non refridgerated stuff cooler.

Rear cooling
High Tech Carbon Nanotube insulation. aka silvered bubblewrap and duct tape
We completed a test pack the other day and it all fits with no spare room at all. So we are almost ready. Now, if only the weather holds out!!

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