<%@LANGUAGE="VBSCRIPT"%> ROCKCRAWLER.com - Days Three and Four of The Isuzu Challenge
Isuzu Challenge
How we crossed the desert without a map:
Isuzu Challenge days 3 –4

Isuzu Challenge 2004This year's Isuzu Challenge is different than those in the past: the emphasis this year is on cross-country driving -- the ability to cover
as many kilometers as possible in a short period of time. By September 9, the teams will have crossed Australia from south to north - a distance of 3,500Km.

One of the challenges of this journey is the country's wide-open space. It's been three days since we left the last town and it will be another two days before we see the next one. Each day we cover an average of 400Km and the weather changes from one extreme to another: From hot to cold or from rain and strong winds to perfect sunshine.

Our campsite is on the edge of the Simpson Desert and we arrive after a long day of driving. In just a few days members of the Isuzu Challenge have bonded - it is as though we have always known each other. On the fourth day we face an additional challenge: navigation. We separated into groups of three vehicles to cross the Simpson Desert: Over 300km of isolated expanse. But because there are no signposts or key features in the desert we rely on the Meridian Gold satellite navigation device (GPS) from Magellan. The GPS units were programmed beforehand with the routes we are taking.

As we go our separate ways we look forward to meeting up again at the end of the day without losing any vehicle on the way.

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Sharon Horowitz, 30, is a civil engineer by profession. "I made my first field trip two years ago in Ethiopia," Sharon tells us while we are navigating our way in the desert. "I took part in a voyage called 'Queen of the Desert' with female participants only. For nine days we crossed southern Ethiopia and this is actually how I was infected with the traveling bug. Following the voyage in Ethiopia I decided to join the Isuzu Challenge and here I am. So, you can trust me when it comes to field driving."

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The most amazing part of navigating the Simpson Desert is the dunes: indeed these are not very high but they stretch along the whole desert, from north to south, some of them are 300km long. It's an amazing sight indeed.

The Isuzu vehicles cross the dunes easily but for the administration teams who follow the teams carrying food and water in two Isuzu NPR trucks - it is not a simple matter.

Isuzu Challenge 2004Isuzu Challenge 2004

This time they stay behind. And with them are our water, food, refrigerators, a gigantic kitchen tent, generator, tables and chairs. In short, everything needed to prepare hearty meals at the end of a hard day's driving. So for us there's a lot less pampering tonight: no hot water, no electricity and we will cook dinner ourselves. But there is good news. At the end of the day - having traveled 300km - everyone arrives safe and sound at our meeting point.

Photographer : Gerry Avramovich


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