<%@LANGUAGE="VBSCRIPT"%> ROCKCRAWLER.com - Days Ten and Eleven of The Isuzu Challenge
Isuzu Challenge
Days 10 and 11 - Rainforests, Mud, and an Abandoned Town

Isuzu Challenge 2004 This morning we left the luxuries of the hotel and continued north on the coast of Queensland State. Driving challenges include winding, slippery ascents and descents, water passes and a lot of mud. The width of the first river we crossed was more than 30 meters and the convoy crosses it easily.

Itzik Mini offered a short training session with the emphasis as always on safety: "If you are unsure - check again, if you didn¹t make it through - try again carefully. There is no room for carelessness."

It's not an easy drive, it requires concentration. No one is certain if we will finish the route today or set up camp and sleep part way along, but Arik Braz calms us down. "We have enough food for two days," he reassures us.

On our way we meet C.J., an Aborigine who lives in the area leading a traditional Aboriginal life. We spend time together, take part in a traditional dance and receive his blessings for our onward journey. As it turns out we needed them.

The next river, Bloomfield River, is much wider and treacherous than the last one. Thankfully, all vehicles are equipped with TJM snorkels that prevent water from entering the engines and allow us to cross the river. In addition we sealed the doors shut with tape. The danger in front of us is real as the current threatens to overwhelm vehicle that stops in the river.

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Two more hours of driving and we were at our campsite. In the morning, after a hot shower in front of the sunrise I felt ready for anything. After driving on a very dusty route for two hours the colors of the tiger print convoy can¹t be seen as they are covered with dust. Suddenly, in front of us, appeared a beautiful valley with a lake in the middle. The reflection
of the blue sky and the huge eucalyptus trees on the water was amazing.

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There will be no showers tonight, so a dip in the lake seems like a good idea. But this idea is quickly vetoed when we realize the lake is full of crocodiles - so we continue on to pan for gold at a deserted town called Maytown.

In the 1800s this area was full of people panning for gold hoping to get rich. Today the area is totally abandoned. Maytown, once a major mining area during the gold rush, is now a ghost town. When the gold ran out, so did the

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All that's left is a few buildings and a road sign marking the city limits. Evidence that proves that there were once people living here include old mining equipment, it lays abandoned on the side of the roads like huge memorials for the long dead residence.

A couple more hours of driving and we will be closer to our final destination and just three days from completing our trek.

Photographer : Gerry Avramovich


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