<%@LANGUAGE="VBSCRIPT"%> ROCKCRAWLER.com - Days Six and Seven of The Isuzu Challenge
Isuzu Challenge
Days 6 and 7 - Please Do Not Run Over the Kangaroo

Isuzu Challenge 2004In the upcoming two days we have a new challenge as the tiger-print convoy heads from Cairns in Central Queensland - a drive of 1,500km. The difficulties anticipated with this type of driving are different than those in the earlier part of the expedition: this section means drivers need to stay behind the wheel longer than normal so regular reaks are needed. It's a journey that needs lots of concentration, so drivers swap shifts often for rest periods.

An additional challenge is that the vehicles' gas tanks will require topping up along the way and since gas stations are few and far between on this route, we carry all the gasoline we need on our roofs.

Our already heavy vehicles are now at their maximum load capacity. We worry so much about running out of fuel that even people in the last vehicle of the convoy hear the sighs of relief coming from the first one as a gas station in the town of Winton comes into view. We made it.

This long journey also brought with it constantly changing scenery. One of the more amazing things was Mastering -: the gathering up of cattle from thousands of acres into one group. Mastering is done by cowboys riding horses, motorcycles, tractors and flying in helicopters and aeroplanes while more than 1,500 cattle pass between the Isuzu vehicles. As far as I am concerned, the wild, wild west is right here and now.

Isuzu Challenge 2004

After the first day we have successfully covered 750 km. and go to sleep well after midnight. The next morning, many new sights await us: the desert is replaced with thick eucalyptus forests. Our main challenge here is not to
run over any kangaroos on the way! They jump around us from all directions and we are constantly warned over the walkie-talkies to keep a look out for them.

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At a quick rest stop we discover that the men's restroom has a sign on the door: "bulls" and the women's, "cows". I guess this is fitting considering that the main source of income for this area is from cattle.

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A huge black mass in the road makes us all stop suddenly - we discover a huge snake, 2 meters long. A few minutes later, when we sit to have lunch surrounded by termite nests, I ask myself if it is wise to sit on the ground
in this spot - but hunger takes over and I continue eating, sitting where I am while Eti the guide explains the important ecological role of termites in breaking down dead vegetation. We are surprised to learn that the queen
termite lays more than 20,000 eggs in one day. Imagine, 20,000 babies!

Just before dusk it begins to rain and we stop to see the 150 meter high Blanco Falls. They are impressive. The rain adds to the feeling of power that the waterfall gives as it flows down. At the campsite everything is in place. We have covered 1,500 km in just two days.

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Photographer : Gerry Avramovich


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