The 80 series "evolution" story concluded.
by Joe Fury
(Newman Western Australia)
The Top of Western Australia ~ Mount MeHarry
The 80 series Land Cruiser was in it's early days "light years" ahead of the previous models of the 4 wheel drive Toyota brigade, it was and still is to this day a good size vehicle and out right capable on and off road, with thoughtful additions it could be made better ~ much better actually.
Like all of us that own and operate a four wheel drive vehicle, we tend to use them in a dual role situation, daily transport and then when time and circumstance allow, we head off into the brown land we call home, for adventure and relaxation.
My situation is slightly skewed towards full time off road apart from the drive from home to the off road destination, as a regional tour operator my vehicle is off road more than on road, so I need to be able to live out of the vehicle, some times for long periods of time and as such the vehicles set up dictates how much extra food/water and essential gear needs to be carried just so two adults can live and function comfortably away from the comforts of home.
Some years ago, a simple thing like having a shower in the bush was a much planned event, things like finding a suitable tree to hang the shower bag from etc etc ~ now it is parking up some place nice and clear enough to set up the camp, prepare and unfold the roof top tent/camper, set the table and chairs up, get a fire going and boil the billy ~ in the case of having a shower, fill a container with water, hot or cold or anywhere in between flick a switch for the electric shower pump and enjoy the moment, of course if you have company, set up the shower tent ~ and this is just some of the gear that is carried or permanently fitted to the vehicle.
Camp lighting is another thing that can make life at night very comfortable, with portable LED lighting leading the way, there are minor down sides to bright lights in the bush, as every insect in the region want's to come and join you and of course you are lighting your position for all to see.
over an open fire as opposed to a gas cooker/burner is my preferred way of doing things and after the cooking and eating, you can sit back and look at the glowing coals ~ as the damper or bread is being baked for the next days breakfast/lunch/dinner.
The communications and safety aspect of being away from home, is vital as we all manage to travel further and deeper into the wilderness and should the need arise to contact the outside world it is paramount you have good reliable means of communication.
We carry a licenced 406 Mhz distress beacon, this is solely for a real life or death situation.
The vehicle is fitted with several different means of communication, from the much maligned uhf cb radio which is still quite a useful tool when travelling in a group situation or when traversing cattle and farming regions as all pastoral enterprises are on air 24/7 and should you require assistance all you need to do is put out a call ~ wait for a response and explain your situation, it can be hit and miss ~ but it's better than nothing.
Mobile phone technology is quite clever in the city/metro and larger population centres, but it's still unreliable and vague away from these centres and should not be relied on as your only means of emergency contact ~ the phone net work in the Pilbara is getting better with every new mining venture setting up towers for phone communications, but it is still a limited network.
Our vehicle has a fixed in car Satellite phone unit, but this too is a tool for what might be considered as vital and private contacts or the proverbial "Life and Death" situation.
The general communications equipment we use the most is our Codan 9323 HF SSB Transceiver, this particular unit has 500 hundred radio channels and uses an auto tune antenna, this radio unit is licenced and we are members of the VKS 737 Radio net work, so we are in contact with who ever needs to know at anytime.
I am not saying that "You" need all this technology just to get away from home for a while, but it is good to have ~ just in case !!
Safe travels : Joe Fury