Imagine driving around your home town and seeing 5-8% of EVERY vehicle with a ARB or TJM Aluminum bumper on it!
This took me days to get used to. You see Buses, Semi-Trucks, Sports Cars, pick-ups, Delivery Vans. Any car you can imagine other than a Porsche, had these damn BIG BUMPERS on them. And they were all aluminum!
I took a day and drove out to one of the 4x4 stores to see what kind of goodies they had for sale in the shop.
Lift Kits, Nope.
Bumpers, 100s of them!
I went to one shop that had not less than 100 ARM aluminum bumpers hanging on the walls! I kid you not, 100 of the dan things!
Bumpers down under have NOTHING at all to do with 4x4ing. They are a simple matter of survival. if you get outside of the city boundaries you run into heards of Kangaroos. Kamakazi Roos to be exact!
The guys that really travel in the "outback" also have steel mesh over there windsheilds! Its the damndest thing you ever saw. A huge 18 wheel Semi truck, with the most beutiful ARB aluminum bumper and a complete steel mesh screen across the windsheild.
But I digress..
Back to the 4x4 store. So, no tires, No wheels, no lifts to really speak of, and lots of bumpers. What else did they have? Water bladers that sit on the floor of the vehicle. Refrigerators that fit in the backend. LOTS of Lights, recovery gear, and ralley gear.
Any of you that have gone wheeling out west know the desert pretty well. Imagine someplace in the USA, in the desert, where you could drive for 5 days in a more or less straight line and not see a single person! This is the australian "outback". Before going down I had NO idea of just how remote there Outback really is. Even though there are "highways" that cross it, the highways are rated as EXTREME 4X4!!!
The longer I was down there the more I learned about the outback and the more I was impressed that going into it was not for the faint of heart. In 2001 I plan on driving cross country from Sydney to Perth. And all the while I was down there my friend kept telling me I was nuts to want to make this trip. And I kept telling him he was a big wuss for being so afraid of it.
Well, it turns out that he knows of what he speaks.!
Everything I read and all the people I talked to confirm that going cross country is one serious drive, and not to be undertaken without the most stringent of preperations. There are sections of the "gunbarrel highway" where the average speed is a whopping 3 Kilometers per hour! When driving on this highway they strongly suggest you call the next town and inform them that you are coming so they can organize a rescue party if you don't show up on schedule!
What a country!
Thats my idea of SERIOUS WHEELING!
Chris -- firstname.lastname@example.org