Rob Gray :: ontheroad :: wothahellizat :: wot1 :: diaries :: issue-001


July 1997

It all started around June '97. Chris and I are camping at Fraser Island and Carnarvon Gorge in Queensland. Several days of sitting around watching the kangaroos, shooing away the possums, bushwalking, a little photography and plenty of cider. Life could be a lot worse.

Fig 1. The troopie (75 series Landscruiser) at Carnarvon Gorge.

Chris says, "Why don't we retire". You could have knocked me over with a feather. Who's stolen my workaholic wife and replaced her with someone who can utter such a sentence I thought. Now if I'd said it that would be a different matter, after all, I've been retired all my life. But for Chris to think of anything except work is just unheard of.

OK I'm happy to retire, after all I'm nudging 44 and had a gutfull of the rat race but what will I do? Well if you've come here from my main site the answer should be pretty clear, landscape photography. Trouble is, Chris isn't the least bit interested in landscape photography (or photography of any kind for that matter) so she needs to be comfortable while I'm out making those memorable images. For that matter I need to be comfortable in between sojourns. Also, to get good images I want to spend long periods (a few weeks maybe) in picturesque and often very remote places. These requirements call for a special kind of vehicle.

Enter the off-road motorhome.

Off-road motorhomes aren't bought off-the-shelf, they have to be custom made so, as our finances don't stretch to having someone else build the thing, I guess the job falls to me. After all how hard can it be :-).

We return from Carnarvon and promptly buy all the current "4x4 trader" style magazines. There aren't all that many options when it comes to large off-road vehicals. An Isuzu, Mitsubishi Canter or MAN seem to be the most likely candidates but the Canter is too small, Isuzu only make 4x4s and the MANs are soooo expensive. We did briefly entertain the idea of buying a new Isuzu, but at $120,000 odd that idea hardly saw the light of day.

An old ACCO seem to be more our style but they are mostly worn out work horses with a life of toil behind them on some farm in central Queensland. A long way to drive to reject some run down wreck.