Will You Come a'Waltzing Matilda?
Finally, we have the newest member of our expedition family.
You know that feeling when you sit and anticipate Christmas coming, and it just seems to take forever? Well, that was like us these past two weeks leading up to our recent major addition. From skeevy car salesmen, to cars that suddenly would disappear under our noses, it was tumultuous to say the least. Trying to debate over cars, lack of market availability and stress over money and trying to find the perfect truck also sometimes made the process a bit more difficult. Plus the debate over Land Rover as an option may have become slightly heated at times...
Anyway, frustrations continued after checking out a fully equipped Patrol with tent, awning and the full accouterment of camping equipment from a young smiling frenchman with a slight language barrier. Upon sliding underneath, we quickly found a healthy coating of engine oil from the radiator to the transfer case dripping onto the sunbaked pavement.
"Is good oui?"
Yeah, nah mate.
Car number 4 was a pass. Car number 5 was a 2001 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, in immaculate stock condition. This one would've been a perfect car, save for the fact that the seller couldn't go lower, and we would've had to fully equip the truck with everything from a dual battery, to roof rack and a full set of new off road tires. So once again, it was a no.
After lots of searching and hunting, we finally found this beautiful forest green Nissan Patrol, car number 6. Sitting up in the IGA parking lot, we met the seller, who was a young bloke, not overly eager to part with his baby, but only selling due to moving to Bali to be a surf guide (sounds like a hard life). After looking over and under, finding no leaks and everything seeming to be in good order, we hopped in for a test drive. Now I've driven a manual transmission in the states and in Europe before, but theres no better way to learn to drive on the opposite side than on a test drive with an audience. Only my third time driving on the left side of the road, I am proud to say I didn't stall or grind a single gear. If you want to learn to drive a stick shift on the opposite side of the road quickly, test drives down under are a fantastic way to jump right to it!
Test drive done, only one thing yet remained, an inspection from our mechanic and then we were good to go. Funny thing is, about buying a car in Australia, is in order to sell a vehicle the seller needs to obtain a safety certificate which is essentially an overall check of the car to make sure its brakes don't fail or a tire falls off. This is a good thing, but it sometimes seemed to make some sellers think that a mechanical check on our end was not a necessity, but when you're planning on driving an entire continent having a trusted set of eyes puts you at ease.
Anyways, back to the story, the truck hadn't had its safety certificate yet, and it should've passed, except for the fact that a rear sway bar was missing...whoops. No worries right? Well except for the fact that ordering parts from an hour away turned into a two day process. And then our mechanic was closed, the seller was working and we were out and about, so finally a week and a half after first looking at the truck it was in our shop and cleared for duty!
We met with the seller, and after a slightly emotional goodbye, we were pulling away in the 2001 Nissan Patrol. I can't say I blame him, since we went through the same thing after having to sell Rosie for this trip, but I hope it makes it a bit better for him knowing that the truck will be well loved and bring us on so many adventures to come.
For $8,200 AUD, the truck came equipped with dual batteries, roof rack, dual fuel tanks, a 3.0L diesel engine, mud terrain tires (tyres), and metal bumper perfectly suited for protecting us from the stray kangaroo that may be unfortunate to cross in front of us. Truck purchased, now comes the fun part of building it for our travels, like a blank canvas there's so many options to outfit our new home on wheels.
So without further ado, we'd like to introduce to everyone our new truck, Matilda!