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A truck called `home'


A truck called `home'

We've finally received the news, the Troopy conversion ready, all done and waiting to be picked-up. .. a welcome Christmas present.

Our morning flight leaves Melbourne, and with minimal carry-on luggage we land at Sydney late morning. At the airport we're met and chauffeured to Trakka headquarters at Mt Kuring-gai, just north of the city.

With the official handover, there are a few last-minute tweaks, with Trakka Troopies not so common these days, but the truck is ready to go... with everything including a kitchen sink of sorts.

From Sydney we head out on our newly-kitted-out maiden voyage, heading south around Sydney, via the Illawarra coast and Royal NP, the second oldest `National Park' in the world. Through Waterfall and Otford, Stanwell Park and Coalcliff we follow the toe of towering escarpment cliffs.

Now we wind our way along a sweeping, giant's causeway propped on high concrete pylons. This is SEA CLIFF BRIDGE, a balanced cantilever marvel completed in 2005, the Pacific swell 40m below, home to passing ships and the occasional whale.

At  94km we pull into COLEDALE raising the new tilt roof with our inbuilt bed,... but with only airport carry-on, we've no cooking gear, proper supplies for our first night, or even a chair to sit back and take in the ocean view. Mmmm... but there is a wine shop handy and somewhere to buy breakfast muesli, yoghurt and a drop of juice for the morning.

But tonight it's back to the truck for our celebratory sparkling shiraz in plastic cups, sweet chilli corn chips, cheese and spiced nuts - all to the pounding of surf and the screeching of Coledale cockatoos tussling for sunset roosts, their feathers white beacons a dazzle in the shadows of impossibly high Norfolk Pines - all this under a glorious Coledale sunset behind that magical Illawarra escarpment.

Later, these same seaside skies are loaded with stars, the surf a rhythmic whoosh and thump. Night birds wheel in the dark, others whistle from roosts unknown.

In the top of the truck the bed is cosy and warm, the canvas sides breathing in a salt-laden breeze. Dreams drift, to far-off secret coastal coves - between nagging questions of what to pack and the limited available space in this truck of ours. What we will need does seems like an awful lot right now. Will we have enough DRAWERS, NOOKS and CRANNIES for storage? There is the necessary safety gear to fit in too; some tools and spares, the food, the clothes... the list goes on, and on...

Oh well... maybe we could tow a small trailer if needed? Well no... not really. That's never been part of the 'grand' plan... so... we'll see how this latest challenge goes... like packing a boat the size of a sardine can for an extended ocean going voyage, or a magician pulling a reluctant rabbit from a hat.


Taming the beast


Taming the beast

No, it's not always about me. This time it's about the truck, and a fast-approaching day - March 2017 - when we finally head off.

Is our truck ready to go? We've added recovery points front and back, driving lights and tacked a twin spare wheel carrier frame on the back. So... almost ready... except for a few creature comforts... like some built-in cupboards and a fridge for example... oh, and a bed.

So, who have we entrusted to complete this final 'tweaking' to our beloved truck?

Well, it has to be someone who knows their stuff... someone like TRAKKA, fitting off-road beasties like ours since the 70s, their low key office and factory nestled in the bush of Mt Kuring-gai.

We browse through a TRAKKA REVIEW.

There'll be holes cut in the side, a new water tank, benches, battery, stove, sink, shower and fridge all added... among other stuff. Oh, and the roof will need to be cut off... mmmm... for the foldaway bed of course... with solar panels propped on top.

So, we take a collective deep breath, drop off the truck for its December `conversion', after driving 900-kms to Trakka, just north of Sydney; then with a tearful goodbye fly home.

Work begins, NOW WELL UNDERWAY, and we await the conversion of our go-anywhere 4×4 truck to a comfortable home away from home.