Volume II: the Troopy strikes back.
Meet the new boss,
Same as the old boss.
Well not quite. This one has a V8, a turbo, a front AND rear diff lock, electric windows, and… a back seat ! It did not take long, I admit, to replace our old faithful Troopy. She served me well, over 250.000km since October 2008. But she was a bachelor’s toy. No back seat, no cup-holder, just a shiny dick with two chairs in it. [I borrowed that quote too].
Five weeks after I waved goodbye, I am sitting in the shade on the beach, in sunny Cooey Bay, QLD. I flew in this morning, all the way from Perth, to meet with our new ticket to freedom.
Let me introduce you to Troopy II. A 2011 Landcruiser 78 Troopcarrier VDJ78R model, with barely 220.000km on the clock. The owner, Scott, had bought it just over a year ago, but only had the opportunity to take it off-road twice, to Lake Eyre (and to be honest, it’s a gravel road. Even he admitted he could have done it in a sedan). Unfortunately for him, or fortunately it’s debatable, he got a job opportunity on an island some 2000k north of here. No time to play anymore, he has to sell the Troopy.
Fortunately for us though, it’s the exact model we were after, the 78 Series, GXL badge. The 78 series comes in two flavours, the workmate which is basically a bus with eleven
seats planks, but zero comfort, or the slightly more civilized version, the GXL. It’s only slightly more civilized, because altough it comes with five real seats, airbags, electric windows and cruise control, it’s still the same workhorse underneath. V8. turbo-diesel, 5 speed manual, 150kw and a whopping 430nm of torque. Western Australia being a mining state, there are almost no GXL out there for sale, they’re all workmate, ex-mining, or ex-government, rusted to the core. This one has been fitted with pneumatic front and rear differential lockers, two drawers for storage, all the goodies you’d expect (dual battery, air compressor, winch, bull bar, UHF radio, 31 inches mud-terrain tyres, …). So basically, it’s our old Troopy’s little sister, same car, just younger and stronger.
But, and those who know The Legend Of The Boags will say I have the most luck in the world, Scott used to work for a couple of 4wd accessories dealer. So when I mentionned I would need to add a roof rack, and some bits and bobs before I could bring it back to Perth, “say no more, I’ll sort you out” he said. We’re coming back in two weeks you see, on the 19th, to bring her back home all the way from Queensland, a 4500 kilometres journey across three time zones and four states and territories. We’ll freight the roof-top tent and some camping/cooking equipment to here, mounted on the new roof-rack and drive off.
But wait, it gets better. I got picked at the airport by Keith this morning, Scott’s best mate. Keith took me out to see Troopy, then we had a chat, and coincidentally he has a big shed with a hoist and he offered to mount the tent for us on the new roof-rack. How cool is that ! Plus he drove me off to where I am staying tonight, and Scott’s wife will drive me back to the airport! I can harldy believe my luck!
So, yeah, back to Troopy II. She’s exactly what we were after. There will be some modifications to be added, like a central console with an armrest, or a second cup-holder (what ? It’s not for me, it’s for Brieuc’s bottle), but also a water tank, for those long distance trips, an inverter, to charge our cameras and things, some external LED lights for those dark nights, etc etc but that can all wait. For now, she’s got all the essentials to cross Australia from one coast to the other.
And finally ! We can go camping AS A FAMILY, there is a back seat, which means Brieuc can experience the joys of the outback with us.
These next two weeks will be the longest weeks ever.