Allan Benson wrote:
> I enjoyed Carol's report on her trip but I'd like to raise issue of
> travelling alone in a non-4WD drive vehicle in this relatively remote
> part of Australia. The incident of the English birder dying from
> dehydration on the Birdsville track immediately springs to mind and the
> cost and effort of rescuing lone French sailors and Alkasan fireman also
> should be mentioned.
> While Carol returned safe and sound and had a most enjoyable time, one
> decent thunderstorm in this remote outback region could have been an
> entirely different story.
It depends on the circumstances and how well Carol was prepared [eg how
much water she was carrying, whether her car was properly maintained,
whether she had basic spares and retrieval gear [and the capacity to use
them] the time of year she travelled [winter is far less risky than
summer] and whether she was off the "main route" [Birdsville /
Strezlecki Tracks etc get reasonable traffic in winter.
2WD is not a big issue on major outback routes in the dry season
[depends on driving skills - 4WD is no guarantee you won't get bogged -
indeed it can encourage people to try too much]. When my wife and I
traversed the Great Central Rd [from Laverton to Uluru] a few years ago,
we noticed that virtually all the Aborigines were getting around in old
holdens and falcons, whereas all the tourists were in 4WDs [we were in a
1982 Subaru for the record].
Another issue is whether Carol had logged her trip with a responsible
person and kept in touch, so the alarm would be raised if she failed to
check in. A flying doctor radio or satellite phone is not a bad idea.
Generally, the people who get caught out haven't had clear intentions,
informed people of their intentions, been ill prepared, travelled at the
wrong time of year, and didn't know how to cope with the conditions.
Bogucki is a good example of a vague traveller - if he had been in a
vehicle and stayed on one of the tracks in the region, he would have
been found a lot earlier than he did.
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