Big Tips for BIG Trips – lessons from the trip leaders

Published by Darron Toy on

Hello everyone. Welcome back to the Road show. Some of you have been asking about doing the Canning Stock Route, about any you
know kind of tips, or what should you expect so I’m gonna do a series just on that topic. I’m gonna start, this is the first with Erika and Murray, my trip leaders. They’re from the Getaway Four-wheel Drive Club & in June July last year we did the Getaway Canning Stock Route trip so… over to Erika and Murray. Preparation for the Canning Stock Route started about six months before we actually went on the stock route. It might have been a bit longer than that. We got the car set up exactly what it would be like on the Canning Stock Route. We took everything I was supposed to take and we done a two-week trip from Eucla through to Israelite Bay but that was a set for the car for the stock route. We had new shockies put in. We had the weight of the fuel that we were taking with us extra fuel, everything was on that trip and if we had any breakdowns on that trip we get them sorted out before the Canning Stock Route. It was ok but the Canning Stock Route is just unforgiving. What anything that you prepare for… it just does not come out, the stock route will bring it out because it’s that rough. It’s so bad. People say it’s piece of cake .Well it’s all the preparation you put into it to make it a piece of cake but if you don’t do it properly Taking along a good 1st Aid Kit, it think is really important. We had a really huge big 1st Aid Kit. We had everything we could possibly need splints to bandages, we had medication everything like that and that was in the car but everyone had their own individual 1st Aid Kit with the panadol and band-aids and everything like that. But you really need to think ahead you know… snakebites, having all the bandages & everything close by. You know anyone that cuts themselves to have stuff to fix it up up straightaway but you also need things in bulk because you know you’ve got dressings if anyone gets an infection. We took along a supply of Panadol. We actually had some antibiotics because there’s no doctors or hospitals. and you have to take into account you can be out there for three or four weeks. You need all these things. We took stuff if they had diarrhea which is really important but fortunately we didn’t need much but you have to be prepared. Yeah we made sure that all our health was up to date, teeth checked, filled everything. But when you get a toothache the one thing we found we didn’t have was the aspirin and that’s one thing we needed for toothache. One thing need to think about Everyone had this medical form. They filled it out and had next-of-kin, had their medical conditions. It had Medicare number, HBF (insurance) number, anything like that because just in case of any severe accident, rollover when the partner was incapacitated & the other person was in the state of shock and couldn’t give any details We can call the RFDS (flying dr) and get them you know evacuated out. You wanted to know a little bit of their
medical history – it was there. What medications they are on, their history, the next-of-kin to contact them because in an emergency your mind just goes a blank. I thought that was really important to have for everyone’s safety. It was put in a sealed envelope and it’s put in either their glove box or the trip leaders glove box. Only to be opened in case of emergency All these little bits and pieces that have been ironed out before we have a stock route and on the stock route, it makes all the other trips now just that little bit easier, not complacent, but a little bit easier We decided that everyone should actually carry a spare car key and some people would leave their spare key with a spouse in the purse or anything and you could actually leave the key in your envelope that had all your medical details in someone else’s glovebox. So if you happened to lose your key or lock it in your car at least someone had the spare key to get it out which was really handy People who have actually done the trip before it’s very helpful to talk to them and Mr. Canning Stock Route, Phil Bianchi, he was very very helpful you know. He talked us through things told us things that could happen so we could do things with a plan that would help us and it was awesome. It’s very good. We actually got a couple of books. We had Phil Bianchi’s Canning Stock Route book Work Completed. There was another book that was very interesting. It had all the different wells and what to see at the wells, the history of them. We did a lot of Googling and finding out things about the stock route, what people had seen. We also got onto the sites of a lot of tour companies that actually did the stock route and we saw what they saw and you know. We made sure we weren’t going to
miss out on anything so if they went to see it we went to see it. Before we went, we’d actually worked out roughly day by day what we’re going to see. We knew we had about four or five weeks so we planned it But that was always open to flexibility. If people wanted to see something that wasn’t on the guide we’d slot it in. If they found that we had allocated 2 days to see something and we saw it in one we’d just move on. There was a lot of flexibility. We wanted to make it everyone’s trip not just our trip. We said if there’s anything you want to see tell us and we’ll try and incorporate it. At the same time we made sure we didn’t deviate too far from the actual plan I’m very lucky. We’ve got two CBs in the
car and I didn’t realise how important having 2 CBs was until we were actually on the track. Both CBs are hard mounted in the
car. We could talk to the group, the cars that were behind us on one and then talk ahead on the other and Erika had done that side. So what we’d do is we would be on channel 19 talking to the rest of the group you know telling them we’re going to go over a sand hill. It’s a bit soft or any hazards on the road, any camels or anything like that and then we’d be able to get onto the channel 40 and what we would do is radio ahead and say we’re a vehicle of five, we’re a convoy of five vehicles and we’re travelling between let’s say well 39 and well 40 heading from north to south and if there are any other vehicles on the track could you make yourselves known. That gave us an idea if there are any other vehicles traveling towards us because there’s a lot of sand dunes, a lot of blind hills and if you happen to meet someone along the track and you don’t know that they’re there you could actually have quite a nasty accident A lot of people that do the stock route don’t communicate. It’s funny enough the older people will communicate but it’s the younger ones are not communicating. We can hear them chatting away but they weren’t communicating with us. Channel 40 on the stock route is not a communication channel for chit chat. It’s to let other vehicles know that you’re on the track That’s all it’s there for and you can swap channels to talk to one another, what’s going on. But some people just don’t talk and some people have been very very good to us. They actually say they’re coming with 2 trailers and they’ll pull over and wait for us to go past. So some are very good and others are very very bad. Very dangerous. You know because we knew that there were people out there. You could hear them talking on the channel
40 and you’d put the call across to say that you’re traveling from the north to
south and they wouldn’t acknowledge you. You know there was just absolutely no response and you could hear them laughing saying Oh did you hear that call? but they wouldn’t tell you where they were so you had no idea when you’re actually going to come in contact with them. Fortunately there was one time we were talking to this guy and he was travelling from south to north and we knew we were going to come across him on the track so we’re very wary. As we’re going up the sand hills and even though he knew we were coming up and we knew that he was coming towards us we didn’t know where we’d meet. And just as we both peaked at the top of this sand hill we saw each other. So we both had to roll back down. Now if we hadn’t communicated we would have gone belting up the hill and we probably would have hit him at the top Back to Mr. Canning Stock Route, Phil Bianchi, when he told us that he couldn’t make it, we asked him straight away you wouldn’t have any flag points for the stock route? So he gave us this little stick and we put it into…I bought a little touch pad and downloaded what he
had on there from Paynes Find right through to the Canning Stock Route and back. Phil, he’s done it a number of times as you well know and he had lots of little flags for us. We tried to stay at these flags in fact we stay at most flags or visited the flags along the way. It was so important that we didn’t realise how important it was until we came to because it’s not road signs out there We come to the T intersection. You can look up on the on the screen and you can say …Erika gets on the two-way and says turn right or left at this intersection. Very important to have, to do your homework on that. You can actually, you could actually just go along and get through it but it would be very hard going and it’s very very important to have some sort of mapping system That one where we were heading out to Diebel Springs and we came over the sand hill We got down to the bottom and of course one road went to the right one to the left and we thought okay Jeremy and the others have gone to the left but our GPS thing is more or less saying go to the right so we stopped there. We called the others back and we had a look and there was a sign a black sign that everything had faded there was nothing on it, but if you look really closely you could see the marker pointing to the right. Now that was on the ground where no one could see. It was just fortunate we had the little GPS thing that we could follow, otherwise we would have missed out on Diebel Springs and gone straight to Durba Spring Was it 47..? One of the wells that the water was really really high and there’s no way we could find it to get to the well and so even if our map was saying go and there was water. That was 26. 26 sorry it was 26. That’s ok. And the water, there was no way you could get your car in there. So we had to divert way up and around and once we took up then we got back on the track it came up where we were but Jeremy, he had a different mapping system to what we had. There is a quite a few on the market out there and Jeremy’s was really really good and the one that we just had google no um can’t remember…The Hema We had Hema maps and that was very good and with Phil’s flags it was good. We would have been lost without those… Please take a paper map because it just takes a little bit of water to get in the system and you not very good because your system shuts down, its no good at all. We lose power things like that… Corrugations are about that by about that deep and it just shook the car to…it didn’t shake it to pieces but it certainly put it through its paces and I happen to snap the left hand mounting bolt on the radiator and so we zip tied it all together, put towels down round it and it done it it done it it done the job really well plus with since the corrugations are so rough the bolts that hold the muffler system onto the gearbox they wiggled out so of course the exhaust pipe broke broke off at the manifold so had to wire that on So the preparation, you can’t prep it for that you just can’t you can can carry a whole garage with you so it’s really hard and you just Drive to the conditions that’s all you gotta do…hopefully Some of the things that we took you know we had a big list of things from welders, welding rods, angle grinders everything. You think you know why would you need those? But fortunately we didn’t need those but there was a bus tour that actually radiod ahead and they wanted to know if we had a welder, welding rod angle grinder because what did they do? they snapped the front wheel off their vehicle The communities will ask for your permit and they can make it very difficult or they can make it very easy Now we knew that we’d need extra fuel. We worked it all out and we’d also looked at the Facebook and all the rest of the stuff. We talked to people. They said that there is a fuel drop that fuel is brought out from Newman and dropped at well 23 and you get it in 44 gallon drums and it’s about $395 for the 44 gallon drum You have to preorder it back in Perth and when you get up there they’ve got all these big drums all lined up and it’s got the name of different people that have ordered them. You go up to the drum that’s got your name on and that’s the fuel you’ve ordered. We possibly could have got by without ordering the fuel but we thought we’ll err on the side of caution. We’ve gotten this far the stock route and we just don’t want to be stranded without fuel especially with five vehicles so we had it as a precautionary measure just in case we did any extra trips or anything happened to any of our fuel tanks. So it’s well worth getting the fuel. The people that provide the fuel there is a pump there (it does not work) but we took our own pump with us we took a Tanami pump I would definitely not take as much stuff. I took too many clothes. You really only need a change of clothes and also would not take as much food because we came back with heaps of food. You just overestimate how much you’re going to eat and because you’re sitting in the car all day. You just don’t eat! The only thing is maybe stay a couple more days at different places have a good look around but em when you get, once you get in that mood of travelling you just don’t want to stop. It’s so good! I think a good trip leader is one that will actually listen to people you know You can go in and pretend you know everything and make out that it’s your trip and you’re doing everyone a favor but I think a good trip leader listens to everyone and it makes them feel as though it’s their trip as well as yours. Exactly right. Make them feel comfortable to say I want to see this or I’ve seen enough of this or yeh at the end of the day we’ve still got the ultimate say in things but it’s everyone’s trip. They’ve saved up hard. They’ve done a lot of preparation. We want everyone to enjoy it and feel comfortable to speak their minds. Being comfortable to speak and their minds I think that goes down well To actually know what you’re going to see we could have gone out there not knowing anything about the stock group just fumbled along and pretend we’ve known things but to actually do a bit of reading beforehand a bit of research, preparation. Know what’s happened beforehand and if you don’t know something you just own up to it. You don’t go pretending you know something and you just look it up after. just look it up after. Murray and Erika were the most fantastic Trip Leaders and I just think wow! you know out of 10 they were 11! So I hope you’ve enjoyed some of their insights and any tips they’ve given you Love to hear any ideas or tips you guys have got Are you planning any big trips? What are you thinking? Put them in the comments below If you liked the video please give me a thumbs up Please share these videos with your friends and subscribe up here if you’re so inclined It’s been great having you along on the Roadshow Hope to see you out there. Bye bye!


Landcruiser Troopy, touring and Mods. · February 4, 2018 at 8:03 am

After 3 journeys along the CSR I think that fully loading you vehicle and going on a ‘tryout trip’ is important. But, honestly you must choose the most rough bastardised track you can find and literally flog and bash you vehicle along it……. to find the weakness. Aim up every pot hole and wash out at speed. Crash over stuff painfully fast. As a slow day on the CSR is double what you can throw at it on one of these try outs. I do it b4 every trip…… it amazing what you find. Then on the CSR do not set an unrealistic completion deadline…… as it will just end in expensive pain and delay anyway.

Phil Bianchi · February 4, 2018 at 9:44 am

A fabulous video Rona. It’s jammed packed with advice and tips to help anyone to successfully enjoy a trip on the Canning or a similar desert adventure.

Prior, planning and preparation prevents ….. we’ve all heard the ditty.
• If one plan’s their trip including mapping, food, safety items and personal meds,
• Prepares their vehicle and equipment beforehand ensuring they don’t leave home with suspect items or vehicle components,
• Share some communal equipment needs with others in the group,
they will be a long way down the road to having a fabulous trip and not spend time repairing or limping along with broken or suspect components.

Over the years I’ve often found each trip to the same area to be different, not only because of the track conditions but who I’m travelling with. Each member of the party brings different skills or experience; they maybe amateur or expert botanists, geologists, historians, photographers, ornithologists and so on. One can learn so much more from these people about the country they are travelling in.

slowboat · February 6, 2018 at 1:10 pm

thanks for sharing Rona.

Glenda Sully · February 28, 2018 at 1:57 am

It must take a lot of courage to go on a trip like that. I couldn't do it

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