Thursday, September 13, 2007

Route Survey, Part I

The first crew to arrive in Australia, consisting of myself, David Elmquist, Mike Kezelian, and Nate Lehman, arrived September 4 in Melbourne to complete a GPS survey of the WSC route. Jeff Ferman accompanied us as far as Sydney, then took a side trip to Perth. Having just come in from the bush 2 days ago, I thought I'd take the opportunity to update you on the results of the survey. This will likely come in a couple installments, hence the "Part I".

Day 1:

Arrive in Melbourne ~9:45 AM local time. Clear customs with no troubles. Mike and I grab a cab to Holden headquarters, where we pick up our vehicle - a light blue, 6 cylinder, AWD, 7 seat Adventura wagon. After getting a crash course in Australian driving (stay on the left, mates), we head out, or at least try, as apparently I managed to get the parking brake stuck. Mike puts his weight into it and we're off. Immediately embarrass myself by activating the windshield wipers rather than the turn indicator (the levers are reversed). Mike takes over driving, with no further incidents sans a couple of clipped curbs (that whole wrong side of the car thing again). Arrive back at airport. Stack an absurd number of duffel bags onto the roof rack, load up and head out. Take a wrong turn. Arrive back at airport. Drive off toward the freight forwarder to receive our weather gear that was shipped via air freight. Road listed in Google directions does not exist. Turn around. Arrive back at airport. Ask for directions at gas station. No worries mate, head out towards freight forwarder. Determine that Google directions hopelessly out of date.

Finally arrive at freight forwarder, drop off customs documents. Will return to pick up gear in morning once it clears customs. Visit Big W (Wal-Mart, down here), buy an atlas. Drive to downtown Melbourne and make a short visit to OmniStar, who have generously agreed to loan us 2 high-accuracy GPS units for our survey. Arrive at the hostel, the Pint on Punt, at around 6 PM. Enjoy $10 steak night at the pub on the first floor, then promptly fall asleep at 8:30 PM.

Day 2:

Head to the shopping mall in the morning, purchase SIM cards, pillow, soap. Enjoy lunch - for myself, a mix kebab with all the salads and doner sauce (This roughly translates to a chicken and lamb pita wrap with lettuce, tomato, and onion (all the salads), with a mayo-like lamb (doner) sauce). David is laughed at by food court staff for asking what "tasty" is (it's "american" cheese). Visit freight forwarder, learn that shipment is being held by customs and won't be released until the car crate arrives. Decide to strike out for Adelaide and complete route survey without weather gear. Hit the road, see some great landscapes, beautiful stars (when it gets pitch dark at 7 PM). Arrive at Adelaide hostel (Cannon St. Backpackers) at 10:30 Adelaide time, promptly fall asleep.

This concludes Part I - we'll get days 3, 4, and possibly 5 in the next installment, later today.





Blogger Lynn said...

lol to driving in Australia.

I hope you all come back with sweet accents!

btw drivers are awesome, go Steve and Spencer! (and Paula, but i don't know you)

Don't forget to have fun!!!

September 13, 2007 at 10:32 PM  
Blogger Michael Adams said...

And yet no mention of the HUGE koala statue on the side of the road between Melbourne and Adelaide. Though I guess it was too dark to see by the time you passed it. If you ever head back that way, keep a look out.

September 14, 2007 at 6:18 PM  
Blogger Garrick Williams said...

There is in fact a ginormous koala statue between Melbourne and Adelaide. Also a matter of fact sign that says "truck on pole" and points to a jeep on a pole. Also a large wind farm that nobody but me wanted to go look at. It should noted that the area east and south of Adelaide is an excellent wine region.

September 14, 2007 at 8:01 PM  

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