Track vs Trailer
On the last day of a very long and testing trip in Tassie we decided to do one last track. We knew that it was only 4 km’s long… “how long could it possibly take?” I was towing the MDC Off-Road Deluxe camper trailer - now this thing is the bottom of the range, entry level off-road camper that runs a solid axle on leaf springs, mechanical brakes only, rated at 750kg. So, the same rating as a standard box trailer. Now, I don’t know for sure, but I think this trailer was given to me as a test. But, I wasn’t the one being tested. It was the trailer and what it could stand up to. And, as it turned out, this track became the ultimate test for the trailer, the drivers and our mateship.
We turned onto the track to find a massive bog hole. Roothy took the plunge in mustard truck to find himself instantly bogged and taking on water. The winch rope on the front of Gleno’s truck was wound out and ready. We winched John out backwards and then decided to take a new line on the left hand bank, which came with its own problems and the worst kind…. “roll over”. We all had to hang off the left hand side of each truck, going through to counter leaver the truck from wanting to have a sleep on its side. With all of us managing to get through, the track just kept throwing curve balls at us. Big long rutted sections, step ups, step downs, creek crossings, scrabbly hill climbs and we even had to build our own bridge to cross a washed out creek.
After all of this we are tired, wet, muddy and ready to get off this track that we had been on for hours. Turned a corner and came across a mud hole on steroids and to add to that the exit was a huge rutted clay pack hill climb. Exactly what we needed at this point. Time was getting away from us, so Roothy hit it hard and almost made it through the hole. We ran his winch out for him, got him moving and he got up the hill. The next truck took the dive and we heard the sound of a tyre breaking the bead. We winched it out and jacked it up on the hill, got the tire back on the bead and got him on his way. Now every time a truck went through this hole it was getting stirred up and digging deeper ruts and dragging water up the track to make the hill climb slipperier than a butcher’s pencil.
Now it’s my turn.
I didn’t hit it as hard as the car before me because the last thing we needed was to do the whole tire thing again. I had my winch at the ready with the winch rope through the driver’s window and coiled up in my lap, so I could easily throw the hook to the boys. I made it to the middle of the bog and threw the rope to the boys. They hooked me up and I had to winch three times before I found some traction with the help of some Maxtrax. The trailer just kept following me like it had for the whole trip and trust me I was driving like the trailer wasn’t even there…. I had to, otherwise I would have had no chance of getting though any of these obstacles and this trailer just kept taking every blow.
Everyone was quietly hoping that the end was near and then we heard over the radio “Roothy has rolled”. Straight away our biggest worry is Johns’ wellbeing, so we all rushed up the track to find him walking back to his truck with a look of dismay. Roothy had walked up the track to check how far the exit was and the handbrake failed, allowing Mustard to slowly roll back up a bank and onto its side. Thankfully the winch still worked so we did a double back to get him back on his feet. We had to pull all of the glow plugs out because the engine had hydrauliced with oil. Basically oil was sitting above the pistons, which can cause a lot of damage if the pressure is not relieved.
It was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen, an fj45 oil fountain. No joke it shot oil 30 meters into the air! The best part was when it all came back down and landed on us grrrr… Roothy gave us the track report “tight right hand turn and then a small hill climb up to the main road”. You bewdy, we were almost out but the elation was not long lived. I got to the tight turn and there was no way I was getting the trailer around this massive tree, so I drove the lux as far as I could and then the boys worked as a team and lifted and pushed the trailer clear of the tree. Hit that hill climb and was happy to see the grated logging road.
This track had tested us all physically, mentally and put our mateship to the ultimate test and we came out the other side, but the quiet achiever was the camper trailer. I could not believe that it was still connected to the back of the lux after all I had put it through and I see it as a testament to the build quality that MDC are still delivering to this day.