Chris has been driving 4×4 tracks for all his adult life and I have been a very nervous passenger for a major part of it. So, when Chris suggested that I had to do a 4×4 course and learn how to drive the D-Max it came as a bit of a surprise. His justification for me becoming a confident off roader was in any event I could get us out of the wilderness. I however suspect his true motivation was that I would really learn to love off road driving once I got the taste for it. Ha ha what a dream!
So, going along with his plan whatever the reason, I found my own course. I enrolled in Australian 4×4 Driver Training & Tag Along Tours run out of Lithgow in the Blue Mountains, NSW. Well, the next problem was who would do course with me. I was not going by myself and Chris said he was not going to do the same course with me. He claimed I would make him do the difficult stuff and not learn my own ability and limitations as well as the D-MAX’s capability – very astute of him huh! At a quiet dinner party one night I mentioned to a long standing dear friend Nerida (Ned) about this stupid idea of Chris’. She just said “fantastic idea, I would love to do it” (mad girl)!! So I had a 4×4 buddy. We just had to plan a course around her shoulder surgery recovery so a date was set for the end of January 2017.
On Friday 27 Jan Ned, my mum and I set off from Canberra for the Lithgow in the Blue Mountain. We stay with a close family friend Norma in Lithgow. While my mum stayed back at Norma’s safe cosy home in down town Lithgow us two girls and other mad novices ventured off with instructor John Cantrell (was this Thelma & Louise – not quite really).
John Cantrell of Australian 4×4 Driver Training pushed us way out of our comfort zone from the first track on day one! Track one was a daunting and scary quarry pit that we went up and then of course had to come down! That was the introduction to the two days of adrenalin rushing nerves and sheer delight on each track in front of us. From one track to the next what went up must come down! Over the two days we got the D-MAX into and onto and out of what looked like undrivable bits of track. Not forgetting there were two drivers in our truck so we had to do some bits twice!!
As the two days came to an end, we were exhausted and amazed that WE HAD DONE IT. What a team! My navigating skill were very questionable at times (who would have thought that the other left or right was so confusing?). Thanks Ned, I could not have done it with anybody else. Hopefully you will join us on our adventures somewhere out there on the tracks and put your newfound skills to the test again.
The D-MAX was christened Ursula over the weekend and that she will remain – apologies Chris but this was all your idea remember!! May Ursula now take us far and wide and of course there will be many ups and downs!!