Road trip across Australia – The Preparation

I am, quite literally, about to embark on a road trip across Australia and return. Barring no incidents I’ll be driving from Perth, Western Australia to the South Coast of New South Wales and return. If my calculations are correct I should be driving about 9,000 kilometres, which is not such a bad drive.
To get to the point where I am ready to head off has taken a lot of preparation and some planning.
Firstly, because I will be doing a double crossing on the Nullabor Plain, a 1200 kilometre section of road between Norseman in Western Australia and Ceduna in South Australia which contains no major towns, just a few truck stops and fuel stations every couple of hundred kilometres or so, if needed to ensure that the car is suitable for such a journey, as I don’t really want to be stranded well away from help.
My parents made the mistake of breaking down on the Nullabor many years ago, and it took them many days and lots of money to get the vehicle fixed enough to turn around and head on back to civilisation for major repairs to be completed.
I’ve had my car checked by experts and any problems (just a couple of minor ones, fortunately) have been fixed. I’ve also made sure that we are stocked up with plenty of water, food and warm clothing and blankets just in case we do break down and have to wait for help. It is much better to be prepared for the worst, particularly as Murphy’s Law VIII (a) (vi) states that the better prepared you are means there is less likelihood of you needing assistance.
For a few months I’ve been pouring over maps, calculating mileage, working out estimated times it takes to complete various sectors, working out distances between fuel stops (important on The Nullabor, but just important in other rural areas where distances can be more deceiving. I’ve also been checking on accommodation, and working out where we can freeload on friends and family.
Because I’ll be carrying a lot of weight in the vehicle (I’m travelling with two women, and they don’t see any need to restrict the amount of clothes they are taking) I’ve taken an interest in tyre pressures. For a drive of 9,000 kilometres having your tyres at the right pressures will save a lot of fuel (and it is expensive out in the middle of Australia), and give us a better ride.
I’ve cooked a pile of finger food to save costs and the hassles of stopping at greasy diners to confront over-cooked, cholesterol bursting so-called fast food that’s been sitting in a warmer for many hours. I’ve bought a WiFi dongle for the laptops we will be taking with us, filled up the MP3 player with 28Gb of music, which means that I will practically never have to repeat a song the whole time I’ll be away.
Did I mention that we’re travelling with a dog? This is worse than travelling with a baby! Dogs require a lot of food, toys, water, bedding and, of course, poo bags. Not only that, the dog will require more toilet breaks than the humans on the trip, and the first thing I have to do when I wake up each day will be to take him for a walk so he gets enough exercise, and we’ll have to do the same at night.
Now that I’m just about to head off, I’m racking my brain trying to remember what I’ve forgotten. Even though I have the check list from hell, I’m sure there’ll come a time when we get out in the middle of nowhere and remember something that we simply must have.
These are the joys of travelling, but it is all worth it for the experiences of travelling stay with you for a long time into the future.

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