The Icons arrived safely at the starting town of Alice Springs, patiently awaiting their national and international drivers to arrive. The Off Road Icons support team spent two days packing and preparing the vehicles; loading swags, filling water and fuel tanks and performing final safety checks.
The Icons looked to be in good condition all round, though a final check revealed the 40 Series LandCruiser didn’t seem to have operating windscreen wipers. But hey, they’re in the middle of the driest continent on earth, traversing one of the world’s longest sand dune deserts, surely windscreen wipers are more a cosmetic than functional feature at this point.
Thankfully, erring on the side of caution, the decision was made that it would probably be best to get them going again.
From Alice Springs the clouds overhead looked daunting, but the radars at the time would show that once the convoy started moving they would be heading away from the wet centre.
In perfect formation the four Icons, supported by four of their modern day counterparts headed south down the old Ghan Railway line, destination: Chambers Pillar.
The first day, comfortably perched in Recaro seats, the venture was a short route to Chambers Pillar for a visit to this unique landmark, evolved over time by the ever harsh and eroding winds of the red centre. Late in the day as the sun began to set, the collection of firewood started from bushlands running parallel to the track. As the drivers started to navigate through puddles forming on the track the signs were clear of recent and decent rainfall in the area.
The group took camp for the night at Chambers Pillar camp ground for the first of many nights sleeping in cozy Skydome swags, star gazing into the Milky Way.
Brushing off the cobwebs around the campfire, enjoying a quiet ale and telling tales of yesteryear and memories of driving similar vintage vehicles in their prime the team retired one by one to their abodes for the evening.
Day 2 started with a bush breakfast fit for a king, as the Icons returned to the old Railway track on their venture to Finke. It was at about this time it became very clear that the decision to fix those windscreen wipers on the 40 Series was a wise one.
The Off Road Icons with rain behind them, rain in front of them and rain on top of them cautiously continued their jaunt on towards Mt. Dare hotel.
The usually arid and dry desert tracks becoming small rivers, the convoy carefully made their way on to a safe arrival to a welcoming warm pub, cold beer and a new crowd of people with whom to share their tales.
Positive news that the worst of the rain was behind them and the tracks heading east and into the Simpson Desert and beyond looked to offer drier pastures.