20 May 2020
"The spirit of man is nomad, his blood bedouin...and so I came to live my life not by conscious plan or prearranged design but as someone following the flight of a bird." Laurens van der Post
Hello fellow adventurers
My lockdown was spent camping at my mate Glen's engineering yard. For the past 3 months or so I've been rebuilding a recently acquired 4WD wagon from the 'hubs up' - preparing it for an upcoming global overland adventure for me and my Santa Cruz bike.
As we transitioned to Level 3 it felt time to test the camping capabilities of the wagon's almost-complete refit. Packing for this first 'virtual' test trip was actually a little exciting after all the engineering toil. Nothing too far nor extreme was envisioned - just a camping night 'away' with a new hike-a-bike peak in mind.
Packing for an 'overnight adventure'
Still, after hitting the gravel, the day became packed with action, tyre rock slides, washed-out bridges over raging trickles, shredding bikes on the roof of my world. I even encountered a crusty old hose snake in the grass while unloading the gear. This world kept me busy for over a day.
Negotiating raging trickles
Making camp I quickly changed out of my gummies and dressed for a serious hike-a-bike to claim the first descent of the yet unnamed red corrugated peak in the local Quarantine Range. This actually went pretty smoothly, even the stunts - I'd been secretly practising wheelies during lockdown. The views of the yard from the summit were amazing. The timing was perfect, arriving at that magic moment when the light reminds you that life and nature are 'good as gold'. The descent was one to remember with some fun times manualing and relishing the excitement of reclaiming some action on the bike.
Hike-a-bike and well-practiced wheelies
Sliding sideways back into camp
Sliding sideways (the way life is meant to be lived) into camp, I was ready for snacks and a cup of tea. Dinner followed and an ambient fire under a still night sky. It was one of those rare still evenings where the smoke goes straight up (no jokes).
The new kitchen setup seems solid. The awning and chairs created a comfortable and cosy front yard for the Land Cruiser. Beers and fire stares before crawling into the interior bed. Another first. Somewhat tighter by design than the accommodation in my original blue Cruiser but it still functioned as it should while maximising storage for the long unsupported legs that lie ahead through Australia and Asia.
Sheltered and rested, the sun rose between layers of corrugated workshops, warming my morning and shedding light on the reality of my lockdown world. Remember you are only trapped if you can’t let your mind be free of your situation and so, with practice, you may find the perceived bars and chains are less restricting than you might first have thought. This is one of the many things I learned from the writing of a most epic adventurer and prisoner of war - Laurens van der Post. There are some amazing stories by this man, adventure, and deep thought combined.
With lockdown love. Take care,
Jamie Nicoll Adventures
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