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Just watching " My Family's Crazy Gap Year"


protoprincess
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I would like some views about this from anyone who saw it.

Given that it is about making a TV programme, highly edited etc etc:

- It appeared that the covers were still on the driving lights, yet he saw the arrows late while driving at night/early dawn - hmmm. Would a set of roof lights have helped if they had been switched on

- I am sure that the swerving from side to side, was due to upsetting the trailer balance, which is maybe, perhaps along with a ditch, what caused the vehicle to roll.

- I am absolutely no fan of these heavy canvas rooftents and certainly would expect the roof weight to have contributed to the roll

- Would a 110 with no roll bar/cage rolled like that have let the 5 people inside get out almost unscathed, or would the bodywork have just crumpled ?

I was very interested in the kids' reactions throughout, as I plan to take my kids on something similar. They definitly appeared to thrive when making friends their own age which says a lot for fitting in some volunteer work along the way.

All said, at least the guy got another vehicle, got stuck with a dead battery and had to be rescued by a Landy :lol: :lol:

I am definitely planning a two vehicle trip, as a second vehicle, so long as it was running, would have got him out of all the worst scrapes.

Any views on this or links to places such things are discussed ?

Regards

Richard

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To quote the narrator;

"With the unmarked track hard to make out in the low light, AJ had taken his eyes off the road, and was driving by looking at the screen on the Sat Nav."

To be honest, this is a stupid thing to do. Doing it along a motorway would be dangerous, let alone an African dirt road - we all know how misleading Sat Nav can be at times. If the track was hard to make out, he should have adjusted his speed accordingly. Looking at the damage, he must have been going reasonably fast when he rolled - anyone know how strong the upper body is on these cars?

I think he is quite unprepared as well.

Narrator; "...their relying on a GPS navigation system to get them there. But one hour in, it's not getting them very far."

AJ; "We'd like to get on our journey, but we don't know where we're going. GPS is taking us somewhere we don't really wanna go I don't think..."

To top it off, they had never been camping before, and they had never opened their roof tent up.

I know these sort of trips are supposed to be a learning curve, but even so, I think some basic skills and preparation is essential.

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I must admit I nearly fell off the sofa when they said they hadn't opened the tents before!! And the fact they were relying on their GPS was oh-so-scary!

Led me to wonder how much driving experience they actually had, not that driving a dirt road is difficult but there are factors you have to be aware of. Rolling the vehicle so early on just proved the point IMO.

I hate to be critical of this sort of thing because I think everyone should be encouraged to make at least one big trip in their lives, but I don't think they did themselves any favours. They seemed to me to be well equipped but inexperienced and unprepared.

- It appeared that the covers were still on the driving lights, yet he saw the arrows late while driving at night/early dawn - hmmm. Would a set of roof lights have helped if they had been switched on

Lights on the bull bar or on the roof... really doesn't make a whole heap of difference. If they were on either would have made a massive difference to his ability to see into the night!

- I am sure that the swerving from side to side, was due to upsetting the trailer balance, which is maybe, perhaps along with a ditch, what caused the vehicle to roll.

I'd be inclined to agree, especially if he was going too fast.

- I am absolutely no fan of these heavy canvas rooftents and certainly would expect the roof weight to have contributed to the roll

Assuming the speed was that great, I don't think the roof tent would have made much difference, they were going to roll anyway. Obviously the tent will raise the centre of gravity, but had the speed been more suited to the conditions and given that the Land Cruiser is quite "squat" compared to a 110 for example I can't see that it would have been a major contributing factor.

- Would a 110 with no roll bar/cage rolled like that have let the 5 people inside get out almost unscathed, or would the bodywork have just crumpled ?

I somehow doubt they would have escaped so unscathed. One of the reasons we insisted on having a vehicle with a cage when we started preparing for our trip all them years ago.

BTW, do old Land Cruisers really fetch that sort of money?

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BTW, do old Land Cruisers really fetch that sort of money?

err yes having had one in our convoy to Romania in the summer, land rovers dont come closed to these trucks for carrying and towing stuff. In 30+ deg heat towing 3 tonnes these cruisers seem perfectly at home where you are flogging a 300tdi disco to death... even worse when the boys in the cruiser have aircon and you dont <_<

but an N reg disco is a few hundred quid where as a good N reg 80 series landcruiser 4-5K.... I will have to stick to the disco for the time being :)

any back on topic... I watch both this one and the one last week and both times its seemed that "the trip" was really the first time that both family's has been in/on there chosen mode of transport.

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The land cruisers are very tuff and fairly capable I drove one a few hundred miles out in UEA dunes.

I found primarily that the handling leaves a little to be desired,

Also I was under the impression driving at night in open bush was dangerous because of animals and carp roads etc...

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All said, at least the guy got another vehicle, got stuck with a dead battery and had to be rescued by a Landy :lol: :lol:

I saw the programme and had the shock of my life as the landy that rescued him was built by a friend of mine :) in Shrewsbury ,Him and his wife travelled around europe for 9 months and then sold it to a woman from london who said she was hoping to go to Africa in it.

Hope she had her "official toyota recovery vehicle " sticker on it :lol:

Gary

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I'm all for the in at the deep end approach - after all that seems to be the story of my life so far but some caution when doing new stuff can be useful.

The thing that struck me was that they seemed to be on a pre-determined schedule that they had to chase to keep up with whatever their feelings or needs. Surely the joy of this type of trip is the opportunity to take time and take advantage of serendititus discoveries and oportunities. How much more fun would it have been to have arrived late afternoon, a day later, at the dunes camped, watched the sunset then woken for the sunrise.

As for upside down landrovers I have done this and was glad of my roll cage. In future I would not just rely on hoops at windscreen and behind driver but would have bars above the drivers head, especially in sand or rocks.

Fruit

www.ukrallyraiders.blogspot.com

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I'm all for the in at the deep end approach - after all that seems to be the story of my life so far but some caution when doing new stuff can be useful.

The thing that struck me was that they seemed to be on a pre-determined schedule that they had to chase to keep up with whatever their feelings or needs. Surely the joy of this type of trip is the opportunity to take time and take advantage of serendititus discoveries and oportunities. How much more fun would it have been to have arrived late afternoon, a day later, at the dunes camped, watched the sunset then woken for the sunrise.

As for upside down landrovers I have done this and was glad of my roll cage. In future I would not just rely on hoops at windscreen and behind driver but would have bars above the drivers head, especially in sand or rocks.

Fruit

www.ukrallyraiders.blogspot.com

My plan is exactly that: make sure you never have to be somewhere by a given time. I appreciate that this cannot always be so with visa expiry, but I do think it should be the basic plaaning assumption. Stay a while in nice places, pass on through the dull ones.

Regards

Richard

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I was suprised that in a truck which has twin batteries as standard, plus the added split-charge and trailer battery(s) he couldn't manage to jump-start himself and had to wait for passing traffic.

Kids seemed to be bored off their nuts 90% of the time unless there were other kids around, not sure I'd drag them round a load of sand & rocks & trees for 10 months at that age, they just wanna play not sit still in a hot car all day.

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Met a family that had 3 kids and had got a converted bedford lorry and driven from UK to Africa and the kids seemed to enjoy it. I think the key was making sure the kids were involved. Judging by the other comments a lot of map reading jobs were going spare on that trip

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My plan is exactly that: make sure you never have to be somewhere by a given time. I appreciate that this cannot always be so with visa expiry, but I do think it should be the basic plaaning assumption. Stay a while in nice places, pass on through the dull ones.

Regards

Richard

Last trip to Morocco we did we really only had one thing that we stuck to, at 4.30 we started to look for a camp site if we were travelling. Found some great ones and always had a brew in hand to watch the sunset.

Have a good trip

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They had a lot of problems with l/crs doing just this in Aus, and Toy*t@ , would not admit anything , but then a latter model came out with 50mm lower suspension , and a few other changes. I regularly had to recover hire cars with japanese drivers, who rolled them on the first dirt road they got on , the reality of driving on dirt is very different from nintendo :o driving at night is not agood idea in outback conditions ,due several factors

1. wandering livestock, emu, roos and goats not to much of a problem with a decent bull bar, as long as you can control the desire to swerve in an attempt to miss them , but a 1 ton lump of beef is a totally differnt matter.

2. road maintenance can be very hit and miss, big holes etc .

3. Path of road (direction) can sometimes be difficult to assess, as no road markings not much to differntiate between road and bush .

4. Due to lack of other traffic it can become deceptive as you loose concentration

Big lighting is a must ,with some higher up so that holes cant hide in shadow .

Being able to read the surface type so you know how it will react with the vehicle, a good knowledge of your vehicles respons e to this is an imperative ,eg the more you do the better you are ( like snow driving)

I watched the program and was amazed at the ignorance is bliss scenario . It was not a surprise what happened . The general lack of any concept of what they are attempting never fails to amaze me , it was very common in Aus , with city dwellers, as well as foreign visitors . dehyration , not realising that mobile phones wont work, distances involved , vehicle sympathy , many examples of all , and a few paid the ultimate price.

They were a prime example of being raised in a society that relies on a lot of other people to do things . The risks that they were putting their childern at , esp re medical due to idiologies held defies belief. The childern were too young to really benefit , from most not least due to lack of forethought about the childerns point of view , as opposed to a mature adult. Selfishness was a definate fact . JMHO

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Having extensive experience of driving in Namibia, this type of rollover accident is all too common. It's also one that all the guide books and other drivers warn you about. The unsurfaced roads are well graded but can have loose material on the surface. Also you have inadequate road signage, eg. bends for the next 20km, and that's it. You're ok driving fast(ish) in a straight line provided you don't have to make a sudden swerve, but you really need to slow down for bends. If you don't then it's either a sudden "off", or a controlled tail out oversteer drift a la rally style. (My wife's quite accomplished at doing these in a Hilux! :blink: ) This obviously wouldn't be possible with a trailer in tow.

As for watching the GPS rather than the road, as well as probably going too fast as well as driving in the dark - words fail me .... A totally avoidable accident by a "all the gear but no idea" type of driver IMHO. They were very very lucky to get out uninjured.

Dave

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Agree with all above comments.

I would have expected them to do, at the very least, a "shake-down" run - i.e. a few days in the bush, in plenty of time to make adjustments before their big adventure. I did my first 4 week long "shake-down" run in Morocco 2008. Two years later, just finished the massive list of vehicle mods that I realised I would need for such a trip.

Of course the program was obviously heavily edited.. so it's hard to critise too much. But, there is no excuse for poor planning. There are so many sources of free advice. Horizons Unlimited, LR4x4, and youtube to name a few!

In the words of Raymondo Mears: The Sahara Desert Part 2/4

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