Daydreams are easy.  Just sit back and let them happen - effortless adventure.  It's easy to be a legend in your own mind.


Real dreams are hard.  You can't sit around making bun prints in the sands of time if you want to make your dreams come true.  Real dreams aren't a trip to fantasy land.  They are rock solid adventures purchased with blood, sweat, and tears, and the most precious commodity of all, time.


I have always been something of a dreamer.  I have gone walkabout in my mind for thousands of hours, and that's ok, because I have spent even more time going walkabout on planet earth.  I spent eleven years sailing around the world on my yacht, and ten years exploring the vast expanses of the Arabian desert and Australian outback in Land Rover Defenders.  So I know a great deal about dreams and the dream machines that can make them come true.

For me, there are two types of dream machines.  One type makes it possible to drive outback and beyond to remote corners of the globe.  The other is your passport to Water World, permitting you to sail anywhere you have the courage to point your bow.  In this Captain's Log we will discuss the first type of dream machines, Land Rover Defenders.


What is the anatomy of a dream machine?  What is it that makes a dream machine into a dream machine?  First and foremost, a dream machine is honest.  It's tough through and through.  There is no pretense; it's meant to take a licking and keep on ticking.  I have traveled in the desert with pretentious vehicles that looked tough, but the moment you challenged them with arduous conditions, a demolition derby begins.  Cooling fans go through radiators with instant destruction of the cooling system.  Plastic fuel tanks crack and leak.  Flimsy roof racks disintegrate under heavy loads when driving on corrugations.  Computerized engines limp along when their computers fail.  Car suspensions come to a tragic end as springs break, shock absorbers leak or shear off.  The list of gear failures is as long as the list of  equipment made to look tough rather than actually being tough.  In the expeditionary off-road community, this type of equipment is called posing gear.  It looks great until you load it up and stress it out, and then it disintegrates.  My dream machine needs to be honest.  I don't care what it looks like as long as it's honest.  It's tough and can stand up to the rigors of expeditionary travel.


What kind of load carrying capacity do I expect from an expeditionary vehicle?  My minimum requirements are the vehicle should be able to carry at least a ten day supply of water, and sufficient fuel for 1200 miles off-road.  It should be able to carry enough food and supplies to last for a minimum of ten days plus four people and all of their gear.  That is a big ask, especially when you put four adults inside the truck.  It's much easier when there are only two people on board.


My favorite expeditionary vehicle is a Land Rover Defender with a 110 inch or 130 inch wheelbase.  Both are honest expeditionary machines, and with modest modifications, they can take you anywhere you want to go in the outback and beyond.


So what is it that makes a Defender qualify as an expeditionary vehicle?


1.  It's tough.


2.  You can outfit it with long range fuel tanks.  The Defender has room for a replacement oversize main tank, an additional tank in the right rear wheel well, and two forward tanks running outside the chassis rails.


3.  You can bolt on a  Brownchurch galvanized roof rack along the full length of the roof.  It's unmovable and indestructible, and it easily carries eight jerry cans of fuel, a roof top tent, and other essential gear.


4.  Six Michelin XZL tires for rough terrain, especially in areas with thorn bushes and mulga stumps that have a predilection to destroy sidewalls.


5.  Six Michelin XS sand tires if your expeditionary travel is exclusively in the sand dunes found in the Empty Quarter of Arabia, or the Namibian sands.


6.  Piv Lock swing out spare tire carrier mounted on the back of the vehicle.  This makes the spare tire easily accessible when needed, and at the same time keeps it out of the way when not needed.


7.  A reinforced bonnet (hood) backed up with aluminum plates so you can carry a spare tire on the front of the car without breaking the bonnet.


8.  A bull bar that offers protection from wayward Australian wildlife like kangaroos.


9.  An eight thousand pound capacity winch mounted on the bulbar.


10.  Twin heavy duty battery system.  One battery for engine starting, and one for refrigeration, lights, radios, and other accessories.


11.  Off-road running lights for those occasions when necessity demands you drive off-road at night.


12.  High lift jack with jack mounts.


13.  Upgraded rear air bag suspension.


14.  Skid plate to protect the front differential and running gear further aft.


15.  Windshield mounted hand held compass for gross navigation to tell you if your are on the right track heading in approximately the correct direction.


16.  A GPS to tell you exactly where you are.  (Global Positioning System)


17.  Geologic survey maps of at least 1:500,000 scale for the region of the world in which you are driving.


18.  Roof top tents, side mounted tents, and free standing tents all work well.  Roof top tens give additional security from unwanted critters like snakes, scorpions, dingoes, sand cats, and other undesirables.


19.  Sand Ladders for vehicle recovery when stuck in soft sand.


20.  Eutectic plate refrigeration similar to the Australian Autofridge brand.


21.  Built in sliding drawers in back of the vehicle.  The drawers can be locked for secure storage of valuable items.


22.  One hundred feet of one inch double braid nylon for bunge jumping a stranded vehicle out of sand and mud.


23.  Snatch strap for towing a vehicle.  Tree protector strap for winching a vehicle.


24.  Sand anchor for winching a vehicle when no other attachment point is possible.


25.  Shovel, pick, small sledge hammer, full set of tools.


26.  Inventory of spare parts to include left rear half shaft, hub drives, starter motor, alternator, belts, hoses, differential oil, gear box oil, engine oil, coolant, grease.


27.  Snorkel to protect the engine from dust in the desert, and to prevent water from entering the engine when fording streams.


28.  Eight high quality jerry cans that can be positively locked to prevent accidental spillage and leakage.


29.  Camping gear.


30.  Long range water tanks.



I have owned five Defenders and have driven more than 100,000 kilometers in the deserts of Arabia and Australia.  As an expeditionary vehicle, the Defender does the job admirably - better than most pretenders.  It's built for expeditionary travel and can withstand the rigors of carrying heavy loads in severe conditions.


At present, I have two Defenders waiting in the wings.  One is in New Zealand, and the other in Australia ready for the next adventure.  They are both diesels with 300 Tdi engines.  Since they have identical engines, their spare parts are interchangeable, and you only need to carry one set of spares for both vehicles.


The burgundy Defender has a 110 inch wheelbase, and is fully customized for long range adventure.  The white Defender has a 130 inch wheelbase with a crew cab and enclosed truck bed.


These are the dream machines that just might take me on a driving trip around the world.  How does this sound?  After trekking though the Australian outback, I ship the Defenders from Perth to Capetown.  Drive from South Africa to Cairo and up into Jordan and Israel.  Ship the trucks to Greece and then drive overland to London.  Ship the Rovers to Buenos Aires, Argentina, drive over the Andes into Chile, and then drive up the Pan American highway all the way to Alaska.  Finally, ship the Defenders to Auckland, and tour New Zealand, and the around the world tour will be done.  Sounds like a great adventure to me.  Just the thought of it gets me excited.  I can hardly wait to get started.


Now, where is the phone number for my travel agent.  "Hello, Can you get me a Carnet de Passage  for two vehicles traveling through thirty-five countries for the next year and a half?"

Log 1 Peter Pan Around the World
Log 2 Weapons of Mackerel Destruction
Log 3 Pirates of the Malacca Straits
Log 4 Kissing Cobras
Log 5 Debriosaurus Rex
Log 6 Go Ahead - Live Your Dreams

Log 7 The Man Who Built His House on a Rock
Log 8 Ambivalent Eagles
Log 9 One-Shovel Full at a Time
Log 10 Hitchhiker's Guide to Planet Earth

Log 11 Keeshond

Log 12 The Red Sea Blues

Log 13 Feel the Freedom

Log 14 The Danger Zone

Log 15 Lucky Man
Log 16 Dream Machines - Land Rover Defenders

Log 17 Trade Wind Dreams
Log 18 Logs With Fins
Log 19 Everywhere, Everything
Log 20 Shark Slayer Is History

Log 21 Viking Funeral - Burial at Sea
Log 22 Improbable and Impossible

Log 23 Keep on Trucking
Log 24 Dream Machines II
Log 25 Bodysurfing Whales
Log 26 Hitting the Wall
Log 27 Surviving the Savage Seas

Log 28 The Next Step
Log 29 Welcome to Barbados
Log 30 Atlantic Rally for Cruisers
Log 31 The Man with the Unplan
Log 32 Dali Dolphins
Log 33 Flying Like a Turtle
Log 34 The Foolish Man Built His House on a Pitch Lake
Log 35 Go West Young Man
Log 36 Crossing the Atlantic in a Row Boat
Log 37 The Unsinkable HMS Diamond Rock
Log 38 Catamaran Capsize in 170 mph Winds
Log 39 When Are You Coming Home?

Log 40 Master and Commander of Anegada - Frigate Birds
Log 41 Baths of Virgin Gorda - Batholiths of Central Arabia

Log 42 Free at Last
Log 43 Stalking the Wild Manatee

Log 44 Spreaderman
Log 45 Attack of the Flesh Eating Bees
Log 46 Sharks and Coconuts
Log 47 Stingray Picnic
Log 48 Boo Boo Hill
Log 49 Whale Slayers
Log 50 Noddies (Not Naughty)


Log 51 Exumas Land and Sea Park
Log 52 David and Goliath
Log 53 Turquoise Clouds of Paradise

Log 54 Momma Nightjar
Log 55 Maximillian The Great
Log 56 Chiton Kingdom
Log 57 Flying and Holding On
Log 58 Far Horizons
Log 59 Clouds Are a Sailor's Friend
Log 60 Getting Connected
Log 61 Fear
Log 62 Grand Schemes and Other Important Things
Log 63 If Jellyfish Had a Brain
Log 64 Cousins That Don't Kiss
Log 65 Swimming With Sharks
Log 66 Perfect the Way You Are
Log 67 Space Travelers
Log 68 Aliens
Log 69 Monsters of the Mind
Log 70 My Butterfly Collection
Log 71 Somewhere Other Than Here Societies
Log 72 Five-Hundred Pound Spiders
Log 73 Red Sea Sunsets
Log 74 Gibraltar Sunrise
Log 75 Big Sea - Small Ship
Log 76 Just Cruising
Log 77 Castle Mania
Log 78 You Must Know the Sea
Log 79 Flying Like a Goat
Log 80 The Joy of Photography
Log 81 Universal Camouflage
Log 82 My Rainbow Collection
Log 83 Indian Ocean Reward
Log 84 Fiber W
Log 85 Turkish Reflections
Log 86 Mirrors and Mirages
Log 87 Lycean Tombs Rock
Log 88 Rigging Emergency
Log 89 Pamukkale
Log 90 Volcano Land
Log 91 Sniffing the Air
Log 92 Why I Don't Kite Surf
Log 93 Resurrecting Exit Only in Turkey
Log 94 Greased Pole Competition
Log 95 Tsunami Damage
Log 96 Afraid of Living
Log 97 Living on the Edge
Log 98 Borneo Adventure
Log 99 Uligamu Tree Tender with Full Benefits
Log 100 God's Fireworks Display

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This web site is a companion to Outback and Beyond.com.