Friday, December 28, 2012

Happy New Year!!

Wishing everyone a Merry  Christmas and a Happy  New Year. The key  thing is not too over indulge.

Here is a picture of what  you  will  look like if you do, and you  could end up  in  the dog house.

Poor Nip... one too many!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Fj Cruiser- Goodbye!

After 12 months, 50,000km and a host of expenditure it was time to  say  goodbye to the Fj cruiser.  Why? I am  glad you  ask.  Here are some pointers as to  why-

Toyota advertise the Fj as a vehicle that  has the heritage of the original FJ40. Its not. The original Fj40  has its roots way  back in the ww2 Jeep. The original Fj40's were military  spec. The currant Fj Cruiser is not.

So what ? You  ask.  Well here is the bottom line. in  50,000km of outback travel I  found that:-

1. The doors began to rattle. and the door configuration is just  wrong. Awkward, plus the rear door is hung on the wrong side making loading a real issue. Try loading the rear from the curb, or opening the doors in a confined space e.g. an underground car park.

2.The vehicle is not designed for a bull bar and the ARB bull bar caused all sorts of issues. Even with a revised bar, it continued to  cause me problems. Frankly  some of the after market designers should be ashamed of themselves.

3. The shape of the roof and styled bodywork means that  rear cargo area is an issue as too is a roof rack.

4. The front suspension is Prado. I  had to  replace suspension bushes every 25,000km.

5. The vertical windscreen means that  your fuel consumption varies by a long way. The slightest headwind, (or side wind), resulted in fuel economy  going out the window.

The new basic V8  tray back with  its sides down setting up  camp

6. As a result to  windscreen really  gets thumped by stones and rocks and replacing it is awkward... some of the plastic around it can  be damaged by the inexperienced screen fitter.

6. Fuel tank is way  too small and there are issues with  fuel leaks from  aftermarket units. So what  do  you  do?

7. Gearbox.. Awful. It hangs on in 5th and is reluctant  to change down. When  it does it thumps back 2 cogs and the engine is left screaming its head off.. This is particularly  noticeable in hilly  terrain and more so with the cruise control on.

8. The blue tooth and I-pod connectivity  is lousy.

Now, I  know I  have grown up on  60 series, 80 series and 70 series and I  know I  get into  tough outback terrain, so I replaced it with a V8 trayback.  Much  more suited to my  needs.

 Conclusion- The FJ Cruiser is a "wash and wear" price point Prado. It  has some really nice features and is brilliant off road. Great  approach  and departures as well as ramp over. It makes really  nice vehicle for mountain bike riders, surfers, or the weekend warrior who  wants to  test their skills down a telegraph gymkhana track, and then  head into  their inner city  pad. However,  Its not an FJ40. It will not work on outback cattle stations for 300,000km. So, I  have traded some comfort for a live axle, consistent fuel economy and less electronics.. the last  of the FJ40/HJ47 line.

At the end of the day  its horses for courses.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

We've gone Batty!

On  Sunday  we arrived at the Motocross track early, as the weather forecast predicted 37c top temp. So  we wanted the cooler part of the day the ride. Dave found a micro bat in  the hand basin. Poor fellow looks very  young. I  think it has lost its mother. We dampened a singlet and wrap it up  to  keep it cool and dark.

From this photo you  can  just  how tiny  they are.

The little chap seems undamaged and so  we transferred it to a shoe box and placed it in the dark of the wardrobe. We wanted to  see if it could fly and be ok.

This morning it has  left the shoebox and was flying around Daves room.

We are currently looking for it as we think it has gone to roost somewhere.  Once we find it we feel confident to  let it go.

Its wings are in good order

Mico bats play a very  important role in  the ecology. Some help pollinate trees, and they  eat mosquitos and small moths. Using their larger ears and echo to locate their prey. They are tiny, about the size of a small mouse.

Many  years ago we had a Lesser Long-eared bat with us for a while too. I  find them fascinating and quite beautiful

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A day at the races

Dave and his friend Luke chose a nice Sunday  to  do  another Race Pace day. This time it was at the Appin National Track and was quite different to Illawarra. Thats Dave in the red helmet and  orange/blue outfit on the black Honda CRF250r bike. Next  to  him is  Luke dressed in Suzuki colours of yellow on the Suzuki RM 125

Below is a video Luke put together and its a great way  to  see what the boys got up  too. In typical fashion Dave led the way  in  the Race starts and you  can  see him  get the wheel up in the 2nd start. The boys also  got plenty  of air on  the double up too, Luke only being limited by the horsepower of the 125.

No, the photos are not photo shopped! Thats Dave getting plenty of air! they  basically  get into the air on the first jump land on the top of the second and launch again, getting higher each  time.

Below he is pondering his race start. I  have to  say  Daves riding is nice and smooth, which  is a relief as the amount of air they  get continues to raise my  blood pressure!

Again I was astounded that  some of the boys did not listen to the instructors, and again two boys were injured. Surprisingly  on the 6 "Whoops" as they  call it.  In the video they are the lumps in the track, that  don't look like much  but if you  don't time it right they  bounce you  off. One lad was only  winded, the other suffered a broken arm. 

After 6 hours of riding the boys had certain worn themselves out. and a great  day  was had by all! well, almost  all!