These definitions are based on my experience and relate to this web site.  They consist of my personal opinions based on my experience and skills in 4x4's.  I am a graduate of the Victoria Police Four Wheel Drive School.  During my career, I spent time driving 4x4's, in, and on, just about every surface and slope type there is.  In all honesty, I can say that the lessons learned involved just a few bruises and sprains. The good part is, that  not too many experts out there,  would laugh at me.

Four Wheel Drive (4x4) is a vehicle with the ability to drive all 4 wheels at the same time and includes a transfer case so low range can be selected for steep slopes, river crossings and sand travel.  Vehicles that do not have a transfer case don't have the ability to climb and descend and usually don't have the ground clearance.  It would be a lot easier if all these vehicles were marketed as All Wheel Drives and then some lunatics wouldn't take them  where they shouldn't go. This does not include any vehicle rented from any of the well known outlets which are often known as the next best thing.

  Road Signs :- are those erected by the relevant local government authority.  In remote areas they are always right and should always be obeyed.  4x4 only :- signs are usually a warning that there is a pretty ordinary road or track ahead.  This is the best time to engage high four or tighten the seat belt in your Hertz rent a car.  DIP:-  signs, particularly in Queensland,  means  that the  road is going to dip about 2 to 3 feet very shortly.   So, be ready, because the one I failed to notice was the one at the Wenlock River and it's a long way down.  

Crocodiles:- are everywhere on the Cape even though I haven't seen them in the last two years.  They are also known as beach lizards, schnapper and any of many variations.  They are not to be taken lightly, mainly because they are cunning, well camouflaged and down right dangerous.   So, if you must have a swim, stay somewhere with a pool.

Bargains:- are everywhere.  Usually when you either, can't afford or don't want them.  Most bargains tend to fail when you need them most, and that's when their  "el cheapo" nature shows itself  and they fail.  "Experts" have lots of bargains with them.  Rated equipment does not come cheap but occasionally at Shows and demonstrations, the prices may drop for a short time.  So what to do when offered a bargain - look the gift horse in the mouth, check rating and/or pedigree because it may well result in damage or injury if it fails.  If in doubt, apply the same principle as with the wife's retail therapy, "even a bargain costs money."

The Usual Suspects:-  are the good friends I sometimes travel with and between all of us we still couldn't muster a proper "bushman", but we have a lot of fun trying (John Webster is the one exception to this rule, and maybe Arthur).  Retirement has seen us with the time to travel and enjoy this wonderful country of ours.  We are rich in life experience, can just about set up a camp,  enjoy our time in the bush AND survive to tell the tale.  The Usual Suspects have a great sense of humour which they need  because on our last trip to Cape York we followed the rules carefully, but were  still struck by really bad luck on some occasions.  Well, not all of us.  One vehicle had had a previous trip under its belt and 12 months planning for the trip.   The other, didn't and wasn't really properly packed, until Weipa.  As you go through this site you try to guess which one it is.

"Stick to your knitting":-  is a term from the business world which means to do what you're  really good at and make your profit that way.  On this site we don't tell suppliers what they should be doing but we tell YOU what we think they are good at and why.  Not all good 4x4 accessories are obtainable in the one place and I know the owners of the new mega type stores might disagree.  My point is this- can they have all the required specialised knowledge on tap all the time? or, will their thinking be influenced by products they are "required"  to sell?

Recovery Gear :-  is equipment required to extract your vehicle from a situation that you really shouldn't be in if the correct amount of planning and forethought had been used in the first place.  All recovery gear should be rated and have the Safe Working Load displayed on the product.  This is particularly important with snatch and winch extension straps.  It does not include old straps from foundries and boiler makers, old chains and ropes found lying around the shed and specially old lengths of steel cable of doubtful origin.  Steel cables are literally worth their weight in gold in the right environment.  If it is not either a winch cable, hand winch cable or non certified cable, throw it away.  We all hear horror stories about cables breaking and killing or maiming people, damaging vehicles as well. I will admit to date, that I have been unable to actually locate a living person who has been the victim of a broken cable.   I cannot believe that these myths were not sourced from an actual event.  If you're out there, please use your remaining fingers and e-mail us.

Experts:- come in all shapes and sizes.    The good news is, however, that they are not usually found all that far off the beaten track where their area of 4x4 expertise may be of some use.  Experts are not published in any of the 4x4 magazines or other like publications.  They are still out there however, in pubs, clubs and parties.  These people are up there with the great Russell Quoit and will one day win a Darwin Award.  Experts will pass you when you are battling for traction, showering you in dust, dirt and small stones.  They will criticise your choices, from the type of 4x4 you own, to the colour of you wife's hair.  They are everywhere.  The good news is however, that they can be found bogged, beached or stranded in many ways, hopefully up to the windscreen in water and still don't see the need for the basics of recovery gear. They are best summed up by Abba Eban who said : "His ignorance is encyclopedic"  

Dills, Dickheads, Wombats, Idiots etc :- are "experts" with attitude. The quintessential, ugly Australian. These people know better than anyone,  or at least, think they do.  When I used to have my business markings on the side of my vehicle, these people went out of their way to show me how it wasn't done.  To put it plainly, they show us how to endanger themselves and anyone else in the radius of their recovery gear. You know the type- drapes the snatch strap over the bull bar and hooks up to the tow ball. Tow balls are meant for towing. Every now and again  when used for a recovery point, they  let go and become  a  50 millimeter unguided missile.  These people can't drink the local water because it will kill them, so they drink beer.  They will tell you emphatically, (because they believe it themselves) that in high temperatures,  alcohol becomes ineffective, that it doesn't affect your judgment or faculties.  Be very wary of anyone cracking a can at 7 or 8 in the morning.  Be very aware of them late in the day, evening and night, because they are the alcohol fuelled missiles on the roads.  They care not for flora, fauna or fellow road users.  They are the most dangerous animal on the Cape.

Hazards :- can loosely be described as anything not bolted to the machine by the original manufacturer.  They include the driver, (particularly the driver) after market accessories and gadgets not specific to your vehicle, after market accessories designed for your vehicle, the environment you intend to drive in and last but not least your fellow motoring public.  Be aware that King Springs and Koni shocks, albeit the best, will not allow you to carry a tonne in the back and another half a tonne on the roof.  A snorkel does not make your vehicle a submarine.  An after market turbo will not give your vehicle the torque of the space shuttle.  A bullbar will protect you from all comers and believe me, come they will.  Claw tyres will not give you the grip to go nearly vertically on any terrain  All these and more are out there waiting.  The more knowledge and skills you have, allows you to minimise risk and reduce the hazards.

Mexican, wetback, southerner, nuisance, terrorist :-  anyone who lives further to the south of the person making the comment.  I thought it was restricted to those from Victoria but when I heard the sobriquet thrown at New South Welshmen I started to wonder.  I was totally shocked when two of the Usual Suspects had the term levelled at them because they were from Brisbane and had Queensland plates on their truck.  These terms usually describe the travellers who make it possible for those in the FNQ tourist industry to survive. 

Travel    Fate    Local Custom    People

Maps and Books   

If you wish to contact us: email Information@4x4arts.com

2003, 4x4 Assessment, Recreational Training Services Pty. Ltd