Yes, you heard right. The “official” Major 4×4 Prado 120 is no more. Thanks to some unforgiving road surfaces, and a fair bit of plain old bad luck, our faithful little Prado has been consigned to the big wreckers yard in the sky
But first, the trip
Before we go too far, lets recap on how it started.
We were planning on a great road trip to see places and things that we’ve never seen before. The plan was to go from Brisbane (our home base) down through country New South Wales and South Australia to our first main stop at The Barossa Valley. We spent two full days down here and had a great time. We did the standard touristy thing of the wine tour, which was great. The next day we drove down to Adelaide for a flying visit and quick look around.
The second stage of the journey was to head up through the middle of Australia through Coober Pedy and ending up at Uluru. This was a big, but surprisingly easy, drive. South Australia and the Northern Territory really does look after the main bitumen road, so everything was easy.
At Uluru we spent days looking around at the rock, at Kata Tjuta and a few other places. We took in the majesty, the Aboriginal culture and everything else that we could.
From here the plan was a “quick” (read 4-5 day) trip back to Brisbane. This is where things started to go pear shaped.
On our second day out, we got to the Plenty Highway, which as we all know can be a very harsh road at times. Well, when we went through it was harsh. Graders had just started at one end, and they’d only done a very short part of it.
On a straight bit of road, about 30k’s east of Jervois Station (about 380 km’s from Alice Springs), we hit a bad patch. The front left wheel hit a nice big bit of bulldust and pulled the car to the left. Thanks to that, the van that we were towing went to the right. After trying unsuccessfully to correct it, it only took about 2 seconds for the caravan to whip the car sideways, popping the tyres off the beads, making the rims fall into the dirt and dig in. That’s a bad situation to be in when the car is sideways to the road.
When the rims hit, the far rolled. Only once, but it was more than enough to destroy pretty much everything. You can see the aftermath of the accident below.
The bad parts
The bad parts are pretty obvious. Our beloved little chariot was not going to get back on the road again. We’d also pretty much destroyed the little van that we were towing.
Thankfully, that’s really all of the bad parts that there were.
The good parts
The good parts are numerous!
Firstly, and most importantly, my wife and myself both walked away from the accident. I was the worst, and I only really had whiplash and some relatively minor scratches on my arms from the glass and dirt. My wife only had three or four small cuts and that was all! We are both amazed and thankful that we got away with it so lightly. This has defiantly proven the worth of a good safe car – and wearing seatbelts all the time.
After that, everything was as good as it could be. Thankfully it was a very busy tourist time, so we had a lot of other vehicles pass us, and every one stopped to offer help and see how we were. I’m forever grateful to everyone that took the time out of their trip to assist us when we needed it.
The best was the first couple that stopped to help. They unhooked their van, and while he took me to the homestead to call emergency services and my insurance company, she stayed with my wife to make sure everything was OK at the scene. After that he took me and my wife to the local community medical centre, which by pure luck had the doctor and nurse visiting that day. The emergency services people asked them to stay around to make sure that we were OK, and they did. Everything was so amazing that I can’t put it into words.
From there the car and van were towed back to Alice Springs, and will probably both end their time there. Our insurance company has been great to deal with, and everything has been sorted out.
So, what now?
Now, we are looking for u replacement for our old girl. We have a few ideas, but we are thinking of sticking with the Prado. As my wife said “now I’ve been in that I know that as long as you’re driving a Prado you’ll be safe”.
Over the next few weeks we hope to have a new car lined up, and then we can start again, and set it up with the knowledge that we gained from our last cars, to make the new one better then ever.