I am proud to be one of the latest members of the Range Rover Club of Victoria. Please let me introduce myself briefly: my name is Kasbah. I grew up in Italy, lived in Switzerland for a short while, and have only arrived in Australia in March this year. From what I've seen of Victoria so far I really enjoy being here. All this open space to roam about, the great tracks, the fantastic views! This is a stark contrast to my time in Europe where there was snow and where it was cold and dark. The journey was long, wobbly and dark, too. When they let me out of my container I was dazzled by the sun, and it took some getting used to the people's strange accent. And then it was very unusual to be on the wrong side of the road all the time. I also had to get accustomed to being a bit of an attraction wherever we go. Australians seem to like big 4WDs, and they seem to know an awful lot about them!
Often when my owners are away, strangers have a very close look at me, they even crawl under my belly or or climb up my steps to take a look at my interior. And when my owners come back, people ask them a lot of questions and they answer patiently. Meanwhile I have picked up that I am a BREMACH T-Rex; that my heart is a 3-litre 4-cylinder IVECO diesel engine; that I am a permanent 4x4 and have the same track width as a Landrover; that my two tanks hold about 300 litres of fuel; and that I am around 3500 kg when I am fully laden. The house that I carry on my back was made in Germany; they say it is very spartan but I am not sure what they mean by that, and apparently this is the way they wanted it. I'm glad they did a lot of thinking to save weight — this way the going is a bit easier for me. People often wonder how I fit into a container. Well, only just, and only because they took my 34-inch wheels off and put those little steel disks on instead. I looked ridiculous! Fortunately, not many people saw me like this.
Last weekend I was allowed on my first excursion with the RRCV. They took me to the Pyrenees where Phill and Jane showed us the most marvellous tracks and views, and took me through some pretty rough stuff. We even saw some old mining shafts. It was good fun to explore the forests in the company of other 4WDs – we had a good laugh about our our owners when they didn't listen! The caravan park in Avoca was pretty but it was very cold at night. They all left for the fire in a little house where they seemed to entertain themselves very well. No wonder after the visits to these fine wineries after each day's tour.
Everyone was curious how I would deal with all those climbs and ruts because I am so much bigger than the other vehicles, but in the end they all seemed pleased. My owners even seemed a little proud of me, and when I didn't find the most elegant way up that nasty stair, Oliver even said it was his fault. Jeannine drives me with softness and I quite like that. Soon they want to take me to a drivers training, but I guess this is more about them than about me. And after that there will be more tours with the Club. I can't wait!
Oliver and Jeannine say their work contracts will expire in November and then they will take me on a grand tour through Tasmania and the Southern parts of the Australian main land. And in September they want to show me the Simpson Desert. It is a bit unfortunate that I have to leave Australia again next February. Customs say I can only stay here for a year because my carnet expires, and I guess that carnet thing is also the reason why I am allowed to run under my Swiss license plates. I might just have to come back in a few years!
So you see, I'm really having a great time here in Australia and there is a lot for me to learn and see. The only thing I'm missing at the moment is a proper home. It was hard to find something because I am 2.8m high – they keep me at Kennard's storage during the week where I am well guarded, but it's a rather remote and lonely place to be. I'm glad they pick me up almost every weekend to show me more of Victoria. Good on them!
If you are curious about me, just go to http://tinyurl.com/t-rex-