and the RWC team have been
chronicling their adventures and thoughts as they motor 'round
more, read the weekly articles
appearing in The Ottawa Citizen.
4: MEXICO, UNITED STATES & CANADA (August - October, 2001)
13, 2001: Quadriplegic's journey inspires rehab patients
reported in the Peterborough Examiner, Mike continues to make
October 11, 2001: Warm support
on home stretch
Mike writes about the activities in Toronto, including
meeting 10-year-old paraplegic Dustin and 28-year-old Heather,
a quad who has just passed her driving tests...
2, 2001: The Challenge returns to Ontario
Mike reflects on the long-awaited return to Canada...
23, 2001: Team gets a warm Western welcome
From Vancouver to Calgary, the Challenge receives incredible
4, 2001: 9 am - Peace Arch, Canada-US Border
image to enlarge)
the Peach Arch, Mike and George (kneeling) were joined
by their new Canadian entourage and official Mountie
five months of driving, Mike has made it around the
world and is now back in his home country, Canada.
the Peace Arch, Mike and the Team were greeted by John
Ryan of the World Regeneration Tour and accident survivor
Joe Spring, both of Vancouver. Prior to his departure
in his specially equipped SUV for a public ceremony
in front of the Art Gallery in downtown Vancouver, Nemesvary
met the media before wheeling through the Arch to be
greeted by the official party.
the full schedule
of Vancouver events planned for September 4-7.
31, 2001: San Francisco, USA
Back to reality - the Beast needs yet more truck repairs.
Once again, unforeseen circumstances threaten the Team's schedule.
Events planned for Vancouver on September 4, 2001 put the
pressure on Mike and the Team to get moving quickly.
30, 2001: San Francisco mayor proclaims August 30, 2001, "Mike
(click image to enlarge)
San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown proclaims
August 30, 2001 "Mike Nemesvary Day"
Team breathed a collective sigh of relief as Mike's
pressure sore healed quickly, allowing him to get back
on the road in time for his big day in San Francisco,
California. A reception by Mayor Willie Brown was the
highlight of the trip.
25, 2001: A seemingly minor setback could end the tour in
its last leg
Mike and the Team have finally reached Mexico City, ready
to begin the fourth and final leg but a pressure threatens
not only the Challenge but more importantly, Mike's health...
19, 2001: Spinal cord research beginning to pay dividends
3: AUSTRALIA (July 10 - August 18, 2001)
2001: Mike's Report
Mike provides some insight into the technology that has enabled
him, as a quadriplegic, to drive around the world...
31, 2001: Adelaide, South Australia
Philip Richmond reports that the Team has finally come through
24, 2001: Darwin, Australia
Mike recalls the first two weeks in Australia, including a
frightening moment when his chair collapsed in the shower...
20, 2001: Kununnura, Western Australia
The team is conquering the Australian Outback... kangaroos,
emus, goannas, wild horses and very, large brahma cattle...
18, 2001: Exmouth, Australia
have tried throughout my entire journey to meet someone with
the same injuries as mine and in was pleased to have done
so in this small tourist town in Australia...."
10, 2001: Perth,
At long last, Mike and the team
reunite with "The Beast" (a.k.a. the truck) and
Leg 3 is underway "down-under"...
about previous legs of the Challenge:
Pedy, South Australia - August, 2001
G Day from Coober Pedy, South Australia. I'm presenting
writing from the outside terrace of the "Radeka's Down
Under Hotel - which is literally built underground and situated
in the centre of this small Opal mining town on a flat, baron,
desert landscape 800 miles north of Adelaide.
from our brief visit to the famous natural world wonder -
Ularu aka Ayer's Rock"s there has not been a lot to report
over the past few days. Therefore, I thought I would focus
today's report on an area of concern that has been misunderstood
and perhaps not clearly communicated at large ... How I, as
a quadriplegic, can drive my vehicle around the world. In
fact some of my friends and committee members back in Canada
have told me that many people don't even realize that I am
doing all the driving. So, let's set the record straight.
I am a C 4/5 (Complete) quadriplegic, the sole driver of my
4 X 4 truck and driving the vehicle from my electric wheelchair.
great misconception in people with spinal cord injuries is
the difference between a quadriplegic and a paraplegic. Fundamentally
a paraplegic has lost use of their two limbs (legs) below
the waist. A quadriplegic has lost use of all four limbs (arms
and legs). The important factor is the varying levels/location
in which there is damage to the spinal cord and the severity
of impact and injury. Depending on the location of the broken
vertebra and whether or not the spinal cord it is completely
or partially severed dictates how independence and physical
function a person will retain. For example Rick Hansen (a
paraplegic) has full use of his arms and upper body and with
the correct technical aids can live more-or-less independently.
Christopher Reeve ( a quadriplegic) on the other hand has
no use of his lower or upper body and is so very highly paralysed
that he is dependent on a ventilator to help him breathe and
round-the-clock medical care attendants to help facilitate
his activities of daily living.
disability (quadriplegia) places me somewhere in the middle.
My level of paralysis is approximately the nipple line and
I have limited feeling and functioning in my arms. I have
no use of my abdomen and limited use of my chest - fortunately
I can breathe without the aid of a machine. I strips of feeling
and limited function in my arms - I have biceps but no triceps
muscles so I can pull but not push. One of my greatest losses
is that I have absolutely no feeling or functional use of
my hands. Without going more in depth into anatomy of physiology
this is a brief overview of the two main categories of people
with spinal cord injuries. So, how does Mike drive?
I am unable to independently transfer in and out of my wheelchair
I have elected to drive from my electric wheelchair.
frame of my Full-Size Chevrolet Blazer "Silverado"
has been modified to accommodate a KVB Manufacturing "Elaine
Ann Lift System". Essentially, the floor has been lowered
18" and the driver's door has been widened 16" to
provide enough space for the lift and wheelchair driver. A
magnetic key which I hold with a large ring in my right hand
activates 11 different electronic and hydraulic operations
to allow me to access and egress the truck.. Small micro-switches
that are wired to a computer keep the various operations in
in the driver's position my primary controls are an electronic
gas and brake unit (EGB) which is mounted onto my driver's
side door and is activated with my left wrist which sits in
a "Y"grip and splint mechanism to provide support.
The unit has a very sensitive lever and to brake I move the
lever forward and to accelerate I move the lever backwards.
order to steer the vehicle, the steering column has been extended
to bring the wheel closer to me and to space fore my wheelchair
and long legs. The steering wheel has reduced effort steering
which is extremely easy to move. Attached to the wheel at
the 7:00 position is another splint referred to as a "Tri-Pin
Grip" and I position my right wrist in this splinting
device. The grip allows me to direct all the strength from
my shoulder and right-side biceps muscles directly through
to the wheel in order to maintain control of the truck.
essential secondary controls that are required while you're
driving (interactive controls) are mounted on a customized
headrest that can be moved electronically forwards and backwards
into position behind my head. The various micro-switches are
imbedded into the fabric of the headrest and I use different
parts of my head to activate the switches. The switches are
side indicator/turn signals - right side of headrest
side indicator/turn signals - left side of headrest
wiper/washer - back left of headrest
horn - back right of headrest
lights - Left side wing of headrest
essential driving modifications are the addition of a "U"shaped
splint on the end of my gear shifter to allow me to change
the automatic gears before engaging the vehicle.
of the knobs for the heater and fan have been extended to
4"so I can flick them on or off with my finger.
control for CD and stereo system has slightly larger buttons
and is situated between driver and passenger seats.
cell-phone with automatic answering and hang-up.
of the non-essential secondary controls that aren't required
while driving are set on a consol between the driver and passenger
seats as follows:
headrest - backwards/forwards
platform with wheelchair - backwards/forwards
windows - up/down
shifter for 4 wheel drive hi/low positions
switch - start and stop engine
tailgate window up/down
recoil on seatbelt and extended release mechanism - ease
process of engaging and disengaging seatbelt.
By-pass/override remote control Elaine-Ann Lift System.
course it's one thing to outfit the truck with all the modifications
and driving controls but there are many other considerations
and challenges that go hand-in-hand with being a quadriplegic
out on the road as follows.
I have to have the vehicle repaired or maintained I often
feel disempowered as , it's difficult to instruct the mechanics
due to not being able to look under the hood or under the
vehicle etc. As the lift system is quite complicated to operate
and I don't have a driver's seat, I have to be at the garage
to operate the lift and/or drive the truck on and off the
Refuelling the truck is challenging because "Full Service"
gas stations are becoming a rarity and I'm unable to operate
a gas pump independently at the "Self Serve"stations.
Often paying for gas is difficult because the buildings and
service counters are often inaccessible.
order to eat and/or drink while driving, someone has to feed
me while being careful not to spill the food/drink on me or
the exposed and sensitive controls between the front seats.
irritants can be quite frustrating as my hands and arms are
locked into their splints and must remain in those positions
while moving. Things like scratching my nose, pushing up my
glassing or adjusting my posture all have to wait.
muscle spasms have the potential of shaking my wrists completely
out of their steering, electronic gas and brake splints. Fortunately,
I receive noticeable physical signals before it gets to a
potentially dangerous stage. I have always had the option
of slowing the vehicle down and or stopping and getting out
to relieve the muscle spasticity.
my bladder and leg bag is difficult. As there is no signal
going from brain to my bladder, I must rely on my autonomic
nervous system or a visual check to indicate that my bladder
needs attention. I must then pull over and press/tap my bladder
in order to void into the urine bag attached to my lower leg.
Of course, once my leg bag has filled up (max. Capacity 1,000
ml.) Someone must empty the bag for me.
I have limited range in turning my head from side to side
I can't perform visual checks when changing lanes. To rectify
the situation I have set my side-view mirrors much wider to
eliminate the blind spot when changing lanes or passing.
the truck is one of my greatest challenges and annoyances.
As my driver side door is 1 ½ times larger than a conventional
door I must park strategically so no one parks next to me
blocking me in. Even when I park in many of the so called
accessible or designated disabled parking spots there is not
enough space to open my door and exit the vehicle. On many
occasions unobservant drivers have squeezed up next to me
with little regard to painted lines or designation signs.
Best case scenario is that I get a friend (if I'm not alone)
nor a stranger to enter the truck from the passenger side;
climb over the control consul; disengage the electronic gas
and brake; start the vehicle by the remote electronic starter;
then, if they haven't yet lost confidence, move the truck
while steering and braking in a standing position until there
is enough room to open the door. Worst case scenario (which
has happened many times) I wait hours until the person returns
to move their vehicle. Often they could care less where they've
parked and are unapologetic for my long wait!
I can't find parking spots at all and public parking lots
require you to manually take a ticket which I can't manage
when I travelling on my own. Parking metres which make it
compulsory for everyone to pay for are also impossible for
me as I can't get the coins into the slots.
past situations I have had to deal with a mechanical failure
of the lift system and have been sitting in the truck upwards
of 10 hours trying to remedy the problem.
in and out of the vehicle has had its share of mishaps as
well. Some of the elements that make it difficult are ice
which doesn't allow traction for my wheelchair or heavy snow
which prevents the lift from sitting even or preventing my
chair from getting to the truck. Other environmental obstacles
that make getting in and out difficult are potholes, puddles
and curbs without cuts/slopes.
commercial establishments are not very accessible making independent
travel almost impossible. They include rest stops, garages,
hotels, restaurants and car washes.
I go shopping on my own (which is frequent) it is difficult
for me to unload items from my lap and then to retrieve them
at my final destination without continually asking for help.
comfortable while driving independently is usually a great
compromise. As I can't get my jackets and sweaters on or off
on my own I'm generally too hot or too cold especially when
the weather conditions have changed for my departure point
until my destination.
non-essential vehicle secondary controls which most able-bodied
drivers take for granted, cannot be manipulated or altered
while I'm driving requiring me to stop the truck. Actions
such as: changing radio stations; CD's; tapes; changing volume
levels and adjusting heating and air conditioning controls.
law I'm required to wear glasses while driving. Therefore
getting my glasses on or off can take as long as 5 minutes.
conclusion, despite all of the aforementioned modifications
to the vehicle, special equipments, time-consuming tasks,
setbacks and frustrations I love what driving and being out
on the road does for my peace-of-mind, self confidence and
ultimately my independence. I love to drive and the challenges
are all worth it in the end!
visiting 18 countries over the past 131 days we have now clocked
25,025 kilometres ... just three months, 3 more countries
and 15,975 kilometres further to go!
South Australia - July 31, 2000
from Philip Raymond who has joined the Team for the Australian
finds the RWC team in Adelaide South Australia. The Australian
Outback has been tamed and the team is in high spirits after
some much needed R&R in the beautiful seaside suburb of
Glenelg. Last night the team enjoyed a brilliant sunset off
the end of the Glenelg jetty...this is the last sunset over
the ocean until the team arrives in California.
drive from Darwin to Adelaide was relatively straight forward
with the vast distances covered by daily covering approx 750
kms. The main stops in Alice Springs and Uluru where standouts.
In Alice Springs the team visited the Royal Flying Doctor
Service and viewed the dispatch room and discussed the various
operations of the Service with Barry the numero uno despatch
and emergency controller.
also spent some time with a remarkable woman, Michele Castagna,
from the NT Disability Support Services.
& Christine meet with the Royal Flying Doctor Service
greet the media
was climbed by Mike with assistance from George and myself.
The "Sherpas" called it quits at approx 20 feet
up the rock and this event will be forever known as the "RWC
Uluru the team encountered a very friendly camel and donkey
combination at one fuel stop. The camel placed its whole head
inside Mikes vehicle, with Mike in it, which was very funny
as Christine yelled to Mike to "watch your fingers"
and tried to shoo the camel away whilst standing way way back.
Christine and "Steve the Camera Man"
Challenge meets Star Wars...
Cooper Pedy the Opal mining capital of the world Mike encountered
a life-size prop of a Millennium fighter from the last Star
care all. Thanks for the ride.
Australian Outback - Tuesday, July 24, 2001
G Day from Down Under! Its now late afternoon
Tuesday, July 24th and day 127 of the Round the World
Challenge. I am writing this report from deep in the Australian
Outback in our tiny 10'X 14' room at the Renner Springs
made good progress today clocking 845 kilometres in just
under 10 hours. There is no speed limit in the Northern
Territories ... but I managed to keep her under 125 kph.
We departed Darwin - the most northerly city in Australia
- at 7 a.m. and headed south on the Stuart Highway. Typical
of this part of Oz, the road was two lanes,
very straight - sometimes as far as the eye can see, not
much traffic other than the odd camper vans and 4 wheel
drive vehicles returning home after the 2-week winter
George, Mike and Christine
Back: Philip Richmond
felt wonderful to have my confidant and team-mate back
again. George Swinimer - my Aid-de-Camp and the only team
member to be with me the whole way around the world, was
also glad to have Christine back to ease his workload.
Like the rest of us, George was keen to get on the road
again as it took over a month to ship the vehicle from
Madras, India to Perth.
We were joined on Leg III (Australia) by our newly appointed
Aussie Field Manager, Philip Richmond. Phil, a
40 year old from Sydney, was suggested by a very close New
Zealand mate of mine and generous project supporter named
Michael Watt. Phil, who also happened to be Michaels
son-in-law, came highly recommended as a reliable, kind-hearted
guy who was also up for an adventure. Phil was also a surfer,
ski instructor and even had previous experience teaching people
with disabilities to sit-ski in Australias Snowy
Over the past couple of weeks George and Phil would cruise
behind us in a rented Ford Falcon station wagon
as the escort vehicle while Christine and I would blaze the
trail as the lead in my Blazer. Unfortunately,
we had a rocky start to the Australian Leg. We had only been
on the road for two days and rolled into the seaside resort
town of Exmouth when I detected a light knocking sound emanating
from my driver side rear wheel. It didnt sound like
a serious concern but the next morning I stopped in at a local
garage to have a very friendly and knowledge mechanic named
Aaron quickly and correctly diagnose the noise as a wheel-bearing
problem. After removing the tire, dismantling the disc brakes
and rear axle, further examination revealed that in order
to proceed safely we would require new bearings.
was that it was Friday afternoon and the part would have to
be sourced directly from Perth, some 1200 kilometres to the
south. Also, there was no guarantee that we would be able
to source the precise part as my truck is not common in this
part of the world. Fortunately, after a few phone calls we
got lucky and a Perth company, West Coast Chevy
had the part in stock and managed to send it express airmail
½ hour after receiving my order and 5 minutes before
the post office closed! That was the good news. The not so
good news was that there was no weekend delivery and the next
plane into Exmouth was not due in until the following Monday.
Making the best of our misfortune, we lucked out by getting
one of the only available accommodation on the Cape as it
was just the start of the school holidays and everywhere was
booked solid. For the next 5 days we resided in a 3-bedroom
trailer which had been used by construction workers when the
town had been virtually demolished after a direct hit from
a category 5 cyclone named Vance2 years ago. The
trailer was pretty much a self contained unit but access was
a bit of a challenge. I needed to use my 10' ramps (stored
in the truck for just such an occasion) to enter and exit
the place and then we had to deal with a challenging two-person
transfer out of my electric wheelchair and into a wicker-type
chair borrowed from the porch which was precariously positioned
in a 3'X 3' shower cubical, barely comfortable enough for
a slim able-bodied person standing up!
My confidence level, not to mention my self esteem was at
a record low as the previous night I endured a frightening
shower experience in another motel. I had been transferred
into a plastic deck chair inside the shower cubical and was
enjoying being bathed by Christine under the warm water when
the back leg of the chair suddenly collapsed. Before I knew
it, I fell backwards hitting my head on the tiled wall behind
me and landing hard as both elbows banged on the unforgiving
ceramic floor. Badly shaken, I stared up at the ceiling with
the water splashing hard on my face and leg still dangling
around the flimsy chair and tried to make sense of what had
I was shaken, I was quite lucid and hadnt thought anything
was wrong other than a bloody elbow. Instantly, Christine
yelled out for Georges help - fortunately he happened
to be in the next room. With his, Phil and Christines
assistance they managed to lift me from the carnage
and transfer me into the bed. Now very cold and shivering,
I started to feel pain and dizziness from a bump I sustained
on the back of my head. As I was being dried off, I started
to black out and vaguely saw Christine look me in the eyes
and ask if I was all right? At that very moment
I didnt recognize her or George and had no idea of my
surroundings or what had happened. It was a truly horrible
and frightening feeling. Fortunately, I drifted back to a
state of consciousness and started to regain my senses.
a competitive athlete and risk-taker Ive had some quite
serious concussions and I would say I experienced a minor
concussion. Both Christine and George kept a close eye on
me over the next 24 hours and fortunately there were no further
symptoms of a serious concussion or head injury that warranted
seeking medical attention. The next morning I recounted the
incident to the Motel Owner/Manager. My tail of woe didnt
exactly prompt a very empathic response. All he could say
is that he would never again rent out a regular room to someone
in a wheelchair and not to worry ... I didnt have to
pay for the broken plastic deck chair!
As we patiently awaited the truck part to arrive we made the
most in the beautiful seaside town of approximately 2,000
residents. As we cruised around to the beach, shopping precinct,
restaurants, Internet cafes etc. I was truly amazed at the
level of wheelchair accessibility of the place. I soon learned
from many of the locals that a local young man named Cory
Cooper - who was born in Exmouth - became a quadriplegic as
a result of a diving accident 12 years ago. The local townspeople
and politicians took up the challenge of making the resort
a wheelchair friendly place after Cory wisely convinced the
Mayor and other Councillors to spend a day wheeling around
Exmouth. That enlightening experience quickly convinced them
that Corys life would be incredibly difficult and compromised
if things remained the same... they unanimously decided to
make the entire town accessible for Cory and all.
As fate would have it, a guy named Peter came up to us one
day outside the supermarket and introduced himself as Corys
Care Attendant. Before we knew it, Christine and I were invited
to meet Cory. He lived in an spacious 3-bedroom bungalow with
mature gardens located at the end of a cul-de-sac. Peter had
worked for Cory for the past 3 years in a live-in capacity.
Cory and I quickly exchanged stories on how our spinal cord
injuries happened. I learned that Cory was just 17 when he
broke his neck as a result of diving into the shallow water
from the beach. He instantly knew that he had severed his
spinal cord and was quickly rescued by a close friend of his
before drowning in the shallow water. He was flown to Perth
where he subsequently did his rehabilitation at Shenton Park
Rehabilitation Centre. Ironically, we were given a tour of
the Centre while we
waited for the truck to arrive and were quite impressed with
their comprehensive facilities and services in addition to
their progressive and holistic approach to assist in the rehabilitation
of spinal cord injured people.
Cory is tall (6'4") and slender and broke his neck at
the exactly the same level of vertebrae as me - C 4/5 Complete.
Im always amazed that the majority of us quadriplegics
who have sports injuries are virtually always tall, athletic
guys in our late teens or early twenties. Perhaps, due to
his young age when the injury occurred, I found Corys
approach to life with a spinal cord injury very different
to mine. Without meaning to be critical I was quite surprised
that 12 years post-injury he wasnt working, going to
school, driving and seemed quite dependent on his care-giver.
Despite these personal observations, Cory was very hospitable
and had a great sense of humour. On our last evening, we enjoyed
each others company and a delicious seafood dinner on
an outside terrace at one of Exmouths best restaurants.
We agreed to stay in touch and I extended an invitation for
him to visit me in Ottawa.
With the truck duly repaired we were back on the road Wednesday
July 18th and finally back on a roll. We made great time,
driving the 3,228 kilometres from Exmouth to Darwin in just
under four days.
After visiting 18 countries over the past 127 days we have
now clocked 23,072 kilometres ... just three months, 3 more
countries and 17,928 kilometres further to go!
Western Australia - Friday, July 20, 2001
from Philip Raymond who has joined the Team for the Australian
Tonight's update comes from Kununnura W.A. home of Baramundi,
Argyle diamonds and the Bungle Bungle ranges.
5 days in Exmouth W.A. awaiting wheel bearings for the "Black
Beast" the RWC is back on the road again. Whilst we lost
4 days all up we are currently cramming the kms and are due
to be back on the posted schedule by Adelaide.
and the crew are doing fine. The long straight Australian
Outback roads are being conquered with a mixing of "Black
Beast" co pilots to keep Mike alert and awake. So far
we have managed to avoid the wild life including kangaroos,
emus, goannas, wild horses and very, large brahma cattle and
thier immediate relatives.
takes a break in the Outback
21\07\01 we will arrive in Darwin. This will be a two
day "take stock" stop to basically recharge
+ local P.R. On Sunday 22nd July we will review all
the eastern states requests and e-mail etc and then
rework the RWC Australian itinerary to suit these requests.
your viewing pleasure I have included this shot of a
typical character that we have encountered at way stops
along the way.
Australia - Wednesday, July 18, 2001
departing Perth, I visited a local doctor to have a routine
physical completed. Dr. Tony and I took an instant liking
to each other - we were kindred spirits. Dr. Tony had previously
completed a motorcycle tour from Australia through the UK
and had a really good understanding of the challenges facing
the team. Dr. Tony and his wife met wit the team for lunch
and brought along a very good friend of theirs, Brigitte,
who was also a quadriplegic. Brigitte and I spent some time
together sharing stories and discussing accessibility issues.
It would appear that Australia is very supportive of their
disabled - a huge improvement over what was experienced in
India and Pakistan.
managed a few interviews while in Perth including Perth Channel
10, who did a great piece, the Western Australian Newspaper
and the ABC channel (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
who also did a piece on our mission. We found out later on
that in the rural areas there are very few TV channels and
most people had seen the piece on ABC. Nigel Glass, the head
of the Paraplegic/Quadriplegic Assoc. of Western Australian
gave us a wonderful send-off from the Murray Street Market.
Nigel spoke very eloquently and had a wonderful understanding
of the Round the World Challenge mission was. Even with very
little corporate support in Australia, we are beginning the
journey with some very positive media attention.
Team left from Perth to Geraldton, which was approx. 800 kms,
and on the coast. Stayed at a beautiful hotel. The one thing
that stands out is how amazing the food is in Australia. The
Team drove 900 km the next day from Geraldton to Exmouth (July
13). Noticed a bit of knock at low speed but was not worried
about it initially. The Australian roads are straight and
flat. Can travel for 30 minutes without a bend or a rise in
the road. This type of driving is far more mentally challenging
than the winding, difficult roads of the Iran, Pakistan and
India. When the team arrived in Exmouth the knock had become
quite loud and had now become quite worrisome. The Team decided
to locate a mechanic to check the problem with the knock.
The mechanic diagnosed the problem immediately - a worn rear
axle and rear wheel bearings. The rough driving conditions
of Iran, Pakistan and India had taken their toll. After locating
replacement parts and arranging for shipment of the parts
from other side of Australia, we were advised by the mechanic
that we would have to lay low for the next few days.
is a big tourist destination for the Perth area. It is a US/Australian
Naval Submarine Tracking Station that was wiped out two years
ago by a cyclone. Exmouth sits on the most westerly point
on the cape and is known for whale and shark watching. The
town is just starting to build itself back up and is proudly
welcoming back tourists. We located a nice, reasonable hotel
for a couple of nights and settled in waiting for the parts
to arrive and the repairs to be completed.
overall is a very accessible town. One of its residents, Corey
Cooper, is a quad after a diving accident 12 years ago. At
the age of 17, Corey dove into some shallow water at the beach
and suffered a C4/5 injury. It was very interesting to meet
someone with the exact same injury as myself with a mirror
image of our mobility levels - I am stronger on my right arm
and Corey is stronger on his left. Corey received a custom
built house after his injury, supplied by the Australian government,
built with the required mobility modifications. If Corey had
a requirement for a vehicle, I am sure the Government would
provide the funding for the vehicle and the modifications
required for him to drive it. It is also pretty amazing that
the town made itself accessible for Corey. I have tried throughout
my entire journey to meet someone with the same injuries as
mine and in was pleased to have done so in this small tourist
town in Australia.
driving in Australia is quite dangerous. Given that most of
their wildlife is nocturnal, the roadways become a maze of
kangaroo clusters and road kill. We have decided to not drive
at night to avoid these dangers.
Australia - Tuesday, July 10, 2001
Report from Mike
from home team: We received this update call at 4:00 pm our
time, which in Australia was 4:00 am. Our first question was
"Why are you calling at 4:00 in the morning". Mike
responded that they were up and eager to get on the road.
Everybody was in good spirits and itching to get on the road.
truck came off boat on Friday, July 6. After some initial
miscommunication on Monday am, the Team found a sympathetic
ear with the main customs guy. He quickly instructed a courier
to bring the carnet to the dock area and assembled customs
and quarantine officials. Like clockwork everything fell into
place in a very short time period and the team watched the
vehicle being removed from storage and the block and tackle
securing the vehicle was removed.
a quick visual inspection, to the team's relief, everything
was as they had left it. The only glitch, the vehicle would
not to start. The problem was quickly identified, the vehicle
had been left in neutral and once shifted into park and one
quick boost - the beast was humming.
Australian Government is very pro-active regarding quarantine
of anything that could allow for the entry of disease into
their ecological system. The vehicle required a high-pressure
wash and a very thorough on-site inspection. I guess with
everything that is going on in the UK, the Government is even
more diligent in their quarantine requirements.
though the vehicle had been removed from storage, it had not
technically been handed over to us and we ended up having
to return to our hotel via our rental car. On Tuesday, we
returned to the vehicle to continue the process of having
the vehicle declared roadworthy. We were issued a "left-hand
drive label" for the back, a complete motor vehicle inspection
had to be completed (which resulted in a crack in the muffler
having to be repaired), a temporary license sticker had to
be issued with my license number for Australia and we had
to purchase third party insurance to drive in their country.
We luckily hit upon the right people at the right time and
we were roadworthy in no time.
Australian Field Manager, Philip Richmond, had already located
a local mechanic to complete some general maintenance on the
vehicle. The oil was changed, control pads were adjusted and/or
fixed, seals were checked and the brake pads were cleaned.
When I think back over the entire journey, we have been blessed
with our luck in locating great local mechanics.
about previous legs of the Challenge: