Traverse 06 - Page 88

I t is said that there are three types of fun: Type I is fun at the time, while you are do- ing it, Type II is not fun at all whilst you are engaged in it, only after, in retrospect. And Type III fun is fun only for those who are watching the fools doing it. Well, The L2H Expedition had all three types of fun in equal measure. We were attempting the first tra- verse, under purely human power, from the geographical lowest to the highest points in Australia. However, this expedition was going to be a little more challenging than your average expedition; for the fact that the five members of the team have significant disabilities. Walter Van Praag has cys- tic fibrosis and only thirty-eight per- cent lung function, Duncan Meerding is blind, Daniel Kojta can’t use his legs and so pedals with his hands, Conrad Wansborough can’t bend after a spinal injury. I am paralysed down one side of my body and have sensory process- ing issues. One early spring day in 2017 we loaded an assortment of trikes and bikes onto the roof of the troopie on the Greenspeed factory forecourt on the edge of Melbourne. From here it would take four days to arrive at Kati Thanda - Lake Eyre, which at 15.2 metres below sea level is the lowest point on the Australian continent. The drive up was going smoothly un- til I fell out of the back of the troopie, in the carpark I hasten to add. We had the generous support of World Expe- ditions who had supplied the troopie and a tattooed driver, Ed Homan, who wasted no time in driving me to Port Augusta Hospital. I was having trou- ble breathing X-rays revealed that I had cracked a couple of ribs. The expedition tagline was “What could possibly go wrong?” and when the troopie hit an underpass with the tandem on top disaster truly struck. The question was beginning to come true. It seemed everything was go- TRAVERSE 88 ing wrong even though the expedi- tion hadn’t started yet. The trike was wrecked - the frame was snapped in three places, the handlebar broken off and the luggage rack smashed. As the tandem was the only vehicle that Duncan could ride, being blind, and coupled together with my ribs, it was looking like the team was already re- duced from five to three. This shakey start to the expedition was all being filmed by Rummin, a Tas- manian productions company, who were documenting the journey - I had previously worked with Rummin on the film Doing It Scared (2016) about my return to the Totem Pole after an accident there in 1998 left me with my disability. They were delighted (if a lit- tle worried) when we found Torsten, a bush welder, to mend the tandem in a firework display of sparks. In fact, so strong was his job that the tandem lasted the duration of the 2152km tra- verse without any more problems. There is a spot on Kati Thanda that