The Trayon, The Twit and Toolinna Cove
(or TEN + One Good Reasons to Own a Trayon!)
This was it. The first extended trip in “Smokey” #1076 from Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula to Perth via the coast and return trip inland. “Smokey” had done a number of trips to desert, high country and sand dunes: through slush, dust, bush and boulders, but never for trips more than a week. This was a dream trip of a couple of months. Meticulous planning, logging of co-ordinates and bare-faced excitement as the time approached. Alas, I couldn’t convince Barb to venture with me as she is a devout 5-star girl. In spite of “Smokey” being fully optioned with heating, toilet, shower and annexe, she opted to go Five Star to Japan taking our adult daughter as a treat. Poor choice, girls!
While the trip had many highlights, I think Toolinna Cove on the Great Australian Bight near Calguna, W.A., showed the true mettle of “Smokey” the Trayon. But, let’s start at the beginning, eh?.....
Number ONE
Setting off from home, I packed for the two-month trip and this was Trayon’s FIRST outstanding point. I had about 3.5 cubic metres of storage! That’s 4 domestic trailers of space in a unit only 2.2 x 1.98 x 1.2m! The food alone covered more than six weeks of sustenance with pre-cooked, vacuum packed and dehydrated meals I had prepared beforehand. 100 litres of fridge space and 110 lt of water was more than ample for extended bush stays. 
Number TWO
Trayon’s light tare weight afforded me the chance to really load up and stay under GVM. So, I did! Win number TWO without even getting out of the driveway!
Number THREE.
I opted for the ferry from Sorrento to Queenscliff and the THIRD great Trayon attribute soon came to fruition: its’ compact and ‘pick-a-back’ style. No extra fees for a trailer. Saved about 80 bucks! Well over a grand when going to Tassie. I had arrived a little late for the boarding, so was sent to the ‘reserve’ queue; BUT the ferry could only efficiently carry so many over height vehicles. Which brings us to...
Number FOUR.
Now most caravans and campervans are not only long, but quite high! Consequently, even though others had arrived before me, the Trayon was only standard car height and length, so I was sent to board while the big rigs had to wait an hour for the next crossing. Chalk up FOUR big wins for Trayon and I was only half an hour from home!
Number FIVE.
The Great Ocean Road is a spectacular drive cut into the rugged Victorian coastline on one side and steep mountain rain forest on the other. Again, Trayon triumphed! The road is often very narrow and twisty with frequent high winds hurtling in from the Southern Ocean. The Trayon was a dream to carry as it has less sail area to be affected by high winds and the balanced weight and low centre of gravity kept the tug going where it was pointed. 
100 kms into an 11,000 kms plus trip and already win number FIVE for Trayon!
I’m doing beautifully....
Bush camps are where Trayon excels. You can set up in 10 minutes while others are fiddling with tents, banging in pegs or reversing oversized palaces into tight areas. I had made a cuppa and prepared dinner while the domestic battles raged outside.
Now. Let’s cut to the chase. This story is centred around the most harrowing part of the trip – Toolinna Cove in S.A. Passing along the coast of Victoria and into South Australia was de rigeur for the 2005 Rodeo (nee Isuzu) and the Trayon. Solid as a rock. 
Then we hit Calguna in S.A.... My major purpose of this part of the trip was The Bight. I asked the owner of the Calguna Roadhouse what the 100k track to Toolinna Cove was like. She answered “Not many go there, y’know. You can’t get a trailer through and you need a good 4x4.” She looked out the window at the rig and said with a hint of caution in her voice, “You should be OK in that. How much water do you have?” I replied that I had about 90 litres all told and she nodded, “That should be OK. Good luck.” “Good luck!!???” Now, any sensible person would have read the subtext, but The Twit didn’t. Insulated by ignorance, I set off merrily with the hand-written directions she had given me and hit the first 12k’s of gravel with relative comfort. Then, things started to go awry. The gravel gave way to limestone rock..... it then became limestone boulders! Time for some serious 4x4ing! “Strike!”, I thought. How could things get worse? Words of great portent! Soon the boulders became hidden by the winding route as thick bush and she oak closed in on the track reducing it to a path so narrow that the grafting overgrowth was clawing viciously at the truck and Trayon. 
Virtue number SEVEN! 
There is no way a trailer would do this. It would be too bulky and if it got in trouble, there was no way to turn around, let alone try to reverse out.  Occasionally, I encountered some smooth short stretches of clay pan and blessed the brief respite from the battering. I pulled the wing mirrors in to try to preserve them from the talons of the dense bush, but still managed to have them both ripped off. While retrieving the first of them from the track, I surveyed the transport to find a trail of water into the distance dripping from the Trayon. The bush had stripped the outside tap from the side of “Smokey” and I lost 40 litres of precious water. The cover on the 15 amp plug was ripped off and I had also managed to collect a fair amount of botanical specimens in every nook and cranny of the tug; not to mention the severe scraping both Trayon and truck had taken. Both driver and the rigs had been subjected to some obscene shaking. No way any trailer would have gotten this far! Undaunted, The Twit pushed on. After all it was only another 65ks to go...
After a harrowing four hours we finally found our destination. Relieved, distraught and totally buggered, I set up camp in the most spectacular of places on the cliff edge overlooking the Southern Ocean. I was now exposed to fierce south-westerlies and the heath was obviously so intimidated by the ferocious winds that they refused to stick their heads higher that 100mm above ground. I could hardly shelter behind prostrate shrubs.
Virtue number EIGHT!
But, it became apparent that the Trayon had yet another hidden talent. She is built like the proverbial brick outhouse and was stronger than Greek coffee! The high quality heavy Australian canvas did not flinch in the face of nature. Neither did anything inside come loose, or break on the rugged drive. The construction is so solid that the 10 year warranty is way too conservative. Everything inside was still secure. “Smokey” had stood defiant to everything The Twit and Nullarbor bush could throw at her and I settled down thinking what else could possible test her. 
A distant rumble answered that question. A thunderstorm was brewing south-west of us and bearing down at horrifying speed across the Southern Ocean. I sat fascinated as the elements provided an exciting, if daunting, meteorological lightshow. I had opted to leave “Smokey” on the tray and set her up with the annexe. This gives the Trayon the equivalent space of a 5m caravan. Just measure it. I hadn’t bothered to put the fly on and feared the worst, sitting on the edge of a nearly 100 metre precipice with thundering waves crashing into the cliff face and winds determined to shred anything in its path. Now, courage is for the foolhardy and I admit to cowardice. Panic reigned supreme. Would the cliff give way? Would I survive the night? Would “Smokey” stand firm in the tempest?  Now was the time to relinquish atheism! I prayed to every deity I could recall. Maybe someone answered! “Smokey” had enclosed me within her womb and kept me dry and safe. Nothing was going to hurt me while in her care. Hail to “Smokey” and Trayon!! Strong, resilient, stable and reliable. Better than a German Shepherd – and I didn’t have to register her! I slept soundly.
Next morning, I packed up to leave by another route of 80k to get to the highway. What else could possibly go wrong?!!?
Well, the track out was only 80k... but 90% flat clay pan. It had now rained for the first time in nine months and suddenly I had 80k of slippery mud to contend with. Of all the luck! In a desert, it rains for the first time since Adam was a boy and I cop 80 ks of sticky clay. The brief stretches of clay pan that I had treasured on the way into Toolinna were now a curse. The All Terrain tyres immediately filled with the greasy red mud while deep ruts had punctuated the track with bog holes. Added to that was the insane serpentine nature of the track. 
Who on earth cut this track? On the flattest part of the world’s flattest continent, there was barely 100m of straight going! They must have been drug affected or had an epileptic compass (to readers, The Twit is an epileptic, so withhold the outrage!). Surely it wasn’t that hard to go STRAIGHT. I mean, guys. Point A. Point B. Straight line. Simple. Ask Pythagorus. OK? 
Constantly turning the wheel caused aching shoulders and much of The Twit’s journey was negotiated going sideways. Exhilarating for some, but not for The Twit. Fortunately (Ah! Good luck at last!), there was only low heath either side of the track, so I avoided trees simply because of their absence. Eventually opting to drive past the mud and cut my own parallel track through the heath it was some 3 and a half hours later that I hit the highway. Time to regroup! I aired up the tyres, kissed the black top and wondered why I had never had a love affair with bitumen before now. What else could go wrong? Try a puncture from traversing the heath. Thank you, Providence!  Fortunately, it was a slow leak and I could limp along for 100k or so before lugging out the compressor. Somehow, the truck and Trayon had survived not just the bush and elements, but also The Twit! I decided that Toolinna Cove was actually named in my honour. ‘Tool-in-a Cove’!
Number NINE.
I fuelled up in the next roadhouse and checked the consumption. The truck delivers 10.5 litres per 100k as an unladen around-town conveyance. I had just gone 200k, mostly in 4x4 on rough tracks and still managed to keep the fuel usage at 12 litres per 100k. On good gravel and the highway with “Smokey”, I managed 11.6 litres per hundred k. The Trayon’s light base weight of about 400k and low profile into the wind, reduces fuel consumption quite significantly. Caravanners often laud getting 16 litres per hundred k out of a similar 3lt diesel tug. If they only knew...
I opted for a caravan park to recoup. The owner said I could wash my muddied truck and van with the bore water. I not only got them clean but the large amount of mud had top dressed his lawn.
Now for number TEN. 
On part of the trip I came across a fellow traveller who was towing a large caravan. The road was gravel, but good going apart from some innocuous ‘whoop-de-dos’. It seems that his 4x4 utility had been brilliant on the flat black top, but the 2.5t plus weight of the van had challenged the chassis with the see-saw motion of the van on the little rises. The rocking had amplified the force of the van on the tug, so much so that it bent the chassis mid point. Inside the van was like the last six days of the second world war. Fittings broke, items were strewn everywhere. Now part of this problem is the inability to pack securely, balance your load and drive to conditions, but part is inherent in caravan towing. Towing is fraught at the best of times. Sideways stability in cross winds, parking in confined spaces, jack-knifing in heavy breaking, reversing into camp sites and stress caused by the lever interaction of the two vehicles on rough going, etc., but the most terrifying is the damage it can do to the tug. This incident proved all of that, if nothing else. $60 k and a dream holiday were shot to pieces. Not an issue with a slide-on like Trayon, though. The weight is distributed so that most of it is low and over or forward of the rear axle and presents a low sail area for crosswinds to affect. Result? A stable, safe and balanced vehicle.
Reason ELEVEN.
(OK. So I like odd numbers.)
I know I am singing to the Trayonner choir on this one, but.... Buy Australian made. Apart from helping the economy, there are a host of sound reasons. Cheap imports have three great drawbacks. 1. Dubious quality. 2. Unreliable warranties. 3. Backup service.
As attested on the Trayon Forum, Trayon owners have a huge regard for the backup service they get. It borders on legendary. My own experiences have confirmed this. The patience, pride and attention to detail from the Trayon staff and their agents bears out the confidence the Trayon ‘family’ of owners have in the company. Trayonners are loyal with good reason. (They are also generous in their support for other owners.)
A ten year warranty is amazing, but it is borne of the quality and devoted care that Trayon gives to its product. If all this sounds like a paid promo for Trayon, it isn’t. It’s just a fact that has embraced this owner into an evangelical zeal for a product which ticked all the boxes after 3 years of patient, careful research. Trayon just kept ticking all the boxes. I have never regretted the choice I made and continue to be astounded by “Smokey” – and Trayon.
Good Trayon Travelling!
Stepped sideways from my beloved 2005 Isuzu/Rodeo (so reliable!!) to a 2008 Land Cruiser 79 series - just 'coz!
1980 Diesel Deluxe with annexe and single shower. (Should've gone dbl!!)
Well Draggy,
What an excellent job you've done giving us your insight as to why everyone needs to own a Trayon, truly "Legendary" product and service.
We too found that the size of our Trayon gave us a huge benefit going to Kangaroo Island, even got on the early ferry due to our size. KI is a place we'll go back to, love the place, also wanna get back to the Vic High Country.
Have a fun and safe journey, and thank you for your "twitillating" rendition of your journey thus far.
(25-04-2019, 07:45 PM)Dusty Wrote: Well Draggy,
What an excellent job you've done giving us your insight as to why everyone needs to own a Trayon, truly "Legendary" product and service.
We too found that the size of our Trayon gave us a huge benefit going to Kangaroo Island, even got on the early ferry due to our size. KI is a place we'll go back to, love the place, also wanna get back to the Vic High Country.
Have a fun and safe journey, and thank you for your "twitillating" rendition of your journey thus far.
Yes, Dusty! Kangaroo Island and Tassie are due for revisits this year and the Princess is interested!! Both places are fascinating and made to explore. Looking forward to it.
Stepped sideways from my beloved 2005 Isuzu/Rodeo (so reliable!!) to a 2008 Land Cruiser 79 series - just 'coz!
1980 Diesel Deluxe with annexe and single shower. (Should've gone dbl!!)
What a great had us enthralled and in fits of laughter. We've just come home from 10 days up north (WA) in the Trayon and can attest to everything you say.  Safe travels and looking forward to your next chapter!
It was fun to read your story Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin we need more Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin
Daniel & Anne Françoise from Switzerland
Isuzu D-Max 2.5 Solar, OME Suspension +600kg, 5cm lift, GVM 3500 kg, Warn XDC Winch 4600kg, Safari Snorkel, Bash Plates, ARB Roof Rack, ARB Frontier Tank, 2 Spares, 1830 Trayon Dual Diesel DeLuxe Europe Version   Big Grin

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)