In my early years as an explorer we were running on a pretty low budget, using all of our dough to buy biscuits and gas to get our tiny crew from point A to point B. The point of point B was that our landing would be as close as we could get to the region containing whatever we were after. If we'd heard some fantastic tale of a sea creature that could grow 4 heads and eat a school of giant Manta Rays, all the better: No Land Travel Necessary. We simply pulled the Frankie Anne up to the general coordinates and hopped in the damn water with the thing. Finding creatures like The Pickle-Tongued Fathom Lurker was a chore but only logistically. On the other hand, if it was a land-creature we were after (for example, The Leaping Hunchbacked Baboons of North Africa) then we needed to find a suitable land vehicle near the port.
Finding a suitable vehicle sounds fairly easy but when it's the Iron-Horned, Locomotive Rhino you're after...you'll want something with some backbone. Something solid. We were unable to find this when we went looking for the aforementioned Iron-Horned Locomotive Rhino and it was a real bummer, let me tell you. Come to think of it, I'll dedicate this post right now to the memory of Djaaku Kammata, our guide on that trip. The scrappy little fellow ran through the bush like a jack-rabbit full of espresso for a good five miles before being turned into a pasty, reddish-brown-orange marmalade by the great beast after it had knocked our Land Rover for a loop and into a ditch. We squatted in the bush and soiled our drawers, mouths wide and paralyzed at the spectacular and horrifying sight. I lived that moment over and over for years, and can't have anything on my toast to this day.
After that episode I swore to the crew that we'd get something better, something worthy of the McFinn name. Something no one else had. We docked in New York and set off for Detroit ion search of a legend: Paddy Coyne, a son of Irish immigrants famous for generations as carriage builders in the Old Country and the best innovators in the automobile frame industry for years in the Motor City. We hooked up with Paddy and told him what we were after. He took our request as a personal challenge and was gung-ho for it but warned us it would cost us more gold than the leprechaun king, Brian Connors himself had in his cache. In fact the cost was be steeper than the Louwellan Drop in the Marianas Trench. Well, assuring Paddy we could, we set out to raise some funds. Cookie auctioned off a few of his secret seafood techniques to high-dollar eateries in Baltimore and New York, Attaway took a gig guiding a convoy of fishing boats to the deadly, yet tuna-rich Banks of the Northern Fent and I... well let's just say I got lucky in Reno. We were a small crew but we had bankable skills. In a few months we had the cash and it was off to Paddy to see what he had for us.
The Hooligan sat in a garage like a massive, intimidating beast. Strong as a tank and outfitted for the deepest hell-pits of the furthest jungles, this thing drove through the trees, not around them. It's 21 gears allowed for amazing climbing skills, it seated 6 comfortably in the front cabin and slept 7 in the back. Boxes for gear were located in every nook and cranny of it's steel hide and the rear held delicate instruments for analysis of our expedition's finds. There were stows for weapons and a fold-away galley for meals. It had observation ports on the top and could drive through an 8 foot river like it was the Lincoln Tunnel. We collectively pooped at Paddy's product, paid him profusely and packed inside for passage back to port. We retro-fitted the Frankie Anne III (once again) and allowed for her to carry the Hooligan with us wherever we went. We are forever grateful to the Great Paddy Coyne.
The only drawbacks with this monster is the fear it strikes into folks who encounter it on the road and the lousy gas mileage it gets. Oh well, we'll crash through that wall when we need to.
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