Townsville

Thursday 30th May, (Townsville).

Well two new tyres have been fitted to the car, and with the alignment the car is once again driving like a new car. I have reverted back to using standard size tyres on the rear now I have had to replace them. Early last year, when the last tyre replacement was necessary, I fitted two tyres of a larger size on the back than those on the front to raise the rear end of the car. This was to hopefully better the wind flow over the car and caravan, if it worked the effect the tyres had negatively on gearing of the drive mechanism counteracted any benefit gained. Hopefully now the standard tyres will give me back the gearing.

I have also weakened and purchased a heavy-duty towing hitch. I have been against this style of hitch mainly due to the cost, and also because they are within themselves very heavy. They also, from what I have seen, cause the caravan to sit further back from the car by about 4-6 inches and this as well as the weight, would result in more down weight on the tow equipment, which will result in extra lift the hitch will have to create. The main reason I purchased the hitch, apart from the fact that I do need a fair bit of extra lift anyway, was due to the fact that I stumbled on a second hand one and saved over $200.00 on new price. I need extra lift now compared with last year because of extra equipment I have had fitted to the caravan, such as bikes, solar panels and the large batteries in the tunnel. I have also had the hitch modified to allow it to slide further into the receiver housing so the caravan will now sit not much further back than with the old unit.

These things alone have kept me, us, busy over the past week and we also have other task we wish to complete while in this area.

We have placed some thought into, and have taken steps to constructing some easy to handle and install shades for the annexe surrounds to replace the green shade we are presently using. Some materials have been purchased, as we do have an idea what we want, and now all we have to do is sit down, come up with some adequate measurements and cut and sew it all together.

We have also been discussing an idea I had very early in our travels, but never followed through with. It has been decided that a shelving unit mounted in the roof area of the panel van could house the outside table and chairs, to save storing them in the caravan during travel. I will now put a deal of thought into this plan and see what I can come up with; this should not be too difficult.

It seems I may not have enough spare time because that is not all I would like to achieve. I intend to modify the mounting of one, if not both, of the solar panels. I will require one of the panels to be easily removed from the roof of the caravan and then easily installed onto roof racks on the panel van. Later in our travels we intend being prepared to leave the caravan and travel a distance unsuitable for the caravan with just the panel van equipped with a tent and camping equipment for overnight stopping. The solar panel, with one of the caravan batteries, will provide us with power while camping.

With all these chores to be undertaken it will be interesting to see how long they all take. The most urgent though would be to adjust the new tow hitch; I have not performed this task before but have read about the process and it all made sense to me so we will see, maybe tomorrow, how easy the process is and how effective it is. I am prepared for the process to possibly take several hours.