Monday 29th October 2007, Launceston.

Wondering what we have been doing with ourselves lately? We, or I, have been spending quite some time preparing to get the new vehicle, Tilly, ready for towing, the trailer brakes have been wired, Power to the trailer socket has been provided, I have built a box arrangement for the tray of the vehicle so when we do get to load it we will be able to take a greater advantage of utilising space, I have partly pre built a small box for switching electrics to trailer and power sockets etc. Let’s not forget though we are waiting for the canopy to be fitted to Tilly before we can even think about fully fitting most of the above ready for travel, and I am getting to a stage where I really can’t wait for all this to happen, because I am now becoming very convinced that the vehicle is going to live up to all of my expectations. I have also spent today fitting a new car radio to the caravan to replace the old mini stereo that was on its last legs. We have also spent some time catching up with some friends and rellies and have several more to catch up with, out for tea tomorrow night and an ex work mate and his wife are coming round for lunch on Wednesday. For now it is just wait for things to take their course, and hopefully we will find some time to get to do some touring in Tassie before we head back to Melbourne.


Wednesday 24th October 2007, Launceston.

Things are now coming together with “Tilly Truck’, with the trailer socket and brakes having been wired. I have built a box arrangement for the rear tray compartment to maximise storage space and can’t believe how well it turned out. It was difficult to come up with precise measurements for the box because of the shape of the tray and the grooves in the flooring of the tray, so all I could do was use timber sizes as sold and fit them into grooves as close to possible as to what I thought was a good measurement and was surprised how things seem to fit. All areas of the boxing seem to fit articles to be stored almost exactly, couldn’t have worked out better. Of course I can’t load everything at the moment as it all has to come out because we don’t have the canopy fitted yet, but a couple of weeks and we will be able to load up and put the ‘Truck’ to a full test.

I today learned of a problem a lot of travellers must be having with their mobile phone bills. Most people I know that are using Telstra have the free hour, as we do, and it is this area where the problem exists. When one buys a new mobile they are then allocated a home base area, that is usually the place they bought the phones. In our case our home base was the Sunshine Coast. Now we are in Tasmania and in a different daylight saving time zone and even though the new time zone appears on the phone display all calls are charged for the appropriate time zone at ones home base, so all calls we thought we were getting for free, between 5 and 6PM, were actually charged as if we made the calls between 4 and 5PM and were not free. After making enquiries I learned that all I had to do was call Telstra and have our home base changed to the area we are presently at and all will be ok, and remember to do the same whenever we travel into a different time zone. It is a pity this is not more readily advertised as there must be a lot of travellers moving between states with different times that must be having the same problems.


Wednesday 17th October 2007, Launceston.

I can’t remember the last time we were so busy. The container is empty, and even gone to its new owner. This doesn’t mean it’s all over though, as we still have some things we want to take to Melbourne to store that have yet to be packed.

I am now also flat out organising things to be done to ‘Tilly Truck’ the new vehicle.

. Enlarge.

I have to get the trailer brakes wired, as well as the CB radio fitted. We will also be waiting a few weeks for the canopy to be fitted and the old roof racks from the panel-van, these will be done at the same time. I have done a few hundred kilometres in Tilly Truck already and am liking what I have seen so far. It seems like it is going to do the towing job I am hoping it will, so I can’t wait till we can hook up the caravan and give it a test, but that will have to wait a few weeks yet.


Monday 15th October 2007, Launceston.

We can now see the end to cleaning out the container, with one load to the auctioneers tomorrow and it will be empty. It is amazing how much nonsense stuff we kept. We will end up with a vehicle full of what we want to keep and take it to Melbourne for storage.

We have also taken a big plunge, by buying a new car. The panel-van was getting rather long in the tooth and had developed rust, so it was time to go. It is a pity actually as it had done such a good job up until now and is still what I call mechanically sound considering the work it has done. I always said that I would never own a diesel engine vehicle, and also never one of those high off the ground. We actually bought one of those exact vehicles, a Ford Ranger XLT, 4WD diesel turbo. All indications are that it should be a lot more powerful than the panel-van and should be more fuel economical, even though the Panel-van was running gas. Then gas was only cheaper to run when in Victoria or any capital city which was probably only 30% of our running. The ultimate test though will be towing, the only time to find out. I am impressed with its performance so far, and do hope that it does live up to my expectations. I did think of inserting a photo, but it was dark when I thought of it, so one will follow later.


Friday 12th October 2007, Launceston.

Linda has now joined me and is starting to regret all the work we have to do. I thought I was exhausted the other day, but things just haven’t eased and we are both feeling that way right now. We are well under way with emptying the container, with a final day of arranging things tomorrow, and delivery trips to the auctioneers on Monday. The container has been sold, or it will be when the cheque arrives in the mail. The deal was done over the phone and I never did meet the buyer. So considering that he lives in Deloraine, and Australia Post is so slow, the cheque still hasn’t arrived so hopefully it will be here on Monday. We are both looking forward to completing the container and resting for a few days.

The weather here is different than we have been used to. The days have been reasonably good being mostly sunny, but the nights: they have been getting down to 3 or 4 degrees, which we do occasionally experience in winter further north, but it seems so much colder than the cooler nights at those temperatures elsewhere.

Back in Tassie

Monday 8th October 2007, Launceston.

I am feeling rather tired at the moment with travelling on the boat last night, and not sleeping much, and then being awake an hour early anyway with daylight saving in force in Tasmania, but I should put down these words before the moment passes and I wake up tomorrow thinking in a different frame of mood. I then set up the annexe after arriving, and all this sort of thing takes it out of me a little nowadays.

I envisage that we are going to be a little busy over the next couple of weeks, with emptying the container and selling it and all the contents. The ad for the container in the paper on the weekend has had a lot bigger response than anticipated with about six people calling about it already. All have said they will have a look at it and get back to me, and so far one has gotten back with an offer less than I advertised. I told him that if we don’t get what we ask by the weekend I will call him back, and he sounded genuinely interested. It has been a long time since I have attempted to undertake multiple tasks at the one time so this is also telling on me.

The tasks don’t stop there though, as we are also considering purchasing a new car: I have almost decided on a Ford Ranger 4X4 diesel. This is not a simple task either as I also have to arrange finances to prevent paying tax on a Super withdrawal, so after commencing these arrangements I visited Jackson’s, the local Ford dealers, and they have a Demo model for sale which is identical to the model I was looking for. A return visit tomorrow, after an appointment with my bank manager, to get some prices will then enable me to possibly make some sort of decision.

Maybe one can now see why I am rather exhausted as I did only arrive here today. Oh, by the way, Linda is still in Melbourne and will be flying over on Wednesday, so at the moment I don’t even get her help that I would normally appreciate. It does make one realise that he is not as young as he used to be. Oh well a fresh start tomorrow to what could be a very busy couple of weeks.


Wednesday 3rd October 2007, Melbourne.

What a trip we had today, driving against gale force winds. We were forced back a gear for 80% of the trip and this doesn’t do much for fuel economy. We got here anyway and are now trying to put up with the wind. It seems that it is like this every time we get to Melbourne so I guess we should be used to it by now.

We are here for four days before we head to Tassie, so we should get enough time to visit the kids, and their kids, before we do head off.


Monday 1st October 2007, Albury.

One more leg to get to Melbourne, about 300K, and we have not enjoyed the rapid travel we have had to make over the past couple of weeks. We really would prefer to stop at each place for longer, but at least we have now found a couple of places we must visit again some time for a longer period. We now, even more, cannot understand how people could travel from the Sunshine Coast to Victoria in two or three days regularly every year.

We are now at Albury, having travelled only 160K, Map, and enjoyed the short trip for a change. We will be here for two days and then on to Melbourne.