Thursday 29th November 2007, Melbourne.
We are now back on the mainland, based in Melbourne at Craigieburn, and could be here for about three months. We are hoping that was the last compulsory trip to Tassie, except for renewal of drivers license. When this is due to be done it will be time we may be thinking of returning to Tassie for a tourist visit anyway, so hopefully all will work this way in future. We really are looking forward to just going where we want, when we want, without many changes of plans due to family commitments, it would be very nice to think this will happen.
Monday 26th November 2007, Launceston.
We are now back in Launceston for one night only before we head back to Melbourne tomorrow.
The test runs with the new truck pulling the caravan were extremely successful with it having all the power I had expected, and gave me roughly the economy I was hoping for at 12.5 Litres per 100 kilometres. The roads we went along were hilly so I am hopeful that this will be possibly the worse economy scenario.
All we have to do now is drop Linda off so she can catch her plane, and for me to drive to Devonport to board the boat.
We will next be in Melbourne.
Sunday 25th November 2007, Deloraine.
We originally came to Deloraine for a couple of days relaxation before returning to Melbourne, and we have so far accomplished that rather well, but being here as tourists has only emphasised one point. I have said before and will say again that we are really looking forward to returning to Tassie one day to just do the touristy thing. I have worked at, and travelled through Deloraine hundreds, if not thousands, of times over the years and have never seen it in the same light as we have during this visit. We have never seen the beauty that this district, or at least the town, has to offer, we are now looking at it with different eyes I guess, and even though we have over the years seen most of the state, we are now realising that we were probably not really looking at it. I guess since we have been travelling this big country we have learned to really look at areas we travel, and are now realising that we may not have seen much in Tassie in the same aspect that we now do see in other areas. So I guess the next visit to the state will be for a couple of months of just touring around, and are looking forward to it.
Friday 23rd November 2007, Deloraine.
I can see now why Linda wanted to come to Deloraine for a few days, see map of travels. The caravan park is right on the edge of the river and will be an ideal place to sit and relax for a few days. Below are a couple of shots of scenery from our back door.
Wednesday 21st November 2007, Kelso.
This map will show the route we have taken today to get to Kelso, almost across to George Town, my GPS map calls it George, then south to cross the Batman bridge and north again to Kelso.
I am once again impressed with the performance of ‘Tilly’ the truck. Even though we were changing gears somewhat to traverse the hills we didn’t have any trouble keeping ahead of the log trucks until a long straight allowed us to let him pass. This was one of the main problems with the panel-van, holding up trucks until they could pass. I am also finding that travelling now is less tiring as driving the new truck is less stressful and more relaxing, hence after travelling, even being short trips, then setting up camp I am finding that I don’t seem to be as tired as in the past. If this is going to continue it will also make the new purchase very worth while.
Tuesday 20th November 2007, Bridport.
The tests on Sunday were worth while as I now know how the caravan is riding on ‘Tilly’. It is probably a little high at the front as a result of me guessing that the tow ball had to be raised a little, but I am happy with it at this stage, and will have another look sometime in the future to check if the suspension on Tilly may have settled or something. I was also impressed with how the caravan brakes work, they have never been so good. This could be due to my insisting that the wiring for the brake controller was to be of a large size, or it could be the new controller I purchased, but whatever it worked.
We are now at Bridport, see map, and will be here for two days before going to Kelso. We have chosen this route for testing purposes because the roads should be an example of collectively some of the worst we can expect on our travels, so it should give me some idea of what fuel economy we can expect in possibly the worst case scenario. We also chose this route as there are people we must visit before we head back. These are Linda’s sisters in Beaconsfield, and an ex-work colleague and his wife, living at Bridport, whom are also setting out on regular travels, they too have just bought a new truck. We went for a short visit to see them yesterday afternoon and ended up getting home about 10:30 last night. It turned out a very enjoyable visit talking about old times, and also about things to do with travels and our life styles, once again very enjoyable, and we do hope to see more of them during our travels.
So far I am very impressed with the performance of Tilly Truck, and even though the panel-van did a splendid job over the years I do have to say Tilly does out perform her in many ways. The extra pulling power is tremendous, being able to maintain a constant speed on a fluctuating road level, and after learning the different characteristics of diesel than that of petrol I find Tilly will pull up hills at a much better rate, and hopefully give me a better economy than running the panel-van on gas. By the time I get to Melbourne I should have some idea if this is the actual case.
Wednesday 14th November 2007, Launceston.
I am now starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel: I had a trip to Melbourne on the weekend to take what gear we intend to keep to Narrelle’s for storage, and it turned out a bit of a test for the new truck as the weight of the gear was much greater than I thought and it turned out to be another driving exercise for me with the new truck carrying a weight. Since I have returned I have loaded all the equipment into the back ready to start our travels, there actually doesn’t seem to be as much space as the panel-van, but persistence will prevail.
Plans for test runs: We intend packing up on Saturday so on Sunday we can hook up the van and take it out on the road to test a few things like tow ball height, so the van sits level, and that the brakes work. I am hopeful that the tow ball is at the correct height as the tow bar is roughly the same height as the panel-van, although I did raise the ball by one measurement as I reckon it will need it. We then, on Monday, intend to start a few short runs for some practice before heading back to the mainland. We will probably go to Bridport, as the road has a few decent hills and some flat sections. After staying there for a couple of days we will probably go to Kelso for another couple of days, close to Beaconsfield so we can see Linda’s sisters before we go, then on to Deloraine for several days. Linda spotted a van park there while visiting the other day and decided that it looked good enough to check out. All this should take us up to the 27th when I am booked on the boat, so I can take Linda back to Launceston to the airport, then return to Deloraine to pick up the van and move on the Devonport to make the trip across Bass Strait once more.
Wednesday 7th November 2007, Launceston.
Things are now starting to come together nicely with ‘Tilly’ truck. The new canopy has been fitted, the roof racks are also on, CB radio is fitted, 12 Volt wiring has been done, and a reversing camera has been installed as well. The picture below shows nearly all.
As can be seen I have been busy for the past couple of days, and this now means we can relax a little now and get ready for travel once again.
Sunday 4th November 2007, Launceston.
I have been getting a little more ready for when the canopy is fitted on Tuesday. The box work for the tray area has been painted to look a bit more the part, I have made a carpet to go on the floor, and I have had a small practice packing of travel gear. It seems at this stage that all will fit well, but there may be a few miscellaneous bits and pieces that may have to be just thrown in until I can find a permanent place for them, or more bits and pieces will get discarded.
Linda has gone off for the night with Alice Skirving, Matt and Lou’s mother/mother-in-law for a girly night out, they should enjoy their time together.
I am booked on the boat to Melbourne for a two day visit for the purpose of taking what we decided to keep from the container to store with Narrelle and Matt. I go over on Saturday and return on Monday night. Then we can finally get the new truck loaded and make a move for a couple of practice runs around the state to make sure all is ok before we head back to the mainland. I can’t wait.