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.

Launceston ( the last week )

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.

Tilly ready to roll

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.

071107_new-car-001.JPG Enlarge.

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.