Tuesday 16th July.

Nerves have hit Linda as she is due to fly home tomorrow and the usual things are occurring, such as not being able to sleep. She won her count down to two more sleeps, but it should have immediately reverted to no more sleeps and the next two days are going to become one long one.

I finally managed to get the gas job done that I have been threatening for 18 months, an outlet on the side of the van for the outside fridge. The job cost a bit more than the first quote 18 months ago, but this plumber did, I consider anyway, a much better job. He actually ran the feed from the stove tap fittings inside the cupboard, and hence all the new feed is internal with a plug in fitting the only item under the floor on the outside. As nothing is provided, I now have the task of finding a method of covering the outlet to prevent dust entering, I’m sure I will come up with something.

A blow up mattress was purchased yesterday to bring us one step closer to being totally fitted for camping in the tent, so in a few days when I have done the solar panel work I could consider testing the system we have by heading bush for a day or so without the caravan. Maybe Rollingstone would be an ideal test area.


Saturday 13th July.

It has been a rather industrious week as Linda has been busy spring-cleaning the caravan and I have been doing some maintenance work to make our lives a little easier.

I have finished modifying the roof racks and have now bolted down the wheels, much better. Repacking the panel van is just about complete, a pack up and move will see that finalised.

I have also been busy inside the van permanently fixing things like the video recorder, speakers and stereo so we do not have to tie them down each time we move. Linda is hounding me to provide a permanent mounting for the plates so she does not have to pack them each move. We have discussed possible methods to achieve this, so I will see what I can come up with over the next few weeks.

A breakthrough with mobile Internet access with my new computer yesterday when I decided to try an option that has been available to me since I bought it, I have kicked my ass since for not trying it earlier. There is a device on the market, I’m sure I have mentioned before, called a serial to USB converter, one of which I tried that I borrowed from Tony Cruse and it failed to work. Since that day I have had advise from so called computer experts whom all said mobile phones would not work via these converters so I have since left it at that. I have recently spoken to others on the same subject and it seems the cheapy that I tried did not provide full emulation that is required for mobiles and there is another on the market that should work. The price of the other converter is the reason I did not try one when I originally bought the PC as I considered $120.00 too much to risk if it did not work. Tandy had one of these devices and their policy is that if it fails to function then I can return the product within 7 days for a full refund. I tried one and YES!! It worked. In the mean time I have been waiting on a data cable for a new Kyocera phone and when it turned up I had intended buying a new phone. All this was going to cost about $800.00, so when this converter worked, at a cost of $120.00, I considered that I had another big win, then proceeded to kick my ass for not trying this device months ago. Bearing in mind I have only had it working the once and with my sceptic mind I am keeping the box and paper work for the converter in good condition in case.


Tuesday 9th July.

Bloody travel agents: a call today revealed how the travel agent changed the Brisbane to Tassie leg and when she rang Qantas they refused to change the Townsville to Brisbane leg. After convincing her that it was not satisfactory to have the two legs separated by a week, she seemed to think this was ok, she kindly informed us that our old booking, that she cancelled, had been sold and she could not revert back. This was just not satisfactory so she went back to hunting and eventually came up with a flight the same day as we had previously but at a later time.

Back to better things: the roof racks have been installed, but at this stage I am not fully satisfied with tying the tyres on with straps, so I will have to come up with a better method. Perhaps bolted with a long bolt from the topside of the tyre down to the aluminium tray underneath will suffice. Then I can use the straps I purchased to tie down the bike on top of the tyres.


Monday 8th July, (Townsville).

Been rather busy lately organising the rearrangement of gear from the caravan to the panel van. One day was taken up re-packing the panel van, removing the spare wheel to make more room, and finding space to store things like the blue box from the front of the caravan that once held fuel containers and such. This box now contains several other small containers of gear mainly move from the van, such as paper for the printer, a small container full, the map books and such for other states that we are not using at present, and sleeping bags and doona’s that now don’t take space in the caravan.

A roof rack was ordered to place all spare wheel onto, and possibly gas bottles and such, and it should turn up later today.

Another full day was spent moving one of the batteries from the caravan and installing it in the back of the panel van. A fair bit of extra wiring had to be installed to cater for this battery to be useful while there, as well as connecters so we can plug in a solar panel to charge it. We have planned on utilising the battery and solar panel when we leave the van and travel overnight using the tent; yes we have also purchased a tent for this purpose. The solar panel will be one of the ones on the roof of the caravan, I have yet to get around to making them removable for this purpose and also so we can place them on the ground pointing at the sun to achieve maximum power from them. I have found that they are down to 50% of power laying flat on the roof. I am hopeful we will only have to remove them in winter as in summer the sun is almost directly overhead.

I assume I mentioned earlier that I was having trouble with something I picked up from a shower block somewhere, well I received the test results today and it turned out to be just some fungal infection, not over important and it has cleared up now anyway.

Linda has had a change of heart about her return trip to Tassie; she would now like it to be for two weeks rather than just the one. Enquiries have proven to be a little difficult due to the fact that we made separate bookings Brisbane to Tassie, and Townsville to Brisbane. We also made these bookings with different travel agents so to convince one agent to attempt to make all the changes proved to be not too easy, but they seem to have made the appropriate arrangement for us. We only have to get conformation of the bookings tomorrow. A lesson learned in all this is in future to make all bookings direct with the airline one intends to use for the trip.


Wednesday 3rd July, (Townsville).

After a further clean out and reshuffle of gear from the caravan to car, with what is still to move, I reckon that my new estimate is we have off loaded in excess of 200ks from the caravan. We may be still over weight by a little but I will at least be a lot happier towing the van knowing that it is lighter. The final test will be our next move and whether I will have to alter the amount of lift I need from the level riders and if there may be a difference it tow handling. Talking of level riders: the lift needed from this device is the other critical thing where axle weight of the van is concerned as the weight of the lift applied must be redistributed else-where, and half of it must go to the caravan axle, so the greater the lift applied the more weight on the van axle. If too much lift is applied the purpose of the shedding exercise will prove to be futile.

As we have been preoccupied with off loading weight, we have not had enough time to do anything else, but this is the task at hand at the moment so we will get some free time when it is finished.

We made enquiries about taking Linda’s bike home for Adrian on the plane and were surprised about the difference between cost of taking it with her as luggage and sending it as freight. We can get it hame as luggage for about $40.00, but the cost of freight was more than the value of the bike. The only problem with taking it with he is that Linda will have to lug the bike, in box, around Brisbane with her while she is there over night. A chat with sister Deris saw her agreeing to pick Linda up from the airport and dropping her off again the next day so the bike then is no longer a problem.