Category Archives: Travel

Certified and certifiable

On Monday Carmel and I did our towing course. Towing a caravan requires to to forget almost everything you ever knew about driving a car. When you turn, you wait until the rear wheel of the 4WD is level with the curb (or witch’s hat if your are lucky, or petrol bowser if unlucky) before you begin to turn. Your brain is screaming that you are out to far but when you look back, the van only just makes it.

After a brief how to connect and disconnect your van, the first tricky exercise was to do a doughnut (a tight circle ending up where you started) with the van attached. Except for the fact I was fully focused on mastering the skill, I should have taken a video of the car park with 5 vans all reversing in circles. Anyway, once you get a feel for it, it is quite straightforward. Now I know what to do when the Apaches attack and ride around us in a anti-clockwise direction (or is the clockwise in the southern hemisphere). But the purpose is to know how to hold the van in a smooth motion and it is used when reversing into a van spot.

Note to self.

  1. To move the rear of the van to the right, turn the wheel to the right.
  2. To reverse into a lot, mark up a pivot point of two steps out and three steps in the car direction of the corner of the caravan
    1. Drive the car straight so the first “a” of Expanda is level and arm distance from this pivot point
    2. Full lock minus a half in the wrong direction.
    3. Reverse until you see the second penguin
    4. Stop and go full lock minus a half in the right direction
    5. Reverse keeping the second penguin aligned with the edge of the car.

Part One of the Journey

The first part of the journey sees us cover NSW and Victoria, but given the distance we are attempting over the full journey, “cherry picking” might be a better word.

Messing Around in BoatsWe start of by passing though Canberra to say hello to Carmel’s dad. Then we are away, heading first towards the Murray River. The river is of course significant as being one of the bigger river systems in Australia, near many historic town, and a border between New South Wales and Victoria. Also, it has lots of water, and we have two canoes, and “there is nothing—absolute nothing—half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”

We will practice a bit of free camping on that part of the trip, so that we know how to do it and while biggish towns with forgotten requirements are near at hand.

BendigoBut after a week of this it is time to get serious and visit a historic town – Bendigo. We will also benefit from a proper caravan park to get a proper shower and a bit of comfort. My mother is afraid we will catch our death in Victoria in late autumn. We will see how the Air Conditioner reverse cycles.

close-up-picking-corvina2After some touristy things, it will be time for some work experience. It will be grape picking time in Mildura. I am hoping we can pick up a job picking grapes, which are the fruit of the season. I plan to have a grape eating contest with Ash to see who can eat the most bunches of grapes!

the-palace-hotel-broken-hill-9419893Finally, for NSW, Broken Hill. We will be staying near the set of Mad Max, Mission Impossible 2 and Priscilla Queen of the Desert. But also we will have to look at the mines and, of course, the Palace Hotel.

A Journey

First part of the JourneyWhen school doesn’t work, you need to find a way to keep on learning.

This blog covers the journey of my family, Ashleigh my son, Carmel, my wife and Alexander (me), across Eastern Australia in search of learning, family time and a better future.

JaycoExpandaOur choice of transport is a second hand Jayco Expanda Outback. It has a kitchen, fridge, shower, toilet, two double beds, two TVs, a dining table, an air conditioner and an awning. While are are not exactly roughing it, this will be a big shock for a family used to a big house, a city lifestyle, Netflix, fast internet and a good barista.

maths sums on blackboardAsh’s school will sending us work to do. I am also hoping to supplement that with observations of nature and of the different lives people can live. All lovely platitudes – let’s see if something can come of it.

Nissanpatrol2010As well as school, we want to fit is some sight seeing, some free camping (away from amenities), some 4WD fun and some work experience.

Wish us luck for the next thirteen weeks!