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The big trip begins - Glass House Mountains
We are now less than 2 weeks from our leave date and the time has come for the all important test run. Packing the van for the first time was very exciting, it started feeling more real, that this trip is actually going to happen! There were lots of decisions to make about where, how to pack and secure equipment, and I'm sure it will change many times throughout the trip as we fine tune our habits. The packing took the better part of the day and found the sticky mats and small baskets a great help in organising the cupboards with large plastic tubs under the bed and in the car for larger items.
David spent the last 2 days making a storage rack for the back of the Pajero to allow easy packing. It's coming along really well, just need some rubber matting for the floor and to carpet the unit and we will be good to go. Another useful addition will be a cargo net to hold our shopping down when we stack it in the back.
This trip was the first time we towed our van and the first big run for our new 4x4. Our chosen destination for a 2 night stay is the Mt Warning Holiday Park in NSW, we've stayed there before in tents so we are familiar with the area.
First things first we went to hitch the caravan to the car, we found no D Shackles, a quick dash to the service station and we're back on track. With the van secure we then did the lights checks and tested the electric brakes for the first time. We're still getting used to the electric brakes but they definitely stop you in a hurry on high.
For the first half of the journey we were very lucky with traffic which made it easier to get used to towing a large rig, we cruised easily to 80km and even got to 100km on the highway. But we soon came to a accident at the Tugan tunnel and all traffic diverted to the Gold Coast Hwy, not ideal when towing a van! After sitting in traffic for 30 mins we were just merging off when the road was reopened and we were able to carry on our original course, few!
Arriving at the caravan park we were pleasantly surprised it wasn't busy, even during school holidays. After picking a powered site away from the harmonica & guitar playing folk we had the fun job of reversing, my favorite!
With walkie talkies in hand and my somewhat questionable hand gestures we took only 3 go's to get the van far enough away from the fire pit, a pretty good effort for only our second time reversing. And no domestic, bonus!
Popping up the roof was a sinch, plugging in power was awesome (it's so great having power points while camping, a first for us!), water hose in, we were pleasantly surprised how good the hose laid flat; no curling like a garden hose, we were too far from the drain for the sink hose so a large bucket got the job done. Legs wound down check, awning out, how easy is that! Throw out the camp chairs & table and we were setup ready to relax in a small amount of time.
Our first night we did a small fire, a few drinkies and a beef stew on the cooktop, so easy, I'm loving the usability of the kitchen. Dave got a very weak internet connection on the Next G dongle modem, we tried all metal objects to boost the signal, the microwave in the van gave the best signal inside and the back of the car the strongest signal outside, the things you have to do! We also tried our camp shower, consisting of a en-suite tent, a bucket and 12V pump/shower head, it was great, we stood inside a blow up kiddy pool to stop the water going everywhere, worked perfect. Our small oil heater got a workout overnight, the temperatures outside were so cold but we stayed pretty warm inside.
Today we are on mission internet upgrade, it's obvious the current aerial isn't coping and in our line of work its essential we are able to have a decent internet connection most days. After some morning research we are off to the Telstra shop to buy a larger aeiral, we settled on a multi-directional 6 band (an upgrade from our 1.5 band) costing $150. The internet showed some improvement, but still needed to be positioned very high and fiddled with.
Another first today, unwrapping the annex walls, we didn't even know if all the parts were there. We successfully put up the walls all parts accounted for and it looks like it has never been used, its so great to block the wind and create a private working space.
The rest of the day we just hung around camp, I built this website haha while Dave did some customer work. Dinner was spaghetti bolognese, yum!
It's amazing how much stuff you can spread out in just a few days, we intended to test all our equipment and we certainly did that. Everything went back the way it should, although getting the roof back down was a challenge, I'm not heavy enough to pull the roof down, I literally swing from the handles and it doesn't budge. When Dave gets it started it comes down easy, the struts were replaced just before we bought the van and are very stiff, hopefully after a few more lifts they will ease up. The trip home was uneventful, there is a slight rattle on the awning we need to look into but everything else was good, we even overtook some people!
The reversing back up into the tiny space beside the house was hard with just me guiding it, we managed to just clip the guttering on the way in which was a bummer but no major damage. Hopefully we wont need to get it into this space again for a long time.
All in all a very successful test, we have added a few more products to our shopping list but even if we left tomorrow there are no major things missing.
We are now less than 2 weeks from our leave date and the time has come for the all important test run. This was the first time we towed our van and the first big run for our new 4x4. Our chosen destination is the Mt Warning Caravan Park in NSW, we've stayed there before in tents so we are familiar with the area.