Thursday, October 20, 2016

Campervanning Day 6 06/10

I am not sure if I mentioned the red dots being places we stayed each night. From the left San Remo, Waratah Bay, Lakes Entrance then inland to Omeo and then Merimbula. There will be a new map with the next post.


The Omeo Caravan Park transport. No thanks, it had cobwebs inside.


It was a long drive today so we were away early enough. We again brunched at the cafe in Bruthen. This time R's coffee was served at 80 degrees and perfect to his taste. We stopped for fuel at Cann River.


And arrived at the Merimbula Big 4 holiday park mid afternoon. We liked our site. It is the best park we stayed in during the trip and not the most expensive. Powered sites over the twelve days were between $37 and $45, with Big 4 giving a 10% discount to people driving Britz vehicles. The facilities are amazing, as is the water fun park for the kiddies, with buckets and other things tipping water over them. It was still school holidays in NSW and so there were children about, but we were sensibly put up the quiet end. There was a slight slope to the land and it is amazing what a difference just a small angle can make. Something wet on a smooth surface moved and the sink did not drain at one side.


The park wan't quite as quiet as it appears. Last time we stayed here, we were in a two bedroom cabin.


We had takeaway fish and chips for dinner from Jodies Fishpen Takeaway. The fish was excellent, the chips terrible. Mother advised us to have seafood in Merimbula as she had good seafood there, some 45 years ago. Roll of eyes.  I only took five photos for the day. I think this one was next day. It had been a long drive and we slept the sleep of the innocent. We just love Merimbula. 



As this is short post, I will tell you a bit more about the van. It had its own shower and toilet. We did not use the shower but at some point there was water sloshing around at the bottom of the shower. It was because R washed down the toilet with the shower hose and and the grey water tank was full. The tank was mostly drained by connecting a hose to the outlet and draining into a specified pipe at powered sites but at times I just turned the drain tap on a bit as we were driving. 

The fresh water tank was of a decent size but I did let it run out once and I think it then had an airlock, which affected the pump that would not pump properly anymore. We weren't without water, but the pump became noisy and the pressure had dropped. 

The radio in the driving compartment had speakers above the seating/bed area. If the ignition was off, the radio would still work and shut down after about forty five minutes. Good to go to sleep by but we didn't.

The sat nav also had a 'how this bit of the van works' menu and the same was also on memory stick attached to the keyring. It also had the app Campermate which gives you invaluable information, but we didn't use it. The sat nav also operated as a wifi hotspot. When we went to pick up the van, as well as express return package being reduced from $250 to $150, we were asked because we had hired the large outdoor table, camp chairs and annex, would we like free wifi too, and that would reduce the cost by $1. Of course. I may have already said this but I am sure the sat nav hot spot used the Telstra data system. As caravan parks and our home need to cater for peak hot water usage at around 8 am, later on weekends, so too does wifi need to work at peak times. It often didn't with much buffering. Using my phone as a modem made no difference, so that is why think the campervan was using Telstra and Telstra was at fault. We must have chewed through the bandwidth though, with both of us using our tablets for tv at the same time. It was pretty good for internet matters, but internet collapsed at the same peak times as tv watching did.

Gas; we used judicially for cooking on the stove, for hot water for washing up but aside from one night without power in our friends driveway in Lakes Entrance, we did not need the gas for boiling the kettle aside from roadside stops and were able to return the 9kg gas bottle nearly empty.

Storage: We did not even get half way to filling the many storage spaces. Just brilliant. All cupboards when travelling had to have their open button depressed so they would not open as we swung around a bend. They did not have to be locked up like that when stationary. There was a fridge lock too, called Vent. Is vent known as locked in some other language? German? Gattina?

The Youtube video indicated we would only need to plug into power every second day for the non mains powered things to work. The next morning in Lakes Entrance where we were off the grid for a night, the power failed. While the Youtube video indicated that the running of the vehicle would only trickle charge the battery, it did much better and 15 minutes of the engine being on, we had full power. There was a volt meter gauge

I just know you have been waiting for me talk about the lavvy, lovey. It seems American campervans have a storage tank which you drain off at caravan parks with a large hose. Australia has gone for the European option by using a cassette. Isn't that a brilliant euphemism for a shit container?  The Youtube video suggested, like everything else, that we empty the cassette every second day. Given we only used it to pee into it at night, we ignored that advice to our peril, and at about Day 6 it started to smell.

The cassette has a separate water flushing system and while the indicator said the tank was only half full, when I opened the cap to top it up, water was to the top of the filler. I didn't understand but a half full cassette flushing level is ok. In caravan parks they are called dump points, where you empty your cassette into the town sewerage system. Make sure the cassette flap is closed in the toilet. Release the clips, and it has wheels, so you trundle it across the caravan park just like a suitcase but a walk of shame because you seem to be human, except we did not and emptied it as we entered or exited a park with the van hiding our humanity. Twist the spout out, press the green air intake button and release the contents into a generously sized drain. Rinse with water from the hose provided. Open the cassette lid and put in the chemical. Put it back into the van, making sure it is secure. 

Wow, we are on the south coast of the New South Wales and the weather is improving.

18 comments:

  1. This is a great post Andrew. I have never travelled in a campervan and I love your detailed descriptions. Really gives me an understanding of life in a campervan. I doubt I could cope unless I was travelling with someone who had done it before.

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    1. Marie, I know you and I know you could do it, if there was the need. Yes, you would be stressed at times, but stress free is only for the weak.

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  2. Me too, Fun. I could manage all the driving and camping requirements, but I would need a small child to explain all the technological tasks. Andrew, I am impressed!

    Hels

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    1. Hels, perhaps I made the tech stuff harder than it actually is. You would be fine, and if you are that way inclined towards a campervan trip, just do it.

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  3. I have a friend who has moved to Merimbula - and loves it. Someday we will visit.
    Loved hearing the details about your trip, even though some of them make me glad it was you not me. I have become a wimp.

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    1. EC, it was our second visit to Merimbula and I had forgotten how gorgeous the town is. It is not a cheap place property wise, but there are good reasons for that. But then I think of summer in Merimbula, and I feel the need for rethink.

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  4. So much information, I will know what to do if I ever go camping in a caravan .
    We had many visitors as a child who were travelling around and the parked their vans in our driveway for a day or two then moved on but in those days the caravans were very basic today they are homes on wheels in every sense.
    Merle..........

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    1. Merle, why don't you just do it. Take a small holiday in a camper. I think you would like it, and while I remember that your husband won't drive anymore, you could drive.

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  5. Probably not too bad if you are used to doing it, but rather than have to fuss around emptying toilet cassettes, I'd be more inclined to make pit stops in any town we passed and use the public facilities.
    I'm not the camping type *~*.

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    1. River, as Bone Doctor said last Sunday, so next Christmas you will camp out in the back yard and I will sleep inside, no. Men of certain age may need to go to pee overnight, and that was the reason for the van toilet. Funnnily, often the book in staff mentioned putting us near the amenity block. I felt old.

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    2. Women may need to pee overnight too, especially if they have coffee loaded with sugar too late in the evening, as I sometimes do.

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  6. Am enjoying your travels Andrew.. snow!! How exciting. I can't even remember snow, I was four when we left Scotland! You have made the trip sound such fun you've got us all tempted to give it a go. It does sound like so much more fun than tenting, quite cosy really..all the comforts of home right there with you.. not so sure about the toilet portion of the journey ☺☺

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    1. Grace, I wouldn't camp in a tent. It is confined space in the van though and unlike a caravan that you can leave behind to drive up a mountain, everything goes with you. Forget about equality between the sexes. Emptying the cassette is a job for men to do.

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    2. No argument here Andrew 😁😁

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  7. Wow, on the cassette instead of dump hose, which is at least a bit more private, but even to see RV's lined up to "dump" is a bit like watching lines at outhouses. Your gray water dump method is kind of funny. Made me smile. Here, truckers pee into plastic bottles, cap the bottle and toss it out the window, so highways are often littered in plastic bottles half full of yellow. It's icky. One trucking team, composed of immigrants, I was told by a female trucker, to save time, which is money, cut a hole in the floor of the sleeper back of the cab so they could poo out the hole onto the highway as they drove.

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    1. Strayer, there aren't queues, but I am not sure that the cassette is a better system. Whatever happened to the Teamster Union that would have limited truck driving hours, as happens here. I think long distance truck driving laws here are strong and generally policed, as there has been some terrible truck accidents because of fatigue. When coming home after the trip on a major highway, truck drivers' behaviour was exemplary and I noted many stopped for breaks at times.

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  8. I am just reading all your posts about your caravan adventure, I only know "Vent"as the "wind" in French, and don't see why the lock is called like that !

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    1. Gattina, and you know three or more languages and have ready access to Italian, so it seems clear that the fridge lock and the word vent on the lock is no connected. Maybe it was a brand name.

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