Sunday, October 16, 2016

Campervanning Day1/2 02/10/-03/10

There will be much less written in subsequent posts.


Our pick up time for our campervan was 10.00 am. I think I was up at 5.00, wandering in a daze while packing and trying to remember things. We caught the 9.39 train from Flinders Street to arrive at Tottenham Station at 9.56 and already I was in trouble. Stress levels were high and the Footscray football team had won the grand final match the day before and fans were headed to the home ground to celebrate. The train was very busy and so a couple of minutes late, which would mean we would not arrive to the hire place until 10.05. No dearest, we should not have caught the earlier train as we would be hanging around for over half an hour. Actually, it may not have mattered if we picked the van up earlier, but our appointed time was 10.00. Funnily, our 220 bus goes right past the place, but the bus route on Sunday started too late to be of use to us.

It was no problem that we were a few minutes late. The brief walk from the station to the hire place was hideous in the awful northerly wind. Little did we know what was to come. The process was not too bad and took about 50 minutes with our online express check in. Miraculously the price of the express return, that is empty of fuel, LPG, and un-emptied black and grey water, from $250 to $150, so we paid for that and for some sachets to add to the black water that did something.

Note, black water is what comes from the toilet, grey water is what comes from the sink and shower.

We tossed up who should drive home to load up, and R lost and he drove. While he is not a confident driver, he is competent and because of his previous work, has driven large van like vehicles. We thought the van was an auto Mercedes but it turned out to be an auto Volkswagen Crafter. The first problem was, where is Drive? Apparently it is called A for Auto. There was no Park position, so the handbrake had to be always pulled on very firmly. Unlike a normal car auto, you could feel the clutch being used as the gears changed. Quite weird. With a very low 1st gear, it was very slow to start off until about 10 km/h.

Many of the controls of the van were mysterious to us but we worked them out in time. The key alone was a pop out with three buttons. The first locked the entire vehicle, the last unlocked the entire vehicle, and the middle one just unlocked the campervan doors.

Mea culpa, I missed directing R to turn at Barkly Street, so the journey home was a little convoluted. Did I mention the high stress levels?

Once home, we began loading the van. The hot blustery wind was nearly knocking us off our feet as we carted stuff down and tried to find a place to fit it all. Bone Doctor and Little Jo turned up to admire the van, as it had been made clear that we weren't welcome to visit on the day we planned. Finally I worked out the subtext. On this day Sister flew to Sydney to see the Rugby grand final match. While polite to BD, we were busy loading up. Little Jo was interested to see the features of the van and when I mention refuelling to BD, she found the diesel filler and after I searched for a release switch or button, she worked out that you just had to open the passenger door to fill up.

Our destination for the night was San Remo. I had tried to book a space over the phone at the park on the ocean but our 7 metre van was too big. It was suggested that we stay at their other park in San Remo, and we did, but not before stupidly driving down horribly busy Toorak Road in the van, with me now driving to get to the freeway to show Mother the campervan.

We were only there for ten minutes and as we headed to San Remo, I could feel the van being buffeted by even stronger wind. We subsequently learnt that the wind was so bad, the train line we had earlier used was closed and all those who caught the train to the football ground were stranded.

I was not liking driving the van at this point. I did not understand the gear control and the indicators were on the left side, not the right as is more usual in Australia.

It was a very good park we stayed in in San Remo, as were really all the parks we chose. The last time I used similar public amenities was a a few decades ago and they weren't much. Best of all, it was in quite a sheltered spot. The local pub had a $20 roast on special and it was good and it was quite a pleasant venue. As we were leaving a female folk singer was just getting into gear.

We had checked the bedding, thinking we would sleep in the two single bed configuration, but there was only one doona. R brought his along and we set up the single beds as kind of sleeping in an double bed doona envelope and both of us had a terrible night's sleep in the narrow space that each of us nearly fell out of. I was awake by 3.00 am and did not really go back to sleep. The next day we decided we would not bother with the double bed configuration, but go for the king size, and king size worked really well, until you wanted to move around the van in the morning before the other person was awake. We learnt to plan the night before for the morning.

I plugged the power in, placed the grey water drain hose and turned the gas on to heat water and all was good. In spite of it being such a terrible wind day, it was the only time we sat outside for a nibble and wine before dinner. Yes, Hyacinth, I drink from a beaker. Only later did we learn that the wind was so bad, tens of thousands in Victoria were without power, with some waiting a week for power to be restored.


Along the side of our van, left to right, there is the hot water heating vent, the gas bottle storage and the toilet storage cassette. At the bottom is the grey water drain. Hose provided. On the other other side is a water filler, a slide out barbeque and points to attach a table and annex.


After just cereal the next morning for breakfast, we took a tour around Phillip Island starting with Woolamai Beach, then the Nobbies, as you can see in the photo. I remember when you could go down onto the rocks and walk across at low tide. In the distant left is Seal Rock where seals lounge around.


We then headed to Cowes where we had a nice brunch at this quaint and interesting cafe. Milly Moo, or something like that.


On to our next destination and the last time I saw Kilcunder, the road went under this disused rail bridge.


Fish Creek is rather an artistic little town.


Why didn't I take two photos of the Art Deco Fish Creek Hotel as I normally do. Maybe the second would have been in focus.


Walkerville North. Our Sat Nav indicated that the road to Walkerville South where there are old lime kilns and the road to Cape Liptrap are unpaved and so forbidden for us to travel on.


I love seeing wind farms. They are beauty on the horizon and they caused me no ill effect.


We checked in to Waratah Bay Caravan Park. After some muddy wheel spinning to park the camper, I had it exactly where we would step out into a muddy surface. I went down to the office to see if we could have another site, but it was 4pm and the office was closed. The normally law abiding R and myself decided to just move to another less muddy site, right on the water. R had birds landing on his hand to eat some bird seed which we had thoughtfully remembered to pack. We used the barbeque later to cook our dinner, but we gave it a very good scrub first.


While the wind continued, at the sheltered Waratah Bay, it was not so bad. We slept very well that night.

26 comments:

  1. A beaker? How common

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    1. That's me John, common as muck.

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  2. I would love to travel like that but I don't have the confidence to drive a large vehicle. Sounds like a great trip. Hope there was lots of laughter with your morning routine.

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    1. Marie, driving such a vertical is not for the faint hearted but it does take some getting used to and you need another person when you are reversing. Not sure it was laughter, as we brushed bellies as we tried to get organised.

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  3. It does sound as if the stress ebbed to give you some wonderful times.
    I am glad that the evil wind farms didn't damage your health.

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    1. EC, always a low level of stress about looking after the van when driving and the last day wasn't crash hot, but I'll get to that. I was at least expecting a headache from the wind turbines.

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  4. I LOVE A BEAKER TOO! ;)

    Thank the deities your camper turned out ok. I read so many horror stories about these things now. :/

    I love reading about your trips, it is almost like we get to actually go with you. I will try to write my reports like yours when we go later this month. ;)

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    1. Snoskred, much less likely to be knocked over. Such flattery!

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  5. Interesting read of your thoughts and views on the camper. Was thinking about you in the wind that we were hearing about up north.
    As long as you had a good time, that's the main thing.
    Let's hope it's gone by the time we get to Melbourne on the 25th.

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    1. Margaret, the worst was just the damper on the spirits that comes with strong wind and rain. We did have a good time.

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  6. Good trip so far :) The van is a nice looking one, but I'd be worried about buffeting winds too. In our travels back and forth years ago, we saw a van or two toppled over, maybe from wind, maybe from cornering too fast, or just losing control.
    Milly Moo reminds me of Kath Lockett and her dog Milly. I wonder how that little family is getting on way across the globe there? She has her reasons for not keeping in touch, but I miss her.

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    1. River, Kath wished me a happy birthday on Face Book. I reminded her she was only going to be in Geneva for five years. It must be longer than that now though.

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    2. At least she's still keeping in touch with someone.

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  7. Andrew it is a type of trip which I would like to experience but in Poland campers are not very popular. I think too small country. Luckily I can travel eith you. THX.

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    1. Gosia, they seemed very popular in Germany and Austria when we were there. :)

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  8. As a child, I loved camper vans, campgrounds, Phillip Island cafes, swimming in the open ocean, juggling with clothes in the small cupboards, and seeing the local countryside. The main sport for children was go cart racing.

    Hels and Joseph

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    1. Hels, I loved Phillip Island when I was young and I still do.

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  9. Anonymous5:30 pm

    You make me laugh! A beaker! I too drink wine from a beaker, but a much larger one than yours in the picture :)
    Rob in Sydney

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    1. Rob, I probably fill mine twice as often as you with your large one :)

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  10. I would be very nervous driving something so big and long the first time. I think you did really well, sounds like. Seal rock is grand looking, rugged, beautiful.

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    1. Strayer, once I was used to the van, it was ok. It is taking me longer to adjust back to the car than it did to the van.

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  11. Seeing the picture of COWES, Reminds me of the Brit joke. "what is brown and steamy and comes out of Cowes backwards"/ Answer is "The Isle of Wight Ferry."

    Great Pics.

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    1. Vest, boom boom. At our Cowes was the Isle of Wright hotel, now sadly demolished.

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  12. That van looks quite luxurious. I'd like to tour Europe in one!

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    1. Fen, such a van is very cozy. They are big in Germany and Austria. Just expect The Boi to say to you at times, hon, move your fat arse.

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    2. oh, he says that anyways!

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