The urban dictionary’s definition of “shakedown” reads… Another word for extortion/blackmail, or the obtaining of a good or service through means of force, threats/intimidation, or abuse of power.
Wikipedia has a definition reading… Shakedown (testing) a period of testing undergone by a ship, airplane or other craft before being declared operational.
We recently took our caravan away for a 6 day shakedown and I’m pleased to inform you that it went well and the only people intimidated were ourselves. We went to Mudjimba beach on the Sunshine Coast as we would only be an hour or so away from home in the event we forgot something crucial.
We made it out of the driveway without incident. Tick that. We made it to our destination without incident and are very pleased with the way she tows. Tick that. We backed the caravan into the tight campsite at the caravan park on the second go. Not bad considering the amount of eyes watching and making us nervous. We had purchased a set of hand-held radios so we can communicate with each other, which made things easier. Tick that. We took our dog with us and she settled right in and was very well behaved. Tick that.
So far so good. We discovered we require a longer waste water outlet hose and a longer power lead and we need to change the water inlet valve as we had very little water flow/pressure when connected to the parks water tap. We also learnt not to park under trees because of sap and leaf litter falling on the van and awning and also because the satellite receiver could not pick up the satellite. The solar panels still managed to charge the batteries but obviously would do a better job if not partially shaded. We also learnt not to leave the rubbish bin outside of the van overnight because the bush turkeys can get into them. What a mess!
All and all it was quite a successful shakedown. We’ll take the van out again on a couple of small runs before we go for a longer trip. We are planning to travel around Queensland for our first big trip. Brisbane to Roma to Charleville to Birdsville to Longreach to Cloncurry to Burketown to Karumba to Cairns and back to Brisbane down the eastern coastline.
I really loved staying at Mudjimba. It’s a small seaside community with everything you need within a short walking distance from the caravan park. As you can see by the pictures, crowds are not a problem. Please click on the gallery to enlarge photographs.
I picked my camera (Canon 700D) up today. That was the longest wait. These pictures have been taken with my phone camera (GalaxyS7) while I’ve been hanging out for the return of “my precious”. I’ve quite enjoyed playing around with the filters I must admit.
We spent a lot of time picking out a caravan that would best suit our current and foreseeable future needs. Once we found the right Make (Jayco) Layout (east to west) and Size (24ft) we customised for our needs. We upgraded the chassis for off-road, added a second water tank, a grey water holding tank, an extra solar panel and a third battery for the solar storage system and pushbike racks.
We waited until the yearly Brisbane camping and caravan show before haggling with the salesman and putting a deposit down.
The caravan was made to order and we took delivery of it a few weeks ago. I’ve barely seen MM(My Man) since. I have no idea what he’s doing out there but he’s been wandering between the van and his work-shed with one tool or another in his hand as he makes adjustments to his new toy. Why do guys do that? Buy something new and then start fiddling with it.
I’ve packed the van so it’s ready at a moments notice and we can just throw the perishable items in, hook it up and go. It was quite a costly affair, setting up a second home. Food, cleaning items, kitchen items, linen, our personal care items and the dog Chi’s necessities.
Everyone has asked us the same question. “Where’s your first trip to?” We answer everyone the same way. We stare at each-other, raise our eyebrows and shrug our shoulders. We’ve got to this point but have not looked beyond. Of course we have a general idea of all the places we would love to spend some time in but that’s it.
We have tentatively planned a short (1 week) getaway in May to a little caravan park on the Sunshine Coast. It’s only an hour up the road from our place but will serve well as a training ground while we get to know the caravan. It is here where we will take some time out, crack open a cold one and plan the next few years holidays.
I feel like a kid in a candy store. There are just so many places I want to see, how the hell can I categorise them. The choices are so vast I find it hard to approach this logically.
The rock, now that has to be up there in the first top 5. The Great Ocean Road – although I’ve done it, I must do it again. Tasmania, Perth, Darwin, Cape Tribulation. I’ve travelled from the top to bottom and from the east to west coasts of NZ. I think I should do the same here in Australia.
And then reality slaps me in the face. “You need money fool!” As much as the van is set up for free camping, we still need food, fuel and other supplies. We will see. I’m sure we can trade along the way to keep costs down. MM is a mechanic. Who doesn’t need a mechanic on the road? I can pour beers, reconcile your book-work and do everything in between. I’ve cleaned toilets before and I’d do it again. That’s nothing gloves and 10 litres of bleach won’t sort out.
In the meantime, my front yard looks like a construction site. We hired a bob-cat over the weekend to level the front yard and prepare the ground to put in a second driveway to house the van on. It’s a monster and just fits in my boundary.
We were thinking of putting a roof over it but decided to buy a cover instead. The composite of the van is reasonably hail proof and the all-weather cover will protect it from the sun etc. We may change our minds later on but for now we have enough work on our plate.
Well, the last 12 months have been exhausting I must say.
We sold the business, moved, renovated, Dad died, Mum got cancer and one of my sisters who’s asthmatic, had a particularly bad attack ending her in hospital for a number of weeks after we nearly lost her. My son’s been in and out of hospital with non life-threatening injuries, my middle daughter took an injury to her shoulder at work and she’s still being treated. My oldest daughter got married. (Best apart of the year!) MM’s Dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease so we’ve organised home care for his parents and made safety adjustments around their house so they can live there longer.
We have weathered the storm of Mum’s illness. We’ve got her back (minus a boob) and we are looking forward to getting some sort of normality back. Chemo finished. Radiation finished.
For those who have travelled this path, you will know, the ongoing medical appointments day after day and mindless staring at blank hospital walls, becomes the norm. Back on back appointments see us scurrying from one end of the hospital to the other.
We have a rip-snorter start to this year. We picked up the caravan a few days ago. I’ll give you the low-down in another post. Getting time to use it is now the challenge.
I was under the impression that mid-life would mean time to do some of those things you dreamt about doing when you were growing up and raising kids but you didn’t have the time nor the money to do. I find mid-life is exactly that. Caught in the middle. You’re still supporting your kids in one way or another. You have grand-kids, so you’re back doing the school run. Your parents are ageing and need your help and attention. And, you still need to work. Taking time out to paint my nails these days is a luxury.
Racing up the stairs, cradling it in my arms. Bursting through the doors calling, “Please help me! I’ve dropped it!” With a worried expression on my face the words blurt out. “I think I’ve killed it!”
My camera repair man looks at me and without a twitch on his face, moves his hand down under the counter and pulls out his notebook. “What’s your name? What’s it doing? What’s your contact details? I’ll email you when I’ve worked out the problem.”
My error. Rushing is not the way to set up.
Click on gallery below to enlarge and enjoy.
Thank goodness for my phone camera or withdrawals I surely would be suffering.
It’s been 2 days…. waiting…. waiting…. The lens I was using is fine. He tried it on one of his cameras at the store. The camera however… nada…. When you turn it on… no light, no camera, no action.
The North Pine Dam, also known as Lake Samsonvale, was completed in 1976. Located north-west of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, you will find this concrete gravity dam with earthfill embankments on abutments.
This dam is a gated dam, allowing the local authority to make controlled water releases during times of heavy rain. Her full capacity is 214302ML. (Ref)
The concrete dam structure is 45 metres (148 ft) high and 1,375 metres (4,511 ft) long and has a discharge capacity of 3,700 cubic metres per second.
Built on a solid rock foundation made watertight by injecting cement grout at a high pressure into boreholes in the rock, the North Pine Dam’s primary function is to provide a safe drinking water supply to the people of north Brisbane and Moreton Bay.
In addition to the main dam, there are three earth-filled embankments built across low ridges to the south-west of the dam .These are known as ‘saddle dams’ (Ref)
Prior to the initial flooding of the valley, many of the surrounding grazing and dairy farms were compulsorily acquired, and the only evidence of these farms is now the names of roads leading to the lake’s shoreline, such as Winn Road and Golds Scrub Lane. Golds Scrub Lane now leads only to the Samsonvale Cemetery Ref
Prior to European settlement, the Pine Rivers area was home to a number of Aboriginal clans belonging to the Turrbal, Kabi (Kabi Kabi or Gubbi Gubbi) and Waka (Wakka Wakka) language groups. These groups enjoyed a considerable amount of social interaction, especially at the time of the bunya feasts in the Blackall Range and the Bunya Mountains.
Archaeological evidence, as well as the oral traditions of Queensland Aboriginal people, indicate that these first inhabitants occupied the land for many tens of thousands of years. Ultimately, however, the local Aboriginal population rapidly declined in numbers due to the effects of introduced diseases, alcoholism and dispersal.
The urban expansion of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s (from a population of only 8,760 at the 1961 Census, climbing to 13,309 in 1966, 26,187 in 1971, 45,192 in 1976 and 62,575 in 1981) dramatically changed the economic character of the Shire; the rural economy diminished in relative importance as the region became a dormitory suburban area for a workforce employed predominantly in Brisbane. The population reached 140,000 during late 2004 and a total approaching 200,000 is expected by 2021. (Ref)