We dare not tell the unabridged tales of an Avan, a Pajero, a cat, a dog and two ‘ladies’ (too mature to be ‘girls’ maybe!!)
27.4.18 - 9.6.18 12 °C
This is a two cuppa and a piece of cake length epistle, be warned..
The dream was always there...
They say there’s a ‘seven year itch’... not absolutely sure how scientific or relevant that statement is for Jen & I but we have had a sort of ‘six year itch’ but the dream has lasted much longer. The wonder of life ‘on the open road’ as Toad of Toad Hall gleefully suggests, has permeated our lives ever since our first camping trip south together in 1985 and the numerous rough camping holidays we had with my Dad and countless friends to Fraser Island as well as our adventures overseas.
A Superb Design... but!!
About six years ago though, we got serious.. motor home, camper trailer, campavan, tent, nothing and stay in the comfort of motels?? A very tricky decision! We thought we’d ‘hit the jackpot’ with the discovery of the Gidget Teardrop Retro Camper Van: made in Brisbane by a fledgling company who had thought it all through... except how to run a business. After about a two year wait, we decided to ‘pull the plug’ and ask for our deposit back. This took about 6 months but we were one of the fortunate ones. While we were in Africa this year we had word that the company had gone into receivership, many lost all their money and the Director was up on fraud charges.. sad because they were clever, creative, innovative people but with no head for business.
This experience burnt us a bit so we decided to go simple and bought a ‘30 second tent’ with all the do-dads to go with it: A Waeco fridge, porta-loo, outdoor shower, self-inflating mattress, camping equipment that fitted perfectly into our little ASX and away we went. Could I just make it clear here that the ‘30 second’ aspect of the tent was, for us, struggling to get it off the top of the car and then it was a mere 30 minutes before we could put the kettle on and sit down!! This joyous experience took us around Queensland twice and away for short breaks a couple of times too.
Our minds were always ticking over about our best options.. we have to consider our age (not to put too fine a point on it but I now receive the Aged Pension), our gender (not putting too much importance on that except when it comes to chopping wood, backing a caravan, breakdowns or replacing a tyre) and our interests (we just want to get out of the ‘big smoke’ as often and as easily as possible and ‘hit the road’)!
THIS IS IT!!
SO, after much deliberation, we ordered an A’van in October last year, delayed delivery until after our trip to Africa and now own a brand, spanking new little beauty!! Did I say we also had to upgrade our car to a Pajero to be able to tow the thing!! Meet ‘Audrey the A’Van and ‘Pearl the Pajero’!! The pictures should tell the story. It is just about perfect for what we want: hot and cold running water, custom-made outdoor shower, solar panel, a/c when plugged into power, two inner-spring mattresses, heaps of storage, almost room for a pony (but we decided just to bring the cat and the dog!!)
... Like a sore thumb!!
Having a brand new van parked up on Network Drive has caused quite a fuss in our street. Most of our neighbours have had the grand tour and Chris and Jo across the road went out of their way to try to help us get Audrey down our drive. This, however, proved impossible. Our gutter is too steep and the hump is too high for her to get down. Some adjustments will solve the problem (we hope!) Our next door neighbour, Paul (bless his cotton socks) was next to try to position the van and miraculously got Audrey all the way down our drive. This was very stressful for both Jen & I because we kept envisaging the van sitting comfortably in our Studio. We waited until no one was home in our little caring community before we attempted to drive her out of the driveway. Well, what a hideous task.. we eventually made it with only a small scratch on the car, some minor divots in the grass and having only aged a couple of years. NEVER again will Audrey experience the joy of sheltering in our driveway! We have had numerous offers of a safe haven for her. The most handy and generous was our new neighbour on the other side to Paul of ‘bless his cotton socks’ variety. Lynda has only lived beside us for a few months but we have already become firm friends and, now Audrey is parked in her backyard whenever we are not ‘on the road’! This is not without it’s dramas as Lynda’s gate is about 4 centimetres wider than our van hence Paul is still called on to back Audrey in.. told you it was a “two cuppa and a piece of cake” epistle!!
Our ‘Maiden Voyage’ took us via Teddy’s place at Corinda. We wanted to surprise him on the day of his 5th birthday (he’d already had his LEGO Party!) He pressed every button he could find and approved of the design so we set off down the highway with great confidence... to Darlington on the Albert River. Ah! The serenity! We found a grassy spot right on the river and set up in no time. The babbling brook, the ducks, the birds, the cows, the flies!
We’ve got to say we were ‘scraping the bottom of the barrel’ to find much that wasn’t perfect with the A’van. The business has been going for over 40 years so you wouldn’t believe the details that they have attended to. Most of the issues we encountered on our first run were because of our inexperience.
Our second adventure took us north to Neurum Creek just outside of Woodford. All was fine and dandy until we stopped in Woodford on our way home and couldn’t start the car again. We had drained the battery somehow.. still unclear how we did it but we were saved by a very kind man also called Paul who stepped up to the challenge and got us on our way again.. God bless all the Paul’s in the world!!
We seem to end up beside water wherever we take Audrey for a spin... here we are on our third voyage.. this time to the coldest place in Queensland, Stanthorpe. We are set up beside the drought-affected Severn River and have the company of a plethora of birds and not another camper in sight!! Now, you’d think we would have everything sorted by now but we have to confess a couple of embarrassing issues. 1. We couldn’t unhitch the van from the car (Russell was the man for the job with that little matter!) 2. Miraculously, we have managed to break off the handle on our jockey wheel (our trusty shifting spanned has saved the day with that matter!) Camping with Audrey has it’s dramas!!
PLEASE NOTE: There are no embarrassing photos of these calamities.. we were far too busy panicking!!
But are we “Travelling Light”??
There are two meanings to the Title of our Blog Page.. the first is all about the weight! Well, we have totally failed on that count with Audrey. But, compared to most vans, she is of the smaller variety with no room for anything like a pony but our two disgusted, anxious pets have just enough room to move! It’s amazing what you can fit in all the books and crannies!!
The second meaning has always been about something far deeper and we can both attest to the inexplicable lift that we felt as we gazed at the beauty all around us and our souls drank it in, refreshing us as we travel this life in the Light of God’s loving presence.