Friday, August 2, 2019

On our way

After a hectic five weeks of set up, we are finally ready to get started and make a lot more mistakes. It's been a bit busy...

Buying the van.
A Newlands Tourista 610. We didn't plan on buying new, but it was too good a deal: end of financial year discount, set up for free camping and lots of extras thrown in. We spent more than we budgeted for, but that means we get more back when we sell it, right?

Then the car.
2006 100 series LandCruiser. A bit less than we budgeted for, but that allowed us to get some new, good (expensive) tyres and some minor repairs done. It's petrol so it will cost us a bit more on the trip, but repairs will be cheaper and we already saved on the purchase. right?

Next, insurance. RACQ membership, a small scare when we thought our van wasn't registered, and car servicing. Then there was the endless shopping for stuff, camping (we can't take the van everywhere we want to go), BBQ (most cooking will be done outside), extra fridge/freezer, bikes for the kids, washing machine, chairs, tables, camp stove, storage containers, tools, filters, gas bottles, sleeping bags and so much more. It seemed like we went shopping every other day.

We did a towing/reversing course.
Well worth the time and effort, even if we still don't don't know what we are doing.

Did a test run to the Sunshine Coast and K'gari (Fraser island).

 Where we also got to test our camping set up.
And our sand driving and general 4WD skills.

We learnt so much in that week, toilet capacity (and how to empty it), which gas fittings we need to connect the BBQ to the van, the right way to set up and set down the awning (some friendly grey nomads helped us when I thought there was a clip to hold up the awing to the van, when no such thing ever existed), not to leave the hot water cover on when you leave the van for a couple of days (those things get knocked off), it is probably best to sit quietly and listen even if you don't agree with what people are saying at a communal fire pit, the best way to make toast on a BBQ, a second car battery needs a working solenoid to charge from your first battery (so your extra fridge can work), sometimes the kids need some food and down time, we practised towing on the open road, filling the car with van attached just to name a few things.

It was a great week, where we caught up with friends and got a taste of what was ahead.

We got back with a list of things to do, bike modifications, minor car repairs, more shopping, we got our van and car weighed and found out we were over our allowed weights, a bit of panic set in, (how could we lose 100kg of stuff)!

A call to a caravan engineer who verified our van ATM could be increased, got us an upgrade with new compliance plates (we waited around two extra days for this to happen) so now we have plenty of extra wiggle room, most importantly we are safe and legal.

We also learnt that you should always triple check the van when towing, we left a stabiliser down and made a nice furrow in our sister (in-law's) yard, while also managing to bend the pins so it couldn't be lifted up, I had to quickly unbolt it. It needed to be repaired (hopefully we won't make that mistake again). Of course this happened when I was running late to get the GVM check done.

We have shopped, argued over buying cheap stuff vs where can we put it in the caravan, shopped, adjusted Arlo's bike so it now has a quick release wheel (allowing us to transport the bikes in the car) visited more shops to get floor matting and extra tools. We have planned our first two weeks or so, then changed plans because of having to wait around to get things done or to work in with the plans of friends. Our only certainty is that our plans will change.

We are now ready to head south and start our big adventure, we are hanging near to the coast because we are sure there will be plenty of things we still need (stone guard), things we need to get done and so many things we haven't even thought of yet. Our house on wheels is ready to roll and so are we.

I for one can't wait.


  1. Amazing Derrys! A lot of preparations and trials and errors, but that’s just how we learn new things right? Looking forward to more updates. Safe travels! ❤️

  2. You’re calm and cautious, tried and true, resourceful and ready!! Great idea to have the trial run... just remember .. you’re doing what we all dream to do !! Go forth and be safe and learn lots .. that’s why they call it a journey !! Can’t wait for more!!! Donita xxxxxx

  3. Way to go family....cant wait to read about your trials and tribulations and adventures. Have an amazing adventure. I would love some inside pics of the van pretty please. Happy travels :)

  4. Looks awesome guys. Have a safe trip!

  5. Hoping for a Google Map so we can follow your progress. Safe travels!

  6. This is amazing already - I admire your dedication! Beautiful photos to capture your journey, Geoff; can’t wait to see what else this year-long journey brings you and your family!

  7. You’re going to read through this in a year and laugh as you become experts in all this, flawlessly setting up, taking down etc. Say a big good luck to the kids for us!!!

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  9. This is such a big adventure and it takes a lot of courage to do such a thing. Enjoy it all and know that you are having a great adventure as a family. Can't wait to read more about the Derrygoround...

  10. A brave adventure! We miss you all like crazy but so happy see you all living your dream! Excited for the many amazing experiences that await you ❤️ and grateful we get to read about it along the way!

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