Buying the van.
Then the car.
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).
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.