Well after almost six years of planning, we can finally say that we are ‘on the road’! However it didn’t happen in quite the way we had expected it to. And we may have spent a little more (okay a lot more) than we anticipated. Here’s how our first month on the road panned out.
We had planned on setting off from the Gold Coast on the 16th September. We were both finishing work on the 9th September. Our plan was to spend the last week with our kids and doing some final preparations.
Sadly my Mum passed away in the early hours of 9th September. It wasn’t unexpected as she had advanced Alzheimers (and was almost 93) Mum loved travelling and together with my Dad, they did quite a few trips in their later years. They definitely weren’t caravanners or campers though!
We weren’t sure what to do so I ended up flying down to Cowra, leaving Brenden on the Gold Coast to finish prepping the van. He travelled down solo and after Mum’s funeral we spent some time with family in Cowra.
We also used this time to sort the van out properly. We culled a bit more stuff and this went into our storage container.
For well over six weeks before we were due to leave the Gold Coast I had to keep a big secret. We had been invited to my best friends Surprise 30th Wedding Anniversary Party. I was one of her bridesmaids so there was no way I was going to miss it.
The party was to be held in the small Southern Highlands town of Robertson. As I spent most of my teenage years living in Bowral, I was looking forward to having a look around before we headed to the party. We had a fabulous weekend and the surprise party was a huge success. My friend definitely was not expecting to see me there so needless to say there were tears from both of us.
After our weekend in the Southern Highlands it was time to head to the small NSW town of Cootamundra. We spent 10 days at the Cootamundra Caravan Park learning the ropes of Park Management so as we can work as Relief Caravan Park Managers as we travel around.
It was a great experience and we learnt a lot about what goes into the running of a park. We could certainly see at the end of our stay why this little park is so popular. It really is a credit to the owners John and Bruna.
A LONG WEEKEND IN GOULBURN, NSW
When we realised that we would be able to attend the 2019 Cobra Nationals in Goulburn on the long weekend we jumped at the chance. Brenden’s uncle has owned and raced a Cobra for a few years now but we had never had the chance to see him in action.
It was an awesome weekend despite the freezing cold on Saturday. A typical Goulburn day really. We were able to spend some time with family and even splurged and went out to dinner a couple of times.
I also took the time to look around the local area. As I grew up nearby, it was great to see what had and hadn’t changed.
Our major drama for our first month has been the batteries in the van. When we weren’t plugged into power, they were only keeping the lights and fridge in the van running for about an hour after the sun went down.
Lots of investigation by Brenden and his uncle (an auto-elec) and they came to the conclusion that the batteries were ‘stuffed’ for want of a better word. A phone call to the supplier of the batteries, who was very helpful, led us to the conclusion that these were not the right sort of batteries for the lengthy stints of free camping planned. They were deep cycle batteries, but only standard wet cell configuration, not even AGM. Due to dirty solar panels while the van was in storage, the batteries had been discharged to low, and cycled way below normal voltage. This effectively destroyed the batteries.
So we made the decision to install Lithium batteries. A bit more research and some more phone calls saw us order two 12 V 100 AMP hour Sentry batteries from BMPRO. This is an expense that we could have done without. But what it will save us in the long run – in the ability to be able to free camp – will be worth it. Stay tuned as we will give a full run down on them once we have them installed.
OUR SPEND AND K’S TRAVELLED
I’m going to try and keep track of what we spend each month. More for my own information but also if it helps others in their planning. So I can definitely say we blew our budget out of the water in our first month. This is roughly what we spent. Keep in mind that we did eat with family a few times but we also ate out a few times as well.
- Groceries – $510.12
- Laundry – $21.00
- Batteries – $2713.71
- Fuel – $375.94
- RACQ Roadside Assistance (Upgrade) – $262.70
- Caravan Park – $605.90
- Alcohol – $242.90
- Eating Out – $272.30
- Clothing/Shoes – $235.00
- Gifts – $175.09
- Phones – $68.40
- Health Insurance $252.85
All that totalled up to a whopping $6742.30! Ouch! Although if we take the batteries off it comes in at just on $4000 which is about double what we thought we might spend, but then again we didn’t had a very different start to our travels than what we thought we would.
Excluding the trip from the Gold Coast we have travelled 1360 kilometres.
Lets see how we go next month!