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Motorhome Travels - December 2008

07/12/2008

Almost finished the new paint job. - [Click for a Larger Image]
[Photo Information]
Almost finished the new paint job.

We really did not expect it to take this long to get the bus painted, Tracey seems to have been covered in blue and white paint for about a month now. Happily we are almost finished, with just one more coat of the dark blue to apply (today) then all the fittings to re-attach. We are very happy with the results and think that the new paint job was just what the old girl needed. It only remains to be seen how well the paint will stand up to the abuse that we dish out as we explore the less travelled tracks. Despite all the best preparations and undercoats we have tried, paint never seems to stick particularly well to the metal surface of the bus. I guess it is a tad late to ask for advice now - but if anyone happens to know why this is, we would be grateful for any information.

The temperature here at Mt Perry has been slowly climbing from tolerable to unpleasant (and very occasionally slipping into unbearable) - this has lead us to re-think the "North-to-go-west" plan. We are considering going south and towards the west coast via the Nullarbor. This would put us in a good position to explore South Australia a little more, enjoy the Nullarbor Plains and end up in the south west while the weather is still quite warm. The down-side is of course that from here, that plan represents the long way round.

Enough of long term plans - we know we are not good at those. Short term, we plan to leave here next week and spend a few days with Rob and Chris of Wothahellizat(II).

 

16/12/2008

After bidding farewell to Mt Perry we drove the bus and Moke east towards Gin Gin to spend a few days with friends Chris and Rob.

The old and the new - near Gin Gin - [Click for a Larger Image]
The old and the new - near Gin Gin

On the way into the block I managed to put a tiny scratch on the new paint job (the paint is still very soft). Hopefully that will just polish out. Mark and Gail (custodians of Hobohome before us) arrived a couple of days later in their GMC motorhome. Together we spent a pleasant few days talking about motorhomes and motorhoming, great camping places and must-see Australian sites.

Wothahellizat(II) - [Click for a Larger Image]
Wothahellizat(II)

From here we are heading down the coast to Brisbane to get a few things done before once again pointing the nose of the bus at Victoria. As we have decided to go back to the west coast, we have started to think about dealing with sand (and in particular the buses ability to rapidly become stuck in it). The conclusion so far is that we generally lack two important things when dealing with sand... traction and power.

 

The power issue is not a difficult one to tackle. Simply fitting a two speed reduction box to the drive train would give us all the low-down power we should ever need. Adrian (the Bedford man) has some of these and we are considering purchasing and fitting one (one of the reasons for heading west via Victoria). 

 

The traction issue is more difficult to deal with. The ideal solution would be to install a diff-lock (if such a device were available) that when activated would lock both sets of the back wheels together and prevent one side from slipping. After a couple of phone calls I am fairly convinced that this would be a very tricky and expensive exercise. At this stage we feel that the only alternative (that is practical) is to equip ourselves with better recovery gear. We have been looking at Robs traction mats - these are long mats made from rubber that can be placed under slipping tires to provide traction in sand and mud. These are made (or perhaps marketed) by a company called Bushranger. The normal 4wd version is of course a bit small for the bus so we would like to find some larger ones that could accommodate both of the duel wheels on a single mat ... still looking.

 

We would also like to be able to jack the bus without having to venture underneath it. Rob has come up with a possible solution that involves building a device that once attached to the wheel using the wheel nuts, would allow us to jack the bus from the outside of the wheel. We are going to purchase some steel and have a go at making such a device.

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