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Tales of the travels, trials and triumphs as we explore Australia in a converted bus

Motorhome Travels - Feburary 2009


We are at last mobile again. The gearbox has been refitted (a major drama to get the #@^$%# thing back in place), the joey-box has been fitted and tested, the tail-shafts have been cut and balanced, the skids have been welded in place. We have a completely new clutch, a re-ground flywheel and a fully reconditioned brake booster. A new wheel cylinder was needed and we also replaced the seal on one of the rear hubs. It has been a lot of hard work but we are sure that it will all be worth the effort.

Adrian on the crane - [Click for a Larger Image]
Adrian on the crane

First gear low-ratio is now so low, you can hardly tell that we are moving at 1500 rpm. We now need to be very careful not to break anything with all that torque at the back wheels.

The brakes are now as good as they have ever been (which is far from fantastic - but at least she stops now) and the shaft brake has been fitted but still needs some wiring.


The day after we finished all the work on the bus, I was jacking up another Bedford bus to get a part off, when the bus slipped off the jack and dropped the bus onto my waiting right index finger! Ouch! (actually I said something a little stronger than ouch at the time). I had a look at the finger and I did not think it was too bad. Tracey was working at the local hospital so I decided to take myself off down there so she could have a look at it and clean it up. Four hours later we were still sitting in the emergency department waiting on an x-ray. It turned out that 10 tons of bus on one's finger can do quite a bit of damage ... broke the tip off the bone and made a bit of a mess of the nail and surrounding tissue. This resulted in my first ever trip to surgery. Lesson learned - don't get between a bus and gravity! (the up side is that I can't do the dishes for at least 3 months :-)


Yesterday was an amazing day in Melbourne - the hottest day on record ever! Along with 45 degrees plus we had the most violent winds - this was a recipe for disaster, a fire departments worst nightmare. There were hundreds of fires throughout the state and fires claimed the lives of over 30 people. We had the bus ready to go in case a fire got close to us.

  As predicted by the weather service the hot dry conditions changed at 5pm and lightening and heavy rain allowed us to try out our water collection system for the first time (it worked extremely well).





The horror of the Victorian fires is of course now well known - over 180 people killed. We almost found ourselves in the middle of one of those fires. We had planned to take the bus up into the hills to test the gearbox etc. Fortunately, the crushing of the finger delayed that plan and potentially saved our lives!

We left Langwarrin and decided that we should perhaps not venture too far - some of the fires are still burning and we also wanted to do some testing on the gearbox and joeybox before getting too far from the workshop. We spent a few nights at a sea-side camp on the Mornington Peninsular, this gave us a chance to catch up with some work and have a good play with the new ANT satellite internet system.

The waterfront at Geelong - [Click for a Larger Image]
The waterfront at Geelong

It took us quite a bit of time to get the system working - there are a few odd idiosyncrasies, some strange TCP/IP behaviour, but once the system is setup, it works very well. Of course, after setting it up a few times now - it is quite straight forward. I will have written a full review for the news site - that can be found here.

The finger - [Click for a Larger Image]
The finger

The finger is healing fine - lots of tender loving care from Tracey has put it well on the road to being a finger again. For those who did not want to see it, I'm sorry - I have had quite a few people asking about it - so this is a photo of how it looked after sitting in the emergency room at Frankston for over four hours!

We are currently parked up in Geelong, there is still some smoke about from the fires but the temperature has been very pleasant. We will be here for a few more days before heading west.

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