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Caravanning and RVing in Australia

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LIONEL'S LATEST
Here's where I pass on thoughts, tips, advice and generally rant away. Come back soon as it can change overnight. (Don't forget to reload the page or you may be looking at the cached version
Unlike the previous version, this page has the most recent item at the top and you can scroll down to read earlier posts. You can still browse the mass of information in the First Lionel's Latest or the Second Lionel's Latest

19.12.07
Remember Arthur and Pat turning 100? Here they are two years later and still going strong!

Mike Edmonds

December 13, 2007 12:00am

WITH almost 204 years between them, Arthur and Pat Pullin are world-beaters. Arthur turned 102 on Tuesday. Pat will celebrate her 102nd birthday on January 4.

That puts them very near, if not at, the top of the world's oldest surviving couples list.

In 2005, a Philadelphia couple in the US claimed the title with a combined 205 years, but the husband died shortly after being recognised by Guinness World Records.

Arthur and Pat were taking it easy at home in Korumburra yesterday after his birthday celebration.

They were making Christmas plans and plotting Pat's 102nd birthday bash, although dancing was out.

"We're going to Geelong for Christmas with two daughters we've got there, so we'll see all the kids and grandkids again then," Arthur said.

"We don't dance these days but Pat was my first girlfriend, I think, and back then there were dances everywhere -- bachelors' balls, spinsters' balls, and all the churches had their balls."

Arthur and Pat live in a flower-bedecked cottage built in 1928 -- a living piece of history with treasured knick-knacks, family photos and samples of Pat's early passion for painting.

After 71 years of marriage, they can almost read each other's mind.

Which is just as well, because Pat is the first to tell visitors she's deaf as a post.

Their strongest memories are of the good times with family and friends, the joyous occasions, and the years they spent on the road in a caravan.

Two world wars, the Great Depression and other tough times are overshadowed by the daily thrill they get just living life with each other.

Painting was one Pat's earliest hobbies.

"I'm sort of an artist," she confessed.

"I had a friend who lived on a farm and was a bit lonely and asked me to go with her and learn to paint. So I did, and finished up selling a lot of paintings."

When it came time to go, Pat was as forthright as ever. "It's been nice meeting you, but it's nice to see you go."

She reckons that after 102 years, she has the right to speak her mind. And who would disagree?


1.11.07
Mobile caravan servicing

I met a fellow at a caravan show quite a few years ago and he told me about his business in Darwin where he ran a mobile caravan repair and service operation. Long time readers of Caravan World may remember I gave him a mention in my 'On the Wallaby' column.

I heard from him again this week and was pleased to see he's now located on the Gold Coast and has four franchised mobile service outfits operating in Queensland and NSW. The business is expanding rapidly with more franchisees wanted. There's a link at the bottom of my 'links' page.

31.10.07
New ECTACO iTRAVL full text talking translators!

We are pleased to present the remarkable iTRAVL NTL series translators that are sure to become your indispensable travel companions and language tutors wherever you go. The newest iTRAVL pocket Talking 2-way Language Communicators and Electronic Dictionaries have recently been released for the following languages English, Albanian, Arabic, Chinese, Czech, Dutch, Farsi (Persian), French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Turkish, etc..
The new iTRAVL device understands exactly what you say and provides instant translation of words and phrases. By simply speaking into the iTRAVL, you can have your phrases translated and spoken aloud using a sophisticated combination of speech recognition modules, real human voice narration and speech synthesis.

Another truly unique advantage of the new device is that it includes a reliable and accurate full text translation system allowing you to translate text in both directions. Once translated, the text can then be spoken aloud in either language using the latest text-to-speech voice synthesis.

See all available iTRAVL NTL pocket travel speech translators here.



23.10.07
This looks a great idea for those places where open fires are not allowed - and you can cook on it!


LITTLE WOMBAT

The ‘Little Wombat’ is a barbeque / rotisserie and a campfire which doesn’t allow ash to fall to the ground. Constructed from high quality stainless steel, and double skinned with ceramic wool insulation which keeps the unit cool running and safe around children.






Here's something to brighten your day!



24.9.07
Sorry! Life has been hectic for the past month. Travelling home from Queensland, attanding the first ever National Muster and AGM of the Australian Caravan Club and getting organised once home last Friday.

Here's what I'm up to now we are back home - this is part of Seniors Week.

Planning a Caravan Trip Around Australia?

Lionel Mussell, Chairperson of the Australian Caravan Club shares his tips on how best to prepare for your round Australia trip.

Lionel has lived and travelled in Australia for more than forty years and during that time he has clocked up nearly two million kilometres. Much of this travelling has been done towing a caravan and he writes about caravanning in Australian and overseas publications including his monthly column 'On the Wallaby' in Australia's leading caravanning magazine Caravan World.

Now 2 Sessions on Thursday September 27 2007
11.00am to 12.30pm and 1.30 - 3.00pm

Bookings essential - phone 9561 6211

Wheelers Hill Library
860 Ferntree Gully Rd
Wheelers Hill
Location and map

Got Him!

The law finally caught up with me at Belongil Fields.

Here I am with two police officers about to slap the handcuffs on! Only jokin'. Grant (L) and Gary (R) were presenters on 'Safe Travel' at the ACC Muster.


19.8.07
What is difficult about the word 'Prohibited'? At Seaforth Camping Reserve in Queensland the sign clearly says 'Generators Strictly Prohibited' but just down from us tonight this fifth wheeler has a generator running in contravention of the rules. If everyone else took the same attitude the peaceful atmosphere of the area would be a thing of the past.


 

14.8.07
Bored? Test your reversing skills by clicking here

14.8.07
RVing for just $1 a week!
This little gem shows how caravanning used to be! Click
6.8.07
Reading the Touring Oz forum today i saw someone asking how to peg an annexe down when on a concrete pad.
Here's a story I wrote about that for Caravan World some time ago.

New Solution for Old Problem
Have you ever got nicely in position on a site with a lovely wide concrete slab only to find that your awning side-wall can’t be pegged down because the pegs can’t be driven into concrete?
Seasoned caravanner and retired surgical boot-maker, Lindsay Wilson, had this trouble - and then thought of a simple but very effective solution.
He bolted a length of aluminium tubing from one corner upright to the other and then made extensions at right angles that could be pegged outside the edge of the concrete. Now, with the upright firmly fixed, it was a simple matter to fasten the bottom of the walls to more pegs in the grassed area while the wall was held in place by the tube.
A further extending prop – a tent pole in fact - was added to the centre of the bottom tube up to a hole in the roller and the whole structure was anchored and very stable.
Lindsay applied a similar solution to the end walls but this time he sewed  pieces to the bottom of the wall that allowed a tube to slide through and then pegged the end of the tube just off the concrete pad.
When I called, the Wilsons had just celebrated their sixtieth wedding anniversary plus Evelyn’s eightieth birthday and it was obvious that a shared love of travel and caravanning was keeping them young at heart.



2.8.07
Legends retire!
I've just heard that caravanning legends Arthur and Pat Pullin have retired from caravanning  - both aged 101. What a record!

To see them last year celebrating their 100th birthdays with the RACV Caravan Club click here. To see the report in the Melbourne Herald click here.

To see a story about them on the 'Vintage Caravans website go to:
http://tinyurl.com/3bajyq
31.7.07
Today I bought two new deep-cycle 90ah batteries and that really dented the wallet!
While at the electricians I was shown this battery that had melted and caught fire in the front boot of a caravan (travel trailer) when the Anderson plug came loose, hit the road and shorted out the wires leading to the battery. The owner was lucky the damage was confined to the boot and nearby parts as he could have lost the whole van.
THERE WAS NO FUSE!



29.7.07
Here's a link to great story that appeared in the New York Times recently. I'm a member of one RV forum run by this great lady. Hunter Story
26.7.07
Internet Only Specials 125x125
You may have noticed!
Today I added a link to 'Camping World' for the benefit mainly of North American vistors to the site. Just click on the link to see the many bargains on offer.



25.7.07

Oh boy - more than a month and nothing posted here!

We are on holiday in northern Queensland and all sorts of things have been happening.
For a start we were three weeks camped in a beachside National Park with at least nine hours of sunshine every day. This meant that our solar panels pumped 4-5 amps into our batteries all that time giving a charge of around 36 ampere hours every day. Outgoing was only about 20 A/H so the batteries should have soon reached full. It didn't happen!

Tests here back in civilisation show both batteries have had it and they are only a few weeks past their 12 months warranty period. They were sealed deep-cycle batteries that should have lasted for many years. New batteries will arrive next week at a cost approaching $A600! Damn!

A miracle!
After three weeks up and down a very dusty, muddy in parts, unsealed road,  the car was filthy. I'd been given a new waterless car washing product to try but had put it in the boot and forgotten it. Here at Bowen the car was a disgrace so I tried out this so-called 'Miracle' dry washing system.

The amazing thing was that it worked brilliantly and in about 20 minutes the car was sparkling and not only clean but polished as well.



It's called Miracle Dry Wash and the details are at: www.miracledrywash.com.au

16/6/07
Here's something I pinched from the U.S.

Barge RV park lets campers go with the flow
Cruise at 5 mph on southern rivers

Barge RV park By RACHEL ZOLL
The Associated Press

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- It's excitement at 5 mph, an adventure that falls somewhere between rafting with Huck Finn and cruising on The Love Boat.

Vacationers seeking outdoor adventure from the comfort of a motor home are parking their rigs aboard specially equipped barges and floating along waterways deep in Dixie.

Billed by R.V. River Charters Inc. as the ''World's Only Cruising Campground,'' the barges carry their loads of recreational vehicles through parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee, navigating swamps and bayous as well as major rivers such as the Mississippi and the Tennessee.

''You see the world from a totally different perspective from the deck of a barge,'' says Eddie Conrad, president of R.V. River Charters. ''It's just the relaxation of moving along the waterways.''

Party barge

There's almost an acre of concrete on two linked barges that have space for 26 rigs. Each RV has an electrical hook-up and there are sewage holding tanks.

Boxes of sod where pets can romp and space for picnic tables add a park-like ambience.

Need a break from the great outdoors? Head to ''The Party Barge,'' which carries an enclosed clubhouse where passengers can get away from it all while getting away from it all. A television and VCR, barbecue pits and washers and dryers are among the amenities. Two cooks prepare meals here to give the travelers a break from their kitchens.

Don't worry about rough waters. Not even the mighty Mississippi can roil this convoy, Mr. Conrad says. A towboat that powers the barges pushes them up the river so slowly travelers barely feel a ripple.

''You just glided,'' says Sharon Andrews, 54, of Quincy, Wash., who took a 15-day trip last year with her husband, Ralph, 56. ''You very rarely ever felt the movement at all.''

The idea came from a group of RV owners who in 1988 asked Mr. Conrad, then a commercial barge and towing operator, to take them and their rigs round-trip from New Orleans to St. Louis. He agreed, loading portable toilets and more than 85 RVs on eight barges.

''It was weird,'' Mr. Conrad says.

But it worked.

''We made it up and made it down without a problem, so we decided to go into business,'' he says.

Mr. Conrad redesigned three former petroleum-carrying barges, adding concrete decks, generators for electricity and holding tanks for water and waste. He then scouted ports for loading docks flat enough for the RVs to navigate. Now, the RVs are loaded onto the barges in three cities: New Orleans and Mobile and Guntersville, Ala.

River Charters went into business Oct. 1, 1990, selling trips through RV clubs and travel agencies. The barges quickly became their own best advertisement. Drivers would stop on roadsides and bridges to watch the motor homes float by.

''The cars were coming by in streams to see us. People waved and hollered,'' Mrs. Andrews says. ''We were just fascinating to them.''

Mr. Conrad runs about 20 voyages during the spring and fall that last 7-15 days and cost between about $3,000 and $5,000 per couple, including most meals and off-barge attractions.

''We sell out quickly,'' says Greg Bruce, general manager for Creative World Travel Inc., a New Orleans-based agency for RV owners that charters the barges. ''Everybody's been to Mardi Gras. They've been to Branson (Missouri). What do they do next?''

Shore excursions

River Charters has been so successful that Mr. Conrad has branched out, now offering trips for travelers without RVs. He built ''hotels'' atop two barges to create a kind of cruise ship, including an exercise room, jogging track, game room and theater. The trips run up to 10 days.

The cruises are a mix of viewing river wildlife, tours of historic sites ashore and sampling the nightlife and local cuisine in Memphis, New Orleans and other cities. Transportation is arranged to sites such as the plantation homes in Mississippi and the Tabasco factory in Louisiana.

Other places where the floating campground stops include Baton Rouge and Avery Island in Louisiana, Chattanooga and Pigeon Forge in Tennessee, Decatur and Florence in Alabama and Vicksburg and Natchez in Mississippi.

On board there are craft swaps and scavenger hunts. Barge guides prepare meals of gumbo and red beans and rice.

''If you get bored it's your own fault,'' says Myrada Groth, 74, of Lake Wales, Fla., who has taken seven trips with her 77-year-old husband, John. ''Everything is taken care of for you. Once you're on the barge, you're free.''

''Rolling Down the River,'' a 15-day charter, is Mr. Conrad's longest. It's a 1,910-mile voyage that starts in Guntersville, Ala., and moves through the Tennessee, Ohio and Mississippi rivers, ending in New Orleans.

Jeff Beddow, spokesman for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association in Reston, Va., says he knows of no other companies offering such river charters, but he anticipates seeing more creative RV trips because interest in the vehicles is growing.

Last year, sales of RVs, motor homes and towable campers in the United States rose about 15 percent to 585,400, he says.

IF YOU GO

i-- Cruises: Barge cruises are scheduled in the spring and fall along the Mississippi, Tennessee, Ohio, Mobile, and Tombigbee rivers, and the Gulf Intracoastal and Tenn-Tom waterways. Also in the bayous and the Atchafalaya River Basin Swamp in Louisiana.

-- Cost: From about $3,000-$5,000 per couple, including most meals and trips to many attractions ashore. Trips can be custom-designed for RV clubs.

-- Docks: Recreational vehicles are loaded on the barges in New Orleans and Mobile and Guntersville, Ala.

-- Cities visited: New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Avery Island in Louisiana; Chattanooga, Memphis and Pigeon Forge (Dollywood) in Tennessee; Mobile, Guntersville, Decatur and Florence in Alabama; Vicksburg and Natchez in Mississippi.

-- Weather: Spring is rainy in the Southeast, and temperatures can range from the 50s and 60s to the high 70s. The fall is dry and cool, with temperatures reaching to the 70s during the day and dropping as low as the 40s at night.

-- Information: R.V. River Charters Inc., New Orleans: (504) 364-1608.

7.6.07

ABC (U.S) News "Buries" RV Industry

In an article titled "Embalmed in Your RV: Formaldehyde Poisons Vacationers", an ABC News (in the US)  reporter aptly describes how the toxic chemical used in cabinetry can cause respiratory distress - and even cancer.

JD Gallant, co-founder of RV Consumer Group, wrote about the harmful effects of formaldehyde in the 1980's. It is amazing to us that the RV industry is still using such a known carcinogen when building structures that, for whatever the reasons, thousands of consumers are using as temporary or permanent homes. This is yet another proof of how the RV industry has remained largely unregulated - and avoiding the standards set for manufactured homes.

Please read the article and share it with friends, family, and RV forums. Be sure to add your comments at the end of the article and, please, thank ABC and reporter Susan Donaldson James for such a well-written and informative article.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/Heal th/story?id=3240532&page=1

If you have experienced, or are currently experiencing, any problems with formaldehyde issues in your new RV, please let us know.

28.5.07
No posting for more than a month - how slack is that? Truth is we've been very busy getting ready for our winter trip plus a few health problems but now we are on the road again and no more excuses!

A couple of days back we spent time at the Western Plains Zoo at Dubbo in western NSW and it was well worth the visit. We've passed it many times in our travels but never seemed to have time to linger and have a look. You drive around in your car or hire a golf kart or bicycle and away you go.

Here's a taste of what we saw:

11.4.07

Here's something to shout about! Wheelchairs don't mean you can't enjoy travelling just like everyone else. Anthony Wade - himself a wheelchair user -has come up with a great idea to make access into caravans much easier. It's a chassis that can be lowered to allow easy access to the van for a wheel chair. I met Anthony at the Melbourne caravan show and what he's achieved is quite remarkable.

Have a look for yourself at: www.accessavan.com.au

9.4.07

Paul rang last night from Pimba SA - he's half way to The Alice on his push bike raising money for the Maryborough Hospital where he works as an Occupational Therapist. He reckons cycling 2,200km in two weeks is therapy!

Scroll down a bit for details

26.3.07

Caravanning with a capital K

By Zoe Skewes

Article from: Herald-Sun

TOM Harding has stayed at more than his fair share of Australia's 2700 caravan parks.

The 73-year-old estimates he's "hitched up the van" at least 100 times since his addiction to driving holidays began in the late 1970s.

In that period, he has noticed Australia has an uncanny number of quality caravanning destinations that begin with the letter K.

Katherine, Kununurra, Karratha, Kalgoorlie, Kalbarri and Karumba are all top spots on Harding's must-visit list.

"It's amazing how many spectacular spots there are beginning with K," Harding says. "They just keep jumping out from the map."

Harding's quirky observation has probably also caught the attention of many of Australia's 365,000 registered caravan owners.

At any one time there are at least 80,000 vans – representing at least 160,000 people – on Australian roads.

Since 1994, the number of caravans manufactured in Australia has trebled from 6000 to 18,500 a year, making caravanning one of the most popular holiday options for Australians.

Harding says while many people think of the Northern Territory or Western Australia when they plan a caravanning trip, there are plenty of destinations in Victoria that shouldn't be overlooked.

He suggests Warragul as a central location to explore the Strzelecki Ranges and the Tarago Reservoir.

"Most people just think of Warragul as a place you drive past on the highway, but when I stayed there I was blown away by all that happens there," he says.

Harding says other Victorian caravanning hot spots include Wye River and Port Campbell along the Great Ocean Road and Donald in the Wimmera.

But for those wanting to explore further afield, Harding says Queensland has plenty of gems, including the beachside town of 1770 and the Lawn Hill National Park.

Caravan Industry Victoria executive officer Peter Wright says 87 per cent of Australia's population has stayed in a caravan or in a caravan park.

"People assume the number of people going on caravanning holidays has gone ballistic since September 11, but in fact it's been growing progressively since about 1994," Wright says.

One of the benefits of caravanning, he says, is that there is a type of van to suit everybody. Families on a budget can buy a 5.5m single-axle pop-top caravan for about $25,000, while those looking for a top-of-the-range model can splurge up to $130,000.

A van with that price tag comes with all the bells and whistles, including ensuite, airconditioning, washing machine and dryer, two fridges, a self-sufficient power supply (solar, battery pack or generators) and undercarriage equipment so it can easily handle off-road driving.

Harding agrees the versatility of caravanning is its biggest drawcard.

"When I started it was with a tent. Then I moved to a camper, then a smaller caravan and then into a bigger caravan. It doesn't matter which type of vehicle you're travelling in, it's a way of holidaying where you can connect with the environment."

Harding says the key to making the most of the caravanning experience is to allow enough time to explore areas that may not have been on the initial itinerary.

"The Nullarbor Plain should be treated as a special trip, not a harsh experience," he says. "Plan to do it in three or four days instead of one or two and explore the side tracks because, at times, the road can be up to 12km inland from the Great Australian Bight."

Another outback gem Harding recommends is Western Australia's 80 Mile Beach.

Ken Johnston is another caravan enthusiast who advocates getting off the main road while on a caravanning holiday.

Johnston is a member of a Melbourne-based caravan club, and goes on a trip about once a month.

His club has about 35 vans and since Johnston joined the group seven years ago, he estimates he's stayed in most caravan parks within a 200km radius of Melbourne.

"I've been to quite a few of them more than once, but that doesn't matter," he says. "You have a bit of a scratch around and you always find something new."

THE FAMILY
IN 2002, Lisa and Michael Rowe decided to give their two young children the type of education they wouldn't find in the classroom.

They packed Alex, then 10, and Campbell, then 8, into their caravan and spent six months travelling around Australia.

The Rowes explored Central Australia, Darwin, the West Australian coastline, the Nullarbor Plain and Broken Hill.

"It gave the kids so much experience because everything was so hands-on and we met so many different people," Lisa says.

At Gemtree, about 70km north of Alice Springs, the Rowes spent four days mining for garnets. At Lancelin, about 100km north of Perth, they saw the massive inland sand dunes.

Lisa says they spent about four years planning the trip before finally taking the plunge.

She says the best advice she could offer families considering doing the same thing is to pack a good, large ice-cooler, don't take too many clothes and check for clean amenities at caravan parks.

She also suggests families buy a six-month national parks pass to save paying a daily fee, and to limit daily travel to between 600 and 700km a day.

 THE YOUNG COUPLE
UNTIL a few years ago, Mick Daly didn't think a caravan holiday was his cup of tea.

The 25-year-old truck driver's philosophy was that he spent enough working hours on the road and didn't want to do the same on his holidays.

But a quick break to the Northern Territory in 2005 was enough to change Mick's mind.

With his girlfriend Lauren, Mick drove 1200km from Central Australia to Darwin and around Kakadu in a campervan.

"Once we did that type of holiday ourselves we realised how good it was," Mick says.

"Everyone is on the same wavelength and everyone talks to each other.

"Even when you're going to the toilet block you keep an eye out for other Victorian numberplates and even that's enough to start up a conversation with someone."

Mick and Lauren enjoyed another driving holiday late last year – a 7500km, 42-day trip around New Zealand for their honeymoon.

The Dalys are now planning a two-year working holiday in Australia.

 THE NOMADS
TERESA and Richard Glenn's first caravanning experience was in 2002, once they had both retired.

Since then, they have upgraded their van three times and gone on more than 10 trips, including two four-month trips.

More than 55 per cent of all new caravans are bought by people aged 55 and over and Teresa says they don't mind being referred to as "grey nomads".

"We just love it," she says from a short caravanning break in Ballarat.

"We just pile the caravan up and head off. We don't have to live out of a suitcase and we get to sleep in our own bed every night."

Teresa says they plan one big trip every few years and go on many shorter two or three-week trips.

In 2003, they made it to Karumba on the Gulf of Carpentaria and last year explored Darwin and Kakadu.

Next year they plan to cruise across the Nullarbor to Western Australia and then head north to Broome.

"We really like getting out into the Outback," Teresa says.

"We prefer that to sticking purely to the caravan parks on the eastern seaboard."

18.3.07
The great LPG Regulator Mystery - continued
Thought you might be interested in the replies I've had to my enquiries about the ongoing saga of RV LPG regulator failures

Ben Yates, Caravan, RV & Accommodation Industry of Australia (CRVA) - No Reply
Colin Young, Recreational Vehicle Manufacturers Association of Australia - No reply
Stephen Reynolds, Liquid Petroleum Gas Australia (LPG Australia) - No Reply
The Hon Ian Macfarlane MP Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources - No Reply

Draw your own conclusions!

16.3.07
Paul is spending his vacation riding more than 100km a day for charity!

A fantastically fit friend of ours is riding his push bike 2,200km from Maryborough, Vic to Alice Springs to raise money for the central Victorian hospital where he works as an Occupational Therapist.

Here's what the local paper says about the ride:


Donations to support Paul's gruelling fundraising effort can be sent to the Maryborough Hospital.
PO Box 155 Maryborough 3465

12.3.07
Great facilities at North American Truck Stops - New Book lists them
In the old days, highway travel centers were called truck stops. But after a few economic downturns, truck stop owners saw their revenues plummet. Time to attract new customers. And it was obvious who those customers might be: One look out their front windows revealed a steady stream of RVers parading by. So the truck stops began adding services for RVers and they changed their names from Truck Stops to Travel Centers or Travel Plazas. One of the first things many did was welcome RVers to stay the night for free. Some designated a separate parking area — a "quiet zone" away from the big rigs. A few even provided hookups. As the stream of RVs increased, some travel centers added dump stations. RVers began stopping for fuel or even to spend the night. Many shopped at the travel store or dined in the restaurant. The 2007 RVer's Friend (13th Annual Edition) lists every Travel Center in the U.S. and Canada about 6,600 all together — and what services each provides to RVers. With this handy guide, traveling RVers can determine if a travel center welcomes them for an overnight stay, if it has a dump station, if it sells propane, and if it provides Internet access or utility hookups. And, also very important, the book lists which RV mechanical services are provided. Published 2007

5.3.07
Here's some info I received in my mailbox:


About Outback Now

Outback launches online push for tourists!

In order to get more bodies to the bush and make those living in Capital cities more aware of the Outback's unique culture and heritage, the Internet is proving to be a useful marketing tool.

A private business specialising in tourism marketing launched the Australian Outback Tourism Directory (www.outbacknow.com.au) in July 2006 and the site is rapidly becoming one of the most visited travel sites encompassing outback tourism.

The site features, amongst other things, outback events, tours, attractions, accommodation, maps, weather, travel itineraries, and travel ideas. Incorporating a fresh new look, the site features up-to-date, in depth content on all things outback, plus rich photographic imagery of the Australian bush.

Reinforcing the Outback’s unique appeal, the new site engages and caters for all audiences - from top-level research to detailed technical information, tourists can plan their ideal trip and email enquiries direct to OutbackNow Members. The new site also features all the latest events, and our monthly E-Newsletter is currently sent to over 5000 tourists, media, travel writers, local councils and visitor information centres.

We’ve put a lot of work into the new site and this will continue. Our aim was to provide an evolving, fresh and dynamic resource for all things Outback and we believe we’ve ticked all the boxes. With more than 80 per cent of travellers researching their holidays, we need to make sure our contact with them is engaging, informative and, most importantly, fun.


25.2.07
Here's an interesting item from the USA - good way to get an as new RV very cheaply!

Government selling thousands of RVs at "giveaway" prices
What Hurricane Katrina did for the RV industry, FEMA may now undo. It's a good-news, bad-news scenario, and folks shopping for travel trailers may come out on the winning side. In the little burg of Hope,Arkansas, there's a most unusual RV park: It's the FEMA "parking lot" for 12,000 travel trailers destined for hurricane survivors. Some of the trailers helped folks; others never got beyond this 450-acre lot. Now FEMA needs to let them go -- but that's just the tip of the iceberg: Nationwide there are nearly 46,000 trailers in FEMA's inventory, most of which will eventually be sold at auction. For how much? Figure about a 25 cents on the dollar for what FEMA hastily paid for them
. Read more.
19.2.07
Here's a great new service:



http://www.softscreens.com.au/
2.2.07
  Gazal banned from managing corporations for the maximum of five years
.


1.2.07
The Great LPG Regulator Mystery - continued
The National Caravan Council in the UK have released a statement about the problem It's in pdf format and here's the link: National Caravan Council
30.1.07
The Great LPG Regulator Mystery - continued
Still no official replies but an interesting email came from South Australia where, after having the LPG in his new cylinder tested after a regulator and change-over tap blocked, it was found that the gas contained far more residue than allowed. This was his second regulator failure but the results of testing the first cylinder contents is not available as it was filled in another State.

Then another interesting email from the UK told me that the caravanner had cleaned out his regulator and then re-positioned it higher. This leads me to wonder if it's possible to clean out the failed regulators and put them back into service?

We - my two daughters and I - have identical barbeques that screw directly on to the gas cylinder with no regulator needed. All three of us have had the tiny jet in the upright tube block and we have replaced the jets. My LPG mechanic has told me the residue from the gas is the cause and the jets can be unblocked by soaking them in boiling water. I wonder if the same treatment would work with a blocked regulator?

Reading the various forums it appears the problem is still very much with us and my rumour mill tells me that a major RV manufacturer who changed over to a higher position for regulators and copper pigtails last year is now still getting regulator troubles.
25.1.07
The Great LPG Regulator Mystery - continued
There have been no replies to my email to date, but my contacts in the UK tell me there is a similar problem over there with some thousands of failed regulators. There have been reports of a lot of accusations flying about behind the scenes. They are waiting for a promised official statement from the National Caravan Council:  http://www.thecaravan.net/home/index.asp

24.1.07
Here's a link that will make you seasick!

http://www.glumbert.com/media/ferry

18.1.07
The Great LPG Regulator Mystery
For quite some time now there has been a spate of LPG regulators failing when fitted to RVs in Australia.
With new RVs, the manufacturers have replaced regulators under warranty the first time they fail but multiple failures have been fixed at the owners expense - sometimes up to four replacements have been fitted.
Today I sent the following letter to various industry players and to the relevant Minister. I'll report their replies as they come in.


Sent to: Ben Yates, Caravan, RV & Accommodation Industry of Australia (CRVA);  Colin Young, Recreational Vehicle Manufacturers Association of Australia (RVMAA); Stephen Reynolds, Liquid Petroleum Gas Australia (LPG Australia) and The Hon Ian Macfarlane MP Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources.

Subject: LPG Regulator failures

I am writing to you as a Caravan World columnist, Chairperson of the Australian Caravan Club and owner of www.caravanning-oz.com - an Australian Recreational Vehicle website

Caravan World is a respected Australian RV magazine, the Australian Caravan Club is a registered national body with members in every State of Australia and my ‘Caravanning and RVing in Australia’ website attracts more than 5,000 unique visitors every month.

Some ACC members have suffered multiple LPG regulator failures and although some with newer caravans have had replacements fitted under warranty, other have had to foot the bill themselves. Anecdotal evidence, including a question and answer in the Queensland Parliament last year, suggests that this is a very widespread problem – particularly in Northern Queensland.

I am sending this letter to the LPG industry, the caravan industry and caravan and RV manufacturers and associated groups plus the relevant Government Minister, in the hope of getting some answers to a very perplexing question.

The problem of LPG regulator failures has been a source of annoyance and expense for caravanners and other RVers for quite some time and the information we have been able to glean so far has not been particularly helpful.

Despite the fact that an enquiry has been held into the problem we have seen no clear-cut reason given for the failures. Nor has there been any solution forthcoming which will prevent such failures occurring. 

We have heard that the incorrect mounting position of regulators is at fault and that the flexible hoses currently fitted have contributed to the problem. I understand that copper pigtails are now recommended until better flexible pipes become available but the puzzling thing is that many older vans with flexible pipes and with the regulator mounted lower that the top of the cylinder have not encountered this problem.

Having suffered a build up of an oily substance in the filter and converter of my dual fuel Falcon during 2005, I was advised by my LPG serviceman to avoid discount fuel outlets as their LPG could be contaminated. This makes me wonder about the quality of lpg and if it is part of the problem with the regulator failures.

Besides my own interest in this topic as Chairperson of the Australian Caravan Club and freelance writer for Caravan World, my website has a free advice service and I would love to be able to tell people that the problem has been solved and this is what they must do to avoid future regulator failures.

 I’d also like to be able tell them what to do and whom to approach to get compensation should they still have trouble.

I would appreciate any information or thoughts you have on this.

Yours sincerely,


Lionel Mussell

Chairperson
Australian Caravan Club.

 
5.1.07
APOLOGIES AND EXPLANATION
If you are wondering why this page hasn't been updated recently it all comes down to the fact that my wife Vi had a stroke a week or two before Christmas and I've been a tad busy what with visiting her in hospital and looking after visitors etc.

However the good news is she is progressing extremely well and will be 'released' next Thursday and be back home with me.

She was able to come home for Christmas and New Year on day release and 18 of us sat down to a traditional Christmas lunch (cooked my me!)

20.11.06
WHO IN THE WORLD WOULD WANT TO LOOK LIKE THEY WERE CAMPING IN A GARBAGE TRUCK???!! Until you look inside!
Oh dear - I've been neglecting you. I've been so busy with other things but here's a series of pics to make up.
A viewer sent them to me with the title.

26.10.06
ACC Lobbies Top Industry Body

What’s Your Ball Load?

Despite it’s importance for towing stability, many caravanners, however experienced, have little idea how much weight is on their caravan tow-ball unless they have taken the trouble to visit a weighbridge and get the readings. It would be a great help if manufacturers supplied the Gross Trailer Mass i.e. weight on the caravan wheels and the Ball Load before delivery of the caravan. Adding these two figures together gives the Tare i.e. the total weight of the caravan before any load is put into it.

This would be a guide when loading the caravan ready for a trip and would also alert the buyer if the new caravan had an initial ball load outside the generally recommended 10-15% of the total weight.

In the report of a recent South Australian Coroner’s Inquest into a fatal caravanning accident, the Coroner suggested - “I consider that it would be prudent for manufacturers to measure and record the tow ball weight at the conclusion of the manufacturing process.”

In the interests of caravanners’ safety, the Australian Caravan Club has brought this to the attention of the CRVA (Caravan, RV and Accommodation Industry Australia) and the RVMAA (Recreational Vehicles Manufacturers Association of Australia) and has asked that manufacturers consider this suggestion.

(OK - I'll confess! I'm the Publicity Officer and a Director of the Australian Caravan Club Limited)
17.10.06

It’s only 9 weeks till Christmas.
This came in today's mail from Standby Cars:Thinking of a pre Christmas break?  Don’t wait until December and miss out. Plan ahead and book that getaway. We have some great December relocations for only $1 per day – take a glance below.
 
What about a holiday now? Get in before the rates go up. Standbycars has great camper deals in both Australia and New Zealand for less than $70 per day but travel must be in October so you’ll need to hurry.
 
Also don’t forget our amazing New Zealand relocation special from Christchurch to Auckland for 5 days for only $5. This fantastic offer continues only until the end of November.
 
Keep looking at our website at www.standbycars.com for even more great specials.
 
Have a great trip!
 
The Standbycars Team

11.10.06

United Voice for Caravanners
With the recent launch of the Australian Caravan Club  caravanners will at last have a really representative body to lobby on their behalf.

I'm the Publicity Officer of the new club and a Director on the Board. A dedicated group of keen caravanners set the club up as a Limited body with an 18 page Constitution

With a potential for a really large membership the club will become a force to be reckoned with and besides representation of member's interests there will be many other benefits once really established.

One tangible benefit will be the publication of 'The Nomad' - a magazine to keep members up to date with happenings in the caravanning world. The first issue will be out in December.

For more information about the club or to download an Application form for Membership visit: www.australiancaravanclub.com.au/

This was an item on the BBC in the UK recently:
'Goat-free roads made me speed'
Goat
Police said goats had not been reported on eastern Ontario's roads
A Swiss man caught speeding on a Canadian highway has blamed his actions on the absence of goats on the roads.
The man was caught driving at 161 km/h (100mph) in a 100 km/h (60mph) zone.
A traffic officer's notes said the Swiss driver had said he was taking advantage "of the ability to go faster without risking hitting a goat".
Canadian police spokesman Joel Doiron said he had never found a goat on the highways of eastern Ontario in his 20 years of service.
"Nobody's ever used the lack of goats here as an excuse for speeding," Mr Doiron told the AFP news agency.
"I've never been to Switzerland, but I guess there must be a lot of goats there," he said.
The driver was ordered to pay a fine of C$360 ($330; £175) for speeding.
5.10.06
I've just added a page called 'COMMUNICATIONS' as I often get questions on this on my 'Ask Lionel' free advice segment.

2.10.06
This page was getting too long so I've started a new one - you can still go back and browse the earlier ones at your leisure.

Leisurefest this week!

It's the Leisurefest at Sandown Racecourse this weekend - Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There will be lots of RVs of all kinds to see plus a vast array of
accessories and camping gear.

I'll be on the Caravan World stand on Friday and Saturday so drop by and say g'day.




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