What to take what to take?! The internet is full to the brim with forums and groups that are more than ready to give you free or paid advice about all the stuff you should and shouldn’t take on a lap of Australia. But how do all these know-it-alls know what you like and don’t like, what you find handy and what you find irritating? I for one have a certain fondness for the tea towel. Was there ever such a friendly, warm and loving item that was so versatile and affordable? The thing is, all this advice seems to have a few common threads that the average dingbat could easily work out without paying someone for a handbook. Things like, ‘don’t over pack.’ Well you’d have to be a real goose not to know that, but the thing is, it is very easy to do, no matter how much you pay for the advice or how many times you read it.
You think, well there’s still a little nook or cranny I haven’t stuffed with cr@p yet, so I better fill it. This is bad, bad, naughty thinking. So I tried to stay away form the temptation to cram pack. But truly, when Monja let me pick out the four tea towels that we had space budgeted for, I did smile and agree and picked out four beauties. It’s only when she reads this post that she will find out I have actually squirreled a few more away…. maybe more than a few.
It was an easy decision to stash a few more of them in, but there were many more decisions that could take a long time. Should I , shouldn’t I? Do we have room? Will it weight down the van and make it feel like we’re towing a ton of unruly spuds? We spent a long time agonising over things that will probably end up being of little consequence (or will they).
On the day before lift off we parked the van on the street out the front and spent hours carting stuff in and moving stuff around. I was impressed with our ability to leave some space in some places. Mind you it all looked good on the Thursday and then on Friday when we drove those last few things to the van to actually leave……. It ended up those last few things packed a bit of wallop and all the empty space that I was so proud of, vanished like a bunny being stuffed into a magicians hat.
Anyway, so we got it all in and got it hitched pretty quickly as I had set it up the day before so that it would be easy to put the last things in, hitch it up, then just drive away. Our aim was to leave the gate at 7:30. We got to the van spot at Taigum at 7:08 so I was thinking we were looking like we might leave early. It all seemed too easy. I hooked up the van, checked that the chocs were gone then checked I had everything on like the weight distribution hitches and the blinkers were cool etc. Then I hopped in thinking whoopee we did it, we’re actually going to go!
I start the car and try to take off but it feels very wrong. Thank goodness something went wrong I think to myself. It gives me the heebee geebees if everything flows smoothly on anything I have anything to do with. You want to guess what I did to myself? Very embarrassing really. I left the stupid hydraulic stand that holds the blinky van up, attached to the van! So when I was driving off, the square metal plate at its base was ploughing through the dirt.
Don’t judge me! I had to stuff up something. So I undid the bracket that holds it to the caravan then whacked it with a hammer to dislodge the now thoroughly buried footplate. And at last, with a clear mind and a slightly bent hydraulic jack that will no longer collapse all the way down, we headed out the gate at 7:53. Still a very fair time. As you can see above I still got the jack to work, but it will have to be replaced. D’oh! Maybe the company that makes them will give us a free one and become our sponsor. I better arrange it.