Since posting the TVAN Tweaks and Tips blog and a couple of YouTube videos showing the Weber BBQ installed in the TVAN I’ve had a few enquiries about how to make the Weber support brackets, to carry and use it in the right hand front storage box of the TVAN. This blog gives information on the material and dimensions of the fabrications.
I was particularly keen to visit Thrushton after stumbling across excerpts from a book “Under the mulga” written by Jim Gasteen, whose parents founded the original property and who grew up on the place until it was no longer viable. Its a fascinating read that describes pioneer life in a tough and unforgiving part of the country, and the brilliant detail set out by the author had me wanting to see it for myself to add life to his tales.
Vanity is a terrible thing, but wanting to be unique is a virtue… whatever the reason I wanted to customise the TVAN so it better matched the Landcruiser and looked less like a big white esky being towed through the outback.
Like all drone pilots I’ve crashed a few times but usually the drone has saved itself and got back into the air or the landing has been somewhere soft. The other day however luck caught up with me and the drone ended up stuck atop a pretty tall tree in grazing country out behind Stanthorpe.
In the same way as we customise our tow vehicles to suit individual requirements, customising a camper trailer is undertaken by many to minimise the compromises found in these miniature mobile homes. As an electrical engineer and born tinkerer I can’t help but to tweak and modify and the TVAN has not escaped, in fact I find that modifying the trailer brings an additional level of enjoyment from ownership given we can’t be out in it as often as desired.
After tweaking and modifying the TVAN with some custom touches it was time to get it out for a trip to get acquainted with it’s many features and to test its capabilities before heading out on remote trips. Choosing a destination to test the TVAN was restricted by the latest wave of COVID19 lockdowns and need to stay reasonably close to home… Sundown National Park offered a great destination to really stretch its legs.
A few months ago we decided to sell the Patriot Campers X3 and upgrade to a Track TVAN – this left us without a camper trailer for a while which saw us camping win swags for a while. Traditional camping was a great change and helped us to simplify our camping kit, but we still looked forward to arrival of the new trailer and the benefit of some mod cons to make camping more sustainable.
After spending a couple of days exploring the Northern Peninsular Area it was time to point our rigs southward and head for home. Our plan was to take the coastal run back to Brisbane and spend nights with friends and family along the way.
When adventurers head to Cape York there are usually two things on the agenda, to drive the Old Telegraph Track and to stand at the northern most point of the Australian continent – we managed to do both over the last few adrenaline filled days!
The number of passing vehicles with a patina of red and orange mud down their sides told us we were on the Cape, albeit at the southern fringe of it. Today’s target is Bramwell Junction, start of the infamous Old Telegraph Track and planned meeting point to catch up with Lachie and Sarah.
What great news, Brisbane managed to reel in the COVID outbreak and lock down ended at 4PM Sunday. That meant we could get on the road and catch up with Lachie and Sarah who were already in Far North Queensland waiting for us us. We decided to stay in motels for the run north, given that we had long driving days planned and there would be plenty of nights in the swags once we got closer to the Tip.
So close… 4 days from our planned departure to Cape York and Brisbane was locked down due to a COVID19 outbreak! Today we planned to have been trucking up the Bruce Highway with plans to reach St Lawrence tonight, the first of several long driving days to reach end of the bitumen and start of the Cape’s dirt roads and tracks.
Well the last few weeks have flown by as we get closer to ETD for our Cape York trip, with plenty of preparation tasks in amongst the normal hurly burly of life. From vehicle modifications and repairs to accommodation bookings and food planning – we’ve been pretty busy building up to next weeks’ departure.
We’re in the final stages of getting organised for our Cape York adventure, mainly camping out of the car, so we thought that a shake down trip would be a good way to check things would work as intended – it would also get Suzzanne acquainted with her new Crashpad swag. Goomburra section of the Main Range National Park seemed like a good place to head, only a couple of hours from home and with some great little hikes, but when picking the dates to go I didn’t think it would get down to -2.5 degrees C!!
Well the sad day arrived – we sold the X3 and delivered it today.
That leaves us with a space in the garage until the TVAN arrives – I’m using that to start getting organised for our Cape York trip in August and wrap up a few other projects.
Well it was a big call but we’ve decided to replace the Patriot Campers X3.
With a fair bit of research and investigating, mostly by Suzzanne, we have been lucky to secure a TVAN Zenith that is already on order with an August ’21 build date, effectively allowing us to jump the 9 month long queue. The Zenith is a 20th anniversary limited run version of the TVAN that has the features we would have selected, and we have grabbed it early enough to add a few more options to suit our needs
Our long run down from Winton to the Central Highlands was worth it when we found gemstones, and an absolute gem of a place to hike.
And along the way we assess the X3, is it doing the job or time for something else?
After a night camped in a sheep station front paddock we got ready to head into our first booking for the day, at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs natural history museum. Our camp is 70km north of town and Winton’s two main dinosaur attractions are quite a distance apart, and we have booked to see them both today, so we’ll have around 400km to cover and will need to keep on our toes to cover everything.
With cooler weather here at last, it was time to explore some of the outback places on our list – I’ve been keen to check out Winton’s dinosaur attractions for many years and recent opening of a new exhibit at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs park was a great excuse to head out there.
I normally seek out remote hard to get to camps that instil a sense of adventure, but there are times when a quick dose of fresh air and green space is best served by a camp site that is near to home and doesn’t need a big clean up of the rig afterward.