Monday, August 29, 2016

1000 Kilometre Shakedown and Service

Bushtracker recommend that the van has a 1000 km service.
This service includes adjustments to the brakes, checking wheel alignment, suspension inspection and adjustment of wheel bearings and so once we were notified of our handover date and knowing how busy the factory is I arranged to have the van slotted in for its service. That's an eleven day turnaround.  

In our case we were unable to fit all our gear into our Landcruiser prior to our holidays, so we are towing the van home to Sawtell and then returning for the service before heading off for about three months. The round trip is just a tad over the required 1000 km's.
Our plan is to spend several days packing the van and at the same time testing all the systems to ensure everything is working as it should. We don't expect that there will be any problems but if there are they can be rectified at the service. 

Even though I have towed a large van before I was a little hesitant as we made our way out onto the Bruce Highway for the drive south towards Brisbane. 

It's always so busy along here and down past the Gold Coast with endless streams of traffic going in both directions. However, I shouldn't have worried because once we had settled into a rhythm the van towed beautifully behind our Landcruiser. 

As we entered NSW and crossed the Tweed River the traffic congestion greatly reduced and the drive became more leisurely for most of the remainder of the trip. The exception being the Pacific Highway upgrade for about 50 km south of Grafton with speeds mostly at 80 kph, but down to 60 and 40 kph in some other sections.

First job on the list for Ros was cutting and fitting the non slip matting to the surface of all shelves and drawers. 
We have found that Clark Rubber sell the best product that doesn't break down like the cheaper versions. 

Another change involved replacing the white Dometic fly screens that show the dirt and shrink on the sides over time with a black midge screen and besides it looks far better anyway. 
It then took several days to load the van and another couple of days to ensure that all our systems were working.

A short drive to the local weighbridge the day before leaving to weigh the van and 4wd. It's something we normally do before any trip away. 
It's all about peace of mind knowing that we are within our limits.  

Whenever we travel north towards the Sunshine Coast towing the van we always break up the journey and spend the evening at the Yelgun rest area just north of Brunswick Heads. The only facilities here are toilets and BBQ's but the area is far enough away from the highway so there is no road noise at night from the almost constant stream of passing B-doubles.

We are staying again at the Big 4 caravan park at Forest Glen. The caravan park has seen better days but we only stay here for a night at a time whenever the van is booked into the factory. 

Drop off time is always 7 am and this park is very close to the factory and there is little traffic to contend with at this time of day. 
The management are more interested in promoting their new venture which makes much more sense. This involves the building of 190 architecturally designed homes with stage one already sold out.   
I'm sure that eventually Natures Edge as it's known will probably encroach on the existing caravan park which will then probably no longer exist. Natures Edge

Well our service went off without a hitch (no pun intended), but then that's what we have come to expect from Bushtracker who IOHO make the best off-road van in Australia.

Tonight we are camping just over 25 km north of the Bushtracker factory.

The Eumundi RV stop is more enjoyable than staying cramped in a caravan park and at just $15 for the night also considerably cheaper. 

The charge includes use of shower and toilet facilities along with a dump point with a maximum two night stay.
We had an enjoyable happy hour with friends Hank and Deb who popped in to say hi. We also had a surprise visit from Stu who I had not seen since 2005. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Handover Day

Well it's taken ten months but finally handover day has arrived.

To say we were excited would be a gross understatement. 
I think we are more excited this time round, than we were in 2008 if that's at all possible.

The handover process for new owners takes the better part of a day but in our case this is the second time round and we were finished just after lunch. 

Firstly we were shown how our audio visual systems worked including our satellite dish. Jeremey from Sound in Motion had arranged prior to delivery to have our details for our VAST box registered so that everything was up and working today. The remainder of our handover dealt with how our electrical system worked and how all the other equipment interacted with it.

Our preferred option when away travelling is not to spend time in caravan parks unless we are visiting Darwin for instance where there are no other alternatives.  

This van like our previous Bushtracker is fully self contained with 600 watts of solar panels on our roof.  These in turn charge our 300 ah bank of lithium batteries which power everything in the van. The van is also prewired to fit an additional panel if required in the future.

We also have a water sterilisation unit installed with double filtration canisters, filtering to 0.2 of a micron which then passes through a quartz tube with 2600 - 2700 angstrom UV.
All our accessories are 12 volt from our 220 litre compressor fridge through to our audio system. Our 4 kg washing machine can even be run through our inverter if need be. If we require our air conditioner out the 'Back of Bourke', then our Honda generator can be used to power this. 
Even our diesel heater and satellite dish which provides us with VAST (all free to air channels) is 12 volt. We also have the connections in place so that when we head off in the van we can take our Foxtel box from home. 

We decided it was too late in the day to head for home so we made our way to the Big 4 caravan park where we spent time going through everything that had been discussed today. 

A celebratory happy hour was rather early this afternoon followed by dinner at Jampa's Tibetan Restaurant which we highly recommend. We have eaten at the restaurant before which is housed in a separate building inside the caravan park grounds. 
It's also BYO so we took along a 2012 bottle of Henschke Henry's Seven shiraz blend which helped top off a very memorable day.....

Friday, August 12, 2016

Camp Oven Cooker

Last year while we were camped at Longreach Waterhole we met a couple whose son makes these stainless steel camp oven cookers.

For the past thirty odd years we have always used coals for roasting and baking, but now prefer using heat beads. 
We use the easy-lite Heat Bead brand. Once they're lit it only takes thirty minutes until they are ready to be used. 
You place the required number into the cooker and light them. The initial flame only lasts for several minutes before it dies down.

Once the beads have turned into grey ash you transfer the required number of beads to the camp oven lid and place your camp oven onto the cooker with the remainder of the beads underneath the oven. 

The following link shows how many beads are required for a particular size camp oven.
Required number of heat beads

There are two reasons for providing your camp oven size when ordering. Firstly so that your oven will sit perfectly over the cooker

 and when not being used the cooker fits neatly inside your camp oven for storage. 

The holes in the base allow the beads to breathe while cooking.

We purchased an old electric fry-pan from a recycling centre and use that as our base.

Wade who makes the cookers can be contacted on 0417 605 o49 or You can also search camp oven cooker on Facebook

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Bushtracker construction photos

Still a work in progress. 

The attached photos have been supplied courtesy of Bushtracker with Thursday 18th August scheduled as our handover day.