Getting back out on the road.

Submitted: Friday, Mar 18, 2016 at 06:11
ThreadID: 131861 Views:2371 Replies:13 FollowUps:3
This Thread has been Archived
I hope this isn't regarded as idle chit chat but just wanted to let my ExplorOz friends know that I am on a (very short, one week) trip away from home with my caravan...and on a big learning curve!
John, my best friend and husband of nearly 44 years died suddenly in mid November and until mid February I thought I would have to sell the van and find something smaller to tow. It is a 21 ft Jayco outback caravan with a big slide out and is less than two years old, and we fitted it out with everything including auto satellite TV.
My brother in law and sister have given me a few lessons with hitching up and towing, reversing etc and lots of support and encouragement, and on Wednesday we set out together from Ulladulla, traveling via Turpentine and Braidwood roads to Oallen Ford road, Nerriga to Goulburn, where we joined the Hume Highway. We stopped overnight in Jugiong which has a great camp (donations requested) and then yesterday drove on to Yackandandah in Victoria for four nights for the annual Folk festival weekend. I had towed our van but only for short periods, maybe 50 kms at a time.

John and I have been coming here to Yackandandah most years for nearly a decade for the festival,and this time it was to be the beginning of a long trip back to Western Australia, specifically Pardoo Station in the Pilbara where we were planning to stay and fish for three months from May.We discovered it last year and stayed a month after we discovered wonderful fishing and put our tinny in Pardoo creek every day. I plan to return there maybe next year as my sister and brother in law are intending to go north to NT and then down the west coast.

By then I will be an old hand as we are talking of doing some shorter trips this year to give me the experience I need mainly in hitching and unhitching, putting out the awning and all the other outside jobs that John used to do. Some are quite physically challenging for me as I am not a big or tall person,, but I have bought myself a trail-a-mate jack/jockey wheel and a heavy duty axle stand to assist me, and have managed to everything alone, apart from reversing onto the van and reverse parking it into the position at home in the yard where another person is needed, at least for the moment!

Making the decision to keep the van and continue traveling have helped me so much in coping with Johns death but I will miss him forever and life will never be the same. Please don't put off doing what you love and tell those you love how you feel as you never know what the future holds.

regards,

Heather
Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt. John Muir

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

Back Expand Un-Read 18 Moderator

Reply By: Member - John T (Tamworth NSW) - Friday, Mar 18, 2016 at 07:21

Friday, Mar 18, 2016 at 07:21
Hello Heather
So very pleased to hear that you are going to keep the van and continue travelling and seeing this great country. I retired last year and to date have been busy with chores at home that had been put off until time was available to complete same. All the interior painting is complete and just the exterior now and that can wait.
I am looking to Kate's retirement later this year so we can do,some exploring of our own so perhaps we will catch up down the track somewhere. Safe travels

Cheers
John T (Lifetime Member)
VKS-737 Mobile 2619
Selcall 2619
"Argue for your limitations and sure enough they're yours" - Richard Bach in "Illusions"

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 597471

Reply By: Baz - The Landy - Friday, Mar 18, 2016 at 07:33

Friday, Mar 18, 2016 at 07:33
Heather...

It is great to hear that you are "back on the road".

We'll never forget those who have left us, but importantly, life goes on.

And can I say Jugiong is a favourite of ours...

Regards, Baz...
AnswerID: 597472

Reply By: 9900Eagle - Friday, Mar 18, 2016 at 08:00

Friday, Mar 18, 2016 at 08:00
Heather, good to see and maybe you could use a couple of things to help yourself out with the van.

Reverse camera would help with the hooking up and you maybe able to fit a wide angle curved road mirror in your yard to help with ascertaining where the side or back of the van is.

Placing positioning markers on the ground or on a fence will also help you know when to stop or where the van is exactly.

Road mirror link

Happy travels.
AnswerID: 597474

Follow Up By: Member-Heather MG NSW - Friday, Mar 18, 2016 at 08:19

Friday, Mar 18, 2016 at 08:19
Thanks. I do have a reversing camera on the ute. Still to get totally used to placement of ball with van.
The van is parked in a tight space at home and within a Metre of the house at rear of van. Don't want to stuff it up!!
Regards
Heather
Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt. John Muir

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 866532

Reply By: Ozi M - Friday, Mar 18, 2016 at 09:06

Friday, Mar 18, 2016 at 09:06
Well done on having a go :)

When my sister died my brother in law, a big lump of a bloke, really struggled to cope with the simplest of things. It took him about 4 years before he was able to resume a more normal lifestyle and get his mojo back so you are doing well.

Have you considered buying a caravan moving device or having a Purpleline Van mover fitted. You could tow the van to "about" where it needs to be and then get out of the car, stand there with the remote control and steer the van into place. It can be used to align for hitching, backing into site in CP or parking in your tight spot at home.

Enjoy you travels



AnswerID: 597476

Follow Up By: Member-Heather MG NSW - Saturday, Mar 19, 2016 at 06:21

Saturday, Mar 19, 2016 at 06:21
Thanks. I will have a look at those but the block is on a slope, and I have to reverse uphill so I'm not sure they would work. The van is dual axle and weighs around 2.8 tonne fully laden.
I am prepared to consider anything which makes the job easier!
regards,
Heather
Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt. John Muir

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 866557

Reply By: Nargun51 - Friday, Mar 18, 2016 at 09:18

Friday, Mar 18, 2016 at 09:18
Thank you for this post, it touched me deeply with the understated descriptions of the reasons for your continued travels and the desire to honour your life partner’s and your mutual dreams.

Please forgive me if I’m being too presumptuous or reading too much into it, but I’m imagining a voice somewhere saying something like “You go girl! Of course you can do it!”
AnswerID: 597477

Follow Up By: Member-Heather MG NSW - Saturday, Mar 19, 2016 at 06:36

Saturday, Mar 19, 2016 at 06:36
Yes, I feel that too. John always knew if I wanted something badly enough I didn't give up until I achieved it.
Unfortunately he often helped me out by taking over any jobs with heavy lifting to be kind to me and was the bloke that everyone else came to solve problems with anything mechanical, and could fix and build anything! So whilst I did check that all his hitching up jobs were done before we took off with the van, I didn't actually do much outside.
Since his death I have been urging friends to learn to do all the jobs.
I had however for years sat in the ute and followed his instructions to park the van and that seemed to work ok as I was hopeless at giving instructions and he was pretty awful at following them.
My brain was 'wired' totally opposite to his but we did work well as a team, especially with cryptic crosswords!
I am sure he would be happy that I am keeping the van and ute that we had decided were both pretty much perfect together when we returned home in mid September at the end of almost 6 months away.
regards,
Heather
Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt. John Muir

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

1
FollowupID: 866558

Reply By: baznpud (tassie) - Friday, Mar 18, 2016 at 10:04

Friday, Mar 18, 2016 at 10:04
Heather,
I always enjoyed reading your blogs, and when i saw on here that you had lost your partner, i thought we wouldn't hear from you again, so well done on what you are doing, and i will look forward to reading more of your blogs.
Enjoy your travels.
baz
Go caravaning, life is so much shorter than death.

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 597480

Reply By: Member - Min (NSW) - Friday, Mar 18, 2016 at 11:06

Friday, Mar 18, 2016 at 11:06
Hi Heather,

You are beginning a long journey, in more ways than one. I am certain you will experience challenges and deep joy on the road ahead - the latter will be what stays with you.

More power to you and those assisting you.

Looking forward to your blogs.

Min
John 'n' Min

Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 597485

Reply By: Member - Michael P (QLD) - Friday, Mar 18, 2016 at 13:05

Friday, Mar 18, 2016 at 13:05
The toes are wet.
Great to see You back. Your blogs will have a totally different slant now, to You and Us.

Regards Mike.
AnswerID: 597492

Reply By: Kenell - Friday, Mar 18, 2016 at 16:39

Friday, Mar 18, 2016 at 16:39
"Idle chit chat" it might be but it is the most inspirational "idle chit chat" I have heard for a while. There are always plenty of people there to lend a hand when you need it - don't feel you have to do it on your own and don't be afraid to ask for help.

Ken
AnswerID: 597506

Reply By: Member - Terry W4 - Friday, Mar 18, 2016 at 17:51

Friday, Mar 18, 2016 at 17:51
Fantastic Heather and inspiring. Last year my brother and I were in Winton and parked next to us in the caravan park was an 83 year old woman who also was an inspiration. Her husband actually died in 1986 whilst they were on the road in a van. She sold it and bought a campervan which her son had fitted out impeccably.

She had been on the road ever since and had by May last year done 400,000 kms. She had done the Gibb River Road 4 times and knew so much about the history of this country including lots of the aboriginal stories. She stays in touch with her family by smart phone and her iPad and makes sure to gets home once a year for Christmas on the north coast of NSW where she has a home.

AnswerID: 597509

Reply By: Whirlwinder - Friday, Mar 18, 2016 at 17:57

Friday, Mar 18, 2016 at 17:57
Well done Heather,
If you are having a bit of trouble lining up the tow ball with the coupling on the van then have a look at the "McHitch" coupling. It has to be the easiest hitch I have ever used. It always gets attention when we hitch the Landcruiser to the Kimberely.
Good safe travels,
Regards, Ian
AnswerID: 597510

Reply By: Member - Odog - Friday, Mar 18, 2016 at 20:54

Friday, Mar 18, 2016 at 20:54
I take my hat off to you Heather, think a lot of people would just give it up, your an inspiration to others.. Do what you love, and love what you do..
Like has been said above, always be someone around to lend a hand, and don't be shy to ask for help if required... Safe and happy travels Heather.. All the best.. Owen
Some people want it to happen, some people wish it could happen, others make it happen!

Lifetime Member
My Profile  Send Message

AnswerID: 597517

Reply By: Robyn R4 - Sunday, Mar 20, 2016 at 10:41

Sunday, Mar 20, 2016 at 10:41
Geez, Heather...who could read that without at least one tear in their eye?!
I buried a mate and colleague a few years ago on the day he was supposed to retire, and last year I realised that no couples in my immediate family have hit retirement together...
I'd like to think I'd have enough guts to do the same as you and I really salute you for having the guts to do it in the van of your dreams.
There are so many beautiful people out there on the road and nothing is ever really a problem for too long.
Hubby and I hope to step out of the regular working world about 10 years early and join in and enjoy all our time together. Perhaps we'll see you out on the road one day, doing it all like a seasoned professional!
Healing is a journey of such an undetermined length and it takes us to places that we would never have imagined before. I wish you every thing wonderful for your new journey.

:) Robyn

AnswerID: 597576

Sponsored Links

Popular Products (13)