Selling Up

Submitted: Sunday, Jan 14, 2018 at 15:38
ThreadID: 136097 Views:2181 Replies:10 FollowUps:16
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Even though I'm not a member, I've been following this page for years and would welcome some feedback.

I am selling up the farm, so to speak. What vehicle and caravan would you suggest to live the rest of my life on the road.
I don't need to go extreme 4WD since there's only me and my crook back and I don't particulary relish getting into situations I can't get out of, ie bending down to dig or crawling under the vehicle. Same goes with putting up an annex, bending down to hammer in tent pegs, not on
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How does one get on with mail? Do I need a permanent address for registration?
Any members who want to befriend me in Victoria, I hear cheap rego for vans in that State, lol.

Is it possible to live one's life on the road for ever? I would like t explore ALL of Australia, not just the places I need to use a 4WD to it's full potential.

Time to fess up and join ExploreOz and follow my adventures.
I'd like to do the Outback Way before it's completely sealed

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Reply By: Athol W1 - Sunday, Jan 14, 2018 at 16:40

Sunday, Jan 14, 2018 at 16:40
Outback Wanderers

Unfortunately the authorities do not believe that there are, or could be, people who are constantly travelling around Australia with no permanent address, so you will have to find someone who can provide you with such an address to be able to maintain registration and drivers licence. This person would most likely be the address that you use for other requirements as well.

Whilst we are not full time on the road and still have a permanent address we do travel for around 6 months at a time, and during these times we have all mail redirected to our daughter, who also has Power of Attorney so is able to take care of anything that needs urgent attention. Anything that we should see is also copied and forwarded via Email for our information or action.

AS far as type of caravan I would suggest that you look very closely at the vans that have a composite construction, preferably with vacuum bonded laminated style of walls, as these are far stronger and do not suffer from wood rot that is so common in timber framed vans, nor from the fatigue that can occur in Alloy framed vans. They are also generally resistant to hail damage. They are far better insulated and generally less prone to water leaks. One such van is the Jayco Silverline range of vans, but there are others.

For a tow vehicle then make sure that you are comfortable in the saddle, and it is adequate for the loadings that you are going to ask of it. The best vehicle as far as loadings and towing capacity that is readily available in Australia would be the Toyota 70 series cab chassis with a light weight alloy body fitted, however these are not the most comfortable vehicle around. Be aware of the Toyota 200 series as, whilst they are certainly powerful enough and comfortable, they can easily be overloaded. There are a number of 4x4 utes that can give very good economy, carry a reasonable load and tow a reasonable sized van, but be wary of the effects that the tow ball weight has on the load capacity as some reduce the payload by a figure that is greater than the tow ball weight. I found the Isuzu Dmax does the job for me but I did have to replace the suspension (if purchasing new then a GVM upgrade would be advised PRIOR to first registration). I would suggest that you do purchase a 4wd vehicle as they often have a greater towing capacity than their 2wd counterpart, but a 2wd will also restrict you in where you can go with ease, you do not have to be interested in extreme 4wd to see a lot of places that a 2wd would struggle or get stuck.

Whilst I have only lived on the road for about 6 months at a time I do know people who have spent 15 years or more without a permenant address, and I currently have friends (old work colleagues) who have been on the road for the past 5 years and loving it.

Enjoy your travels and new found freedom.

Regards
Athol
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Reply By: Member - McLaren3030 - Sunday, Jan 14, 2018 at 17:25

Sunday, Jan 14, 2018 at 17:25
Hi Outback Wanderers, welcome to the “Grey nomad life”. You say that there is onl yourself & your “crook back”, so I assume you don’t need a large van. So something around the 18” mark sounds about right. You also state that you do not intend going too far “off the beaten track”. With this in mind, I would be looking at a semi off road van. They generally have a more robust suspension than a standard on road van.

As you will be “living” full time in the van, I would also recommend a full ensuite as opposed to a combination shower & toilet. Also an island bed as opposed to an east/west bed, as they are easier to make.

With regard to power supply, if you can afford, I would recommend Lithium batteries, more expensive, but will last longer, and will deliver full 12 volts for longer.

A compressor fridge/freezer is a must, far more efficient, 170 Ltr, should be sufficient.

Goldstream make a good range of semi off road vans, and they are priced very well. I am sure there are other brands that would also suit your needs. One thing I would definitely recommend, is to visit the manufacturer of whatever you are thinking of buying, and ask for a factory tour so you can see how they build.

Macca.
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Follow Up By: OutBack Wanderers - Sunday, Jan 14, 2018 at 18:52

Sunday, Jan 14, 2018 at 18:52
I am considering a 18ft Bushtracker, tandem axles, there's another question?

Single or tandem?

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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Sunday, Jan 14, 2018 at 19:30

Sunday, Jan 14, 2018 at 19:30
Bushtracker build an excellent van, but are a bit pricey. If you are not intending to go off road, then you may be spending more than you need.

Single or tandem. Yes an interesting question. At 18’ you can get both single or tandem. Personally, at that length I would prefer single for easy manoeuvrability. Many will disagree with me, but that is my personal preference.

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Reply By: Nutta - Sunday, Jan 14, 2018 at 21:49

Sunday, Jan 14, 2018 at 21:49
I would also consider a slide on camper or toyota coaster type bus or camper van, a bit easier to fly under the radar if travelling around the coast.
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Reply By: splits - Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018 at 10:23

Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018 at 10:23
I don't need to go extreme 4WD since there's only me and my crook back and I don't particulary relish getting into situations I can't get out of, ie bending down to dig or crawling under the vehicle. Same goes with putting up an annex, bending down to hammer in tent pegs, not on
I am considering a 18ft Bushtracker, tandem axles, there's another question?
========================================================

You may find a van that big could be a bit of a handful at times, particuarly when you are on your own and have a few physical restrictions. I have seen questions on size asked in question and answer sections of van magazines over the years and the reply has always been to buy the smallest one that meets your needs. An 18 ft Bushtracker is no midget and has more than its share of weight.

Before you do anything, have a look through these links. The first is on van quality. There seems to be no end of poorly constructed vans on the market.
CONSTRUCTION QUALITY

The man who posted that also called for a royal commission on van construction.
ROYAL COMMISSION

Do a lot of research before you buy one.

Another point is stability at speed out on the highways. Utube is full of videos of vans swinging around and rolling over and taking the tow car with them. They all have one thing in common l.e a small tow car with a big van behind it. They may be legal regarding van weight and car towing capacity but there is a lot more to getting the right combination than just matching the van weight and car capacity.

Those vans would almost certainly not have crashed had the tow vehicle been the size and weight of an interstate tourist coach but that is going to extremes. The ideal situation is to have the car around 30% heavier than the van with the longest possible wheelbase and the shortest possible distance between the rear axle and tow ball.

Centralised mass in the van is vital. That means all heavy items in the van should be as close to the axle as possible and not down the back or worse still, hanging off the back outside. Nothing should be out there.
TOWING GUIDE

It will take you a while to read through all of this but it is well worth it. Pay a lot of attention to the second section on van/tow vehicle behavior & suspension.
TOWING AND VAN INFO.

Keep in mind the car manufacturers only list a maximum towing capacity. They don't list what it can tow or where you can tow it. All cars will tow their maximum capacity but they can't safely or reliably tow anything that weighs that much anywhere in any conditions. When you get up near the upper end of the scale, a few restrictions start creeping in. That applies to both loading the car and towing
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018 at 11:08

Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018 at 11:08
.
Splits, I can just hear it .......
"You're interested in a 22ft Trushbacker? Yair mate, good van. What sorta car you got?... Yair mate, that'll do it no worries.... The kids have got a coupla trail bikes? No worries mate, just hang 'em off the back, the Trushbacker's built like a Russian tank mate. Just sign here mate. The Little Lady can choose the colour scheme, eh mate?... Never driven one before?.... No worries mate, you won't know it's there. You'll get used to it before you get outta the suburbs..... Kakadoo, here we come eh?
Yair, good onya mate, all done, the order's on its way mate."
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: splits - Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018 at 20:11

Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018 at 20:11
Stop it Allan before I fall off my chair laughing. It does sound like a typical van salesman though, particularly at a caravan and camping expo.
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Follow Up By: OutBack Wanderers - Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018 at 23:01

Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018 at 23:01
Very informative, thanx for the long reply. Don't know what I was thinking, 18', yep, your right, just a smidge too big, would've needed a 200 series Landcruiser to pull it. Scratch that one off.

Maybe just a small van 14-16 with possible Santa-Fe, which would probably cover most of the gravel roads

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Follow Up By: splits - Wednesday, Jan 17, 2018 at 10:20

Wednesday, Jan 17, 2018 at 10:20
Maybe just a small van 14-16 with possible Santa-Fe, which would probably cover most of the gravel roads
======================================
Think carefully about what you need and where you want to go and don't go beyond that.

The Santa-Fe sounds good but after looking through its specifications, it does not have a lot of ground clearance. Gravel roads will be no problems but many mountain tacks may be a problem. I don't know if it has low range gearing. If not then that could restrict you in some places.

One example is mountains. I drove my standard Hilux easily to the top of Blue Rag in the Victorian High Country about nine years ago. .The track was as rough as can be and I definitely needed first low to get up the last hill to the summit. I doubt if a Santa-Fe would have a hope of getting there. A few years later the track was graded nice and smooth to get fire fighting equipment up there and it may have been maintained in good condition ever since.

The views are breathtaking as are so many other easy to drive on tracks in mountains all over the country but it is no use having a car that can't get there.

Most of these photos at the top of this page show Blue Rag.MOUNTAIN SCENERY

There are countless views like it in those mountains and not all of the tracks to them contain deep water crossings. Park rangers or tourist info centres all over the country will give you all the advise you need.

Make sure you don't restrict yourself too much. A car that will go just about anywhere and have enough space in the back for a mattress for the occasional overnight stop without the van would be my choice. Something like a Prado or Pajero would be suitable and would handle a 14 ft van with ease and with a fair degree of safety.
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Reply By: Baz - The Landy - Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018 at 17:40

Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018 at 17:40
Firstly, congratulations on taking a bold step - and for sure, anything is possible when combined with the desire and will to do it...

And can you do it for the rest of your life - why not, after all, no one knows when that fateful day we meet our maker will arrive, so just get on with it, dying will take care of itself, eventually!

On vehicle and van choice, have you considered some form of RV? Possibly something like a good quality Toyota Coaster with 4WD capability. It might be worth considering as Coasters appear in the most unlikely and out of the way places.

When it comes to mail, others will have more knowledge then me for those permanently on the road. But in this day and age you can receive most bills by email and if you are like me, that is about all I ever get in the ‘snail-mail’.

Anyway good luck with it all, and join EO and write some blogs about your travels and let us know how you are going...

Cheers, Baz - The Landy
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Follow Up By: equinox - Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018 at 19:32

Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018 at 19:32
Hi Baz,

I often wonder how many old dead people are out there, still sitting in their vehicle or van somewhere.......

mmmmm
Looking for adventure.
In whatever comes our way.

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Follow Up By: Baz - The Landy - Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018 at 19:53

Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018 at 19:53
It does make you wonder Equinox...

And I wonder how many are working a job, not really living, just dying to be out there, on the road, a bush track where the red dust touches a blue sky on a faraway horizon...

Hey, how should I leave you if I ever find you out there, heaven forbid...?

Cheers and best wishes, Baz
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Follow Up By: equinox - Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018 at 19:59

Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018 at 19:59
If I'm out whoop whoop by the foot of the nearest hill will be fine. Not like John Baxter, I mean buried and all.

If that's not possible I guess the nearest registered cemetery would be fine - that way the extended family have to have a holiday to come and visit lol

Looking for adventure.
In whatever comes our way.

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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018 at 19:10

Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018 at 19:10
Hi OutBack Wanderer, You ask "Is it possible to live one's life on the road for ever?" While there are plenty of mature aged/retired people who are on the road full time, there are also plenty of others who have tried and for one reason or another have had to give up the dream. One big reason for giving up the dream is and probably always will be health. Have you considered what you would do if you suffered a stroke or cardiac event, or had a cancer diagnosis? Believe me, its a good way of knocking your plans and lifestyle for a big 6. If it was me I would find a fallback option somewhere, maybe something as simple as a bush block with a shed where you could park up the 4wd and van if the proverbial hit the fan. And that solves the problem of what address to use too!
Good luck with it all, whatever you do.
Cheers,
Val.
J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
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Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018 at 20:01

Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018 at 20:01
True enough...I knew a bloke who retired on the 22/12/17, cooked christmas dinner for the family on the 25/12/17, and dropped dead on the 27/12/17.
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018 at 20:27

Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018 at 20:27
That's sad, Michael. Sometimes life is so very unfair.
Makes you appreciate when things have gone your way.
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Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018 at 20:38

Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018 at 20:38
Absolutely tragic. It drives home to me that you need to follow your dream now and make the best of it while it is there. I wish the Outback Wanderers the best of luck with their dream.
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Follow Up By: Member - Robyn R4 - Wednesday, Jan 17, 2018 at 08:28

Wednesday, Jan 17, 2018 at 08:28
Totally agree, Val.
While it's a wonderful thing to say "I'm outa here!" (and good luck to you!!!) do keep in mind John Lennon's words "Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans"...
Life's too short and there's no rewind button. The damn thing has no pause and we just have to follow our dream, don't we?
But Outback Wanderer, do have a back-up home. As Val said, a block to park the van...or perhaps invest the leftover money (if there's any!) in a small cheap unit or cheap house (there are many little towns where real estate prices are very favourable!)...
Plan your escape but also think ahead to "what if I have to stop".

Robyn :)
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Follow Up By: Jarse - Wednesday, Jan 17, 2018 at 10:29

Wednesday, Jan 17, 2018 at 10:29
You really need a plan B for when you can't drive anymore (or grow tired of it). As others have mentioned - a property.
It doesn't have to be flash. Why not think about not even moving in, but renting it out while you travel? There's a bit of income for you to supplement what you have, and fund your travels. It gives you confidence that you have something to go back to, should the worst happen.
It might be many years down the track when you decide to (or are forced to) pull the pin. When you do, just remove the tenants, buy a few sticks of furniture, and you're done.
Hope this helps...
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Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018 at 22:25

Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018 at 22:25
"I don't need to go extreme 4WD since there's only me and my crook back and I don't particulary relish getting into situations I can't get out of, ie bending down to dig or crawling under the vehicle. Same goes with putting up an annex, bending down to hammer in tent pegs, not on"

By the sounds of things you should steer away from rough vehicles. Something like an all wheel drive Ford Territory would do you. They will do most of the roads your back will take. If you want something a little more rugged then go for one of the larger soft roaders or the softer 4WDs.

An ideal van to follow it would be a Jurgens caravan. These vans are rugged enough to cope with most of the gravel roads. Also look at the Bailey range. The manufacturers have tested these on outback roads, watch their video. How bad is your back and is it likely to get worse? With bad backs you certainly should steer clear of the shipping containers on wheels with many steps to climb in and out of them.

When it comes to fridges, an absorption fridge that is installed properly will perform adequately in ambient temperatures up to 43 deg Celsius. A compressor fridge requires a much larger battery and solar system. The difference in cost will go a long way to paying for your gas. Also someone suggested an island bed. Unless you are intending to do some nocturnal gymnastics then single beds will give you more living space in the van.

Regarding registration, do you live in NSW? If so then you get free registration for one vehicle.
PeterD
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Follow Up By: OutBack Wanderers - Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018 at 23:20

Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018 at 23:20
Yes, I've got my eye on a 16' Jurgens Stargazer ATM 1600 kgs with separate shower an toilet, and only 1 step, lol. Tow vehicle would be Santa Fe? maybe, lol

With the tablets I'm on for diabetes, my nocturnal activities are just a memory along with my memories of my wild life, The van has 2 single beds, one for me and 1 for my 55'' TV. For once, I bought "myself" a Xmas pressie, after 66 yrs, I earned it.

Atm I have my free rego on my Sportage, thanx for your advice, have taken it onboard

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Follow Up By: Paul E6 - Wednesday, Jan 17, 2018 at 07:22

Wednesday, Jan 17, 2018 at 07:22
A 55" tv in a caravan?
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Reply By: Crusier 91 - Wednesday, Jan 17, 2018 at 08:28

Wednesday, Jan 17, 2018 at 08:28
Hi Outback Wanders,
I'm currently in the same position as you. Sold up, single, looking for a van to tow behind my 100 series TD to tour for at least 3 months and have had multiple back surgeries including a recent fusion.
I have a few friends that are seasoned travellers, all have travelled in campers, buses, coasters, 5th wheelers, pop tops and full caravans, etc. They have all gone back to a full caravan.
All have some sought of injury and all say the full caravan with ensuite or comb is the only way, its the most convenient and comfortable way to travel.
The last thing you want to do is set up and pack up everyday or so, it "will" take a toll on you. All I want to do at the end of the day is to open the door and grab a tinny and relax. All I want to do at the start of the day is have breakfast, shower, hook up and go. I dont want to waste time or energy in packing and unpacking, use the energy for more appealing things.
You want to enjoy every part of your trip so to have the luxury of just opening the caravan door and thats it is the only way to go if you plan to go for an extended period.
i'm trying to keep the total cost of vehicle and full van to under $100K ready to go.
This is our last chance to live the dream.................do it properly first time and enjoy it more.
PS: there are quality full offroad 14 footer vans out there with everything in them at around the 2.5T ATM with 400kg-500kg pay loads around the $50K mark.
Cheers
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Reply By: Member - McLaren3030 - Thursday, Jan 18, 2018 at 12:15

Thursday, Jan 18, 2018 at 12:15
As far as what vehicle, you can't go past a 200 Series V8 Landcruiser as a tow vehicle. I have the base model GX as I did not require the extra seats in the back, and wanted barn doors as opposed to a tailgate. These days, even the base model comes with Sat. Nav. electric windows and cruise control.

Another thing to consider if your back is bad, is to replace the existing drivers seat in your vehicle with an adjustable lumbar seat such as a Recaro. I am sure there are other brands out there, so do some "on line surfing" and you should come up with something. Visit a recognised 4WD specialist like ARB, TJM etc. as they can supply these types of seats.

Macca.
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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Thursday, Jan 18, 2018 at 12:31

Thursday, Jan 18, 2018 at 12:31
Crook back?
Forget caravans (or towing anything), "Go first class, go motorhome" :)

Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 motorhome
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