Tow Bar Hitch Cargo Carrier

Submitted: Thursday, May 02, 2019 at 11:53
ThreadID: 138260 Views:2529 Replies:14 FollowUps:27
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Hi Folks, exploring this option and seeking some opinions.
Does this look legal to you?
60% Overhang rule is ok.
Fuels on rear of vehicles can be seen all over the place.
Lose a bit of departure angle.
Just exploring the option.
Cheers
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Reply By: Frank P (NSW) - Thursday, May 02, 2019 at 12:13

Thursday, May 02, 2019 at 12:13
I don't know about the legalities of overhang, but I wouldn't put fuel AND GAS there. IMHO fuel and gas is better in the tub.

Water and odds and ends, yes. Then you only have to consider departure angle, weight behind the axle (depending what you put there) and access to and opening the tailgate.

The number plate is obscured, so that would have to be addressed, with lighting to make it legal. Which begs the question, does it have or does it need need rear lighting repeaters - ie turn, tail brake and maybe reverse?

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Follow Up By: RMD - Thursday, May 02, 2019 at 13:49

Thursday, May 02, 2019 at 13:49
It shows two additional lamps, one each side. No plate though.

Fuel is to be carried elsewhere as that is dangerous in a collision. "Great Balls of Fire".

Just recently, Aldi have been selling them or similar ones.
Maybe they are to act as an additional crumple zone for tailgaters to tackle.
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Thursday, May 02, 2019 at 14:33

Thursday, May 02, 2019 at 14:33
"It shows two additional lamps, one each side."

Yeah, I saw the units but could not see any amber for indicators, only red and white lenses. Maybe the ambers are there and hidden by the viewing angle.

It's hard to tell if they are reflectors or lamps. The lack of a plate location and light makes me think they're more likely just reflectors.

EDIT: I think I see an electrical cable under the yellow jerry, so they are probably lamps. If so, beats me why they didn't think of a plate location and light.

"Maybe they are to act as an additional crumple zone for tailgaters to tackle."
:-) :-) :-)
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Follow Up By: RMD - Thursday, May 02, 2019 at 15:18

Thursday, May 02, 2019 at 15:18
G'day Frank
A lot of lamps on tradie vehicle trays and some after market lamps seem to have white/opaque lenses but have reds and ambers underneath, I presume these are the same, just not obvious. The ones I have seen like those have a reflector red in the centre and the stop/tail above and amber below. The thickness of them probably means some LED's are hiding in there, many are COB leds and only thin overall.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Thursday, May 02, 2019 at 17:23

Thursday, May 02, 2019 at 17:23
.
Like these Jaycar lamps?
Cheers
Allan

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Reply By: PeterBass - Thursday, May 02, 2019 at 12:21

Thursday, May 02, 2019 at 12:21
Needs a "Bike Rack" auxiliary number plate and yes, lit up with 7 pin to vehicle.
Thanks for the flammables advice, I think they are better in the tub.
Looking at an alternative to camper trailer as outback roads are wet and trailer not a good idea.
Thank you.
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Follow Up By: RMD - Thursday, May 02, 2019 at 13:58

Thursday, May 02, 2019 at 13:58
I have towed a trailer on outback roads when wet, Both a modified 6 x 4 and a Tvan, what is the problem. Tvan on a very muddy track for around 200km. I would rather the trailer than that thing which adds a distinct vertical and sideways pendulum weight after the rear axle and after the normal ball position too, and on greasey surfaces causes an unwanted effect on steering.
That unit has at least 6Okg of ball weight plus the leverage force it creates, so more than what is added the load in the cantilever tray.
Add the weight between the vehicle axles if possible.
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Reply By: PeterBass - Thursday, May 02, 2019 at 15:27

Thursday, May 02, 2019 at 15:27
Thank you RMD,
SA Outback have "4WD (no towing)" classification on some of their roads, hence the consideration of leaving the CT at home. Simply exploring ideas at the moment. The Tow Bar Hitch Cargo Carrier is from ARK via Repco.
Cheers
AnswerID: 625300

Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Thursday, May 02, 2019 at 15:50

Thursday, May 02, 2019 at 15:50
Overhang limit (behind the rear axle) is 60% of the wheel base or 3.7M max whichever is less.
For vehicles (eg caravans) that have tandem axles, the measurement is taken from half way between the axles.

It seems that the Hilux has a wheel base of 3085mm, so max overhang is 1851mm.
The bumper is at 1245mm, so the box on the back could protrude another 606mm back from the bumper and be legal.
I reckon it is probably illegal to have gas or petrol there, maybe diesel is OK?
Legal is not necessarily sensible :)
Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 motorhome
AnswerID: 625301

Reply By: OzzieCruiser - Thursday, May 02, 2019 at 15:51

Thursday, May 02, 2019 at 15:51
ALDI sell them so they must be legal :-)
AnswerID: 625302

Follow Up By: Blown4by - Saturday, May 11, 2019 at 17:16

Saturday, May 11, 2019 at 17:16
Are you serious?
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Saturday, May 11, 2019 at 20:03

Saturday, May 11, 2019 at 20:03
He's got a big smiley at the end of his statement, so I think you can take it as a comment in jest.

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: OzzieCruiser - Saturday, May 11, 2019 at 22:01

Saturday, May 11, 2019 at 22:01
Of course I am serious - would Aldi ever sell anything that was not legal and of high quality.
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Follow Up By: Blown4by - Sunday, May 12, 2019 at 21:05

Sunday, May 12, 2019 at 21:05
Yes I did see the smiley face prior to submitting my first reply. It may come as somewhat of a surprise, but despite their diligent and rigorous QA processes, the occasional item which does not meet their usual high standards of merchantability, thus resulting in complete customer satisfaction, does manage to slip through. Ha Ha Ha!
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Reply By: Rangiephil - Thursday, May 02, 2019 at 16:04

Thursday, May 02, 2019 at 16:04
My first question is: Why 2 gas cylinders? My 4.7 Kg on my camper trailer lasts about 6 weeks.
Unless you have a gas fridge you do not need 2 cylinders, and I took one mounting point off my camper.
Next questions is: Is it a dual cab? If so why not place a bladder for water across the rear floor. This also inside the wheelbase and thus on the two axles.
That means you could cut the width down to half, with much less leverage o the chassis.
You haven't included a shot of the ute. Does it have a canopy? If so or even if not unless it has one of those stupid hard covers you could make a raised shelf at the front of the tub, and place your water jerry there. There are water carriers made that are wedge shaped and fit at the front of the tub , just behind the cab.
There are also fuel containers made the same.
I would be worried about a bent chassis with that crap hanging out the back.
I have seen many pictures of bent chassis just caused by hanging a spare wheel there and that is 30KG. you have about 7kgx2gas, plus 20kg water, plus 20KG fuel ,plus the weight of the frame lets say 20Kg total 74KG!!!

Regards Philip A
AnswerID: 625303

Follow Up By: GarryR - Thursday, May 02, 2019 at 16:38

Thursday, May 02, 2019 at 16:38
looks like the frame is attached to the tow ball mount in some way, and does not show how it is stabilized sideways. It may be 74kg or there abouts at that point, but is still much lighter than the ball weight of most CT;s etc. I still reckon that frame mount is not a good idea for the purpose of what I see. The frame is only aluminium with plastic corner connections, and I see the flexing will damage the frame very quickly in an offroad situation. Your comments also make much sense, with many unknowns
location - Warragul -Victoria
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Follow Up By: Malcom M - Friday, May 03, 2019 at 06:06

Friday, May 03, 2019 at 06:06
74Kgs is likely a lot less than the campers ball weight!
On the 10% rule, thats a trailer weighing 740Kg which is nothing.
74Kgs is nothing.
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Reply By: Alloy c/t - Thursday, May 02, 2019 at 17:40

Thursday, May 02, 2019 at 17:40
All these answers about the 'extra' weight behind the rear wheels is laughable , what's the ball weight on you 'average' camper trailer or c/van ?? A LOT more than this cargo carrier would EVER carry before breaking up , These things have been used in the USA forever and a day ....as for 'legality' ? As others have said ,allowed 60% of wheelbase , lights are LED ,yes you need to make sure that the number plate is 'visible' ,,, no different than having a 4 bike bike rack on the arse end ...common bloody sense seems to be lacking more and more ....
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Follow Up By: Rangiephil - Thursday, May 02, 2019 at 20:41

Thursday, May 02, 2019 at 20:41
Hang on.
The whole thing about ball weight is that it is right ON the ball, and hopefully close to the towbar.
The cantilever effect of all that weight , the centre of gravity of which is maybe 300-400MM back from the ball makes it's apparent weight much more.
My camper trailer has a ball weight of less than 60KG.
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Follow Up By: RMD - Thursday, May 02, 2019 at 21:29

Thursday, May 02, 2019 at 21:29
Alloy c/t
The issue is the same as the forces causing an axle to fatigue which I think you have had experience with.
The leverage outward and not immediately at the ball, which should be as close as possible to the axle, is the problem.

Just because the yanks do it often doesn't make it OK for using offroad here in Oz, far less induced forces on smooth highways though.

Maybe ok for a couple of swags and that will soften the tailgaters too. There's nothing like progressive compression to save the panels.
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Reply By: PeterBass - Thursday, May 02, 2019 at 18:19

Thursday, May 02, 2019 at 18:19
Thank you for your comments.
These things have been used in the USA a lot. Durability under Outback conditions is in question. It is rated for 185KG. Fine if it is a static load, however forces when off road greatly increase. Think about rooftop tents and load ratings on roof racks. Need to 1/2 the rack rating if going off road, not to mention the significant increase in lateral forces.. This model (ARK) has a steel 50x50 base that inserts into the tow hitch and extends either side with steel supports. The "carrier" on top of the alloy rack is from a CT, hence the 2 gas bottles & 20ltr jerry holders. No need to take 2 gas bottles on this trip. In Summary, I think I will use it for 2 x 20ltr water jerrys and misc camping items that will be handy for quick access.. Flammables in the tub. I don't think I would like to exceed about 90kg on this. I will let you know how it goes.
Thank you
Peter
AnswerID: 625310

Follow Up By: RMD - Thursday, May 02, 2019 at 21:35

Thursday, May 02, 2019 at 21:35
Peter
You stand two normal sized Aussies in there and watch what flexes and gaps increase in size. You may be surprised at what happens. Now get them to jump up and down to simulate just town driving and look again.
Are the bolts holding the towbar actually tight? Many are not even though professionally fitted.
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Thursday, May 02, 2019 at 22:52

Thursday, May 02, 2019 at 22:52
It's a mistake to presume that if a product is used in the USA, it's suitable to use in Australia.
American roads are generally much smoother overall than Australian roads.
Automotive design engineers regularly have to beef up suspensions of American-design vehicles to get them to provide better handling and ride than they produce with standard American suspension setups.

American motoring laws are more lax in many areas than here. Many American states allow multiple trailers to be hooked together behind a vehicle.
American laws allow greater overhangs.
Their Interstate highways have an 8' 6" (2590mm) width limit, rather than the absolute 2500mm limit we have here, before you need an overwidth permit and signage.

This arrangement appears to be unsatisfactory in its build as regards durability.
It's a legal requirement in all States to have both front and rear number plates clearly displayed at all times.
The vehicle manufacturer should be consulted before attaching and using an aftermarket product such as this - because the vehicle engineers probably never considered anyone would attach a substantial weight-carrying device in such a manner, to their vehicle.

To say it's no different to a couple of bicycles on a towbar mount rack is not true. A couple of bicycles weigh no more than a third to half the weight this device is capable of carrying.
In addition, is there any manufacturers maximum load specifications or advice included with it?

I can envisage some people filling them chock-a-block with something like high-density hardwood firewood, or using them to carry dozer parts in (don't laugh, I've seen blokes carry a full set of dozer track rollers in the boot of a Holden car, and end up bending the rear subframes!) - thus taking the design to completely unintended limits.

And then, of course, we have Pommy ideas such as this Thule arrangement, which wouldn't last 5 mins on our roads here!

Monstrous Thule towbar carriers - U.K.

Cheers, Ron.
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Reply By: Ron N - Thursday, May 02, 2019 at 23:13

Thursday, May 02, 2019 at 23:13
The Americans rate these carriers to 500lbs!! - that's 225kgs!! With the weight of the unit, that would possibly mean you could be hanging 250kgs off the vehicle towbar!!

That is just idiocy as regards affecting handling of the vehicle. I have a couple of single cab Hilux traytops, and even just placing 250kgs aft of the rear axle at the rear of the tray (with nothing up front of the tray), alters the handling dynamics so dramatically, they can be real handfuls, when it comes to rapidly correcting them from straight-line deviations at speed.

I'me talking about things that adversely and rapidly affect the vehicle tracking, such as a row of big corrugations on one side of the road, an inadvertent (or intentional) swerve, or even sudden, savage wind gusts from the likes of willy-willies, that will throw the vehicle off straight line tracking very quickly, with serious results, if the driver is not skilled and fast with steering corrections.

Add in some tyre pressure deviations from unchecked tyre pressures (common with a lot of drivers! - even if YOU are religious about tyre pressures), and the pendulum effect of 250 kgs hanging way out beyond the towball point is a recipe for a serious increase in the number of vehicle rollovers.

Best hitch-mounted cargo carriers (American Amazon sales website)

Cheers, Ron.
AnswerID: 625314

Reply By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Friday, May 03, 2019 at 12:13

Friday, May 03, 2019 at 12:13
Travelling over a few of those cattle grids made of railway line with the big gaps might sort it out. Or a few kilometers of corrugations! Its just aluminium extrusion but looks to have a steel frame inside that. Those gas bottles cant be legal or the fuel. The whole idea is dumb! Michael
Patrol 4.2TDi 2003

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Follow Up By: ian.g - Friday, May 03, 2019 at 14:43

Friday, May 03, 2019 at 14:43
Couldn't agree more, absolute rubbish would shake itself to pieces very quickly on any sort of a rough road.
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Saturday, May 04, 2019 at 00:22

Saturday, May 04, 2019 at 00:22
Michael is correct, this setup for carrying LPG bottles on the rear of a vehicle is not legal.

It is illegal to carry fuel or gas bottles on the front or rear of vehicles, the rear of caravans, or on the drawbar of trailers - anywhere where an impact caused by collision could damage the bottles, or the fuel containers.

Any gas bottles or fuel containers carried on a vehicle/trailer/van must be secured in an ADR-compliant gas bottle holder, or fuel container holder.

Ask your local registration authority or licencing inspector about the legality of carrying gas bottles or fuel containers on the outside of a vehicle, where they can be damaged in a collision.

They will tell you straight out, the arrangement will not be passed for licencing/registration.

Fuel tanks on vehicles are designed and positioned to withstand impact. They are located between chassis rails or either in front of the rear axle, or in a protected area behind the rear axle.

Some of you may have heard of the Ford Pinto "gas tank" lawsuits, and Ford Pinto recall in the U.S. (Google Grimshaw vs Ford).
The Pinto gas tank was poorly designed and after many hundreds of serious fires, a number of fire fatalities, and one young man suffering serious injuries, due to a Pinto gas tank rupture in a collision - which all led to over 100 lawsuits - Ford had to recall 1.5M Pintos to fix their fuel tank vulnerabilities.

Vehicle design rules and testing ensure that vehicle fuel tanks are capable of withstanding moderate impacts without rupture.

I note on another forum from several years ago, one contributor noted that when he had previously been a police officer, he had attended 3 car crashes where portable fuel containers or gas bottles, carried on the outside of vehicles, had ignited after impact - and the result was fatalities in all three cases.

Unfortunately, the fatalities were not in the vehicle carrying the bottles/fuel containers.

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Saturday, May 04, 2019 at 10:16

Saturday, May 04, 2019 at 10:16
Come on Ron , your statement about where you CANNOT carry gas bottles legally makes every single c/van and camper trailer Illegal , I put it to you that 99% of C/vans carry gas bottles on the draw bar as do camper trailers and have done so for years ...
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Saturday, May 04, 2019 at 12:16

Saturday, May 04, 2019 at 12:16
Alloy, I should have been a little clearer in my explanation.

When I stated, "you cannot carry gas bottles on the drawbar of any trailer", I meant they could not be carried in any arrangement that is not ADR or Gas Standards compliant.

All gas bottles fitted to caravans and campers must be installed to AS/NZS 5601.2-2013.
Section 3 of the Standard covers gas bottle installation requirements for boats and caravans - and all variations and sub-variations of those vehicles.

It makes sense to ensure that any spare gas bottles carried, are carried and secured, in an identical manner to gas bottles being utilised for an energy source.

Section 3 of the Standard covers gas bottle location. The requirement is that gas bottles be fixed to the caravan chassis or under the caravan skirt (obviously, still attached to the chassis).

Section 3.2.4 of the Standard explicitly states -
"Stowage requirements for unconnected or spare cylinders shall be the same as for connected cylinders".

Section 3.3 covers gas bottle attachment methods - and Section 3.4 covers gas bottle compartments and lockers.

AS/NZS-5601-2-2013

The gas bottle attachment method must be capable of withstanding a force applied in any direction, that equates to 4 times the full weight of the particular size of gas bottle.

The entire aim of the Standard is about substantially reducing the risks associated with gas bottles when they leak, or vent - either slowly - or rapidly, in the case of damage or accidental ignition, caused by fire or collision.

If a gas bottle vents rapidly through the safety valve, it is imperative that the venting is done to the atmosphere, in a direction that is safest, and not aimed at living areas, or vehicle cabins.
Boats have specific instructions for gas discharge venting.

For this same reason, gas bottles located on the front of caravans must not have their safety valve oriented towards the tow vehicle.

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Saturday, May 04, 2019 at 16:22

Saturday, May 04, 2019 at 16:22
.
So Ron, does this conform to AS/NZS 5601 or does it not?
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Batt's - Saturday, May 04, 2019 at 17:41

Saturday, May 04, 2019 at 17:41
Different country pic is useless
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Saturday, May 04, 2019 at 18:15

Saturday, May 04, 2019 at 18:15
.
Only to the humourless Batt's. lol
Cheers
Allan

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Reply By: Batt's - Saturday, May 04, 2019 at 00:48

Saturday, May 04, 2019 at 00:48
Extremely dangerous carrying fuel, gas in an exposed manner also don't know if insurance would cover you at all or even in an accident being neglectful when possibly you, your passengers or someone behind you with their family on board gets trapped in the vehicle and possible burnt to death while concsious. It may sound extreme but seriously set it up safely and don't skimp or it may cost you. Secure dangerous goods in the tray or in a proper jerry can holder.

I can't believe companies can sell this sort of rubbish and some people have such poor judgement thinking it's safe to buy and load up with flamable liquids especially if they despirately think they can save a dollar. Also if a pedistrian walks into it parked or driving you may end up in trouble legally for an illegal mod.
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Follow Up By: OzzieCruiser - Saturday, May 04, 2019 at 12:48

Saturday, May 04, 2019 at 12:48
Disability scooters can be carried a similar manner and are all legal.
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Follow Up By: Batt's - Saturday, May 04, 2019 at 13:15

Saturday, May 04, 2019 at 13:15
No worries are they propelled with flammable liquids stored it an exposed container on the scooter ?
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Reply By: Batt's - Saturday, May 04, 2019 at 00:55

Saturday, May 04, 2019 at 00:55
The 90kg weight you estimate may be just that when over the axle but will be a lot more the further behind the axle you place it.
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Reply By: PeterBass - Saturday, May 04, 2019 at 06:59

Saturday, May 04, 2019 at 06:59
Back in the shed it goes??
Thanks for your comments.
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Follow Up By: Batt's - Saturday, May 04, 2019 at 11:18

Saturday, May 04, 2019 at 11:18
I doubt it
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Reply By: ian.g - Tuesday, May 07, 2019 at 14:04

Tuesday, May 07, 2019 at 14:04
Another use for a tow bar hitch, and about as usefull
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Tuesday, May 07, 2019 at 14:30

Tuesday, May 07, 2019 at 14:30
.
Geez Ian, you'd want to be sure your wife was in-board before you drove off, wouldn't you? lol
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Tuesday, May 07, 2019 at 15:58

Tuesday, May 07, 2019 at 15:58
Ha Ha, Allan, such things should not be the subject of such jokes. You know what they say ... "Many a thing said in jest ...."

My wife and I were exploring a track with another couple, both towing Kimberley Karavans - hybrid camper/caravans with inside toilets. The track had taken a jink via a creek bed. We stopped to investigate the exit from a creek bed and what lay beyond. I had need of a tree (not worth opening the van for a quick wee) and jumped out. Wife was last seen walking with the other wife toward the creek bed exit.

On my return, the other vehicle had moved on up the creek bed toward the exit. Wife was not to be seen.

Unbenownst to me, wife had had a quick change of mind and decided to use the facility in our van. Rather than opening the van properly by raising it, she had crawled in, opened the skylight over the loo and sat on the throne with half her head sticking out

All my business had been on the right hand side, so on my return I didn't see the open van door nor the half open skylight. With no cues otherwise, (the van was still down) I presumed she had walked on a bit with the other wife, walked the exit and that the other hubby was following with their rig to catch them up, so I moved off with the van a'rockin' and a'rollin' on the stoney creek bed.

It was only when I caught up with the other couple and still no wife that I realised that I was probably in deep ka-ka. I was right.

Though it was only a few metres, 20 or 30 or so, she won't let me live it down. The event was made the subject of a poem that, to this day, is still occasionally read at club gatherings and around the campfire.
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