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Living in a Caravan

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  • #16
    Today is a rest day. We're parked up in a place called the Riverside Caravan Park in Mildura. It's cold....and one of us is not at all keen on the idea of getting out of bed.


    • #17
      Yesterday, I drove the 400km from Mildura to Adelaide...the capital of my home state of South Australia...and our principal destination for this journey.

      We've travelled about 2500km and it's taken about 12 days to get here. We expect to be here about 5 days and then we'll wind our way back home to Macleay Island in sunny Queensland. For our our overseas friends, it's winter in Australia...and the further south we've travelled the more we've been reminded of that.

      We spent the day finding our feet...and catching up with family.

      Much has changed in the northern peri-urban parts of Adelaide. Major roadworks have made moving about the area quicker (although increased traffic has offset some of that gain) and commercial development along the Port Wakefield and Main North Roads has exploded. The two largest Bunnings (like Lowes and Home Depot in the US) and Aldi stores that I've ever set foot in are in this area.


      • #18
        Click image for larger version

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ID:	1197Interestingly, the caravan park where we are staying is a few hundred metres from Bolivar Wastewater Treatment Plant...SA's largest such facility. In 1977, I trained and worked there as a plant operator. It was where I gained my first understanding of the water chemistry and micro-biology that was to stand me in such good stead in integrated aquaculture over 25 years later. For about three years, I worked with all manner of pumps, massive bio-digesters and bio-filters...and dual fuel engines that ran on the methane gas that came from the bio-digesters.

        At the time, I had the distinction of being the only operator to have worked across all three areas of the wastewater treatment plant. Interestingly, this was not because I was especially was (ironically) the opposite. In a curious combination of circumstances, this conundrum led to the start of a training and management career that spanned 38 years.

        Twenty years ago, you could not be this close to Bolivar STW and not be very aware of it...the odour was overwhelming - and nasty! Now, several major upgrades later, the only indication of its proximity is the front gate.


        • #19
          We've spent a very satisfying four or five days visiting family and reconnecting with my old home state.

          For a confirmed glutton like me, life would be incomplete without a visit to Adelaide's Central Market. If you are into gourmet breads, cheese, smallgoods, poultry, fish and meat, the Central Market is the place to go. Fortunately, we got the opportunity to tick that one off today. In fact, I was so keen to get into the market, that I omitted to note where I'd parked the car. That provided an unwanted opportunity to walk off my lunch.

          Tomorrow, we start the homeward leg of our cavanning adventure.
          Attached Files


          • #20
            We began the journey home yesterday...and another trip down memory lane.

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            We travelled through Burra - our home for many years. One of our past businesses was the historic Commercial Hotel. We renovated this old place - extensively - and it looked a picture when we'd finished it over 20 years ago. The adjoing cottage and corner shop were part of the property. Our first gallery (named "Cousin Jack's Fine Craft) was located in what is now an Indonesian restaurant.

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            A few kilometres down the road, is the township of Hallet...the home of one of SA's wind farms.

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            We couldn't get any closer than the main road...but, for those who wonder how big these windmills's a single blade.

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            • #21
              We spent last night in Broken Hill...the birthplace of the mining giant BHP Billiton...and a sacred site for Australia's trade union movement.

              Today, we travelled over 500km to Cobar - another outback mining town. We got to see the usual kangaroos, emus, goannas and bush goats....thousands of bush goats. Many of the kangaroos in these parts fall prey to the heavy trucks that traverse the area at night. They are drawn to the headlights with the inevitable sad ending. The carcasses, which litter the highway, provide a windfall for wedge-tailed eagles and crows.

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              The distances - and the unchanging landscape...are mind-numbing.

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              • #22
                Here ya go, Gary. Put this on your wish list. Seems it could be as permanent or as "gypsy" as one would like.


                • #23
                  Durn ...... forgot .........


                  • Gary Donaldson
                    Gary Donaldson commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I think it will probably stay on the wish list, too. I'm not even going to look at how much it costs.

                • #24
                  Tomorrow afternoon, we board the Macleay Island barge - and this part of the "Living in a Caravan" project comes to an it's probably useful to make a few personal observations about our experience of the past 21 days.
                  • We've completed most of the 2000km return journey in just four days...averaging 500km per day.
                  • Driving for hours and then stopping overnight in a caravan park...and then repeating that on a daily expensive and tiresome.
                  • Setting up a caravan takes about 30 minutes by the time the van is unhooked, levelled and hooked up to power, water and greywater drainage. There's also the TV aerial to hook up, the fridge to switch over and the roll-out awning to set up. Packing up, when you're ready to move, takes a similar amount of time.
                  • Four to five hours of driving - with the van attached - burns a tank of fuel per day...averaging about $85.00. An overnight stay in a caravan park costs an average of $32 (ranging from $24 to $45) per night. Food cost vary depending on whether you buy fast food or prepare your own. It is much cheaper - and far more satisfying - to cater for yourself.
                  • The most cost-effective way to live in a caravan is to free camp...staying outside of caravan parks - in informal roadside/riverside camps or showgrounds. Persuading someone to give you some space in their backyard - or a patch of ground on their farm - is a great way to reduce your cost of living. You may be able to assist with some maintenance as an offset.
                  • In a very short time, I concluded that caravanning is about driving to somewhere with appeal...and staying there for several days (or weeks).
                  The next phase of this project will involve setting the caravan up in my free camping that I can determine what's involved in living


                  • #25
                    Hi Gary,

                    Did you go through Bourke this time?



                    • Gary Donaldson
                      Gary Donaldson commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Hi, we skirted Bourke....coming through Narrabri and Glen Innes...and then onto Warwick. I like Bourke but once I got the scent of Brisbane in my nostrils there was no time for deviations.

                  • #26
                    In previous posts, I described my experience of living in a caravan on a long trip - of 21 days' duration - during which we averaged 200km per day. While it's certainly achievable, it's expensive - and not something that I would want to do on a permanent (or even regular) basis.

                    One of my reasons for buying a caravan is to, in the spirit of having more for less, assess its suitability as an alternative to living in a house.

                    The disadvantages of caravanning (if you move it frequently and far) are its cost and the hassle of making and breaking camp. In my opinion, thinking of a caravan as a tiny house is the best way. Treating a caravan as a tiny house...where you find a suitable location - and then stay there for an extended period of time - makes much more sense. The benefit of a caravan over a tiny house, in this situation, is that you can move it - if you have to.

                    Having returned from our 21-day trek, I parked the caravan in the backyard where I propose to set it up in free camping mode. I'll use it as overflow accommodation for when people come to visit...and I may even occupy it for short periods myself - so that I can get a better sense of what is needed when we free camp elsewhere.


                    • #27
                      The biggest issue with living in a small caravan is one of location. If you just park it on it on someone else's land, they may well move quickly to reinforce their property rights...and move you on. In most places, local ordinances discriminate against living in a caravan outside of a specific caravan (trailer) park.

                      The challenge is to find a place to set up your caravan where you won't be disturbed. Parking it on private property (that of a friend or family member) is one option. That's easiest if they live in a rural environment. In urban areas, you risk a neighbour taking issue with what you are doing and reporting you to the municipal authorities who will move you on...quite possibly fining you in the process.

                      That brings me to a core principle of having more for less. The less that people know about your personal circumstances, the more likely that you are going to be able enjoy live without interruption.

                      All manner of things become possible if other people don't know about it....and all manner of things will come unstuck if people (motivated by self-importance, bloodymindedness, jealousy, greed, envy or anxiety) know too much about things that have nothing to do with them. Local government authorities are highly reactive to complaints by residents so the key to avoiding undue attention from municipal officers is to avoid creating anxiety among your neighbours...and one of the more important strategies for keeping your neighbours happy is to limit what they know.