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Post Info TOPIC: Impressions of a new solo nomad


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Impressions of a new solo nomad


Impressions of a new solo nomad

16th January 2019

About three weeks on the road and things have been close to but not
exactly as I expected.

The Gods were against me and arranged for my first days on the nomad
road to be those between Xmas and New Year and, just to rub it in, in
east Gippsland too! There were more bloody boats on the road than in
Portsmouth harbour!

It's 30 years since I've towed a caravan so a 2.6T, 7.6m (25')
caravan behind a 2.7T 4WD in the heaviest traffic of the year was not
the ideal place to re-learn. Nevertheless, I reached my initial
destination, a small caravan park about 80km from home, without
issue.

Three days at the caravan park provided the opportunity to get the
van and 4WD into a vague semblance, very vague, of order and also to
purchase food supplies for my initial one month sojourn into the
depths of east Gippsland's forests which I know well from my years of
4WDing.

Emotionally I was feeling a little down, not helped because I had
arranged (for $180) for the council to collect a deal of my "stuff"
as rubbish just before leaving. Hint: get your "stuff" out *well*
before you intend to hit the road and keep in mind that unless it has
a noticeable resale value no one will want it.

Adding to the negative emotion, of course, were all the natural
doubts about "Will it be OK - this massive life change" but I had
expected such feelings to emerge and it didn't take long to shrug
them off however I would suggest that being a basically positive
person is an advantage in such circumstances.

Organising the caravan into a "home" was a big boost to me and I
began to feel that I had a "secure space" once more - a very
important requirement for all animals.

OK, so $250 spent at Safeway (I bought far too much food) and set off
then next day heading to my secret spot in the Gippsland forests. It
should have been about a four hour drive from the caravan park but
this was holiday season and the roads full. Also I had no idea what I
was doing and hadn't thought a full cassette toilet was a bad idea to
drive with so I found a dump point in Rosedale (thanks Rosedale) and
emptied it there. One of the more interesting caravanning first
experiences :) (Hint: buy rubber gloves).

By this time it was 2.00pm and I decided not to head into the forest
this late in the day so, with the unexpected realisation that with a
caravan you can stop when you want (I can be a bit thick sometimes :) )
I found a free camp site near Rosedale and spent a pleasant and
relaxed evening there, met a new friend too.

Setting off the next morning and I'm beginning to realise the
Jackaroo (3.5L petrol) is struggling with this weight of van. Fifth
is now an unused gear and third is getting a very good workout - I'm
towing at around 85kph to 90kph and trying to keep the revs around
the maximum torque point or so. The van is stable even when the speed
occasional wanders up to 100kph. The Jackaroo is aged (aren't we all)
but still in damn good nick and I'm reluctant to replace it unless I
really need to however the fuel consumption (with van) of 25L/100km
is not encouraging - 14L/100km without van.

The 1.5 hour (in 4WD only) drive from Bairnsdale to my secret forest
location turns into a two hour drive with 2.6T of van on the back and
leaves me wondering if this really was one of my most brilliant ideas
for a new caravan first outing. Most of these roads were one and a
half vehicles wide so someone was going to have to back up on a
forest track and it wasn't going to be me! :) Fortunately I didn't
meet anyone.

Got to camp OK but had forgotten about the 90 degree bend, with a
tree, at the entry - easy in a 4WD. Took the bend on the narrow side
and the van and tree almost had to get engaged. Backed up (uphill) a
bit and took the Jackaroo bush which gave the van wall a whole 100mm
clearance - easy :)

Spent about 12 days in camp (another story there) then the
temperature began to hit 40C and the "Total Fire Bans" were coming
thick and fast and I decided it was time to be out of this beautiful
location on a delightful river deep, deep in the forest but with only
one road in/out.

Left yesterday (15/1/19) and am in a caravan park near Bairnsdale
with power/water/WiFi - for what more could a nomad want?

I'll spend a couple more days here then head out to the bush again,
the facilities of the park are nice but I didn't become a nomad to
stay in caravan parks. Nevertheless one has to accept reality and in
those few weeks of very high temperature Victoria experiences most
years perhaps this or another coastal location is the best place to
be. I'm still a babe in arms of course and this is all a learning
experience.

I'll write again but to sum up:
The van (Snowy River SR-19) - great so far.
My feelings about the whole thing: - so far so good and I'm happy :)

Mike Harding



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"Sadly you can say what you like around the kitchen table at home." - Gillian Triggs, April 2017



Guru

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Date:

Glad to see you are enjoying the solo nomadic lifestyle. The fuel usage figure seems extraordinarily high unless you a driving in 4WD all the time.
Too much food is always the novice fail. You'll soon get used to getting the grocery mix right.
Take care out there particularly in this hot/fire season.


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Sent from my imperial66 typewriter using carrier pigeon



Guru

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Date:

Good for you Mike, handled the situation well.

Aussie Paul. smile



-- Edited by aussie_paul on Wednesday 16th of January 2019 09:52:55 PM

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Guru

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G'day Mike,
I'm pleased that your issues have been detected close to your familiar stamping grounds. Could have been much worse if you were in an isolated area.
I see you spent up big on food & have a weight issue. The rules are - NO tins (small ones perhaps), NO jars - they are too heavy! Packet food is the way to go - might be a little dearer but it packs in better too.

Travel with the BOM site - keep the cooler weather with you in summer, the warmer in winter for more pleasurable times.

I recall the first run of our camper (tent) trailer - we didn't go far from home - just up to Keelbottom Creek NW of Townsville. Pat asked whether I should have packed the doona - No, was my response - it's quite warm up there! Well it wasn't too warm at 2 o'clock in the morning & we froze for the rest of the early morning! Unless we were travelling up the coast, the doona went with us!

Happy travelling & investigating new spots.

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Warren

----------------------------------

If you don't get it done today, there's always tomorrow!

2019 Isuzu D-Max (I still miss the reliable old Patrol though)/2011 17' Jayco Discovery Outback



Senior Member

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Date:

Good to hear from you Mike and really interesting to read how your first trip went. I can imagine a lot of people would have the same reaction when they hit the road for the first time. Have I done the right thing? My possessions are being carted away as rubbish. Difficult to deal with so very pleased to hear all ended up well.
I've been wondering what people do when the heat hits extreme levels and think planning locations for those days would have to be a prime consideration.
All the best and look forward to hearing more of your travels.

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Hey Mike at least it wasn't a boring, mundane start to your travels. biggrin



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Veteran Member

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Date:

Mike Harding wrote:

Impressions of a new solo nomad

16th January 2019

About three weeks on the road and things have been close to but not
exactly as I expected.

The Gods were against me and arranged for my first days on the nomad
road to be those between Xmas and New Year and, just to rub it in, in
east Gippsland too! There were more bloody boats on the road than in
Portsmouth harbour!

It's 30 years since I've towed a caravan so a 2.6T, 7.6m (25')
caravan behind a 2.7T 4WD in the heaviest traffic of the year was not
the ideal place to re-learn. Nevertheless, I reached my initial
destination, a small caravan park about 80km from home, without
issue.

Three days at the caravan park provided the opportunity to get the
van and 4WD into a vague semblance, very vague, of order and also to
purchase food supplies for my initial one month sojourn into the
depths of east Gippsland's forests which I know well from my years of
4WDing.

Emotionally I was feeling a little down, not helped because I had
arranged (for $180) for the council to collect a deal of my "stuff"
as rubbish just before leaving. Hint: get your "stuff" out *well*
before you intend to hit the road and keep in mind that unless it has
a noticeable resale value no one will want it.

Adding to the negative emotion, of course, were all the natural
doubts about "Will it be OK - this massive life change" but I had
expected such feelings to emerge and it didn't take long to shrug
them off however I would suggest that being a basically positive
person is an advantage in such circumstances.

Organising the caravan into a "home" was a big boost to me and I
began to feel that I had a "secure space" once more - a very
important requirement for all animals.

OK, so $250 spent at Safeway (I bought far too much food) and set off
then next day heading to my secret spot in the Gippsland forests. It
should have been about a four hour drive from the caravan park but
this was holiday season and the roads full. Also I had no idea what I
was doing and hadn't thought a full cassette toilet was a bad idea to
drive with so I found a dump point in Rosedale (thanks Rosedale) and
emptied it there. One of the more interesting caravanning first
experiences :) (Hint: buy rubber gloves).

By this time it was 2.00pm and I decided not to head into the forest
this late in the day so, with the unexpected realisation that with a
caravan you can stop when you want (I can be a bit thick sometimes :) )
I found a free camp site near Rosedale and spent a pleasant and
relaxed evening there, met a new friend too.

Setting off the next morning and I'm beginning to realise the
Jackaroo (3.5L petrol) is struggling with this weight of van. Fifth
is now an unused gear and third is getting a very good workout - I'm
towing at around 85kph to 90kph and trying to keep the revs around
the maximum torque point or so. The van is stable even when the speed
occasional wanders up to 100kph. The Jackaroo is aged (aren't we all)
but still in damn good nick and I'm reluctant to replace it unless I
really need to however the fuel consumption (with van) of 25L/100km
is not encouraging - 14L/100km without van.

The 1.5 hour (in 4WD only) drive from Bairnsdale to my secret forest
location turns into a two hour drive with 2.6T of van on the back and
leaves me wondering if this really was one of my most brilliant ideas
for a new caravan first outing. Most of these roads were one and a
half vehicles wide so someone was going to have to back up on a
forest track and it wasn't going to be me! :) Fortunately I didn't
meet anyone.

Got to camp OK but had forgotten about the 90 degree bend, with a
tree, at the entry - easy in a 4WD. Took the bend on the narrow side
and the van and tree almost had to get engaged. Backed up (uphill) a
bit and took the Jackaroo bush which gave the van wall a whole 100mm
clearance - easy :)

Spent about 12 days in camp (another story there) then the
temperature began to hit 40C and the "Total Fire Bans" were coming
thick and fast and I decided it was time to be out of this beautiful
location on a delightful river deep, deep in the forest but with only
one road in/out.

Left yesterday (15/1/19) and am in a caravan park near Bairnsdale
with power/water/WiFi - for what more could a nomad want?

I'll spend a couple more days here then head out to the bush again,
the facilities of the park are nice but I didn't become a nomad to
stay in caravan parks. Nevertheless one has to accept reality and in
those few weeks of very high temperature Victoria experiences most
years perhaps this or another coastal location is the best place to
be. I'm still a babe in arms of course and this is all a learning
experience.

I'll write again but to sum up:
The van (Snowy River SR-19) - great so far.
My feelings about the whole thing: - so far so good and I'm happy :)

Mike Harding


Good write-up.

 

Firstly congrats for "getting out there and doing it".

 

On the towing front, I'll say this. We towed a reasonable-sized boat from Philip Island back to Canberra over the Xmas/New Year period. Just shy of 800 kms. All bitumen, and at between 90-100kph most of the way. Boat and trailer at ~ 1 tonne all-up, and we were in a Grand Vitara  with not dissimilar 3.2 V6 petrol to your Jackaroo. Like you, we alternated between 3-4 (didn't use 5th), and chewed plenty of petrol. Price of using a petrol-powered vehicle to tow...esp. when the towing vehicle is  a"box", and the towed vehicle get's little "shelter" from the towing one. Ours is full-time 4WD, which probably doesn't help either.

Interesting to read about the "learning experiences" you're going through. Genuinely hope other new GNs stubmble across this thread, as I reckon it would be of great help.

 

Did you grab some rubber gloves yet, BTW? ;)

 

Enjoy yourself out there, and thanks again for the read!



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Senior Member

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As a new solo nomad it was great to read your story. I have been also feeling a little anxious at setting off on my own, but I hope as soon as I get going I shall settle in ok. Heading from Mackay in Qld to my eventual destination on Newcastle to visit rels and friends in the area and then back again after about 5 weeks to put house on the market. Such a change at an older age. Anyway can't just sit around when there is so much to see and enjoy.

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Hi Mike,  I love reading your posts. So well phrased!  

 

Enjoy your new nomad life. It sure is better than staring at 4 walls!

Susan



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Thank you for your kind words Susan :)



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"Sadly you can say what you like around the kitchen table at home." - Gillian Triggs, April 2017



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Mike,if you like East Gippsland try Angusvale or Bentleys Plains



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Guru

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Hi PT

Have done both in my 4WD travels :)

In fact my "secret spot" was not at all far from The Bentley Plain but I came out the day before the Timbarra fire started - it all just started to look too dangerous.

Angusvale is a good idea! I have been offered some consulting work which will take a couple of weeks to sort out so I don't want to go too far from Melbourne before then - Angusvale it is I think - thanks.



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"Sadly you can say what you like around the kitchen table at home." - Gillian Triggs, April 2017



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Very interesting Mike. I will shortly become a solo wanderer and found your story very enlightening. I have a HQ Triton diesel pulling a rear-fold camper-trailer. I last towed a caravan in the mid 70's with an XP falcon.
I will be heading up to Axedale, Newell Hwy. Vic. to my sisters to shake out the wrinkles and find out what I forgot to pack. Back to Melbourne for a 62nd. PMG training school reunion and to donate blood and then off I go heading indirectly to Coolgardie to visit my little nipper. It will take a lot longer than the last time I visited him.

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Interesting to hear your perspective there Mike. Can you believe, I have never travelled solo?!

Maybe it is something I need to put on my list - new life experience and all that.

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Mike Harding it is interesting to read your thoughts about relinquishing the stable life for the peripatetic one. I am sure you will find yourself adaptable. Hope to meet you on the road some time.

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Upon reading some more posts I become aware that you are a proponent of wireless communication for the citizens. I should like to avail myself of such a device. To construct it for me presents difficulty. I would ask however that you refrain from directing me towards construction of equipment that uses modern semiconductors. I feel far more confident with thermionic technology for obvious reasons.

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Extraordinary Rendition wrote:

Upon reading some more posts I become aware that you are a proponent of wireless communication for the citizens. I should like to avail myself of such a device. To construct it for me presents difficulty. I would ask however that you refrain from directing me towards construction of equipment that uses modern semiconductors. I feel far more confident with thermionic technology for obvious reasons.


 Hi ER

I have an Advanced Amateur Radio licence which permits me to use a
*stack* of RF real estate for all sorts of purposes. NB. This is not
Citizen's Band (CB) radio - a far cry from it in all regards.

CB is adequate for car-to-car comms but not much else.

Obtaining an Amateur Radio licence use to be quite hard but about ten
years ago we introduced a new licence category, Foundation licence,
which has fewer privileges but is fairly easy to obtain. Essentially,
if you can operate a desktop computer without getting in a tizz you
can pass the Foundation exam.

Very few construct their own radios nowadays and those that do
generally do it for the technical challenge. For A$1000, new, one may
buy an exceptionally sophisticated radio which covers all bands most
people will use. If the budget is tight $300 will buy an excellent
secondhand HF radio and VHF/UHF secondhand sets may be had for $100
or so. A 12V battery and a piece of wire in the tree and you can talk
to the world from your campfire. HF radio works in places iPhones can
only dream of :)

Have a look here:
http://www.wia.org.au/licenses/foundation/about/

MH
(Now on the Mornington Peninsula, Vic)



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"Sadly you can say what you like around the kitchen table at home." - Gillian Triggs, April 2017



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Mike,
I'm in a similar situation having left the house in which I raised my children earlier this year. I (was adjacent to the Mornington Peninsular but) am now in Queensland preparing to head inland across the far north (and still struggling with "so I'm a Grey Nomad so what the $%^#! am I doing".

A question - for safety as a solo traveler I was considering a satellite phone but your comments on HR units for much the same price sounds like a much better solution.

Can you point at a page that talks about what characteristics I should be looking for and/or (better still) possible brands/models? I've done a quick run through eBay and there are many units available but from my totally ignorant starting point, their descriptions are just so much garbage. My thoughts are that it is an emergency device for me so I'd prefer a standalone system, not one fitted to the car (which seem to run to multiple times $1000 and I'm running out of dashboard anyway).

(On a side issue the diesel Jeep, towing a 2.8 tonne ATM caravan has averaged between 15 and 16 l/100km but then I tend to travel between 80kph and 90kph and stick as far as possible to multi-lane roads where traffic can pass. But crunch the numbers and even an extra 10 l/100km , when taken over 15,000km per year at (say) $1.60 per litre, still only adds up to an extra $2,400 over the year. It sounds a lot but its less than the depreciation on even a cheap new diesel. So don't let the fuel usage be a deciding factor).



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Hello Mike, as a just started solo traveler and an amateur radio operator, I was wondering what sort of antenna you

are using for HF. I only have a 13' van and a Mitsi diesel for a tug that gets 12l/100km at 90kph.

I was hoping to take the FT817 & RS918 radios with me (5-10 watts) to use at night.

I am thinking of making a bracket on the drawbar to hold a tube where a telescopic 30' pole can be

inserted as a vertical antenna mast. The van chassis will be the ground.

Have 120 watt solar panel & 2x 100ah AGM batteries

Might even take the new Icom 7300 for short spells of 50-100 watts.

 

Like you - looking for isolated free camps where there is an opportunity for fishing as well, anyway the Bendeela

free camp near the Kangaroo river will be a starting point

regards & 73

Alex VK2ABE



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Guru

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Enjoyed reading your post Mike. Thanks for posting and enjoy.



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Bryan



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enjoyed it . thanks.

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Hi Mike. It is something that I am think of doing (solo travels, having lost my wife. I am 70 but still active) Where are you at the moment ? I am hitting the road soon, so would be nice to catch up with a solo traveller. Cheers Joe

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