First outing with the Winnie

Last year when we were coming back from somewhere we drove through the Dryandra Woodlands. It home to the white barked Wandoo and Powderbark which once covered a large area of the wheatbelt and provides a habitat for lots of local animals, etc. We drove through the park and investigated the camping areas provided by the WA Parks and Wildlife Service with a view to going there to stay for a night or two at a future date.

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We are having a lot of rain at the moment and often see this type of heavy cloud.

When were discussing future trips, including visiting Dryandra, with Marie and Geoff, they decided to come as well, staying at the Wandering Caravan Park as they need electricity for heating. Our plan is to camp with them at Wandering for the first night, then spend the second night at Dryandra. Originally we planned to stay for a few days, but something happened.

Whilst we were overseas Marie and Geoff kept an eye on the Winnie, checking for water leaks after heavy rainfalls. I also checked her on return, including the shelf over the bed, where there was a leak when we damaged the roof in the early days of having the van. I was driving and Stephen giving directions, but he forgot to check up high and we hit an overhang. We haven’t made that mistake since, but we had water leaking in over the bed and did some pretty drastic patching as we had to wait months for a new panel. It was covered under insurance, of course.

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I tried to keep the patch fairly discrete, but putting some larger plastic sheeting on it would have given me more peace of mind.

After bringing the Winnie to our place, I was opening the curtains when I noticed a slight stain on the pillows. Further checking found a puddle on the shelf above the bed and the bedding was damp on that side. Even the mattress was slightly damp. I pulled everything out and put it in the wash. We stood the mattress on its side for a couple of days and it appears to be fine. The only bedding that was damaged was the doona which had mould.

The leak would have been difficult to find and even I didn’t find it until it arrived at our place. We think the repairs may be covered under the original claim.

On Saturday morning we had some fine weather, so we patched the corner with plastic and tape. I climb the ladder and Stephen hands things up to me. So far, we haven’t had any further leaks and this morning I made up the bed. I put plastic over the bedding, just in case.

I rang Ken Peachy Caravan Repairs and they were able to book us in for Thursday 9th August – an urgent matter such as a water leak gets priority, normally we have quite a long wait for repairs. It means we can only go away for two nights, but as Dryandra is only a couple of hours away it is still worthwhile to go. In fact, even if we still had a leak we were planning to go anyway and work around it. It might mean sleeping ‘upstairs’ in the luton bed, but still worth going.

The stove top burner are burning with some yellow, rather than just blue flame. I remember from our last trip that pots and pans are getting dirty bottoms when we cook. I did some online research which suggests that the jets and stove as a whole needs cleaning. I think even the oven and grill are burning yellow, it might be more than I can tackle so will ask Jason at Ken Peachy for advice.

The main danger is carbon monoxide poisoning – probably not too much danger for us as we are such fresh air fiends in the Winnie. We have a built in draft coming from behind the microwave which we chose to not have fixed, plus we always have at least one window open slightly. And, there is a vent on the front door, down quite low. We can open up even more whilst using the stove, just to make sure. The fridge might also need checking, but we don’t leave it on overnight when using gas because everything inside freezes up.

We were extremely busy in the first few weeks of coming home, but things have slowed down a little bit and I feel as though I’ve caught up, to some extent. I’m starting to feel the benefits of being retired and having energy for our many and varied projects and interests.