The Goldilocks van

We arrived home from our last van excursion on Monday night and managed to get away again yesterday (Thursday). We left at about 10.40 am, being rather relaxed because our aim was to reach Capel for an overnight of free camping. We are enjoying the few days of cooler weather before another heatwave and were snuggled under our winter doona last night.

City Beach Monday evening

We finally met with our gardener on Tuesday evening. His partner seems alert enough, but he was clearly stoned on something. It doesn’t inspire confidence but Celsius, who are paying for most of the restorative work, say he has done good work in the past for them. We’ve set up the week beginning 10th February as when the work will be done, probably over a few days. We’ve asked for bushes rather than small flowering plants, by having fewer we should be able to keep within the budget.

There was no one else at the free camping place last night though a large caravan came in, then chose a spot further down the road. The ranger came in at 7.00 am and we don’t know if they got into trouble or not.

On the way down we stopped once at a services to use the toilet, then went a little further to our usual lunch spot at the John Tognetti rest area. We parked in the sun and watched Ash Barty lose her match. We were sad for her, but I think she can handle it. We were disappointed, but still glad to have seen the last hour of the match. Having lunch as well made a nice little break. I had remembered to fill the thermos so making cups of tea was easy.

We arrived in Capel at about 4.00 pm. At about 6.00 we walked into town and explored the Main Street. The IGA, liquor outlet and pub were open and kids were playing in the beautiful skate park.

With all of the driving and also making sure we park in the sun we’ve had no power problems, indeed the battery has stayed over 80%. I was worried that after hammering it down it might not hold a charge, but it wasn’t a problem and there is no need to get a new battery. It’s cloudy and we have some tall tree shadow but we are still getting some solar power this morning.

I defrosted the little fridge, and got it cold again with the van on external power. We found our icecream a bit runny last night. It hasn’t had problems before even with the battery running down. I think I may have packed the freezer too full. I changed things around a bit and this morning the food is frozen.

Stephen has been exploring campsites, etc. for the next few days, but we haven’t yet decided what we will do today.

As we develop our routines and still make silly mistakes, we note that we have become very comfortable in this van. When the two front seats are swivelled they make very comfortable arm chairs. The bench seat opposite isn’t as comfortable, but can be improved with cushions. We love our bed in the rear and adjust to getting in and out quite easily. It’s set quite high and I can’t sit up straight to drink my tea in the morning in the usual place, so I sit with my back against the door. Stephen doesn’t seem to mind slumping.

We left almost all of our electrical appliances at home. We will be mostly free camping and it seems silly to carry them. I’ve brought the induction cooktop and we have stainless steel kettle, pots and pans, which can be used on the gas or induction cooktop. Just in case we plug into power at some stage. We do like to preserve our gas supply if we are on power. I’ve also left the fan and fan heater at home. If we have power we can run the air conditioner for fan, heating and cooling. It is relatively quiet, in the Winnie the air conditioner seemed to be getting ready for takeoff!

Parked for the night in Capel.

Capel also provide a dump point and drinking water, which we will make use of before we leave town. We will check out the hardware store as well to see if we can buy a fly swat. We tried at the IGA last night and they recommended Bunnings in Busselton, but I’m not sure we need one that badly.

The John Tognetti rest area. I may have the spelling wrong, by the way. I love the smell of the pine trees here.
Our lounge/dining room.

We find the bathroom perfectly adequate for our needs. I can take a shower without getting the basin and toilet wet as the shower curtain can be set up to cover them. We also have a handy hanging rail in the bathroom.

We have six USB points in the house part of the van, plus one plug point for the TV. I can use that point with an adapter to charge my laptop. It needs a more powerful USB point than our phones and iPads. We have a small inverter on board, but may be able to get away with charging everything on 12volt. Even my cameras can charge via USB.

We also have USB points in the cab to use whilst driving. I can confirm that the vehicle battery is charged when we plug into mains electricity, that means if we went overseas we could leave the van plugged in for a couple of months and both batteries would be trickle charged.

Filling up with water and emptying tanks went well until we tried out the new grey water hose. We appeared to have no grey water, or at least not enough to go through the hose. It took ages to set up and wind back into its case, and we spilt grey water on the ground.

We then moved on to the Library, then the Fat Birdie cafe for hot drinks and a shared toastie. They have a paper for Stephen, this makes him 😃.

Still no idea what we are doing next. It’s almost midday.

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