We solved the 230v problem yesterday morning. It was in fact a tripped breaker causing us to lose power. In fact, if we had remained plugged in the batteries would have charged up as there are two breakers, one for house power and one for charging. I knew where the breaker box was, just didn’t know if we could easily find the switches. Our electricity box is under the end of the bed. Part of the mattress can be lifted out to access it, but there is also a cover, with no way of securing it up out of the way. It was a two person job to get access, with Stephen holding up the mattress and lid whilst I fiddled.
The system protected itself, as it should, and all is well. We are used to being careful with how many appliances are using power on the inverter, but we now know there is also a limit when we are plugged in to 230v power. Possibly because our caravan site powerpoint wasn’t very powerful.
We drove to Stawell, about 25 kms from Halls Gap for fuel and groceries. It has a lookout and we took a little extra time to go up there to look back at the Grampians. It has been a good practice run before tackling the real mountains.
We’ve spent the night at a village called Newbridge which offers camping at it’s sports oval, with access to toilets and showers for $15 per night. The review of free camps so close to Bendigo were worrying, with ‘permanents’ causing discomfort for travellers (noise, mess, drug and alcohol abuse). This paid camping seemed a better option even though when we arrived we could hear a generator in use. There were camping spots next to the river, but not level and there was also a warning about trees dropping limbs. We’ve chosen a spot with only quite small trees and uphill a bit just in case it rains, though none is forecast.
Last night for the first time I felt a little bit of cold seeping through the down doona. Fear not, we have a down sleeping bag in the boot, hence the term ‘doubling down’ perhaps. We can leave the heating on as well. It works on a thermostat and would only kick in if necessary. This might be the best option if it gets colder as lithium batteries are programmed shut down below 5 degrees and gas can refuse to change from liquid to gas if it is very cold. This happened to us once with the Winnie where the gas bottles were located in a more vulnerable spot. No hot cup of tea that morning!
Of course, it is also important to protect our water system. Our water tank is located under the bench seat inside the van, but I’m not sure if there are water lines going underneath to carry water over to the sink. Something we will doubtless find out about if they freeze. The grey water tank is under the van and vulnerable.
We are booked into the Mount Beauty Caravan Park for four nights from Thursday. Unfortunately there were only non powered sites available, but we will ask if we can be on a wait list in case of any cancellations for a powered site. We haven’t booked a coach trip to the snowfields yet as we want to wait and see what the weather is like. I’m not sure what a ‘snow shower’ is, that is the forecast there for tomorrow.
In the end we didn’t pay for our campsite. We were expecting a volunteer to collect the money by 9.30 a.m., but it didn’t happen, the pub was closed and the General Store refused to take responsibility. We tried!
We are having a bit of time in Bendigo, it seems very lively, with a lot of beautiful old buildings. There are trams and a central fountain which with the style of the old buildings gives it the feel of a European city.