We had originally planned to start our lap in the first week of August, but Covid and the Victorian lockdown had other plans for us.
As it turns out, our contact at the caravan manufacturer was fired for being a compulsive liar (really!). We had been lead to believe that our caravan was mostly finished before Victoria went into lock-down in July, and only required a week of labour to finish it off. We discovered that it wasn’t even a bare chassis on the factory floor – it was the third chassis to roll in after lock-down restrictions were lifted on 28th September. They must have built it in record time. We finally picked it up from the dealer in Newcastle on Wednesday 28th October – 2 days after our settlement date on the house.
Getting out of here has proven much more difficult than predicted. We anticipated needing 3-5 days to load the caravan, make a few tweaks or additions for comfort and get underway.
The plan would have come together nicely, however the caravan was ultimately delayed about 2 weeks beyond our latest expected delivery date. This complicated matters significantly, as we had set our settlement date based on the information we were given by the caravan manufacturer, with some fat built in.
Following pick up, we discovered that part of the bike rack was not fitted, the toilet fan was not wired, the cupboard handles were wrong, Ipad mounts weren’t fitted, one of the stabilisation legs was faulty, the stereo aerial was damaged, the couch stitching was different from what we ordered, mood lighting was the incorrect colour.. and probably a few more things that I’m forgetting.
On top of those issues, we had planned to install a few things ourselves like; curved awning rafters, extra hooks and rails inside, non-slip matting in the cupboards, levelling jacks, recovery board brackets, water filtration etc.. it all takes time, and we figured it would be easier to do before we set off, and probably important to fit before we weighed the vehicles for our safety check.
We got on top of most of this within the 3-5 days, but the bike rack part was agonisingly slow to arrive. We were ready by Tuesday, but can’t leave until Friday. We’d considered just going anyway, but the logistics of getting the bike rack part to us on the road would have been complex.
Up until this point we were run ragged every day putting all this together, with a steady stream of friends and interested passers-by dropping in to see our new home on wheels, and wish us well on our journey. We have now bid farewell to several of our friends on multiple occasions!
As frustrating as everything has been, the silver lining is definitely the extra time we’ve had with our gracious hosts, and my parents. Our good friends Karen and Steve have saved us from being homeless for the last week, and provided the perfect place for us to get our caravan ready. We’ve had a great time staying here – our kids of the same age all get along, and we’ve had some quality evenings with games nights, great food, and some quiet couch TV time. They have made us feel welcome in their home for much longer than we (or they) anticipated, and we will be forever grateful. Mum and dad have also been amazing – taking the children off our hands for days and feeding them and us frequently, running errands, and helping fix issues with the caravan. It really has been all hands on deck to get rid of us!
Delays have made it very difficult to plan our route, and impossible to make bookings. With school Holidays and Christmas rapidly approaching, it looks like there are still a few challenges ahead on the road.