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iMotorhome

40 : January 18 2014

magazine

Issue

because getting there is half the fun...

Reflecting Auto Trail’s chic Delaware is sure to turn heads…

Style

Rogues’ Gallery

Meet the machine that’s part motorhome, part hotrod

Win!

$50 Caltex Fuel Card!

Fair Share

Fractional RV ownership could be the way to go

Inspector Gadget!

Two must-have accessories to make your life easier


2 | About iMotorhome

iMotorhome eMagazine is published twice monthly and available by free subscription from www.imotorhome.com.au. Your letters and contributions are always welcome!

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Contributor/s

Published by iMotorhome

Design and Production

PO Box 1738, Bowral. NSW 2576. Australia. ABN: 34 142 547 719 T: +614 14 604 368 E: info@imotorhome.com.au W: www.imotorhome.com.au Editorial Publisher/Managing Editor Richard Robertson T: 0414 604 368 E: richard@imotorhome.com.au Roadtest Editor Malcolm Street E: malcolm@imotorhome.com.au

Jess Ciampa

Design Manager Agnes Nielsen E: agnes@imotorhome.com.au Advertising Advertising Manager Keith Smyth T: 0409 315 288 E: advertising@imotorhome.com.au Legal All content of iMotorhome eMagazine and website is copyright and cannot be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the publisher. Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of content, however no responsibility is accepted for any inconvenience and/or loss arising from reading and/or acting upon information contained within iMotorhome eMagazine or the iMotorhome website.


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On my mind | 5

Well Hello! It seems like more than four weeks since I penned my farewell piece for 2013. Indeed, Christmas and New Year feel like months ago and it feels as if the Sun has been baking the land dry forever. What a land of extremes we live in, and what a range of views our first Reader Survey has delivered. It seems the vast majority of you like or love what we’re doing; many have offered constructive suggestions and only a couple have been negative. Guess we can’t please all of the people all of the time. I’m leaving the Reader Survey open for now in case you missed it, were too busy over the Festive Season or have only just discovered us. It’s just a dozen questions, takes no longer than five minutes to complete and can be reached by clicking HERE. We’re kicking off 2014 with a magazine makeover courtesy of our hard working designer, Agnes. The goal is a cleaner look and easier reading. Some of you have asked if we could change the format of the magazine to landscape (horizontal) rather than portrait (vertical). We could, but most advertisers have ads suited to conventional magazine layout (portrait) and as we don’t charge a cover price we don’t need to be discouraging them – potential or existing. You’ll also find a short “How to” section inside to get the most from the magazine if you’re an iPad user – and I know many of you are!

Become Involved! Over the coming months we’ll incorporate as many of the ideas you’ve suggested as possible. One we’re kicking off this issue is seeking your involvement as citizen journalists. We’d like you to objectively review your vehicle, whatever it is, and share the great and ghastly

places you find on your travels. Reader vehicle reviews were a popular request, along with information on places to stay, thing to do and see, places to eat – and places to avoid! To give you a head start and help avoid, “Oh how would I write it?” we’re including two templates in every issue: one for vehicle reviews and the other for places. Just copy and paste, then fill in the sections with as much information as you feel necessary and email it in. You’ll find them on page 38 and we hope to build a growing library of reader reviews that will prove invaluable to new and experienced motorhomers alike. Our website continues to develop. We’ve added an alphabetical index of manufacturers to our Road Tests page and a new heading system to our Classifieds. There will soon be a new General Classifieds section, too, where you’ll be able to buy or sell just about anything. We’re also building a Marketplace Links listing to help you find the best products and services, while a redesigned homepage will soon make the whole site look and function better. Best I get on with it. See you next month!

Richard


6 | User Guide

How to get the best from iMotorhome eMagazine Note: This magazine is designed to deliver the best reading experience on an Apple iPad.

General This magazine is published in the Portable Document Format (PDF). This means that once downloaded it is a self-contained document that can be stored on your smartphone, tablet device, e-reader, laptop or desktop computer and read off-line at your convenience. PDFs are clever things and allow a degree of interactivity not possible with a conventional magazine. For example: The front cover and contents page features links in their headings that will take you directly to the appropriate article in the magazine. If you are using a laptop or desktop computer you will see the mouse cursor change to a small hand with a pointing finger, which signifies you can click on the page below All advertisements are ‘live’ and linked to the advertiser’s website. This means if you touch one (smartphone/tablet) or click on one (laptop/ desktop) you will be taken to the relevant website automatically, if you are connected to the Internet. If you are not connected to the Internet you will be asked if you want to connect, to complete the action. Text that is highlighted and/or underlined in blue is also a ‘live’ link that will either take you to the webpage of the topic being discussed, or open an email (if appropriate).

iPad and iPhone Users Important: Be sure you have the free in iBooks app installed. It displays a full page at a time and allows you to read the magazine by swiping the pages sideways, just like turning the pages in a printed magazine. iBooks has a Library function that displays a small thumbnail of the front cover of each issue. You can also create Collections, so you could store each year’s issues separately, for example.

Using iBooks On downloading each issue of iMotorhome eMagazine you’ll briefly see a message at the very top of the front cover that says “Open in iBooks.” If you miss it, don’t worry. Just tap the space immediately above the iMotorhome title and it will reappear for a few seconds. When it does, tap it and your issue will be moved to iBooks and reopen. Once open in iBooks you’ll see a number of icons across the very top of the page and a strip of tiny page thumbnails across the very bottom. To get rid of them simply tap the page anywhere there isn't text (touching text will take you to the revenant article inside). To make the icons reappear just tap anywhere on the page. To read your copy of iMotorhome eMagazine, swipe the page from right to left. Reverse this to go back a page. To go to the font cover at any time just tap on the page your on and then touch the tiny page icon at the far left, along the very bottom. To leave the issue you’re reading and go back to your Library, tap the page and then touch Library in the top left hand corner.


User Guide | 7

How to get the best from iMotorhome eMagazine Laptop/Desktop Computer Users The software that allows you to view a PDF document – Acrobat Reader – has a number of controls at the top of the page. Chief amongst these are two square buttons in the centre; one showing a page with an arrow across it and the other showing a page with arrows across and top to bottom. Press these and you can view the page at the full width of your screen, or the whole page fitted to you screen, respectively. For further help or information email info@imotorhome.com.au.

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8 | Content

2

About us

5

On my Mind

6

User Guide

Who we are, where and other legal stuff

Well hello!

How to get the best from iMotorhome eMagazine

11

On your Mind

13

News

18

Road Test: Delaware

Share your thoughts for the chance to win a $50 Caltex fuel card!

What’s happening in the wider RV world - and beyond

On the Auto Trail – A new entrant that’s sure to make its presence felt

Sitting pretty – Auto Trail’s Delaware


Content | 9

32

Rogues’ Gallery

38

Reader Review Templates

39

Feature: Fare Share

46

Mobile Tech: Inspector Gadget

49

Cook-up: Stuffed Mushrooms

50

Next Issue & Show Calendar

Art Decoliner – Part motorhome. Part hotrod. All beautiful.

Review your vehicle, a favourite place or whatever for a chance to win a mystery prize

Shared RV ownership could be just what you’re looking for…

Two must-have accessories to make your life easier!

A delicious summer tempter that won’t go to your waist

What’s coming up and what shows are on soon

Decoliner – mobile art that’s one for the road


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On your mind | 11

It’s only fitting that since Ed has his say in On My Mind, you should be able to have yours too. If you have anything to say – or ask – just drop a line to letters@imotorhome. com.au and we’ll share it with

our readers. We’ll also reward the most interesting, useful or thoughtful letter each issue with a $50 Caltex fuel card to help you on your way.

Winning Letter Hello iMotorhome, I read with interest the handy hint from Dougie regarding windscreen wipers. I have a hint regarding the shower hose and nozzle. We own a new caravan with a lovely big shower. In our previous van, to prevent the shower head and hose from bouncing onto the floor from its connection I was able to roll it up and place it in the basin, but in the new van the basin is in another section of the ensuite. To overcome this I

purchased a cheap swimming pool noodle and split it down the middle (but not completely through), so that it opens like a book. I then wrap the noodle all the way along the shower hose (some noodles are pre split, just check), put it on the floor and wrap the nozzle in either a piece of nonskid or a suitable bubblewrap bag. Then l lie the nozzle on the floor, and any bouncing will not damage either it or the floor.

Thanks Herma, that’s a handy hint indeed. I can think of a few motorhomes that have had that problem, so thanks for sharing your idea with us and please enjoy this issue’s $50 Caltex fuel card for your efforts. Happy travels!

Regards, Herma

Famous Birthdays 18 January 1882 – A. A. Milne, Author of Winnie the Pooh 1904 – Cary Grant, American Actor 1944 – Paul Keating, our 24th Prime Minister 1955 – Kevin Costner, American actor

Did you know? …if a month begins on a Sunday it will have a Friday the 13th?


12 | On your mind

Readers Respond Last issue, reader Wayne asked other readers about a surfboard rack for his soon-to-bedelivered Fiat Ducato van conversion. Here’s what they came up with…

Hi Richard, I have exactly what Wayne wants. I too am a surfer of 40 years and had the same plan. I had an A'van M3 ovation built which I take for weekends away surfing about every second weekend. A'van fitted on the roof a solar To Wayne with his Fiat Ducato van motorcamper panel to the rear left and roof racks – half width and the need for surfboard racks. Tempering – and fitted the bars either side of the TV aerial. Wayne's passion for surfing, I think roof space is This means the boards can't be there if we far too valuable for racks to hold surfboards. Its watch TV. A flip down ladder to the right on the also difficult to climb up there and would rapidly rear gives access to the roof. become a trial. Far better to use that space for solar panels, so Wayne can stay out for days at The ladder is great to get on top for cleaning a time surfing with a cold beer in the evening. too. A word of warning: It’s fairly high up there, so access in wind is not advised and getting Has Wayne considered driver’s side watercraft the boards up there is a bit of an art. The ladder racks? They are entirely practicable and they meant that we couldn't fit a bike carrier, so I use do NOT need to be done during fitout. I made a towbar mounted one. Mostly though, I  carry my own for my Porta Bote. They work well. the 8 ft Mel and 7 ft fish surfboards diagonally I described how I did it on my Web pages. inside in the Luton cab, over the bed. Other See http://www.manins.net.au/motorhome/ extras to the M3 I had fitted were leather seats, porta-bote.html. They hinge upward to allow a second house battery, bull bar and diesel access to service ports. I remove them when heater. Hope this helps. not needed. The keeper plates are bolted to the Regards, Rob. side of my Ducato using hollow wall anchors. If I were to do it again, I would use Rivet Nuts Thanks Guys, excellent thoughts and I’m certain instead. they will be a big help to Wayne. Hopefully he Peter.

will keep us posted on what he eventually does!


News | 13

NEW HORIZON

H

orizon Motorhomes is kicking off 2014 with a new model: the Casuarina. Based on a Fiat Ducato extra-long wheel base (ELWB) van and the layout of its popular, compact Melaleuca model, the Casuarina provides extra space and a larger engine, while retaining the Melaleuca’s spacious and flexible sleeping options. The Casuarina’s extra length – 365 mm (1 ft 2 in) – has been used to provide a larger kitchen (inc larger drawers), a separate stove and sink (with drainer), larger bathroom, larger windows and a microwave above the fridge. The Casuarina also picks up the larger 132 kW 3.0-litre turbo-diesel engine, compared to the Melaleuca’s 2.3-litre unit, coupled to a sixspeed Comfortmatic auto transmission.

iMotorhome reviewed the Melaleuca last year and found the layout to be surprisingly versatile, with the ability to sleep across or along the vehicle in sleeping arrangements that included two singles, a double with dinette left in place or a massive king-size bed. Drive away price is $109,500 and to find out more contact Horizon on (02) 6681 1555, email info@ballinacampers.com.au or visit horizonmotorhomes.com.au.


14 | News

THEY’RE BACK… Rover, but in the comfort of a brand new Explorer 4WD Motorhome. Mal and his wife Laraine are heading out to revisit some of their favourite parts of the bush in a new Ford Ranger 4WD-based Explorer motorhome and will make a video of their travels to encourage others to follow suit. Explorer is the only company building on both the Hilux and Ford Ranger/Mazda BT50 base vehicles. They’re also the only company to use a one-piece all-fibreglass body that’s tough and basically leak proof. According to Explorer’s owner, John Burke, “The word is already spreading regarding our joining with the Leylands. It’s amazing the interest out there amongst the RV community.”

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News | 15

MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD

A

while back we pointed you to an on line survey with regard to Drive Qld and road side rest areas. The Queensland Government is conducting three workshop and inviting public participation. We have no doubt there will be strong representation from a certain tourism sector with the usual "non compliant" catch cry. If you can help by attending and representing the consumer please register. The email below gives all the details: The Queensland Drive Tourism Strategy 2013 -2015 (QDTS), was developed to encourage more travellers to take a driving holiday in Queensland. The role of roadside rest areas as part of the drive experience and for fatigue management was raised as a key issue during the consultation process of the strategy. The strategy is committed to develop a Best Practice Guide for Local Governments and community organisations to help them effectively design and manage rest areas and develop Queensland as a drive tourism destination.

The Department of Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games (DTESB), in partnership with PSA Consulting (Australia), will be conducting three consultation workshops to assist in the preparation of the Best Practice Guide for Roadside Rest Areas. Workshops are being held as follows: Townsville – Tuesday, 4 February 2014 from 1.00pm – 4.00pm Toowoomba – Wednesday, 5 February 2014 from 11.00am – 2.00pm Brisbane – Thursday, 6 February 2014 from 10.00am – 1.00pm Interested parties should visit business.qld.gov. au/events to find out more and register for a workshop. An online survey regarding roadside rest areas has also been developed, and can be accessed at https://gathered-opinions.com. au/index.php?sid=39714&lang=en This project is an action item of the QDTS. To find out more about the strategy go to: dtesb.qld.gov.au/tourism/queensland-drivetourism-strategy or to find out more about these workshops refer to the attached flyer or contact DTESB on 07 3224 7500. from Free Choice Camping

On This Day - 18 January 1644 – Perplexed pilgrims in Boston report North America’s first UFO sighting 1778 – Capt James Cook stumbles over Sandwich Islands (Hawaiian Islands) 1939 – Bradman gets his 6th straight century for South Australia, 135 v NSW 1964 – Beatles first appear on Billboard Chart (I Want to Hold Your Hand - #35)


16 | News

Dumaresq Dam Campsite Closed

A

critical failure of the on-site waste water management system at Dumaresq Dam, 12 km north west of Armidale, NSW, has forced the local Council to close the Dam due to health concerns.

Phil Brown, said this couldn’t have come at a worse time, with Dumaresq Dam a popular destination for campers and day trippers during the school holidays. However it did highlight the urgent need to address ageing and under capacity infrastructure.

A routine inspection by Council staff on Tuesday 14 January of the waste management system at Dumaresq Dam reported a critical failure of the system. On Wednesday the septic tanks were pumped out and it was discovered that the internal wall of the tank had collapsed.

“This facility is well over 30 years old and is no longer able to cope with the ever increasing popularity of Dumaresq Dam by campers and day visitors.”

Council’s Civic and Recreation Services Manager,

R

Council will formulate a new strategy to address the problem and reopen the facility, but no time frame has been offered.

ON TARGET

VM Australia, the peak body for Australia’s RV manufacturing industry, says it is on target to complete the roll-out of its RV Manufacturing Accreditation Program (RVMAP) this year. Launched last April, RVMAP is a key element of the association’s effort to ensure total industry compliance. RVM Australia CEO David Duncan said the program had completed a scheduled review late last year to further enhance its efficiency and effectiveness. “The review confirmed that RVMAP is very much what our industry needs, and we have now fine-tuned it,” he said. “Because RVMAP uses digital tablets rather than pen-and-paper, we have been able to incorporate software that makes many of the required calculations automatically. “This year’s audits include both physical inspections of RVs and desktop audits of

members’ quality and compliance systems. This will help to determine the frequency cycle of each Member’s inspections for the future.” Mr Duncan said RVMAP is a significant advancement in industry compliance since the association was formed in 1976. “What we have achieved in the past two years, with the creation of RVM Australia, RVMAP and several related initiatives is a great credit to our Board and our whole team,” he said. “As an important adjunct to RVMAP, our technical team has completely overhauled our Code of Practice, which will be launched in a few weeks – and that’s just part of it. “We have also facilitated the latest Australian Standards being accessible by all our members at an affordable price for the first time ever, and we are reviewing some of the standards themselves. “It’s pleasing that we have the attention of the Federal Department of Industry, which understands our importance as a strong, successful manufacturing industry.”


News | 17

EXPLORE THE ZOONIVERSE!

L

ooking for some exciting and worthwhile things to do on the computer in your spare time? Zooniverse is a citizen science web portal hosting more than a dozen science projects volunteers can participate in. Primarily astronomyfocused, recently it launched Operation War Diary: a new citizen history project where they need your help to transcribe regimental diaries that describe events in the lives of British soldiers during the First World War. To get involved visit operationwardiary. org and follow the short tutorial. The diaries contain the thoughts and observations of soldiers on the Western Front. They detail the location, movement and everyday activities of hundreds of thousands of individuals whose stories are otherwise unknown to us. With 1.5 million pages to go through, there are many amazing

stories lying in these documents, waiting to be read. By tagging people, places, and more on operationwardiary.org you can help the Zooniverse’s team of historians begin to reconstruct the lives of the First World War for future generations. This is an incredibly important project and the Zooniverse team says it’s very excited to be working with The National Archives and the Imperial War Museum to make it happen. For the astronomers among you Zooniverse has just launched a project built by its friends at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which uses Hubble Space Telescope data to classify star clusters in the Southern Pinwheel Galaxy, M83. It’s called Project Stardate and you can try it now at projectstardate.org

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18 | Day Test: Auto Trail Delaware

On the Auto Trail We finally gets our ‘ands on the latest Pommy import‌ Review and images by Malcolm Street


Day Test: Auto Trail Delaware | 19

I

mported motorhomes, particularly those from Britain and Europe, were rare in Australia until recently. That’s in contrast to New Zealand, where companies like Barrons imported a considerable variety. Aussies visiting NZ and desiring a Euro-built motorhome were often heard to ask a few hard questions regarding that!

The Vehicle

T

here's nothing unusual about the base vehicle used for the Delaware conversion: It’s the very familiar Fiat Ducato cabchassis, to which Auto Trail has fitted the largest and most powerful of the Fiat turbo diesels – the 3.0 litre, 132 kW unit (in Australia, at least). My review Delaware came fitted with what Auto Trail calls its Hi-Line body; There were a number of reasons for the that is it has a Luton peak high enough to disparity, but it was mostly due to compliance accommodate an over-cab bed. All the body and warranty matters requiring a considerable work is made from Glass Reinforced Plastic amount of work, time and paperwork in (GRP) – that’s fibreglass to you and me. Items Australia. The last few years has seen a slow like the Luton, side skirts and rear panel are increase in the availability of imported Euro motorhomes and one of the latest is the British- moulded. built Auto Trail Delaware. The model has been Some RV manufacturers are a bit coy about in Australia for some months now, but Sydney how their motorhomes are put together. I was RV dealer Jeremy Pearce (from whence our wondering about the Auto Trail body structure review motorhome came) was keen to ensure and so asked a few questions. I have to say I all compliance and warranty matters were received quite a detailed reply, as follows: signed off before making the motorhomes available.


20 | Day Test: Auto Trail Delaware

The Delaware’s refined design is certain to attract a lot of attention. Note massive over-cab Skyview hatch.  "The motorhome floor is a sandwich composite panel that is made up of a timber frame around the outside of the floor. This has 3 mm vinyl covered exterior plywood surface that faces the exterior of the panel (i.e. the ground), 35 mm of Styrofoam for the insulation, and a 5 mm plywood sheet on the top surface (i.e. the inside). This is bonded together to give a floor thickness of 43 mm.”  “The sides are a sandwich composite made up in a similar way i.e. a timber frame around the outside of the panel with a 3 mm decorative covered plywood covering on the inside surface. A 35 mm of polystyrene sheet for the insulation and a 1.7 mm GRP outer surface (i.e. the surface you see on the outside of the vehicle) completes the panel. This gives a side wall thickness of almost 40 mm.”

“The rear panel is similar to the side walls except the panel is bonded with an aluminium sheet on the outside as this is covered by the moulded GRP back panel.” “The roof is also a similar construction to the sidewalls but the outer sheet is another sheet of 3 mm plywood (so 3 mm ply, 35 mm polystyrene,

3 mm plywood) as this is covered by the moulded GRP roof panel”. How’s that for open and honest? Moving on, all windows except for the front Skyview hatch are Polyplastic acrylic items and are top hinged, except for a slider that is partly behind the opened entry door. Now there's a novel idea: A sliding

The Delaware, generally speaking, ticks all the boxes.


Day Test: Auto Trail Delaware | 21

Front lounge is cosy and practical. The small round table swings into use but a larger freestanding table is also provided.

window that doesn't hit the opened door – not sure why a few other local manufacturers can't seem to catch on to that. On the subject of the entry door, it's a standard Euro-style moulded item with a nonopening window, moulded garbage bin, storage tray and umbrella holder – complete

with umbrella! Having not long returned from a somewhat damp trip to Britain and France, I can understand the latter item’s inclusion! There is a separate concertina style insect screen, but it's not a security item.

Many a European motorhome suffers from a lack of external storage space, but that's not really an issue here. A large tunnel boot across the rear, complete with light and power point, will cope with most things you could think of. In case it’s not enough there’s a small storage bin mid-offside, as well as several storage trays in the lower waist area.


22 | Day Test: Auto Trail Delaware Spare wheel can’t live in its rear cover due to Australian length regs. Sydney RV mounts it in the boot and you use the wheel cover for hoses and the like.

One of the features this motorhome has is a moulded spare wheel cover at the rear. However, it cannot legally be used to hold the spare wheel in Australia. The reason? In Britain the legal length of the rear overhang (measured from the centre of the rear wheel) cannot exceed 65 per cent of the length between the centres of the front and rear axles. In Australia it's only 60 per cent and with the spare wheel in place, the overhang is over-length. Sydney RV suggests the spare wheel be stashed in the boot and the moulded cover used for hoses and the like.


Day Test: Auto Trail Delaware | 23

Many a European motorhome suffers from a lack of external storage space, but that's not really an issue here.


24 | Day Test: Auto Trail Delaware Gas box door has internal cab release only (Is that approved - Ed?). Entry door has built-in umbrella (how British!) and rubbish bin, but lacks a security flyscreen.

Behind the passenger door, the gas cylinder bin will hold two 9.0 kg cylinders. A slight issue there is the way it's opened. Obviously designed to prevent cylinder theft, there's a lever inside the motorhome behind the passenger seat. My thought on this, given what I understand to be current gas legislation in both Australia and New Zealand (we use the same standard), is if a gas cylinder is in use (turned on) then leave the bin door wedged open slightly somehow or other. Although not fully recessed, the awning is partially set back into the body, which does gives the impression of being part of the original design rather than an add-on.

On The Road

B

eing a 132 kW diesel Fiat Ducato driving through the six-speed AMT gearbox and riding on a lower-and-wider-tracked Fiat chassis (compared to the normal Fiat commercial item), what more can I say? It handles like most other Ducato-based motorhomes rolling around Australia. One item of note is that on my


Day Test: Auto Trail Delaware | 25 test run through the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, there were the usual motorhome noises but the Auto Trail did seem quieter than usual. Behind the wheel, all the expected items were close to hand and the dashboard-fitted multi-media unit includes a GPS Sat Nav, plus Bluetooth for connecting phones, iPods and the like.

Living Inside

I

have to say there is something a little familiar about the internal layout. Obviously in a 7.9 m motorhome sans slide-out there are a limited number of layouts that can be used, but from experience this one works well. With the entry door more or less mid motorhome, it allows for a front lounge/dining area that incorporates swivelling cab seats. Taking up most of the mid section is the catering department, leaving space for a split bathroom ahead of a rear bedroom. Decor is very much the faux timber look (over lightweight Euro ply), which is saved nicely by the lighter shades of the ceiling and walls, not to mention large roof hatches and Skyview above the driver's cab. Taking the edge off things, quite literally, are curved edges on all

Decor is contemporary European while the layout is quite familiar, having already been seen in some Australian vehicles. In fairness, there are only so many ways you can arrange a floorplan.


26 | Day Test: Auto Trail Delaware

Cabinetry is rounded and nicely finished. This is a well thought out motorhome with a quality finish that’s certain to impress.

the overhead lockers. There are several well placed mirrors; one by the entry door and the other above one of the foot-of-bed cabinets.

Lounging Around

U

p front, the two swivelled cab seats mesh in nicely with the sideways facing lounges. Behind the passenger seat there's a small round table that can be swung into action, but when more table space is required a freestanding table is readily available. I should point out that the bed above the cab can easily be lifted up out of the way when not needed. Windows on both sides, as well as the normal driver's cab, give a good view of the outside world and the Skyview hatch provides light, ventilation (even when driving along) and


Day Test: Auto Trail Delaware | 27 L-shaped kitchen is small but functional. The acrylic sink splash back, Malcolm notes, might come off second best due to “clumsy handling.”

a good view of the stars. In the D'oh category, I did spend a bit of time sitting on the lounge wondering where the TV was before finally noticing the fold down TV/DVD unit mounted on the cab roof, between the seats. My point? It's readily seen from both the sideways facing seats but not obtrusive at all. Overhead lockers on both sides provide a generous amount of shelved storage space, too.

Time to Eat

L

ooking a bit familiar is the L-shaped kitchen bench arrangement. Butted up against the wall is a four burner cooktop/ grill/oven, which leaves room for a moderate amount of bench area between it and the

stainless steel sink avec drainer ‘around the corner.’ The acrylic splash back that prevents water getting onto the nearby lounge is a good idea, but did seem a bit vulnerable to clumsy handling. That other essential in the cooking department – a microwave – is located above the cooktop at eye height in the overhead locker area. That still leaves storage space in the adjoining locker, along with that under the island cabinet, which consists of both wire baskets and a shelved area. On the opposite side from the kitchen bench, the two door 190-litre fridge has a largish cupboard above, neatly closed off with roller shutter style doors.

That other essential – the microwave – is above the cooktop at eye height in the overhead locker area.


28 | Day Test: Auto Trail Delaware After Hours

Laundry basket (top left) is a novel idea while a liftup bed provides valuable extra storage. Large over-bed hatch and big windows ensure plenty of light and fresh air.

I

n the rear the main bedroom looks a fairly standard arrangement, with a 1.9 m x 1.42 m (6 ft 3 in x 4 ft 8 in) bed centre stage. On either side wardrobes (fitted with lights) and bedside cabinets supply the required hanging and bedside shelf space. At the foot of the bed, one of the two cabinets acts as a dirty laundry bin rather than a cupboard. Under the bed, even with the space heater being there, storage area is available.


Day Test: Auto Trail Delaware | 29 Keeping Clean

I

n front of the bedroom the split bathroom has all the desirable features. Instead of the more usual single door, the shower cubicle has a split door. Although not overly big there should be room from most users to turn around without banging their elbows. On the opposite side it's possible to use the vanity sink and cupboard area without falling over the Thetford cassette toilet. Instead of shelves the shaving cabinet comes fitted with wire baskets.

Split-door shower is interesting and reasonably sized. Powder room with loo is compact but practical, too.

What I Think

H

aving seen a few British motorhomes in NZ and Britain, the Auto Trail Delaware is very much a representative product. Inside, the general layout is mostly well proportioned, with each area not oversized at the expense of another.

Anyone desiring a motorhome from the Old Dart (and I know there are a few who are) won't need to look much further. The Delaware, generally speaking, ticks all the boxes and comes with a few of those nice little touches that the Euro motorhomes are renowned for.


30 | Day Test: Auto Trail Delaware

Specifications Manufacturer

Auto Trail

Model

Delaware

Base Vehicle

Fiat Ducato Multijet 180

Engine

3.0-litre turbo-diesel

Power

132 kW @ 3500rpm

Torque

400 Nm @1400 rpm

Gearbox

6-speed AMT

Brakes

ABS Disc

Tare Weight

3740 kg

Gross Vehicle Mass

4250 kg

Licence

Car

Approved Seating

2

External Length

7.9 m (25 ft 11 in)

External Width

2.35 m (7 ft 8 in)

External Height

3.2 m (10 ft 6 in)

Internal Height

1.88 – 1.99 m (6 ft 1 in – 6 ft 6 in)

Rear Bed Size

1.99 m x 1.42 m (6 ft 3 in x 4 ft 8 in)

Luton Bed

1.99 m x 1.12 m (6 ft 3 in x 3 ft 8 in)

Cooktop

Thetford 4 burner/grill/oven

Fridge

Dometic RM5555 190-litre

Microwave

Daewoo DC

Lighting

12 V LED

Batteries

105 AH deep cycle

Gas

2 x 9.0 kg

Heater

No

Solar Panels

No

Air Conditioner

Truma Aventa

Hot Water Heater

Truma Combi

Toilet

Thetford cassette

Shower

Separate cubicle

Fresh Water Tank

136-litres

Grey Water Tank

85-litres

Price on road NSW

$169,990

Pros

• Smooth looking body • Fiat Ducato 180 multijet used as base vehicle • Good external storage • Well designed interior • Comfortable front lounge/dining • Front Skyview hatch

Cons

• Lack of security screen door • Flimsy splash back panel in kitchen • Gas bin door lock

Contact

Sydney RV Group

Click for Google Maps

13-15 Lemko Pl Penrith NSW 2750. Ph: 02 4722 3444 E: info@sydneyrvgroup.com.au W: www.sydneyrvgroup.com.au


Day Test: Auto Trail Delaware | 31

The Delaware, generally speaking, ticks all the boxes and comes with a few of those nice little touches that Euro motorhomes are renowned for.


32 | Rogues' Gallery

Art DecoLiner A motorhome hotrod that’s one of a kind‌


Rogues' Gallery | 33

Just remove the cab steering wheel, attach the extension rod and steering is ‘transferred’ to the flying bridge!

T

here aren’t too many men who get paid to create motor vehicles on a whim, but Randy Grubb – his real name – is one of them. A member of the Blastolene Brotherhood, which describes itself as “An informal group of automotive artists who encourage each other as they travel their respective paths,” he runs Randy Grubb’s Garage in Grants Pass, Oregon, USA, and his reputation is approaching legendary status.

A tinkerer since childhood, Randy has a passion for creating freeform shapes and is an accomplished glass blower as well as a dab hand at metal shaping. He built his first car at 14 and came to notoriety when he displayed a gigantic hotrod named Big Bertha, powered by a 29.5-litre (1800 cubic inch) Paton Tank engine, at the Grand National Roadster Show! Talkshow host and self-confessed car nut Jay Leno subsequently bought Big Bertha, which he renamed the Tank Car, and had it made street legal.


34 | Rogues' Gallery

Flared rear ‘guards hide tandem rear wheels, while the polished aluminium finish is reminiscent of a 1930s DC3 airliner. Flying bridge is accessed by stairs up the vehicle’s spine.

The Decoliner is a one-of-a-kind custom motorhome built on the chassis on a 1973 GMC front-wheel drive motorhome. Randy has added the cab of a 1955 White truck and a totally handfabricated body – complete with a working flying bridge – into something totally unique.

455 cubic inch (7.5 litre) petrol V8 drives the front wheels though an automatic transmission. The original chassis had a gross vehicle mass of 12,500 lbs (5670 kg), but due to its lightweight aluminium body the Decoliner tips the scales at just 7000 lbs (3180 kg), so performance is ‘brisk’ to say the least…

Built in an exaggerated Art Deco style, streamlined mudguards hide the GMC’s But performance isn't really what this tandem rear axles, while up front an Oldsmobile remarkable motorhome is about; it’s about style


Rogues' Gallery | 35

There aren’t too many men who get paid to create motor vehicles on a whim, but Randy Grubb – his real name – is one of them.


36 | Rogues' Gallery and breaking all the rules. The Decoliner’s piece de resistance is its flying bridge, which seats six and is reached via a set of stairs running up the vehicle’s spine like some sort of road-going luxury motor yacht. You can drive from upstairs or down, with the changeover accomplished in a minute or two by removing the steering wheel in the main cab and attaching an ingenious steering column extension that folds neatly out of the way when not required. From all reports the Decoliner is easy and pleasant to drive from either position. It’s upstairs, however, with the wind in your hair and a commanding view of amazed motorists and pedestrians alike that’s far and away most popular. Road legal in the USA, Randy will happily build you your own Decoliner – for an undisclosed sum. To find out more visit Randy Grubb’s Garage at randygrubb.com/thedecoliner/. You know you want to.

The Decoliner started life as a 1973 GMC motorhome (below top left). Stripped to the chassis (bottom right) and hand built, it’s a genuine work of art. Old’s 455 cu in (7.5 L) V8 is a petrol guzzling brute…


Rogues' Gallery | 37

The flying bridge seats five in motor yacht style, complete with superb Art Deco-style attention to detail at every level.


38 | Reader Review Templates Share your experience for a chance to win a mystery prize!

Y

our fellow iMotorhome readers have told us they want to know all about the rig your drive and those special places you’ve discovered during your travels. To make it easy simply use the appropriate template below!

Copy and paste the template, fill in as much information as you think relevant under each category and email it, along with a maximum of 12 photos, to reviews@imotorhome.com.au. Not only might you see your name in print, you’ll be in the draw for a monthly mystery prize! Vehicle Report: My name My email address My location

Special Place Report: My name My email address My location

Vehicle: Type (e.g. camper/motorhome/bus conversion) Factory or Custom built Make & Model Year Bought new/used/dealer/private Mileage when bought Mileage now Length Licence required (car/LR/MR/HR) Base vehicle brand Engine size (litres) Transmission (man/auto) Average fuel economy No of berths No of seatbelt-equipped seats Why did I choose it First vehicle or replacement Options fitted Best features Worst features Warranty issues Dealer support Manufacturer support Recommend to a friend (Yes/No) General comments

Place Location: Name Address State Phone E-mail Website Details: Description Visited (month/year) How I found it Why I visited Was it RV Friendly (parking/dump point/etc) Price range (cheap/average/expensive) What I liked What I didn’t Would I go back General comments


Feature: Fare Share | 39

Fare Share Our experience of a joint-purchase Motorhome by David Woodrow


40 | Feature: Fare Share

M

y wife and I hired motorhomes for a week each year (five times) to travel around Australia and NZ. This cost us about $240 a day, plus a $2000 insurance excess, and we considered buying our own motorhome but could not afford the capital outlay or ongoing expense. We decided to see if there were others in the same position and I wrote a letter to a magazine to see if there was anyone who would be interested in a joint purchase. We

realised that many owned Motorhomes are used for one long trip and then maybe sit in storage for up to 10 months of the year. The response to my letter was good and we subsequently purchased a Winnebago Leisure Seeker in 2011, with a number of owners. Each has the vehicle for two or three months a year. We predict it will cost under $50 a day (with only $200 insurance excess) if we get a reasonable trade when we have had enough.


Feature: Fare Share | 41 How It Works

S

cheduling has worked out well, with some owners taking their time in separate months or choosing to have none in one year and extra months the following year.

The pick of time is in the order in which owners enter the agreement for the first year and then reversed the second year. We are flexible and have little trouble in satisfying requests. However, the hot months over the Christmas Holidays have been the least popular for Queenslanders.

The system is set up legally with one of the owners acting as manager with a Common Fund (like a body corporate) to cover registration, insurance, maintenance, service, tyre replacement, cleaning, etc. We have meetings twice a year to discuss the timetable, improvements, etc and to set the Common Fund contribution. The timetable is on Google Calendar, accessible to all owners. Our meetings are more social dinners and we have all become friends – most were originally from the Sunshine Coast, but now two are New Zealanders who spend some time in Australia each year.

In 3 years the shared Winnebago has logged more than 120,000 km on multiple adventures around Australia.


42 | Feature: Fare Share The last three days of any usage is reserved for servicing, maintenance, cleaning and so on. We do not have a requirement for storage as the motorhome is on the road most of the time. Four owners would be ideal as six are a little difficult to coordinate (but we manage). We also try to organise remote changeovers to prevent having to bring the motorhome back to the Sunshine Coast, thus reducing kilometres on the road and time away. So far we have had remote changeovers in Cairns, Hobart, Melbourne, Adelaide and Newcastle and hoping for Perth next year. The ownership has changed over the years, with shares being transferred with restrictions (like smoking or dogs) set out in the legal agreement. Everyone looks after our motorhome and it is always immaculate, unlike

some hired machines. Every time it comes back it has something extra – carpet, floor matting, kettle, toaster, etc.

Although jointly owned, individual share holders often buy extras that remain in/on the vehicle.


Feature: Fare Share | 43 This shared ownership scheme provides each of the six share holders with two months usage per year. Estimates are it reduces ownership costs to under $50 a day, whilst travelling.

On The Road

W

e personally love “freedom camping� but about one day in five we book into a caravan park to do the washing, refill the water tank and dump, etc. At any place we stayed for a week or more, we left the motorhome set up in a caravan park and hired a car to get around and explore the region. At $38 a day it was certainly better than towing. Our Leisure Seeker is the 23 ft model, 6 berth with the slide-out, on the IVECO 3.0-litre auto turbodiesel and we have added many extras such as BBQ, generator, tables and chairs, security door, windscreen solar reflectors, LED lighting, Saturn TV antenna, CB radio and inflatable kayak, amongst others. It has been a magnificent unit and the odometer is already up to 120,000 km after three years.


44 | Feature: Fare Share

Sundowners at the end of another day on the road. For some, two months travel a year is enough and it’s good not to have ownership concerns for the remaining ten.

Plans

W

e intend to either sell it early in 2015 or upgrade to a new motorhome if there is sufficient interest from the current owners or others who may wish to join us. Joint-purchase (proportional ownership) is a great concept for those who cannot justify sole-purchase, but it does take a bit of time and effort to set up the scheme and manage it. We personally have done the three-months around Australia trip (and played golf across the Nullarbor); spent two months in Tasmania; two months up to the tropical Daintree and to the tip of Cape York (with the northern bit on a plane from Cairns and return on the Coastal Trader); two months up the centre of Australia (via the Great Ocean Road) and several local excursions

around the Sunshine Coast and Northern NSW. Next year we hope to explore southern WA – the area we missed on our rather rushed around-Australia trip. What a wonderful country we live in! It is amazing the number of articles and photos in your magazine that trigger memories of our visits.

We try to organise remote changeovers to prevent bringing the motorhome back to the Sunshine Coast.


Feature: Fare Share | 45

Costs

Approximate costs for 1/6 share (two months use per year):  Capital – $18,000 Common Fund (like body corporate) – approx $1500 per year to cover insurance, registration, service, maintenance, cleaning, etc. Overall if we get a good trade in, it works out to $46 per day (compared with $240 if you hire one) If you’re interested in finding out more contact David Woodrow on (07) 5477 7145.


46 | Mobile Tech

Inspector Gadget Tech goodies to make your life easier‌ by Richard Robertson


Mobile Tech | 47

Believe it or not this really works. The dash mat is super grippy and even on curved surfaces things stay attached while you drive.

’ve always been a gadget sort of guy. Everyone should have gadgets and, indeed, there is a formula for the perfect number of gadgets: N + 1 (where N equals the number of gadgets you now have). This formula can, of course, be applied to many things as a way of mathematical justification for anything you really want/need. But I’ve digressed…

I

Kogan is an online store I’ve been following for a while. It’s Australian owned, started by an enterprising young guy, and has grown into quite a massive business. Now selling everything electrical, from iPads to cooking appliances, it seems to have made its name in TVs. So successful has the business become it now offers many Kogan-branded items, and as I write our new fully featured Kogan 42” LED TV sits in the lounge room, having set us back just $379 (including delivery) in a special pre-Christmas promotion.

Gadget 1

T

he first thing I want to show you is a dash mat, but not the style you’re probably thinking of. Kogan’s anti-slip dash mat is a small, removable gel mat that attaches itself to the upright surfaces of the dash of your motorhome or car and – as if by magic – holds just about anything in place. I use it to hold my phone like a hand-free unit, which is great when using my SatNav app for directions or talking on the speaker. Even though my car’s dash facia is curved it still works fine and despite the fact it seems to be defying gravity, my phone (and even coins) stay in place. The only downside is that in the hot weather we’ve been having, removing the phone also pulls the mat from the dash and you have to peel them apart and then re-sit the mat. Although the mat is quite sticky it doesn’t leave residue on the dashboard or phone and Kogan says it can be washed and reused many times over (still to try that bit).


48 | Mobile Tech Rapid charging, this four-USB mains power plug is a great way to cut the clutter and organise your recharging on the road and at home.

Kogan dash mats come in a pack of three and at the time of writing cost just $9, including free postage. How good is that? You can check out the current deal by clicking HERE.

Gadget 2 USB chargers are becoming the bane of the modern traveller and there are a myriad number of aftermarket adapters around to try and make life easier. We use a double USB 12V adapter when travelling in our car or a motorhome, but when at home or plugged into mains power we need something else. Enter Gadget 2. Another Kogan unit, this time it’s a mains power plug with four USB outlets – and all rapid charge. Featuring a bright blue ‘on’ light, I’ve plugged in our two iPhones and 2 iPads and it seems to bring them up to charge quickly and in equal measure. Caution - Interesting Fact: Did you know a factory iPhone charger charges at 5 watts, while a factory iPad charger charges at 10 watts? That’s why when you accidentally plug your iPhone into your iPad charger it recharges so much quicker. Priced at $29 at the time of writing (inc free postage), we paid about $14 on one of their regular specials and have two, one for home and one for away. Check out the current deal by clicking HERE. So far so good for us with Kogan products. They’re affordable, functional and just the thing for this gadget inspector. Stay tuned for future reviews…


Cook-up | 49

Totally Stuffed! Everyone loves stuffed mushrooms…

I

f you're recovering from the excesses of the Festive Season, mushrooms are a healthy and delicious way to trim down. Stuffed mushrooms are always popular and can be served year round (look for supermarket specials to make them even better value).

Okay, so stuffing them with cheese mightn't seem like such a good low-calorie idea. But the small amount used across this whole recipe really won't hurt and it certainly adds to the taste!

pa

iam by Jess C

You’ll need...

Then...

• 500g white button mushrooms, cleaned and stemmed • 50 g diced roasted sweet red peppers • 50 g diced pitted green olives • 30 g grated Pecorino Romano cheese • 2 spring onions, diced • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil • 1/2 tsp salt • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper • Tablespoon finely chopped  fresh basil leaves

Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. In a medium bowl mix the roasted red peppers, olives, cheese, spring onions, olive oil, salt and pepper. On a greaseproof paper-lined baking tray place the mushrooms, cavity side up. Spoon the filling into the cavity of the mushrooms. Bake until the mushrooms are tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to a serving platter, sprinkle with chopped basil, and serve.


50 | Next Issue

Full Steam Ahead

Avida Esperance C7994SL on an Iveco cabchassis. This model has a slide-out lounge, rear bedroom with an East-West bed and a centre bathroom. There will be more interesting and/or unusual vehicles in our new Rogues’ Gallery, another summer recipe to tempt you, an app review and who knows what else. You’ll have to read it to find out.

M

alcolm has been hard at work tracking down motorhomes to review while everyone’s on holidays. It seems Australian Motor Homes near Newcastle has come to the rescue, with a shiny new

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Bendigo Caravan & Camping Show

Newcastle Caravan, Camping & Holiday Expo

Adelaide Caravan & Camping Show

Bendigo Racecourse, Heinz St, Ascot. VIC. • Open 9:00-5:00 daily (4:00 Sunday) • Parking: Available • Adults: $10 • Seniors: $6 • Kids: Free U 15 with adult

Newcastle Entertainment Centre and Showground • Open 9:00-5:00 daily (4:00 Sunday) • Parking: Free • Adults: $10 • Seniors: $6 • Kids: Free U 16 with adult

Adelaide Showground. • Open 10:00-6:00 daily • Parking: Free • Adults: $13 • Seniors: $10 • Kids: Free U 15 with adult

http://newcastle.supershow.com.au/Default. aspx

http://www.caravanandcampingsa.com.au/page. asp?parentid=257

http://www.leisurefest.com.au/visitor.html

Click for Google Maps

Click for Google Maps

Click for Google Maps

Know of a local or regional show coming up that attracts and promotes motorhomes, campervans and the great RV lifestyle in general? Drop us a line at info@imotorhome.com.au and we’ll happily promote it in this calendar.


iMotorhome eMagazine Issue 40 - 18 Jan 2014