48 : May 17 2014
because getting there is half the fun...
ine $1990 Eng ! Upgrade
Orange is the
new White Frontline breaks the white van hoodoo…
$50 Caltex Fuel Card!
Fifth Wheeler Feature!
Part 2 looking at a motorhoming alternative…
First Timer Reports… CMCA’s 28th Anniversary Rally!
Greetings from the USA!
About iMotorhome | 3
iMotorhome eMagazine is published twice monthly and available by free subscription from www.imotorhome.com.au. Your letters and contributions are always welcome! Contributors Follow us on Facebook and Twitter
Jess Ciampa, Emily Barker, Elizabeth & Helmut Mueller
Published by iMotorhome
Design and Production
PO Box 1738, Bowral. NSW 2576. Australia.
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T: +614 14 604 368 E: email@example.com W: www.imotorhome.com.au Editorial
Advertising Advertising Manager Keith Smyth M: 0408 315 288
T: 03 9579 3079
T: 0414 604 368 E: firstname.lastname@example.org Roadtest Editor Malcolm Street E: email@example.com
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
On Balance… The quest for the perfect work-life balance is one many of us pursue, with the lure of travelling and making money perhaps its Holy Grail. The advent of the Internet has opened up previously unimaginable opportunities and a case in point is me publishing a magazine electronically; and for this issue and the last, from various locations in America. It’s proof, perhaps, you really can have your cake and eat it – you just need to experiment with the recipe and baking time. The time difference between the US and Australia means that for most of this journey Sydney opens for business at 5:00 pm my time. It’s been great because it’s meant we’ve been able to travel all day and I’ve been able to work in the evenings. Well it would be great if we weren’t travelling with friends and pulling the cork out of a bottle of red at about 10:00 am Sydney time… In case you’ve recently joined us, in April 2013 Mrs iMotorhome and I delivered a brand new motorhome from the Fleetwood RV factory in Decatur, Indiana, to the Apollo RV rental’s office in Los Angeles. It was our first US motorhoming travel experience and as it was early spring we headed south, retracing the legendary Route 66 (you can download a special issue on this trip from our website). This year Apollo has changed manufacturers and we changed travel months – to May to give us the chance to traverse the country much further north. So we’re travelling from Forest City, Iowa, this time, although our destination remains unchanged. Travel aside, it’s been interesting comparing the Fleetwood and Winnebago products. From what I’ve gleaned Winnebago’s are held in higher esteem than Fleetwoods in America and in some ways that’s been the experience. And
in some ways not. The Winnebago product feels somewhat better made (that’s subjective), but last year we had no vehicle issues and this year we’ve had a few. Most disappointing has been Apollo’s on-road assistance, to the point I couldn’t recommend anyone rent a vehicle from them. Example 1: Day one we filled our vehicle with water (they don’t come filled as it’s too cold and can freeze whilst awaiting collection). That night I turned on the water pump and it began pumping water out the mains water inlet connector, with just a dribble inside. Bugger. Made do (thank goodness we’re travelling with friends in a second vehicle), and rang the hotline the next morning. It’s in Australia and only open Sydney hours. Left a detailed message (name/ phone/rental contract number) and to this day (day 11) Apollo has not returned my call. Fixed the problem via Google next day for $3.46 at a local RV dealer. Example 2: Our friend’s fridge played up from day one and stopped working around day 5. These fridges only run on LP gas when driving or free camping and it kept flashing the ‘check your gas’ warning light. Same call to Apollo, same non-result. Tonight (also day 11) they paid $65 to a local guy to fix the igniter. Apart from that we’re having a ball. America is as scenically diverse and beautiful as ever and our friends are having the time of their lives on their first motorhome adventure. Watch for a special issue later in the year!
6 | Content
On my Mind
Who we are, where and other legal stuff
How to get the best from iMotorhome eMagazine
11 On your Mind 14 Win a $1990 Engine Upgrade! Share your thoughts for the chance to win a $50 Caltex fuel card!
Get your entry in NOW!
Day Test: Frontline T5 Adventurer
What’s happening in the wider RV world - and beyond
Orange Revolution – Malcolm tests Frontline’s new VW T5 Adventurer
Viva la Orange!
Missed a Test? No problem. Click HERE to view the complete list of tests.
Content | 7
Feature: Fifth Wheelers
Reader Review Templates
Travel: USA Update
Next Issue & Show Calendar
Pt 2 of our look at these versatile motorhome alternative
The latest Marketplace offers
Feature: Rally First Timer A firsthand report on the CMCA’s 28th Anniversary Rally
Review your vehicle, a favourite place or whatever for a chance to win a Travel Notebook
Mr & Mrs iMotorhome report back after a week on the road
App de Jour! – Free apps for 24 hours…
What’s coming up and what shows are on soon
Touring the Winnebago Factory. Forest City, Iowa.
Missed an Issue? No problem. Click HERE to view the complete list of back issues.
8 | 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 that allow a degree of interactivity not possible with a conventional magazine. For example: The front cover and contents pages feature links in their headings that will take you directly to the relevant articles 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 link below it All advertisements are ‘live’ and linked to the advertisers’ websites. This means if you touch one (smartphone/tablet) or click on one (laptop/ desktop) you will be taken to the appropriate 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 or website of the topic being discussed, or open an email (if appropriate).
iPad and iPhone Users Important: Be sure you have the free iBooks app installed. Books 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 also has a Library function that displays a small thumbnail of the front cover of each issue. You can even create Collections so that you can store each year’s issues separately or by vehicle brand tested, or however you desire.
Using iBooks On downloading each issue of iMotorhome eMagazine on your iPad or iPhone 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. You need to do this with each issue you download. 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 relevant article). To make the icons reappear just tap anywhere on the page again. 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 front 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 lefthand corner.
User Guide | 9
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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 Hi Malcolm, I enjoy your magazine, it’s refreshing and one of the only dedicated magazines to Motorhomes and Fifth Wheelers. I like you article in Issue 47, 3 May 2014 on Fifth Wheelers. Though, I would like to bring to you a point which could cause someone in the ACT looking at a fifth Wheeler a lot of problems with their licence. You state in the article “Drivers’ licence requirements aren’t much different to a car, truck or motorhome. Most fifth wheelers are not classed as semi trailers and therefore do not require a Heavy Combination (HC) licence. If the tow vehicle has a Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) of less than 4.5 tonnes then just a normal car licence is required. For a tow vehicle with a GVM between 4.5 and 8.0 tonnes a Light Rigid (LR) truck licence is needed (this will cover most fifth wheelers).”
things harder for people. If you wish to own a Fifth Wheeler in the ACT you are required to have an HC licence as the ACT Government use the following definition for licences: “The Vehicle Standard (Australian Design RuleDefinitions and Vehicle Categories) 2005 defines a semi-trailer as a trailer that has one ‘axle group’ or single axle towards the rear; and a means of attachment to the ‘Prime Mover’ that would result in some of the load being imposed on the ‘Prime Mover.’ The means of attachment for this type of trailer to the towing vehicle is the fifth wheel assembly. As such fifth wheel trailers are considered to be a semi-trailer.” Kind Regards Les.
Hi Les. Thanks for your email. I hadn’t realised that ACT does things a bit differently with fifth wheelers. Some years ago there was a major effort by the RV industry to standardise For those of us lucky enough to live in the ACT licences et al across the country, but with our Local Council (ACT Government), they apparently the ACT didn’t quite follow suit. Cheers, Malcolm. like to do things differently and make a few
12 | On your mind /News
Mack the Knife
Dear Editor, I've just recovered from reading a past issue of iMotorhome where a contributing reader recalls being acknowledged by the driver of a Mac (sic) truck on driving his Winnebago Longreach for the first time. The Mack Brothers will be turning in their graves!
1936 – Dennis Hopper, Kansas, Actor
1966 – Tony Roche, Wagga Wagga, Tennis Player & Tennis Coach
P.S. Apart from this matter I do enjoy your magazine!
1971 – Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, first Dutch Queen Consort since 1890
Hi David, what can I say? Most amusing!
Motorhome is enormously saddened to report that motorhome industry icon and Trakka co-founder, Sally Berry, lost her battle with depression last Sunday (Mothers’ Day). Sally was a personal friend for many years and a highly respected and regarded industry figure. Trakka celebrated it’s 40th anniversary last year, having been co-founded by Sally and husband Dave in 1973. To Dave, Alex, Lil, AB and the whole Trakka team we at iMotorhome extend our entirely inadequate condolences. SB will be greatly missed… This tragedy highlights the terrible power of an illness still widely misunderstood. If you or someone you know battles with depression please get in touch with the Black Dog Institute or Beyond Blue. Constructive help is always available – as Mr iMotorhome can attest from personal experience.
WE’VE BROADENED OUR HORIZONS
The Horizon Motorhomes family just got bigger and you’ll love the new additions.
IN 29 A C S 9 R AM OL ive PE D E r R X ba Stre VA CLU llin et N & SI ac , Ba M VEL am ll O Y pe ina TO BY rs. 0 RH co 2 6 OM m 68 E .au 1 C 15 EN 55 TR
Now you can choose from eight Horizon models, all passionately built by master craftsmen using only the finest fixtures and fittings.
Introducing the BANKSIA +2 with additional seating and a permanent double bed and the CASUARINA, bringing extra space and flexibility to the Fiat Ducato*
$1990 ENGINE WERKT and iMotorhome are giving you the chance to win an amazing prize – an electronic engine upgrade for your campervan or motorhome valued at $1990 – and a write-up in iMotorhome eMagazine!
WERKT specialises in digital engine management systems customisation and tailors engine performance upgrades to suit your individual requirements. Not a one-size-fits-all solution, WERKT consults to establish your performance goals – be they extra pulling power, fuel economy, performance or across the board improvements – and then reprograms your engine’s electronic control module to deliver.
To win this outstanding prize simply email your name, address, motorhome make, model and engine type and your telephone number to email@example.com by 31 May 2014. The winner will be notified by email and announced in iMotorhome eMagazine Issue 49 on Saturday 7 June.
To find out more about WERKT visit www.werkt.com.au/motorhome *Prize only applicable to a turbo-diesel motorhome or campervan. You and the vehicle must be available in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, the Gold Coast or Adelaide for consultation and the engine upgrade and test-drive program to be completed by the end of June 2014. iMotorhome representative must be insured and allowed to drive the vehicle pre-and-post upgrade for comparison purposes. You must consent to you and your vehicle being featured in iMotorhome eMagazine.
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16 | News
RV Free Camping in the News tent or any other person who is not RV friendly is allowed to park in this town's park." Mr Pascoe said he understood council was unable to police the free park all day and night, but he wanted to know what happened to the waste product, who paid for it and where they put their grey water. "The problem is of course that the council hasn't got enough money to put anyone out there. Other councils are putting a charge on their parks."
ree parking for recreational vehicles (RVs) is still a hot topic for Kingston District Council in South Australia. The issue was again in the spotlight at the April monthly meeting after the Caravan Parks Association of SA wrote to the council. It released a document aimed at minimising the development of what it describes as noncompliant camping areas in towns where caravan parks already provide facilities for travellers. Before council discussed the report, Kingston Caravan Park owner Kevin Pascoe addressed the meeting. Mr Pascoe told council he had no objection to free parks, as long as they were used by large self-contained RVs with all sources including black water, grey water and were able to dispose of waste products correctly. "What has happened is that, magazines are published around Australia for all overseas tourists to look at and it has Kingston as a free park," he said. "Not a RV free park, but a free park which means that any bongo van, any
Mr Pascoe told council he knew many people have congratulated them on their free park, and that he had been told those people spend up when in Kingston - a comment he disagreed with. "I spend a lot of money in this town, my employees are all local and spend their money in the town," he said. "Park maintenance is sourced from the town.â€? "The point I am trying to make here is that the people who use the RV park don't spend the money in this town.â€? Mr Pascoe told council those non-compliant vehicles which stop in the town, stay here for free at ratepayers' expense. He told council one of the most popular RV magazines praises Kingston as the number one town for their particular operation. He said the article states "even though the sign says 24-hours, most people stay longer - it is not policed. What does this create for the town?â€? Mr Pascoe thanked council for listening to his concerns and asked that they take into account what he has achieved over the last seven years with the caravan park. From the Coastal Leader
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18 | News
NEW MARKETPLACE LINKS
he iMotorhome website’s Marketplace Links pages are growing! They’re designed to link you with businesses that can help, no matter what you’re looking for. We’d like to welcome the following companies and hope you’ll consider them if and when you’re in need of their specialised services:
Did you know?
Nomadic Solutions – The perfect solution to your outdoor dining needs; a table attached to the side of your motorhome! Summer Life RV – Australian designed fifth wheelers from 24-36 ft, plus complete packages including a tow vehicle.
Changing another country's weather is considered a war crime under the Geneva Convention of 1976? A diary kept by Phar Lap's trainer Harry Telford, reveals that the most likely cause of death was accidental poisoning in a tonic administered by his devoted handler Tommy Woodcock? The first webcam was created in Cambridge to check the status of a coffee pot?
News | 19
More Good WERKT
ime is running our to enter our terrific “Win a $1990 WERKT engine upgrade” competition. If you’re in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, the Gold Coast or Adelaide and get your entry in by 31 May, 2014, you’ll be in the running. You just need to be available over two days in June at a mutually convenient time.
Melbourne-based WERKT is a specialist tuning company that consults you to find out what you're after – more pulling power, better fuel economy, outright performance or across the board improvements – and then reprograms the existing files within your engine’s ECM to deliver those results. All work is done by simply plugging into the OBD port – where mechanics plug-in to test and diagnose for faults – so there is no physical tampering with any part of your vehicle. Impressively, all work is backed by a 30 day money-back guarantee. To find out more about the competition see page page 14 for details, but to find out more about the range of services WERKT provides visit its website HERE
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20 | News
D端sseldorf Show Grows
his year at Caravan Salon D端sseldorf from 30 August to 7 September 2014 (trade day: 29 August) visitors can look forward to an even larger product range. In addition to Halls 9 to 17, Caravan Salon 2014 will also be occupying Halls 5 and 7 at the D端sseldorf Exhibition Centre. As a result, the world's largest trade fair for RVs, with total space of around 190,000 square metres in eleven halls and the open grounds, will offer even more space accommodating all aspects of mobile leisure. Caravan Salon D端sseldorf will present a total of 580 exhibitors showing RVs in all price categories, basic vehicles, accessories, extension elements, tents, mobile homes, camp sites and mobile home parking facilities along with travel destinations. "In recent years the exhibiting companies have asked us to adapt the hall structure to the increased Continued...
SLIDE ON CAMPERS
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News | 21
super A-class motorhomes. More than 130 brands will present a whole range of world innovations, new products and premieres. In this context, there will be particular focus this year on the chassis manufacturers.
demand. World Innovations, New Products and Trends Caravan Salon will present around 1900 RVs in all conceivable shapes and sizes, from mini caravans with a sleep niche and cooking facility in just a few square metres of space to
The Caravan Salon Düsseldorf 2014 is open daily from 10 am to 6 pm. For trade visitors and media representatives the fair opens on Friday, 29 August. Day tickets costs Euro 14 for adults. Admission tickets purchased in advance include free travel to and from the exhibition centre on all means of transport within the VRR network on the days of the fair. Information and news on the Caravan Salon Düsseldorf can be found on the Internet by clicking HERE.
The Wirraway 260 SL
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22 | Day Test: Frontline VW T5 Adventurer
Orange Revolution Frontline might just have started a revolutionâ€Ś Review and images by Malcolm Street
Day Test: Frontline VW T5 Adventurer | 23
There’s no denying the eye catching appeal of Frontline’s brilliant orange VW, set off by a black roof and alloy wheels.
here's some sort of unwritten rule that suggests most campervans and motorhomes need to be white. In many ways white, often offset by some striking decals, is a practical colour. However, there's no doubt there are other colours around, like the striking orange of one of Frontline's latest pop-top campers, that catches your attention in spades. Frontline's Peter Farrugia has used a bright
orange VW T5 van for his latest Adventurer conversion, contrasting the body colour with a black pop-top roof and awning! As I said, all very eye catching…
ecause it's a bed seat camper; i.e. the rear seat folds down to make up the bed, the Adventurer conversion is
24 | Day Test: Frontline VW T5 Adventurer
There’s a valuable safety edge in the brilliant orange finish. The T5 Volkswagen also makes a handy daily driver and with optional rear seat belts can double as a versatile people mover.
available for either a Toyota HiAce or a Volkswagen T5 van. As noted above, the latter has been used for this campervan. Although the HiAce is a cheaper base vehicle there are a couple of reasons the VW T5 is more practical. It's mostly to do with the flat floor design that allows movement to and from the cab seats into the rear area. Another for the adventurous is that VW is available as an all wheel drive – VW calls it of the body is retained – it 4Motion. just has a number of holes cut in it (campervans also There are several turbo-diesel don’t have bathrooms - Ed). engine variants available In this case the largest hole in the VW T5 range and accommodates the popFrontline usually opts for the top roof, but there are also 103 kW/340 Nm version with fridge vents and water fillers. a 7 speed DSG ‘automatic’ Because this camper has gearbox, which it has done a methylated spirits-fired in this instance. However, the cooktop there's no need for more powerful 132 kW/400 a gas cylinder bin. Of course Nm motor is an option and there are a few bolt-on items standard on the 4Motion. like the Fiamma awning. An item of note is that the popOne of the things that top is integrated very well distinguishes a campervan into the van profile, only the from a motorhome is that whilst the latter is usually built black colour makes it and the on the back of a cab- chassis, awning stand out! in a van conversion most
On The Road
have to say that driving the VW is quite a pleasure. Even with the 103 kW engine the van is a very smooth performer and the gearbox moves through the gears without hesitation (except occasionally from a standstill). The vehicle handles the contours and curves of undulating roads without a problem. All the controls are readily to hand and the front seats, despite looking rather ordinary, are quite good on long journeys. My one beef would be with the standard radio/CD player which is just that and not much else. Mr
Day Test: Frontline VW T5 Adventurer | 25
The swing-out stove helps
keep cooking odours outdoors.
VW, would it cost that much more to put in a unit that matches that of even the cheapest Korean cars?
Stopping for the Night
here's no doubt campervans have much less interior space than their motorhome brothers, but one of the most obvious
advantages on the road or in the car park is its size. Although it's a pop-top that has to be raised, setting up the Adventurer for day use does not take long at all. A matter of opening the sliding door and releasing the four pop-top roof straps, then pushing up the roof â€“ something made quite easy by the gas struts. One of the advantages of the rising
The stove works best when outdoors, putting it at standing height. It runs on methylated spirits and is slower than gas, but eliminates the need for gas in the vehicle.
full roof is that air circulation is most effective in warmer weather. Although it looks very much the add on that it is, the Fiamma awning does a good job of protecting the side of the van from both the sun and rain. Many people only think in terms of the sun, but a partially open awning is great for vans and very effective at
26 | Day Test: Frontline VW T5 Adventurer The interior is simple but functional, with good stand-up room throughout thanks to a full pop-top roof. Electrical controls are easily reached, too.
keeping the rain away from the opened sliding door â€“ just be careful of pooling water and high wind! Speaking of opened doors, it depends how you travel and camp, but an option for consideration might well be velcro-attached insect screens for both the sliding and rear door. These simple screens don't take up much space but help keep the bugs out!
nside the Adventurer the layout is quite simple, with a kitchen/storage cabinet along the offside and a day/ night lounge/seat taking up the mid section. The lounge/seat can be used for passengers when travelling (two seat belts optionally available), just for sitting on when camped by day or folded into a bed by night. The rear area has a platform and large cushion that mate to the seat to form the bed.
Day Test: Frontline VW T5 Adventurer | 27
The bed is wider than usual, thanks to a narrow wardrobe unit. Thereâ€™s good storage below thatâ€™s accessed from the rear.
28 | Day Test: Frontline VW T5 Adventurer
With the stove swung out youâ€™re able to swivel the front passenger seat around. Belowstove storage is handy for bulky cooking utensils and even things like thongs.
Behind the passenger seat a swivelling cooktop cabinet can be used inside or from outside. With the cabinet swung out, the passenger seat cab be swivelled around.
Under the bed at the rear is a good storage area; the front half being partly used by a Thetford Porta Potti. From behind the rear area can be accessed by opening the back door. Part of this space is taken by the house Fitted into the offside rear area is a sliding door battery and charger, but the rest can be used cabinet; the front half having shelves and the for general storage. I reckon a couple of large rear a small hanging space. Right in the rear plastic bins would work well and keep things corner is a small shelf that on this camper held neat. an optional external shower hose.
Day Test: Frontline VW T5 Adventurer | 29 Lighting in the van consists of two fluorescent needed for a cylinder, not to mention an fittings in the ceiling and two LED reading lights annual gas inspection at rego time. Having in the rear. the cooktop on a swivel mount means it can be used inside or out and being at standing height, it’s definitely easier to use outside, Time to Eat which also minimises cooking odours inside. n a van this size it’s not surprising that the kitchen area is split across the van, but this In the offside bench there’s an 80 litre Engel doesn't make it impractical. Directly behind fridge directly under a cutlery drawer, while the the passenger seat is a swivel cabinet that stainless steel sink is supplied by a flick-mixer contains a cupboard below and Origo twotap. This leaves room for a surprising amount burner cooktop above. It uses methylated of bench space up top. Under the sink is a two spirits for fuel, thereby making the Adventurer shelf cupboard and a simple but effective 12 V LPG free. The spirit fired cooktop is certainly switch panel that includes both 12 V and 5 V slower than LPG, but does save on the space USB socket chargers.
Bench space is good thanks to the cooker being in a separate unit. Note cut-out to accommodate the wider bed.
30 | Day Test: Frontline VW T5 Adventurer After Hours
etting up the bed is relatively simple – done by releasing catches on either side of the rear seat and laying it flat. The bed measures 1.88 m x 1.29 m (6 ft 2 in x 4 ft 3 in) which narrows down to 1.15 m (3 ft 9 in). The bed width can be expanded by not having the offside rear cabinet, but that does mean a substantial reduction in storage space. Making up the bed can be easily done by two people, one at the rear door and one inside.
What I think
'm a bit of a fan of VW vans and given I'm still working for a living, this Frontline Adventurer campervan has some considerable appeal. In many eyes it might be seen as too small for comfortable camping, but for those still working and/or who live in a city it’s a very affordable budget motorhome that can also be used as around town transport. The van is also easy to park, not to mention being able to transport four people quite easily, while it doubles as a great little weekend escape machine, which in today's pressurised work environment is a real plus. And the orange colour? Although it catches your attention I suspect many a buyer will opt for something a little less attention getting when reality hits the road. It’s certainly a fun colour though and a brave face for an anti-white-van revolution!
The rear seat folds flat and butts up against a matching cushion to form the bed. It’s extra width, at the cost of some cupboard space, seems a compromise many buyers will be more than happy to accommodate.
Day Test: Frontline VW T5 Adventurer | 31 With a wind-out awning and lift-up tailgate Frontlineâ€™s adventurer provides a fair degree of protection when the weather turns inclement.
The adventurer doubles as a great weekend escape machine.
32 | Day Test: Frontline VW T5 Adventurer
Adventurer Bed Seat Pop-Top
Volkswagen T5 Transporter
2.0 litre turbo-diesel
103 kW @ 3500 rpm
340 Nm @ 1750-2500 rpm
Seven speed DSG auto
4-wheel ABS disc
Gross Vehicle Mass
Approved Seating External Length
2 5.29 m (17 ft 4 in)
1.90m (6 ft 3 in)
2.48 m (8 ft 1 in)
2.03 m (6 ft 8 in)
Internal Height (Roof down)
1.5 m (4 ft 11 in)
Rear Bed Size
1.88 m x 1.3 m - 1.15 m (6 ft 2 in x 4 ft 3 in - 3 ft 9 in)
Origo 3000 2 burner
Engel 85litre 12 V compressor
12 V fluorescent & LED
1 x 100 AH
Heater Solar Panels
n/a 4 x 200 kW
Hot Water Heater
Optional – heat exchanger
Fresh Water Tank
Price (on road NSW)
• • • • • •
Seats four people Swing-out cooktop Swivelling passenger seat Well ventilated with roof up Seat bed simple to set up Bed wider than others
• VW radio/CD player • Metho cooking slower that LPG • Bed length for taller people
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36 Cross Street Brookvale NSW 2100 Ph: 02 9939 0600 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.frontlinecamper.com.au For more iMotorhome Road Tests click here
Day Test: Frontline VW T5 Adventurer | 33
Iâ€™m a bit of a fan of VW vans and given Iâ€™m still working for a living this Frontline Adventurer campervan has some considerable appeal.
34 | Feature: Fifth Wheelers â€“ Part 2
Hang 5! Neither motorhome nor conventional caravan, fifth wheelers are a hybrid RV well worth consideringâ€Ś Story and Images by Malcolm Street
Feature: Fifth Wheelers – Part 2 | 35
Fifth wheelers for smaller Australian utes, like this 4WD Isuzu, are growing steadily in popularity as more people discover their advantages.
ast issue we looked at some of the basics of fifth wheelers and the pros and cons of different tow vehicle types. This issue we’re finishing off with more considerations, including design, Australia compliance for imports, licensing and hitches.
Towing, Compliance, Hitches and More
iven the way they are set up, fifth wheelers are easier to tow and manoeuvre than caravans. The optimum position for a fifth wheel hitch is about 150 mm ahead of the rear axle of the tow vehicle. This places the entire pin (ball) weight just in front of the axle, giving much better weight distribution and aiding control of the tow vehicle. There’s no need for tedious
36 | Feature: Fifth Wheelers – Part 2
Trailblazers make both gooseneck and fifth wheel configured units.
weight distribution gear and the ball weight on the towbar becomes irrelevant (something caravaners regularly worry about). On the road a fifth wheeler is far more stable at speed than a caravan (that’s why semi trailers use the system they do and not conventional tow bars). There’s less of the snatching and jerking that sometimes come with caravan towing; sideways rock and roll is often reduced and a fifth wheeler can be manoeuvred into spots caravaners can only dream about. Something worth considering is the positioning of the rear axle/s. The further aft they are and the greater the distance between them and the hitch, the more stable the unit should be and
One of the mysteries of the RV world in Australia is why fifth wheelers aren’t more popular.
Feature: Fifth Wheelers – Part 2 | 37
Pacific RV’s all-new 27FLB fifth wheeler has twin slide-outs and a drop-down front that provides a level floor throughout. It’s bedroom is at the rear and the front is a spacious lounge with individual recliners. the less sensitive it will be to fore-aft pitching and small steering wheel inputs when reversing (think semi trailer again). Fifth wheelers with the axle/s more mid-mounted tend to bounce and pitch around a bit, although they are more manoeuvrable in tight parking situations. Remember, fifth wheelers can still be jackknifed in slippery conditions or emergency braking situations – so they’re not perfect – but so too can caravans. The combined vehicle towing length for a given interior space is reduced with a fifth wheeler, compared to a caravan. For example, with a 22 ft (6.7 m) fifth wheeler and a 16 ft 5 in (5 m) tow vehicle, because the fifth wheeler actually overhangs the tow vehicle, you take off about 7 ft (2.13 m) for the overhang, add about 1ft (0.3 m) for the gap between the two and
end up with a towing combination length of about 32 ft (9.87m). For an equivalent caravan combination there’s 16 ft (5 m) for the tow vehicle, 22 ft (6.7 m) for the van and 6 ft (1.8 m) for the drawbar, which gives a total of 44 ft (13.4m) – a fair difference! Most fifth wheelers have tandem axles, but both Trailblazers and Winjana produce smaller but still very liveable single-axle models, including off-roaders. Winjana's was almost an accidental design: A customer was unhappy with the rock n' roll characteristics of his slideon camper, so the Winjana team rebuilt it, adding a single axle and a towing hitch. It was such a success they added it to their existing range!
38 | Feature: Fifth Wheelers - Part 2 This Hijacker fifth wheel hitch can be removed, leaving just the floor rails in the ute tray.
ne of the problems with the fifth wheeler side of the RV industry is that there are some compliance matters that are not always clear, or even odd. For instance and as mentioned previously, it’s legal in Australia (assuming the tow vehicle GCM is so specified) to have a 4.5 tonne truck towing a 9 tonne fifth wheeler on a standard car licence, yet in a motorhome that combined weight would require a Medium Rigid (MR) truck licence. ADR approval is required for the pin box (fifth wheeler equivalent of the caravan drawbar) and trailer hitch, yet the way the hitch is attached to the tow vehicle is open to interpretation. On the subject of hitches, double pivot hitches are the way to go as they allow lateral as well as fore-aft moment of the fifth-wheel and
tow vehicle, Single pivots allow no lateral movement and can cause unwanted twisting stress on both the tow vehicle’s chassis and the fifth wheeler’s body. Most hitches are imported US units, but Melbourne company D’Angelo Engineering manufactures the MiniMax turntable to very high standards and specifically for Australian conditions. D’Angelo’s main business is making hitches for semi trailers, amongst other heavy engineering things, so it knows a thing or two about what it takes to make a robust hitch. It also makes a folding kingpin for gooseneck-style hitches, which folds flat into the floor of the tow vehicle, thus keeping the tray area free for normal duties. Imported fifth wheelers, especially those from the US, are often a subject of comment, mostly because many are considerably cheaper than Australian or New Zealand
Feature: Fifth Wheelers - Part 2 | 39
Big American tow vehicles are still popular and available though specialist importers like Harrison F-Trucks, while Summerlife RV even offers complete vehicle and fifth wheeler packages. made units. That comes about because of the considerably larger scale of production that US manufacturers achieve. All imported fifth wheelers have to comply with Australian regulations (and there are quite a few), but some grey areas do seem to get manipulated. There are two slightly different approaches taken by those who import fifth wheelers from the US. Some design them from the ground up and then get them built to our specification in the US. Others use an existing design and modify it to suit Australian conditions and compliance, either getting the conversion done in the US or here. It pays to shop around when looking for an import, but companies like Fifth Wheelers Australia can help out with many questions, as well as supplying a range of fully Australian compliant US fifth wheelers.
40 | Feature: Fifth Wheelers - Part 2 For more information on Australian Standards, VSB 1 “Building small trailers” has a summary of the facts. It can be found on the web by clicking HERE. These are a few of its more relevant points: 1) A fifth wheeler (indeed any RV) should have a door on the left hand side or at the rear. 2) The maximum width of the fifth wheeler (including awnings and any other protruding devices) shall not exceed 8 ft 2.5 in (2.5 m) 3) Every part of the gas installation should meet Australian/NZ standards and the fifth wheeler should have an Australian gas certificate. Some US imports are designed to operate on auto gas and some have a gas furnace. Neither is legal in Australia. 4) Every part of the electrical installation should meet Australian/NZ standards and be certified as such. US mains supply is 110 volts AC, not 230 volts AC as in Australia, and considerable rewiring is required. All the cabling should be rated for 240V.
Fifth wheeler interiors are as varied as the models available. Pacific RV’s unit (below) has a slide-out dinette and bedroom for extra living space.
Feature: Fifth Wheelers - Part 2 | 41
Tray-top utes also make good fifth wheeler tow vehicles and negate the need to lower and raise the tailgate before and after hitching.
There were not too many of them, but some winners out of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) were the importers of US made products. Prior to the GFC the US manufacturers were not really interested in making changes, like having the door on the correct side or colour schemes more acceptable to Antipodean eyes. However, when the US market shrank considerably post the GFC, other markets like Downunder, suddenly looked good and it was a case of, "What interior colour scheme would you like with your nearside entry door?â€?
ifth Wheeler aren't going to be for everybody, but I reckon they should get more of a hearing, especially from folk contemplating long term touring or who already own a potential tow vehicle. They can of course be built for anything from a ute to a full size prime mover and provide the at-destination travel freedom of a traditional car and caravan, but with great safety while travelling, more interior space for a given length and easier parking and manoeuvring. Horses for courses, as they say, but well worth looking in to!
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44 | Feature: Rally First Timer
Cruising at Robinvale A first-time rally goer’s report from the CMCA’s 28th Anniversary rally… by Lynn Mills
Feature: Rally First Timer | 45
f you’re not much of a party animal it’s a pretty safe bet that, like me, you’ve steered well clear of the CMCA’s two big annual rallies. Setting up camp for a week with 1000 vehicles and 1500-2000 total strangers isn’t my idea of an ideal motorhome getaway. But life is full of surprises. Now, having recently returned from the 28th Anniversary Rally in Robinvale, Victoria, I’ve changed my tune. My advice to anyone who hasn’t yet attended a CMCA rally is JUST DO IT. Go. It’s an amazing experience. As a mature solo and an empty-nester I’m no longer bound by the constraints of needing to work for a living. My time is my own. Travel limitations now are mainly financial. However, I’m also in the rather fortunate position of being able to enjoy motorhoming, interspersed with an annual ocean cruise holiday.
It take s a lot of people – both paid and volunteer – to run a CMCA rally. Thanks to all of you!
46 | Feature: Rally First Timer
Vehicle names are a regular source of amusement, while things like photo competitions help get attendees involved and motivated.
urprisingly, I found the Robinvale Rally not unlike an ocean cruise in many respects. The similarities occurred to me on day two of the rally. Not wanting to miss any of the interesting seminars, I’d been rushing from one venue to another all day. About 4 pm I returned ‘home’ for a much needed cold drink and to grab a bite to eat before heading off to the main marquee for yet another evening of fabulous musical entertainment. Carefully studying tomorrow’s cruise programme, circling the activities that interest me most, then spending much of the next day rushing from one end of the ship to the other to fit it all in has become typical of my at-
sea cruise pattern (it’s probably also the reason I don’t put on weight when cruising despite devouring copious amounts of food). I love being at sea and would happily sail around the world without ever coming into port because “sea days” are when the on-board programme is at its best. It’s clear to me now that Rally Organisers and Cruise Directors have the same priorities and objectives. Activities on offer must cater to the broad and varied interests of a diverse demographic, with the aim of keeping everyone happy and entertained. Not that everyone wants to be entertained all of the time. Sometimes we just need to take time-out to relax. And relax is what I mainly did at Robinvale over
Feature: Rally First Timer | 47 Half Normal, Half Formal was the Rally Ball theme, while sundowners is a favourite time at gatherings all across the rally site late every afternoon.
the weekend before the rally officially began. From my arrival on the Saturday morning (by special First-Timer invitation) the first five days were really HOT. By Tuesday afternoon the temperature inside my van hit 39.3ºC. Luckily, the main seminar venues (Robinvale Football Club Rooms and Civic Centre Theatrette) were air conditioned, as was the Swan Hill Council ‘Craft Barn’, located just outside the main gate. Not that I ever managed to get to the Craft Barn. In fact I left the Rally Site only once during my 9 days; to walk to the local supermarket for supplies and to the Op Shop for fun.
48 | Feature: Rally First Timer
Presentations and recognition form a big part of Rally life. So does just getting around and meeting people, starting with your neighbours.
Although the days were hot, the absence of mosquitoes meant the balmy evenings were ideal for being outside. They we're perfect for finding a comfortable spot either inside the big marquee or outside under the stars, to sit back with a drink or ice cream from one of the variety of vendors in the adjacent Food Court and sing along with the different nightly groups who belted out great music from the 50s to the 80s. While I sometimes have trouble remembering what I did yesterday, when the music began I knew the words to every song and happily sang along!
Something for Everyone!
s previously suggested, anyone whoâ€™s been on an ocean cruise will tell you there is something for everyone. You can be as busy or as laid-back as you like. And so it was at the rally. A brief cross section of some of the activities on offer demonstrates the diversity of the programme:
Feature: Rally First Timer | 49
Just because a motorhome is older doesnâ€™t mean it canâ€™t be loved and looked after like new.
50 | Feature: Rally First Timer • Master-Chef cookery demonstrations • Fashion parade • Photographic competition • Disc bowls (tuition and competition) • Bingo • Trade stalls and exhibitions • National Parks & Wildlife talks • Centrelink presentations • Men’s and Women’s health talks • Open Day and Market Stall Day • Line dancing, rock & roll, old time/new vogue • The Rally Ball, theme: Half Normal, Half Formal The glossy 70 page Rally Programme, issued upon arrival, becomes your Bible for the duration. It contains:
Activities, activities, activities – there’s always something to buy/watch/do at a CMCA rally!
Feature: Rally First Timer | 51
1: A comprehensive A-Z Guide to everything – from ATMs to behaviour & code of conduct, courtesy buses, dog protocols, emergency & general medical services, first aid, gas refills, (use of) generators, laundry, lost & found and notice boards, etc.
watch the changing light on the famous Walls of China. This tour was $150, including pickup and drop off from the rally site as well as afternoon tea and a buffet picnic dinner.
2: The Daily Schedule – an overall guide to what’s happening, when and where.
6: Women’s Shed programme.
3: Craft Barn Programme – open from 8.30 am to 4.00 pm daily, with a mind boggling variety of classes. 4: Tours – Five pages covering a range of tours – either commercially operated guided tours (shore excursions?); others offered by nearby not-for-profit organisations, such as the Swan Hill Rural City Council’s tour of Swan Hill, the Pioneer Settlement and Lake Boga Flying Boat Museum; plus suggested self-drive trips to many local points of interest and attractions. I was seriously tempted by the Mungo National Park Sunset Tour (4.00 pm to 10.30pm) to
5: Men’s Shed programme.
7: Seminar Guide – Nine pages listing the daily seminar topics, together with information about the presenters, their experience, areas of expertise and qualifications. 8: Bios – Information about the many entertainers contracted to provide live entertainment throughout the rally. Rally enjoyment was enhanced by other services, including the fleet of Smiley Buses that operated throughout the day, ferrying passengers around the grounds, to and from the local supermarket, shopping centre and Service Clubs. And of course morning and
52 | Feature: Rally First Timer
If you donâ€™t want to cook there are plenty of on-site dining options. Below: Local tours are just some of the events listed daily on the notice board.
afternoon tea (BYO cup) was served daily in the main marquee. The Euston Club and Robinvale Golf Club extended an open invitation to rally participants to enjoy social games of lawn bowls or golf, or to come for lunch or dinner, with complimentary door-to-door transport available. Pets, especially dogs, were also well represented and catered for at the rally, with daily dog socialisation sessions, afternoon tea with your pet and a pet show (dogs, cats & birds).
A CMCA rally is like an ocean cruise â€“ always somewhere to go and something to do.
Feature: Rally First Timer | 53
The Saturday of these big semi-annual rallies is open to the public so they can get a taste of the RV lifestyle, check out new vehicles and products and just chat with members.
round 150 First Timer vehicles attended the Robinvale Rally. As a group we received generous preferential advantages including being invited to enter and set up two days before the rally officially commenced. On the evening of our arrival we joined rally volunteers at a welcome party, where a two course dinner (BYO crockery, cutlery & drinks) was served by students from the Euston Public School. Next morning we were spoiled again, this time with a cooked breakfast – courtesy of the Euston Pre School.
the Captain and Officers (Rally Manager, CMCA Chairman and Board Members). On arrival at the rally, first timers were issued with a hot pink ribbon emblazoned with “First Timer” in large black lettering. We were asked to wear this throughout the rally, together with our 28th Anniversary Rally ribbon and CMCA Member Identification Card on a lanyard around our necks. I heard someone grumbling about having to wear the First Timers’ ribbon. Perhaps he didn’t want to be singled out or be identified as a novice? Another first timer couple was not aware they would need a lanyard to display membership cards and ribbons and were unable to buy any until the CMCA shop opened on the Monday.
Following the breakfast a first timers meeting reminded me of captains’ cocktail parties – sans Wearing a first timer ribbon was, I’m sure, cocktails and evening dress requirements! We never intended to single anyone out as an RV were welcomed to the rally and introduced to
54 | Feature: Rally First Timer novice. The unmistakable bright pink ribbon actually facilitated my introduction to many long-time members and volunteers, including a particularly delightful older woman Foundation Member. Upon noticing my ribbon these people went out of their way to greet me, introduce themselves and spend time finding out if I was enjoying myself and what I thought of my first rally experience. I think it was from these people that I learned only about 3 per cent of the CMCA’s 60,000plus members ever attend their rallies. This came as a bit of a shock at first, but when I thought more about it later it’s probably not so surprising. The majority of motor home owners, me included, are not looking for a Butlin’s Holiday Camp experience when we set out to enjoy our time on the road. We don’t want to be regimented or restricted in where we stay and what we do. Also like me back in 2009, many are put off attending when they discover powered sites are limited at these rallies. In my old campervan (Bertha) I couldn’t manage more than 4 or 5 days without connecting to mains power. Even with a 3-way fridge, after a few days my mobile phone and computer were out of battery, as was my only source of nonmains interior lighting – a rechargeable lantern. Bertha didn’t even have a house battery, but she got me from Adelaide to Karumba and Cooktown and home again without any problems. I bet there are hundreds of CMCA members without the technical capacity to last through a rally without power. Come to think of it I didn’t notice many campervans at Robinvale. The majority were larger vehicles with roof-top solar systems or generators. Or on powered sites. Still on the subject of power, I now have a better understanding of why the number of powered sites is limited. On my first orientation walk I
Feature: Rally First Timer | 55
discovered that the powered sites are not, as I’d always assumed, connected to mains electricity. They are powered by banks of BIG (Coates Hire) generators; no doubt imported especially for the rally. I was also interested to see that these generators are enclosed on three sides by double height layers of straw bales – no doubt to minimise noise disturbance.
a few of the seminar topics I attended. I think I can now cast a critical eye along the walls of a motor home and confidently identify any tell tale signs of water damage. That’s certainly something I couldn’t have done before. For female motor home owners, especially those who buy, sell and travel on their own, the information I learned at the rally is invaluable.
Perhaps the club might look into ways of offering basic phone, computer, or lantern recharging points for these members, together with an explanation about why powered sites are limited? Something as simple as this just might entice many more members to attend future rallies.
I also met many interesting and lovely people. Although no one from my local Chapter attended this rally, it didn’t take long to meet my neighbours or strike up conversations with others at the seminars, walking around the grounds, at the musical performances or even in the ladies shower rooms.
One of my next door neighbour couples were attending the rally with close friends who had ended up being sited further down our ‘street.’ Some nights they all went to one of the clubs for dinner. On the nights they stayed home they’d take turns to cook and host dinner. When dinner was happening next door, I found their conversations so much more entertaining than the book I was reading at the time. I’d turn off my light and pretend to be asleep, while trying
learned a lot at the rally, much of which I’d be hard pressed finding out about at home. I learned about electrical leads, inverters, battery systems and chargers; ways of boosting phone coverage; motor home water leak detection and prevention; antennas and TV reception solutions; motor home safety; solar, charging batteries and wire size -– to name just
56 | Feature: Rally First Timer
hard not to laugh out loud. We were all packed in pretty tightly so it was hard not to overhear what was going on virtually underneath my window. Nevertheless I didn’t want them to think I was eavesdropping. But I thank them for some very funny and entertaining evenings.
Time of the Signs
inally, a personal highlight of the rally for me was, at long last, getting a sign made-to-measure for the back of my slow old Winnebago. I’d first thought about doing something like this when I drove my 1985 Nissan Urvan pop-top campervan, Bertha, half way across Australia in 2009. Everything on the road passed me then – including countless red and yellow LinFox B-doubles that went hurtling past me and disappeared into the distance with their “YOU ARE PASSING ANOTHER FOX” rear sign.
Mistake. Huge. ‘Winnie’ is built on a 1995 Isuzu NPR200 cab chassis. Lots of torque. Not much speed. Or, as my quick witted brother, Mr iMotorhome would undoubtedly put it, “She’s all torque, no action.” At 78 km/h she leaves her green comfort (optimum performance) zone and moves alarmingly into the red. Everything still goes past me! But at least now, with the sign emblazoned across her rear, I feel a bit more comfortable knowing that anyone who ‘gets it’ knows that I know I’m a snail. The sign? “You are passing another LYNN.” Speaking of ‘getting it’, the guy who made the sign for me at the rally took a while to understand what and why I wanted it. When he finally did, he suggested I’d be better with “You Are Passing another FOXY LADY”. Anyone who knows me would get a laugh out of that!
It was kind of sad as the rally started drawing to a close. Several near neighbours left a day or My Winnebago is ten years younger than my old two early. Some had to get home to start work Nissan and has a manual rather than automatic on Monday. Others, I think, were hoping to beat transmission. I thought she’d be faster. Big
Feature: Rally First Timer | 57
the exit rush – of which there was no evidence, even at 10.30 am Monday when I eventually hit the road. As more and more gaps started to appear around the site the mood too seemed to change – just like on the last day of a cruise. The exuberance and activity began to give way to a kind of quiet resignation and regret it was over. It was a shame that the early-leavers missed the closing ceremony on Sunday evening, where various awards were presented, new Life Members were named and introduced and the Rally Manager announced that $7000 had been raised during the rally and would be donated to BlazeAid. From my personal observations, the ‘smooth sailing’ of this land-based cruise was due in large part to the efforts of the hundreds of volunteers. These people make an enormous contribution to ensuring the comfort and enjoyment of ordinary rally goers. From the
Meet & Greet Team at the gate to the friendly efficient team who ensure your vehicle is sited within the marked lines and the Pink Ladies from the Rally Host Programme who ensure you are well orientated shortly after arrival – THANK YOU! I’d like to extend a big THANK YOU also to the volunteers whose jobs may not be quite so glamorous or visible. Working behind the scenes, these teams carry out maintenance, collect and dispose of garbage, empty grey water collection tanks, lay and occasionally repair row-upon-row of fresh-water hoses and taps running behind each back-to-back row of vehicles, and also transport people with restricted mobility to and fro around the site in a fleet of golf-buggy lookalikes. Thank you too to the volunteers who manned the GeoWiki centre all-day every-day, and in particular Charlie, who painstakingly installed GeoWiki into my old Navman while trying to eat his lunch. Hate to tell you Charlie but I had
to undo all your hard work about 10 kms up the road on my way home! My (cheap) Navman obviously didn’t have the memory to take all that additional information. After pulling off the road four times in the first 10 km and resetting it, it continued to tell me I was travelling at 44 kph and had 152 kms to my destination. WRONG! In the end I had to reset the GPS to its original factory settings and lost GeoWiki completely. When the time comes to buy a new GPS I’ll make sure it has enough memory to take GeoWiki. It’s a great programme.
he 28th Anniversary Rally had many of the features of a holiday at sea. There might not have been the sound of the ocean waves or the smell of salt air, but we were on the banks of the Murray and the scenery and birdlife were wonderful. It might not have had a
casino, day spa or beauty salon, but I don’t use those particular services anyway when cruising. Someone to tidy my room, make my bed and leave chocolates on my pillow each evening might have been nice, but hey, I brought my own chocolates with me, didn’t need to make my bed unless I wanted to and was never in my ‘cabin’ long enough to make a mess. The only thing I can think of that might have been fun, and could probably be arranged, is “Movies Under The Stars”. After the live entertainment finishes, a different new release movie each night would appeal to the night owls amongst us who aren’t ready for bed at 9.30pm. The super-white walls of the main marquee would make a perfect screen. Just a suggestion …
Reader Review Templates | 59
Share your experience for a chance to win a Travel Notebook!
our fellow iMotorhome readers have told us they want to know all about the rig you 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Not only might you see your name in print, you’ll be in the draw for a Travel Notebook! 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
60 | Travel – US Update
Thoughts after a week on the road in our rental motorhome… By Richard Robertson
spring weather system is moving through the Rockies as I write. It’s Mothers’ Day morning and I’m hunkered down in a Walmart car park at Casper, Wyoming, as the snow blows sideways and and our ‘Minnie Winnie’ rocks gently in the wind. Yesterday it was about 20ºC and sunny today it’s 1ºC and a blizzard. What a difference a day makes! Such is the reality of travel in the USA, especially between seasons. Mrs iMotorhome, along with our travelling companions Jan and Andrew, are at a local laundromat and will soon be back to ‘circle the wagons’ as we settle in for a day of reading,
playing canasta and wandering through Walmart. I’m playing much needed work catch-up. Last night we free camped about 22 km south west of Casper, by a small boat ramp next to an equally small river, a hundred meters or so off Wyoming Route 220. As we parked-up the storm clouds were gathering and through the night our Winnie’s rocked markedly in the gale force winds. The snow didn’t really start until breakfast time – around 8 – and as internet coverage was marginal at best we decided to brave the blizzard and head back to civilisation. It was a tense but memorable
Travel – US Update | 61
A sudden weather change in the Rockies meant we woke to snow in Hill City, South Dakota (top), which followed us to nearby Mt Rushmore. Water run-off made it look like the Presidents were crying. drive as the wind did it’s best to blow us off the road; the snow swirled and snaked its way across the bitumen and the landscape, which yesterday had been bright under sunny skies, disappeared under an rapidly growing mantle of white (when you could see it).
and in many ways the landscape is as wide open, wild and untamed as it was a century and a bit ago when the early settlers headed west. For a county with a population of more than 300 million there sure is a lot of open space left.
We’ve been on the road a week now and Jan and Andrew, both first time motorhomers, are having a ball. So are we. We’ve crossed the full width of South Dakota from our pick-up point in Iowa; traversed a corner of Wyoming and nudged briefly into Montana before returning to Wyoming. The names alone are evocative; steeped in cowboy lore and Indian mystique
Along the way we’ve visited the iconic Mt Rushmore, with its Presidential heads sculpted into the living rock, and the Crazy Horse Monument – lesser known but a sculpture on a scale so vast as to almost defy comprehension. And then there was the Little Big Horn Battlefield; site of General Custer’s famous last stand and the last significant
62 | Travel – US Update
Sunnier skies in Montana, not far from the Little Big Horn Battlefield. Fun cut-outs in a field left us in no doubt we were in Cowboy Country! Native American victory in the so-called Indian Wars. America does tourism very well. We also popped into a former control room of a Minute Man intercontinental ballistic missile battery, one of many scattered across the farmlands of these States, where for decades groups of young men endured unimaginable boredom waiting to turn the keys and press the buttons that would signal the end of humanity. America does war very well, too. Tonight we’ll return to our riverside camp; a place as serene and removed from the bustle of city life and the possibilities of mutual assured destruction as any we’ve ever free camped in. Tomorrow we’ll try to continue
our journey to Laramie and Cheyenne. We’re taking the back roads, so fingers crossed the snow abates as forecasted and we can travel safely though the back country of Southern Wyoming. Failing that there’s always Interstate 25. That’s one of the things I like about America – there’s always a plan B. Well, almost always…
o far we’ve overnighted in a Walmart carpark, two RV parks (one site hookedup and the other unpowered), a winery that’s part of the Harvest Hosts network and our riverside free camp. RV parks seem to cost around $25 for a tent site (they don’t really
Travel – US Update | 63
Andrew’s first day contending with RV park hook-ups – including the dreaded sewer hose. Bottom: Fun riding the Jackelope and stage coach at Wall Drug, South Dakota!
‘get’ an RV not being hooked up to services) and between $35 and $50 on average for power, water and sewer. You can save a bit if you don’t need the sewer connection, but it’s one of the reasons we use an RV park. You can also empty your tanks at an RV dump point at some gas stations and most RV parks for a fee, or free at many municipal locations.
ur Mothers’ Day Walmart experience was quite insightful/useful. After restocking our collective pantry (we eat together and take turns to cook) and finding innumerable must-have clothing and other bargains, the Ladies treated themselves to a wash, cut and blow-dry for $15 each and then had their nails
done (gel lacquer, I’m told) for $31 each. All-inall a most productive day despite the weather. Walmart Supercentres are mini shopping centres and include a pharmacy, optician, 1-hour photo shop, liquor store and even a Subway fast-food outlet, but they don’t have gas stations. So we just nicked up the road for a fuel top-up (Andrew also needed LP gas), ready for the big off in the morning. Interestingly, the AT&T data card in my iPad ($50/5GB/30 days) is running on the 4G LTE network and giving me 12/11 Mbps download/ upload speeds. That’s about 10 times faster than I get at home on ADSL through Telstra. It’s just another reason I love America – Walmarts aside!
App de Jour!
64 | Mobile Tech
Free daily apps so you can try before you buyâ€Ś By Emily Barker
Mobile Tech | 65
pp of the day is a brilliant little tool; simple in design and with the potential to save you serious coin! Each day it brings you a new app 100% free for 24 hours. These apps are incredibly varied but are not traditional ‘free’ apps. Instead, the creator Appturbo, negotiates directly with developers to bring you one of iTunes or Google Play’s bestselling apps, absolutely free.
The Low Down Cost: Free Compatibility: Apple iOs and android. Requires iOS 6.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, but optimised for iPhone 5. Size: 3.9 MB
The diversity of apps available is perhaps one of the great things about this app and undoubtedly why it has attracted more than 20 million downloads. You literally have no idea what tomorrow will bring! Admittedly some apps are a little daggy and there are those that have obviously paid for the exposure, but it means no ads, which is always a nice change! Each free app comes with a brief but succinct introduction and a little information about its function and purpose. You are then directed to the appropriate app store where you can view the details as you normally would before making a purchase. There is an endearing little piggy bank in the top left hand corner of your screen that keeps a running tally of how much you have saved over time, which is always a great feeling. Once the 24 hours is up the apps remain at a discounted price for a short period. You can allow App of the Day to send you push notifications, which are simply text message style alerts that let you know when a new app is available.
App of the Day brings useful apps for a day’s trial at no cost. How good is that?
66 | Next Issue
We’ll Be Back…
Malcolm has rustled up an interesting Auto Trail V-Line 600 from New Zealand, which is a compact van conversion on a Fiat Ducato with an innovative bathroom that’s worth a story on its own. He’s also working on a test closer to home, but is keeping mum on it at this stage.
r & Mrs iMotorhome will be back in Australia by the time next issue rolls around, thanks to a quirk of the calendar that sees the next issue out in three weeks time, on 7 June. JUN
May 23-25 20-22 4-10
Hunter Valley Maitland Showground, Bloomfield St, Maitland. NSW. • Open 9:00-5:00 daily (4:00 Sunday) • Parking: Free • Adults: $15 • Seniors: $11 • Kids U16: Free with adult
CLICK HERE Click for Google Maps
Until Saturday 7 June be sure to join our more than 8000 Facebook and Twitter followers for final USA travel updates, news and more than a few laughs. See you when we're back home!
Brisbane Caravan, Camping and Touring Holiday Show RNA Showgrounds, Gregory Terrace, Bowen Hills, Brisbane. QLD • Open 10:00-6:00 daily (4:00 final day) • Parking: Limited, take special train • Adults: $18 / Seniors: $12 • Kids: Accompanied school age free
CLICK HERE Click for Google Maps
The Great Outdoor Expo – Mildura Mildura Racecourse, Cowra Ave, Mildura, VIC, 3500. • Open 11:00-5:00 daily (10:00-5:00 final day) • Parking: Not specified. • Adults: $10 • Seniors : $8 • Kids: U15 Free with adult
CLICK HERE 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 email@example.com and we’ll happily promote it in this calendar.
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