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iMotorhome

60 : Nov 14 2014

magazine

Issue

because getting there is half the fun...

On the

Auto Trail....

Win!

$50 for the! best letter

Loop the Loop!

The final installment of our recent USA adventure…

Family Sharing?

A great new feature in Apple’s iOS 8

iTherapy

Personality Trap – why we are as we are!

Malcolm tracks down a British import with an unusual floorplan!


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Personalise your journey....


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, Rob Davis Elizabeth & Helmut Mueller

Published by iMotorhome

Design and Production

PO Box 1738, Bowral. NSW 2576. Australia.

Design Manager

ABN: 34 142 547 719

E: agnes@imotorhome.com.au

Agnes Nielsen

T: +614 14 604 368 E: info@imotorhome.com.au

Advertising

W: www.imotorhome.com.au

Advertising Manager Keith Smyth

Editorial

M: 0408 315 288

Publisher/Managing Editor

T: 03 9579 3079

Richard Robertson

E: advertising@imotorhome.com.au

T: 0414 604 368 E: richard@imotorhome.com.au Roadtest Editor Malcolm Street E: malcolm@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.


On my mind | 5

Fit. FOr LiFE. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), when the national age pension was legislated in Australia in 1908, with its male retirement age of 65, the average male life expectancy was 55.2 years. Just last week the ABS announced a male born today has a life expectancy of 80.1 years. This puts Australia up with Switzerland, Japan and Iceland as the only countries in the world where both men and women have a life expectancy greater than 80 years. The announcement went on to say that statistically, the older you get the more likely it is you’ll live to an even older age. A man who is now 50 could expect to live to 82; a 65-year-old to 84, and a man who is 85 this year could look forward to a 91st birthday. Women still outlive men, but the same principals apply. It’s little wonder then the cost of supporting our burgeoning aged population is a major concern to all political parties. Hence the increases in the retirement age starting in July 2017 for those born after 1/7/52, to 65.5 years, through to July 2035 for those born after 1/1/66, to 70 years. Apart from funding the pension payments, much of the cost burden falls on our medical and hospital system due to the ‘ravages’ of our modern lifestyle. The problem is we’re living longer, but not healthier. Being overweight or obese is the new Australian norm. Overeating, poor food choices and a lack of exercise has seen diseases like type II diabetes flourish, with all their attendant costs both in monetary and quality-of-life terms. Many Grey Nomads are at risk, given the highly sedentary lifestyle, sometimes questionable eating habits and

increased levels of social interaction (read sundowners, etc). Let’s face it, sitting in a motorhome all day, grabbing pies and tall cappuccinos on the go and then sitting back at the end of the day with a bottle of wine (or two) and a bag of chips isn’t a healthy lifestyle choice, even if it’s a lot of fun! The older we get the slower our metabolism, so the less food intake we need to maintain a certain weight – or to put it on. Motorhoming, while a lot of fun, shouldn’t be an end in itself. Getting out and exploring destinations is (which I’m sure you understand), but do it on foot or by bicycle. Our bodies work on a useit-or-lose-it basis and the less active you are the harder it is to become active again. I once read about an 85 year old fellow cycling from Townsville to Brisbane, with his wife following in a motorhome. When asked why he was doing it he replied, “Because I can’t do it when I’m dead.” As an avid cyclist it’s my aim to follow in his footsteps in 29 years time and I’d encourage all of you to think long and hard about the quality of life you have now and the one you want. Is it healthy, fun and active or is it increasingly immobile and an endless round of doctors’ appointments? Only you have the power to determine your future, so what’s it going to be? Choose to be fit. For life!

Richard


6 | Content

3

About Us

5

On my Mind

8

User Guide

Who we are, where and other legal stuff

Fit. For Life.

How to get the best from iMotorhome eMagazine

11

On your Mind

18

News

Share your thoughts for the chance to win $50!

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

27 iMotorhome Marketplace The latest Marketplace offers

On the road in Auto Trail’s Tracker EKS Hi-Line!


Content | 7

28

iTherapy

32

Day Test: Auto Trail Tracker EKS Hi-Line

Personality Trap – why we are the way we are!

On the Auto Trail – a compact British motorhome with an unusual floor plan

46

Feature: USA Travel Diary

68

Mobile Tech: iOS8 Family Sharing

74

Next Issue & Show Calendar

Loop the Loop – from LA to San Fran and back, that is…

Now your whole family can share apps, music, photos and more!

What’s coming up and what shows are on soon

Beachfront camping, LA style…


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 info@imotorhome.com.au.

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On your mind | 11

Win $50 for the best letter! 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 $50 to help you on your way.

Fiat tyres again Recent articles on Fiat Ducato tyre overinflation rang a few bells with me, and possibly quite a few other Ducato owners. Let me tell you my story:

even ending up veering over into the opposite side of the road when there was no oncoming traffic. I subsequently fitted Firestone airbags to the rear and the improvement was immediate. The body roll was much reduced and cornering In 2012 I purchased a second hand 2004 improved. The best benefit was that I could Sunliner Odyssey. The base vehicle was a maintain speed in corners approaching hills and 244 Series Ducato (the old shape with the thus had the required momentum to tackle the 2.8JTD engine). It was quite an experience hills at highway speed. This obviously reduced finding my way with this motorhome. I am braking before corners, contributed to less naturally inquisitive (having done Mechanical brake wear and better fuel economy, and saved Engineering), and like to pull things apart and try a lot of frustration for other road users behind to fully understand the kit that I am operating. me. Also, the "excitement" factor of the rear end being sucked in by overtaking B-doubles was The original owner was quite knowledgeable, as much reduced. I was soon to discover as I explored his various modifications and the quality accessories Being a bit of a "gadgets man" I fitted a tyre he had fitted. Although placarded with tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS) and opted pressures of 65 psi front and 68 psi rear, I for the lower pressure version costing in the noticed that the tyre pressures, in the setup I order of $150 via Ebay (Tyredog TD1000A-I). It received, seemed to be in the order of 50 psi. has worked out okay, recording tyre pressures This seemed high to me in terms of my previous up to 80 psi and thus giving me valuable experience operating cars, etc, in the order of information on operating tyre temps and 35 psi, so I initially stuck with the 50 psi in the pressures in the range that I operate. Ducato tyres until experience told me otherwise. I then set about using higher cold tyre pressures Going on interstate trips via the New England - more in order of what the vehicle tyre placard Highway, I was frequently alarmed by the body suggested (65 psi cold). Here my problems roll and understeer - sometimes having to make began. I experienced a rear tyre going "out of uncomfortable choices whilst cornering - yes round” which was duly replaced, followed by Continues...


12 | On your mind ...continued

a rear tyre blowout. To add insult to injury, the higher tyre operating pressures offered no great handling improvement over the arrangement I originally had at 50 psi cold. Having airbags at the rear proved to be a far better option for handling improvement rather than increasing tyre pressures. Fortunately, with the TPMS I was able to monitor what was going on. Although greater wear is experienced on the front tyres, it is the rear tyres that demonstrate the higher pressure and temperature rises when driving along and cornering. Alarmingly I found that the rear tyres, set at 65 psi cold, would climb in to 80 psi when driving. I spoke to my tyre dealer about this. He was aware of my 2 previous tyre failures and noted that the tyres I have - Federal 205/75 R16Cs - were rated at max pressure of 76 psi. A key point to note here is that the 76 psi is the maximum pressure, and cold tyre pressures should be set way lower to accommodate pressure and temperature increases when

operating. The tyre dealer has suggested I set things up at say 52 psi cold and see how things go from there. Now Federal Tyres are cheap and cheerful Chinese tyres, but I note their rated tyre pressure (76 psi) is above that of Continental Vancos (69 psi). The previous owner had fitted the Federal tyres and, from the other gear that he had fitted, he was usually not one to cut corners. In view of my experience, starting off on a Continental Vanco at 69 psi cold is going to lead to way higher operation pressures. One important point to note is that my older 244 series Ducato setup has way lower placarded tyre pressures (65 psi), compared to the current series Ducatos (80 psi). Draw your own conclusions. Certainly I think that some authoritative advice from Fiat would be most helpful to all. Thanks, Ben That’s quite an adventure Ben. My tyre man (the former long-time technical editor of 4X4 magazine) tells me the placarded pressure on the side of a tyre is the maximum allowable cold pressure. He said you should only see about a 4-5 psi increase when the tyre heats up, which leads me to think that if you’re seeing 15 psi (from 65 to 80) when the rears heat up the cold pressure is too low to begin with. He also said it’s a bit of a black art and requires fiddling to find the right pressure for each vehicle, due to variations in loading – both of the body itself and what you’re carrying.


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14 | On your mind

More Fiat Tyres Again… Hi Richard, I know that you will be interested to know that we have now fitted the Mickey Thompson 245/70 R16 Baja STZ's to the front wheels of our Fiat Ducato (Avan). I hesitated for a while then after getting quotes from our 3 nearest Mickey Thompson dealers, I decided to 'bite the bullet' and have them fitted. The Tyres replaced were Hankook RA08 225/75 R16, as they have only done 17,000 km our plan is to keep them and use them on the rear wheels when the time comes to replace the existing rear tyres. Since fitting the MT's we have driven around 200 km, to see how they performed. It was just a day trip and mostly on sealed highway, so our test was more about the ride than traction. We are running them at 50 psi and as expected there is a noticeable improvement in the comfort level of the ride, (all previous tyres have been inflated

Tyres in General!

Hi Richard, just to confuse the (tyre pressure) issue even further, there is another ‘issue’ to consider with pressures on Continental tyres for Fiat based motorhomes. Some people may now think that all tyres on all types of motorhomes should be inflated to around 75 psi. Not so! Our motorhome is built on a Mercedes chassis and also has Continentals, but requires a much lower tyre pressure, because it sits on 6 wheels (2 front, 4 back) rather than on 4, and requires of course also different pressures front and back. Regards, Hans

to 79 psi). I was a little worried that the more aggressive tread may be noisy so I am pleased to say we did not notice any increase in road noise. We look forward to testing them further, however I must say that I am very confident that we have made the right decision. Thanks, Ray. Sounds like it’s early days Ray but good luck with your new Mickey Thompsons. I believe you will find the extra traction on dirt roads and in and around campsites handy too, which comes as an added bonus. Please keep us posted on how the MTs work out.

That’s an interesting point, Hans. I’m hoping because the conversation has been focused on Fiat motorhomes (which only come with single wheels on the rear axle/s), owners of motorhomes built on other brands of vehicles will realise their requirements are different and not rush out and over (or under) inflate their tyres.


16 | On your mind

Android’s Fine Too!

Hi Richard and all the Crew, I have been reading your magazine for at least 6 months now and enjoy every issue. I am very surprised that you say that reading this magazine is mainly for iPads. I run an Android tablet and I have to say that of the magazines and bits and pieces I download and read your software is fantastic. It outweighs any other software I have come across as it is so easy to use. There are a lot of people out there who could learn from you. Please keep up the good work and I hope your magazine prospers.

Thanks for your email Eleanor and glad to hear you enjoy the magazine. Also good to hear it's running well on your Android tablet! The truth is, being a PDF document it runs well on pretty much any sort of computer, tablet, smartphone or whatever. The iPad reference goes back to when we first started and were trying to wean people off the idea of just reading it on a computer. Perhaps it's time we update ourselves! Thanks for your support and good wishes too.

Regards, Eleanor.

Quotable!

Hi Richard. Top stuff, your last editorial. Made my day. Two excellent quotes for my collection and the pleasure of hearing someone else's issues with the modern (un-thinking) world.

Thanks Laurie, glad it made you smile! Sometimes I think my whole reason for being is simply to serve as a warning to others (you can use that too)…

Cheers, Laurie.

Starry Eyed Dear iMotorhome Editor, I enjoy reading your iMotorhome issues. Thought if you enjoyed Brian Cox you might be interested in Astronomy. We drive up from Thirlmere to Campbelltown University once a month for Macarthur Astronomical Society’s monthly lectures. There is also “Starguard” at the Oaks and the Forest down south where members bring along their telescopes for viewing. They are a great bunch and very willing to share their knowledge and telescopes. We have a web site, using our

above name if you need more info. Thanks, Christine. Thanks for the heads-up Christine, astronomy is certainly something I’m interested in and I’ll certainly try and make it along to some of the lectures. With a bit of luck I’ll also make it to a viewing evening. I haven’t gazed through a telescope since I was a kid and I think I can hear the stars calling again…


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18 | News

TEST DELAYED

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ast-minute scheduling issues last week meant the planned review of the unique Autarky 4x4 Toyota HiAce version, complete with rear slide-out bed, had to be postponed. The review has now been rescheduled and barring acts of God will feature in Issue 61 on 6 December.

SCAM ALERT - AGAIN is deposit the full amount of money into a holding account with their nominated transport company. Of course there is no vehicle – they usually copy the details and photos from a legitimate vehicle elsewhere – and the moment you send the money it’s gone.

A

scam ad for a 2005 model Ivecobased Winnebago slipped though our system recently and was brought to our attention by an eagle eyed reader. Following the same formula we’ve seen across many other website classifieds, the scam vehicle is listed at about half its market value and the story always goes that it’s a deceased estate with the seller actually living overseas and needing to dispose of the vehicle quickly. They even offer to have the vehicle shipped to your place for inspection, all you need do

The bottom line is, if it seems too good to be true it probably is. As a rule of thumb, unless you can go and physically inspect and drive the vehicle, meet the owner and verify ownership (by way of a REVS check, for example), then have nothing to do with it. Under no circumstances EVER send money for a vehicle sight unseen, even a small holding deposit, except to a reputable, licensed motor dealer. If you're looking to buy a used motorhome or campervan anywhere and come across an ad you think is suspicious, email the weblink or details to info@motorhome.com.au and ask us for an opinion.


News | 19

STOP PRESS 1

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also contacted my shipping agent who will come for pick up and deliver it to my place in Darwin after the whole fund has been cleared into your acct.

From: "Pitt Ben" <pitt.ben624@gmail.com>

Thanks.... Await your reply

Thanks for getting back, I'm cool with the price likewise the condition as described on the advert, I work with New Zealand Oil and Gas (NZOG) as a rig mechanic and we are presently offshore in New Zealand Taranaki Basin on kupe project. We do not have access to phone at the moment and that's why I contacted you with internet messaging facility. Regarding the payment, I will be paying you through PayPal linked up with my ANZ bank account,please get back to me with your paypal details so i can process the payment. You can alternatively send your bsb acct name and number if you have no PayPal acct. I have

The offer to prepay in full is suspicious and anyone who knows about Paypal will know you can send funds directly to an email address, so no other details (apart from your name) are required. The request for bank details is probably what they’re hoping for, to then use them in identity fraud. They could also say there is a holdup in processing the payment, send a false receipt and ask to take delivery of the vehicle anyway. Note: A Google search of the sender’s email address showed it’s associated with many scam attempts, so if in doubt try this with any suspicious email communications.

ate Friday we were contacted by a person selling their vehicle through our classifieds. They received the following scam sales enquiry but were alert enough to recognise it:

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20 | News

STOP PRESS 2

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hortly after the above information was received the seller contacted us again to say, “Just got a phone call asking my husband to ring Telstra as they had important info to talk to him about our account. This time a private number came up. Then I got a text 12 minutes later from someone calling themselves iMotorhome saying "Pitt would like to know if your Ad is still for sale if yes get back to him on (pitt.ben624@gmail.com) with the present condition and lowest price. The caller ID came up with imotorhome and I don't have you listed in my contacts on my phone. I would say this ‘Indian sounding woman supposedly from

Telstra is going through advertisements online (past or present) and contacting people.” These are very concerning developments and iMotorhome urges all buyers and sellers to exercise extreme caution. Please note nobody from iMotorhome will contact you via text or phone about your ad. If in doubt email richard@imotorhome.com.au to check.

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News | 21

EL MONTE RV 2015 DELIVERY DEALS

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f you’re looking to grab a motorhome rental bargain in America early next year El Monte RV has just released details of its 2015 new vehicle relocation programme. All rentals start in Middlebury, Indiana (near Chicago) and your drop-off destination choices are Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas (Feb/ Mar/Apr), Dallas or Orlando (Feb/Mar) and Vancouver (Mar/Apr). Cost is A$49 per night, which includes full insurance, generator use and 2500 miles allowance, for a maximum of 21 nights. Personal kits, kitchen kits and fuel are at your expense.

Further information and bookings are only available through El Monte RV’s local agent and you can contact them in Australia on 1300 329 8912 or in New Zealand on 0800 589 332. They are also the people to speak to to claim your special 5% iMotorhome reader discount on any normal El Monte RV rental, by quoting the promo code ‘IM5’.

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News | 23

ATTENBOROUGH AND GOODALL SUPPORT NEW NATIONAL PARK

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ccording to a report in The Guardian newspaper, Sir David Attenborough and Dr Jane Goodall have made an unusual intervention to Australian state politics. The peer is calling for a new national park to be created in Victoria to save the endangered Leadbeater’s Possum. Sir David, who is visiting Australia, has thrown his support behind the establishment of the Great Forest National Park, which would encompass much of the central highlands area of Victoria. “The maintenance of an intact ecological system is the only way to ensure the continued existence of biodiversity, safeguard water supplies and provide spiritual nourishment for ourselves and future generations. It is for these reasons, and to the survival of the critically endangered Leadbeater’s possum, that I support the creation of the Great Forest National Park.” the naturalist and wildlife documentary maker said. Dr Jane Goodall, famous for her work with primates, said the new national park would help secure the future of the threatened ecosystem.

“If we act now, we will be ensuring the forest can continue to provide services that support us – clean water, fresh air and storage of carbon. If we fail now, what future will we have chosen for our grandchildren and their grandchildren?” The new park with a 355,000 ha of consolidated protected land to a patchwork of safeguarded forests north-east of Melbourne. While recent polling shows that nearly 9 out of 10 Victorians support the new park, the area is heavily logged and the proposal has ignited strong opposition from the logging industry. The proposed park has become emblematic of the problems faced by many small Victorian towns which, despite sitting amidst abundant natural beauty, suffer from high unemployment and substandard public services. With the state election on 29 November, the seat of Eildon, which would include most of the park within its boundaries, is grappling with many of these problems. The governing Coalition has ruled out any new national parks should it retain office, while the Greens support the new listing. Labour is thought to be in favour of the proposal, but has yet to make its official position clear.


24 | News

QLD OPPOSITION QUESTIONS CARAVAN PARK REZONING

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he Queensland Opposition was Premier Campbell Newman to intervene in a property row on the Sunshine Coast. And ABC investigation found Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney used his ministerial powers to rezone the Maroochy River Caravan Park against the local council’s wishes. The move would potentially allow the property, which was owned by a company that had attended LNP fundraisers, to be redeveloped. Experts said the 11th hour move was highly unusual and compared it to controversial interventions in local planning by ministers of the Bjelke-Peterson government of the early 1980s. A senior source at Sunshine Coast Regional Council told the ABC the move had, “added several million dollars to the value of the land the stroke of a pen”. Opposition treasury spokesman Curtis Pitt said the decision needed to be reversed. He said the decision could be potentially detrimental to 240 elderly caravan park residents and it was an outcome opposed both by the Council and Jeff Seeney’s own department. Read the full story on the ABC’s website by clicking HERE. When the story broke iMotorhome made

the following comment on Facebook: “How surprising to see political self-interest alive and well. And it was only the other day I was wondering how many politicians in Western Australia have interests in caravan parks, given the State's official anti-free camping stance.” One reply quickly received said: “Just got back from 7 weeks in WA, Kimberleys, West Coast and Margaret River. I have never seen so many no camping signs and restriction. WA Would have to be the most expensive place in Australia to travel with the least facilities. As a general rule you will be ripped off. I thought it was just the mineral natural resources that were exploited, tourists are equally exploited in WA.” Interestingly, caravanningnews.com reported that Western Australia’s motoring organisation, the RAC, is looking to buy more caravan and tourist parks. It reported the organisation’s aim is to enhance its tourist offering to its 800,000 members and earlier this year paid $4.25 million for the beachside Pinnacles Holiday Park in Cervantes. “RAC aims to offer a range of consistent, reliable quality tourist accommodation aimed at families and empty nest is in high quality locations,” an RAC spokesman said.

COUNCIL AXES FEES

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omerset Regional Council in Southern Queensland has axed fees for recreational vehicles overnighting at Kilgore is Anzac Park, says another report from caravanningnews.com. Travellers in motorhomes, caravans and RVs can now stay for free for 72 hours. The news has been

welcomed by the local Chamber of Commerce and Community, whose president Cheryl Gaedtke who said it would assist the town’s economy. To find out more read the full story HERE.


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Enjoy the prestige of owning Australia’s best quality motorhome Paradise Motor Homes

www.paradisemotorhomes.com.au

245 Brisbane Road, Biggera Waters, Queensland, 4216

ph (07) 5597 4400 - email info@paradisemotorhomes.com.au Paradise Motor Homes products are protected by registered designs, patents and copyrights ™ © 2013


26 | resources

resources

iMotorhome

because getting them is half the fun...

Missed an Issue? We've got them all saved in one spot for you. Click HERE to view the complete list of back issues.

Missed a road test? No problem! Click HERE to find them all listed by manufacturer. because getting there is half the fun...

Taste of Freedom!

because getting there is half the fun...

because getting there is half the fun...

Grand Design -

Revisited

English Holiday

iMotorhome

magazine

iMotorhome

magazine

iMotorhome

magazine

magazine

iMotorhome

because getting there is half the fun...

Esprit de Cor Blimey!

Malcolm Street spends time roaming New Zealand in this compact ex-rental Kea…

Two years on how has the Trakkaway 700 evolved?

Auto-Sleeper’s Malvern is an English otorho that s a n holida d stination in its o n ri ht…

Dethleffs ‘baby’ A-class is something to ogle at…

Story and Images by Malcolm Street

Review and images by Richard Robertson

Story and Images by Malcolm Street

Review and images by Malcolm Street


iMotorhome Marketplace | 27

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Standard Halogen, Incandescent + Fluro bulbs are easily replaced with our wide LED range

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No Black spots - No poor reception • Fully automatic tv reception • Extra Accessories - 240/12 Power and Thru wall Easy Eye Fitting.

Absolutely Jaw Dropping Sydney Camping Show Specials SNIPE / VAST bundle : $1495 (rrp $2545) SNIPE without VAST : $1295 (rrp $2195) SNIPE TWIN, no VAST : $1895 (rrp $2345) Special pricing subject to availability. Get in Early - Closes Sunday 4 May 2014 Order at show or on line

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28 | Feature: itherapy

The Personality Trap by Robert Davis, Consulting Psychologist

ersonality is often misunderstood to mean different things. There are Hollywood celebrities, famous explorers, that odd character living down the road, and then thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s you and me. So what does personality really mean and how is it defined? Essentially the answer to this question resides in the characteristics and qualities that form the unique person that each of us have become. Some seem to have more distinctive personalities than others and we have all met them in their more obvious guises: The guy renowned for calling a spade a spade; the adult daughter whose feistiness and determination seem indefatigable and your high school physics teacher who delivered sometimes-tedious science with such charisma that nothing was too difficult to learn. So how do we come to acquire the

P

personalities that uniquely define who we are and remain entrenched throughout the entirety of our lives? At birth we are delivered with hard-wired neural circuitry, a genetic template that amounts to an inherited set of predispositions known commonly as temperament. It started in our DNA and determined whether our emotional dispositions would be shy, aggressive, anxious, obsessive or moody versus passive, sociable, cheerful, calm and optimistic. Then things get a bit more complicated. Our temperaments interact with our caregiverâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s personalities and as we grow and learn from them we develop our own unique personalities. Along the way we learn both useful and potentially harmful ways in which we will be destined to think, feel and ultimately behave. So if Mum was a big


Feature: itherapy | 29

Perfectionism can be stressful. self-sacrificer, always wanting to please others but rarely asking others for support you may well grow up just like her. Giving more than you get back is a recipe for resentment and disappointment, and it can also be very tiring. Perfectionism is another personality trait that can create a lot of stress for those so affected. Perfectionists typically possess unrelenting high standards and tend to be hypercritical of themselves and others when they don’t meet their own standards. You might have watched your partner as they fastidiously maintain your precious motorhome. No detail unattended to and seemingly endless effort to reach the desired outcome. You’ve seen them at the camp ground polishing off those stubborn bug stains, unable to relax until ‘pristine and immaculate’ describes their prized acquisition. So what’s wrong with having pride in your

motorhome you might well ask? Well, as the sun begins to set and he’s still out there buffing the tow-ball, covered in sand-fly bites and ignoring repeated calls to stop for a meal you begin to understand – and might wonder where this all started. Although perfectionists may obtain much enjoyment in the pursuit of their objectives they can also put themselves under so much pressure that the pleasure of achievement is lost to an obsession and compulsion that negatively impacts their families and quality of life. The workaholic CEO is an example of a perfectionistic individual who barely notices that he has a family at home wondering when they might see him next. He can’t even trust his own management to perform to his high standards so he micro-manages them adding to his already overwhelming workload. If you


30 | Feature: itherapy

So if I am worthwhile why do I feel this way? are travelling at long last in your much dreamed of motorhome, having finally left these kinds of pressures behind, you know who you are. And then there’s that much vaunted term ‘low self-esteem’. Those feelings that so many of us hide from others that can cause us to feel inadequate, ashamed, defective and unworthy. Feelings of defectiveness are not necessarily obvious to others. Sometimes we have pushed these feelings so far into the background that we find it hard to acknowledge they even exist. If we feel defective does that mean we are? Certainly not, but these feelings have most probably been with us since childhood and are very convincing. If you feel just a little uncomfortable receiving a compliment from a trusted friend or sincere other and you’re wondering what they’re after your self-esteem needs work. If you find you’re extremely

sensitive to criticism, rejection or dismissiveness by others your self-esteem also needs work. So if I am worthwhile why do I feel this way? Chances are you had a tough upbringing. Maybe you were repeatedly told as a kid that you weren’t good enough, that you were a loser that you wouldn’t amount to anything. Maybe you were compared unfavourably with your siblings, feeling something was wrong with you and that Mum or Dad didn’t love you as much as your brothers or sisters. Maybe you were severely punished. Maybe your school reports always seemed to include the terse critique “needs to try harder” or its numerous equivalents, which every kid knows is really code for ‘you’re just not cutting it’. So should I blame the people who raised me? In my experience the vast and overwhelming majority of parents love their children and are


Feature: itherapy | 31

They were loved, they just didn’t know it. dedicated to their well-being. The problem lies in the ways parents have been raised and their parents and so on. All children have attachment needs that are essential to healthy psychological development. A parent might love their children and demonstrate it by their hard, dedicated work and multiple sacrifices to give them a better life than they had. But if those kids aren’t held, kissed and cuddled they will not feel the nurturing that is essential to their emotional development and self-esteem. They were loved, they just didn’t know it.

So if your self-esteem isn’t where you would like it to be take the risk and ask trusted others who know you well to describe how they see you, ‘warts and all’. This can be quite a revealing exercise in which you may learn about many of the qualities that others see and value in your unique personality.

Legal All content contained in articles authored by Robert Davis is copyright and cannot be reproduced in any form or at any venue without the written permission of the author. 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 in articles authored by Robert Davis


32 | Day test: Auto trail tracker EKS Hi-Line

On the

Auto Trail

Here’s a compact British coachbuilt with an unusually spacious floor plan… by Malcolm Street


Day test: Auto trail tracker EKS Hi-Line | 33

Above: Low chassis height really does not prevent travel along any number of bush tracks. Left: Ducato cab looks familiar except for the multi-media unit in place of the usual radio/CD player.

B

ritish company AutoTrail manufacturers a wide range of motorhomes; everything from large van conversions to 8.73 m (28 ft 7 in) coachbuilts. All use Fiat Ducato motive power, with the longer motorhomes using a tandem axle AL-KO chassis. One of the benefits of being a large manufacturer is the ability to offer a wide range of layouts. Unfortunately for those of us living in

Australia, layout availability is much more limited. That's mostly due to the lengthy compliance process and associated costs, which invariably get passed on to the buyers. Kiwi buyers don't have that limiting factor quite so much and so have a much greater choice. One of my current favourites is the very snappy looking V-Line conversion: definitely a trend setter in large van conversions but sadly not available in Australia.


34 | Day test: Auto trail tracker EKS Hi-Line

Top: Toot, toot! Middle: Rear external bin good for hoses, power cords and the like. Bottom: Gas cylinder bin holds 2 x 9.0 kg cylinders. Bin door gives access to under seat area.

What is available is a Tracker EKS built on a Fiat Ducato Multijet 150 cab chassis. At 6.4 m (21 ft) long it's a little different to the usual Australian layout, but has features that will certainly interest a number of readers. Like any AutoTrail motorhome the EKS is mostly built using laminated construction for the walls (40 mm), floor (45 mm) and part of the roof (40 mm). All the moulded panels are of course fibreglass.

Profiling

A

uto-Trail has three different front body profiles. There's the Super Lo-Line, which speaks for itself and has a very streamlined B-class motorhome front. Also available is the Lo-line, which is the same height as the Super but extends forward over the cab to give more storage space inside. Lastly there is the Hi-Line version which is large enough to contain a double bed in the over-cab Luton peak. All versions are available on the Tracker EKS but I reckon given the internal layout, the


Day test: Auto trail tracker EKS Hi-Line | 35

Moulded front and rear panels give a streamlined look. Hi-Line version – the subject of this review – offers the most potential.

at the driver’s side rear. This last one is a little awkward to get at, being low, but I figure is most suited to water and Given the fairly low height drainage hoses and the like. of the AL-KO chassis it's no A neat moulding on the rear surprise that external bin space wall takes care of the spare is limited. Apart from the gas wheel. Another feature at the cylinder bin aft of the entry rear is the lockable folding door there's an adjacent bin ladder for roof access. It's not door that gives access to the an essential item that readily under-seat area and a third bin springs to mind but it does

Rear ladder is handy for cleaning roof hatches and the solar panel. Spare wheel is at a reasonable height for getting on and off give access for easy regular cleaning of hatches and solar panels – something many forget, especially the latter. Two other points of note are the entry door and awning. The door is typically European, with a moulded-in garbage bin and umbrella holder, complete with umbrella. Whilst it does have a sliding insect screen, it


36 | Day test: Auto trail tracker EKS Hi-Line Top to bottom: Awning fits neatly into moulded body housing and is easy to wind out. Wall clips for the awning legs would have been handy, though. Fold away TV mounted in the cab roof is handy. Viewing from the cab seats is a bit close, but further back is fine.

is not a security feature in any way. The awning, although not recessed, does have streamlined moulded ends that take away the ‘protruding’ look very effectively. What the awning didn't come with was any side wall mountings, which made pegging the legs down on a windy day a little interesting since I didn't have any pegs. Taking a ‘selfie’ with the camera on a tripod meant a fair bit of running between wind gusts!

Inside

I

nside, the EKS has a fairly open style layout. Immediately behind the driver's cab are two inwards facing lounges, while the bed over the cab has a very large Skyview hatch above. That leaves the rear area for a driver’sside corner bathroom, rear wall kitchen with a second bench along the kerb side and a good sized wardrobe between the bathroom and


Day test: Auto trail tracker EKS Hi-Line | 37

Front lounge/dining/ bed has an open layout. Ladder can be stowed on the bed and the bed base folded back to give easier cab access. Skyview hatch above the bed adds greatly to light and ventilation.


38 | Day test: Auto trail tracker EKS Hi-Line

Top: Freestanding dining table is easily stored away when not in use. Left: Roof with a view? Ladder provides ready access to the roof. lounge seat. As might be expected the interior design and decor is typically British, with curved cabinetry in all the right places. I did like the easy-grab door handles and subtle but effective lighting. All windows have integrated blinds and insect screens, whilst both side windows have curtains as well. Around the cab concertina blinds are fitted to all three windows. Although the EKS comes with a roof mounted air conditioner, it also comes with a space heater: A Truma Combi LPG fired unit that not only heats the motorhome but the hot water

as well. On the subject of electrics, a well appointed control panel with both 240 V and 12 V controls is fitted in the overhead locker behind the driver's door. There were no labels on the 12 V fuses ( a common problem), but I did note with interest the handbook contained those essential details. I reckon a photocopy of said labels stuck inside the locker somewhere might be good! One of the items that is switched on from the control panel is the cabâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s touch screen radio/satnav unit. On the road I'd wondered why I couldn't get the radio to work,


Day test: Auto trail tracker EKS Hi-Line | 39

Top: The bathroomâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s compact but there's room enough to turn around. Bottom: Under-bench 108-litre fridge provides good bench top space. but finally remembered that little switch. It might sound a fiddle but does mean the cab multimedia unit can be used when parked-up. Still on electrics, there's a second smaller electrical panel above the entry door with just the major 12 V items â&#x20AC;&#x201C; all very easily accessible I thought.

Kitchen & Bathroom

G

iven the trend in many a Euro-sourced RV for small kitchens, this one is a surprise. The rear bench contains the necessary four burner cooktop (hob for NZ readers), with grill and oven alongside a stainless steel sink with drainer. That leaves room for two cupboards, two overhead lockers and three drawers. There isn't any bench top working space but that problem is neatly taken care of by a side bench, which comes with a 108 litre 3-way fridge below and a microwave oven in the locker above. Storage areas are located on both sides of the fridge; the front one fitted with shelves, the rear one being the compartment for the freestanding table. Both rear and side bench have corner-fitted mains power points, the side one also having a TV antenna connection. As noted this is a reasonably sized kitchen and the trade off for getting some decent bench space is the underbench fridge rather than a larger two door unit. Also in the trade-off area is the bathroom cubicle, which is slightly smaller than some I have seen but covers all the essentials. There's enough room for a separate moulded shower cubicle, cassette toilet and a small vanity cabinet complete with wash basin and good sized wall mirror. There isn't quite enough room to swing a cat, but turning around is easy.


40 | Day test: Auto trail tracker EKS Hi-Line

Lounge seats can be folded down to make up a good-sized double bed. Alternatively, shorter people can use them as singles.

Dining & Sleeping

T

he forward area of the EKS is very multipurpose and is used for dining, relaxing and sleeping. Both inwards-facing lounges can of course be used as seats, for dining and for just kicking back. Instead of a fixed or swivelling table a free-standing table is supplied; the advantage being it isn't in the way when not being used. The disadvantage of course is that the table has to be lifted in and out to be used. Not really a problem, I think, except maybe for drinks and nibblies when just a small table would be handy. I've seen a few layouts where a small swivel table is fitted

behind the passenger seat. Not sure of the practicalities but I'd be thinking about it.. At first sight, there doesn't seem to be a TV but it's actually a clever little folding unit fitted to the roof of the cab between the seats. Out of the way when not being used, it can be folded down and viewed easily from either of the lounges. Both lounges have under seat storage and they of course require the usual fiddle with seat cushions to get at. However both the slatted timber bases are hinged, making the job easier. As noted previously, the kerb-side seat storage

For a single person the EKS has much to offer.


Day test: Auto trail tracker EKS Hi-Line | 41 Top: Slatted seat bases have hinges and struts, making access to the under seat area relatively easy. Bottom: Moulded Luton peak does feel a bit enclosed. Skyview hatch helps but a 12V fan might well be appreciated on hot nights.

area also has access from the outside. Also, the driver’s-side seat area contains the house battery, but it’s mounted below floor level so it’s not really in the way. Like many a British/Euro RV, the seat backs have anticondensation panels fitted to the wall: a thin piece of ply that allows air flow behind the cushion. Designed for cold climates they’re also useful I reckon in tropical areas as well. A downside from many a traveller's point of view is that the EKS does not have a fixed floor-level bed. It does have the Luton bed, but that's not a favourite with the less nimble. Don't stop reading, though, because there are several sleeping options depending on how you travel. Up the steps the Luton bed measures approximately 2.0 m x 1.3 m (6 ft 6 in x 4 ft 3 in). It is actually a bit wider than that but given the ceiling angle, I reckon that’s the practical width. Reading lights are fitted to the kerb side and although there aren't


42 | Day test: Auto trail tracker EKS Hi-Line

any side windows, the big roof hatch offers alternative ventilation. I didn’t have the weather for doing hot night tests but it's possible regular users might find something like a 12 V Sirocco fan to be a good investment. I should point out that the bed base is not fixed and has split mattress, so the bed base can be folded back to give easy access to the cab. Down at floor level both the sideways lounges can be used as either single beds or made up quite easily into a double. Unfortunately the lounges at 1.68 m (5 ft 6 in) are not really long enough for single beds, but I have seen a few designs where a bit of creativity with the swivelled cab seats and a couple of pillows does extend the bed length. As you can see there are several sleeping options.

winding Old Bathurst Road between Emu Plains and Blaxland, west of Sydney. It's a bit of an unfair test because the AMT cannot decided which gear it needs to be in around the curved bends and it feels like the 2.3 litre engine (when compared to the more powerful 3.0 litre unit) can't cope. However, if driven manually things improve and for most situations, the 150 Multijet is going to be okay if your driving style doesn't demand a more instant response. On the driver/ passenger relaxation level, it was good to see the standard Ducato radio/CD player has been replaced by the much more versatile multi media/Sat Nav unit.

What do I think?

I

'd have to say that for a 6.4 m (21 ft) motorhome the Auto Trail Tracker EKS offers plenty of space and comfort. The lack of Driving Thoughts a fixed floor-level bed is not going to interest ne of the features of the EKS is the everybody, but for those who travel on their ease of getting to and from the cab own, or for two people who don't wish to share and certainly the cab seats can be a bed there’s plenty of flexibility in how this swivelled without any difficulty. On the road the motorhome can be used. If there’s anything low-sitting Ducato gets along without too many British/Euro RV designers tend to be better at problems. I did wonder how the 2.3 litre 109 kW it’s attractive design and effective use of space. turbo-diesel with 6-speed automated manual And it seems to me that the EKS is a good transmission (AMT) would cope, so I headed example of that! for my favourite bit of test road: the steep,

O


Day test: Auto trail tracker EKS Hi-Line | 43 Left: On the road Auto Trailâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Tracker EKS handles nicely for a small-to-mid sized motorhome. Right: Awning out. Chairs almost out. Time for Happy Hour (well nearly!)

Brochures and Information

A

n interesting feature (at least for me) is the very comprehensive and thick brochure available from AutoTrail. It contains details of all the models available, as well as the myriad of layouts, interior fit-out, (very) detailed specifications and options. I mention that because far too many manufacturers like to hide their light under a bushel and getting information takes time (and is often difficult - Ed), so it's good to have something readily to hand. Of course the same information is available on the internet but for those who still like their information on paper it's a very useful read.

New Zealand Price

S

ince this motorhome is also available in NZ, it would be remiss of me not to note to the NZ price which Freedom RV's Neil Whithear supplied. There may be some minor differences to the Australian version and I suggest you check that out with the AutoTrail dealers. Price (based on Ducato Multijet 150) NZ$145,000.00.

NZ Contacts

Freedom RV

Click for 449 Ferry Road, Google Maps Christchurch 8023 New Zealand T: (03) 389 5346 W: www.freedomrv.co.nz

Auckland Motorhomes Click for 61 Creek Street Google Maps Drury, Auckland New Zealand T: (09) 294 6500 W: www.aucklandmotorhomes.co.nz


44 | Day test: Auto trail tracker EKS Hi-Line

Specifications Manufacturer

Auto Trail

Model

Tracker EKS

Base Vehicle

Fiat Ducato Multijet 150

Engine

2.3-litre turbo-diesel

Power

109 kW @ 3600 rpm

Torque

320 Nm @ 1800 rpm

Gearbox

6 speed AMT

Brakes

ABS Disc

Tare Weight

3215 kg

Gross Vehicle Mass

4005 kg

Towing Capacity

1250 kg

Licence

Car

Approved Seating

2

External Length

6.40 m (21 ft)

External Width

2.36 m (7 ft 9 in)

External Height

3.06 m (10 ft)

Internal Height

1.97 m (6 ft 6 in)

Single Bed Size

1.68 m x 1.04 m (5 ft 6 in x 3 ft 5 in)

Combined Singles

1.68 m x 2.08 m (5 ft 6 in x 6 ft 10 in)

Luton Bed Size

2.0 m x 1.3 m (6 ft 6 in x 4 ft 3 in)

Cooktop

Thetford 4 burner, grill & oven

Fridge

Dometic RM 8501 108-litre

Microwave

Daewoo DC

Lighting

12 V LED

Batteries

1 x 100 AH

Solar Panels

1 x 100 W

Air Conditioner

Truma Aventa

Heater

Truma Combi 4E LPG

Hot Water

Truma Combi 4E LPG

Toilet

Thetford cassette

Shower

Separate cubicle

Gas Cylinders

2 x 9 kg

Grey Water Tank

85-litre

Water Tank

100-litre

Price (on road, NSW)

$129,990

Pros

t t t t

Mid-sized motorhome Good sized kitchen Comfortable lounge/dining area Readily accessible electrical controls t Practical bathroom t General fit and finish t Decent cab fitted multi-media unit

Cons

t t t t

Lack of floor level fixed bed Small exterior bins No security door Lack of small drinks/nibblies table

Contact

Supplied by Sydney RV Centre Click for Sydney RV Centre Google Maps 13 - 22 Lemko Place Penrith NSW 2750 T: (02) 4722 3444 E: info@sydneyrv.com.au W: www.sydneyrvgroup.com.au

For more iMotorhome Road Tests click here


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46 | USA travel Feature

Loop the Loop!

LA to San Francisco and back, that isâ&#x20AC;Ś by Richard Robertson


USA travel Feature | 47

T

he road trip between LA and San Francisco is one of the most popular in America. In many ways it embraces the essence of ‘California Dreaming,’ linking the State’s two major yet vastly different cities by way of some of the most spectacular coastal scenery in the world. It’s the ideal route for a bright red convertible, so how would a nearly-36 ft long A-class motorhome handle it? More importantly, how would we? There was only one way to find out and with El Monte RV’s help we made it happen. This is our story…

Background It’s funny how simple a trip can seem when you're sitting in front of a map. Mrs iMotorhome had long service leave booked to coincide with a major birthday and we had a pair of return tickets to Los Angeles, courtesy of her employer. We both love San Francisco but hadn't been there for a few years, and so in less time than it took to open a second bottle of red the decision was made: Let’s grab a big A-class motorhome and do the LA-San Fran round trip – some 900 miles – in style. A week should be plenty! It all sounded so easy…


48 | USA travel Feature LA is a great big freeway in getting out of there before the evening peak hour starts is a good idea. We detoured to stay with friends on the edge of the Mojave Desert and rejoined the I5 the following day. Below: For much of its length the I5 is straight and boring as it cuts a track straight through California’s irrigated food bowl; the San Joaquin Valley.

Indeed it was easy to organise thanks to El Monte RV, one of America's largest and longest established RV rental companies. Dates were locked in, flights booked and just a scant three months after returning from our previous USA motorhome adventure we were off again. What could possibly go wrong? The truth is very little did go wrong. What we discovered, however, was that motorhoming in this populous and popular part of the Golden State was different to our previous trans-USA adventures. For starters there's a lot more traffic and far fewer places to free camp (included Walmarts). Then there’s the simple fact big cities

aren’t particularly RV friendly. That's not to say we didn't enjoy ourselves or the trip wasn't worth doing, but next time I’d take a much smaller vehicle and allow more time.

Days 1 & 2: Escape! We were out of El Monte RV’s Santa Fe Springs depot quite early in the afternoon. This was just as well because Interstate 5 (I5), which pretty much runs past the door, was part parking lot, part construction site. Its narrowed lanes and dense traffic put my big vehicle driving skills to an immediate test. The I5 winds its


USA travel Feature | 49

El Monte RV is certainly more polished and professional than our previous USA RV rental provider.


50 | USA travel Feature

Top: The starkly beautiful hills surrounding the San Luis Reservoir as viewed from our first proper overnight campsite, about three quarters of the way towards San Francisco. Left: Stopping for a late lunch on the first day, having just escaped LA. If I’m looking a little tense blame it on the traffic – and too much caffeine… way northwest to downtown LA, some 13 miles distant, before skirting it and continuing towards San Francisco. We’d flown-in the morning before, rented a car and stayed with friends about 90 minutes north east of LA, on the edge of the Mojave Desert. We headed back to their place for the first night in our motorhome as we’d left our gear there to avoid double handling when returning the rental car and also to make provisioning easy for an early start on the second morning.

Packed and provisioned our first full day on the road, day two started with a dogleg deviation to rejoin the I5 a few miles south of Gorman, where we stopped briefly for coffee before heading to the Napa Valley. Well, that was the plan. Despite being mid September it was hot. Damn hot! The I5 cut an unrelenting track through the equally unrelenting late summer heat of the San Joaquin Valley. This part of California is known as the food bowl of America as it produces about a quarter of the Nation’s fresh food. Fruit, nuts and vegetables grow in


USA travel Feature | 51 The map shows just how straight the inland route from LA to San Francisco is. Irrigation has brought this semiarid region alive and it grows everything from cotton to walnuts, watermelons and citrus fruit. abundance as far as you can see and it must be a hellish job in summer for the largely Hispanic workforce tasked with looking after things. With the temp hovering around 100ºF (38º C) outside we sat on 60 mph as the freeway continued its implacable march north. Our only travelling companion, apart from the trucks, was the enormous California Aqueduct, which paralleled us much of the way. This 700 mile engineering marvel transports melt water running off the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the farmlands and residents of Southern California. Decreasing run-off and increasing residential demand is playing hell with farm allocations (sound familiar?) and it’s become a political hot potato – as tested to by the numerous antigovernment roadside signs. Exiting briefly for fresh fruit, veggies and lunch, our plans of making Napa that evening were evaporating in a heat haze of jet lag and


52 | USA travel Feature Napa has a touching memorial garden to victims of 9/11. Incorporating steel girders from the fallen World Trade Centre and glass panels listing the names of each victim, one panel had shattered in a magnitude 6.0 earthquake that rocked the town two weeks before our arrival.

freewayitis. Los Banos loomed just off the freeway and promised an RV friendly Walmart for our first proper night away, but at 5 pm it was still 100º F (38º C) and the bitumen carpark was impersonating Dante’s Inferno. We moved on and mucked about for a while around the San Luis Reservoir before finding a shady campsite by the water in the State Recreation Area. We had the place to ourselves for $22 that night, but needed to run the generator and both aircons for hours until it cooled down a bit, well after dark.

Day 3: Getting There… The morning found us still some 150 miles short of Napa. We were underway early, back on the I5 and heading towards the Californian State Capital of Sacramento. TomTom took us on a slightly longer route to avoid tolls as he navigated us towards the USA’s premier wine region and we eventually left the freeway, stopping for an early lunch at the Westgate Landing Campground. This tiny oasis exists on an equally tiny tributary of the massive delta formed by the Sacramento River, which drains

Napa is a postcard town, but not RV friendly.


USA travel Feature | 53 Top: One of the many beautiful and historic buildings damaged by the earthquake. Emergency fencing and lane closures made navigating Napa’s narrow streets even more difficult as we searched in vain for RV parking. Below: Another view of the 9/11 memorial.

the mountains and surrounding valleys into the Pacific at San Francisco. After lunch we continued west on Route 12, over bridges big and small before crossing the main Sacramento River channel. The seemingly endless roadworks appeared well overdue and it was a relief to eventually ‘emerge’ near the city of Fairfield, not far from Napa. Napa is a beautiful city with a population around 80,000 and is sistered to our very own Launceston. Who would have thought? Founded in 1847 and standing on the banks of the river that bears the same name, Napa is now the quintessential tourist town. Two weeks before our arrival the district was shaken by a magnitude 6.0 earthquake. We saw evidence of damage – closed and cordoned-off buildings and much building activity – as we navigated its narrow streets to find parking at the visitor’s centre. Only there wasn’t any. It seems Napa is a bit too


54 | USA travel Feature

The old mill on the riverfront boasts a myriad of openair cafes and restaurants, boutiques and upmarket accommodation. Bring your credit card…

upmarket to encourage recreational vehicles and we soon discovered it had only two RV parks and both were booked out. That was a real shame as the town is picturesque and we really wanted to stay, especially as the main RV park is only about 10 minutes walk from the centre of things. We eventually found parking across the river and walked back into town. The sun was still beating down but the riverside walk, with its shaded cafes and restaurants provided welcome relief, as did a highly anticipated iced coffee. The historic Napa Mill, now home to the Napa River Inn, is the landmark riverfront building, while downtown the Opera House is a reminder this has been a grand town for many years. Out of sanctioned campsite options we headed up the valley – it really is a valley – past beautiful European-style wineries, looking for a place to free camp. Fat chance. Every inch of this valley is given over to vineyards and their infrastructure, so as the sun began to set and with a rising sense of urgency (okay, panic) I turned us off the main road and headed for the shores of Lake Hennessey. No camping signs

prevailed as twilight descended, but continuing into the hills we eventually found Moore Creek Reserve. Mrs iM walked in to check access and we quickly tucked ourselves away for the night as the first stars began to twinkle. We stretched our legs in the cool of the evening, taking a walk along the creek and thanked our lucky stars for such a find. That had been too close…

Day 4: To San Fran! We retraced our steps the next morning into the Napa Valley, refreshed and much more able to take in its beauty. It really is a little slice of France; from the topography to its architecture to the names of some of the finest French champagne houses gracing the estate gates. We stopped at Mumm for a quick photo opportunity – it was far too early for the cellar door to open – before instructing TomTom to guide us to Candlestick RV Park in beautiful downtown San Francisco. We’ve decided to return to the Napa Valley another time to explore its beautiful wineries and sample life aboard the luxurious and decadent Napa Valley Wine Train. Can't wait for that!


USA travel Feature | 55 The Napa Valleyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s vineyards are world renowned and feature some of the best-known names in French winemaking. The valley itself is long but quite narrow and some of the vineyards are now cultivating the rolling foothills, adding to the European feel. San Francisco is about 50 miles south west of Napa and the final stretch includes crossing the new Oakland Bridge, which sits beside the iconic original. Although not as famous as the Golden Gate Bridge it still accepts cash for the toll. I would've preferred to have driven the slightly longer way and arrived over the Golden Gate, but it has electronic tolling only now and going online afterwards to pay seemed all too bothersome. Anyway, our RV park was on the west side of the town, making access via the Oakland Bridge much easier.


56 | USA travel Feature San Francisco only seems to have two major RV parks; one on a dramatic bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the other on the edge of the calm waters of the Bay. The former was my first choice but the latter got our coin as it’s much closer in and operates a shuttle bus service downtown. It’s far less scenic and actually sits in an extension of the car park beside Candlestick Stadium, San Fran’s main sporting arena. I'd pre-booked two nights as we had a favourite restaurant to catch up with and some cable cars to ride. The price for our little slice of parking lot paradise was $193, while the shuttle bus was $12 per person (return) per day. Ouch! Interestingly, the price at the other park was about the same, but it was much further out and you needed to catch a local bus to a railway station and then a train into town. I guess that's why so many Americans tow cars behind their motorhomes. Once parked we hooked-up, cleaned-up, frocked-up and bused up-town to our favourite restaurant The Stinking Rose - a garlic restaurant. As they say, when in town all you have to do is head to the renowned Little Italy district and ‘follow your nose’. The Romans called garlic the stinking rose and each month the restaurant serves nearly 1.5 tonnes of the pungent herb, so if you’re a garlic lover you’ll be in heaven. Try the roasted 40 Clove Chicken (yes, really) and be sure to start with the Bagna Caulda: garlic cloves oven roasted in extravirgin olive oil and butter, with a hint of anchovy and served in an iron skillet, accompanied by house-baked focaccia. Yum (or not if you don't like garlic)! Being a Saturday night we just had a couple of starters (including the Bagna Caulda) before moving deeper into bustling Little Italy. Real coffee was on the agenda and we soon found that, along with equally authentic Italian pastries. We ended up in a little European cafe and wine bar called The Melt, listening to live jazz and sipping Napa Valley pinot…


USA travel Feature | 57

San Francisco is about 50 miles south west of Napa and the final stretch includes crossing the new Oakland Bridge.


58 | USA travel Feature

Day 5: Nice Segway! This was our ‘free’ day in San Francisco and Mrs iMotorhome had already booked a Segway tour of Golden Gate Park. Surprisingly the park isn't beside the Golden Gate Bridge as you’d imagine (that’s the Presidio, site of the US Navy’s first airfield), it’s further south. It was a glorious day and despite leaving plenty of time we screeched into Golden Gate Park right on the 2 pm tour deadline. How were we to know it was the day many suburban streets were blocked off for street markets; there was a free comedy concert in the park as a tribute to Robin Williams AND the California Academy of Sciences (also in the park) was having its annual free open day? Having once again snatched a timing victory from the jaws of lateness we were soon thoroughly immersed in the 40 minute training session before our 2-hour tour could commence. Having reacquainted ourselves with the required skills – we Segwayed in Dallas a few Christmases ago – we were away.


USA travel Feature | 59

And what fun it was. We each had a two-way radio with an earpiece so we could (sometimes) hear the guide’s commentary, but to be honest we didn't care. We were there for the simple joy of riding a Segway in an open space. Along paths, past attractions, over roadways and through the Sunday throng we threaded our way, even venturing off the beaten track and into a redwood grove just because we could – and it was huge fun. If you ever get the chance to ride a Segway don’t miss it.

Day five finished with superb goat curry from a hole-in-the-wall Pakistani restaurant discovered last visit and a final walk through Chinatown. Earlier we’d sampled the requisite clam chowder at Fishermans Wharf after the obligatory cable car ride hanging off the side. But as thrilling as the cable car ride was, what a dirty, crowded eyesore of a tourist trap Fisherman’s Wharf has become. Shame on you San Francisco!


60 | USA travel Feature

Day 6: Highways ‘101’

José – yes, we knew the way – and arcing southward towards Monterey. It basically parallels Interstate 5 and is the more scenic route between San Francisco and LA, although it still runs inland much of the way. Highway 1 on the other hand is the original coast road and you can follow it almost all the way from San Francisco to LA. It gets a bit lost at San Luis Obispo, where Highway 101 meets the coast, and the two intertwine for much of the final stretch into LA. If you have the time it would be a spectacular drive all the way. We didn’t have the time, but did leave the 101 for the 1 at Monterey and followed it along the most popular and easily accessed stretch of the coastal drive, to San Luis Obispo.

We didn't have anything like the time needed to follow the coast road all the way back to Los Angeles. Heading out of town on a Monday morning shouldn’t have presented any traffic problems, but I didn't realise we still had to make our way past the airport. Once the traffic cleared it was a good run down Highway 101 towards San José, when all of a sudden I spied an enormous structure on the left and a sign saying Moffett Field. The structure, Hangar One, covers eight acres and is part of aviation folklore. It’s where the USS Markon, a Hindenburg-size airship, operated in the 1930s as a flying aircraft carrier, carrying five Curtiss Hawk Sparrowhawk biplane fighters that Seaside Monterey is fashionably famous. The were launched and recovered while airborne. Monterey Bay Aquarium is world-class and Amazing. home to some of the most important whale research, while Cannery Row – immortalised Highway 101 hugs San Francisco Bay. It takes in Steinbeck’s novel of the same name – sits you past Cupertino (Apple’s home) and Silicon along the water front, and both are worth Valley before threading its way through San visiting. We’ve stayed in Monterey previously


USA travel Feature | 61

and thoroughly enjoyed it, but this trip time was running out. If you’re able be sure to stay a day or two. This stretch of coast road is about 135 miles and the suggested driving time is 3 hrs 17 mins. I wanted to be as close as possible to LA by the end of the day, so after a quick lunch in a small turn-out overlooking the ocean just south of Carmel, we pushed on. The big A-class was a handful along this narrow, winding and heavily travelled road. Despite the scenic beauty I spent most of my time concentrating on keeping between the centre lines and armco fencing, and avoiding hitting the cyclists also heading south on a major group tour event. There was also a convoy of other travellers we seemed to be keeping pace with as we all pulled in and out of the many cliff-top viewing areas. This part of America is photographers’ heaven. Mrs iM spent much time sitting sideways in her lofty captain’s chair with head and camera (just) out the side window, snapping madly away.


62 | USA travel Feature Her eagle eyes spotted a pair of humpbacks frolicking out to sea and later on we stopped to watch a colony of sea lions as they huffed, puffed, jostled and grunted their way to prime positions on the rocky foreshore. Hint: If you’re going to drive this road be sure to do it southbound. Southbound travellers have the cliffs right beside them, get the best views and have easiest access to the many viewing areas. I was interested to see there were places along this road, from memory around the midpoint until it turns inland near the town of Cambria, where it’s possible to free camp right on the cliff edge. California is riddled with no camping signs but there were some large pull-in areas, essentially in the middle of this sparsely settled region, that were sign free and if time had permitted I’d have overnighted there in a flash. Speaking of overnighting; buoyed by the sight of the these free camping areas we hunted high and low on both sides of San Luis Obispo for a similar place to stay but to no avail. Once again it developed into a race against darkness and even though we quickly resigned ourselves to an RV park for the night there was simply no room at any RV inn. We ended up in Pismo Beach, an apparently highly popular tourist town where densely packed RV parks overflowing with retirees in massive rigs are enough to give RVing a bad name. As dusk settled and after being turned away from nearly half a dozen parks, we happened upon one with a vacancy at the far end of town. In fact it had room to spare and we ended up with a whole section of grass sites to ourselves! Wedged between the highway and railway line and with a dodgy looking set of residential ‘trailers’ at its far end, we none-the-less enjoyed a quiet and undisturbed night.


USA travel Feature | 63

Day 7: Back to Realityâ&#x20AC;Ś Last full day on the road and back to LA. The coast becomes more heavily built up the closer you get to Los Angeles and we motored past Santa Barbara glad for the freeway as mile after mile of onand-off ramps fed locals into neatly manicured and expensive looking suburbia. Coming into Ventura we spied a sight I remembered from our last drive down this road a decade or so earlier: a seemingly endless line of RVs camping along the beach front. We detoured to


64 | USA travel Feature investigate and found it to be the Rincon Parkway Campground: 127 unserviced parking spaces with absolute beach frontage, run by the local authorities. With uninterrupted beach access and views of the ocean, coastline and Channel Islands, it’s no wonder it’s popular! April to Oct there’s a 5 day limit, Nov to Mar there’s a 14 day limit and at $28 per night it’s some of the cheapest RV parking in the State. Although there are no services we did see two commercial water tankers making their way down the line. I’m inclined to think there would be a mobile waste pump-out service too. You grab a site on a first-come-first-served basis and if you leave you lose it. Payment is via cash or cheque in an envelope and a windscreen sticker prevents rangers booking you. I think we’ll be back… It had been a warm but pleasant 80º F (27º C) along the coast for the last few days and we stopped for lunch at the tail end of the Rincon Campground line-up, enjoying the sea breeze and sound of waves breaking gently on the beach. From Ventura the 101 turns inland to Los Angeles and as we headed along to pick up Interstate 405 for our final run towards LA Airport (LAX) the outside temperature readout began to climb. From the pleasant 80º it climbed through 90º, then 100º and still higher. At first I thought the engine might be overheating and affecting the reading, but a quick touch of the side window confirmed that baby, it was hot outside. The gauge peaked and held steady at 110º F (43º C) for about 30 minutes until we joined the I405. By the time we arrived at the Dockweiler Beach RV Park it was back to 82º F (28º C) and all seemed right with the world. To its credit the big Ford-based motorhome hadn’t missed a beat in all that heat, although the aircon certainly struggled with the massive frontal glass. The RV Park has absolute beach frontage and you pay according to whether you want front, middle or rear row parking. It’s dream location is spoiled somewhat by being right next to the


USA travel Feature | 65

We spotted these custom picnic table and chair covers outside a rig parked near us on our last night. With simple drawstrings underneath they seem quick to fit or remove and cover a myriad of things you’d rather not dine on! departure end of LAX’s runways, but you soon get used to that. There’s only a $5 difference per row and I’d already booked us into the front for $65 for the night. From our door to the sand was about five metres! There’s a concrete bike and walking path right at the front of the park that winds its way for miles in either direction, connecting Pacific Palisades in the north to Redondo Beach in the south. We’d cycled it several times on previous visits to LA and loved the look of this place, which always seemed to have rows of glistening A-classes nosed up to the sand and basking in the sun. Little did we imagine then it wouldn't be too long until we were in one of them! That evening I overheard two young guys on the path and one said to the other, “They must all be millionaires in there.” Little did he know! A sunset walk chasing waves on the beach and

chatting with a couple in their new A-class (their first RV), plus a quiet dinner and long afterdark walk filled our final evening. The beach is wide and studded with concrete fire pits. In the warm of this late summer’s evening dozens of fires dotted the darkness up and down the beach; flames dancing and flickering as people celebrated the end of another long summer.

Day 8: Finito! The final morning saw us underway about 9 am after final packing and a clean-up. I was pleased we’d prepaid to avoid the last waste tank dump as this meant we’d only needed to hook-up power for our final night because we had plenty of water on board (and waste tank capacity). The traffic was reasonably light and we were back at the El Monte RV depot in Santa Fe


66 | USA travel Feature

Looking like a prop from Back to the Future, this immaculately restored 1970s Winnebago shared the Dockweiler Beach RV Park with us on our final night.

Springs within the hour, despite a detour for roadworks. But that’s where the fun began.

roadworks exacerbated things and it was by the grace of TomTom we found our way back.

The fuel tank was near empty and we discovered the corner gas station near the depot is too small for motorhomes. The next one up the road was charging a ridiculous price (I wonder why!), so we headed off to find another as we had plenty of time. In all we spent about an hour and visited three gas stations before we found one that was big enough to take a bus-size RV and took credit cards! Local

Check-in was straight forward and the guy actually thanked us for returning the vehicle, “So clean and in such good condition.” I’m thinking they must see some horrors. We settled the bill and waited for the noon courtesy bus, which dropped us at the car rental depot where a sparkling 300 C Chrysler awaited – but that’s another story. So many stories, so little time…


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68 | Mobile tech: iOS Family Sharing

IMAGE: ELIZABETH PIERSON/MASHABLE

Share and Share Alike! How to use Family Sharing in iOS 8â&#x20AC;Ś

BY KYLI SINGH, Mashable Australia.


Mobile tech: iOS Family Sharing | 69 Two issues back (Issue 58) we looked at all the changes and clever features Apple’s new iOS8 has brought to its mobile devices. This issue we’re looking at another new and highly anticipated feature – Family Sharing. Until now, sharing photos, music, movies and other iTunes purchases with your family members was a huge headache. With iOS 8, Apple finally introduced a way to sync purchases without being forced to share your Apple ID and password information. The new Family Sharing feature allows up to six people to share purchased content, photos, locations and calendars from their individual accounts.

Ready, set, sync… Ready to sync your family's digital life? Here's a step-by-step guide on how to activate and use the handy Family Sharing feature in iOS 8.

1

Download iOS 8 (if you haven’t already done so). For Family Sharing to work, all devices must be running iOS 8. If you or your family members haven't already, download the update. Go to Settings > General > Software Update on your iOS device, and follow the directions to install it.

2

Enable Family Sharing To use Family Sharing, there needs to be one organiser who heads up the account. Once you enable Family Sharing, any purchase made from connected devices will be charged to the family organiser's iTunes account. To set up a Family Sharing account the family organiser should go to Settings > iCloud > Set up Family Sharing... > Get Started > Continue on their iOS device. If asked, enter your Apple ID, agree to the terms and conditions and tap "Continue" to confirm you agree to pay for all


70 | Mobile tech: iOS Family Sharing

3

Share iTunes, iBooks and App Store purchases Once you've set up Family Sharing, everyone can access each others' apps, music, movies, TV shows and books. To download content from another family member, sign into your iTunes account and visit the "Purchased" pages in the iTunes store, iBook store or App Store. Simply choose the family member whose content you want, and go ahead and download. If you want to hide your purchases from the Family Sharing group, sign into iTunes on your computer. When you hide your purchases, members of the Family Sharing group won't be able to download them.

iTunes, iBooks and App Store purchases made by family members, and that your payment method is correct. Next, you'll be asked if you want to share your location with the Family Sharing group, which means all family members can see where you are. If you decide to change your mind later, you can turn off the location setting in Settings > iCloud > Share My Location. To add family members to your group, tap "Add Family Member..." and type in their names or email addresses. When you add family members, they'll each receive an email that will ask them to accept the Family Sharing invite. Remember, you can add up to five other family members.

To hide purchases go to "Purchased" on the right side of iTunes, select content type (Music, Movies, TV Shows, Apps or Books) and you'll see your purchases. Choose the icon of the content you want to hide by placing your mouse over it, and click the "X" on the top left corner.

IMAGE: APPLE To unhide purchases, go to Store > View Account. If asked, enter your password. Now, scroll down to "iTunes in the Cloud" and click "Manage" next to "Hidden Purchases." Choose the content type, and click "Unhide."


Mobile tech: iOS Family Sharing | 71

IMAGE: APPLE

4

Share photos Exchanging photos with your family just got a whole lot easier. Go to the Photos app and you'll see a new stream called "Family." This is where family members can share photos, videos and even post comments. You can also set up notifications to let you know when others add content.

5

Share calendars and reminders With Family Sharing's calendar you can keep your family organised and on schedule. If you go to your Calendar app you'll notice a new "Family" calendar appears. Everyone has access to this calendar and can easily add, remove or modify events. You can also set up notifications to remind everyone about certain events.


72 | Mobile tech: iOS Family Sharing

6

Share location Once a family member joins Family Sharing, their device will automatically share their location with everyone in the group. To turn the location feature off on an individual device, go to Settings > iCloud > Share My Location and disable it. That way, no one in the Family Sharing group can see where you are.

IMAGE: APPLE

Find My iPhone With Family Sharing, each family member's device will automatically show up in the Find My iPhone app. When someone in your family is searching for a missing device, Find My iPhone can be helpful in tracking it down.To hide your location from family members on Find My iPhone, go to your Family Sharing settings and disable "Show My Devices."


Mobile tech: iOS Family Sharing | 73

IMAGE: APPLE

7

Set parental controls Kids under the age of 13 can be a part of Family Sharing, too. However, the family organiser must create the child's Apple ID. To create a child's account, the family organiser can go to Settings > iCloud > Family. At the bottom of the screen, you'll see this:

Once a parent creates an account for the child, the "Ask to Buy" feature is activated by default. This means when your child tries to download anything from iTunes, iBooks or App Store, they will receive a notification saying, "A request to buy this app will be sent to your parents.â&#x20AC;? Following this, the family organiser will receive a notification with the name of the child, what they are trying to download and its price. The parent will have to approve the purchase before the child can download it.

Parental controls in Family Sharing don't end there. The family organiser can also control what content each child has access to by going to the "Restrictions" setting (on the family organiser's iOS device) or "Parental Controls" in iTunes.

8

Remove Family Sharing If you want to leave a Family Sharing group, keep in mind that you will no longer have access to your family members' apps, music, movies, TV shows and books. The same goes for the shared photos, calendar, reminders and location information. Additionally, you won't be able to access any content protected by digital rights management (DRM) that you downloaded from another family member in the group. If you have additional questions about Family Sharing, visit Apple's support page.


74 | Next issue

More SlIde of Hand? H

ow can so many features fit into such a small package? That’s the question we’re assured we’ll be able to answer by finally reviewing the Autarky 4X4 HiAce conversion. With a body lift kit, 4WD with high and low range, a rear bedroom slide-out, full bathroom, diesel cooking and hot water, and every mod con it promises much. Can it deliver? Will we get there? Wait and see!

November 21-23

NOV

21-23

By way of comparison we’ll also have a Frontline Campers’ 2WD HiTop HiAce, for those happy to keep a lid on their finances (as well as the vehicle). Featuring a large front L-shaped lounge that converts to a bed, plus a rear kitchen, it could be the perfect budget alternative for Toyota HiAce fans. We’ll also be taking you to Steamtown in South Australia and checking out some neat geology apps, so don't miss the next issue – Issue 61 – on 6 December. That’s 3 weeks away due to the workings of the calendar, so until then why not join our more than 16,0000 Facebook Friends and Twitter followers for news and plenty of laughs? See you in 3 weeks!

February 06-08

FEB

06-08

Bendigo Caravan and Camping Show

Newcastle Caravan, Camping & Holiday Expo

Bendigo Racecourse, Heinz St, Epsom. VIC r Open 9:30-5:00 daily (4:00 Sunday) r Parking: Free r Adults: $10 r Seniors: $8 r Kids: Free U 15 years

Newcastle Entertainment Centre and Showgrounds Broadmeadow NSW 2292 r Open 9:00-5:00 daily (4:00 Sunday) r Parking: Free r Adults: $25 r Seniors: $20 r Kids: Free U 16 years with adult

Visit Website Click for Google Maps

Visit Website Click for Google Maps

FEB

February 11-16 21-23 11-16 Melbourne Caravan, Camping & Holiday Supershow Melbourne Showgrounds Cnr Epsom and Langs Roads, Ascot Vale. Vic 3032. r Open 10:00-5:00 daily (4:00 final day) r Parking: Free r Adults: $20 r Seniors: $16 r Kids: Free U 15 years with adult

Visit Website 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.

Profile for iMotorhome Magazine

iMotorhome eMagazine Issue 60 – 15 November 2014  

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iMotorhome eMagazine Issue 60 – 15 November 2014  

Get a FREE subscription from our website!

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