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iMotorhome

Piste de Résistance!

magazine

Issue 79: Sep 05 2015

because getting there is half the fun...

Win!

$50 for the! best letter

Trakka’s Torino Xtra is at home no matter the season…

Project Polly

A lot’s happened since last issue…

Survivor!

Saying farewell to our first longtermer

Postcards…

A snapshot of Malcolm’s Canadian travels!


A Home for...

...Everything

Designed and built with travelling and the great outdoors in mind. The storage space you’ll find in each Horizon motorhome is surprising. Our innovative design team have used 20 years of experience to utilise every inch of available space, allowing you to take almost everything you could possibly want on your travels. With a mass of drawers, overhead

cupboards, shelving, wardrobes and large boot space, you have room for everything, including the kitchen sink. That’s why satisfaction really is built into each and every Horizon Motorhome.

LLI BA

horizonmotorhomes.com.au

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299 C A M O L D R PE EX 02 iver RVA CLU 66 Str N S I V 81 ee & M E L 1 55 t , B O Y B 5 | a l l TO Y bcm ina R H c.c NSW OME om 2 C E . a u 478 N T R

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To find out more about our range of ‘built to perfection’ motorhomes visit horizonmotorhomes.com.au or call our exclusive dealer BCMC on 02 6681 1555

To find

SGG Pty Ltd. Lic No. MD11739, MVRL23910


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! Facebook “f ” Logo

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Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Contributors Jess Ciampa, Emily Barker and Allan Whiting

Published by iMotorhome PO Box 1738, Bowral. NSW 2576. Australia.

Design and Production

ABN: 34 142 547 719

Agnes Nielsen

T: +614 14 604 368

E: agnes@imotorhome.com.au

Design & Production Manager

E: info@imotorhome.com.au W: www.imotorhome.com.au Editorial Publisher/Managing Editor

Advertising Sales & Marketing Business Development Manager Clarinda Hoiberg E: clarinda@imotorhome.com.au

Richard Robertson 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.

d out more about the range visit horizonmotorhomes.com.au


AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND

The Most Recognised Name in Motorhomes

2015 motorhome range now available nationwide. Proudly Australian designed and built in our Brisbane factory. Accept no imitations. Find a Winnebago dealership near you. Visit: www.gowinnebago.com.au Licensee and authorised distributor of Winnebago Industries Inc., Forest City Iowa USA


On my mind | 5

Happy Anniversary? Forty years ago tonight (if you’re reading this on publication day) I was lying in Sydney’s St George Hospital following a motorcycle accident that could easily have claimed my life. I was 17 years old. In my memory the events of that day and evening are something of a blur. I was working as a motorcycle courier for a city-based delivery company and had been on the road for about 10 hours. It had rained most of the day and I was cold, wet despite my wet weather gear, and couldn’t wait to get home. Normally I only worked the CBD and inner suburbs, finishing around 5:30 pm. But on that Friday night a van had broken down somewhere in the Inner West and I was asked to collect a package from it and deliver it out Paramatta way. Saying yes, when all I wanted to do was go home, proved a fateful decision. Having delivered the parcel I headed home, but when only 15 minutes away fatigue and youthful misjudgement combined and I ran an orange light, colliding with a turning Hillman. When I left hospital ten and a half weeks later – eight weeks in traction with a broken pelvis and two and a half weeks learning to walk again – my world was a different place. Still, I went back to the job that nearly killed me, before deciding to buy a ute and hopefully make 21. In hindsight the accident was the biggest pivotal moment in my life and I can trace who I am and where I am today directly from it. Who I am is the result of cheating death but becoming acutely aware of my mortality – something that has never left me – and where I am is a result of the compensation I received a few years later. My father was a self-made man and when the money came though had a business opportunity for me in Melbourne. Jumping at the chance to do

something new I moved south, but within a year sold the business and took up a job as a tour guide on Outback coach camping tours. That began my journey through the travel industry, which lead to travel writing, motoring journalism and now iMotorhome, 40 years later. I’ve often wondered where I’d be if not for that accident. Occasionally I drive thorough the intersection where that poor Hillman met its end – ironically just down the road from Malcolm – but there’s no emotion as I have no recollection except for a fleeting moment in the ambulance and some of the time in Casualty. Our lives can turn in an instant and I think it was General MacArthur who said something loosely along the lines of, “In war, life and death turn on the blink of an eye”. So can it at any time, as I’ve discovered. Anniversary aside I’m sharing this to encourage anyone who has come through a traumatic experience not to dwell too much on it. Embrace life and look for new opportunities. I realise that can be easier said than done, but unlike four decades ago there are support groups and services available that can make a real difference. Newton said an object in a uniform state of motion will remain that way unless acted upon by an external force. My life changed completely after that accident. If you’ve experienced a major event and your world and options are different now, don’t be afraid to embrace them. It’s remarkable what good can come from a seemingly bad experience.

Richard


6 | Content

3

About Us

9

Resources

Who we are, where and other legal stuff

Find back issues and more on our website

5

On my Mind

11

On your Mind

24

Marketplace

Happy Anniversary?

Share your thoughts for the chance to win $50!

14

News

26

Freedom Camping

28

Touring Test: Trakka Torino Xtra

42

Project Polly

52

Feature: Survivor!

58

Travel: Postcards

62

Mobile Tech: Beachsafe!

65

Advertisers' Index

What’s happening in the wider RV world and beyond

The latest Marketplace offers

Our regular roundup of what’s happening in the world of free camping…

Malcolm hops down to the snow for a short break away

Unlocking her dirty little secrets as we get down to business…

A life taken low is redeemed – with the help of a motorhome!

A snapshot of the unusual, from Malcolm’s holiday adventure

Surf Life Saving Australia’s app to keep you safe on our beaches

An A to Z of who’s in this issue!

66

Next Issue What’s coming up and which shows are on soon!


Relax in Paradise

Australia’s Best Quality Motorhomes • Outstanding value for

money, competitively priced from $158,000.

• Unrivalled Safety including

rollover protection, auto-locking cabinetry and superior appliance mounting systems.

• Industry’s longest & most

comprehensive motorhome warranty.

• Built for Australian conditions. • Models available with or without slide-outs. • Superior finish with stylish new contoured exterior. • Patented moulded bins for maximum storage capacity. • Outstanding road handling & ride comfort. • Genuine island queen beds and huge wardrobes. • Spacious rear ensuites with separate toilet & shower. • Market leading layouts & lifestyle features. • Full living area slide-outs providing superior living space. • Proven reliability of Paradise’s patented slide-outs.

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


resources

iMotorhome

Resources | 9

because getting there is half the fun...

Magazine Resources Ask a Question

Back Issues

magazine

iMotorhome

because getting there is half the fun...

Esprit de Cor Blimey!

Road Tests

User Guide

Marketplace

Subscription

Dethleffs ‘baby’ A-class is something to ogle at… Review and images by Malcolm Street

Reader Survey

Reader Review


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.

Mattress of Fact Hi, just reading the latest edition, great job! Just a suggestion in relation to the mattress issues in your van, we found our mattress lacking on long term trips. We looked at a few options including a latex and slat under-system, but at over $1000 it was way too much. Instead, we solved the problem for $18 by buying two packs of the clip together foam squares used as exercise mats (try Repco or Bunnings). We use it as underlay and it only raised the mattress by 25 mm. The high density foam has the added bonus of providing great heat insulation as well as supporting the existing mattress. We used the squares that had 25 mm holes in them to allow the mattress to

breathe – well, that's my theory at least! It might work for you and you could add more layers cheaply if you want a softer feel. Cheers, David Cheers indeed David, as you’ll read in this issue’s Project Polly update. We’ve taken your advice, although for a couple of reasons we bought carpet-backed mats. Haven’t tried them yet but I think they’ll be an affordable step in the right direction. Please accept this issue $50 prize for your suggestion, which will at least pay for your mats – with coffee money left over!


12 | On your mind

Macksville Mystery! Re RV Friendly Macksville, went there yesterday to check out the Lions Park where you stayed. The area is marked No overnight Camping, but you were not seeing things. There is a sign on the southern entry to town proclaiming it RV Friendly. It is marked as a CMCA sign that doesn't quite fit in with the contrary signs in the parking area. There were three motorhomes there yesterday afternoon at four o’clock, so perhaps they don’t enforce the rule. I for one will stay there on the way back from Brisbane in about a month. As they say you should rest every two hours and once settled in will not move unless directed to by the police.

Thanks Adrian. I’ve since learned that Macksville had its RV Friendly status revoked a couple of years back; something to do with dump point location and parking proximity to the town centre I believe. Anyway, the sign is still there (although we couldn’t find it again when we went looking, but I’m blaming fatigue!) and I think you’re right; in spirit at least Macksville is RV Friendly – even if the parking sign isn’t.

Cheers, Adrian.

Fiamma Issues Dear Sirs, first of all my congratulations for such an interesting magazine. I have been sifting through all 2015 and 2014 issues on your free PDF archive these last two days. I noted that when there is an issue with Dometic you get in touch with their service department. It would be nice if you could also forward any issues to me. We have two valuable importers in Australia – Coast-to-Coast and Camec – but issues so strong to warrant a reader’s letter are coming back to us anyway. Thanks again, John-David Pozzi Managing Director Fiamma SpA. Italy.

Thank you John-David for your kind words. Rest assured if we hear of any further Fiamma product issues we’ll be certain to share them with you.


magazine

iMotorhome

because getting there is half the fun...

We’ve Booked Out The Valley! cludes Now in night Friday sizzle! ge sausa

Date: 11-13 September 2015 Location: Joadja Creek Heritage Site, NSW.

Click for Google Maps

Cost: $59 per person

What’s Included? • Entry fee • 2-nights non-powered camping (Fri/Sat) with basic facilities available The inaugural iMotorhome get-together is being held at of one of Australia’s most interesting historical sites – Joadja Creek. Set deep in a valley on the western fringe of the Southern Highlands of NSW, this tranquil and picturesque location was once a thriving industrial centre and township, complete with its own railway.

• Guided historic site tour by the owner • Tour of Joadja Whisky Distillery • Spanish tapas dinner on Saturday night

Extras Extra night (Sun): $6 per person

Come and meet the iMotorhome team, enjoy a guided site tour, a tour of the recently completed Joadja Whisky Distillery and delight in an authentic Spanish tapas dinner, followed by a few drinks by the camp fire!

Beer with dinner: $5 each

We’ve booked out the valley for the weekend, but space limited to about 20 motorhomes, so book early and secure your spot!

Email info@imotorhome.com.au with your name and contact details and we’ll put you on the list. Payment via EFT required to confirm booking. Space is limited so contact us today!

Wine with dinner: $6 glass

Bookings

Fine Print (please read): 1: Due to licensing restrictions BYO is not available with the Saturday night dinner, but okay at other times (like around the camp fire!). 2: Access is via several kilometres of dirt road. The final 2 km can be tricky after heavy rain and we reserve the right to reschedule or cancel the event due to weather conditions. In either case a full refund would be offered. 3: Access isn’t recommended for coach-sized motorhomes, but anything up to about 9 m will be fine.


14 | News

Last Chance…

N

ext weekend – 11-13 Sep – is our inaugural iMotorhome get together at the Joadja Creek heritage site. As expected we’ve had a few people fall away due to family and/or health issues. The good news is there’s still time to book a spot and come meet the iMotorhome team, fellow motorhome owners and enjoy the tours, food and fun we’ve got lined up!

outbacktravelaustralia.com.au, who will ensure we have a roaring camp fire each night and be happy to answer your Outback and remote area travel, technical or general motoring questions over a beer or two. You’ll need to book and pay quickly, so see the ad on page 13 for full details – and all the terrific inclusions – and grab your spot now! Tomorrow might be too late…

Our special guest is 4WD and motoring journalism guru Allan Whiting from

Welcome Aboard!

C

larinda Hoiberg joined the iMotorhome team this week and takes over the role of advertising sales contact, vacated by Keith Smyth following his retirement at the

end of June. With a strong background in marketing as well as sales, Clarinda moves into a new role and becomes our Business Development Manager. Skill sets aside, she also brings new ideas, new perspectives and new enthusiasm to the business. Although Clarinda has no direct experience in the RV market she does has a peripheral association with it, and will no doubt quickly get to grips with things. Brisbane-based, she’ll become a familiar voice to all iMotorhome advertisers – and prospects – so please join us in welcoming her to the team!


World First Collision Avoidance System

REVERSE ALERT

Motorhome Reversing Safety

Reverse Alert is a world first automatic braking technology that can be applied to any vehicle – new or used. When the reverse gear is selected, the rear sensors are activated. If the sensors detect an object, the brake is automatically applied - requiring no driver input. • Avoid damage & costly insurance premiums • Avoid accidental injuries from reversing incidents • Avoid low objects (bollards, fence) and high objects (branches, buildings) Prices Start from $899 including installation. Payment plans available.

Protect your investment and the people around you.

Visit www.reversealertaustralia.com.au or call 1300-to-reverse


16 | News

Fiat Ducato 4X4

F

iat says its Ducato 4X4 Expedition, revealed this week at the Dusseldorf Caravan Salon in Germany, won’t ever make it into production and is just an exercise to display, “Its now-how in all aspects of recreational vehicle engineering”. The show van features a two-colour paint job in shades of grey, raised ride-height, widened track, front skid-plate and LED daytime running lights. It gets a winch, plus a roof-rack, “Which is fully equipped for an adventurous holiday and which also features a handy platform on which people can walk, some two and a half metres above the ground” according to Fiat. Four-wheel drive expert Dangel engineered the permanent all-wheel drive system with a viscous coupling, while also raising the ride height and

adding oversized tyres and special wheels. As a factory-finished adventure camper it does seem unlikely Fiat would go into production with the 4X4 Expedition, but don’t be surprised to see the drive system – or a variation of it – slip into production. Given Iveco has a ‘heavy duty’ 4X4 Daily it makes good marketing sense for sister-brand Fiat to offer a less hardcore but still capable four-wheel drive Ducato. On the motorhome front a Ducato 4X4 would also silence those who decry the standard Ducato’s front-wheel drive system.

Top Gong For Ballina Campers

b

allina Campervan and Motorhome Centre, makers of Horizon Motorhomes, took out the top award in this years Ballina Coast & Hinterland Business Awards. Owner Clayton Kearney said it was a great honour for the business, especially considering it was something he more-or-less ‘fell into’ 20 years ago. The company now employs 20 staff and has become a landmark business on River Street, as well as a familiar face at city and regional RV shows across Australia.

BigPond Dial-Up Ending

T

elstra says its BigPond Dial-Up internet service will begin to be phased out from 21 September 2015. Dwindling customer numbers and the uptake of mobile and wireless internet technologies has effectively made the system redundant. Current Dial-Up customers

will be contacted by mail and advised of alternate services they can move to. No action is required to close existing but unused accounts, while those with early BigPond email addresses linked to Dial-Up accounts will retain them at no cost and with no action required.


News | 17

Tassie Top Trio

T

asmania’s Cradle Mountain, Port Arthur and Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) have been named in Australia’s Top 10 ‘Ultimate’ Sights by the Lonely Plant Guide, with MONA also beating London’s prestigious Tate Modern by 32 places in the Guide’s global top 500 ‘Best Places’ list. MONA ranked 20th in the list and is the highest rated modern art gallery in the world, also beating out New York’s famous Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) according to Lonely Planet.

Located 12 km for Hobart’s CBD, Lonely Planet says, “MONA occupies a saucepanshaped peninsula jutting into the Derwent River. Arrayed across three underground levels, abutting a sheer rock face, the $75-million museum has been described by philanthropist owner David Walsh as ‘a subversive adult Disneyland’. Ancient antiquities are showcased next to contemporary works: sexy, provocative, disturbing and deeply engaging. Don't miss it!” MONA is also the cellar door for Moorilla, a winery established in the 50s, home to Moo Brew beer and has an outstanding restaurant. It also hosts summer concerts on its lawns and in its pavilions, and Hobart’s annual MONA FOMA arts and music festival in January.

NORTHCOACH EQUIPMENT PTY LTD


18 | News

Free Range Camping!

T

he newly launched Free Range Camping website aims to become Australia’s number one resource for travellers. The site is the love child of Rob and Michelle Catania who, in company with children Jade and Henry, have been travelling for several years in a Hino bus-conversion motorhome. “For us, wanting to remain on the road full time meant having to find different and affordable ways of doing so. As a result we discovered house sitting, volunteering and helping out farmers in exchange for accommodation. As we travelled, we found many struggling communities and businesses, which increased our desire to shop locally wherever possible. We found, however that in each new town we came to, it was often difficult to locate the businesses and services that we needed,” Rob said. “What we needed and wanted was a directory that would not only include alternative camp site options, but also connect us with the communities through which we were travelling. Unfortunately, what we wanted didn’t exist,

so we decided to create one. As a result, we called on our long-time friend and IT guru Glen to assist us and the result is Free Range Camping – or FRC.” The website categories comprise Free Camps, Low Cost, Rest Areas, Dump Points, House Sits, Park Overs, Help Out, Business Directory and $25+ (caravan parks,etc). You need to register and become a member to access information, but registration is free and since inception in May membership has already reached 20,000 and is growing strongly. FRC also has an active social media presence, with its Facebook Page already having more than 37,000 Likes. Click on the links to find out more.


News | 19

Exercise Your Mood

A

ccording to the Black Dog Institute, a large volume of research has found that exercise can significantly reduce mild to moderate depression. Exercise can help boost serotonin, which plays a key role in the brain in regulating mood, sleep and appetite. It can increase your levels of endorphins, which have natural mood-lifting properties. Exercise can also provide a distraction from worrying and provide an increased sense of control while promoting social interaction.

Exercise doesn’t have to be extremely strenuous to provide a benefit. Even a brisk walk each day can make a real difference. If you feel daunted, start small and find something you feel good about doing. Download the Exercise and Depression fact sheet or watch Black Dog’s Exercise Your Mood playlist on its YouTube channel.

Webasto – your gas free solution for independent travelling

  

Quiet powerful operation Low power & fuel consumption Use whilst parked & on the move

Dual Top – Combination Heaters   

Heat & hot water from one unit Easy to use multifunction controller Low power & fuel consumption

Thermo Top – Water Heaters

  

Compact and efficient Fast heat up times Can be combined with fan radiators to provide cabin heat

Diesel Cook Top

  

High cooking power up to 1800 W No naked flame and no fumes Robust high quality Ceran® cooking surface

Webasto Thermo & Comfort Australia Pty Ltd 423-427 The Boulevarde, Kirrawee NSW 2232 Freecall 1800 244 494 info@webasto.com.au www.webasto.com.au

RV Compressor Fridges   

Extensive range of Uprights and Drawers Available as DC Only or AC/DC Robust high quality with Danfoss Compressors

AU13252

Air Top – Air Heaters


20 | News

VW Auction Record the Deluxe model and came equipped with chrome hubcaps, a polished VW emblem, twotone paint (split by chrome trim) and a folding cloth sunroof.

A

1955 VW T1 Samba Microbus Deluxe was sold for €190,000 (A$304,000) at a recent auction in Berlin. This beat a record of US$217,800 for a VW camper set in California, in 2011. The Samba was built in February 1955 and sold new through Autohaus Retter in Innsbruck, Austria. It was

The Samba stayed in Austria until 1990, when it was sold to a British collector who repainted it in its original colours. The sold vehicle was 'mostly original' according to the auctioneers, although it had been upgraded and repaired throughout its life. Over the past 24 years the VW had covered a little over 10,000 km. The vehicle was sold with its original documentation, supported by a certificate of authenticity from the Volkswagen Foundation Auto Museum.

The Wirraway 260 SL

With it’s Full Length Slideout Room & Apartment Styled Layout !

From WIRRAWAY, “Australia’s Most Innovative Motorhomes” Wirraway is a dedicated family owned business striving for Motorhome excellence. Our Motorhomes are our passion! Every Wirraway Motorhome is handbuilt and designed by experienced motorhomers who know the importance of making life easier on the road. New to our Range is the brilliant ‘live like a movie star’ Wirraway 260 SL, the latest in our 260 series; our EuroStyle 260 with it’s European styled interior and “The Motorhome of the Year”, the Wirraway 260. Wirraway Motorhomes feature opulence, style and all the legendary design, electrical and construction innovations that are unique to all Wirraways.

Each Wirraway Model is unique! - All are a Must See!

View Our New Website to view All Models, Download Brochures &Virtual RealityTours For details contact: Rob Tonkin - Wirraway Motorhomes, 6 Hynes Court, Mildura Vic 3500

Phone / Fax: (03) 50 230 230 - New Email: info@wirraway.com.au & New Website: www.wirraway.com.au On The Road Wirraway 260SL Slideout Motorhome - 2012 © Rex Willmer


22 | News

Tax Office Scams

I

nternational scammers are calling Australian residents and delivering a prerecorded message, purportedly from the Australian Tax Office (ATO), advising of alleged tax fraud. The message leaves a number to call back and threatens various actions if you fail to do so. Other scammers are calling and asking for people by name, then threatening them with legal action if they don’t immediately make a payment. While it should be obvious the ATO would never work in such a way, vulnerable people have been intimidated by these calls and lost money. Please advise family members and friends who might be impacted by such calls to disregard any such telephone calls. The ATO only contacts people by personally addressed mail in regard to such matter.


News | 23

Caravan Industry Increases Lobbying for Small Business) on August 19, providing the Minister with a clear briefing on the state of the industry, it’s importance to small business and growth in Australia, and the industry position on MVSA Review, as well as other compliance issues.”

I

n the lead up to a Federal Government decision on a review into the Motor Vehicles Standards Act (MVSA), the Caravan Industry Association of Australia’s (CIAA) CEO and Treasurer met two Cabinet Ministers to highlight industry concerns. According to a press release, “Stuart Lamont, Mark Lindsay, Dennis Austin, and Lobbying Advisor Neil Coulson met with the Hon Bruce Billson (Minister

“As the Minister responsible for (the) ACCC, particular attention was brought to the inconsistent regulatory burden commercial caravan parks face compared to low-cost or ‘free-camping’ facilities, and of the need for consistent enforcement of local, state and federal regulation. Caravan Industry Association of Australia is gaining unparalleled access to senior Federal Politicians, with another round of meetings with senior politicians scheduled for early September, as we press forward our goals for the industry, forging an alliance with Government to achieve mutual goals.”

From the ocean to the outback and destinations in between. Fancy some scenic touring through the Flinders Ranges, or paddling a kayak on Cooper Creek? Perhaps a bit of camping solitude in the Gawler Ranges is more to your liking. Maybe a spot of fishing at Beachport or just lazing back at Melrose for a couple of days. Whatever your fancy, this ebook for iPad contains a selection of 12 of South Australia’s most accessible and beautiful destinations that offer travellers great touring and fantastic camping opportunities. Whether you’re travelling by motorhome, towing a caravan or just packing a tent, there are destinations for everyone!

ONS TINATI 12 DES $9.99 ONLY

For more information visit

www.ebooktraveller.com.au


24 | iMotorhome Marketplace

Parkland RV Centre

Roberts RV World

RV Specialists

Parkland RV is the official dealer for Avida Motorhomes, Crossroads RV and Opal Caravans in WA. We stock quality used RVs and our modern service department can look after everything.

An official Avida motorhome dealer, with more than 50 new motorhomes in the largest undercover RV showroom in the Southern Hemisphere. Our service department is here for all your needs too.

Australia’s leading fifth wheelers, designed here in Australia and built to suit our demanding conditions. Fifth wheelers from 24’ to 36’ available. Call 02 4953 7141 for information!

T: (08) 9493 7933 W: parklandrv.com.au

T: 1800 253 136 W: robertsrv.com.au

T: (02) 4953 7141 W: summerliferv.com.au

Airbag Man

Battery Traders Super Store

Taronga Western Plains Zoo

We design and manufacture air suspension kits for all types of vehicles including motorhomes. Easy to install they let you ‘level up’ for stability and safety.

Batteries, solar panels, inverters, alternators and all electrical parts including cables and switches for your motorhome! We can find and fix all electrical faults and are 12 V power specialists.

Visit our world famous 300 ha open range sanctuary, home to some of the most exotic and endangered animals on earth. Explore by foot, bike, electric cart or in your motorhome!

T: 1800 AIRBAG W: airbagman.com.au

T: (07) 3209 3144 W: batterytraders.com.au

T: (02) 6881 1400 W: taronga.org.au

iTech World

Wellington Shire

Australia’s leading solar power and satellite TV manufacturers! We stock the revolutionary In Flex and Mini Flex panels, Plus our Complete Traveler Satellite TV package is perfect for motorhomes.

In the heart of Victoria’s Gippsland region. Come and enjoy our natural beauty, famous lakes, High Country and expansive beaches. Find ‘Experience 40 Great Things to Do’ on our website too!

T: 1300 483 249 W: itechworld.com.au

T: (03) 5144 1108 W: tourismwellington.com.au

Bony Mountain Folk Festival This great Aussie festival in the bush is on again, featuring the legendary Murphy’s Pigs! Many other great artists, a Bush Poets breakfast, billy tea, damper, great tucker – don’t miss it!

bonymountainfolkfestival.com


iMotorhome Marketplace | 25 The Duvalay memory foam sleeping system - for those who enjoy a comfortable nights sleep but hate making the bed. All the comforts of home while you explore the extraordinary! To order simply call (02) 6653 4640 or email info@duvalay.com.au www.duvalay.com.au

The E-Twow Electric scooter for adults LATEST TECHNOLOGY FOR RV OWNERS

The alternative to a bike!!

25km/h with a range of 40km in ideal conditions! Super light too at 10.8kg

• • • • • •

More Versatile Than Any Other RV Camp Anywhere - It’s Self Contained Large Bathroom With Shower & Toilet Easy To Operate With Electric Jacks Models For Single, Extra & Dual Cabs Plus! Famous Ozcape Quality & Support

Folds away quite compact for small storage

To find out more call Mark on 0412027330 or email mje240@adam.com.au www.e-twow.com 1

Nomadic Solutions hitches fully ADR compliant no swaying increased towing safety easy reversing offroad vans available

5th wheeler specialist

Nomadic Solutions - the original, quality constructed ‘lifestyletable™’ that is easily attached to the side of your motorhome. Now available in ‘mill finish’ for custom painting.

T: (02) 9011 8144 W: nomadicsolutions.com.au

Southern Spirit Campervans

sliding & rear door FLY SCREEN

­ easy to self install ­ Australian & world wide delivery for Sprinter, Hiace, VW T4/T5, Ducato, Transit from

FLEXIBLE STORAGE SYSTEMS FOR YOUR CAMPERVAN OR MOTORHOME Store those additional items up and out of the way using our adjustable, transportable and modular storage system!

$229

www.skytracks.com.au

Tiffin Motorhomes

America’s favourite motorhome is now available in Australia! Tiffin Motorhomes Australia is proud to offer the Allegro Breeze 32 to the Australian market. Click through to find out why they’re fast becoming Australia’s favourite too!

T: 0411 616 617 W: tiffinmotorhomes.com.au

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26 | Feature

Freedom Camping O

ur regular feature keeping you in touch with what’s happened and happening in the world of freedom camping in Australia.

These stories and more can be found in detail at the Freedom of Choice website, indexed by state and town, while you can also find the latest news and updates on their Facebook page. 5 Aug – The voice of the consumer speaks out A little while back we published a story about Alice Springs and the goings on there. Well, Caravan and Motorhome on Tour have spoken out with a relevant comment. All we can say is "You tell em Fred!!" Spot on with your comment.

Not a mention of freedom camping being one of the greatest threats. 11 Aug – Showground camping debate comes to an end Council officers had a series of meetings with the committee in the past year to discuss the site, which was being used for camping for a fee. However the area needed to become a registered caravan park for such activities to continue. 12 Aug – Closure to hit campers and businesses This story shows what can and does happen when a minority ruin it for the majority. It is even acknowledged that local businesses will suffer.

10 Aug – Interesting comments from Jayco's Gerry Ryan

14 Aug – Local started petition for RV Friendly town to stay

"But it is not all smooth travelling. Mr Ryan sees the sell-off of increasing numbers of holiday parks, which are on some of Australia's most prime real estate, as one of the industry's greatest threats."

Recently the Mount Remarkable District Council’s announced their decision to discontinue their support with the Caravan and Motorhome Club of Australia’s RV friendly Town’s scheme. Concerned


Feature | 27 the decision will have a negative effect, Dave Wingrove of Wilmington has started a petition in hopes to change the Council’s mind. 14 Aug – Noosa council to trial “no standing” zones to control campers Illegal overnight van campers taking in Noosa's million-dollar waters views may be hit with "no standing" fines on their vehicles this summer. But this planned council crackdown by enforcement officers on these travelling scroungers may not be as rude as they could be, with midnight wake-up calls ruled out. 17 Aug – Squatters free ride hurts town Campers squatting on Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley land have been branded as having a “blatant disregard” for local business and the environment. The squatters – who risk a $100 onthe-spot fine – have angered the town’s business community with some saying the set-ups were unfair to paying guests and caravan parks. (This article brought quite a response on social media) 19 Aug – Figures don’t lie. Over the years there has been much research on the value of RV travellers and of course there have been those who challenge the published results. Phil Jones and his team, a private project, have during the past twelve months been interviewing campers at various sites around the country and now published the first twelve months results. 20 Aug – C  ommercial caravan parks could lose if free camping is introduced in Gilgandra! This is a typical story of typical Council thinking. "Mr Batten said while Gilgandra wants to try to attract more visitors, it should not adversely affect the business of other operators.” I do wonder if this same Council approved the opening of a new Bunnings or Woollies would show the same concern for the local hardware store or the grocer down the road? Most likely not – that would be considered healthy competition. 20 Aug – Free camping fiasco – the real story behind the Tweed Head situation Campers have been using the park along the railway tracks in the centre of Burringbar for most of the past 12 months, with few incidents, and local shop owners are grateful for the boost in business.

However the type of campers using the park has recently changed from backpackers and grey nomads to squatters, who are causing significant problems for local residents. 20 Aug – Macarthur says back free camping or lose A few months ago there was a bit of a news flurry from Warrnambool re the loss of the tourist trade. Well here is a bit of advice from a community that knows how to attract the tourism trade. 23 Aug – A rosy future – Grey Nomads are in the minority We are constantly told freedom camping is causing the caravan park industry a hard time, but then we see articles where statements like this are made: “Association chief executive Stuart Lamont said the figures showed the industry was constantly growing.” 26 Aug – Over 90% support for proposed showground camping Campers are now able to set up camp amongst the sweeping hills and countryside of Moss Vale on the New South Wales Southern Highlands throughout the year. 28 Aug – Burringbar traders suffer as campers turned away This is a typical story of what happens when a council makes a sweeping decision because of the actions of a few. 28 Aug – Not all tourism is good tourism! Well apparently it is good as long as your aren’t a freedom camper. With statements being made by the head of a supposed tourism body one has to wonder how much they want tourism. Their priorities are clearly defined in the opening statement in this story. 28 Aug – Yet another council being pressured by the caravan park lobby West Coast caravan park owners are pleading with the Council to reduce the significant impact of free camping on their businesses. 28 Aug – Is camping in car parks really a crime? Interesting radio interview on Radio 4BC


28 | Touring Test: Trakka Torino Xtra

Snow Bunny!

Malcolm Street takes Trakka’s Torino Xtra for a short hop to the snow‌


Touring Test | 29

Overnighting in Berridale, on the Monaro Highway, within an easy morning’s drive of the ski fields. The Torino Xtra’s compact size makes it unobtrusive, while the central heating proved its worth. So did the Duvalay Trakka kindly provided.

W

inter is the time many head north, but I'm one who likes to head the other way, to the High Country snow fields. I don’t get there as often as I’d like, but a recent opportunity came my way courtesy of Trakka, to take their updated Torino Xtra to the Jindabyne and Perisher Valley ski fields. How could I refuse? Trakka was keen for me to sample the updated Torino Xtra and I was too, as recent modifications to the rear bed area means that largish or oddly shaped cargos can now be carried. Cargos like ski gear! Also of interest, being winter, was a new diesel-fired heater: Truma’s Combi D6. Not only is it a heater, it also supplies hot water via a 10-litre tank. There's another reason why I took the Torino to the snow. Trakka uses Fiat’s Multijet 180

Ducato van for its conversion, which comes with the most powerful of all Ducato turbodiesels – the 3.0-litre 132 kW/400 Nm version. It's ideal for not only a quick trip, but gives a great performance on mountain roads. Additionally, front-wheel drive is easiest for fitting snow chains and the best arrangement as traction, steering and braking are on the same wheels. Not that I needed the chains as a Canadian friend rather dryly pointed out on my Facebook page…

Next Generation

T

rakka has been building its popular Fiat Ducato-based Torino Xtra van conversions for a number of years. It’s something of an evolving design that reflects not only customer feedback, it integrates the latest technologies and materials available.


30 | Touring Test The test Torino Xtra came with Trakka’s optional Remote Package. It includes a 135 W solar panel, Webasto X100 diesel-fired cooker and a diesel-fired combination hot water and space heating system, which makes the vehicle LPG-free. It also includes upgraded thermal (and sound) insulation – ideal for winter camping!

The Torino Xtra is now built on the new generation Ducato. It features revised frontal styling with higher headlights, and a bumper made from more individual components, which makes things easier in the event of an accident. Inside the cab the instrument panel has had a bit of a makeover, but undoubtedly the most exciting thing is the upgraded radio, which is much more a multi-media unit than before. However this model did not have the Sat Nav feature, which apparently is still under development for Australia, instead relying on a TomTom unit for navigation. I also noted the much anticipated Ducato cup holders are still not available, however Trakka’s supplied ones work quite well!

Innovation

B

eing a van conversion there isn't any external storage, other than toilet cassette and power cable bins. However, there's good storage underneath the bed at the rear. Until now the bed in this variant of the Torino was just a fixed east-west unit with storage below, accessible via the rear doors. What the Trakka team decided was to make the motorhome more functional (not that it wasn’t already) by making the bed base in three sections and hinging the middle section so it can be fully lifted to one side. Additionally, the bed supporting panel is also hinged, opening up a central aisle/ walk way.


Touring Test | 31

Both cab seats swivel, offering the essential feature of comfortable seats to relax in whilst providing good back support. Four tie hooks are fitted to the floor, so a bicycle or something like a small kayak can be safely carried. In this instance my snow skis fitted without any problem. Indeed, were this my motorhome, I'd problem just cut an appropriately sized slot in the floor panel, thus pinning the skis in place and not have to worry about lifting the bed at all.

One concern with lifting the bed to fit something in would mean having to make it up every night. However, a simple solution is to use a Duvalay – the memory foam luxury sleeping bags that roll up so easily. Trakka happens to be an agent for them, which is not only why I mention them, but because I was able to try one out under cold, frosty

conditions – test passed successfully! As well as the new bed design Trakka has made some subtle changes to the interior decor, including the lining, colour scheme and lighting. There’s nothing that changes the Trakka character though!


32 | Touring Test Below: A motorhome offers a comfortable change room, the ability to whip up a hot meal, and even have a shower if desired. Bottom: Front-wheel drive is best in the snow and makes chain fitting easier.

Hitting the Road

A

fter having loaded all my goodies it was time to hit the road. My original destination after a late afternoon departure was Canberra, but a mid week early evening drive down the Monaro and Snowy Mountains Highways is quite a pleasant experience, especially compared to a winter weekend. So instead of Canberra, a discrete parking spot in the quiet little town of Berridale gave me an opportunity to test heater and Duvalay on a rather frosty night. One of the benefits of a diesel heater is it can be turned on prior to reaching your intended destination, thus guaranteeing a toasty night when finally parked up! Berridale is within easy striking distance of both Jindabyne, where a National Park Pass and snow chains can be acquired, and the ski-field car park at Perisher Valley.


Touring Test | 33 Access is easy via the big side door. Note the deep entry step, flip-up outdoor table below the conveniently located light switches, and the pole for the removable TV, which you can swivel to view from outside.


34 | Touring Test

Above: The Torino Xtra’s redesigned east-west bed now has a lift-up centre section to accommodate bulky items like a bike, kayak, etc, as well as provide a walk-through interior. Right: Malcolm would cut a hatch to allow his skis to protrude without disrupting the bed. One of the things I like about taking a motorhome to the snow country is that it's possible to ski in a bit of style without breaking the bank. For instance, a motorhome offers a comfortable change room, the ability to whip up a hot meal, and even have a shower if desired. Oh, and of course, a warm environment if the weather turns nasty. I'm frequently the only motorhome in the ski-field car parks, but on this trip was interested to note half a dozen others on the days I visited.


Touring Test | 35 Diesel Power and More

M

y Torino Xtra also came with a diesel-fired cooktop. While eliminating the need for gas cylinders, and therefore providing more storage space, it does require a change in cooking style. I have to admit I am not patient enough for diesel fired cooking, but I did manage to cook my simple meals without too much trouble. As noted, Trakka has opted for an eastwest bed arrangement in the Torino Xtra. Apart from anything it allows a two person passenger seat behind the driver's seat and a decent dinette. Additionally, there's a kitchen bench along the kerbside wall, a bathroom cubicle opposite and a fridge/ microwave behind the rear seat. Both cab seats swivel, offering the essential feature of comfortable seats to relax in whilst providing good back support. A small hinged flap by the rear seat offers space for drinks and nibbles, while a pole-mounted table is also provided, which stores under the bed when not required. The kitchen is quite a simple set up. Fitted into the benchtop are the Webasto diesel cooktop and a round stainless steel sink. There's no drainer with the sink, but hiding in one of the cupboards is a neat plastic item that splits into a drying rack and drainer tray. Fitted under the bench are six drawers of various sizes, whilst a curved end on the bench unit has a cupboard enclosed by one of Trakka’s signature roller-shutter doors. It’s good for space saving and is easily accessible from inside and out. Two smallish overhead lockers are fitted, whilst a third in the middle acts as the easy-to-use electrical control centre. On the subject of electrics and lighting, these seem to be constantly evolving. But once mastered they provide everything you need, from bright reading lights to dim night

Top to bottom: While not keen on diesel-powered cooking due to a self-confessed lack of patience, Malcolm concedes an LPG-free motorhome is probably worth the tradeoff. Note the acrylic splashback and generous storage provision.


36 | Touring Test

The bedroom gets a concertina privacy screen and plenty of overhead cupboard space. The combination of mains power points,12 V socket and dual 5 V USB charging outlets, plus adjacent shelves, makes this corner an ideal charging station. lights. All are LED of course and often discretely hidden. Another feature worth mentioning is the pole-mounted TV at the end of the kitchen bench: Although it looks like it's stuck in the doorway it's really in an ideal location. As I discovered one early frosty morning, the bathroom has a heater duct in it – very nice! Of course it’s also Trakka's Switch Mode Bathroom, which means the toilet hides under the hand basin until needed, when a push of a remote control button brings it out into position. Having the cassette toilet out of the way provides plenty of shower room, which is a big bonus in a smaller van. A classy feature is the three-sided mirror with the LED strip lighting inserts, while a benefit of the bathroom’s sliding door is it closes the bathroom off quite effectively, yet requires no extra space for opening and closing.

What I think

O

n my little sojourn to the Snowy Mountains I took time out to explore the Guthega/Island Bend areas. Especially in winter time, places like these away from the busy skiing centre are not only peaceful, they present snowy vistas terrific for photography. The Torino is excellent for places like these: large enough to camp in in style, but small enough not have any trouble negotiating narrow tracks. It's not difficult to see how the new folding bed design adds to the appeal of the Torino Xtra. It’s there if needed, including the bonus of a clear walkway, but otherwise is just a conventional east-west bed. For taller travellers there is an alternative Torino layout that loses the rear seat but does have north-south beds – double or singles. In short, the Torino is a very versatile motorhome, whichever model you choose!


Touring Test | 37

Trakka's Switch Mode Bathroom means the toilet hides under the hand basin until needed.


38 | Touring Test

Above: During the day the bedroom is bright and airy and the fixed bed can, of course, be left made up. Left: Bed access is via the aisle, which curves to the right aft of the kitchen. Note the deep bedside table, which has charging outlets above, and a half-height wardrobe below.

The east-west bed won’t suit taller people, but an alternative Torino layout has twin single beds running north-south, which can also make into a near king-sized bed. The compromise is you loose the front dinette and passenger seat.


Touring Test | 39

Specifications Manufacturer

Trakka

Model

Torino Xtra

Class

Van Conversion

Berths

2

Base Vehicle

Fiat Ducato

Engine

3.0 L 4-cylinder turbo-diesel

Power

132 kW @ 3500 rpm

Torque

400 Nm @ 1800 rpm

Gearbox

6-speed AMT

Brakes

ABS Disc

Tare Weight

3200 kg

Gross Vehicle Mass

4005 kg

Towing capacity

2500 kg

Licence

Car

Approved Seating

4

External Length

6.37 m (20’ 11”)

External Width

2.05 m (6’ 9”)

External Height

2.68 m (8’ 10”)

Internal Height

1.93 m (6’ 3”)

Rear Bed Size

1.86 m x 1.23 m (6’ 1” x 4’)

Luton Bed Size

N/A

Dinette Bed Size

N/A

Cooktop

Webasto X100 diesel*

Fridge

Waeco 136 L 12/240 V

Microwave

Yes

Lighting

12 V LED

Batteries

2 x 100 AH

Solar Panels

1 x 135 W*

Air Conditioner

Opt

Space Heater

Truma Combi D6 diesel*

Hot Water

Truma Combi D6 diesel 10 L*

Toilet

Cassette 19 L

Shower

Flex-hose, variable height

Gas Cylinders

N/A

Water Tank

120 L

Grey Water Tank

80 L

Price from (on road in NSW)

$129,500

Price as tested (on road in NSW)

$139,500

Options Fitted: *Remote Pack, metallic paint, alloy wheels

Pros

• A 6.36 m (21ft) van conversion with just about everything • Multiple-use rear bed area • Seating for four • Effective diesel-fired space heater • Front cab/lounge area for four • LED lighting system • Generally good internal storage • Driving experience on the open road

Cons

• Diesel cooktop slow • If transporting large items, bed has to be made up each night • Bed length a problem for persons of height • Kerbside under-bed storage fiddly for large items • Not having the keys long enough!

Supplied by Trakka

9 Beaumont Rd Mt Kuring-gai NSW T: 1800 872 552

E: trakka@trakka.com.au W: www.trakka.com.au

Click for Google Maps


40 | Touring Test

The Torino is excellent: large enough to camp in in style, but small enough not have any trouble negotiating narrow tracks.


Enjoy the ultimate go-anywhere off road adventure with the Jabiru 4x4 Xtra. From Alice Springs to Halls Creek and via Tamani Track, reach isolated camp spots which require solid ground clearance and traction with this high performance luxury vehicle.

Jabiru 4x4 Xtra. Redefine your camping adventure.

Visit trakka.com or call 1800 TRAKKA


42 | Project Polly

Dirty Little Secrets Mrs iMotorhome makes Polly come clean as she unlocks many dirty little secrets… by Richard Robertson

N

ever one to sit around and navel gaze, Mrs iMotorhome has used her time off between work trips to get cracking on Project Polly. The plan was to do a thorough clean first, but as she soon realised there was no point cleaning the whole vehicle before creating a whole new mess. So starting at the top and working down, she’s been hard at work getting to know Polly’s dirtiest little secrets – and making her come clean – while also getting stuck in to a range of mini and not-so-mini projects. Polly spent five years in the Apollo Motorhome Holidays rental fleet and although cleaned between trips, the gunk and grime in hard-to-

reach places never got much of a look in. She obviously spent plenty of time by the sea, too, as there is surface rust on many internal metal fittings, plus the roof. The bottom runner of the slide-out pantry looks like it’s been at the bottom of the ocean and took some serious effort to make it fully extend, which now makes access so much easier. With every drive we do, hunting rattles or just popping out for coffee, new bits of detritus appear, but the amount is lessening and hopefully it won’t be too long until the cleanswept floor remains that way.


Project Polly | 43

Above: Polly’s overhead cupboards aren’t big, and while she came with ornate chrome ‘fences’ to stop things falling out they were set too deep inside and took up too much room. In their place now is cut-to-size nonslip matting, while clear stick-on dots near the latches stop the doors from rattling. Middle: Just some of the detritus found hidden in nooks and crannies! Bottom: Foam weather-seal leftover from our house doors stops the wardrobe door rattling.

Top to Bottom

P

olly’s overhead cupboards are high-set and on the shallow side, which limits carrying capacity but provides good headroom and reduces the van’s inherent tunnel feeling. One of our pet hates is overhead cupboards without a lip to stop things falling out when you open them. Talvor’s designers, however, went too far and installed small, ornate stainless steel ‘fences’ an inch or more back from the edge, reducing storage room and basically getting in the way. So while I wasn’t looking Mrs iM whipped them out, cleaned the cupboards thoroughly and installed non-slip matting cut to shape. I’d already tightened the hinges and fitted little stick-on dots near the latches, which has basically eliminated door rattle, so all-in-all it’s ‘job done’ on this part of Polly. Well, for now. Speaking of stopping things rattling; we’ve found various bits of paper and cardboard sticky-taped on or wedged into place by renters over the years to stop rattles, and as we find them we’re making more permanent – and stylish – fixes. I also discovered the full-height wardrobe door, which has a lock halfway up, rattled something fierce at the top and bottom. Fortunately, some leftover foam-backed weather seal from our house doors has fixed that. And speaking of stick-on dots,


44 | Project Polly Polly’s bare metal interior panels are ‘dotted’ with holes of various shapes and sizes, making her look rather utilitarian. Mrs iM had the bright idea of buying a pack of removable stick-on white labels, and spent a good 30 minutes or so carefully covering a myriad of smaller holes. Not only does the interior now look better, they can/will be easily removed should we discover a more permanent solution. There are still some bigger holes to contend with and we’re looking at covering the bare metal with marine carpet or similar, so any suggestions will be gratefully received!

Curtain Call!

N

ext on the agenda were the curtains. Bright red, thick, bulky and pleated, they seemed to oppress the interior, yet were unlined, so had limited insulative properties and still let some light through. Go figure. Fortunately, Mrs iM is an accomplished seamstress and we found some properlybacked curtain material at our local Lincraft store that’s not only lighter in weight, its colour and subtle stripe design closely matches our Duvalays! The new curtains are designed to sit as flat as possible and include small magnets in strategic places to take advantage of the bare metal window surrounds. One of Polly’s more interesting design features is a short back-board between the sides of each bed and the her bare metal side walls. These not only provide support when using the beds as seats, they keep you off the cold walls at night, prevent condensation wetting the bedding and provide something to tuck the curtains behind. The only downside is a small width reduction in each bed – about 15 mm – but it’s worth the tradeoff.

The Silver Screens…

C

ustom-made Solarscreen window shades are on order for the side windows, which will go a long way to keeping us snug. Windscreen/cab and rear-

Top: A box full of round self-adhesive labels is proving ideal for covering the myriad of little holes in the Transit’s body. Middle: Out they come: It’s curtains for the old curtains! Above: Mrs iM hard at work running up the new curtains.


Project Polly | 45 door screens are also coming, which will give us the total Solarscreen treatment. Jamie from Solarscreen is generously donating the set to Project Polly, but using us as Guinea pigs to trail a new material. More than just reflective foil window shades, each Solarscreen is made from seven layers that combine to block visible, infra-red and ultra violet light. The seven layer ‘sandwich’ combines aluminium foil with expanded polyethylene, anticondensation PVC film and even anti-allergenic padding to produce robust screens that suctioncup onto glass and/or velcro onto the walls when things like flyscreens get in the way. Well, that’s the current material. Our custom set will feature new nine-layer construction that will hopefully deliver even better results and we’ll be bring you updates on them as we travel.

Top to bottom: The side windows are after-market items and we’ve had to make templates of them so Solarscreen can make us a custom set of insulative screens. Not as easy as it seems!

All Solarscreen sets are made to order, but Jamie uses standard screen templates for the windscreen and cab windows, plus the rear windows of popular vehicle makes. Polly’s side windows might look like stock Ford items, but they’re after-market items and as such require custom made screens. To make them, Jamie sent us a template kit with detailed instructions even I could follow. The kit comprised several big sheets of clear plastic, a permanent maker pen – and some Blu Tack! Mrs iM dived straight in and soon had plastic sheets Blu Tacked in place and was happily drawing outlines, marking handles, flyscreen areas and other suction-cup ‘no-go’ areas, like those behind the kitchen cupboards. Where we have identical windows on both sides we only needed to make one template, but mark it carefully and note it for use as a mirror image. I’m certain Jamie must have a degree in Egyptology as the resultant lines and notes looked remarkably like hieroglyphics. It will be interesting to see what we actually get. Fingers crossed!


46 | Project Polly

We’re trying floor exercise mats as under-mattress insulation and extra support. Only a little trimming was needed to make them fit, while Velcro holds them in place on the wooden bed bases. Note the metal bed supports rather than traditional wooden cabinets.

Mattress of Fact…

F

rom the moment I first drove Polly one of the most annoying design flaws saw the kerbside mattress slide off the bed base into the aisle, as soon as we got underway. The reason was simple: The mattress fabric didn’t grip the bed base. The driver’s-side mattress is held in place by the Lagan table mount, so it was only a problem on one side. As the bed bases sit on an open metal frame I attached two bungee straps to two of the frame legs and hooked the other ends over the bed backingboard, keeping the mattress securely in place. Effective, but hardly elegant!

The mattress covers, which are very clean and in excellent condition, look much better and less ‘out there’ now the red curtains are gone. Polly also came with a pair of bed-length backrest

cushions in olive green covers, which were supposed to double as part of the king bed setup but did’t fit very well. One has been cut in half and will do as backrests when dining and partial in-fill cushions should we make up the big bed, and later will be recovered or replaced as we find out how well they work. We’ve been debating what to do with the ageing mattress foam: Do we replace it with new foam, innerspring mattresses or carry on a bit longer and use a topper? Recently a reader came up with an idea we've implemented, at least as a temporary measure, and an interesting one it is. The suggestion was to use floor exercise mats made of foam as both added insulation and for a measure of extra comfort under the existing mattresses. Bunnings was the suggested outlet, but instead of buying the ordinary foam mats we


Project Polly | 47

Polly’s long back cushions are being ‘modified’ to better suit our requirements. If it works new covers will replace the drab green originals. However, we’re quite happy/used to the ‘groovy’ mattress covers now.

bought carpet-topped mats that not only look better, we hoped they would provide a bit more grip. We bought three packs of four mats and Mrs iM soon had the mats from two packs in place on the bed bases. Slightly longer than required when joined together, it took us a few minutes experimentation to come up with the best solution. The problem was they were also a bit narrower than the bed bases, but we needed the third pack to make padding for the centre boards for when we make up the big bed. The solution was to mount them as close to the aisle-side bed-edge as possible, leaving the narrow (2 cm) gap between them and the bed backing-boards, as you can neither lie in that small space or sit on it.

Minimal trimming to the overall length was required, but even with the foam backing-side down they still slid off the smooth bed bases. The solution has been velcro, while on top the mattresses covers grip nicely on the mat’s carpet finish and no longer head for the floor at every opportunity. We’re yet to sleep on them to test their efficacy – we’ll get our first chance at our inaugural Joadja get-together next weekend – but the worst case scenario is $55 and about an hour's time wasted. The main reason the twin bed/open aisle floor plan appeals is our need to transport a tandem bicycle. Some experimentation showed that if I lie the bike at and angle, so the tyres rest against where the driver’s-side bed frame joins the floor and the bike frame rests against the kerb-side mattress, it fits perfectly. All I do then is use one


48 | Project Polly out and try them all at once we’ll use them as they seem appropriate and report back. I should mention the 303-branded blue cleaning cloths we also received, as they seem equally at home cleaning or buffing, plus are a great size to put under the glass lids of the stove and sink to stop rattles. This also means they’re immediately onhand when cleaning duties call.

Next Issue

A

We’re trialling the 303 range of automotive cleaners and so far so good. of the afore-mentioned bungee cords to hold it against the mattress to stop it moving around. We’ve also discovered the rear barn doors make a great general entry/exit point, with access enhanced by the rear step. They also avoid the ‘whizz-bang’ of the side door and the effort required to slide it. The things you discover…

303 Loaded

T

he clean-as-we-go regime has been accompanied by liberal use of some of the 303 range of high tech surface spays and protectants supplied as a test batch by importer Trico. We’ve concentrated on the Multi-Surface Cleaner, which has cut through much of the grease and grime in those out of the way places, as well as giving all the overhead cupboards a new lease of life. It also worked a treat on the driver’s door armrest, which looked particularly manky. We still have Spot Cleaner, Speed Detailer, Fabric Guard and Aerospace Protectant to try, plus Aerospace Protectant wipes. Rather than rush

lready, Polly feels ‘transformed’. It’s due in no small part to the new curtains, which look as good from the outside as inside, plus reduced rattles and a general feeling of cleanliness. Our own things are progressively filling shelves and cupboards, and it’s finally beginning to feel like she’s ours. With the bedroom area and curtains largely sorted, next issue I’ll share our first adventure into ‘proper’ DIY – and in a confined space! There is still much we plan to do – some things big and some small – and I’m also coming to terms with the realities of buying a vehicle that’s been ‘well used’. One thing this whole process hasn’t been is boring. Buying a new motorhome certainly has its appeal, but taking a tired older model and giving it a new lease of life has its charms too. By the time we’re done – if ever – we’ll know Polly inside out in a way many people probably won’t know their factory-fresh motorhomes. Having already discovering many of her dirty little secrets, by journey’s end we’ll likely discover more. Watch this space!


Project Polly | 49

Above: Our tandem fits perfectly down the aisle and sits very securely in place. Note the new curtains, plus the wooden box under the bed on the right. It holds hoses, the power lead, etc, while just forward of it is the box for the Suburban hot water service. Below: Two 303-branded cleaning cloths are doing double duty as anti-rattle mats.

Budget Matters

B

uying a motorhome is often just the start of the spending process, especially if it’s pre-owned. Like most people we’re on a budget and have to balance wants and needs. In this Project Polly series I’ll use full retail costs as the reference point for expenditure to provide real world costings, although thanks to generous discounts and deals from a number of suppliers we’re spending considerably less.

For the record we received a sizeable discount from Apollo, but the balance was substantial enough to require finance. In the interests of commercial confidentiality I’ll keep those figures private. I’m setting a theoretical spending limit of $50,000 on Project Polly all-up, with gives us approximately $6500 to spend after allowing for the purchase price, registration and insurance costs, but not including sign writing. Here’s a breakdown of our spend so far.


50 | Project Polly

Organised chaos. It’s been all go with Project Polly as we work out what goes where and just how we’ll use her. Next issue we talk about real DIY – yes, drills and stuff – and in a confined space. Don’t miss it!

Plans and Dreams! Basic modifications and improvements aside, here in no particular order are the bigger-ticket/more complex items planned or dreamed of… • Diesel heater

• Side and rear-door flyscreens

• Bathroom cabinet

• House battery upgrade

• Bathroom corner sink

• Solar

• Roof hatch upgrade

• Interior LED strip lights

• CB radio

• Motion detecting LED exterior lights

• Nudge bar and driving lights

• Swing-away bike rack

• Day running lights and headlight upgrade

What are the chances of all these coming to pass within our budget? What are the realities of some of them at all? Follow Project Polly as we make her the best motorhome possible for our needs and seek to inspire your dreams.

• Passenger seat swivel base, which will probably necessitate relocation of the house battery • Pole table & flip-up kitchen bench extension to work with swivelled passenger seat


Project Polly Costings to Date

Project Polly | 51

Vehicle purchase

$41,500.00

New house battery

$300.00

NRMA Business Wise - road service

$379.00

Comprehensive Insurance

$558.00

NSW registration inspection

$115.96

NSW LPG-system inspection

$82.50

NSW registration ‘green slip’

$406.62

NSW registration - 12 months

$778.00

NSW Stamp duty

$780.00

NSW personal number plate fee

$220.00

Total up-front costs

$45,120.08

Less Apollo refund of registration transfer costs

-$298.46

Less Apollo refund of stamp duty

-$780.00

Less Apollo refund of 6 months registration/green slip

-$613.31

Sub-total

-$1,691.77

Total on-road costs

$43,428.31

Accessories/Modifications Plastic storage containers

$39.00

Doormat, cutting boards, non-slip matting

$20.00

10 Amp fuses & electrical tape

$5.08

Bamboo cutlery drawer

$12.00

LPG safety switch

$29.99

Fuses and tape

$5.08

Curtain fabric, hooks, thread & magnets

$136.45

Carpet-backed foam mats

$55.50

Total accessories/modifications to date

$264.10

Total expenditure to date

$43,692.41

Budget

$50,000.00

Available

$6,307.59


52 | Feature

Survivor!

A personal tale of redemption, with an RV twist‌ by Sharon Hollamby


Feature | 53

A

s I watched another motorhome drive past I must admit to a twinge of envy, but I consoled myself with the knowledge that it would be my turn soon. I didn’t always have this much hope for the future, in fact for a long time I saw no future for myself at all. With loneliness, depression, anxiety, panic attacks and agoraphobia; suicide was never far from my thoughts.

the coins into the machine and pressed the button. The music went off, the reels started spinning all by themselves and I looked around guiltily, thinking that somehow I had broken the machine. As it turned out I had won about $400, which was a lot of money for us back then. The attendant said, “Well done� and as no one had said that to me in a long time, it felt good. So it all started innocently enough, and I only went to the pokies between appointments or on pay day, but the deliberate hypnotic nature of the machines soon worked their guile and I was hooked. As the problems arose in my life that I no longer had the strength to deal with, I turned to the machines and they would anaesthetise me.

No Win Situation You see, I had a poker machine addiction. In 1995, when pokies first came to South Australia, there were a lot of issues going on in my life. An accident at work, children with problems, an abusive boss, a husband working away, and moving from a suburb with great neighbours to a small unfriendly town, were just a few of the problems. When my young nephew died, grief made a big addition to the list.

O

f course we are not meant to win on those things and pretty soon I was losing a lot more than we could afford. My life was about to come crashing down around my ears and I felt powerless. Over the next few years I lost my home, my husband, my children, most of my family, and a lot of time and money; but most of all I lost my selfrespect. Like a junkie or an alcoholic I was addicted, but it was an addiction that was little understood.

One day a lady I knew asked me to go into town with her and took me to a hotel gaming room. I watched as she poured the dollar coins into the machine, but soon got bored, so for something to do more than actual thirst, I bought a drink. I was given two one-dollar coins in the change, which of course is a trap by the industry and one I fell into easily.

For a while I was forced to live in a caravan park because I had nowhere else to go. I kept trying everything possible to quit gambling but it just made me feel like even more of a loser, because nothing seemed to work. Whenever things went wrong in my life, like the death of my father and mother, I would find myself back in front of the machines. Besides, being alone now, the only one I was hurting was myself, or so I thought.

A two dollar coin would have gone straight into my purse, but as the one dollar coins glittered in my hand I thought, why not? I inserted

Eventually I began to feel as if people could walk straight through me and it was a scary sensation. That is when the panic attacks


54 | Feature

began. Unable to breath I would race home and hide away with the door shut and curtains drawn. I could not deal with people. I had nothing to contribute to society. Counselling was helpful, but it didn’t really change anything and I still felt alone. The Statewide Gambling Services, where they use cognitive behaviour therapy, was not successful either. Support groups were okay, but at the time I wasn’t ready to listen to other people’s problems. I had enough of my own.

Turning the Corner…

I

n 2007 and after gambling for 12 years I was asked to join the Consumer Voice Programme run by Relationships Australia. We would learn to tell our story publicly and hopefully educate people on the dangers of gambling. My first speaking engagement was nerve wracking, but incredibly empowering. Relapse was never far away, though, and I longed for the day I would beat this addiction completely. Unable to work, I was forced to go on unemployment benefits and my entire first

pay went into the pokies. I didn’t know what to do or where to turn. With tears running down my face and unable to breath I found myself at the health village. A lot of people don’t believe that gambling is a physical addiction but I can assure you it is. Extremely emotional, I blurted my story out to a counsellor who made an appointment for me to see a psychologist. There we looked at my dysfunctional childhood, my abusive partners and everything that had happened in my life until I was able to acknowledge that my life had not been an easy one. When the psychologist said to me, “It’s no wonder you turned to something to cope,” it all started to make sense. That didn’t mean I was blaming anyone; it was how I reacted to the issues in my life that was the problem. He also made me realise that each time I had tried something to stop gambling it had not been a failure. Just as you can’t fix a car without the right tools, you can’t fix yourself without the right treatment. For me, understanding why I was gambling was vital to


Feature | 55 my recovery. One day I met a young lady who had also been addicted to the pokies; she is a passionate activist and has since taught me a lot. Together we formed Communities Against Pokies and began campaigning for gambling reforms. Through our Face book page we have connected with groups from all over the world who are fighting the same issues in their communities.

machines at different times at different parts of the game, they all seem to make a sound together.” Fadi Anjoul, clinical psychologist, stated, “Essentially, they’re electronic sounds that are designed specifically to evoke positive emotions in individuals. They tap into our feelings of joy. They tap into our feeling of success. They reflect feelings of achievement. They reflect all those things that people essentially feel good about”. People don’t understand that the machines are designed to hypnotise. They believe pokies are just the fun, play and entertainment things the gambling industry promotes. Those who do fall prey to these machines find themselves ashamed and stigmatised.

Designed to Addict

W

hat annoyed me the most was that these machines were consciously designed to be addictive, as shown in an interview on an ABC segment in 2010 called Mondo Thingo. Len Ainsworth, Chairman of Ainsworth Game Technology claimed, “The market place here is quite different to anywhere else in the world. Where it differs is that we have the same people coming day after day, week after week, month after month, and unless we had the means of appealing to those people, then they’d get very tired of their machine”. So he employed clinical Psychologist Fadi Anjoul and composer Tim Williams to make the machines more enticing. Tim Williams, composer, said, “It occurred to us, in a room, that it’s almost orchestral – that even with all this music coming out of all the different

Refusing to be ashamed anymore, I went on to tell my story on television, in the Adelaide Advertiser and in That’s Life magazine. The more I spoke out, the easier it became to stay on track and no matter what abuse I received it was worth it, when people would ring me and say, “Hey I’ve got a gambling problem too, what can I do?” The highlight for me was speaking to professionals from all over the world at the National Australian Gambling Services in Surfers Paradise, although I found it a bit ironic that it was held at the casino and my room was directly opposite the door to the casino!

New Beginning

I

n 2010 some money I had been waiting on came through and I decided to get away for a while. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of our family camping in a big old canvas tent, and I love the country, so I decided to go on a solo camping trip. A cheap tent a Porta-Potti, my Brother-In-Law’s generator and I was ready to head west in my lowered Magna – affectionately known as Henry, after my dad.


56 | Feature writing, buy a bus, do it up and take off around Australia!

I bought an S.A Parks pass (great value) and camped in some of South Australia’s great national parks along the way. There were some pretty rough tracks in, but Henry seemed to thrive on the challenge and actually ran better than ever, except when I flattened his battery charging things up. One day when I had been setting up my camp for about half an hour a young couple drove in with their camper and within a few minutes they were set up and sitting down with a cuppa. I mumbled under my breath as I hammered in the rest of my pegs, but an idea began to form in my head. It was also at that camp that a lovely couple gave me their old copy of Camps Australia, which became my Bible. As I travelled further west, nature had begun to work its magic and I began to relax. Realising that all that was really necessary in life was water, food and warmth gave me a sense of freedom I hadn’t felt in 15 years. One night, in the middle of the Nullarbor, I found myself at a camp completely alone. Only I wasn’t lonely because I seemed to have found a sense of peace within myself. Writing in my trip diary, it hit me that this is what I wanted to do, and more plans began to fill my head. I needed to go home, enrol in the professional writing course, polish my

However, the negative voice in my head told me not to make plans because they never work out for me, so obstinately I continued west and in a lot of ways I’m glad I did. It was great to witness a State without pokies on every street corner and see how different people are when they are not in a gambling related trance: Families played together, people talked to each other, there was no sense of walking among zombies and the infrastructure, particularly in the smaller towns, was incredible. I fell in love with Albany and conquered my fear of heights on the tree top walk at the WalpoleNornalup National Park. I felt terrified but alive! My poor little tent tried to die on me, but some string, tape and a socket soon sorted that out. It didn’t hold up too well in the rain, but I put a tarp over the top and managed to stay fairly dry. One day a man at the camp couldn’t stand it any longer and insisted on giving me a lovely tent that he had stored on top of his camper. It was sheer luxury; it even had a little annex where I could keep my shoes. I was amazed at the generosity of that man, along with many of the people on the road, and my faith in humanity began to be restored. I was still obstinate and I guess a little afraid of committing to my plan because I wondered what if I fail again? I continued on to Lake Indoon, where I stayed for nearly a week. The young bloke that looked after the place was so nice and very helpful. There were hot showers, flushing toilets and barbecues, all for about $10 a night. The morning I was due to leave for Geraldton a gorgeous sunrise greeted me and a sudden urge to get home and put my plans into action overcame me. Within three days I was home and by the end of that week I had applied for the professional writing course.


Feature | 57 The budget is still tight, but I’m saving hard for a bus that I can adapt to my own specifications. For relaxation, I go online and look at all the wonderful motor homes and buses for sale, knowing my dream is closer to becoming a reality.

Course of Action!

I

am now in my fourth and final year of the course and although it has been difficult at times, reading about other people’s travel adventures has kept me on track. Three years ago I subscribed to the iMotorhome emagazine, which has kept me inspired every fortnight and given me lots of ideas for how I want my bus. I’m friends with many of the travellers and groups on Facebook, where I have gained a lot of insights, tips and tricks on the nomadic lifestyle. Last month I sold all my worldly possessions and moved into my Sister and Brother-In-Laws caravan on a mate’s property (this time though it was by choice not necessity). To be self sufficient I bought a hot water service and a wild country toilet/shower tent that is very strong and roomy.

As part of my TAFE course I wrote a play about gambling, which is now in rehearsal. We have been asked to perform it as part of the National Australian Gambling Services conference, which will be held in Adelaide this year. My biographical self-help book is also in the final edit stage and should be ready for publication at the end of the year. I have received either credits or distinctions for most of my subjects, so it was nice to finally discover that I am good at something! My gambling work will of course continue and I plan to have Communities Against Pokies painted on the bus, so if you see me around please come and say hi! My first destination will be Alice Springs, because my Dad built the hospital and the Crocodile Motel there and it is the only one of his buildings I haven’t seen yet. From there it will be wherever the road takes me, for as long as I am able, and I hope to meet as many of you as I can along the way. Safe and happy travels everyone.


58 | Travel: Postcards

Across The Street!

Postcards from Malcolm Street’s Canadian rental relocation…

O

n his recent holiday across the eastern provinces of Canada our roadtest editor Malcolm came across some memorable and unusual RVs. Here’s a selection you won’t see in Australia, but still make interesting viewing.

We tend to think of North American RVs as being very large – think Meet The Fockers – but there are many smaller rigs, which shows the diversity of the market. Malcolm says he particularly likes some of the smaller van conversions based on Dodge, Ford E-Series and GMC products, but which still come with thumping-great V8s!


Travel | 59

Not all smaller rigs are of US origin though. Mercedes Benz is starting to make inroads with the Sprinter in the van conversion and coachbuilt markets, on the back of the brand’s reputation and the model’s fuel efficiency. Meanwhile, Chrysler is marketing the Fiat Ducato as the Dodge Ram ProMaster. After initially only offering a 3.5 L V6 petrol engine they’ve now introduced the 3.0 L turbodiesel as an option. Such progress! Particularly interesting to Malcolm was a Sprinter van with a slideout, while an oddity was a GMC van with a pop-top, which also had an air conditioner fitted externally to the rear door.


60 | Travel

“Undoubtedly of interest to our fearless Publisher are the many variants of Volkswagen Kombi, old and new, that are to be seen,� Malcolm quipped. Finally, right out of the box was his much loved London Routemaster double-decker bus, which he saw in Montreal. It was still right-hand drive, but the characteristic open rear platform had been swapped to the right hand side. Quite a good conversion too, he said.


Travel | 61

Malcolm’s also promised a full account of his week-long rental relocation from Halifax to Toronto and a quick review of the rental motorhome, which we’ll include in an upcoming issue. He’ll also provide a breakdown of costs so you can see if a Canadian rental relocation could be an affordable holiday option for the future. At least the Australia and Canadian dollars are sliding together against the Greenback, making the land of the maple syrup-covered pancake a more affordable North American holiday destination.


62 | Mobile Tech

Beachsafe

Be beach safe this summer, with Surf Life Saving Australia By Emily Barker

By Emily Barker


Mobile Tech | 63

T

he iconic red and yellow flags of Surf Lifesaving Australia represent, among other things, the profound love Australians have for their beaches. We are drawn to the coastline unlike anywhere else and the multitude of activities we undertake while there is truly astounding. Originating as the first organisation of its kind in the world, Surf Lifesaving Australia was born in 1907 at Bondi Beach, Sydney. The year The Bondi Surf Bather's Lifesaving Club formed the famous Australian Weary Dunlop was born; the first telephone call between Sydney and Melbourne was made, and the New South Wales Rugby Football League was established, officially introducing rugby league into Australia. Australia was finding her feet and Australians were finding the beach, particularly since it was now legal to swim in the ocean during the day! Since then much has changed, except our relationship with the coast. Surf Lifesaving Australia too has evolved with the times. Now,

in this age of instant information, technology can prove incredibly handy when planning your next beachside adventure, safely.

Australian For Life!

S

urf Life Saving has always been ‘Australian for life’ and it's quite fitting that its app is an all-encompassing feast of information. There are nearly 12,000 beaches punctuating our island continent and, incredibly, they are all listed within this app. More importantly, the information is accurate, relevant and extensive. The level of detail in each listing is astoundingly impressive. Whether it’s a 20 metre coral cove inaccessible by road on an isolated stretch of Cape York or 125 km of internationally famed coastline, topographical features both on-and-off shore are discussed in detail.

Each listing is broken into a series of subheadings: Beach, Swimming, Surfing, Fishing, General, and Parking, while each category contains relevant information for


64 | Mobile Tech quick reference and ease of use. In addition to this basic overview the app indicates if the beach is patrolled and, if relevant, provides patrol schedules, recent rescue or intervention statistics and identifies any potential hazards such as rips, sharks, jellyfish, crocodiles, etc. Detailed weather conditions including the current air and water temperatures, wind direction and strength, a swell forecast graph including height and direction, a daily UV guide and the local tide times are also presented.

Feature Rich

F

eature-wise this app is filled with useful tools. Enabling GPS location services on your device allows the app to locate beaches nearby and indicates the distance to them. Alternatively, you can search manually by town, city, region or individual beach name. Search results can also be saved as ‘favourite’ beaches for quick retrieval.

In addition to comprehensive real-time information, this app contains a wealth of additional helpful information, particularly important for those new to an area. The ‘Surf Ed’ tab is packed full of genuinely useful information on a range of different topics including first aid, surf skills, flags and signage, understanding (and surviving) rip currents, avoiding marine stingers and other creatures; even tips on the best ways to enjoy certain areas in terms of fishing, kayaking, surfing or simply strolling. The core of this app is safety. Beaches can be dangerous places, but with the right information and awareness they can simply be the wondrous places we’ve been longing to visit! Surf Lifesaving Australia has both volunteer lifesavers and employed professional lifeguards, and is a dynamic organisation dedicated to the

education and safety of all beachgoers. This app, with all of its features, is completely free and at a tidy 37.1 MB is a useful addition to any traveller’s phone or device. Fast Facts: Platform: iOS & Android Size: 37.1 MB Cost: Free!


Advertisers' Index | 65

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66 | Next Issue

Renault ‘Ello!

Adventurers Elizabeth and Helmut Mueller are back and share a fascinating story on the South Australian ghost town of Farina, which is slowly rising from its ruins. We’ll review the book Australian Bus and Coach Drivers’ Guide, by John Duffy, to see if it’s of value to motorhomers in general and those with big rigs in particular, plus take a look at gearbox type, update Project Polly and more.

P

lans are afoot to bring you a Sunliner on something different: a Renault Master cabchassis. Renault has been a fringe player in the Antipodean motorhome market and it will be interesting to hear what Malcolm thinks, compared to the Big Two – Fiat and Mercedes.

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Issue 80 – can you believe it – will be out on Saturday 19 September. Until then please join our Friends and more than 28,000 Facebook Twitter followers, and share laughs, fun and more.

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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.

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iMotorhome eMagazine Issue 79 - 05 Sep 2015 2  

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iMotorhome eMagazine Issue 79 - 05 Sep 2015 2  

Get your FREEE subscription from our website now!

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