Friday 14 December 2012

Just In Time....

for Christmas!

Today the Fifth Wheeler was delivered to our drive after it's pre-delivery inspection & requested mods were completed. It sure looked huge as it appeared down our little right of way.


But will it turn easily in the turning bay at the end of the way? No problems & with room to spare!

And luckily our drive was made for it! Nice fit & still enough room for the cars.

"And now if I can just work out this hitch..."
And this is where it will sit until our ute(utility) arrives, originally the ute was due in October along with the van but it has twice been delayed, now 6 months in total, and is due in mid January. It is lucky that we hadn't planned to head off full time until March, 2013 but it would have been nice if we'd been able to take it to Napier & go camping with family over Christmas & New Year.
Oh well at least we'll be able to set the inside up at our leisure, learn all the ins & outs & different switches & maybe have a few trial nights in it while it's parked safely in the drive.

Saturday 24 November 2012

It's arrived!

After a three month wait the main player of the Evans travelling road show has finally arrived from the States and has been unloaded at the yard of our Mt Maunganui dealer On the Way RV. It now has another couple of weeks of titivating before delivery to our driveway. And there it will sit until January. Unfortunately our Ford Ranger ute has been delayed by three months off the production line in Thailand. Apparently the automatic gearboxes for these Fords are in hot demand in the States and most are sent that way. NZ's supply is not really on the radar.
We will at least be able to fit the fifth-wheeler out totally & test the cooking & sleeping arrangements while it's parked in the drive. Thankfully it will fit quite nicely there.
Now to name it....
And no, that's not the TV aerial ;)


Tuesday 4 September 2012

Which mobile home to choose....

Once that the house was sold we now had to decide on what type of mobile home we would buy. A bus, a motorhome/campervan, a caravan or a fifth-wheeler. After much research and visits to campervan & caravan shows & various dealers yards in the end we decided on a fifth-wheeler.

What about this one?
 In fact this brought back many memories for David, he used to sell the
NZ made Trekkas when he first came to NZ back in 1968
We never really considered buying a bus, motorhomes were the next to be crossed off our list as we wanted to be mobile once we were parked up and not have to pack up and secure our belongings before we could visit the shops or local attractions, parks etc. We're planning on doing a lot of day trips as we may be parked up at some places for a week or two or more so to be able to leave the site without packing up was a priority. The caravan really never stayed on the the list for long either, we wanted to be able to take whatever we purchased, while not necessarily off road, certainly into some back country areas quite easily and most caravans aren't robust enough, and also the size we were considering lacked the interior space we felt we needed as this was going to be our full-time home. This left us the fifth-wheeler.

I've been asked many times over what a fifth wheeler is, the easiest explanation I've read is that it's an articulated caravan. None the wiser? The fifth wheel is the hitch that joins the caravan to the vehicle that is towing it, usually but not always a ute (utility). It hitches onto a turntable that is positioned on the deck of the vehicle. This makes towing & manoeuvring the van much easier and allows for a lot more room inside as the front of the van swings over the deck of the vehicle; the bedroom is usually located in this area. Fifth-wheelers also have one, two or three "slide outs", these slide out from the walls of the van opening up the interior to nearly double the size, allowing for good sized lounge areas, galley or other bedrooms. They slide back in when on the road. There are very large fifth-wheelers out there, they are very popular in the States & Australia but we needed to compromise on space, we wanted to be able to have enough space that we didn't feel like we were living in a sardine can but not so big that we couldn't tow it easily. Size & weight also had a bearing when it came to road transport regulations and where the van & ute fitted into the licensing parameters; both vehicle & driver. Too heavy &/or big & we'd be paying extra road tax over and above what is included in the diesel price per litre.

Fifth wheeler with slide-out, out
In the end we decided on an Evergreen Ultima Fifth Wheeler, the van would take 3 months to arrive from America which was good timing as the Ford Ranger Supercab we'd also ordered to tow it would take three months also. The Ultima is built for New Zealand road conditions including driving on the left hand side of the road; the entry door opens so that you are exiting away from the road.

Tuesday 7 August 2012

How it all began...

In April 2011 we (that is my husband David & I) made the life changing decision to sell our dream home overlooking the beautiful Tauranga harbour and "hit the road", so to speak. Buy a mobile home and travel the country, be free and easy with no itinerary in mind, make the journey the adventure not the destination, relax & enjoy life, all those cliches we hear from time to time. This was a momentous decision and it didn't come easy or quickly, we had many sleepless nights; "do we, don't we?" We felt we couldn't do the change of lifestyle justice if we didn't sell the house, we'd always have a "bolthole" to run back to and besides that, our home was quite large and required a lot of ongoing maintenance which would mean we'd have to return to it regularly to catch up on chores. We also knew we didn't want to rent it out.

Tauranga Harbour
This would be a total change of lifestyle, we love the "great outdoors" and have travelled extensively overseas but other than a few brief holidays at various New Zealand locations over the years we had not taken the time to explore out own piece of paradise. The NZ tourism ad "Don't leave home until you've seen the country" springs to mind. We are not entirely new to having a small movable home; we've spent many happy days & weeks boating around the coast of northern New Zealand in our 11 metre power cat (catamaran) and having worked & lived together 24/7 for over 25 years, living in a confined space with your better half was not going to be a problem either. Yet! ;)

The house went on the market in May 2011 and while we knew it wouldn't sell overnight we were getting a little frustrated by the time we signed on the dotted line in July 2012. In the end the 3 month wait for settlement date in late September was a blessing as it gave us time to get used to the idea that we'd be moving on and also gave me time to sort, sell, dispose of &/or pack the huge amount of gear we'd collected over the years including records from our previous 3 businesses. Everything that we wanted to keep was boxed and colour coded for each room or area & either for long-term storage or current use. As it turned out we've ended up with another delightful home which became part of the trade and which we will be living in until our fifth-wheeler & ute arrives. We are not sure yet whether we'll sell this or keep it short-term, those decisions will be made next year. Other than a few "shake-down" trips we aren't intending to hit the road full time until at least March 2013. We have a VIB due in February. VIB? Very important baby; grandchild #4.