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Blue Snoopy is a 2012 Nova Vita Caravan pulled by a 2012 Nissan Navara ST Dual Cab Ute.

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24 – 25 September 2011 – Blackheath NSW

Our long term plan is to use the motor home at least once a month so six weeks after returning from our trip to North Queensland, it was time to spend a weekend away.  Since returning from the north, weekends have been fully occupied and when we decided to overnight somewhere on Saturday, 24th September, we totally forget about the NSW School Holidays commencing.

Our destination of first choice was Kiama and the East’s Beach Caravan Park but due to the school holidays, the minimum booking they would take was a two night stay.

Now knowing that coastal caravan parks would be catering for the school holidays, we decided to head into the Blue Mountains and stay at Blackheath.  We have stayed at the Blackheath Caravan Park several times and it is a great place to relax for the weekend.

During the week leading up to the weekend, there were several bush fires in the Blue Mountains and whilst we were not worried about the threat of fire, the smell of the smoke can be of a concern.  Fortunately the fires were contained and controlled burning in the area around Blackheath was well away from the site we would be staying at.

Also during the week leading up to our departure, “He” checked all the tyres and much to our surprise, every tyre had maintained pressure.  This was unusual as we normally have to add one or two pounds of pressure.  Previously we had concerns about the extender value fitted to the outer rear tyres.  We had noted a pressure loss after they were fitted and now assume that the connector had not been tight enough.

Immediately following our return from North Queensland, the motor home had spent time with Winnebago to have an issue with the floor rectified, as well as the replacement of some hot water hoses and a full service of the roof.  This would be the first time we have used the motor home since that work was completed.

The forecast for the weekend was not all that promising and we made sure that wet weather gear was packed.  Going for a single night also meant that clothing would be at a minimum however, “He” had planned to wear shorts and that was quickly changed to fleecies when we heard a late weather report on Friday night.  Katoomba was expecting a temperature range between 5 to 15 degree C.

We were not really in any hurry to get away and left our home at 8:00am for the two hour drive to Blackheath.  The weather was near perfect for driving with no wind and a very comfortable temperature in the mid teens.

We refuelled at Burwood and experienced no delays in getting to the M4.  The traffic was light and our fuel consumption to the base of the mountains was around 13.5 litres per 100k’s. 

As we commenced our climb, so did the fuel consumption but that was expected.  Our progress came to a sudden halt and delays due to the widening of the road to Katoomba.  We had to stop on several occasions and these delays added 15 minutes to our trip.  We arrived at Katoomba at 10:00am and decided to head through to Blackheath and do an early check-in at the caravan park.

Just on the other side of Katoomba and just past The Explorers Tree, the traffic came to an abrupt stop.  Questions were asked over the UHF CB and we soon learnt that the highway had been reduced to a single lane due to tree felling near Medlow Bath.  To make matters worse, the main western rail line was closed for maintenance so rail travellers were being transported by buses. 

Without wanting to labour on this delay, we determined that 60 vehicles were being allowed to travel down the single lane in either direction.  It took us over 50 minutes to get past the work and much to our surprise, there really was very little activity taking place.  The traffic heading east actually went all the way back to Blackheath.  We cannot fathom how this was allowed to happen bearing in mind that it was the first day of the school holidays and major track work was taking place on the rail line.  Someone is certainly short of a brain!

Upon our arrival at Blackheath we turned left at the rail line and headed towards Shipley, an area we had never visited.  We drove several kilometres down the road before deciding to turn as the weather was starting to change and fog was descending. Due to the lengthy traffic delays, any return trip to Katoomba would not be happening until the road was fully reopened.

We returned to Blackheath, parked the motor home and walked through the shopping centre.  We visited a local bakery and purchased bread before heading to the caravan park where we established camp.  (We actually manger to get the motor home very level and we would find out on Sunday that the slide-out was actually sloping towards the motor home, a situation we normally avoid).

With the fog descending, we headed to Govetts Leap where we planned to stop for morning tea.  As expected, there was nothing to see other than white.  We did take the opportunity for iced coffee and muffins. Next stop was the caravan park where we established our camp.

Once again the benefits of a motor home became very apparent.  On an adjacent site a gentleman was setting up his camper trailer.  As we arrived he started to open the trailer.  We setup out camp, had lunch and then went for a walk in the nearby Blackheath Park and returned before he had finished the setup.  We have to assume that he had enjoyment in setting up his camp site.

It rained during the afternoon and we stayed put.  We experienced a thunder storm and hail in the early evening accompanied by some heavy rain.

We did not have a television signal but were able to watch a couple of videos.  We had frozen meals and a tasty red wine for tea followed by and ice cream desert and coffee.

We hit the pillows around 10:30pm and had a comfortable sleep before the alarm sounded at 7:00am.  We have a summer doona on our bed and no matter what the temperature is, it always seems to provide the right heat (or cool for that matter).

Sunday was an exceptionally wet day and we decided to head home after we broke camp.  With the area still suffering from low cloud and fog, there was little reason 5to venture outside into the awful weather.

Fortunately there were no delays on the Great Western Highway and we had an uneventful trip home.

Overall fuel consumption for the weekend was 13.3 litres per 100k’s and that consumption was probably reflective of the still conditions on Saturday and our sedate trip home on Sunday due to the non-stop rain.

1 comment to 24 – 25 September 2011 – Blackheath NSW

  • I just read your latest update and saw these comments.
    “Previously we had concerns about the extender value fitted to the outer rear tyres. We had noted a pressure loss after they were fitted and now assume that the connector had not been tight enough.”
    We have a Winnebago Leisure Seeker on the Iveco 50C15 chassis.
    I have been struggling to find somebody who can supply the valve extenders for the outer rear tyres. All tyre services places I ask just shrug their shoulders and tell me to use the service station inflators. (which do not work) Where did you get your valve extenders, how much did they cost and do you have a photo? We are on the road full time and before I leave my current location (Mackay Qld) I want those extenders when I get 4 new tyres fitted. (I already had 2 new tyres fitted a few months ago when one tyre shredded while on the road near Narrabri)
    Wow! I am anxiously awaiting your reply so I can get these extenders without delay.
    Cheers
    Frank Gilling

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