About Blue Snoopy

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

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14 – 18 March 2013 – Trunkey Creek NSW

Since owning a caravan, we have discovered that our street is not as wide as we thought. It is a major exercise to extract the caravan from the driveway and requires cooperation from a neighbour across the road to ensure that no vehicle is parked in front of their house when we extract the caravan.

We planned to leave at 9:00am and were actually taking the caravan out at 8:30am. There were no vehicles around to hinder our departure.

Our trip to Trunkey Creek was delayed due to a planned visit to Barnes Caravans at Lansvale where measurements were taken to allow for ordering of an AL-KO ESC (electronic stability control) system that would be fitted on the return journey. More about this system later.

We were also using a new rear view mirror system, Milenco “Grand” Aero mirrors (see www.aussietraveller.com.au) that we had just obtained following issues with our ORA mirrors folding back twice during the trip to Boorowa.  The Milenco mirrors appear to be more aerodynamic and hopefully will save us from having to install expensive Clearview mirrors.

We departed Barnes Caravans at 10:00am and were soon travelling on the M4 heading west. Today was also another “first” with Victoria Pass between us and our destination. “He” had concern about the decent with the amount of reliance required on the caravan’s brakes and the possibility of the brakes overheating.

The trip up the mountains was non eventful with the traffic light and delayed experienced over recent days due to roadwork not impacting on the trip.

It started to rain near Mt Victoria.

The decent down Victoria Pass went without incident (we now have a better understand of what is required during steep descents) and “She” slept during that part of the trip.

We refuelled at Lithgow, stopped for lunch at the rest stop near the Mudgee turn-off and then headed to Bathurst where we turned left towards Trunkey Creek. We had a great run from Bathurst and arrived at Trunkey Creek just after 2:00pm. We were the fifth to arrive. We had seventeen rigs attend the weekend.

Our venue was the local showground where limited power (for about 16 rigs) was available. There were also limited toilet and shower facilities.

We had a good weekend with the Chapter. Happy hours were long and we played disc bowls on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We had dinner at the local hotel on Friday night and the meal was excellent and the beer cold.

On Saturday afternoon we went to Abercrombie Caves (12 klm’s south of Trunkey Creek) and had a guided tour through Bushrangers Cave and a self-guided tour through the Archway Cave. Details of the caves are available at www.abercrombiecaves.com

The largest feature at Abercrombie Caves is “The Archway” which is said to be the biggest natural limestone bridge in the southern hemisphere. Grove Creek runs through “The Archway”.

The Abercrombie Cave system is small in size but the Archway is two and a half times larger than the Grand Arch at Jenolan Caves.

One of the features of The Archway is a dance platform that was constructed in 1880 by local miners.

The first white visitors to the caves appear to have been bushrangers. In 1830-armed settlers, mounted police and an army regiment fought it out with The Ribbon Gang near the caves.

The majority of the attendees left on Sunday but we stayed until Monday leaving Trunkey Creek just after 9:30am. We stayed at Bass Hill on Monday night before returning to Barnes Caravans on Tuesday for the fitting of the AL-KO ESC system.

The AL-KO ESC system (see www.alkoesc.com.au) is said to be a sophisticated electronic brake actuation system that automatically responds to the driving behaviour of the caravan by monitoring for any dangerous lateral movements and taking preventative action immediately. This preventative action is the application of the caravan’s electric brakes to maintain the position of the caravan on the road. AL-KO claim that “installing an AL-KO ESC now will enable you to manoeuvre past heavy vehicles, cope with excessive side winds and deal with road hazards with the ultimate confidence that any potentially dangerous condition will be automatically controlled – smoothly and effectively.”

As part of the installation we had the chassis serviced and after about four hours, we were on our way home just after midday.

We did get a surprise whilst at Barnes Caravans as the Nova was weighed. Much to our surprise we were 60kg over on the caravan GVM and 18kg over on the ball weight (our sway bars and security device which weight about 15kg were included in the above). Since returning home we have identified 70kg of items to reduce the GVM (including items that should not be included) so it was a good wakeup to all of the unnecessary items that we have accumulated over time.

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