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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17 – 20 May 2013 – Berry NSW

As readers of this blog will know, we are members of a CMCA Chapter. Most of the meetings held during the year are in South Western NSW but now and then we have a meeting that is not all that far from home. May 2013 was one such occasion.

We have decided that our departure time from home during weekdays cannot be before 9:00am due to peak hour traffic and also local traffic from several schools that lay in our path to exit Sydney.

This trip would also give us the opportunity to carry a practice load in the rear of the Navara similar to what we will be carrying when we go to Central Australia later this year. This included our satellite dish, spare jerry cans (we took them empty on this occasion), chairs, table and a couple of crates with assorted goodies we use for camping. Actually, we have refined the load in the Navara so that it is stored in a couple of crates and we actually have heaps of room to spare both in space and also more importantly, in weight. With all the gear on board, allowances for full fuel and passengers together with the weight from modifications to the vehicle plus the ball weight allowance for the caravan, we actually have about 250kg still available in the vehicle. Also, as a result of a change to our caravan compliance plate, we estimate that we are travelling about 100kg below our ATM and that is with full water tanks (140 litres of water). Now the challenge is to never exceed these numbers and still attempt to reduce them to reflect in lower fuel consumption.

We departed at 9:00am and for the first time “He” was able to drive the combination out of our driveway without the need for any manoeuvring to miss fences and parked cars. Hopefully this will continue in the future.

AS we have done on all of our trips with the caravan, we headed out to the M4 and then turned off to travel down Centenary Drive at Homebush to join Liverpool Road at Chullora. From there we travelled to Stacey Street and Bankstown where we turned and headed to Heathcote via Lucas Heights.

Our trip was hampered somewhat by strong westerly winds however, the combination behaved itself and remained firm on the road. We have attributed this to the fact that we might have betters ideas on how to pack things as well as keeping the speed just a little slower than usual.

This trip would also be our first decent of Mt Ousley near Wollongong, another first for us as this was the longest decent we had experienced since moving to a caravan. The decent was no problem at all with braking achieved through the override switch for the caravan and an occasional touch of the vehicle brakes.

We drove straight through to the Berry Showground and very soon after our arrival, we had connected power and setup the caravan for our three night stay.

As for the Chapter meeting, there were ten (10) vans attending. Friday afternoon saw us visiting a local sweets shop (for a look only) and we had our evening meal in the Chinese restaurant at the local bowling club. The wind made the night cold.

Saturday was a near perfect day which was spent around the showground. The local “Berry Magpies” were playing on the adjacent oval and that provided us with entertainment for the afternoon.

We managed to convince Pizza Hut at Nowra to deliver pizzas for tea (thank you Pizza Hut, they were great) and we shared the Pizzas with a local musical group who provided entertainment after the meal.
Sunday was another glorious day and was even better when the wind subsided. Sunday saw the showground full of vintage car including a restored Rolls Royce said to be worth $1M. There were as wide variety of vehicles including Mustangs, Holden’s, Minis, MG’s and numerous others. Whilst this was happening, there were lawn mower races on part of the oval. The lawn mowers (if you want to call them that) were indeed standard “ride-on” mowers that had been modified engine wise. They could travel.

Half of our group left during the course of Sunday and we shared an early happy hour with those who remained. For the first time since leaving home we cooked our evening meal (pork chops which were sensational) and we locked up for the night just after 7:00pm. “He” made a trip to Nowra during the afternoon to buy a couple of power packs from Aldi. One had been purchased by son & daughter in Sydney but had to be returned as it was faulty.

Something else we achieved this weekend was the first use of our toilet. “He” has the job of emptying the dummy and therefore encourages “She” to use the facilities where we stay. However, when the amenities are being used by football teams, one has to make alternative arrangements.

So, first job on Monday after breakfast was the trek to the dump point and the associated emptying of the container. We user Bio-magic and as we all know, the best way for Bio-magic to work is when the toilet is used for both 1’s and 2’s. “She” has now agreed to be trained in the emptying function.

We left Berry just after 9:00am and had an uneventful trip back to Sydney. We did stop at Albion Park to exchange one of the power packs that was also faulty (later we would return all of them and purchase a different solution).

The Navara performed perfectly with the climb up Mt Ousley actually climbing in 4th gear not far from the top. The “other” hills after Mt Ousley proved to be no problem at all.

We were in our driveway just after midday.

It was only after returning that we realised that the combination had behaved perfectly during the entire trip. We came back a little quicker than the outbound trip and fingers now crossed that we can repeat this during our up-coming trip to Central Australia.

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