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Blue Snoopy is a 2018 Adria Altea 402PH Sports Caravan pulled by a 2012 Nissan Navara ST Dual Cab Ute.

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12 July 2019 – Sydney to Gunnedah NSW

We had planned to travel to Gunnedah with an overnight free camp at Wallabadah (about 100k’s east of Gunnedah) but a change in the time of a function we were attending on Saturday, forced us to make the entire (445k) trip on a single day.

With an expected travel time of up to seven hours in front of us, we set a deadline of 9:00am for a departure.  As a result of getting up a little earlier than planned, we were able to depart our home at 8:30am.  The traffic between our home and the entrance to the Hunter Freeway was lighter than expected, we assumed that the NSW School Holidays may have been a factor, and just over 45 minutes after leaving home we were on the freeway heading north. Another factor in leaving a little earlier than planned was to get a start on the forecast high winds that we expected to intensity later in the morning.

Having not towed the Adria in high winds, we were a little concerned about the effect of the wind on the caravan when we travelled over the exposed Mooney Mooney Bridge which has been the location of many caravan accidents as a result of the strong cross wind. When we arrived at the bridge, there was little evidence of any wind and we crossed without any issues.

We hit the wind when we turned onto the Hunter Freeway just to the west of Newcastle.  It felt like we were driving into a brick wall.  The wind that NSW was experiencing was the result of a couple of strong cold fronts meeting over the southern part of Australia. This had resulted in wind gusts of over 100kph and a dumping of snow over the Snowy Mountains.  The wind was from the north west, exactly the direction we were travelling today.

Prior to turning onto the Hunter Freeway, our fuel consumption which included travelling through the Sydney peak hour, was just over 13 litres per 100k’s, this would increase to 18 by the time we arrived in Gunnedah.

We intended to stop for fuel and food at Singleton but as we arrived at Singleton, we noticed an ambulance heading at high speed in the opposite direction.  We stopped near McDonalds intending to have an early lunch, but that idea was stopped when we could not open the boot on the caravan to start the gas flow to our refrigerator.  We believed that the boot would not open with our jockey wheel caught in the mechanism that locks the boot.  We moved the caravan to a spot where the caravan was on an angle, but the boot would still not open.  By this time all we could hear was the sound of sirens on the main road.

We decided to move on to Muswellbrook, why, I still don’t know, and it took us a long time to be able to rejoin the highway due to a number of emergency vehicles heading south. After rejoining the highway, “She” asked for a comfort stop so 15 seconds after rejoining the highway, we left it again.  It was during this stop that “He” was able to open the boot and move the jockey wheel to a position where it should not cause later problems.

Later and via the CB radio, we heard that the emergency vehicles were attending a serious head on crash just to the south of Singleton.  We must have missed the accident by only a couple of minutes.  The highway was closed for about 5 hours and we were extremely luckily that we were in front of the accident.  We can only hope that those involved, including young children, recover from their injuries.

We stopped for lunch at Muswellbrook, refuelled the car ($1.37cpl for diesel – cheaper than Sydney, why?) and continued on to Gunnedah in high winds arriving at Gunnedah at 3:00pm.

We booked into the caravan park and an hour later, were fully established on our site.

Deciding to do some grocery shopping, we headed toward the car at 4:30pm.  Deciding to check for the presence of water in the area under of bed, we had a problem with a water leak at the end of our last trip, we noticed fluid dripping from the side of the caravan.  Opening the hatch under the bed, we found a significant amount of water and it appeared to be free flowing.  We disconnect the mains water connection and the flow eventually ceased.  Exploring the area storage area under the bed, we think that the water is coming from a pipe in the bathroom just we are not able to access that area without removing some infrastructure of the caravan.  We then telephoned Sydney RV and made arrangements to return the caravan for the second time to have this issue resolved once and for all.  Later we would determine that the caravan 12v water pump would also cause the leak, so we do not have a caravan water supply for this trip.  Whilst that will be inconvenient, we will manage but any free camping is now out of the question.

We also discovered that somewhere between Sydney and Gunnedah, we managed to lose the cover over the vent of our hot water service.  Whilst the vent does not have an impact on the operation of the hot water system, it does stop insects and dust from entering the vents.  The cover needs to be removed when operating the water heater on gas.  We had a quick look for a local caravan repairer, there were none, and then simply decide to order the replacement part via the internet.  The part should be at home by the time we return there as it is in our driveway that we need the vent covered due to several spiders who reside in the area.

We did buy some food from Coles and ended up having curried egg rolls for tea.

We were in bed by 8:00pm, it had been a long day.

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