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Motorhome Travels - February 2008

08/02/2008

February finds us back in Melbourne getting the last of the required work done on the motorhome. Today was spent at Bayswater Diff (very efficient and a job well done), so now have a completely reconditioned rear end to complement the new front end and steering we did before Xmas. We are now back at Adrians bus hospital doing the final touches by replacing the leaking rear hub seals. I think that we have now replaced just about everything there is to replace on the old girl so hopefully no more big bills!

 

After our brief sojourn in SA we headed back into Victoria and up to the Grampians National Park. We were very surprised to see just how well the area had regenerated after the summer fires 2 years ago that devastated the majority of the mountainous park. The re-growth is quite remarkable and unless you knew of the fires it would be difficult to see the damage in some areas.

The Lighthouse, Cape Nelson, Vic - [Click for a Larger Image]
[Photo Information]
The Lighthouse, Cape
Nelson, Vic

We had planned to do some hiking up the mountains, but as chance would have it, the day we arrived it started to pour down. We did manage to hike up to one of the peaks, only to find that we had ascended into cloud and couldn’t see anymore that 20m off the mountaintop, a bit disappointing after having lugged our camera gear up there hoping for some stunning shots. After 4 days of waiting for the weather to clear and the clouds to lift we finally called it quits and headed towards the volcanic area around Camperdown and Colac.

This is a very interesting region and there are a couple of very nice free camps on the lakes as well as some great views (and unofficial overnight stops) from the tops of the volcanoes dotted through the area. We will hopefully say goodbye to the ‘big smoke’ on Wednesday and head east for some more coastal adventure.

 

A few people have asked to see more of our photos. To avoid overloading our hosting service we have created a Hobohome MY SPACE. This contains a selection of 50 images in a slide show. There is also a link to this site from our home page 

 

26/02/2008

I guess I spoke too soon about the finishing touches on the motorhome… after taking apart the rear hubs we discovered that the bearings were damaged, left hand one was ready to collapse at any time.

This was thanks again to the ‘wonderful’ workmanship of Alice Brake and Clutch who had obviously damaged the bearings in their attempt to fit them into place; there was obvious damage around the rims of the bearings where they had been hammered in with the wrong tool and had significantly weakened the structure of the bearing.

 

Since having the power steering fitted, the motorhome was ‘wandering’ on the road and on occasion veered off sharply to one side or the other – not such a great thing when there is oncoming traffic! After speaking with Adrian we came to the conclusion that the hydraulic ram was misbehaving and so replaced it with another…. a test drive… all seems well…… that is until the hydraulic pump decided to deposit its contents of hydraulic fluid into the engine block! Replacement of pump, drainage and replacement of engine oil and filters, and we were back on the road again.

The Pinnacles, Philip Island, Vic - [Click for a Larger Image]
The Pinnacles, Philip
Island, Vic

After farewelling Melbourne we explored Phillip Island and then made our way east along the coast. We spent a couple of days in Wilsons Promontory National Park, and did several walks in the hills, there is a lot to explore here if you have the time (and the energy for some long hikes), it is a very scenic area.

 

 It was at this point we found that our replacement hydraulic ram for the power steering was leaking, by this time we were ready to remove the power steering and cast it into the sea! Another phone-call and a replacement was on its way to us with a guarantee that this one had been fully reconditioned and was in 100% working order. While we waited for speedy Australia Post to deliver the ram we headed to a camp spot at Paradise Beach and caught up with some friends we had met on the west coast, Ken and Kath. After giving them a hard time about not having the generator going in the middle of the campsite (see update 20/03/2007), we settled down to reminisce about all of our travels.

 

Crunch! 

We stopped off in Bairnsdale to do a little shopping. Gavin stopped the motorhome outside a shop while I ran in. It took a little longer that either of us expected and Gavin decided to move the motorhome a little further off the road. It seems that the power steering and the motorhomes new ability to turn quickly do have a down side. The rear bumper of the sharply turning motorhome  caught the bumper of an unsuspecting parked car. Our bumper is made from thick steel - the cars was made from thin plastic - guess which feared worse!  Add to that the momentum of a 12 ton motorhome (all be it doing just 3km/h) and you have quite a lot of damage to the other vehicle. Our first insurance claim!  (damage to motorhome .... none)

Leaving the coast we made our way up into the high country and found some wonderful camping through the mountains. It is hard to beat being parked next to a crystal clear running river, surrounded by mountains and not seeing another vehicle for days – a bit of a surprise to us as we thought there would be a lot more travellers on the road at this time of the year. I guess the steep winding roads through that region put a lot of people off, I must admit there were a few times that I was clinging to the edge of my seat as the rear end of the motorhome was hanging out over the bottomless chasms going around some of the hairpin bends. We are now back on the ‘Mighty Murray’ and enjoying the plethora of free camping all along this wonderful river while we make our way towards Mildura. We have decided to go to the CMCA Anniversary Rally in Broken Hill at the end of March as we will be in the area, and we will hopefully pick up a bit of work by offering a variety of our services to other travellers.

 

 

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