And we are still in the paddock in Gundaroo, while we continue working to stabilise our financial situation. We are still the caretakers for the property, as work on the house is only now starting. I do things like putting gravel on the roads & tracks, installing bricks as pavers in the gateways, cutting grass using the ride-on mower & setting fire to the pile of garden waste.
A lot has happened since this site was last updated. We’ve enjoyed the occasional holiday in the bus. And in April of this year, we decided to make both the bus & the house pay for themselves, by moving permanently into the bus & renting out the house. We picked up some great tenants, who needed somewhere to live with their dogs, but didn’t have any references, which are vital in the Canberra rental market. And we found a place to park, in the back paddock of a property in Gundaroo. Just a week after we moved in, a fire destroyed most of the house on the property & we have now become the resident caretakers, while the property is otherwise unoccupied, & later, while the house is being rebuilt.
The previously mentioned “cruise around closer to home” turned out to be a very relaxing week on the road, staying at Ariah Park (near Temora), Ungarie (near West Wyalong) & Eugowra (near Forbes), staying at the sports ground or show ground in each town. We’ve worked out that these places are ideal for us, as they are inexpensive, they supply power & they have room for the dogs to run around. Angel gained a huge amount of confidence during the week & almost learned how to jump up into the bus.
I continued to learn more about the bus & developed a wet weather process for putting the portable clothesline up in the cabin area, so that we could dry the load of washing that we did. I also learned that it’s not a good idea to flatten the starter batteries, which we managed to do on the last night “out”. Getting going involved moving all four of the 6V batteries to the other side of the bus, connecting them in series, starting it, then moving them all back again. Not exactly our best getaway!
Since then, I have been experimenting with how much drain I can put on the house batteries, both during the day (while the sun is shining & the solar panels are charging) and overnight. We are now preparing for our next trip, which takes advantage of consecutive long weekends here in Canberra to go down to Melbourne & visit the grandchildren. When we leave there, we expect to be free camping in totally self-sufficient mode for a few days to see how we fare.
The trip to Brisbane & Lightning Ridge didn’t eventuate, because it would cost too much in fuel, but we are looking forward to a week off to do some cruising around closer to home. The generator has been serviced, which makes us fully self-contained, but we will probably stay in campgrounds with power anyway. I have also added a webcam, powered by a laptop whose screen effectively died. Now that it has VNC installed for remote control, I don’t need to see its screen. See the image to the right for what it looks like out through the windscreen.
The house batteries are in, charged & ready to go. The Telstra NextG Broadband Wireless account has been changed over to use a new BigPond Elite Home Network Gateway, which translates the mobile broadband signal into a local wifi area, so that we can all get online with our laptops. Just waiting for the delivery of an external antenna, which hopefully will expand our range when we hit the boonies.
Meanwhile, more trips. Next one is to Grenfell over the June long weekend, followed by 11-12 days on the road during the July school holidays to Brisbane & Lightning Ridge. Should be a good test of all of our systems.
We are now finally clear of the debt that we incurred when we bought the bus. It has taken the sale of all 7 of our investment properties to get to this point. We are still deep in debt, but at least that one is out of the way.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, [...]
Two trips to Melbourne later & with the LPG conversion in & working, we are slowly moving ahead. We learn something new every time we take the bus out on the road, from little things like remembering to turn the Bluetooth on the mobile phone, on before driving & off when finishing, right through [...]
We had the weekend at Majors Creek recently for the Music at the Creek Festival. It was so relaxing to be surrounded by music for 2 whole days. And while there were people getting drunk, I did not hear a single angry word in the whole time that we were there. Lesson learned on [...]
Our progress towards setting up this service has been slow & painful. We ran into financial problems & have effectively traded 5 of our properties for the motorhome. And we have also decided that our escape date is probably at least 2 years away. How does 11/11/11 sound?
Meanwhile, there are things to be [...]
I have been spectacularly impressed by a product known as ReImage. According to their “how does it work” information, they analyse a Windows XP installation, figure out the pieces that are missing & plug them in from downloaded files, to produce a working version again. Even machines that have XP so damaged that they [...]