Are road trains music to a sleepy nomad’s ears?

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Digging for vans
Great break-ins ... caravan thieves will go to just about any length these days

Halllooooo Maillllbagggggerrrs!

Welcome to another cracking edition of the most irregular and unpredictable Weekly Mailbag in the history of publishing. Yup, when it comes to both arrival date and content, most Mailbaggers have already learned to expect the unexpected.

Talking of unexpected. You certainly don’t expect to have your motorhome broken into while it’s parked in a ‘Secure Storage Facility’ … but that’s exactly what happened to Mike C a few weeks ago.

Writing in response to our story about a daring caravan theft from a showroom in Gympie, Mike says his ‘pride and joy’ (a Paradise Independence Iveco based motorhome) was broken into after a group of thieves dug under a 10ft high electric fence.

“Ten motorhomes and caravans were ransacked with TVs and various other contents stolen,” he writes. “With ours they did massive damage just in breaking in (final damage and loss bill almost $20,000) and now we are stranded at home for a couple of months awaiting final repair.”

The stuff of nightmares, Mike.

Apparently, the facility in question had cameras, lights and security patrols, and Mike’s motorhome was fully alarmed but it still didn’t deter the thieves who did what they came to do and avoided detection.

Happily, Mike’s vehicle is fully insured and his claim is progressing smoothly … although he has yet to see what it does to his no claim bonus.

“It is so frustrating that for a gain of maybe $400-$600 (which is all they would have got for my gear on the black market) these thieves have totally thrown my plans into disarray for several months, cost me $1,000 in insurance excess and created so much damage to my home,” writes Mike. “I really don’t know how they can live with themselves. Why do that to someone? I certainly couldn’t.”

Don’t get us started, Mike! The mind boggles, it really does. Fingers crossed everything gets sorted out sooner rather than later and you’re back on the road in no time.

Our story about the dramatic caravan rollover near Timber Creek in the NT was another topic that caused a bit of a stir in grey nomad land.

Brian was delighted that the vehicle’s occupants were able to get out relatively unscathed, but it put him in mind of the importance of travelling at an appropriate speed and not putting ourselves on a deadline.

“I am amazed at how many drivers towing caravans that I see that pass me at over 100km/h,” he writes. “Along with that, I hear some who set themselves up for that sort of outcome when they drive to be at a particular date or time … while that’s okay, you do need to leave room for the unexpected so that you don’t have to push the boundaries of safe driving.”

As Brian says, the grey nomad lifestyle should be all about escaping these sorts of pressures, not heaping more on yourself.

“In the end, if you don’t get there when you said then so what?” he says. “There is always tomorrow.”

Sure is Brian. There sure is.

Ray is distraught at the news that the administration centres for some NSW national parks are to be amalgamated …. actually he is not at all.

“Well ‘boo, bloody hoo’…the poor buggers are overworked and underpaid, I think not!” he declares distinctly unsympathetically. “When you want one you can’t find them, and any other time, they are around to harass you when not required.”

Hmmmmm! I think I’ll let that one go through to the keeper, Ray.
The costs of traversing this spectacular country of ours long-term continues to be a concern for many correspondents.

Martin has recently retired and has been considering going on the road.

“I drove interstate for over 30 years but saw little of Australia,” he writes. “I was thinking of joining the grey nomads but, on looking at what it costs, I think it’s over the top … $30-$40 plus per day is crazy.”

But what can we do, Martin?

“Keep fighting for your free parking,” he says.

Okey, dokey, Marto.

Another former truckie, Steve W, has more tips along those lines. He says when stopping overnight in rest areas on highways used by trucks, it is a worthwhile park in a spot that is out of the way of the trucks coming and going. He says a cursory glance around such rest areas will show the usual path followed by trucks entering, parking and leaving.

Counting sheep

Why count sheep when you can listen to road trains instead?

“The coming, going and presence of trucks makes for a more secure environment than an out of the way spot where there are not other campers for mutual security,” he writes. “Truck drivers are a good bunch of hard-working people not far removed from RV’ers in their love of the outdoors – just don’t park in their way.”

Good advice …. but what about the racket those monster vehicles make, Steve?

“As for the noise, it should be seen as your guardian angel (or security guard) coming by to check on your safety,” he writes. “Once you get used to it, the sound of the truck is comforting. I ought to know because I have spent many hours in the bunk of a truck!”

Aaaaarrrgggghhh! Yes, who needs lullabies or to count sheep to help you nod off when you’ve got the comforting sensations of a giant road train rocking your world.

Zzzzzzzzzz! Zzzzzzzzz!

Okay. Here’s a cracking point made by Eric and one which I am sure many of us can empathise with …. the disappearing ink on those blooming cheap till receipts!

Poor old Eric bought some caravan parts from a retail outlet in Victoria which failed to perform properly for the minimum year they were supposed to.

“I returned them to the retailer who admitted the faults, then asked for the receipts and when I produced these they stated that they could not do anything about the problems because the print had faded on the receipt,” writes Eric. “These receipts are of a laser printed type, very common in the retail world.”

Eric says – quite understandably – that he left the premises much disgusted at the treatment he received.

“My word to all is, when making serious purchases and receiving till-produced laser-printed receipts is always ask for a photocopy from the retailer to protect your rights as the end user.”

Thanks, Eric. Will do.

Righty ho, mighty Mailbaggers. It’s time for you to save the day yet again. Graeme B needs our help and a fellow grey nomad in need can rely on the Mighty Mailbaggers to do the deed. Hooray.

“My friend is about to purchase a new Winnebago and we are after some suggestions for a name,” he writes. “I thought the grey nomads would have seen plenty of clever names … any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.”

Over to you, MM’s.

And finally, to Jimbo who last week jokingly reported that a 70-year-old with a walking frame might struggle to catch up with the ladies.

“Disturbing to read Jimbo can’t pull chicks with his walking frame,” said a sympathetic Jim R. “Maybe if he hots it up, fits mag wheels and low profile tyres, installs a multi-megawatt stereo, and paints it red he’ll do better.”

Hmmm! Worth a try, Jimbo. Let us know if it works (unless, of course, you are otherwise occupied!).

Okay, Mighty ones. It’s time to wrap this thing up. Catch you all next week …. and keep those emails coming. Adios, amigos.

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