For the story on how we got to getting ready, read about us.
Decision made as to what we wanted to do, we began to get ready.
Firstly, the decision as to what we’d like to travel in – Motor home, caravan or 5th wheeler. Motor home, too expensive, caravan too hard to tow, that left 5th wheeler.
We started looking at rigs on line, and decided to go with an Australian made smaller 5th wheeler, and preferred to go without slide outs. Why – less to go wrong. Every rig involves some sort of compromise. Looking at the smaller 5th wheelers, the compromise seems to be easier and cheaper to tow than a caravan, but with less storage space. The tray of our duel cab ute is mainly taken up with the caravan, and as the bed sits over the tray, there’s no under bed storage. So, less storage in the van, and less storage in the back of the ute, but easier to tow.
Slide outs add weight, but add lovely interior space and you’re not side stepping around each other all the time, but without them we figured there’s less to go wrong, less weight and less places for leakage, so another compromise – no slide outs.
We found a beautiful rig in the Lithgow in the Blue Mountains. Sight unseen, we took a leap of faith, gave them a deposit and flew over there to pick it up. It hasn’t been a disappointment so far. It was immaculate and hard to believe it was over five years old. It looked like new. Even the Hilux that came with it, although over 5 years old, had less than 40,000 kg on the clock when we picked it up.
Only a couple of weeks after we picked it up, Lithgow suffered huge damage in a series of bush fires. The street where our rig was parked was burnt out we believe and many homes and buildings were lost. So, two weeks longer and perhaps our rig would have gone up in flames.
It took us around six days to drive it back to Perth. A lot of people do the trip quicker, but we wanted to take a bit of time getting to feel our way around. We would have loved the trip to have been a more like a leisurely month, but a week was all we had.
We had trouble finding somewhere to park the rig – retirement villas seldom have caravan parking room, and ours is no exception. Firstly we tried a place in Bunbury, two hours away. However, it wasn’t big enough. So, some very dear friends of ours let us park it at their semi-rural property in Muchea until we could find somewhere else.
We managed to finally find somewhere out in Guildford, but at the same time a work colleague and friend of Paul’s offered to let us park it at his house in Wanneroo as long as it’s, ‘not for ever’. This friend’s wife seemed to relish us taking advantage of their kind offer as it meant an overlooked part of their 1 acre property got some much needed attention. So win/win for us both.
There’s a debt of kindness there we hope to repay directly ourselves one day soon to both of these kind people. Also hope the saying, ‘what goes around, comes around’, happens for them, and the universe deals both of these couples a few good things in the near future.
24 November and we’re further along the road to departure. Our settlement date for our unit has come forward to 23 December 2013 and our departure date from Perth has been set at 17 February 2014.
We’re now in ‘fire sale’ mode with all of our belongings. Apart from two boxes of things, we’re selling what we can on Gumtree, giving away some things, and throwing out the rest.
We’ve booked into a caravan park as of 15th December as we won’t have enough left in our villa left to live with by then. We only have three weeks to go now, so are selling a lot of things very cheaply. Lots of people are getting some very good bargains.
We had considered storing everything, but storage is expensive. It wasn’t easy to come to the decision to sell off almost everything, but once we realised it was the right thing for us, it felt surprisingly liberating. Apart from one box of photos and one box of small ornaments, everything else is going.
Our lovely daughter is going to store the two boxes for us, and she’s also looking after several items which she can put to good use while we’re gone. I suspect she’s probably kindly offered to take care of a few more items than she can realistically use though as a way of taking care of some items for us. I hope it doesn’t become a burden for her.
Currently, all our beds are sold, as is our lounge suite, TV and DVD. So, for the next three weeks we’re sleeping on camp beds, sitting on camping chairs and watching a small portable TV. Our dressing tables have also sold, pending pick up in a few days, so after that our clothes will be on a shelf in a the linen cupboard – feels a bit like we’re camping.
We have so much that has to be organised before departure. Our caravan is going in for a service and to get solar panels fitted 5 days before we’re going to be living in it. We want to get long range fuel tanks fitted to our ute. We need to get our wills updated, our medical, optical and dental examinations all up to date, we want to do a first aid course and we need to finalise the house, change all addresses and fit in some quality time with all our friends and family before we go. We have a lot to do, and it feels like not much time to do it all. There’s nothing like a tight deadline though to get one moving, so I’m sure we’ll make it.