Painted Handles

On our way back from the South Island last year, we stopped over in Taupo  for a few days to catch up with friends Gary and Dianne. Staying with them as well were other friends Ian and Lynda in their Dethleffs XLI.

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Rafe in Taupo next to Ian and Linda’s XLI

One of the common issues that we had with Ian and Lynda and our Dethleffs Motorhomes was the state of the plastic outside door handles for the Garage, the Gas Locker and vents for the heater and oven.

Rafe on the ferry showing all the faded hatch handles.

They were originally white but had faded with the UV light and gone a dirty yellow/creamy colour which didn’t look too flash. I’m sure this applies to many other Motorhomes and Caravans with NZ’s harsh UV light too so this might be something many of you can do to your own Motorhomes to solve this problem…. read on!!

Ian found a way to take off and strip down the door catches and with special plastic paint with primer, painted them white which looked amazing. Ian even made a spray booth out of a cardboard box so the overspray didn’t end up all over Gary’s Garage 🙂

Rafe’s handles were looking really scruffy so after talking to both Ian and Gary, I took the handles and the vent covers off. After stripping down the handles and masking the key locks, I cleaned all the bits with Sugar Soap and the sprayed them with Plastic Primer.

Click on the Gallery below to see the process in a Slideshow

The Primer only takes 30 minutes before you can top coat it so it was time to make a cardboard box spraybooth 🙂

The Oven vent and the Truma heater vent covers on

Rafe’s habitation door handles and front Fiat door handles are all black so Satin Black was the colour.

Two hours and several coats later, I reassembled the locks and stuck everything back on Rafe and it looks fantastic.

Looking the part

All thanks to Ian for his great idea and some tips from Gary too!

A Reunion of sorts

Friends Gary and Dianne have just spent 3 months Motorhoming around France and a Mediterranean Cruise so it was good to be able to catch up with them and hear all their news. We last saw them  well over 6 months or so. We arranged to meet “half way” between Taupo and Auckland and that was Waihi Beach 🙂

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Rafe at Waihi beach NZMCA after we arrived.

Several weekends ago, the grandsons Ayden and Liam came to stay the night with us. Liam left his comfy Bunbun (soft toy rabbit) behind so we needed to stop in at their place in Ardmore on the way and drop them off. We haven’t seen son and daughter in law Alex and Sarah much lately so it was nice to see them for the night.

We set off for Waihi Beach NZMCA park early the next morning and stopped at Ngatea for a Latte, as you do and while sitting in the sun, I received a call from Tracey to say she would highly likely have an offer for our house by the following morning… WOW .. after the best part of a year in trying to sell it.

So with that start to the day, we were off fizzing through the Karangahake Gorge and into Waihi Beach.

Must be Dethleffs corner!

I expected the NZMCA park to pretty full but there was only a hand full of caravans and Motorhomes scattered around the outside when we arrived. The weather was stunning so we sat outside and had cups of tea until Gary and Dianne arrived in the Neismann & Bischoff.

Cups of Coffee with the sun beating down

More phone calls arrived and with confirmation that an offer was coming and what it was, we knew we had something to celebrate 🙂 .. and celebrate we did. Fiona even had two bottles of cider !!
It was really nice to hear some of the highlights of Gary and Diannes trip and some of the places they stayed at in France and good to catch up too.

Dusk at the Waihi Beach NZMCA park

In the morning, we spent most of the morning with phone calls and sending and receiving documents and by late afternoon, it was in the bag! A great day..SOLD .. cash unconditional too!

Gary, Fiona and Dianne about to head back to our bikes from the shops.

The next day.. more fine weather and we set off on the bikes into Waihi Beach shops to get some groceries from the 4 square which is about 1 k away. An easy flat ride.

Another nice day in the sun. Later that day Robin and Linda who recently sold their house in Waihi and bought a Morelo that they’re now living in, popped in to say hi and later joined us for a drink. Really nice to see them too.

L to R, Gary, Fiona, Dianne, Linda and Robin with the N&B, Morelo and Rafe behind.

After they went, Gary and I walked down the road to the local Fish and Chip shop to hunt and forage for tea and the girls were very happy with the result.. complete with Oysters and Scallops 🙂

The NZMCA park is a great addition to the park network and is very hand to the beach, shops and there is a Cafe right next door too, and don’t forget the Fish and Chips!

A neat weekend and great to see everyone.

The Netspeed Speedtest
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Rafe’s Tracker map

Dethleffs Owners Group Get together 2018

Every year this is an event I look forward to and we missed it last year as we were in the South Island.  This year it was held at Zion Motorhomes new premises at Pokeno rather than the usual Rally somewhere.

The rain on the way.

As the Rally this year was at The A&P Showgrounds at Pukekohe next to the Racetrack, Fiona and I decided we’d go straight to Pokeno and camp outside for the night. This worked really well as we found a driveway next to the Rental fleet yard and later we were joined by three or four others. Those at the showgrounds were bussed out to Pokeno and back.

Since we bought Rafe, Jonas and Irene have added several new brands of Motorhomes to their stable.  This year we were  also joined by Morelo, Frankia and Niessman and Bichoff owners too.

Other overnighters outside who later moved down near where we were in Rafe in the distance. It was windy and rainy too!

In previous years, they’ve been held at Camping grounds and one year was at the Car Museum in Hamilton where Gary and I did the parking!

The layout

The event was well organised  by the Zion crew with a couple of ladies singing and the food was fantastic.

Irene during the quiz and prizes

Over the course of the night, there were some spot prizes given out. Some were drawn out of the pot and others were for answers to some easy questions.. like who’s the youngest and who had the highest NZMCA number !

Click on the Gallery below to see a Slideshow

It was nice to see some of our old friends that we haven’t seen for a while and amazing to think that our Rafe is one of the oldest Dethleffs Motorhomes on NZ roads as Jonas only started bringing them in not long before we bought ours 🙂

A great night thanks to Jonas and team and I’m looking forward to next years.

Weights and Tyres

At the recent NZMCA Motorhome show at Mystery Creek, I caught up with Phil from Carters Tyres.   After 59000 k’s, Rafes tyres were down to 2mm and I needed to replace them before my next COF so I was keen to find out the ins and outs of tyres.

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Phil from Carters

One of the things I wasn’t aware of that Phil highlighted was that many Motorhomers and Caravanners weren’t really aware of the weight limits on the tyres themselves. While we are all very aware of GVM’s and Axle weights, as that is what you get fined for if you get them wrong, many of us overlook the per wheel weights on our tyres.

Checking the rear wheels

As Carters were weighing vehicles the next morning, I moved to where the scales were and Rafe was weighed.

The scales

Both the back wheels were 1100kg’s or within a few kg’s either side (without the bikes) and the front wheels were 970kg and 1020kgs.  The Michelin Agilis tyres that I had on have a weight limit of 1250kgs per tyre so no worries there.

While I was pleased with the Michelins and how they had worn, they were expensive to replace with prices from nearly $1800 – $2000 for four, depending on who you got at the counter 🙂

The Michelin Agelis after 59000k’s

Phil was telling me that the Giti company produced a truck tyre with specs similar to the Michelin for almost half the price.. the GT Radial. It has a per tyre limit of 1460kgs, has more belts in the tread to help it track really well and 10 ply on the sides which is plenty. Yippee!!

The new Gt radials

So I booked into Carters in Highbrook in Auckland and Patrick was the man weilding the tools to change my tyres.

Patrick putting one of the new tyres on

I couldn’t get over the technology now used to change tyres. I remember when I was 17 years old odd, I worked in a service station in between photographic jobs and for a while was in the tyre bay.  I remember a steel pole concreted in the ground with a circular seat half way up that held the tyre while you wrestled with a long steel pole to lever off the tyre. Lots of fun ! These days, its all pneumatics.

A Tyre Changer of days gone by 🙂

Back to Rafes new tyres.. Each wheel was balanced and filled up with Nitrogen and refitted to Rafe.

Click on the gallery below for a Slideshow

Patrick did a great job on the tyres and driving home felt very different. You could really feel the extra rubber and it seemed to track better at speed on the motorway too. They also seem quieter on the road as well.

Rafe in the Tyre Bay

They’re definitely the place to get your tyres and NZMCA members get a really good discount too!

Glenview Club Parking

I’ve been wanting to park here for a while but haven’t really had a reason to come out this way until today  🙂

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Room for big and small

One of the things I’m really allergic to is parking in Pub/Club carparks overnight and the Glenview club is not one of these. I has a completely separate Motorhome and Caravan parking area away from the main carpark for bar patrons.

There are 38 parks without power and another 12 parks with power all on well drained grass.

There is an honesty box but they’re there almost every day after 2pm. Its $15 a night without power and $20 a night with power. There is a shower and Toilets and there are meals later in the week during the evenings. There is also fresh water, a dump station with rubbish and recycling.

A grand entrance way

On a week day before a big show it was really busy. Its amazingly quiet and in a great spot right on the Waikato river opposite the Hamilton Gardens.

Click on the Gallery below for a slide show

I met several people in Caravans who had sold homes locally and were staying there due to work or to be close to family so there are quite a few who almost reside there longterm.

A really nice location, friendly hosts and a really quiet spot to stay.

The Netspeed Speedtest from this location
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Ping  82ms

Rafes Track to Glenview Club

Another Milestone.. 600000 hits !!

That was a few weeks ago.. its now nearly 614000.. ! ..
Over 440 posts and 168,246 unique visitors from all around the world.

Rafe behaving himself

Thanks to you kind folk who have supported us.

Fantastic walks too in Coromandel

I’m in sunny Coromandel at the moment checking out some places I’ve wanted to check out for a while so there are some nice posts coming up.

Thanks again for your support..now for 700000 🙂

 

A new Showroom

From small beginnings behind a church in Howick to the brand new custom built building they’re in now in Pokeno. Jonas and Irene have come a long way with Zion Motorhomes.

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A happy looking Jonas in his last yard

I popped in to have a nosey on my way home from Waihi and it looks amazing.

The front of the showroom

The building is 1000 square metres and is in the middle of a 5000 square metre yard. Plenty of room to play with but on my visit, they’d managed to fill in all the gaps and still had some more motorhomes still to move!

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

The showroom is fantastic with a polished concrete floor and its nice to be able to check the various models out without getting in and out of the cold and wet.

in the Showroom

While I was there, I had a good look at the Niessman and Bichoff Arto 79 which is a slightly smaller version of friends Gary and Diannes Arto 88.  Check out the piccies below.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

Looking good Jonas.. keep up the good work.

The Tagged Bus

Wayne and Serena have been living in their 1976 Volvo bus for more than 6 years now and a couple of years ago, they decided that as their Red Bus was looking a bit scruffy, it needed a lick of paint! Their daughter Lisa, who works with teenagers, arranged for a group of spray bomb artists to repaint their story onto the bus.

Click on any Image to see Hi Res

They parked their bus on one side of a Mt Maunganui carpark and watched it all happen !

Their bedroom

The result is spectacular with bits of life in colour all around the bus.

Lisa is represented by Lisa Simpson with a background of Hahei beach, one of their favourite places in the background. The Pink Panther represents the loss of a close family member.

Wayne with Lisa behind!

On the back is Wayne respresented by the fishing bear as he is known as Poppa Bear !

Poppa bear with Fishing gear.

The front has two Kiwis on each side which is Wayne and Serena. A fantastic effort.

Wayne tells me it was a scream watching onlookers reaction when the bus was painted 🙂

Click on the Gallery below to see a Slideshow

Inside, its very comfortable and they have been collecting toys for sick children which are stored all around their bedroom!

A great couple enjoying life on the road!!

Getting Away

Its not far to go and its easy and its familiar.

Mangawhai Heads on the estuary is just lovely.

Lovely spot

Easy walks around to the beach and you can walk the other way for miles too.

Splash

We had escaped for the weekend to give our agent Lance a good crack at the first weekend of open homes without us or Rafe in the way and we weren’t quite ready to go home so it was Mangawhai.

Enjoying the water

I was here only a month or two before so knew that with the NZMCA mid winter rates and it being right next to the water, it was pretty good without travelling too far.

We’d been to the markets, had a coffee and a look at Bennetts chocolate factory and ready just to plug in and go for a walk along the foreshore.

Its a lovely area and as I think I said in my last post from here, it would be a good place to retire to being close to the families in the big smoke.. only 90 minutes or so away.

A Park with a view.

Kevin and Melissa Wallace escaped from Auckland about 15 years ago and bought their piece of paradise in Port Albert not long after.

Looking over towards Port Albert

The house along with a huge orchard sit on the top of a ridge overlooking the back of Port Albert and there’s a peek of the Kaipara too.

Great parking

Fiona and I arrived in Rafe and keen to check it all out, were there when Kevin popped in and was very happy to show us around and we were invited to check out the orchard on the other side of the house.

Fruit for Africa

After plugging Rafe in and opening some vents, I went for a wander to see what was what.

Part of the Orchard

There is a fantastic shower with a loo, a dump station and UV treated water. It was all there.

We had a great night there and all for $20 for us both.

In the morning, Kevin popped in with some Avocados and a Lemon which was great. Fantastic hosts sharing their lovely place by the Kaipara.

If you’re heading to Port Albert and go about 4k’s past the turnoff, you’ll find it on your left or on the App.

The Netspeed Speedtest
Download: 19.13 Mbps
Upload: 13.52 Mbps
Ping: 62 ms

Rafe’s Tracker map

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