Classic American Beauty

What an amazing vehicle. Brian bought this 1981 Revcon of EBay sight unseen and had it shipped to NZ in 2012. It was in his words, “a bit of a mess” so he set to and spent the next two years renovating it.

Enid and Brian with their Recon

Most of the furniture is the same but recovered except the bedroom which went from single beds to a centre island Queen bed.
Of course, you can’t have a vehicle like this without having a cocktail cabinet.

Click on the images for Hi Res or a slideshow

The “Handle Bars” had to be shifted too to right hand drive which was a bit of a mission given its a 454 Chev V8 with a chain driven transfer box all driving the front wheels so there is a lot going on under the floor at the sharp end! Once it was all done, Brian and his wife Enid “the Nagivator ” 🙂 shipped it off to Oz where they spent a year or so clocking up over 25000 miles and loving every minute of it.

At 10 miles to the gallon, she’s a thirsty girl but what a great look and a comfy 30 feet of Motorhome history.

Bling and more bling

Brian is keen to do up a smaller GM and is currently looking for one to buy to get started with.

The 2017 Covi Motorhome Show

It’s  always an exciting time when  either of the Motorhome and Caravan shows start to see what new knick knacks are available and what’s new. We were staying at the Ellerslie Racecourse NZMCA Rally with 500 or so others and they had put on a shuttle service to make it easy to get to there.

The Rally looks impressive from the entrance.. click on this to enlarge it.

I must have been on one of the first buses to the Showgrounds as the bus driver wasn’t too sure where to drop us off and we circumnavigated the Show grounds a few times before we got there, even a brief tour of Alexander Park too.   🙂

A 4 WD Hymer on the Rocks!

This year was the first year for the new Hymers and also the Cathargo. The Hymer has arrived in force with three or four different models including a 4 wheel drive model which was setup on top of a pile of rocks just to make the point. The Hymer in the piccies is the Starline 690 which is 7.9 metre is length, has a GVM of 5.3 t and has a 3l Mercedes rear wheel drive.

The Cathargo was well publicised at last years Covi show but this year is the first time they’ve got several models here. A very smart looking wagon.

The other interesting story is with the Dethleff Nomad Caravans represented by Central RV. Brett at Central RV sent off his design for a Caravan specially for the local market and this was the first one in. The amount of room in it is amazing and it’s the first caravan I’ve seen with doors on both sides of the bedroom giving complete privacy. The Dethleffs Nomad 650 RQT as it is known is 8.7 meters long, it has a 700kg payload and has a total weight of 2.5 tons so she’s a biggy!  It also has an Alko chassis helping to make it tow nicely.

Jonas and Chris and the team at Frankia have received the first of the 8.4 metre Platin series.  These really are the ultimate in Motorhomes.  The electrical cupboard is a joy in itself having its own external locker with everything very tidily laid out and easy to get at. The inside is amazing as well.. The Platin at the show is 8.5 metres long and has a GVM of 5 tons with a 650kg payload.
Well appointed and is typical of the Frankia range known for its high standards.

Patricia and John with their Lilliput and Plymouth
The interior of John and Patricia’s Lilliput

It’s always nice to see the Lilliput Crew with their lovely old Caravans and usually matched by their amazing, beautifully restored cars.

Patricia and John were here with their  caravan and their 1955 Plymouth Belvedere. It was their 55th Wedding Anniversary.  They were also well colour co-ordinated for St Patrick’s Day 🙂

Peter with others on the NZMCA Stand
The NZMCA stand early in the day

The NZMCA stand was huge. I got there fairly early so it was largely pretty empty given its size but it was nice to see the crew there and great to see most if not all of the Motorhome Friendly Towns all with their own stands promoting their areas.

A lot of the NZMCA regions had their own stands as well and nice to see them too.

I managed to get in and out without parting with too much hard earned loot which Fiona will be pleased about, settling for just a new ground mat for under our awning.

Another great show with lots to see.

The Massive Rally at the Races

This is just bigger than Ben Hur.. There must be more than 450 Motorhomes and Caravans here and they’re still piling in.

Looks impressive from the entrance.. click on this to enlarge it.

Due to the weather being rather nasty last weekend, the Barfoot and Thompson Races were postponed to coincide with this rally and the races were on while the Motorhomers were crossing the track into the centre. … Between the races of course.

Click on the images for Hi Res or a Slideshow

One of the last races

All in good humour and as the day went on, little groups popped up all around the rally with gatherings for a few quiet cold ones while the horses galloped around the track. A great atmosphere.

Race with the stand in the background

It never ceases to amaze me how the good folk of the NZMCA who put themselves out there and go the extra mile for the benefit of everyone else. The Covi/Spoton team organised this rally from scratch and had a roster to make sure that everybody that needed some help or guidance got what they needed and were happily and safely parked.

It was disappointing to hear that a few NZMCA members who failed to check whether their dogs were allowed, made a scene and got unnecessarily nasty for our cheerful volunteers.
Come on guys.. Common sense… Racecourse, horses and dogs don’t go together.. especially when there is a race meeting on.  For those responsible for this display of bad manners, it’s nice to think that we could be be respectful and helpful for those volunteering and doing their best for the  rest of us.

The NZMCA marshalls Happy Hour

On the positive side, one of the volunteer Rally Marshalls, Jim was telling me that a couple of members who arrived with dogs just to see where they could go, were very thankful when they were redirected to another parking spot just around the corner where dogs were permitted… Nice !

The team also organised a great free bus service to the show which was fantastic.

The Rally from up in the stand

A great rally, some nice people and thanks to Auckland Racing Club, Ellerslie racecourse and of course the Counties NZMCA team for having us there.

And from Rafe’s Tracker.. for those offshore

Ellerslie Racescourse for those off shore

Covi show story next up.

Beautiful Awhitu

After a good solid weekend of babysitting, we thought we’d escape for our last night before Fiona had to return to work.

The Brook Homestead Wharf
The Peninsula Campground at Awhitu

I wasn’t really in the mood for huge driving for one night so we figured that up the Awhitu peninsula might be quite nice. I called Auckland City and it seems that even in the height of the Summer silly season, you can still use your camping pass at Awhitu and other parks like it. 

Don’t forget to click on the Images for Hi res or a Slideshow

Peninsula Campground. Plenty of room.
Peninsula Campground. Plenty of room.

After booking in on the phone, we were off heading for Awhitu. We arrived around 1pm and settled Rafe down in the Peninsula Campground.

When you book with the Council, the choices are Self contained or not.  When you get to Awhitu, it is Brook Campground or the Peninsula campground. I was a bit confused as to where we were supposed to park as there is no mention of SCC and no signposts 🙂
It wasn’t until we had the downloaded map off the council website that we saw two Motorhome emblems on both the Peninsula and the Brook campgrounds with tags saying SCC camping that we were happy with where we had parked. 

The  Brook Campground which is behind the Brook Homestead and the Peninsula camp is beside the Homestead and closer to the water. Both have nice toilets and great rubbish collection points and both are an easy walk to the beach. 

The Cottage
The Cottage

After settling down and having a look around both Brook Homestead and the Cottage, which they used before the Homestead was built, we sat down for lunch and just blobbed in the sun.  A perfect spot for watching the planes coming in to Auckland Airport and they were far enough away not to be a nuisance with sound. A lovely spot.

In the morning, we went for a walk down to the beach and had a look around. The Ranger popped in and checked the park so it was then I knew for sure we were ok where we parked although we were on our own. There was no one else there which surprised me.

The Beach with the tide out. Pip gathers out on the mudflats
The Beach with the tide out. Pipi gathers out on the mudflats

The park is huge and there are lots of great walks which we’ll check out next time we’re here but it’s a great spot and not too far away from the big smoke.

AwhituWe only had a night to check this place out before having to head back but we have visited here before but not stayed. See the earlier post.  It is a magic spot with a nice beach and plenty of places to explore. We’ll be back for sure.

AwhituThere is good 4g internet here which surprised me, being where it is although it’s not fast but good enough for Netflix.

The Netspeed Speedtest
Download: 5.84 Mbps
Upload: 1.55 Mbps
Ping: 54 ms

Rafes Tracker map to get here


Babysitting and new age Car Seats.

This weekend was for babysitting our Grandkids as Mum, Sarah flew to Oz to watch their family horse run in a big race over there. Dad Alex was at work in Wellington so it was down to us to look after Ayden (8) and Liam (4). 

The new spot
The new spot
Have to watch the Grey water outlet doesn't get tangled with a step.
Have to watch the Grey water outlet doesn’t get tangled with a step.

Rafes parking spot at their house used to be over by the Goat Pen in the corner but Rafe tended to get in the way of them getting cars in and out of the garage so we were moved to next to the Garage which actually works really well. It’s also really sheltered from the Southerly and South Westerly winds which is great and closer to the power point too.

One of the two goats
One of the two goats

On the Saturday morning, we all got ready to go to Kawakawa Bay for a swim and a fish and chip lunch. We got everyone organised and got the boys into their car seats. As Liam got in, he gave his tightening strap that goes under his seat a good yank so it was too small and he couldn’t get in. We couldn’t figure out how to undo the ratchet and release it. I even started to take it out of the car but decided it was all too hard and left it so that was the end of that idea.

He must be a beginner :-)
He must be a beginner 🙂

Unpacking began and then we decided we’d walk them around to next door Ardmore Airdrome and have lunch at the cafe opposite and along from the NZMCA park. That all went well and we spent a happy few hours trying to keep them away from the sweet counter 🙂 and watching the planes come and go. 

We headed back to their home and Fiona organised to fill a tub fill of water like a small swimming pool as we couldn’t get to the beach. Another few hours of easy entertainment for them splashing about on the lawn.

The boys having fun in the water
The boys having fun in the water
Fiona watching the boys
Fiona watching the boys

The next day, Sarah’s  cousin Brooke came to pick up Ayden for the day and showed us how easy it was to fix the seat. “You just lift this and push this button here, like that”. Easy when you know how :-). We then tried taking Liam to the Clevedon Markets but as he got into the seat, he started complaining about the seat  and we couldn’t work that out either so we gave up at that point and spent the day at home. All good but I’m not sure why these seats are so complicated. When Alex their Dad, had a car seat, 30 odd years ago, it was all very simple. 

One of the Neighbours
One of the Neighbours

Anyway, Mums due home soon so we’re looking at taking off somewhere for a couple of nights 🙂 

The Birds

I didn’t ever think I’d ever become a birdwatcher but when you sit down and watch them, its crazy how clever they are and what they get up to.

Click on the images for Hi Res or a Slideshow

A quiet day at Rays Rest
A quiet day at Rays Rest

I’d popped in to one of my favorite spots on the Firth of Thames, Rays Rest. I’ve done a couple of posts on Rays Rest over the last year or so and although I haven’t been here for a while, it is one of my all time favorite places to stay.
Its not popular with Fiona but I suspect that’s because there are no shops there or “anything to do” but that’s its charm. 🙂  Your choices are to Blob and to Blob.. just great.

Rays RestIt wasn’t particularly busy being a Wednesday afternoon but stinking hot.
The birds were amazing as just before the tide turned, they’re were all quite happily sitting on the sand banks and then it was like someone had blown the whistle. They were off to spread themselves out along the edge of the water for a feed and then follow the water as the tide went out. Its amazing just watching them following the water.

The weather was due to change and pour with rain. No problem here as it is all well draining sand. There is always a friendly face here too and its amazing who you meet.

The local horses came down for a swim too
The local horses came down for a swim too

I also did a Netspeed speed test here and was amazed it was so good given that it is a rural area and quite remote. See below.

Download: 41.19 Mbps
Upload: 24.30 Mbps
Ping: 54 ms

Rafes Tracker map is below for its location.

Rafes Tracking map
Rafes Tracking map for the trip back to Akld

Donna and Dale’s Hymer

The S650 Hymer is a rare beast on NZ roads so I was really surprised and it was a real pleasure to find one parked right behind me. Donna and Dale hail from Tauranga and were on their way home from up north.

Remember to click on the images for Hi Res

Donna and Dale
Donna and Dale

Dales sister used to live in the UK and had been Motorhoming around Europe for 4 years with it before deciding to return to NZ for good so they returned with it as “baggage”!  Dale made it sound like she just popped it in a corner of her suitcase but I’m sure it was a little more complicated than that 🙂


Look at all that space
Look at all that space

Dale tells me this one is a 2002 Mercedes based machine which is just a smidge over 6 metres. It has a 2.7 litre 5 cylinder Turbo Diesel with Automatic Transmission.

Drop down bed above
Drop down bed above

Its interesting with some of the new Motorhomes coming out now with the main bed being a drop down rather than a permament bed. This means smaller vans have a huge amount of space for the living area and galley.

Shower and Toilet
Shower and Toilet

The Hymer group owns Dethleffs along with Burstner and several others. All the older Hymer vans have had drop down beds for years and using the extra space well so its no surprise that the new Dethleffs Travel only has a drop down bed.

A nice big galley
A nice big galley

It was nice to catch up with them and see them enjoying their trusty older quality Motorhome.

Extra hand basin at the back
Extra hand basin at the back

A lovely Motorhome and nice to see it has been reliable and in such good shape after 8 years on the road.  It really says a lot about the quality of these vans.

Fiona & Chris, two empty nesters put their dreams of doing something different into reality… Living in their Motorhome, come along for the ride.

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