Category Archives: Preparation

A Park for Rafe

One of the things we all have to do as Motorhomers or caravanners is to find somewhere to park our vehicles when theyre not in use. Not always an easy thing to do when they’re of larger proportions !Now that we’re back in our house for a wee while getting ready for our next adventure, I recently came across some old images of the parking area we developed for Rafe which I thought might give some of you some ideas.

Before with wee Rafe

Initially when we first got Rafe, we still had wee Rafe the caravan as although we had sold it and it had been paid for, it was waiting on transport to the its new home in Central Otago.

Cutting down the Oak

To make Rafe’s parking spot, we had to bowl a rather large Pin Oak tree and a couple of other insignificant shrubs but the hole created for Rafe was perfect. We were a bit lucky that the back half of the area was alreadyset up with concrete pavers.

Clearing the Green things

After the first few months, we found that the ground was getting a bit mushy and needed to be fortified with some fairly coarse gravel to stop Rafe from sinking in the front.

Sawdust and Mush

The other change we made was rebuilding a partly rotten fence and hanging it on hinges so it could fold out of the way to make it easy to back in.

Before the gate and Gravel

We also added in a 16 amp plug on an RCD circuit for getting the fridge down and keeping the batteries topped up.

All done
All Done
Rafe’s park complete with 16 amp power

Although is wasn’t hugely expensive, the cost was a few bits of wood for the fence, some hinges, the tree felling and the wiring and RCD. But well worth it to get Rafe off the street!

Its amazing how many people have asked me how I get Rafe in there too 🙂

Be kind to Your Fridge

One of the issues with the influx of a lot of European Motorhomes has been that many of them don’t have “Tropical” Fridges but instead have a Dometic fridge setup for Europe which it is generally expected to work in much cooler conditions than here in NZ.

Click on the images to see Hi Res

The Kit on the floor

An easy way to sort this out is to install a Fridge Cooling Kit which Dometic supply for approximately $110 depending on where you get it from.  This helps to get rid of any build up of heat in the cavity behind the fridge to help with  it’s efficiency, especially when it is sitting in a campground.

Before I go any further.. although this kit is relatively easy to install yourself, I found that it involved putting screws into the back of the fridge in an area I wasn’t comfortable with so if you have any doubts, get someone like Vantage RV to install it.

Make sure you fix the Fan the right way up

Rafe was booked in to Vantage RV for a week for a whole lot of maintenance as we have been living in it fulltime and had to defer several things that needed to be done. While it was there, it made sense to get a Fridge Cooling kit installed despite the fact that my fridge has never really had any issues. It all helps as they say 🙂

Click on the Gallery to see a slideshow

Johan was given the short straw to do the job…Once the 3.5 years off dust was blown out of the back of the fridge, he screwed on the fan unit and then clipped on the Thermostat. Next came the wiring. The cover came off and there were two terminals there waiting for the wires to clip on to.

All done.. nice and tidy.

It was all very straight forward but not a job that I’d want to take it on myself and the whole job was done very quickly but then Johan has done heaps of these and made it look very easy.

We tested it by turning the fridge on and directing a heat gun on the thermostat and off it went. I was amazed by how quiet it was.

Now to load up the fridge and give it a real test!

There is more information on this see Robs Fan and Mikes Fridge

Switch it on and up it goes

One of the nice things about talking to people in the Motorhome industry is you get to hear about some neat new things coming on the market.

New to New Zealand is a new range of  Automatic Satellite systems and Tv’s from France called  Alden.

Frankie with the two new Alden receivers.

This is unique as the controls are all in the matching Alden TV’s. You simply turn on the TV and are prompted to fold out and tune the dish which it will then go ahead and do. It will also fold down when you turn it off or when you start the motor to move away.. all automagically!

on the left and the Portable one on the right

The price is amazing too..with the top of the range partly transparent (see photo) Evo 65 retailing for $2695 incl GST. If you buy it with an Alden 22in TV, the whole package is $3200 incl GST. This seems to me to be a pretty good deal given these are the bees knees in TV’s for Motorhomes.

Showing the  insides of the Aldens are all precision engineered.

Vantage RV are the agents and can fit them for you too.

The Blue Beast

Its always a pleasure seeing an older Motorhome getting a new life from a bit of and overhaul or some good old fashioned TLC.

Click on any image to see Hi res

Looking Good

Alan and Keitha fom Matamata have had their 1990 Mazda Triton for about 15 years and about 5 years ago decided it was time for a makeover. The 9 month do up was mostly about the exterior but lots was done of the inside too.

Alan with his album of “Before” pictures

I really liked the hidden Waeco fridge in the double drawer. Nice touch.

The Waeco fridge hidden away in a drawer

The exterior was completely reclad and repainted with Aluminium panels with Insulation on the inside.

Click on the Gallery below to see a slide show

Alan proudly showed me a small photo ablum of how it was and when you look at where it is today, a different beast.

A lovely truck and a great do up.. well done to you both.

A Tune Up for Rafe’s Dome and Some Smart New Technology!

I had to pop in to Apollo TV to get my now nearly 4 year old Apollo dome serviced as I was having trouble getting some of the channels. Chris was very happy to sort it all out for me!

Click on an Image for Hi Res

All is revealed.. looking good

Ever since Prime moved, it has been really difficult to get and TV1 and TV2 suffered badly from rain fade where TV3 didn’t!

Chris checking over the Dome

After talking to both Chris and Duncan, I made and appointment and off I went to their office in Whnagaparoa. Nice guys that were only too happy to help me with the dome. It also turns out that my Dome cover has just about done its dash so there is a new one coming. $399 fitted. They get hammered by our high UV and get cracks in them. Mine has cracks around the screw holes on the edge so is all good for a wee while.

Chris got the ladder out and within 10 minutes or so, had it reset and pointing correctly at the Satellite fixing all the problems. Apparently my dome has a GPS in it to it knows where it is in the world and sets itself and the skew based on position and the signal strength as well.
Chris was telling me that when they first starting bringing in the Domes, they realised that the Dome Cover was much bigger than the Dish so they had the Dish made as large as they could and still fit under the Cover giving us TV watchers more signal!

I couldn’t get over the friendly customer service and speed at which they dealt with my wee problem.

The sample straight out of the Box

While talking to Chris, he was telling me about the new Avtex Sound Bar which fits on the bottom of the Avtex 19” TV and vastly improves its sound while only drawing .75A and they’re only $375 retail.

Chris with the first Sound Bar

Duncan set one up for me to have a listen and the sound is stunning. The power and sound is all sourced directly from the TV where they mount underneath. All very easy and tidy. They can also be used as a remote Bluetooth speaker for your cell phones too.

Their first shipment is arriving shortly and is already just about completely spoken for!

The sound bar fitted to a 19″ TV

Some of the new technology in this space is amazing with so much happening.. now to just win Lotto and I’ll be very happy 🙂

We’re on the Market !

Well its been nice to be back in our house and to have Rafe safely parked in his little spot alongside.

It has been a fun 8 months or so cruising around Europe and the South Island and we both feel better for it.

Click on an Image to see Hi Res

Back in the late 70’s, we had another smaller house in Devonport which we were in for 28 years or so. The boys grew up here and as we needed more space, we simply kept adding on until there was no more site coverage. At the time I had a huge Photographic Studio up in Albany and had decided to move home amd work from home as my work had changed to more location work. What studio work I had could be done in a big garage. So around 2006 we bought Roslyn Tce..  8 years or so later,  I no longer have any real studio work and the boys have left home, its time to downsize.

Oldest son Drew is a real estate person and he’s handling the sale.

The Motorhome parking is on the far right with a 16 amp plug on the side of the house too.

Having been used to living in a Motorhome for over 6 months, we are rattling in this huge house with no need for a Studio. Its on the Market!

While we were on the road, one question I was asked pretty reguarly was how were we getting on with renting it. How do we know its not getting smashed up and the rent going astray etc.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

Enter Dianne our property manager who has been really good checking out the tenants thoroughly, credit checks etc,  Regular inspections were done to see it was being looked after. When we got back, the house was in good shape. The tenants had had it commercially cleaned.

Back to the House sale..Its been a busy time! I’ve been busy painting fences and fixing things I should have done years ago.. and the place is looking good. If you’re looking for a place in Devonport with motorhome parking (up to 9 metres) and with power, here it is!

Fiona mentioned the other day why we didn’t fix all these little things years ago! I wonder 🙂

The Crystal Cabinet

It has been two and half years in the making but we’ve finally solved the Glass cabinet problem.

When we first picked up Rafe, unlike other Dethleffs, the Esprits, the Sunlights, the Magic series’s and the Trends.. all of them had Glass cabinets you could fit a glass in. The Globe 4’s cabinet had two shelves in it and was so narrow that only shot glasses and really small glasses would ever fit in.

Click on the images for Hi Res or a Slideshow

One of he narrow shelves. The Glasses don’t fit on them

The first thing I did was remove the shelves so normal sized glasses would fit if they were narrow enough. Then there was the problem on how to fix the glassware so it wouldn’t rattle or get damaged as we moved from place to place.

A couple of lengths of pine  screwed in across the cabinet and some tool clips to hold the glasses and we’re all done.

A tool clip around the stem of the glass

While we were in Martinborough earlier this year, Fiona found 11 cystal glasses in an antique shop by the square. They suited perfectly.  Her new name from friends Gary and Dianne is “Mrs Waterford” and I think she suits the name quite well 🙂

I’ve set the cabinet up for these glasses as we have a few spares if a couple get broken.

The Cabinet all done looking pretty sharp

Both “Mrs Waterford” and I are both pretty pleased with the way the cabinet looks and there no rattles at all.