I’ve been busy putting together some books and also doing a whole years accounts for the accountant… big job but keeping the boredom away 🙂
Given that we cant get away, its a bit frustrating not being able to do any new piccies… I’ve been going back through some of our really early posts, think 2016 odd when many of you weren’t aware we existed and over the next few weeks, I’ll repost some oldies!
One of the challenges we all have as Motorhome owners is where to park our Motorhomes. Over the last month or so, we’ve been progressively been making space for ours.
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In the last two weeks, one of the bigger changes we’ve made to our new place in Devonport is hard landscaping of our front yard. It includes a flash new raised Garden which Fiona has always wanted. A parking area for our visitors as parking is a premium around here and a few green things around Rafe’s park and making it easier to get Rafe in and out of the park.
A very good friend of my son Andrew, Ryan and his wife Jordan have done an amazing job. Ryan’s speciality is concrete but he has done a lot in the landscaping area too so we’re really chuffed with what we’ve got on a small difficult site. Ray helped too with redoing the fence and the raised gardens. A great job folks.
We’ve only been here a couple of months. In that time, the concrete parking pad has been extended for Rafe, Hot water cylinder replaced and moved outside, a heat pump installed, the Laundry shifted around to be more functional, and now this amazing Garden.
While the Garden was being done, the fence had to be rebuilt as all the railings were knackered. The posts and palings were reused into an arty random fence.. We like it, the neighbours like it but quite a few don’t 🙂 we can always trim it later !
We also left a few bits at the front off to make it easier to get Rafe in and out 🙂
Click on the Gallery below to see the progress!
The carpark being formed
dumping dirt into the raised beds
fine tuning 🙂
Dirt in the beds
Just about ready
Gravel arrives for carpark
tap it down
Down goes the Stones
South Island Stone in the North Island
All done with plants
A big thanks to Ryan, Jordan and Ray for their fantastic efforts.
Thats it for now for a while on the house so we’re back in Rafe on the road for summer.
During my travels through the last NZMCA Motorhome show in Auckland, I bumped into Phil Jackson at Carters. He made a point of reminding me to make sure I rotated my tyres to get the best out of them but at that stage they had only done 5000k’s odd, but now that they’ve done 10000 k’s, I thought I’d better get on with it 🙂
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So I duly made an appointment with Carters Tyres in Highbrook, where I had my tyres fitted and they were happy to rotate them for me. Carters are a big supporter of the NZMCA and if you’re looking for tyres, they give NZMCA members a pretty good discount. They saved me a fortune.
The Tyre Technician for the day was Mohit who was ready to get stuck in as I rolled in.
One of the traps with the Dethleffs wheel covers is they have some Alun nuts as a decoration and a couple that are actually functional. Sometimes its a bit of a mission to pick the real ones. The plastic ones have to glued back on if you get them by accident !
Mohit successfully navigated his way around that and whipped all the wheels off one at a time and rebalanced the wheels for the front as he refitted them.
While they were off, its amazing seeing them side by side to see the wear. On their own it was hard to see but definitely the wear can be seen next to each other. In the pictures, the front tyre is on the left.
As Rafe is a front wheel drive vehicle, the back wheels are just being dragged along behind for the ride so there is minimal wear until they’re on the front so tyre rotation is really important if you want to get even wear from your tyres.
An hour later, we all ready to go again. .. for another 10 k’s until the next rotation 🙂
We were just about to pick up our Grandchildren and take them down to Rotorua for the last weekend of the school holidays when a fault came up on the dash that I hadn’t seen before.
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It was an image of a door and a padlock in orange and prevented the motor from starting. It would turn over with the key but never fire.
Out came the Fiat handbook which said the fault was related to the key and the code that needs to come from it and go to the engine management system. If it persists to check with the dealer.
I tried taking the key out and putting it in the opposite way and the engine started straight away. I thought this was a bit scary so thought that given we were about to take the Grandies out of town, we should get it checked out, so off we went to the Andrew Sims Fiat service centre in East Tamaki.
After talking to their service manager Nick, he immediately said yep, its the way you’ve got the key in the ignition and you’ve solved the problem . It was all solved in seconds and I could relax 🙂
Because the keys flip out with the push of a button like a flick knife, the weight of my keys on the key ring and the fact that the lock on the key is getting a bit long in the tooth and isn’t what it once was, it is folding and preventing the code in the key handle from getting down the key to the engine management system. .. the answer… Take it out and put it in the other way so the key can’t fold and all will be well.
So after 5 years of owning Rafe and running all over the country and never seeing this before, a new little thing to know about an ageing key.
Even one of the senior Andrew Sims guys there at the time wasn’t aware of it either, so we all learnt something new that day. If you didn’t know this, you could easily get stuck somewhere and not know that the solution was so simple 🙂
Over the last month or so, our Motorhome Rafe has been stored up in Albany getting covered in Motorway dust and crap from a concrete distributor close by so it was somewhat of a relief to be able to park it back at our house again and give the van a good wash!
Our house is one of three units on a cross leased section which run down the hill overlooking each other and then over the golf course. When I say overlooking.. just our roof but we’re at the top closest to the road.
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It had a parking ramp here already but it was in the shape of a triangle and we all know that Motorhomes and cars for that matter tend to rectangular 🙂
Our neighbour Doug is a semi retired builder who is a magic guy and was happy for us to do whatever we needed to make Rafe fit in the hole.
Enter Ryan and Ray, a couple of concrete experts who are good friends of my son Andrew to take on the project of adding to the existing pad to make it useable and also add another around the corner for an outside water cylinder and Heat Pump.
The project went without a hitch, even getting the concrete truck in to do the pour and the result is perfect.
Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow
Boxing on. you can see the original bit
Boxing and base for HW and heat pump
Since then, the Water Heater and Heat pump have been installed and we’ve managed to get Rafe in here but not without some drama!
The first time in. I got a good friend of mine Alan to be my eyes and ears at the back to help me in. The first obstacle was a hump at the end of the drive which I thought would grab the overhang but surprisingly for me, there was never an issue.
Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow
Start of the pour. Ray and Ryan at the back
The ready mix going in. Ryan floating off the slab
Ray filling up the slab for the Hot water and pump
The car testing it
all finished ready for Rafe
With extra soil
The tight bends around the front fence were a bit of a problem and I managed to get the front wheels stuck in a small patch of grass behind our letterboxes! After jacking it up and slipping some things in to jump out, it finally did but not without creating some stress and some mess of the grass.
Anyway, we’re in and it works a treat but I have decided since to convert a fence panel into a gate and add some gravel to make it a lot easier to get in and out.
We also have a 16 amp socket going in to keep the batteries topped up.
Thanks to Ray, Ryan for the great concreting, Pete the sparky for his wiring and Alan, a big thanks for helping me get in for the first time.
Just recently, I had the pleasure of having a guided tour through ACM’s Auckland Motorhome repair and manufacturing factory. Amazing stuff.
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ACM was started 7 years ago by ex boat builder Chris Cunard (think Super Yachts) as a repair facility and later added his own range of manufactured Motorhomes. After chatting to Chris for a while, you very quickly get the sense that build quality is the name of the game and you can see this everywhere you look.
One of ACM’s Leading hands Daryl, showed me around a couple of the new Motorhome’s they are currently making for customers. Apart from having their own standard models, they make bespoke vans for those with special interests or hobbies. They also do repairs for other dealers brands too.
One of those I saw was one made for someone who was confined to a wheelchair. All the benchtops were lower. There was a special hydraulic lift at the back for entry and the bathroom and bedroom was all specially fitted out so they could enjoy Motorhoming. Fantastic!
A lot of slideouts in the industry are driven electrically. These ones have huge hydraulic arms to drive it instead which should make it a lot more reliable. The hydraulic drop down legs for levelling were huge too.
Click on the Gallery below to see a Slideshow
Nice pull out pantry
The bedroom slideout
The back of the Motorhome being prepared
One of their clients who liked his music so much, they designed and built his Motorhome so that he could take a built in piano with him and it looks like part of the Motorhome.
Good on them for taking their hobby with them!
Click on the Gallery below to see one of the finished Motorhomes
As seen in Hamilton
Athough I was lucky enough a few years ago to have a look through the Niesmann and Bichoff factory in Germany, it was really nice to see a local builder building Motorhomes basically by hand, doing a really nice job of them and providing employment and skills training for young Kiwis.
It has been Musical houses all around with son Alex and his wife Sarah and the boys moving to a new house. Our other son Andrew and partner Jenna have also moved house, and us moving into Rafe fulltime it has been a busy time. To add to the fun, we’ve been trying to give away some of our “extra” stuff while they move !
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Everyone is settling down now and we tried our new parking at Alex’s new place in Ardmore just this last weekend and it works a treat. Rafe is right next to a fence overlooking the families horses and they were keen to see what this Motorhoming lark was all about too, coming over for a look see 🙂
After Alex had mowed the lawns and Fiona had played Granny Tag on the new Trampoline, we all set up our bikes out and set off along the road to Ardmore airfield for a ride and then an ice cream stop. A great day out in the sun.
This is about our 5th week at Takapuna Holiday park and we’re about to head down to the South Island in the next week or so and catch up with friends down there..
Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow
Alex mowing around the Granny Tag
Getting ready for the bike ride
Family choccy lab Olive in the shade
The Horses feeding next door
One of the Harvards
One of the Warbirds overhead
Out of the window
Perhaps we’ll get a bit more serious about finding a house when we get back in late May when the prices hopefully will have dropped a bit more 🙂
From the Clever Changes department comes Bruces new dining table which he made himself.
Bruce and Judy are probably the only other people in NZ that have a Motorhome that is almost exactly like Rafe.. just 1 month younger.. same colour, same 3 litre Iveco motor, the lot.
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Bruce and Judy are both very involved with the NZMCA in their area in the Western Bay of Plenty.
They both decided that they could change the table into a drop leave arrangement where they could have more space in the entertaining area with the table put away when its not needed and the extensions going in when the crowd arrives 🙂
Click on the gallery below to see the table changes.
A great setup and I’m twitching about doing something similar in Rafe. We caught up with them recently in Papakura when they were on their way home from Whangarei.
What an arduous process.. The house sold finally in October with a settlement of Friday 22nd Feb.
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It was listed twice. The first time with Drew, my son after it had been rented out for two years while we did the European and South Island trips, and we listed it virtually as soon as we’d moved back in. It was a bit scruffy having been rented out and we fixed the big things but in the end it wasn’t enough and the feedback was awful.
So we took some advice from some stagers and designers and painted all the main rooms Real Estate White. We painted doors that had been stripped that hadn’t been painted and Double Hung windows that needed a makeover.
On the Tuesday after the packers came, we moved Rafe into the driveway ready for us to sleep in.
Prior to that, we had already packed everything into boxes, loads to the local op shop and the tip and the contents of the Pantry and Fridge was loaded into Rafe along with our clothes and the toiletries from the bathroom. Rafe’s cuboards were almost bursting 🙂
The packers came and by the end of the day, all our furniture was safely locked away in a storage facility in Glenfield.
The big day came around on the Friday. Fiona went out to a girls lunch with friends to get away and I sat and waited for the Setllement calls to happen.
Empty Kitchen Living area
The empty Garage
Around lunchtime, one of the purchasers furniture trucks arrived and he sat outside waiting. At 2pm another truck arrived and they all camped on the grass verge outside. About 2:30, the purchaser arrived to see what was happening.
It seemed the buyers bank had been a bit slow getting the funds through to our Solicitor and they had only just got the money at 2pm but just before 3pm, I received that call that I was waiting for and finally drove Rafe out of the driveway for the last time.
Lots of money in the bank, all the debt gone and no house!
LOTS of freedom! No more lawns to mow for a while and no more rates to pay. Yippee.. .. now to find another much smaller house for two people and a Motorhome!