While we were at little Waihi, I received a text from old friends Gary and Dianne to say they were having a Birthday BBQ (Gary’s) at his place on the 4th so we slightly revised our plans to include a trip to Taupo which we were both really looking forward to.
Our Grandkids Ayden and Liam also needed baby sitting for a couple of nights while we were there so we arranged that their dad Alex, could bring them to Taupo, the day after the BBQ and we would move Rafe from the NZMCA park to De Brett’s. The boys were going to sleep outside Rafe in a tent while Alex slept in the drop down bed in Rafe.. It all worked perfectly!
After the tent had been setup, and the boys had been to the De Brett’s waterslides and pools, they came around and visited Gary and Dianne on the Taupo waterfront.
It was good for everyone to see each other and as it was a stinking hot day, the boys enjoyed a swim in their pool. Thanks Dianne and Gary for having us all… it’s always nice to see you guys.
Later in the day we all headed out for a takeaway and headed for the park.
De Brett’s is a fantastic campground.. always easy and there is a café on site and of course the hot pools which are discounted if you stay there.
The next morning we tidied up and headed up towards Coromandel where Alex was picking the boys up a couple of days later.
One of the nice things about doing a blog like this is every now and then, you come across a really clever person who has designed or invented a clever new way of doing things.. this time its Ross Parkes, an all round clever bloke who after needing a spare part for his SOG system, decided he’d design and 3d print it !
From here, ho moved on to his Water Pig Its probably better that I let Ross tell this in his own words as when you hear the background, its an interesting story…
Take it away Ross 🙂
The Water Pigs, it all started when the fan motor on our SOG started failing and I enquired as to the cost a replacement – some $162 – yikes so instead I looked into the practicality of making a replacement fan assembly using a standard 50mm computer type axial fan.
During that investigation I considered that 3D printing a fan unit might be fun so purchased an Ender 3 v2 printer. Spent a day setting it up and then designed and made the fan housings (pic below) and experimented with different fans until I found one that worked ok – a whole nother story…
After that I played around and made some other SOG parts such as the bayonet fitting that goes in the top of the cassette – really to get around the design issue with the factory fitting in that it allows liquid to get down the pipe to the motor if too much slosh going on. It also meant we could have a fitting on our spare cassette all ready to go when we do a swap and also played around printing our new house which is yet to be completed
At that point I had become fairly competent designing and driving the printer so started thinking what else could I make and the water filler attachment that we use on our van came to mind. Like many people I have something I made from bits and bobs that you can connect the hose to so as to not have to hold it when filling with water. (pic below) A bit of a consideration if you have larger tanks or if you are on your own.
And so was born the first “Water Pig” or “Poaka Wai” (pic above) which fitted the Fiamma brand fitting on our Traillite and out of interest I posted it on a couple of Facebook groups, “hey look what I made” and then had a flurry of people also wanting one but of course they were not all Fiamma…
So on with the R&D hat again and came up with 8 different piggy designs, some of which I am still refining. It would not have been possible without the help of quite a few people out there who volunteered to be guinea pigs for the water pigs. There are still a few tweaks that I need to do to perfect some of them and I have quite a lot of “seconds” that I sell off for not very much, well actually, I sell the good ones for not very much as well 😉 It is important to note that there are “commercial” water filler fittings available on Amazon/Ebay for various filler types but these are quite expensive and from off shore sources.
The process of printing the pigs is not quick with each taking 5-7 hours depending on the size. (pics below – A piggy for Rafe) I could print them quicker but they would not be as pretty and probably not as strong.
Sometimes things go wrong (pic below) so the printer does need to be monitored during the initial stages to ensure adhesion to the build plate is good and also if I have messed with a design I sometimes get it wrong and create some mutant pig…
Anyway, its been good for my brain developing the eight little pigs (so far) and hopefully is helping some people out by making dump station stops more efficient and easier due to not having to hold the hose….
In summary.. I’ve tried it on Rafe’s water filler (I had to wash it first before I could photograph it !) and it works really well..
For those looking for one, Ross is an administrator of the Facebook group RV Happy Travellers. You can contact him here
As time marches on, things in a motorhome and caravan need to be cleaned and one of the trickier things to clean is the little MPK roof vents normally found in most showers and bathrooms in your motorhome.
Click on any Image to enlarge
While you’re taking these out to clean, its a good idea while they are out to replace and broken catches that have lost their tabs like two of mine had.
I had the good fortune to have a friend Bruce who had replaced his so he knew exactly where to get some replacements. Moutere Caravans have packets of 4 for $30 plus a courier so well worth getting before you start.
I also went to Bunnings to invest in a Torx screwdriver kit which is like an Alun key set which was very useful to get in the tight spots on the vent.
Getting underway….. After starting on the inside by undoing the 4 Torx screws holding the arms to the motorhome and then gently lifting the vent off the roof, I moved the whole assembly to the kitchen table.
Out came a bucket of Sunlight dishwashing liquid in a bucket and a soft cloth.
With the vent on its back facing up on the table, I could easily get the Torx screwdriver down through the handle at each end to remove the screws holding the handle onto the perspex. It also holds the plastic inner to the perspex outer cover so expect it to all come apart at that point.
It makes it really easy though at this point to gently prise out the catches for replacement and give the whole thing a good clean. I got some replacement springs too so replaced those as well.
I replaced all the catches as the ones that weren’t broken were so brittle with the sun that the tabs broke anyway as soon as I tried to remove them.
Be careful with the perspex outer cover as it can scratch really easily.
As you re assemble it, be careful not to over tighten the screws as you will strip them in the plastic.
The whole process took me about 2 hours from start to finish and it makes a really big difference and the look when its all back together… there’s also something nice about doing it yourself too!
After 7 years of neglect on our roof, my whole vent was a different colour and as a result, lets in a lot more light.
Don’t you hate it when you’ve just filled your LPG bottles up when its a mission to squeeze it back into the Motorhome LPG locker!
I was in having some work done on Rafe and Peter the Engineer said “what’s that tape measure doing in your gas locker?” ahh says I. That’s for when you get to an LPG station and you discover that your LPG bottle has expired and you need a new one and making sure it’ll fit in the locker.
The bottles can vary in diameter around the waist by up to 10cm each ! With two bottles in the locker, that’s the difference between getting them in or if you can get them in together, being able to shut the door!! Who would have known !
I found this out the hard way the first time, by just trying quite a few bottles to get two that fitted in the locker together.
As a Photojournalist of some 25 plus years and a Commercial Photographer for another 25, these books are all about the images. We went to some amazing places giving me the opportunity to get some great images.
Bugger it we are off to Hit the Trails is about our nearly two month trip in our own Dethleffs Globe 4 around the beautiful South Island of New Zealand which we did just last year.
We had been living in our motorhome for several months between houses and it was time to bust out and explore some of the South Island Rail Trails that we hadn’t finished or completed.
Some beautiful scenery and we meet some magic people along with catching up with some old friends.
Bugger it we are off Around the Mountain follows the famous Forgotten Highway from Taurumanui through to Stratford. We check out remote town of Whangamomona, its pub and its people and then with the help of an old friend, we check out some of the finer parts of New Plymouth and explore Taranaki.
The bright lights of Wellington beckon and then on up for a brief look at the Hawkes Bay.
A really interesting trip exploring some of New Zealand’s more remote towns.
This is a lockdown redo of an earlier book which was in a different format… this is much nicer 🙂
Bugger it we are off to Europe in an Old Hymer is based on our two week trip to the UK to pick up an old Classic Hymer motorhome and then following our motorhome friends through the Chunnel and over 5 weeks, we explore central Europe with bikes.
An absolutely fabulous trip including many cities and towns from Belgium, Netherlands, Germany Czech Republic and back through France. Some amazing places, nice buildings and nice people.
Click on the links below to buy the books!
These are in Kindle format.. Epub’s coming soon.
Bugger it we are off to Napier Art Deco – Buy from Amazon50 Pages – US$2.99 This is FREE from the 11th – 15th September!
Bugger it we are off Around the Mountain – Buy from Amazon76 Pages – US$5.49
Bugger it we are off to Europe in an old Hymer – Buy from Amazon 158 Pages – US$5.99
Over our boating years, both Alan and I have had some amazing moments in both Bon Accord harbour at Kawau and around Kawau so being driven around on the ferry so we could have a good look with a commentary was a real treat.
Click on an Image for Hi Res
Alan does one of the biggest, if not the biggest Wooden Boating Blogs around called Waitematawoodys.com and was on the Classic Yacht Association committee with me for several years. We have been known to sneak away in Rafe for the odd boys trip which are always fun!
We left Rafe about 9:30 from the Sandspit Holiday Park and wandered along the road to the wharf to get our tickets and check in. So after having a cuppa at the café on the wharf we set off about 10:30 for Kawau.
Being an Island and only accessible by boat, Kawau Island has only a handful of roads and a handful of vehicles.
Almost all the houses only have water only access and the way they’ve been built either on top of a hill with their own chairlifts (think electric Wheely Bin on a rail 🙂 ) with a jetty at the bottom or on the water. Some of them are amazing but I suspect most would be either baches, occupied by retired folk or who don’t have to commute.
We were on the Royal Mail boat which started at Vivian Bay in the north and worked its way around to Bon Accord Harbour and Mansion House Bay and then down to South Cove where there was mail to be dropped off. On the way back to Mansion House Bay for lunch, we passed the Old Copper Mine.
Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow
Their own little harbour!
Passengers getting off at Mansion House
The descent of the wheelie bin!
Kawau was huge source of copper in the mid 1800’s with a community of around 300 related to the Mine and its output at its peak. By the 1800’s it all fizzled out and most of the miners moved on to the Gold Fields.
After a walk around the Mansion House and the coffee shop, we eventually made our way back to the ferry. It was nice barrelling along at 15 knots in the sun with a glass of Pinot Gris in hand.
We walked back to Rafe in the Sandspit Holiday Park and prepared ourselves for a meal at Sandspit Yacht Club.
They’ve had a lot of rain up here so the Sandspit Holiday Park crew suggested that we stick to one back from the water just to make sure we don’t sink!
Click on an Image for Hi res
My old boating friend Alan and I were in need of some time out of the house so we decided a few days before to check out the Sandspit Holiday Park and do a trip to Kawau on the ferry. Sounded like a plan thought I so off we went early on the Friday afternoon. It is only 42k’s from Auckland and with little traffic, we were there at 3.30pm.
Its a lovely little park with a lot of permanent Baches and Caravans but what a neat spot.
With an NZMCA discount, it was $23 each a night. With their very new Showers and Kitchens, its a delight to stay at. There are a whole bunch of older interesting buildings there too and Horace the Morris is a feature as well.
Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow
Snakes and Ladders anyone
Horace the Morris
One of the Quirky wee cottages you can stay in
Out of the way
kayaks available too
Rafe by the water
We stayed two nights with a ferry trip to Kawau in between. Lucky with the weather, after getting back from Kawau, we walked along to the newly setup restaurant on the top floor of the Sandspit Yacht Club and caught up with Motorhome friends Rob and Helen who live not far away from there.
The last time we were here, unbeknown to me, they had some issues with the drainage system for the bathrooms which used to be a real problem apparently in the height of summer.
This has all been upgraded and put up the hill out of the way and hasn’t been an issue since. Nice friendly hosts who were happy to help with anything. ..
A great spot and handy to the Kawau ferry and the new Marina at Sandspit.
The Netspeed Speedtest for here.
Download: 7.34 Mbps
Upload: 2.10 Mbps
Ping: 23 ms
I think the tower was playing up a bit as we had some difficulty with the connection over the two nights.
While we were getting ready for New Years Eve, I couldn’t help but notice and amazing retro looking Mercedes based motorhome on the other side of the park.
It was built in Germany as a Micro Supreme branded Motorhome.
Owned by Brian and Kim from Auckland, they bought this two years or so ago and it became Brian’s project do up. The Mercedes D307’s are really popular in Europe as delivery, courier vans and small trucks and enjoy a great reputation as reliable runners and Brian was saying, he has no problem getting parts for it. All he has done mechanically was put in a bigger radiator which is apparently a must do for motorhoming. It also has a real “unimog” look to the front of it which I think reveals its Mercedes truck DNA.
Inside, well all I can say is what a great job they’ve done. New toilet and shower area and a new galley area. The minute you walk in, you get this amazing feeling of big volume. Brian has done amazing things with a TV/ sound station including a server for movies, a wifi router and a pop out Tv station in the awning area.
A great achievement by them both, a nice van and although at 1988 it is not really that old, the improvements that they made are amazing and it was nice to see them enjoying Sullivan’s Bay in the sun with friends and family.