Category Archives: Quirky things

Two Fat Bottles

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!

Not much room to come and go on.

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 !

Bottles in their locker

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.

Its is so much easier to get them in and out too.

Locker safely locked up.

We’re publishing a couple of books!

Great news .. We’re publishing 4 ebooks.!!

This was my lockdown 1 project 🙂

These publications are all based on this Blog.

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 Amazon
50 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


Bugger it we are off to Hit the Trails – Buy from Amazon
234 Pages – US$5.99

The Ipad / Iphone ibooks version is due in a couple of months..

Check out the Art Deco book while its free for a taste of the others.

Everyone has a Jetty

Another one from 2018..

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

Lidgards and Kawau Yacht club

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.

Mansion House

Being an Island and only accessible by boat, Kawau Island has only a handful of roads and a handful of vehicles.

His and Hers

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.

Kawau Yacht Club

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

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.

The remains of the Copper Mine

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.

Alan getting off the Ferry
Friendly Peacocks on the lawn

We walked back to Rafe in the Sandspit Holiday Park and prepared ourselves for a meal at Sandspit Yacht Club.

Rafe’s Tracker Map

Right On The Water

Here’s another one from 2018… enjoy

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

Nice parking

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

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 ferry a few minutes walk away.

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.

The new Drainage system

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 shot from the ferry. You can see Rafe in the middle.

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.

Rafes Tracker Map

 

Retro colour

A repost from days gone by .. enjoy

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.

Brian, Kim and their daughter Maddie and the Mercedes.
Brian, Kim and their daughter Maddie and the Mercedes.

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.

The retro paint job
The retro paint job

Mercedes

The Tv station iutside
The Tv station iutside

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.

Inside
Inside
The Galley
The Galley

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.

60’s Caravanning and towing a houseboat with an AmphiCar

A repost from days gone by .. enjoy

Check out this amazing video of English caravanning from 1966

Lovely varnished boat and how is the chap towing a houseboat with a “amphicar”

Futuristic Motorhome – Futuria

A repost from days gone by .. enjoy

The Future of motorhomes, the Futuria.

FuturiaWith a car and a spa pool.

From Boomarc.com.au

Grant and Jo’s Airstream Bar

And it is shiny and at 10 metres, very big.

Click on an Image for Hi Res

Jo and Grant with the Bar

Grant and Jo went over to the US with the idea that they wanted to buy an Airstream Caravan.

They met a chap there who had two of them. So after agreeing to buy both of them, the guy says “Hang on a minute, I’ve got this too around here”, and showed them the then rather dilapidated 1972 Airstream Bar. Grant tells me it was “not a lot” so he bought that too and shipped all three back!

The Lounge at one end
Inside
Grants lovely F100 Tug with their Dog Gilbert keeping an eye on things

Once they all landed back in NZ, the 2nd Caravan was sold so they could do up the Bar and a year later and lots of hard work, its looking pretty good. With a huge fridge, new lighting and a great sound system, its a fun way to spend a night.

Grant with the Bar

We spent a really good night here after the Zion Motorhomes function at Ellerslie and it was a real hoot.

Tables and Chairs.. Rafe in the distance

Bent Keys

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.

Click on an Image for Hi Res

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.

The key code fault

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.

The key in its incorrect position
The key in its correct position

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  🙂

How the dash should look !

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.

They don’t work when they’re folded.

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.

The key in its straight form

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 🙂

A happy Rafe with his key in the right way around!

The Gas Gadget

And this is a beauty! People who know me will tell you how I love a good gadget that can do something useful.. This is one of those.

Click on an Image for Hi Res

The Kit with the two sensors, the rubber base rings and the gauge.

I bumped into Duncan from Apollo as I left the NZMCA Motorhome show and he was telling me about this new Gas remote fuel gauge. It is called a Mopeka.

The sensors all connected to the phone app

It works by having two sealed sensors which are each magnetically attached to the bottom of your Gas bottles that send a signal to a remote LED gauge telling you how much Gas you have left in your bottles.

My new Gas bottles ready for the sensors
A sensor on the bottom of a bottle
The Gauge for inside somewhere

It also has a phone app and it will work with that too but you have to make sure that you tell it your bottle size and that you’re in NZ. It defaults to a weird bottle size in the US 🙂

All ready to be put in the Gas locker. Note the rubber ring on the base.

I thought I’d give one a run and see how they went. The whole process from start to finish took me about ten minutes and once I’d set it up for two 9kg bottles in NZ, it looked like the perfect solution to prevent middle of the night alarms from the fridge, when a bottle has run out, usually in the rain  🙂

Ready to go

Rafe is in storage at the moment until his new concrete pad has settled so isn’t parked at the optimum angle. I think once it is level, this device will have half a chance but given that the bottles are both swappa bottles that only ever have about 70% gas in them anyway, I’d say its pretty accurate.

Not really a good test for it!

A really clever device retailing about $300 from Apollo Entertainment.

With the phone app