Tag Archives: Special events

Zion Owners Group Rally

This year it became part of the Covi Rally and Show as it has grown so much with Zion’s new brands. The more the merrier and more to talk about ๐Ÿ™‚

I arrived at Ellerslie Racecourse around the middle of the day on the Friday and within minutes met Gary and his wife Alison who have a Dethleffs Esprit which is very similar to Rafe in layout, length and size and only a little younger.ย  As it turns out I used to work with Gary’s Dad who was an editor at the Auckland Star when I was an 11 year old on work experience when I was at School.ย  Small world and we had lots to talk about.

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Racing this time. Behind the jump. Gary’s Esprit on the left, Rafe on the right.

When we first arrived there was a bit of confusion as to where to park so after a big Frankia moved from the inside of the Steeplechase jump, I moved in to the hole and Gary parked beside me. We had just finished parking when we bumped into several other people we knew too.

Rafe parked in front of the Steeplechase jump

I was supposed to go to the show that afternoon but it all got a bit too social so I stayed put but it was a great afternoon. When the volunteer stand workers returned home, there was a gigantic happy hour squeezed in between Rafe and Gary’s Esprit.
Lots of fun and we met a lot of new people.

The Happy Happy Hour
Jonas and Irene talking to Gary with the hat in front of Rafe

The owners of Zion Jonas and Irene, joined in too and it was a fun night.

Irene and Jonas with the Happy team

The next morning was showtime. I caught the bus to the show and returned early in the afternoon.ย  I was really looking forward to the Zion meal which was being hosted that night by Jonas and Irene out at Melba Restaurant in Manukau. We were picked up in Buses and after a great night, dropped off back to our Motorhomes.

All different sorts

Gary, Alison and I joined their friends Grant and Jo in their Airstream Bar which was parked near us for a few drinks afterwards for what was a really funny night. ๐Ÿ˜‚

Good Parking

Lots of fun with some nice people. Thanks to Jonas, Irene for a great night at Melba.

Covi Rally 2020 at Ellerslie Racecourse

This never disappoints and although this year possibly wasn’t as big as previous years, there would have been at least 400 odd Motorhomes and Caravans.

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The volunteers did an excellent job parking everyone and there was a Bar open for a couple of the nights if you felt the need for some cold lubricant ๐Ÿ™‚

From the Stand

There was also a special area for the Dethleff, Frankia, Morelo and Neismann and Bichoff Motorhomes.. more on this later.

Rafe on the left in front of one of the Steeplechase jumps
All shapes and sizes

The buses called around regularly to ferry people to the show at the showgrounds, the weather was fine, it couldn’t have been better.

Smiles from the Volunteers

Thanks again to the Volunteers who make it all happen.

Looking toward the stand

The 2020 Covi Motorhome Show – lots of Images

The numbers were definitely down with the Coronavirus hanging over us all but despite that, several vendors I spoke to did well.

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The Reo

I guess with more room to move, many had time to have a good nosey and spend more time doing what they came for.

NZMCA Stand

I went early on the Saturday morning and my first stop was say hello to the happy crew at the NZMCA stand then from there onto the Zion Motorhomes stand where the new Morelo Palace was on display.

Where to start?

At 9 metres long and 7.5 tons, this is a serious Motorhome. Check out the piccies below.

The Morelo Palace

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Zion also have a new Dethleffs XLI Alpa which has a rear lounge with really clever drop down beds above the drivers area which doesn’t feel like a drop down system.

Dethleffs Alpa Kitchen

Just in the next hall was ACM Motorhomes who have a repair facility and manufacture their own Motorhomes too, but have made some really nice bespoke designs for those with special interests or needs.

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One of the Motorhomes they had on display was one that I saw being put together for a handicapped customer and its beautiful. Complete with a wheelchair lift at the back which comes up to a rear bathroom. Very nice and nice to see what I saw in bits all finished and looking so good.

ACM Motohome for wheelchairs

Moving on from here I was amazed to see some of the refinements made to the smaller Caravans.

Chameleon

In order .. the Chameleon Crusader, a little bigger was the Manta Ray by New Age, then there was the Rockwood with slide outs and a bunk room which was interesting.

The Manta Ray Kitchen area

The 5m long Bailey Discovery is interesting too.. Perfect for two people and can be towed with a small vehicle.

Bailey living area. Nice big vent.

Jayco have got an interesting small Caravan which is called the Crosstrak Hybrid. Again well suited for two and an easy tow for a smaller SUV, it is just under 5 metres.

The Jayco Crosstrak

An interesting show which I finished by checking out the Lilliputs and watching an auction of a Benimar. I suspect someone got a bit of a bargain at 136k ๐Ÿ™‚

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I stayed at Ellerslie Racecourse as part of the Rally there which was free this year and was well served by some free buses to the Showgrounds. A great show!

Lilliput magic

Elton’s Farewell

We were on a mission to see the last tour of Elton John and almost all of his original Musicians that he started out with 50 odd years ago. They’re all in their 70’s now and looking and sounding really good too.

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The afternoon view

We were staying at the Taradale Club as we did last year for the Phil Collins concert which worked out really well being just a 15 minute walk from the Mission Estate Concert venue. Just over the road, The NZMCA had a Motorhome parking area for members so that was handy too. They did this for the Phil Collins concert too.

The Niessman and Rafe.

Friends Gary and Dianne had bought the tickets for us and arranged the Taradale Club for us, so all we had to do was front up and enjoy it ๐Ÿ™‚

The NZMCA park over the road.

The Club put on a BBQ tea for the first night and a Breakfast the next morning (Extra !) which made life easy. We basically loafed about in the sun until it was time to gather our stuff together and head off round the corner to the venue.

The Neissman and Rafe

There were hundreds of people but it was all very organised and we easily found a spot on the bank to settle down and watch the show.

Gary, Dianne and Fiona at the concert.

There were a few very inebriated people there which annoyed a few but the concert was fantastic. The sound was great and given that they’re all in their 70’s, I thought it was great. I have to admit to not really being a concert person but I’m pleased I went to this one. Unlike the Phil Collins concert the weather behaved itself and was fantastic.

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We set off down the hill when it all finished back to Rafe and Gary and Diannes Neissman for a quite Pinot to finish off with ๐Ÿ™‚

Great Crowd
Eletons original Drummer Nigel Ohlsson in his suit.
Elton..

A lot of fun and I’m pleased I went and we didn’t get wet in the process either ๐Ÿ™‚

Rafe’s track

The Tug Boat race – lots of photos!

Auckland Anniversary always starts with the famous Tug Race which starts off Westhaven. They then head down towards Orakei to round a buoy and then back down to the bridge for the finish.

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One of the faster Classics Jeneusse

A few years ago when I was involved with the Classic Yacht Association Committee, I helped organise a few of the Launch races and for me it was really nice to see some of the old Launches in this race still going for it.

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Sterling always used to do well and it was nice to see Ronaki, Te Hauraki and Jeneusse out there too.

Sterling flying along
Sierra

Enjoy the images

Smoke from the William C Daldy

 

 

800 000 Hits!

The last 100000 has been a bit of a slog but we finally got there.. Its actually more than 820 000!

Glorious spotย  by the Waikato Riverย 

I remember the moment when we hit 600 000. I was on my own in Coromandel at a neat campground by the river so had plenty of time to think about it. Fiona was at work.

Fiona using the Power pole clothesline ๐Ÿ™‚ย  In the Ida Valley

Thanks for being great supporters of these pages and now heading for the Million mark.!

Timber Town Romp โ€“ Let there be Music!

The morning started a bit later with I suspect a few sore heads after the NZ-UK Rugby game and there was lots of chatter about the game. To console myself, I kept telling myself that it is only a game after all… not quite that simple but it helped ๐Ÿ™‚

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Roger and Diane’s Fifth Wheeler opposite Rafe

I spent the morning reading, listening to some music and generally just blobbed for a few hours. The weather was amazing with a clear blue sky and as the day went on, it got much warmer after a fairly cold start.

Its Knitting time

Today was a real Music Day with a band called Tuned out Larry, Jenny and Band which was a three piece band from Tokerau. A nice sound. After that, there was the usual 4pm Happy Hour. This was the last one for the event so it was well attended ๐Ÿ™‚

Time to dance

I went back to Rafe and had tea but was looking forward to theย  next band.ย  Over in the main Hall wasย  theย  Hamilton County Bluegrass Band. A very slick performance by some very talented people!

The crowd enjoying the Hamilton Bluegrass band
The two originals, Alan and Paul
Pam with the fantastic Voice

I’ve heard them several times before and although they’ve now got a different line up, the two original 5th formers from Fairfield High school who started the band, Alan and Paul, are still there and sounding as good as ever. Pauls ex wife Colleen was the original Fiddler and sadly she has moved on but one of their sons is the very talented Bass player and their Daughter in Law is the new Fiddle player.ย  The Mandolin player who is also an instrument repairer and Potter from Coromandel and Pam the singer and Guitar player complete the lineup.ย  Pams voice is something else… a great sound and I was there right to the end ๐Ÿ™‚

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A very successful event run by a very switched on team.

Piccy time

A great Weekend.

Timber Town Romp – Let the Games Begin

I was up pretty early for me at 7:30! It was cold even though the sun was out for the first time for days.

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People getting ready for the games

Today was to be a big day with the Highland Games and it was fun. There were extra points if you wore some Tartan and many made a real effort with some great costumes.

On the bank

The first event was The Hamilton Pipe Band. There’s something about Bagpipes that just get me going.. I love it! A wonderful sound.

Boom Boom

One of the NZMCA Waikato organiser Neal was dressed up in Tartan, and had a set of bagpipes made of electrical Conduit pipes. He had a recording on his cell phone for the sound effects. A great sight. It was funny to see.

Neal with his Bagpipes

He also managed to momentarily slot himself on the end of the line with the Hamilton Pipers playing. Lots of fun.

Neal “Playing along”
Watching the fun

The Games started straight after that. There was Hammer throwing (into a bucket), Caber throwing, Gumboot throwing which was fun to watch. And later there was egg throwing and they weren’t hard boiled either ๐Ÿ™‚ Brian Stanley seemed to do pretty well here ๐Ÿ™‚

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The Forest View High School provided a Sausage Sizzle with Steak Sandwiches and other niceties. They did so well that the queue created meant that the events later had to put back while everyone had a feed.

I’m really pleased for the kids at the school as they really put themselves out to make this happen and with at least 150 odd people out of approximately 600 that attended, their sports trip had every chance of being a well funded one ๐Ÿ™‚

Marching off

The Haggis was piped in by the Hamilton Pipe band and later another big Happy Hour in the Events Centre. Lots of people this time and after that, there was a performance by Tim Armstrong and his band. Unfortunately, he was competing against the NZ Rugby world cup semi final.

I was lucky to be able to watch it with Rodger and Diane next door with a nice Pinot to finish off the day. Despite the Rugby result, it was a great day in Paradise with some really nice people.

Happy Hour outside

Timber Town Romp โ€“ Getting Settled

Yes, it was at Tokoroa. Tokeroa is not somewhere I’ve spent any time at and after a walk around, its quite a neat wee town. Everything is handy and the locals all seemed super friendly.

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Rafe in his spot surrounded by vans

I was heading to the latest NZMCA Rally being the Timber Town Romp which was looking like being a real hoot.ย  Hosted by the good folk from the Waikato area of the NZMCA, it was held at the recently setup South Waikato Events centre which was a fantastic venue.

Everywhere you look

Having done parking at a Dethleffs event a few years before, I quickly volunteered to help with the parking and all was good.

After registering inside the centre, I met Des and Cathy who were manning the desk along with some others clocking everyone in. A big job.

All those white things

That night I bumped into lots of people I knew which was fantastic, including Rodger and Diane who were parked right next door. I knew Rodger from his time as Custodian at the Ardmore Park. A great guy who most will know from the park and has been involved in several of the Covi shows parking at Ellerslie.

Tokoroa’s main street is undergoing some major road works so the original plan of opening the gates at 11am was quickly found to be impractical as the Motorhomes and Caravans starting queing earlier than planned.ย  In the interests of safety and not cloggging up the main street, the decision was made to open early and get everyone safely parked.

I was in the main carpark making sure Motorhomes and Caravanners took a wide track so they could line up correctly for the entrance.

That carpark filled up around 11:30 so we started the other paddock. While another friend who I was pleased to see, Alan marked out several rows of new parking sites, I stood in the entrance way and directed them in. Others were parking them as they came onto the field. Everyone pitched in and we covered each other for cups of tea and lunch breaks etc..

The second park with the first in the distance behind…

It was a fun day and there were no disasters either which was a bonus ๐Ÿ™‚ So after starting about 9am, most of us had finished about 4pm, we think we parked about 400 odd Motorhomes and Caravans !ย  Fortunately it got warmer as the day went on starting out around 5 degrees !

Raffle winner

It was time for the first Happy Hour of the event and that was held in the Events Centre main hall which is HUGE! One of the biggest Happy Hours I’ve ever been to.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

At 7pm there was a show from a solo performer Ebonivory Neville Ormsby where many got up onto the dance floor. Very slick too from a one man show. And this was just Day One!

Dancing
Rafe’s Tracker map to the Event.

The Motorhome Surgery

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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A decapitated Luton restored

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.

Chris Cunard

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!

Room for the slideout with the wheelchair Galley

A lot ofย  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.

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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

Stairway to Heaven

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.