Archive for June, 2010

142. Sunday 27th June 2010. Where were we? a leak and a visit from friends…


Last week I got the bright idea I should re-visit where we were this time last year. In fact I should have been doing the re-visiting thing since about March.

This week I will re-visit where we were at this time in 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009.

In 2005 we were slowly working our way home from Cooktown, stopping at Granite Gorge in the Atherton district. We also visited Mungalli Dairy, also in the Atherton District. While at the dairy we tasted Quark, a soft cheese made from water buffalo milk. A couple of weeks ago while watching an episode of the Italian Food Safari, they visited Mungalli Dairy where they are now making a silky smooth Mozarella cheese. It was quite exciting to see the cheese making room exactly as we saw it 5 years ago but now churning out a popular and sought after cheese. We continued down the Great Dividing Range staying one night at Henrietta Falls above Innisfail and another night at Murray Falls near Cardwell. That was our first big trip in our first motorhome, a converted Toyota Coaster bus.

In 2006 we camped at the Proserpine Rally and even now my recollection is one of disappointment. Not so much about the location or the people attending or the cameraderie. It was just disappointment it was done with few helpers, no financial assistance, and little in the way of organised activities.

In 2008 we camped on the banks of Marion Creek a 40 minute drive south of Sarina With a turn off at Ilbilbie which is nothing more than a petrol station and a railway siding. This location will feature a little further in this entry.

2009 was at O’Connell River and we had many people, members of the CMCA, turn up and somehow Sandra, the then Chapter president fed 68 people for $5 each.

Now we have to talk about “the leak” in WWWGO. On the last weekend away Donnis found our pantry had water in the shelves. Huh! Where did that come from? Perhaps somehow it came from the TV aerial handle which leaked a couple of months ago. I had placed a plastic bag over the handle to catch any leaks. Nope! It was dry. I thought perhaps it was a bottle of mineral water which had leaked but neither of us could recall taking a half empty bottle of mineral water out of the pantry?

Hmmm? I checked all the obvious places and checked for leaks and water trails and damp timber. Nothing.

So when we came home and parked I thought that was that.

It wasn’t!

It rained Wednesday night and Donnis went to WWWGO Thursday morning and found our bed was wet! Water was still dripping from the top of the pantry shelf, over the edge down the pantry wall onto an official Winnebago clock, around the outside of the clock face, dripped off the bottom onto the blade of our Caframo fan where it splashed and dripped onto the bed. WTF!.

As near as she could tell it was coming from under the panelling which stores our clothes in an overhead locker. I checked it that night by CSI style torchlight. Yep it is coming from there alright but the locker is dry as is the partition on the inside of the locker. I did find a piece of timber framework which appeared damp. On the roof is a plate which the TV cable runs into and down to the connection inside. That seemed to be where the water was coming from. Further investigation would have to wait until daylight on Saturday.

OK. Daylight Saturday revealed what I expected. Where the TV cable enters a plate into the roof, the silicon sealant had broken away from the roof and was allowing water to find its way in. Well… at least that is my verdict for now. I climbed up on the roof and liberally sealed all around the cable with silicon. A few hours later I poured water on and around the sealant. No leak so far.

I also decided, on Saturday to raise the rear mud flaps by a bit more than an inch. Reversing on uneven ground the mud flaps can run under the wheels and cause damage. See my report from  (131. Sunday 11th April 2010. Grumble, moan, rant…)

So when I crawled under WWWGO and started to take off the bolts I learnt my first lesson. The mud flaps on the drivers side are held in place with stainless steel bolts while those on the passenger side are held in place with rivets. WTF.

The second lesson was the stainless steel bolts instead of being selected for correct size were originally much longer and had been cut to length with a pair of bolt cutters or similar. That makes it a bit difficult to thread the nut!

The sheared off with bolt cutters bolt is on the left. You can see just how difficult it would be threading the nut onto the shaft compared to the new bolt on the right. Why oh why do "tradesmen" do "professional jobs like this? Do they just hand over to the apprentice and hope nobody will notice? Do they think they are saving money? How much harder is it to shear off a bolt and struggle to fit a nut than to use a properly sized bolt?

So, at about this point I feel a rant coming on… How does a supposedly professional outfit, such as Winnebago or whoever worked on the mudflaps including the jerks I employed at Big Wheels in Mackay, how do they justify using inapropriate materials to carry out a “professional” installation or repair job?  In an aside rant it galls me to see “professional” builders who use their electrical screw drivers to instal screws. Looking closely the screws are all put in on an angle and do not fit snugly into the recessed hole in say the hinges. Anyway back to my mudflaps.

I spent a good part of Saturday and Sunday under WWWGO. For the sake of less than $3.00 I bought 8 stainless steel bolts and nuts and washers and re-installed the mudflaps so they now sit almost 3 inches off the ground. Crawling around underneath to drill holes and insert bolts was no fun and I have a stiff neck as a result. I do feel good about the finished job.

Finally, friends Geoff & Margaret were due to arrive this weekend. They asked me if I knew any good freedom campsites between St.Lawrence and Mackay. I mentioned if the road was open, Notch Point might be worth having a look. We have never been to Notch Point so it was a bit of a guess. We received a Skype call from Geoff Saturday morning. “Thanks for the tip Matey. We are at Notch Point and could not have asked for a better campsite so will stay a few days – up to a week.” With the good sunny weather they are in heaven especially as they left southern New South Wales to escape the cold, wind and rain.

The turn off to Notch Point is at Ilbilbie and follows the same gravel road we travel to reach the campsite at Marion Creek. The Notch Point property is about 1Klm further on from our campsite.

We will now catch up with them next weekend.

141. Sunday 20th June 2010. Another working week and a Sugarloafers weekend at O’Connell River.


Nothing earth shattering or unusual to report at work this week.

Uh.Well. My sister Bev and husband Peter along with their youngest, Mitchell and his girlfriend are visiting for two nights next month. I applied for a days leave so I could spend a whole day with them. On Friday I received an email to advise the annual Show Day will be a regular work day for us. However we have a day in lieu to be taken between now and the end of July. I asked for the Monday after Bev’s visit. That will give me a 4 day long weekend. It also happens to be the Sugarloafers weekend at Boulder Creek. Bev and family fly out on the Saturday so after they leave we will have an extra two days camping out.

Donnis thought it would be nice to drive to O’Connell River on Friday evening. She prepared a large Lasagne for us to have for dinner after we arrived. I had forgotten that this weekend, large numbers of travellers would be camped out with us. On arrival, in darkness, I noticed all the rigs along the road verges. I found a place to drive off the road, threaded between a couple of other rigs and pulled up for the night. We were roughly level so turned off the motor, handbrake on and stepped back to the living area to prepare dinner.

This is where we arrived in the dark and this where we stayed parked all weekend.

It was quite cool when we arrived and Donnis startede sneezing. Not a good sign. The sneezing became more frequent and more violent. Kleenex tissues were being used at an alarming rate and her eyes were swelling up and watering. By the time we finished dinner she was exhausted from sneezing so got into her jammies and rugged up in bed. Keeping warm is the trick. We had no anti histamine medication on board and resolved to walk around camp the next day and ask for some hay fever or allergy medication. I managed to get her three tablets including one Phenergan which was used to give her a full nights sleep on Saturday.

The damage from cyclone Ului, this far inland was quite evident including the height of the water level in the river. The damage to the road, part of which, just a little way past our campsite had been washed away. Repair work is still be carried out.

Some of the 38 rigs. Note how many are parked right on the edge of the road! There is a reasonable amount of traffice along this road and each vehicle or motorcycle kicks up a cloud of dust. They all used the excuse they need to be in full sun to charge the batteries via solar panels.

Saturday Donnis found enough energy to join Joan and George for a walk. We walked passed where the road was obviously washed away and is being rebuilt. They have built a sloping rock wall in filled in with road base. This looks to me like a substantial piece of engineering and appears to be much stronger than I have ever seen it. A new channel, to a depth of around 4metres has been dredged through the river stones.

The rest of the weekend I spent doing what I usually do. Socialising, walking, talking, eating, resting and listening to others. Donnis spent most of her time rugged up in bed feeling tired and miserable although for a few hours each day the sun streamed in through the window onto the bed.

Sunday morning a local family spent hours in the swimming hole with their dogs. The young daughter just spent so much time swinging out over the river on a rope swing while a few of the brave southern visitors also swam in the clear clean water.

The swimming hole below the campsite.

Many of our Sugarloafers were away travelling so we were outnumbered by visitors this weekend. On a good weekend we will have around 20 Sugarloafers. This weekend we have 38 rigs and probably only a third were Sugarloafers.

140. Monday 14th June 2010. Repairs, maintenance, gardening and beards…


This weeks report is brought to you courtesy of the Queens Birthday Long Weekend. With Donnis working I get a chance to do a few more chores around the place.

It is a long post this week but after all it is a long weekend and I feel like writing.

Donnis bought a couple of cherry red throw rugs and a matching bedspread and fitted sheet for WWWGO. She also bought some cushions with a fashionable red stripe. It sort of brightens up the interior especially as she has used the throw rugs to cover the brown dinette cushions. It really looks bright and modern and lifts our spirit even though they have been tested this weekend.

Please read on…

This week, I tackled the job of repairing the external grab handle with integrated light. This was the second attempt.  I also tried to repair it last week. It does not matter that we have never really used the light, except to switch it on and off occassionaly to check that it is working. It stopped working some months ago. Although we do not use it does not mean we will never use it. It jusk irks me that things which should work, do not. Therefore, I must fix it. Somewhere in the future we will probably need to use it and I want it to be functioning. Besides, although it irks me that it needs repairing I will take a positive from the event. I am learning a new skill. Or at least expansion of a limited skill.

I have been reading a RV blog on a daily basis for the last 4 years. The blog is written by a US resident and despite the authors penchant for pontificating and self promotion he has visited lots of interesting campsites. He and his wife tow a 38 foot 5th wheel. Most of the time they stay in RV parks with full electric, water and sewer hookups along with their satellite TV, phone and internet service. I still find his daily reports interesting. When something needs repair, whether he employs a tradesman, finds a fellow RVer to do the work or tackles it himself (he is a self confessed unhandy man) he always takes photos of the job before, during and after. So you lucky readers are going to be enriched by my photos of the courtesy light repair. Unlike the US blogger we tend to stay in freedom campsites (boondocking for our US readers) and rarely have a hookup to water, electricity or sewer. In fact mostly there are no facilities.  That means no tv signal, no mobile reception and no internet. For that reason I like to be sure everything works as it should and there is no drain on the batteries. After all we are reliant on battery power recharged by solar panels. The fridge runs on LPG (gas), the same LPG which is used in cooking and also heats our water for showers and washing up.

Don’t forget to click on the images for a larger, clearer view.

This is the grab hande with integrated courtesy light. I will have to break the silicon sealant to remove the handle. The lens cover also is to be removed. It has seen better days and turned opaque so I guess it will not be that long before it turns a sort of powdery brittleness.

The switch on the left with black wires coming out of it is what I replaced last week. The brass fitting on the end of the central black wire is a bit mangled and I suspect is the reason I am not getting a positive voltage to the globe.

Here is a better view of the mangled brass terminal. I will replace it, the base behind it and the spring.

I will join this new fitting to the old black wire.

Positive wires joined. Reading 13.4volts. Ready to place back into position.

Here's proof It works. Now all I need to do is put the lens cover back in place and its all done. An hour later I pressed the button and WHAT THE...! It is not working!!! Good thing I did not reseal with silicon yet. GRRR.

Last week I also bought hinges for the fridge freezer door. I looked at putting them in place but realised I needed to know more before attempting this job. I did not want to cause any damage to the fridge walls, freezer door, fittings or the new springs. I wrote the manufacturer for instructions. They kindly sent instructions complete with photos. Unfortunately it seems to be instructions in Chinese and something is lacking in the translation. I got the gist of the instructions well enough to tackle the job with confidence.

Confidence in theory.

Reality was something else.

Ever had a task which seemed so simple you expected a dream run yet the reality turned into a nightmare?


That’s what happened to me when I tackled the freezer door. Here’s the way it all unfolded. Those lovely instructions said to use a screwdriver to lever out the door, being careful not to damage or scratch the fridge walls. I covered the business end of the screwdriver with black electricians tape. With just a minimum of grunting the door popped out. Great. That was going according to plan. I removed the hinge spring assembly from each side. Hmmm. The left had hinge is painted blue while the right side is painted yellow. OK, memorised that configeration. Now the hinges. One is right side, one is left but which is which? The original had the lugs broken off but I thought I had them in the correct side.


The left hand side of the fridge door fits with a click into the spring assembly. With a bit of grunting and a bit of pressure the right hand side slots into the spring assembly and the door opens and closes as it should but will only stay open. According to the directions I now move the hinge assembly so the lug fits into a slot. As I move the assembly on each side it becomes tighter and tighter and the plastic makes squealing sounds of protest. Try as I might the lugs will not fit into the slot. They are short of the target by about 3mm.

Hmmm. I get the torch and looked closely.

More Hmmm. If those hinges were on opposite sides, the lugs would easily slide into the slots.

@#%^*. I have the hinges on the wrong side!

More grunting and screwdriving follows and I have the door out once again as well as the  hinge and the springs. @#%*! The nylon spring holder is almost totally chewed out. @#%*! the receptable is also chewed out with pieces of plastic falling out of the hinge hole.

@#%*. @#%*. @#%*. SO I reverse the hinges, being sure to keep the blue spring on the left. I can get the left hand side of the door in place but the spring assembly on the right is too badly damaged and will not fit in the hole.

I give up. I go to the camping shop to order two springs. But wait a minute. They are about $40 each. A new door is $80. If the door is complete with springs I am better off buying a door. They will call next week and advise if the door includes springs. In the meantime I do something else and will come back to hinges, springs and door later.


With expert use of a pair of blunt nose pliers and a pair of needle nosed pliers I manage to get the springs off the nylon core and re-attached. I insert the old hinges, the repaired springs and now comes the door. It clicks into the left spring and with a bit of grunting and pressure it fits into the right side. The door opens and closes. Using the hinges to slide into an upright position I can keep the door closed. We are now back to where we were before I started the repair. At least we can go away next weekend and worry about the new spring assembly or door afterwards.

Sunday morning dawned bright and crisp. Although the sun was shining there was a wispy cloud indicating a windy cool day. That was the reality. The wind started about 5.30 and gained in strength and regularity as the morning progressed. The wind is from the south and rather chilly when in the shade. In the kitchen at 9am it was only 16 degrees celsius. Now to some people that is a pleasant summertime temperature. In fact it is a pleasant wintertime temperature as well but that wind sure was chilly. Jeans n jacket day.

One thing I installed without drama was the extension valve for our inner rear tyres. WWWGO is fitted with dual rims on the rear. Getting to the air valve is not easy so I fitted an extension valve. It was easier than I expected. Simply locate the valve, remove the dust cap (the hardest part as you need long thin fingers) screw on the extension valve, tighten with a spanner and the job is done. Now all I need is a re-curve valve for the outer tyre. The problem with this one is the valve faces inwards so getting an extension which curves backwards will be the next task. Getting it to fit will be the hard part.

Extension valve in place. Regretably my tyre shop only had one in stock so we need to order another plus a couple of recurved valves for the outer tyres.

In betweeb bouts of frustration with the repairs and stopping for a wonderful coffe with fresh cream I manage to get a bit of gardening completed. I chainsawed the New Zealand Christmas bush so it is one level. It still gives a measure of privacy but is no longer trying to grow through the roof. I then used the hedge trimmer to tidy it up a bit. Hmmm. Not bad but it will grow and those ugly bits where I cut it back will soon be hidden under fresh foilage. I also repaired the insulation in the garage roof. It was torn when cyclone Ului pushed a tree branch through the roof. The roof plumbers came during the week and finished the roof panels, the gutter and the fascia. Looks good.

In the front yard I tackled the guinea grass, the couch and all the other weedy things growing out of control.

Hmmm. The Pandanus is a bit out of control too. I only want one stem growing so I started cutting it back. It is an impenetrable jungle under the Pandanus leaves which have razor sharp saw tooth edges to the leaves. Good thing I remembered to wear my thick leather gloves.

With the aid of a chainsaw, hedge trimmer, mattock, shovel, long handled pruning shears and smaller shears I am winning the battle but nowhere near finished. On reflection I might just pull out all the Pandanus and replace with something which does not grow rampant. Same goes for the other plants which Donnis loves but which get out of control.

I took a load of green waste to the tip. On the way home I heard an interview with a past Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Jim Soorley. He commented we should not have this holiday weekend and in fact we have too many public holidays and we should have them cut back to 7 or 8.

Hmm. I wonder how that sits with his Labor Party colleagues?

As an employee all my working life I look forward to public holidays. Jim on the other hand is in the business of being an employer. An employer loves working and prefers less public holidays so he can make more money.

Hmmm. I wonder how that sits with his Labor Party colleagues?

So Jim, I did a quick bit of research and came up with the following.


Australia… 14

Inited States.. 16

United Kingdom… 16

France… 18

Italy… 14

South Korea… 11

Japan… 15

Jewish Holiday… 14

Saudi Arabia… 22

New Zealand… 8. Maybe Jim has been comparing OZ to NZ?

Brazil… 12

Spain… 12

So we are maybe about average for public holidays.

As an employee I say Viva La Public Holidays! 

Now we come to the strange part of the title…Beards.

For those who have not seen a photo of ME, I have a beard. Often I go weeks without trimming it. My head hair is relatively straight. Not so the beard. When I first started growing the beard I had visions of a nice straight goatee style. My facial hair obviously has a different set of genetic material to my head hair. For a start my head hair is, as mentioned, straight. It still retains much of its original colour of brown but streaked with grey in a couple of places. I am sometimes asked if I dye or colour my hair. No! Vanity is not a strong feature of my makeup. My facial hair differs from the head hair in that it is more than generously streaked with grey. It is mostly grey. It is also curly. Now this could be a throwback to ancestral genes but let me give you a picture. Last year I grew the beard for three months without a tidy up. It grew and grew in sort of an unruly curly profusion. At all times I expected – especially when I was dressed in black – to hear people calling to me, Hello Rabbi. Or even hurriedly calling Federal Police to report a sighting of Osama Bin laden or one of his henchmen. (In fact this happened while in Tasmania and I must admit dressed in black and with Donnis taking a photo, I do look like a Rabbi but I have not yet told the full story – perhaps if enough readers pressure me I might just tell the story of Frank the Rabbi – that’s Frank the Rabbi thank you very much, not Frank the Rabbit) I am happy to just let it grow with an occassional trim around the mouth area so there is room for food to be inserted. Working in an office I need to present a sometimes tidy appearance so get the electric clippers working roughly once a month.

James is a young work colleague. He has a black goatee style beard which he keeps tidily trimmed every couple of days. (Geez James if I had to tidy and trim every couple of days I would shave off the beard and just shave every day) His beard does look good I must admit. Its style is in a sort of evil King John from Robin Hood movies or the bad guy in Arab costume in an Indiana Jones movie. The beard is black and straight and I suspect is a chick magnet. His beard colour and straightness of hair matches his head hair. James announced he was going to shave off his beard which I think would have been a backward step. The following morning James arrived at work with a savagely trimmed beard, a shadow of its former self but at least it can grow. So while he looks like the evil King John ready to swordfight his way up and down stairs and through several rooms with Robin Hood he still has his beard.

 I look like I am just about to head off to daily prayers.


139. Sunday 6th June 2010. No repairs this week but still wash, dry, polish on, polish off…


WWWGO really sparkles. Well if not sparkles, shines in sunlight whereas before I think it was absorbing sunlight. More about that below.

This week I started making plans to go to the Palm Creek Folk Music Festival at…err…um…Palm Creek, of all places! The Festival is spread over 4 days on the Queens Birthday long weekend. That is, next weekend. As with most plans it starts in my mind, I do the research, weigh up possibilities and probabilities, work out a travel plan and get it set in my mind before sharing it with Donnis and getting her final seal of approval. I was pretty sure that would be forthcoming as she loves the music festivals. In fact she loves almost any community gathering. It was about Thursday when she told me she was not working over the long weekend and to make some plans.

So I did.

Sometime on Saturday I was ready to share the festival weekend plans with her. You see with her work committments we sometimes only see each other for a short while some days, so it was Saturday arvo before we had some time to sit down and share a beer and catch up. I started outlining the plans to go away. She then said that from Monday she was working 10 days straight, including 4 night shifts.

We are no longer going away next weekend.

Boo Hoo Hoo Hoo Hoo.

Now I will have to make some solo plans for next weekend that probably means lots of intense work in the garden which has been mostly neglected for months.

Now to the title. Last weekend, after two days of hard yakka, by myself I managed to wash and polish WWWGO front cab, one side and a small section of the back. I spoke with a work colleague, Brian L and asked what his weekend plans were then invited him to come to our house and help me with the polishing. Quite bluntly after last weekend I was quite worn out especially using the heavy polisher. I asked Brian because he has been with the office about 5 weeks and is living here alone. He is separated from his wife and two daughters who have gone back to southern NSW near the Victorian  border. I am unsure how Brian fills his weekends but thought I would reach out and have him spend a day with us and helping me.

By the time Brian arrived Saturday morning I had started washing WWWGO, had brought eveything we need and had it in place. Within minutes of his arrival I had him armed with a chamois and we were both drying WWWGO. It was obvious how badly it needs a polish. The water would just run down the wall in a sheet whereas on the polished side the water run into rivulets down the sides.

We left WWWGO to finish drying in the sun while we stopped for a coffee then the work began again in earnest. First the top of the rear curvature which had to be polished while perched on the roof. Then using our fold up scaffolding I put the polish on a small section, wait 15 minutes for it to dry then send Brian in with polisher to buff it up. While he was doing that I was setting up another section of polish on. Even with teamwork we did not finish until late in the day. Thank goodness for Brian otherwise I would have spent the whole weekend polish on polish off by myself.

On Sunday I decided to put velcro dots on a box of Kleenex and stick it to the cab roof above our heads. It seems, especially when I am driving alone, I need a Kleenex to blow my nose. Of course the box has slid under Donnis seat somewhere and is unreachable. By sticking the box above our heads it will always be handy.

Great theory.

It keeps falling off.


Beside the entrance doorway is a grab handle with integrated light. (doncha just love that phrase? “Integrated light”) The integrated light has not worked for some time. In fact the little switch, which is covered by a little waterproof bonnet gets stuck in the on or off position. Last weekend I decided to pull it all apart. In so doing the switch itself went “sproing” and so I bought a new switch because in the process of going “sproing” it was apparent the wiring was corroded and just looking for an excuse to fall apart. This weekend I planned to put it all back together. On my first attempt little bits n pieces sort of fell onto the ground but on clicking the switch, the globe illuminated. WOW! It works. Then after putting it all together, tightening screws and so forth it does not work. Getting out my trusty volt meter, which I am still learning to use, I tried to measure the current. Hmmm. Sometimes 14v sometimes nil. The little brass fitting on the end seems the most likely culprit but without something to replace it I will have to pay an auto electrician $75 an hour plus 12 cents worth of materials. Only one thing to do. Put it all back together, re-seal so no moisture can get inside  (and just to make it tougher for me to take off when I next tackle this simple job) and try again when I am relaxed. Perhaps next weekend when I should be gardening.

Note to self. Buy the litting brass fitting or in worst case scenario the whole fitting during the week.

Next job. Replace the plastic, sprung hinge fittings on the Dometic Refrigerator freezer door. Hmmm. No obvious way to remove the door to replace the hinge without possibly breaking something else.

Note to self. Contact Dometic during the week for instructions. With a strike rate of minus 2 out of 2 on simple repair jobs I was not prepared to make it minus three out of three.

Went to remove the bedding and noticed it was wet, quite wet, in one place. Just underneath the  TV aerial wind up handle which I thought I had fixed several weeks ago and saving $75 by not buying a new fitting. It rained during the week and after 2 weekends of washing, somehow, somewhere the water got in. Hmmm.

Note to self. Re-investigate the fitting in daylight next weekend before spending $75 on a new part. In the meantime I put a plastic bag, held in place with an elastic band around the fitting – just in case it rains or I lose my marbles and wash WWWGO again.

Eagerly seeking positives with negatives all around me I resolved the following.

WWWGO has been washed, polished and looks great – positive.

Need something stronger than velcro dots to hold an amazingly heavy box of Kleenex upside down. – Positive. Learnt something.

Need a new part for the light fitting. Positive. Learnt how to take apart, put back together and waterproof seal so I can do it all again next weekend.

Waiting on instructions from Dometic – Positive. Did not break something else.

Not cowed by the leaking TV aerial handle. – Positive. Seeking to identify where the leak occurs before spending big dollars which I may not need to spend.

Gee next weekends report is already prepared. I just need to report on the success of my efforts.

See ya then.