The last few months have been something of an hiatus for us as we regroup at the home base, attend to a bit of maintenance … for the vehicle, van and person, and to enjoy the gathering of family of the Christmas Season, listening to the noise of Grandies, the gossip of our brood and the ‘putting into order’ that which a household needs from time to time.
Last year… 2017, was a busy year that saw us enjoying a sojourn in beautiful southern corner of WA and Perth, then out to crossing the Central Desert Region along the Outback Way, a bit of the Gunbarrel and the Great Central Road, along with our adventures into the beautiful red gems of Harts Range.
It was the gold of the ancient, now weathered flat, volcanic range in the never regions of the remote eastern section of Western Australia’s plateau lands that first drew us. Along with the promise of beautiful garnets of Harts Range in the Northern Territory. Those gems that come in many shades and colours, as well as the occasional fleck of gold to be found there and varied shades of zircon etc; and it has truly been a lot of fun. This was how we planned our trip across the continent through the heart, and heat of Central Australia, which you can read about in past posts.
I also learnt something else important, as you do when you travel, that it isn’t the strength of your caravan to withstand the corrugations and pitfalls of the road, but it is also about your other equipment. In a sentence… We did our fridge in… And for those who have followed our journey, you will know that I have a love hate relationship with our fridge. We had been getting on very well since we upped the ante’ with more solar panels and a visit to the wiz men of ‘all things solar’. Life has been good and we can even leave our mobile home to run itself for extended periods.. all on its little own. The true value of being truly self-empowered and self-sufficient.
Now about this fridge… it is a big blighter, one of the biggest in the range and it is a wiz-bang compressor fridge suited to our rambling and ranging lifestyle. It works wonderfully in all heat extremes and I do love its efficiency. No gas supply to worry about… no concerns about levels of the camp, or being plugged into power, it is truly a wonder. But in design they made a blunder… one the the new model addresses this, but of course it took getting the newer model to discover it. On the rough roads of the Outback and Central Desert region… way out in the never-never, literally, it all came a-cropper. Our beloved and much maligned (in the past) fridge, which we had painstakingly finally reached a understanding with, died. What we were left with was a oversized esky, and for those who have struggled to keep ice up to a large redundant esky in the desert, you will understand our frustrations. There is a reason why I only buy ‘cryovac’ed meat’ and for this practice and habit I was truly grateful, as meat when cryovac’ed survives for a considerable time in chilled conditions, as opposed to frozen. With several days, if not weeks, supply of meat on board and a fridge that turned its toes up unexpectedly in the desert regions, it was something that was a godsend in practice.
The problem was, when you freeze stuff it becomes a large, solid, heavy brick; particularly meat. The winding gas lines of a fridge/freezer unit are those wiggly metal encased cords that wiggle about over the freezer/fridge wall and in the case of the freezer, of necessity they wiggle over the floor of the freezing unit. When you get a heavy brick, continually pounding of the floor of the freezing unit as you travel over literally hundreds if not thousands of kilometres of corrugated, outback roads, they do tend to eventually rupture that metal rope of a gas line. Then the fridge dies…
The new fridge has a rack elevated just above these gas lines on the floor if the freezer and the problem is addressed, but it is something that everyone should be aware of… particularly if you spend as much time off-road as we do. The new fridge is a big black monster that sits neatly in its place and I do love it. Our relationship is growing and were becoming good pals quite quickly. The black reflective door surprisingly adds light to the interior space and offers a new surface to look at. I am also in the process of new covers, curtains and the like to lift the interior for the pleasure of it. I’m coming to terms with the finger marks on that shiny surface, and the catches are new and improved… there are a few other handy and nifty additions, but all in all, it’s a $4000 investment in home maintenance.
It has bought to mind those twats who maintain that we ‘live freeloading on others’ when we are camped up in the bush or at a rest area or free-camp while we enjoy camps throughout the nation that offer us the freedoms of the land we so love to explore. Not a fan of the caravan parks, which have become more entertainment centres for families on holiday, I will now add these expenses to the like of ‘maintaining a house’ and home base (which we also do). Perhaps I could send the ‘you’re freeloading camp’ the bills we accrue in ‘freeloading’, particularly those incurred as we support the many businesses, towns and interests, across the land. We’re a running household, with running expenses just like everyone else. The only difference is that we are mobile, as were people many a millennia and more before us, throughout this land. It is those who complain about our very freedoms that are the newcomers to our now commercially orientated world, and their opinion is commonly, very self-interested.
The celebration of Australia Day recently has bought reminders that it is all about our ‘Love of Land and Freedom’ which is what we celebrate. As did the convicts and some of the local Eora tribal people who lived in and around Sydney… yes they joined in as well, even celebrating the first consequent marriage between a white man and a native woman of the tribes, which is something we are not often reminded of. This, on the first day all the travellers and convicts finally off-loaded from the ships and set an unsteady foot on these shores to begin the building of a unified Nation from the foundation of a penal colony of outcasts. This is the beginning of what is quintessentially Australian, and what we, as a free people of all races and creeds, continue celebrate on the 26th of January, typically by having a bbq or picnic.
It is our freedom that we love the most, the freedom of all people, regardless of the tone of their skin, their culture or their faith. And into the future we will continue to travel as a Nation, and as a free people. Free to mould and change our world as we go, particularly where we find injustice. Now that is truly worth cerebrating and this is also what it is to be quintessentially Australian.
Jan is a Traveller and an Author. You can find out more about her books on travel on the page dedicated to Oldies at Large, where you will also find a list of her blog postings in topic
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