Thursday, October 11, 2012

Bringing Betty Home...

Maleny - Jervis Bay, NSW Return (2,400kms in 3 days!)

The 1963 Sunliner I bought six months ago has been sitting in storage in NSW and with a quote of $4,000 to have it transported back to Queensland, and a rusted out chassis, an alternative means of bringing her home was needed.
Funny how often what I am doing with my vans echoes the restoration tips in Vintage Caravan Magazine lately! (The last one was on transporting your vintage caravan - Thanks for the great advice Richard)
So, with the loan of a car trailer and blankets and pillows piled into the back of the Commodore, we set off from Maleny at about 2pm on Monday.  I did the first half of the drive and Noddy took over from there doing the long hard stretch through Sydney into the wee hours of the morning.
We arrived at Jervis Bay at 4am local time (3am QLD time - why oh why don't we have daylight savings time here too???) and pulled up in the carpark right on the bay overlooking the ocean and crashed out for some well-earned zzzz's.
We awoke at 9am and admired our prime real estate position (wow, did we really sleep that long in a public carpark taking up around 6 bays with the car trailer without anyone moving us on? Awesome!) 

Some locals turned up and told us that 30 whales had been spotted coming into Jervis Bay so I grabbed the camera and we walked down the rocks to check it out.  There was no sign of the whales, but there were dolphins swimming around and I was trying very hard to take photos of them when I took one step too many and ended up tumbling 3 metres down a rock wall and straight into the ocean and oyster laden rocks, ouch!!!!  The ambulances were called and it was all very dramatic but I was, apart from plenty of nasty bruises and cuts, surprisingly relatively injury free - I have always been quite convinced I am unbreakable! 
Here is a blurry photo of one of the dolphins that I managed to get off the memory card.  The camera and my i-phone that was in my pocket were destroyed in the fall unfortunately.

And a few nice pics of Jervis Bay that I took at the same time:

The pic I took just before I fell showing what I tumbled down and into!

Once it had been determined that my painfully bruised and swollen leg was not broken, we set off to pick up the Sunliner from Ray's Hot Rod workshop in Huskisson and the caravan was forklifted onto the car trailer backwards as the extended draw bar was very heavy and the boys decided it would be better going on the back of the trailer instead of at the front.

Some gruesome shots of my oyster cut hands taken with Noddy's phone while I watched them loading the van:

Van all loaded, we hit the road again with Noddy taking the first half while I iced my leg and bemoaned my injuries and Sydney traffic.  We stopped at a rest stop along the way and met a lovely couple Cheryl and Andy who were free camping on their way to Tasmania who loved the Sunliner and so I gave them a copy of the magazine to enjoy on their travels. After he had done around 7 hours straight driving, we stopped for some dinner in Kempsey and I took over the wheel from there to Nigel and Linda's Glen Villa Resort caravan park in Byron Bay.  We arrived there at 2am and didn't want to wake them so we slept outside and surprised them in the morning and had a bite to eat with them at the very funky Bay leaf Cafe (mmmmm.. lots of vegetables and real fruit juice was much appreciated after a couple of days of service station pies!)

Then it was off again back home to Maleny, dropping the newly christened "Betty Page Turner" (a name that is the result of combining two pinup goddesses; Bettie Page and Lana Turner that seemed appropriate for a portable magazine office!) down at Beerwah where she will be getting a makeover in time for the next big trip to Victoria in 3 weeks for her debut at the Camperdown Cruise Rockabilly Festival... fingers crossed!

We made it!

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

New additions to the VCM family

The Vintage Caravan Family keeps growing...

Two new additions recently joined the Vintage Caravan Magazine stable.  Both in need of restoration, I thought I'd introduce them here so you can see the "before" shots!

Firstly let me introduce the as yet un-named 1963 Sunliner:

She is about to undergo a complete chassis and drawbar rebuild as she had quite a bit of rust underneath and the tow coupling had been completely cut off. I'm still brain-storming on ideas for colours and styles for her, I think it will come to me when we get to spend a bit more time with her...

Love the cool quilted ceiling - reminds me of the inside of those old prams!

Then there's Rosie, we picked this little cutie up from the Salvation Army in Reno

Can you believe it? They sell cars there! It was sitting in the lot across the road from the Hot August Nights swap meet and as we left, I spotted her instantly.  Initially I just wanted to get a photo of her, but she proved to be so irresistible that  I couldn't bear the thought of letting anyone else get her. So now we have a Reno baby as well!

Lisa Loves Rosie!

She had been towed in that morning but her tyres were very perished and cracked, so we put some brand new tyres and wheels on her, drove her down to the DMV to get her inspected and walked out with brand new Nevada plates to put on her.
Rosie is a 1949 Crown trailer made expressly for Al Rose the Trailer King (according to her her ID badge near the door)
These types of aluminium caravans (or trailers as they call them in the U.S.) are commonly known as "Canned Hams" due to their rounded shape. Rosie is 12-foot long and surprisingly roomy and high inside.

She's a bit shabby inside and has some water damage to the interior walls, so a lot of them will need to be replaced, but we're lucky that all the internal fittings and fixtures are still there, so it shouldn't be too hard to fix her up again.

She even has all her original light fittings, very retro cool!

And look what we found inside!
A cool old kerosene lamp
And a canned ham! Really!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Journey Home

Via Mudgee, Tenterfield & Mt Tamborine (1,300km) 2nd - 6th May
So I've been a bit busy getting issue 8 off the print and didn't get a chance to write up the second half of the story... and there will be a write up in issue 8 about  the Vintage Caravan Nationals and our crazy road trip.

After having had a nice porridge-on-the-BBQ breakfast at the trusty Lions rest stop, we refuelled and set off from Merriwa towards Wellington.  With only 350km to go to get to the Cowra Van Park this was to be a relatively easy driving day.

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By the time we got to Wellington we thought we'd stop for a bite to eat and as we ventured back onto main roads I said: "I bet we start seeing some vintage vans soon".
Then, lo and behold who should we see sitting parked on the side of the road, but some of the south east Queensland vintage caravan contingent who also had stopped for some lunch. It was awesome to be able to introduce Noddy to them and find he already knew John & Di Adams and so we all convoyed together for the last leg of the journey to the Vintage Caravan Nationals. We took lots of video on our trip and you can check out this part of the journey HERE

We spent 4 days at the Vintage Caravan Nationals, and had some great fun and got to check out around 130 other gorgeous caravans and our SEQ mob were by far the rowdiest at night!
We left Cowra on Wednesday just after sharing yet another yummy $5 lunch at the Cowra pub with them before hitting the road again for Mudgee to visit one of Noddy's old flatmates from years ago.  As had been the way for most of our journey thus far, the sunshine only stopped when it was time to pack up and go and so it was a gloomy day for driving, but we didn't have far to go, so we decided to take the car and the caravan for a blat around the Mt Panorama race track at Bathurst which was a real highlight despite crappy conditions.
One thing I have to say about this trip is that I have never laughed so much in my life as I have done on this trip. Noddy is a great travel mate, and we just cracked each other up all the time.
You can check out our Bathurst lap video HERE

That night we stayed at the Mudgee caravan park and were invited back for a scrummy home cooked roast meal which was a real treat.
In the morning we set off early with a massive 600k's ahead of us to get to Tenterfield via Tamworth where we finally got some photos of the van with the big Golden Guitar to add to my collection of "the-van-and-the-big..." photos (which incidentally is getting almost impressively as large as the "things" themselves! Might be a good subject for a future post there!)

At Armidale we refuelled again (both car and us) and then the momentous time came, when after a quick lesson on the do's and don'ts of caravan driving, I finally handed the reins to Noddy and let him drive the last 200k's as I was getting tired.
That night we parked the van in my friend Danielle's yard and she made us some super yummmy cold pressed fruit and vege juices that really perked us up for the last leg to Mt Tamborine for Garterbelts & Gasoline Noastalgia Festival, an easy 250km drive. Noddy, still hell bent on spotting a Kangaroo was certain the back road from Warwick to Beaudesert was the the perfect location and kept his eyes firmly on the fields around us. I, as the driver, was not so keen to come across a kangaroo, but when Skippy finally made his appearance with 3 bold leaps across the road in front of the truck that was just in front of us, he completely missed it! It was hilarious!
We arrived at Mt Tamborine Showgrounds at around 2pm and set up camp before heading off for a lovely pasta meal and then to the Rockabilly meltdown for some long-awaited dancing.

The next day we took the car for a carwash and picked up some astro turf for our display and stall as there was no way I was having thousands of red-mud footprints inside my caravan.
I then had a pinup photo shoot with Mitzi who had come all the way from U.S.A for the festival so it was a real treat to have my hair and make up done by the lovely Miss Candice and we had lots of fun in the caravan getting some super cute shots. I haven't seen then yet but when I do I'll post some here but here's a pic of me heading out for more dancing afterwards with my fancy hairdo & make up - Woot woot!


We had an awesome day at the Sunday car show and the VCM stall was very busy with hundreds of people coming to check out "Vicky" the caravan. Noddy took this awesome shot of it in the early morning light and it looks quite magical. I do so love my little road tripping home!

 On Sunday night we packed it all up and set off home to Maleny, with 3,000km of road tripping, 6 destinations and 2 events behind us and big smiles form ear to ear. And I can't wait to do it all again...

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Mad Road Tripping again

Maleny, QLD – Merriwa, NSW via Byron Bay (911km)
25th – 28th April 2012 

Yeeha! Back on the road after a long time between caravan trips and Vicky is happy, happy happy!
Noddy arrived from New Zealand on Tuesday night.  On Wednesday morning I surprised him by taking him for a cruise in the Cresta and taking part in the Maleny Anzac day Parade.  Once the van was all packed and lots of home baked snacks packed into the car, we set off.  
Our first destination was the relatively cruisy journey down the Bruce Highway to Byron Bay – about 260km.  I had phoned ahead to the Glen Villa Resort and booked in and it was great fun surprising hosts Linda and Nigel who had done the Kiwis on Route 66 Tour with Noddy last year who had no idea he was even coming to Australia.  

The two days and nights we spent in Byron Bay were heavenly with perfect weather and clear blue skies making for a perfect relaxing wind down before the mega drive part of the journey began.

On Friday we set off south again to Grafton and then veered west towards Glen Innes. Couldn’t believe our eyes when we saw a sign saying “Hanging Rock”… could it be? 

We stopped and asked some road worker guys if this was the very same hanging rock of the Picnic at Hanging Rock movie.  No, they said, but it was pretty nice and well worth the detour down the 12km road to check it out. Had we not heard of the infamous Cangai Siege? They asked.  Apparently some murderer guys dug themselves into a hole to hide out there, they said. But when the cops came they came out with their guns blazing.  They said that you can also camp there, but we had plans to keep going to Tamworth, so we made the detour just for fun.

The next thing you know we’re so off the beaten track it’s not even funny. The narrow winding road turned to gravel and over cattle grids and up and down dale with not a single rock face in sight. We drove over the most rattly low-lying railway sleeper bridge I have ever seen which was hilarious.  

Then we went up over yet another hill and… could that be it? The famed “Hanging Rock"????

... Probably not! 

It was an interesting detour that took up a valuable 2 hours of our time and a quarter of a tank of our fuel but we got some great photos of the Mann River and surrounds and it is certainly a beautiful place of the world even if there is no actual hanging rock – that’s just the name of the cattle station.

Sometime towards Tamworth I decided that I’d rather keep pushing through to lessen the load on the Saturday drive and get us into the Vintage Caravan Nationals in Cowra and so we drove on past Tamworth (we’ll get he “caravan and the big guitar” shot on the way home) and on towards Muswellbrook. It was here that things went decidedly pear-shaped when the GPS decided that instead of driving on to Muswellbrook, turning right onto a very small sign posted road towards a place called Merriwa was the best route. Not!!!!! Pitch-blackness surrounded us and stretched ahead as far as the eye could see and I had a very bad feeling. Noddy assured me it would be fine and so I drove cautiously on into the blackness. About 20km down and the road turned to the worst, most pot-holed gravel road I have ever driven on deep into the hills and forests. This did not feel good at all! With a speed limit of around 30kph about as fast as this road would allow without a 4 wheel drive and with a caravan in tow, and at this point getting rather weary after 11 hours straight of driving, it was getting hard to see the humour, but somehow we did. Noddy was an awesome co-pilot and if not for his batty jokes and neck massages as I drove, I probably would have cried!

Lisa loves Noddy!

We arrived at Merriwa at around 10pm and found an awesome roadside rest stop that just happened to have unlocked toilets, an electric BBQ and free unsecured Wi-Fi access thanks to the El Dorando Motel across the road! We pulled up here and cooked up the pot of vege soup I had pre-made and fried up some garlic bread on the BBQ before tucking in for the night.

We woke up this morning surrounded by shiny white Jayco Expanda Vans and 4 wheel drives who were setting off on their way to Ayers Rock and the sight of Vicky and the Commodore covered in cow poo and red dust sitting in amongst them had me singing “One of these things is not like the other one, one of these things is not the same….”
Now we’ve had our hot porridge breakfast and had some online time, so now it’s time to drive on to Cowra. Loving the road tripping life and loving having someone so awesome to share it with even more….

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Twilight Hot Road Show Take 2

Rocklea Showground - March 18th, 2012

It's been a while between blogs and that's because most of my writing about my adventures tends to end up in my Vintage Caravan Magazine these days!

But, every now and then I get to let loose, forget about work for a bit and just go to an event for the fun of it. Not that events aren't always fun, but I often spend so much time taking photos, talking to customers, selling mags and taking notes for future stories, that I sometimes feel like I just want to chill out some more and enjoy it for no other reason than because I can...

Twilight Take 2 was that moment. Having literally just sent our bumper 1st birthday issue to print hours before, and having pulled off a series of mammoth all-nighters to do so, this little editor needed to shake her sillies out and switch work mode off for a change.

Big Sandy and the temptation of the dancefloor saw me cruise down to Brisbane with assurances that the rain would not interrupt play. I picked up my partner in outrageousness; Miss Pinup Australia finalist Scarlet Tinkerbell who was also decked out in a sensational black, white and red number that nicely complemented the red & white polka dotted ensemble that I had chosen. (I can't help it, I'm dotty for dots!)

We had great fun hitting up all the fabulous market stalls and checking out some very cool cars and Scarlet introduced me to her Friend Xymantha Marie who, with her Mum Marianne runs Rockababy Couture - makers of some very tempting retro gear. I couldn't resist this fluffy leopard print shawl with a big black satin bow for only $25 - who says polka dots and animal print can't work? I'm all for mixing things that you'd never expect to see together - anyone who's seen inside my caravan will tell you that! Besides, it went with my dancing shoes!

I also bought a super cute pink and white spotted dress from another stall that I wore the next day and when I spotted (get it? spotted!) this hot EH on the way back from the printers a hilarious sneaky photo opportunity was too hard to resist. I'm cracking up because I was hoping the owner wouldn't see me do it!

Anyway, I had a blast at the Twilight Hot Rod Show and the weather held off for us too. I shopped, I met some very cool new people, and I really enjoyed Big Sandy's 80's rockabilly style - very danceworthy!  Although some of the slower stuff I found a bit too "country" for my liking... I know there's a fine line between rockabilly and country, and the overlap is there, but to my ears and feet they are a world apart! Give me a decent beat, some happy rhymes and a cute rockabilly man to lead me and I'm twirling like a manic Dervish!