Saturday, 30 August 2014

Trip summary

Well the trip is now complete, I would love to say the same for cleaning.  That red dust does get everywhere, not even the pressure washer at the local car wash gets it all out.  The long, slow way is best to get the job done ... might take a few more weekends though.

Some statistics from the trip:

Total days on the road: 63
Kilometers travelled: 11028
Average fuel: 13.71
Best Average Fuel usage: 10.2
Worst Average Fuel usage: 19.8
Most expensive fuel purchased: Seisa $2.30. ( Although most expensive was seen at Bamaga - $2.45, just 6 kilometers away go figure!)
Cheapest Fuel: Townsville $1.51

Number of 1 night stays: 18 
Numbers of 2 night stays: 6
Numbers of 3 night stays: 6
Number of 4 night stays: 1
Total setups: 31

costs : came out at approximately $125 per day.  This includes fuel, food, accommodation and entertainment.  Will need to cater for home based bills such as insurance, rego etc when we out the budget together for the next big trip.

Still working on the trip log with a map of where we went ...

It was certainly a trip that we won't forgot any time soon, so many fantastic places from the mountains on the coast, the flat plains of the cape and the even flatter but just as stunning plains out west.  A fantastic state to visit.  I am sure that we will be back sometime to explore further.

There was of course, things that worked really well and things we still need to think about.  This is the shakedown trip to iron out all the issues in preparation for the big lap in 2016. Below is a list of stuff that fits into each category.

Stuff we learnt:
Free camps aren't always somewhere we felt you could leave your camper and visit places.  They for staying still or overnighters.
Food shopping - particularly around the cape, while there are shops in most towns, they are not always open. We also found out how important meal planning is, it's not just about where you are going in terms of kilometres.
Setup changes with different people - with Chris around there was a different setup regime to when  Katie and I were together.
Awning setup - with just three extra c-clip poles we were able to put up the annex without guide ropes.  Light wind application only though, but meant it was very quick to put up and remove and it was used more often than we were expecting.
Too much stuff - we had too many clothes by about 30% for all of us.  There was enough that we could leave a box of clothes in the storage unit for a month and we didn't miss them.  There was also equipment that we had that we didn't use or seem to need.  They have been removed from the camper already.

Stuff that worked:
Power - we had plenty with the 100 amH in the car, and the two 100amH in the camper.  With topping up via the 120watt solar panel at each opportunity.  Only on one occasion under shady and overcast days did we get down to 58% in the camper and that was after six days of off grid use.
Space - we had enough in the camper for 5, didn't feel even a little bit cramped.  The weather being clear the majority of the time might have helped.  
Water - we had enough to last 6 days off grid as long as we near a creek with nice water.
Toilet - with Desiree being christened on this trip, that solves that issue!
Washing - Katie was able to keep us all nice a clean, hand washing and drying worked a treat together with machine wash and dryer, if needed when in caravan parks.
Blogging - not only did it let you know a bit about what was going on, but it was a good way for us to remember what happened as well.  With so much going on each day, you soon forget what you did on a particular day.  Found this when we missed a few days and had to play catchup.

Stuff that we still need to work on
Free camps vs paid - we discovered free camps come with there own issues, sense of no security as we were travelling solo, convoys had a different feel about them.  Also with free camps we didn't feel safe leaving the camper alone, so it's for when you not wanting to do day trips etc.
School education - perhaps being realistic about what we can cover, the boys picked up lots on the trip as we discovering, but it was hard work getting them to enjoy writing their journal and doing some school work.  Not sure if it's an age thing or the lack of structure but we need to figure it out so that it's doesn't seem like a chore.  Maybe a dedicated day for school in between 3 days with journal on the other days?  Any ideas would be welcomed.
Showering - the solar shower was good but it wouldn't work unless you have a full days sun
Shopping - stock with more basics that have multiple uses, work out how to combat the MT and AT munchies better!
Technology - we tried to Skype and connect with the school but it was too intermittent and the signal just too low to do that.  There were also times where even Telstra didn't have service and we had to revert to phone boxes.  Check where there are phone boxes, we got caught out at Bramwell.  You need to carry a telstra phone card to be sure as some don't accept coins.
Toilet tent - Giles isn't going last if he needs to packed up, or should I say that Dad isn't going to last if Giles needs to be packed up.
Warmth and keeping kids warm - Mum spent a lot of time at night trying to keep the blankets, sleeping bags on the kids, Griff in particular.  This resulted in many a sleepless night.
Suspension - fully loaded Charlie was dragging his bum quite a but, need to give him a harder spring or air bags.  

So with these things in mind we will slowly start preparations for the big lap in 2016.  There is a few smaller trips planned in between around Christmas time and wanting to get back to Moroton island, maybe in July.  It's a lifestyle that Dad in particular likes!

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