Shakedown trip (23 March – 11 April 2017)

After spending a week in Melbourne overseeing the overdue production of our Caravan, we were getting frustrated that our trip was not starting.  So instead of sitting in Canberra waiting we decided to take off with camping gear to do the beaches of Jervis Bay, the NSW South Coast and Victoria’s East Gippsland. With the D-Max packed we headed off on what we call our shakedown trip.

Cave Beach campsite in Jervis Bay was the first time setting up our stretcher swags and surprisingly they are great to sleep in; comfortable, dry and with a few layers of clothes (for Joanne anyway) toasty warm.  Cooking was a breeze with everything needed in the D-Max and the rear tray a great workbench and fridge at arm’s reach.  Set now to enjoy the next 20 days and as you can read in Chris’ beach reports we successfully completed four of the mile beaches and so commenced the mile beach club.

Whilst in Lakes Entrance completing the final stage of 90 mile beach we received news that our caravan would be ready for collection in Melbourne that Friday, 7 April 2017.  Great news so with four of the mile beaches completed we were off to collect the caravan then head back home to Canberra to do what turned out to be, a huge exercise in sorting out gear again, weight restrictions on what we could pack in the caravan and D-Max!

This packing up also meant final boxes of “stuff”needed clearing out of our townhouse of personal items and things Renee would not need or want over the next two years.  Both of us had frayed nerves and tempers; we were completely and utterly over sorting and packing which had consumed our lives for the preceding year!!

It would appear events just seem to continue to present themselves to hinder our preparations and the start for our expedition. Unfortunately, our daughter Renee had post-operative complications that required Joanne to remain in Canberra and meant Chris after attending the ANZAC Day, Dawn service at the Australian War Memorial, departed for Melbourne on my own. Not too happy really, taking van back to Melbourne for warranty repairs and diesel heater fitting.  Van was then ready again for pick up Friday 28 April 2017 which also coincided with Chris’ Mum and Dad flying in from Hobart.  With Renee recovering well Joanne flew to Melbourne after the weekend to join in for the Great Ocean Road expedition.

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