We have a guest on the blog today – Sheila, our trusty caravan, would like to make you a drink and tell you a little about herself.
A little while ago, Tara, from In The Taratory, suggested I do a post about travelling this beautiful country in a caravan; what works and what doesn’t. I thought to myself, who better to interview for this post than Sheila, herself. She’s asked me to offer you a cuppa or to mix you a martini, if you like. Sheila has a very generous soul.
Full name: Sheila Matilda Bartlett
Family: I’m a Jayco Heritage - first domiciled in Canberra, Australia
Age: 9, but I’ve only been on the road since July 2013. Before that, I was a backyard caravan. I think that makes me more youthful.
Occupation: Full-time travelling home
Length: In old terms my body is 21.6 feet long; with my A frame, I’m nearly 8 metres.
Likes: Sunsets over the ocean, baking and rocking to good tunes.
Dislikes: Mice, really dusty and bumpy dirt roads, road trains and fuel stations that don’t have room for me to enter and exit gracefully.
Describe yourself: Well, I have an awning on the outside, which I flip out when we’re somewhere nice for a couple of days. It’s a great spot for my owners to sit and cook on the Weber. On the inside, up front, I have a kitchen with a decent size fridge (I don’t know how other caravan’s get by with those mini-bar fridges), a stove, oven, sink and cupboards. My kitchen looks out of a big window, which I think is pretty neat. Then there is an L shaped lounge/dining area and an extra couch on the other wall. Beyond that is a queen size bed and then the en-suite with separate toilet and shower. To keep things cool, I have three sky-lights and an air-conditioner.
Best qualities: My owners think that my best quality is that I’m self-sufficient. I provide for my owners without having to rely on anyone else for long stretches of time. My udder (sometimes crudely called water tanks) holds 120 litres. This can last my owners up to 8 or 9 days if they are careful. I can hold on to my toilet waste for 3-4 days too.
Oh and I have this mega long antenna which means my owners get internet almost everywhere! Phone reception isn’t as reliable though, unfortunately.
What lights you up: My solar system. I don’t believe in noisy generators, so I have my rooftop covered in solar panels. I have 640 watts in total and my batteries are 240 amp hours. Some said it was overkill, but my owners are power-hungry. Between the laptops and TV, it seems my owners are always plugging something into my 12 volt or inverter. I have never run out of enough power to keep my owners happy. Even when it’s overcast, I can deliver.
My air-conditioner and microwave are the only things which require my owners to plug into a 240 volt source. They don’t use the microwave really, so it’s just on really hot days that they look for a powered site. Well, they can’t iron or blend things on their system either. But, they can use a sewing machine and mixing beaters, so that keeps them pretty satisfied.
Worst thing about travelling Australia: Ummmmm really the whole trip has been awesome. But, the worst days were those when we had a mouse stowaway. It’s happened twice now – thanks South Australia. The first time was very distressing, but eventually the mouse left. None of us got much sleep that time. The second time wasn’t too bad, as a trap got the mouse on the first night. My owners have cleaned everything down and sealed every conceivable hole now. Mice seem to really like chewing that non-slip matting – so they got rid of all that too. They even put the plugs in my drains every night now. I have my wheels crossed that it doesn’t happen again.
It wasn’t real fun when Mr Owner was keeping his stand-up paddle board on my bed when travelling, either. That thing is huge. I’m so relieved he finally got roof racks on top of Tonka, the Pajero, for that.
Best thing about travelling Australia: Pulling up to some of the most spectacular views and being able to camp there.
Wishes: Sometimes I wish I was as cute on the outside and inside as those spunky vintage vans I see around. But, I’m not ugly. Just a bit plain-jane. What I lack in super cuteness though, I make up for with buckets of function. I’m hoping that maybe Mr Owner will let Mrs Owner reupholster my lounges and maybe get some new curtains for my windows. Oh, and maybe wallpaper my fridge with some funky out there design – that would be pretty cool.
It’s been lovely meeting you. We’ll have to do this again some time.