And so it begins
and welcome to the first edition of the GRAYnomad chronicles
the past three years I have been writing a diary detailing
the building of our motor home. As the construction drew
to an end people began asking me if I would continue with
a diary when we hit the road.
the short answer is "yes", but I also want to
talk about photography, living on the road and occasionally
I get the urge to sound off about something entirely different
or simply make an observation about life.
the above I felt that a the previous diary format was not
suitable, and decided to create the GRAYnomad chronicles
long will it last? I have no idea. How will I upload it
to the web while on the road? I don't know. Will I bore
you to tears? I hope not.
you can see I don't know much but that's never stopped me
from talking before.
We now live permanently in our motor home and we learn new
stuff about this lifestyle almost on a daily basis. Lots
of this will be interesting to other full-timers and those
contemplating a sea change (or is that a road change?).
we learn how to do things, like make our own toilet chemicals
to save money, I'll tell you. As we have experiences I'll
also tell you. Hopefully this will not only be interesting
but also informative and smooth the way for you if you're
just entering this lifestyle or trying to decide if it's
I've been working and/or playing in photography for about
30 years. I'm passionate about all forms of image making
from large format bellows cameras to digital video.
Fotographer (that's me) will talk about subjects from simple
composition to Scheimpflug movements on view cameras and
how to get a decent shot of your motor home.
Me and the Misses (or should that be the Misses and I) sometimes
do interesting outdoorsey things like canoe down the Murray
or bushwalk in the Kosciuszko high country.
An account of these adventures
often makes interesting reading and may entice you to have
a go, or if you don't need enticing, maybe just give you
the information to do something similar.
So there you have it, hopefully
we can come up with something of interest to you. If not,
maybe you should drop us a line and make a suggestion.
Till next time then, and remember,
Don't Dream it, Be it!
10 June 2001
There has been a lot of activity on the truck in the past
few weeks since returning from the Griffith rally.
Firstly the motorbikes are in. This was a big
job entailing the construction of a crane and the actual fitting
of the bikes into custom-made cradles.
I had modeled the fitting on the computer and
calculated that I had about 2mm to spare. I was 100% wrong, I
only had 1mm to spare. But they do fit.
Because the bikes are a very irregular shape
I did the modeling by photographing one of them from different
angles (and from as far away as possible to reduce perspective
error), then scanning the photos, tracing the outline and finally
scaling the result to the correct size.
Here one of the bikes is being lifted into the truck. Note the
crane with an electric winch.
We've been away several times, partly because
we want to get some use out of the motor home and partly to shake
it down and see if there are any problems.
One trip was to Pine Island, a popular picnic
spot in Canberra.
"Wothahellizat" parked at Pine Island.
We took the bikes so Chris could get some practice.
On the evening of the second day the ranger dropped in, he was
very interested in the rig and we showed him around but we could
see that he was working up to ask us to move on.
We pre-empted the issue by asking what the definition
of camping was (there's a $5000 fine for "camping" here).
This stumped him and I suspect he would have allowed us to stay
but then he reminded us that this area was frequented by the local
lads and it was Friday night.
We moved down to the lake.
Parked at East Basin at the upper end of Lake Burley Griffin.
We found a nice spot right on the lake shore
and near the Old Bus Depot markets.
The next morning I walked along the lake to
the markets while Chris read a book. We had the usual bevy of
curious people but when I spotted the police boat making a beeline
for us I thought "Here we go".
The boat pulled up a few metres off shore and
he reached for the megaphone..."You realise that only you
and the Governor General have such a good view of the lake"
he said. "Yeah, and I paid a lot less" I replied.
He waved and continued his rounds. Later he
returned with a boatload of people to show them the rig.
The afternoon was getting on and we were just
starting to think about going home to the workshop when another
ranger turned up.
This one was quite young and we could see that
he was trying to work up the courage to tell us we couldn't camp
there. I put him out of his misery by working into the conversation
that we were about to go home.
The Canberra CMCA chapter had a weekend outing at one of our favourite
spots, Oallen Ford.
We left on Friday afternoon with plenty of time
to get there before dark. At least that was the plan. Suffice
to say that we got seriously geographically embarrassed and didn't
arrive 'till well after dark.
At one point we flagged down a motorist to ask
for directions and he said "Crikey you've been on a good
trip, you passed me hours ago".
In my defense I have since looked at three maps
of the area and they all show different roads, and the locality
that we were driving around wasn't even mentioned on the map we
had in the truck!
On arrival we were warned of the sand but simply
drove through it. The truck did pig root briefly but I put it
in six-wheel-drive. End of problem.
"Wothahellizat" camped in the middle of the sandy patch.
Mark & Gail's "Hobohome"
Adrian & Carrol's "Tender One"
Roger & Kerryn's "Indulgence"
The weekend was spent in the usual manner, sitting
around the campfire, drinking, eating, walking along the river
Early morning chat near the warmth of the fire.
As usual a good time was had by all. I was about
to suggest to Chris that we stay an extra couple of days when
I realised that she was working on Monday. Bummer, we're not quite
free yet, just a few more weeks.
Speaking of work, Chris normally gets a lift into the office but
she's has taken to working late so the lift is often not available
come time to go home.
The trouble is it's a tad cold in Canberra at
this time of year. Just the other day we had -6 overnight. We're
warm enough inside the motor home but on a bike with the wind-chill
factor it ain't much fun. Still the money's good and with interest
rates as they are every little bit counts
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