Having spent our first few nights in the van, we’re now ever-so-slightly more experienced caravanners than we were 3 days ago and, if nothing else, our short tenure at the Lawnton showgrounds has showed us that…we’re near in over our heads. But, it will all come in time. Probably.
We stayed unconnected to power on our first night to get an idea of what our battery and water usage might look like, and while it was clear that we have no idea what we’re doing, it reiterated the fact that our handover was carried out at close to light speed—it’s unlikely that the handover could have been run through any quicker. In any case, it was some comfort knowing that access to power and water was as easy as flicking on a switch and turning on a tap so, aside from just not knowing how things really worked, there was never any risk of being without power or water. We were able to run the aircon leading up to Alina’s bedtime, just to take the chill out of the van—yeah, we’re in Queensland, but it does get cold during winter, and an unheated caravan quickly turns into an icebox through the night. Or, perhaps we’re just cold-blooded and need only spend more time laying around on rocks in the sun. It wasn’t until Alina woke crying at 2am that we discovered how cold it gets in a caravan. The poor kid was tucked up into a ball tighter than a Sub-Saharan Pangolin—I think we just assumed a van would be more insulated against the cold. Until this point, we’d never had Alina sleeping with a blanket or doona/quilt, rather, just the higher tog, or warmth, sleep bags.
Waking up on the first morning in our new home was an unusual feeling, which I suppose this was to be expected because, unlike going camping, renting a caravan for a short holiday, or staying at an Airbnb for the weekend, this isn’t temporary—there’s no going back to the comforts and familiarity of our home. There wasn’t much time to reminisce, however, as we were heading into Brisbane for a follow up ultrasound for kid number 2 (I’m not sure if we’re sold on that name, but we have time)—we were a bit concerned with some of the numbers we’d seen at our first scan. It’s fair to say that, both being health professionals, Alicia and I have looked far too intently at the numbers and delved too deep into the details, but nevertheless, we have, and so we opted for another scan to, hopefully, put our minds at ease. The percentages were still on the low end, however, the sonographer was far more reassuring than the previous one, and so, with that, we a little more reassured. Like, a tiny bit.
Whilst Alicia spent the late afternoon entertaining the monster, I set off for Supercheap and Bunnings to get ourselves set up with drinking water and waste-water hoses and fittings, so we could fill up and empty the tanks—I tried to have this organised prior to van handover but the sales manager, let’s call him Richard (not his real name, but appropriate) informed us that he couldn’t tell us the fittings sizes until the van arrived (what the…?!?) but we needn’t worry because we can buy all the hoses and fittings from them during the handover—it turns out they’re all standard fittings, and Richard surely knows this. Come handover day, and minutes before closing time, “you can get all that from us on the day” turned out to be, “no we don’t have any hoses and fittings, but you can get them from BCF and the like”. I’m not even joking. It’s not a big deal in the scheme of things, and I know I should consider changing the name of this blog to “Caravanning with kids, a whinger’s journey”, but fair dinkum!
For our second night, we plugged in to ensure the batteries would be charged up, as well as allowing us to run the aircon through the night. Alina slept really well in her own bed, with a quilt this time, and didn’t wake until around 5am. I did the, what I thought was, obligatory showground walk to marvel at everyone’s set-up, and proceeded to nod, wave, and say “hey mate” to anyone who’d throw me a glance—who’d have thought introverts would crave attention. It’s fair to say I just wanted someone to say, “OMG, you’ve got, like, the bestest caravan ever” but, sadly, I was left wanting.
To sum up our first stop in the new home, it was a good, albeit uneventful, experience, and not at all what we had anticipated, particularly the noise—we were surprised at just how quiet it was. I’m not sure what we were expecting, really, perhaps caravan folk mingling in seated circles as the sun goes down, sinking tinnies and drinking wine from insulated mugs, talking all night to the soundtrack of Fleetwood Mac, but that wasn’t the case as, come nightfall, it was blissfully tumbleweeds and crickets. And so, from Lawnton we’re heading back down to the Logan area, our former stomping ground, to pick up the rest of all that we own from storage, and really be on our way.