Maintenance can be overlooked. It can also be ignored until the time everything overlooked and ignored stops. At that time the choice becomes stark.
Before leaving on our last epic journey one maintenance item was considered important enough to fix because of the inconvenience it would have caused it it broke. Actually it was two relatively significant things. The tyres on the caravan had good tread but all the advice on caravanning suggested that age was as important as tread. The tyres were over ten years old so I had them replaced. They never caused us any inconvenience while we were away.
The aVan club members page has lots of suggestions on how to perform maintenance on the van. Most of it is easy enough to be done by any handyman. But not this is not one. Before leaving nothing stood out as a must do item so in confidence we left on our trip.
Carelessness and forgetfulness can cause frustration. In the case of the first, I blame the wind. The bucket used to collect the drainage water from the caravan’s sink blew under the caravan in Ivanhoe in the middle of the night. Not unnaturally when packing up it wasn’t obvious and with nothing to pack away I drove over it and the bucket, caught as it was under the van, it broke off the drainage tap on the water tank. Easily done. No excuse necessary. Similarly when backing the caravan into the drive when blindsided by the van itself there was no way in the world I could be to blame if I inadvertently brushed off a running light on the side of the van on a pole on the fence line that was impossible to see. Maintenance issues can spring up by accident.
Some repairs, like this one, start out as little niggles. Annoying quirks of stubborn mechanism just become worse over time. The door key slips easily into place for years, then you have to learn the knack of lining it up before it slides into place. Now it has reached a new battle line. The key will only fit if the knob is jiggled, aligned, and twisted Ito place. Clearly it is time for a new set of lock tumblers.
A visit to the northern states for a day is enough to remind one of the power of the sun. Given days standing in the sun lots of things deteriorate. This year it is apparent the sun has worked to burn and shrink, desiccate and powder, bleach and whiten every thing it’s rays of sunlight touch. The seals around the air vents have shrunk. The seal where the rear skylight sits has perished. The gas tubing is also perished inside its wire jacket. The perishing was slow but inevitable. It is now complete.
Generally speaking the highways linking the states have excellent surfaces. The car and caravan glide kilometre by kilometre over the surface without concern. When leaving the A roads varying degrees of caution are required. The B roads will narrow unexpectedly. The road edges will be sharp. The signage is smaller. The oncoming traffic will exercise caution and dust can be a problem. The C roads are the most dangerous. The road surface will have potholes in the places you are most likely to meet on coming traffic. These roads will be used by local drivers impatient with travellers they meet. The edges are hazardous. The bitumen will peter out unexpectedly and the surface will have corrugations and potholes. The aVan was not designed for C roads. The caravan will buck and lurch and twist. Every lock will be tested. Every latch will be strained. And when you reach your destination you will sigh with relief when you open the door and discover everything is in its place. And despite your will something will have broken. Like the microwave that shot out of its locker or the pipe that finally developed a drip from a place you cannot reach.
Maintenance issues like these accumulate in any vehicle as they have in the van. No one issue is an issue beyond fixing. However before our next camping trip I will give lots of attention to Miss Wear, and her partner, Mr Tear. This is required to restore confidence in the equipment of the couple caravanning.