We believe that Swift Caravan Services is more than a business. We have a passion for caravans and always want to hear our customers tales of adventure, because we like to think we helped get you there. Over the next few months we want to share stories from those who have explored our beautiful country and who have many stories of fun, frustration and great tips!
This week we chat to Bruce, who first came to Swift Caravan Services in 2013. During this year we were lucky enough to see him twice! The first visit was to have the jockey wheel clamp replaced on his second-hand van, as the old one was beyond repair. Then a few months later his caravan was hit in a bad hail storm and he had the caravan roof ‘belted by hail the size of golf balls’. Bruce says that the service he got from Hardings was second to none – “Their repair of the hail damaged Jayco was professionally done and Andrew gave us a personal written guarantee of the work performed”.
If you ever have hail damage, make sure you give Hardings a call, as we deal with these on a regular basis.
Bruce’s first caravan was a 6 month old ‘Jayco Eagle Outback’ that the previous owner purchased to do one trip to see Uluru and Alice Springs. After this trip, she had no further use for the van and believed it was cheaper to buy a new one to sell than to rent a van. Has anyone else rented a caravan? We would like to know your thoughts on pricing comparisons.
After using this caravan for six years, Bruce bought a 2002 Evernew 16ft semi off-road pop-top. Bruce says “my choice of Evernew was made after discussing various vans with Andrew from Hardings. The Evernew is made well and a solid van that could handle the rigours of gravel corrugated roads and the bush camping, which is what we prefer”. The van is also now in storage at Hardings!
The first trip Bruce took in his caravan was to the ‘mighty Murray river’. The whole reason behind buying a caravan for Bruce and his wife, was so they could “get away from it all, make an open fire and go swimming in the river with our two Labradors”. The tradition of getting away from the city life continued as they regularly visit Sheep-yard flat, Noonans flat and Pickerings flat in the Howqua hills under the shadow of Mt Buller.
Even though 20 kilometres of the trip is on a gravel road (which is either dusty or muddy), Bruce says “they keep going back twice a year with friends to set up camp beside the Howqua river. We have the open fire going all day and cook in camp ovens for many memorable meals over a bottle (or two) of red with the fire roaring at night. Or, if it’s hot in the afternoon we retire to the shady river with our chairs and a beer for the blokes or a bubbly for the girls. A nana nap is also very common in such circumstances”. Sounds like heaven!
The next adventure Bruce plans on taking is on a trip around Castlemaine and the surrounding area, but Bruces dream trip would be to take the van over to South Australia to visit Port Lincoln and Coffin Bay.
When asked for any advice for future caravan enthusiasts, Bruce says to “check the jockey wheel bracket and always use the hand break before you unhitch from the car”. Bruce says he had one hell of an experience one time when he was setting up camp on the Murray River… “As I unhitched the Jayco from the car and removed the safety chains, I then progressed to wind up the jockey wheel and level the Jayco. But as I did this, the threaded bolt on the jockey wheel clamp gave way and the van dropped to the ground. The A frame just missed my feet and then proceeded to move towards the river, which was only 6 metres away! Fortunately, the van came to rest after it dragged on the ground for 2 metres”. Bruce explains he was lucky he had his ‘trusty husky chain saw’, which he suggests is must on his travels, as he was able to cut a round stump as a replacement jockey wheel so they could settle in and enjoy the long weekend with friends.
Bruce says that it is important be able to laugh about things looking back, especially when they nearly come to disaster. This really is all part of the adventure and learning new things.
Thanks Bruce for your great story!