Caravan pickup day all planned

You know the saying “the best made plans usually go astray”. Well that couldn’t be truer for our first encounter with our new caravan. At the time we placed the order for our dual wheel, 19’6” van, the pick-up date from Frankston was a month or two away.

Our house was also on the market and we had a new home ready to move into in northern Victoria. The decision was made to pick up and deposit the van at our new home which was a three to four hour drive. Depending on the traffic congestion.

We hate city traffic. Particularly city traffic. And the course for our very first trip would take us through Melbourne! We planned on picking up the van early then drive through the city late morning when traffic should be light. Arrival time at our destination early afternoon. Perfect! How wrong could we be.


We arrived at the dealers where the caravan was to be ready for pick-up around 9-10am. It was pre-arranged that our vehicle, a 4WD Prado had to be wired to take the wiring plug from the caravan. All okay and it went smoothly. Then backing up and hooking on became a saga of many hours. The dealers mechanics had heaps of trouble fitting the stay bars. It wasn’t until around 3pm when I, who had never previously towed a caravan, left the yard. Stan navigated.

It was relatively easy getting onto the Frankston freeway, then finding our way onto the Monash freeway. Once in my chosen lane it was pretty plain sailing. Around the big circle onto the Bolte Bridge, great. Just over the Bolte, a car went past with passenger waving and indicating something wrong with our van. A quick check in mirrors indicated a small door was flapping open.

Okay, no worries! Not! Four lanes of traffic to navigate before safely reaching the left hand emergency lane. Then Stan moved cautiously along the van as traffic whizzed past, and pushed our jockey wheel back inside. Door locked! The circle onto the Bolte had been just enough to set the jockey wheel sliding into and pushing open the unsecured door.

Once back in the car, it was a nervous time getting back onto the fast moving freeway traffic. That was more difficult than moving back across to our preferred lane. Onto the Ring Road, then we let out a sigh of relief as we turned north along the Hume Freeway. It was June, so we only had two hours before finishing the drive in complete darkness. First trip over!