I could not possibly call it camping – what we just did for four glorious days over the Queen’s Birthday weekend! Apparently, the word is glamping when one brings along the little luxuries we take for granted at home. Things like the electric jug, the toaster, electric blankets and – horror of all horrors – the microwave oven! Yes, I took them all on this, the maiden voyage of our Mars Extremo rear-folding solid floor camper trailer.
We booked a powered site at the Murraybank Caravan Park, Picnic Point. Surrounded by the Barmah National Park, Picnic Point is some ten or so kilometres from Mathoura, NSW.
The marker on the tree (below) means we are 1788 kilometres upstream from the mouth of the Murray River. The Murray marks the boundary between Victoria and New South Wales. The river belongs to the latter. Some trees still bear carved mile markers from the 1870s. I’ve never seen one.
We arrived at our destination hours later than planned because I’m an idiot. I misplaced the keys that were used to padlock our gas bottle and some security chains we had draped about the draw-bar to deter any opportunistic thief. I swore I had packed them with the other necessary stuff used to attach the trailer to the car.
After searching fruitlessly for an hour, I gave in to Mr R’s urging and we borrowed a bolt cutter to cut the chain, but the padlock proved impervious to our efforts. Luckily, this did not stop us from being able to attach the actual safety chains to the towbar – once we had smashed away the garden chair in which they were entwined.
It was nearly a two-hour drive. We arrived, paid for the riverside site for four nights and purchased a load of wood for the campfire. We were shown to the most beautiful caravan park campsite ever. The Murray River swept around us on three sides.
Setting up camp was stalled by the damned winch getting stuck – over-tightened when the trailer was closed following the tent seasoning. Couldn’t get it to freewheel any strap for hooking to the trailer top (which becomes the floor when opened).
Well, I guess it was obvious the camper was new to us and, no doubt, we provided some amusement for onlookers. With the winch strap finally free, we opened the trailer and the tent unfolded. It was a wonder to behold.
In the kerfuffle following said key debacle, I forgot to make sure that I had packed matches – another thing I swore I had done. Mr R borrowed a lighter from nearby campers. I wonder what he told them. My ears probably should have been burning as bright as our fire.
We didn’t attempt to put up the awning until the next day, exhausted after all the drama of getting there. We didn’t extend the tent correctly, so that meant the awning was lower than it should have been – and then the side walls (attached with velcro) were about 6 inches too long! The centre pole decided to discard its tip as soon as the first crossbar was put on. Fortunately, Mr R did not get injured when it gave way. I tied it up, and we struggled onward, finding it increasingly hard to believe that one person could erect it in a mere half-hour, once experienced.
While the moon rose, we put away a stout, or two, and some wine, before eating leftover lamb-neck stew – microwaved.
By now, I had found the dratted missing keys. A few days beforehand, I had taken my indoor shoes from the setting-up box and popped them through the back flap of the trailer – under the bed – not noticing the keys tucked inside. Mr R was incredulous. I was relieved but still felt such an idiot and worried about senility.
The queen bed in the trailer proved very comfy, though I took the precaution of slipping thin self-inflating mattresses, from our old camp stretchers, under my side. Mr R declared it the best camping bed he had experienced.
Vika, our dog, was not such a happy camper. But that is a story for another day.
Thanks for reading!