With our time on Great Escape now just a memory, it is time for a new adventure. Covid-19 has made a real mess of international travel and we are reluctant to try and travel overseas until the world figures out how to deal with the virus and international borders re-open. We are fortunate that we have a holiday home at Jasmine Lakeside Village and we have been staying at our holiday home while we figure out where to next. We can however not stay at our holiday home on a permanent basis as the NSW State laws restrict us to 150 days per annum with a 21 consecutive day limit. The laws have been relaxed for those who have nowhere else to go and we fall into that category.
Given the international travel restrictions and some serious cabin fever, we have decided to buy a car and a caravan and do a lap, or two, of Australia. It is fairly common for retired Australians to do ‘the lap’ and they are commonly referred to as ‘Grey Nomads’. We will join the Grey Nomad fraternity – we are all for ‘adventure before dementia‘.
One of our neighbours was also selling his on-site caravan and, very expensive, boat. Watching him sell these was also astonishing. The boat was up for sale at A$82 500. It sold within 12 hours and the buyer wasn’t interested in taking the boat out, or checking the motor started, even though the offer was made. The on-site caravan was up for sale at A$55 000. It also sold within 24 hours and the new buyers spent all of 10 minutes inspecting it. There was another on-site caravan that needs to be completely gutted and it too sold for a handsome price in no time.
Investopedia define a bubble as, “… a situation where the price for something—an individual stock, a financial asset, or even an entire sector, market, or asset class—exceeds its fundamental value by a large margin.” They also identify 5 stages of a bubble – Displacement, Boom, Euphoria, Profit-Taking and Panic. It seems to me that most financial markets and asset classes are in a bubble which is the result of far too much money sloshing around in the market. Our on-site caravan was no exception and it looks to me like we are in the Euphoria stage of the bubble. The common thread seems to be, ‘this time it’s different’, but I think that is a common thread in every bubble. There is just too much money chasing too few goods and services.
We have spent the past few months looking for a suitable vehicle (referred to as a Ute in Australia) and caravan to do ‘the lap’. We are not buying into the Euphoria stage of this bubble and it took a while to find a Ute and caravan at a reasonable price. The market right now is flooded with Utes and caravans where the sellers have bought into the Euphoria stage and they want ridiculous prices.
We managed to find a 2014 Ford Ranger XLT 3.2L Auto Dual Cab with 78 900km for $A30 000 but it was in the country and took a day to get there and drive it back. The vehicle had a full service history, had been well looked and was inspected by the Ford dealer in Cowra who gave it a clean bill of health. It was also all set up for towing a caravan.
We also managed to find a 2005 Roadstar Voyager 4000 caravan for a reasonable price. The caravan had only had one owner who had recently passed away and his widow was now reluctantly selling the caravan. Our requirements for a caravan were very specific – we have been travelling for many years and we now know what we need. It had to have a full bathroom, a washing machine, a decent size fridge and freezer and enough water and power for us to be off the grid for a large part of the lap. We have no intention of simply travelling from caravan park to caravan park as many of the grey nomads do. We also wanted evidence that it had been well maintained.
The caravan was being sold by Bill Paterson from Shamrock Caravan Workshop who had been responsible for maintaining the caravan and was now selling it for the widow as a favour. The caravan had clearly been well maintained and met our requirements. The widow had bought into the Euphoria stage of the bubble market and wanted A$40 000 for the caravan. We initially offered A$34 000 for the caravan and settled on A$35 000.
Even though the caravan had been well maintained, it had been standing for a while and ‘lot rot’ had started to set in. One of the water tanks had a leak, the caravan was fairly dirty and the bathroom needed an upgrade. The Park Managers at Jasmine Lakeside Village were kind enough to let us park the van on a vacant site near our on-site caravan and we managed to get the caravan live-able fairly quickly. We, in our normal manner, have no plan and will make it up as we go along. Our first stop is just south of Sydney to visit Margaret’s daughter.
You can see our setup costs here.