Hi Everyone in Geist land. It has been a roller coaster ride with the Geist promo van lately. I became a bit inactive on the blog, hence the last post still in WA. My appologises to those following me on the road. We did come down the West coast to Perth, then down to Bremer Bay again, we picked up my parents in Perth and took them back with us to the east coast. On the way we caught up with the Flints, fixed their battery problem. We then dropped into Streaky Bay and then across to Adelaide for the get together in the Barossa Valley. That was December last year. We then had some time off over Christmas before heading back to our Southern base near Bairnsdale Victoria. From there the bad things started to happen. The news coming out of the media was doom and gloom with the downturn and then the boss rings me and after some discussing I suggest I take a holiday until things sort themselves out. Unfortunately about 6 weeks later they go into receivership. This has left Rachel and I on the outer a bit but we are still determined to keep the Geist brand going in Australia. We still have our XK660 and intend to keep the owners club going. We are planning some trips again soon but until then the forum is the best place to catch up with me or Geist info, the link is http://www.phpbb88.com/geist/portal.php?mforum=geist With 600 posts about Geist, it is a hive of information. We plan to have an international feel to the forum soon so UK and Euro owners, you too can ask the questions and maybe answer some too!
But until I get on the road again, maybe June, the same applies as all ways.
Catch you on the track!
Tuesday last week we finally were able to get away back on the road, we had been back from Fraser Island for a little over two weeks and still not caught up on half we wanted to but we needed to get down the road again to keep to schedule. We headed off last Tuesday and went through to Rockhampton in the pouring rain, from there we headed further up but was forced to stop in Marlborough just 100kms up from Rockhampton. The reason being was quite bizarre, we needed some fuel as we left Rockhampton but knowing there was a BP up the road (we have a BP card) at Marlborough I thought we would be fine to there. On arrival to the BP in Marlborough we were greeted with a no power sign but at that stage I had just 40 kms in the tank, the other caltex down the road was the same so we returned to the BP and waited for the power to be restored. This was at around 10:00am and we were in for a long wait. Whilst waiting we were surprised by the arrival of the Wilsons with their Geist being towed by a Touareg (good taste), they were on their way down the coast and in fact today they are booked in for a service at Maryborough. It was great to see 3 Geists on the road that day. At around 4:30 pm we were able to fill up and head down the road and Clareview was our new target, revised from Mackay. Arriving during a storm we settled down next to a motorhome at the rest stop and had a restless night waiting for a branch to come down on top of us. In the morning all was fine and we headed through to Townsville without incident. One thing to note is that Home Hill has now a very good comfort stop off behind the main street. Many people are starting to use it now, it even has showers. Farrys IGA has good meat there, we bought some Yearling Rump and thoroughly enjoyed it the other night. The skies had cleared and Thursday afternoon saw us arriving safely into Townsville after a rough 48 hours. We quickly set up the van and caught up with Rachel’s parents whom we had left in Maryborough to return to Townsville in late January. We have set up at their place for a about a month to catch up on video editing, Honeycombes, our dealer and website development. Friday was quite hectic on the phone with another XK 630 sold into WA. That night I went to the local AFL football match, Thuringowa Bulldogs v’s West Tigers and it was a good game and the Bulldogs won. We have been supporting the local team this year, I helped the marketing into their new 10,000 seat stadium. My partner Steve has been looking after it since so this was the first game I could attend in the season. Rachel’s father has been doing the time keeping, an expert in the field it was interesting to see the process from the top box. On Saturday Rachel’s father Graham suggested a fish down the local beach, so the four of us headed down that afternoon to try our luck, of course I caught the first 5 fish, then promptly threw them back as they were way under size. At this stage is was 5 fish to 0 but for some reason everything turned and I caught 0 and Graham caught 3 reasonable fish. What the!! We returned for a BBQ.
Sunday was a chance to catch up with the man upstairs and ask for forgiveness of all the things I shouldn’t have done over the last 6 months. A good mate Pastor Matt Thiele is leaving Townsville to go to another church in Buderim soon and it was the last opportunity to worship with him. It was great and we surprised a lot of people. The afternoon was spent buying a couple of things at Anaconda and catching up on sleep. That brings me to today, catching up on the blog (done) and seeing an owner Mr Cullen and visiting the crew at Honeycombes Caravans and Motorhomes.
I’ve told you about the Brisbane show but not afterwards. Once we had everything cleaned up I managed to visit a few people that I really needed to, one in particular was Wendy at Viking Kayaks as we had never personally met. The whole process of taking the Viking Kayak around Australia to all the shows was done via email and Geist staff. Well finally we met and I was very impressed with the factory setup and the professionalism of this whole outfit. The kayak we have been carrying has started to look a bit tired, mainly because of the conditions I have put it through and an unfortunate accident with the kayak coming off the roof. With the new kayak, a Profish 45, the kayak is set up for what I really love, FISHING!!! It is a single kayak so Rachel will have to do solo voyages but it is even better in its features, full kill well, live bait well, sounder casings and heaps of rod holders. Of course you can still put on the motor(which I have) and troll for the perfect skippy, bass, or Barra.
Made from Polyethelene it is a rigid but flexible kayak that I know takes extreme conditions very well. Michael was working on a big 7 metre cat mold when I was there, to be made from the same materials as the kayak. This should be light and fast!! Go to vikingkayak.com.au for more info on the 11 models on the market.
I also caught up with Gary from Prestige Caravan Repairs on the Sunshine coast, Gary and I first met at the Sydney show and he is a top guy. Very honest and particular on the quality of van he services. I have been meaning to recruit him as a service agent for some time but had to view his set up and tick some boxes first to qualify him for the agency. Well I can confirm he is now a Geist Agent so if you are in the Sunshine Coast area or Brisbane for that matter then pop into see Gary at Forest Glen. He’s in the phone book and also has the agency for Dometic and Thetford.
From there on Rachel and I headed north to Rainbow beach where we had a break for the weekend, having not had a break for some time. Rainbow beach is our step off point for our big trip this coming week and I wanted to test my fishing skills and catch up on some R&R before this last week of hectic cleaning up prior to our 2 week break away on Fraser Island. Rachel came with me for a fish and I got her some live worm to help out a bit whilst I tried some frozen pilchards on my new big rod to test my tailor ability. Well it was clear pretty quickly that live worm was the thought of the day for 3 dart and two whiting that cruised past whilst the tailor must of been full of Pilchards already as I failed to get a bite. The following day Rachel retired to read more of “the Stockmen” by Rachael Treasure whilst I tried the last of the live worm, alas today the whiting and dart were full too! So for the weekend Rachel caught the fish I wanted to and read a great book whilst I tried too hard to get my fish runs on the board and suffered with a sore back all weekend. I did get a massage on Saturday though which made the pain more bearable. Today I am feeling a bit better but need to be on my toes this coming week when the competition heats up with my best mate David and his father inlaw when we hit the beaches of Fraser Island for two weeks, starting Saturday.
whilst we are at Head office in Maryborough we are catching up on paperwork and obviously this blog but I have had some problem getting on to edit the blog this last week or so but seem to have fixed it. It helps when you change a password to remember what it is, apparently.
I’ll try and update whilst on Fraser, all enquiries for Geist should be directed to 1300 1 GEIST or call Dougie, my Geist Direct partner in NSW on 0413 180744 who offers great service too!
I’ll be back after the 7th of July, with many fishy tales to tell, no doubt.
With a “blast” is one way to describe the start and finish of the Brisbane caravan and camping show in the heart of Brisbane, at the RNA showgrounds. With ten vans and two motorhomes set up for all to see the response was incredible. It is clear to see that weight and fuel economy is the prime thought in peoples minds at the moment. Honeycombes Caravans and Motorhomes in Townsville, Johnnos Camper trailers in Maryborough and Geist Direct teamed up to put on a fantastic crew to show the huge 80,000 plus crowd that arrived over the 7 days. We also had the continuous crowd puller, the Volkswagen Touareg and Viking kayak. In no time flat we had good sales coming out of the Brisbane show, in fact Australia wide over the last two weeks we have had record sales for Geist caravans and motorhomes. Mostly attributed to Geist Direct’s online presence and of course the Brisbane show. Whilst at the show Tania Kernaghan was performing so I took Rachel’s new books in from Rachael Treasure and had Tania sign them. It was great to meet Tania and have a quick chat on the quality of the books Rachael is putting out and my Rachel is thoroughly enjoying (reading the Stockmen at the moment). Also caught up with David and Judy Muller who own an XK 630. These people have a great new invention for packing your hoses away when travelling in your caravan. Go to www.thehosebag.com.au to see more on this great little invention. David and Judy gave me a ride to the show each day whilst the Volkswagen was on the stand. Also caught up with David and Di who are nearly at the point of buying a Geist. I first caught up with them in Melbourne and really enjoy there company.
Well all the big shows are over for the year and Brisbane and Sydney were the best shows for Geist. There are some regional ones in NSW but the next one you will see me at will be in August for the Mini Adelaide show over three days 1,2 & 3rd of August.
As we headed north we found the warmth return to our bodies, it was beautiful to feel the special Winter warmth of Queensland as we crossed the border. It was a shock to our system then when it bucketed down with rain on Wednesday, Thursday in Noosa and Friday, Saturday, broke briefly on Sunday and then dropped everything it could on us on Monday whilst in Brisbane. So the sun was welcome today on Tuesday. It still feels good to be back in Queensland though, we have enjoyed Tassie, NSW and Vic over the last 2 weeks, yes we have travelled four states in two weeks. Our only day off in that time was spent inside keeping out of the weather. Highlights over the last week or so is meeting with Mark and Carmen who bought a Geist Phantom RB motorhome off me on Wednesday and had it delivered on Friday, fantastic effort from our service guys Cameron and Lindsay in Maryborough who added all the extras in just one day, I hope I can at least share the carton of beer I owe you Cameron now I have given you a plug on the blog. Also well done to Pat and Janet who flew down to Brisbane to go through an AK560 and decided it was for them on Saturday. I am sure your big trip will be just one bit better with this great Geist family model. Saturday night was a fun night when the four of us went out for a few drinks to celebrate down at Southbank. The days in between were spent getting the Brisbane show ready to roll tomorrow. Cleaning 10 caravans was quite a task for myself and Wayne, but it was good to have them finished by Monday night. Today was spent putting up signs and finalising the whole look of the stand. Tomorrow we are ready to see all the Queenslanders, so if you are in the area, please drop in and say hello. The show is at the RNA showgrounds in Brisbane from the 4th to the 10th of June.
Tonight is the last night we have to spend on this fabulous island state, Tasmania. Yesterday after checking out the Port Arthur site and camp park we moved on to New Norfolk where we were going to move on from today to the west coast. Of course first intentions don’t always turn out to be the end path and we have spent another day here. The New Norfolk park is quite nice, it is an older park but the amenities are quite clean. Rachel and I are trying to catch up on paper work, especially Rachel, she has loads of Graphic Design work and to go on today would have been not fair on her. We will miss the western side of Tassie as part of our reconnaissance trip for the Geist rally next year but I am sure John from Getabout will have it under control.
Have you ever wondered how a friend or relative that you enjoyed the company with as a child was fairing much later in life? Well I did. In fact I stumbled onto the existance of an old Treasure mate from the days when my uncle Jim as I knew him (not really an uncle but my fathers cousin) had his grandchildren around who were similar age. John and Ben spent a bit of time at their grandfathers place just up the road from me so it was straight forward that the events of childhood should involve these two lads. It must of been at least 20 years or more ago that I had come across John and I had heard he lived in Tassie via my father. I was soon to learn also that there were a couple of commonalities between the two of us, in fact we both had chased by namesake the same girl. We both have wives named Rachel or in John’s case Rachael, and our wives have a small dog Indie or in Johns case Indi.
This aside we arranged a time Monday to meet up for the first time in over 20 years at their home. I am sure they didn’t know what was coming when they say the Geist juggernaut coming down their drive. John and Rachael run a lovely little farm in the hills up past Hobart with around 900 sheep (droughts keeping the numbers down) and a successful Kelpie and Waler horse breeding business. Always a community minded couple, John and Rachael with their two children work tirelessly together to grow their family unit and share their spoils with family and friends. Rachael is a well known author of books you may have seen on the book stands with titles of “Jillaroo”, “the Stockmen” and “the Rouseabout”, a creative inspirationist, she talked effortlessly about the joys of motherhood, community values and family whilst modestly talking down her writing achievements thus far. We all know that together they will be very successful.
We really enjoyed John and Rachael’s company and talked about the time we will meet again to discuss more of our similarities in business and social antics.
Onwards south we headed to Port Arthur where we are now camped on a point in a caravan park where water is abundant, not like the last couple nights of bird baths, I long for a long hot shower after completing this blog. I walked down to the water before dark and felt the nostalgic senses overwhelming me of the convicts whom walked the same steps in less than pleasant times. Tomorrow is another day where we head North to discover more of this pristine state I am proud to call a part of Australia.
Pics above: Rachael and Rachel Treasure with Indi, both animal lovers, both creative, both humble achievers.
John and I share a photo, its great to catch up with another Treasure.
Visit www.rachaeltreasure.com for more info on Rachael’s books and Johns Kelpies and Waler horses.
After a few reds with Alan the evening before we got as far as Gordon, a little settlement down past Snug where there is a great Free camp spot to pull up at. This little spot has etched its way into our memory, mainly for its English feel. So far wherever we have gone we get the beautiful sandy beaches but here in the lower reaches of Tassie the beaches are stones and the air is cool and crisp. We came in at night and really didn’t know where we were camped until the next morning when the yellow hue of light shone down through the huge European hatch over our bed. The towering gums above bore its texture through the glass to reveal a classic Australian morning reminiscent of the Murray river or Aussie outback. The funny thing was that the outside temperature was around 6 or 7 degrees and we were at one of our most southern areas in Australia. Safe to say it was a gorgeous morning to lay in until around 8:30am before getting ourselves up and off to visit Craig and Juliet who were just 11kms down the road.
We arrived at Craig and Juliets new found house sitting home and backed the 660 down the drive and were quickly greeted by wonderful hospitality and a spectacular view across the water to Bruny Island. After chatting a while we showed them a few tips for hitching their XK 535 onto the Citroen C5. Now, with the C5 there is an automatic leveler in the suspension system that you must be aware of when hitching and unhitching on steep or uneven ground. The mistake some people make is to release the jockey wheel in an attempt to boost the height, this usually results in the collapse of the front of the van down the shaft of the jockey wheel. If need be jack the front up with a ball jack or similar.
It quickly came time for lunch and we were treated to a lovely meal overlooking the water on the deck. Our new found friends delighted us with the sharing of their life experiences and hospitality. The afternoon came with a bottle of next doors 06 Pinot Noir (a great wine region)under our belts, we assembled the Isabella annexe that they had just purchased, with great delight everyone saw the ease in which it went up. Sadly though the day ended with night beating us at 5:00pm and we departed back down to our favourite little free camp spot at Gordon. See the photos for more on this great little spot.
We boarded the Spirit of Tasmania on Tuesday night ready to sail. There were a couple of things I wanted to let people know when towing a caravan over to the apple isle. Make sure your gas bottles are off, empty all jerry cans of fuel (petrol or diesel), discard all vegetables and fruit prior to boarding. If your caravan is over 3 metres high then watch where your GPS sends you as there is a low railway bridge on approach to the Station Pier after you come off the tollway. Geist caravans shouldn’t have a problem as they are 2.75m with aircon but if you know someone with a high airconditioner or raised “offroad” van, they may come to grief here. To add to this it is not well sign posted and at night there are so many lights around you, you can easily miss the bridge near non existent lights. Arrive well in advance, we arrived 1 hour 15 mins before and because we were a long load we were one of the last on. We had to be allocated a spot that was adequate and coming late could be a bit stressful. Take cash if you don’t run a credit card as a $50 maximum applies on the one ATM and once you leave port there is no accessible cash. The restaurant prices are quite reasonable and the food is very nice. It is a limited menu but covers most tastes. We found the twin single bed cabin with port hole was very comfortable. The gift shop prices are very good too! On departure be ready to race down to your garage deck as soon as they give the all clear, especially if you are in the front on departure otherwise you could hold others up. Remember your garage level before you head up the lift on arrival, this makes it easier to get to your level on departure. There are good businesses open for breakfast in Devonport if you are traveling overnight, don’t feel you have to get up that bit earlier to catch the onboard breakfast (it still costs). I applied the hand brake on the Geist in case of rough seas but use your own discretion here. I hope this helps your travel to Tasmania one day or hopefully on the Geist tour in March next year.
Since the show finished on Monday night it has been pretty full on moving vans back to Gosford, this has meant me meeting our Geist truck in Euroa with vans from the show and bringing back a XK630 for a customer to go over to Tasmania. I had a little trouble with a short in the wiring of the van (now corrected) that caused me to stay overnight in Euroa on Wednesday night. Thursday was spent delivering the van and cleaning up the car. Friday was full on again getting some small issues sorted from past shows and getting some merchandise sorted. On Saturday and Sunday both Rachel and I were exhausted as I have been working pretty hard on the road this last few weeks without a break. Imagine how it has been for the guys at Geist who have been away from their loved ones for similar times, at least Rachel is with me each day.
So a cold Saturday in Melbourne was spent walking the famous Dandenong Markets and Plaza, we are limited to what we can carry so essentials like socks etc… was all we purchased. On Sunday we decided to look at our plans for Tasmania this week and Fraser Island late June and discovered we needed a few more things to keep us warm so off to Rays Outdoors and Anaconda to get the “essentials” for warmth. Rachel feels the cold pretty much all the time and so winter woollies came to her attention. The rule is though she must replace clothing not add to it, so she now has a task of bagging some old clothes for the Salvos (if we were in Townsville we could take them to the St Paul’s Lutheran Church clothing store). We returned later in the day and decided to go out for tea at “Cuckoo” Bavarian restaurant in the Dandenong Ranges(www.cuckoorestaurant.com.au). Just 40 minutes up the road we set off to arrive to a lovely atmosphere with a Smorgasboard that filled me up to the hilt! We were going to stay on for more of the floor show later but decided to head home whilst we could still walk. Thanks to Manfred and Pam who have an LV485 staying in the park with us, who gave us the tip on this one.