The intention is to share all of this information with others so
that they can avoid the mistakes and benefit from the experiences.
The book is not a travelogue. It is a compendium of
information that every intending and beginning caravanner needs
to know. Neither is it a manual. It is written in an informal, relaxed
style with as many points as possible illustrated with anecdotes
and experiences. As one reader has reported, "It is as if you
were sitting with us telling us all about it."
Ken and Maureen launched the book at the Perth Caravan
Show in March 2002. Without any advance publicity or advertising
they sold many books. Doug and Denise McIvor gave it an excellent
review in their weekly caravan column in The West Australian on
30 March 2002. Caravan World published another, highly complimentary,
review and recommended it to caravanning beginners on page 18 of
their May 2002 issue.
The first chapter discusses the issues involved in
buying a caravan. It dispels some of the myths and guides the reader
through some of the pitfalls and traps. The need for a budget is
emphasised and a list of essential items the beginner doesn't think
of is provided. They all cost money and impact upon the budget.
The second chapter discusses a host of basics such
as checklists for hitching van to vehicle, checking into caravan
parks, reversing and parking the caravan and getting it level.
Chapter Three discusses what to take on a caravan
trip and draws a distinction between a couple of weeks away at the
coast and the "Big One" - the trip around Australia. Money,
pets, clothing, kitchenware, food and many others subjects are covered.
Chapter Four is devoted to the technicalities of hitching van to
vehicle. The types of mechanisms available are discussed and an
emphasis is placed upon seeking expert advice. The various acronyms
that confuse many in this subject are defined and made simple.
The intricacies of annexes are discussed in Chapter Five. Erecting
them, securing them and how to stop them flapping are explained
in considerable detail. Emphasis is given to securing roll-out awnings
safely for travel.
A range of issues are discussed in Chapter Six - On The Road. Communication
from CB radio to mobile phones and e-mail; spare fuel and water;
things that drop out of trees; caravan heaters and toilets; changing
tyres and even the use of credit and fuel cards.
Chapter Seven is devoted to overtaking. That is, what the caravanner
should do when being overtaken and when overtaking. This is a subject
that often frightens the beginner but the advice offered should
take much of the apprehension out of these every day activities.
Australia's roads and road rules are the subject of Chapter Eight.
The worst section of Highway One is described and some discussion
devoted to the perennial road works.
The Perfect Caravan Park is the title of Chapter Nine. There is
no such thing as a perfect park but the analogy is used to discuss
the various issues around caravan parks and the wide range of standards
the traveller comes across. Rubbish disposal and ablutions receive
due attention as does the personalities of park staff.
Chapter Ten is devoted to Horror Stories - experiences and stories
of events when things have gone horribly wrong. Caravan doors feature
strongly as do roll out awnings. Even theft and burglary are featured
and advice given on how to prevent them.
Meeting people is one of the joys of travelling and caravanning
is no different. Chapter Eleven is devoted to people and discusses
the good and the bad. Most of the people you meet in caravan parks
are good people.
It seems odd, at first, that Chapter Twelve is devoted to Television.
But, using a TV in a caravan is different to using it at home. Every
time you arrive at a new place you need to tune the television anew.
This is not usually realised by the new starter - Ken and Maureen
learned by experience.
Chapter Thirteen is devoted to Health Matters. Ken is a retired
doctor and therefore well qualified to advise caravanners on the
health aspects of caravanning.
Similarly, Chapter Fourteen is devoted to First Aid. It is not
a first aid manual but discusses the most likely injuries the caravanner
could experience personally or witness in others.
Finally, in Chapter Fifteen, Maureen offers a selection of simple,
healthy recipes she uses in the caravan.
The book's appendix offers a list of contacts with addresses, phone
numbers, e-mail addresses and web sites where available. There is
an extensive index.
The book might best be summarised with Caravan World's penultimate
paragraph. "Caravan World recommends the Hay's book and predicts
that it will quickly become a well-thumbed fixture on every caravan
The Nitty Gritty of Caravanning is priced at $24.95. It is available
at newsagents in Mandurah, Hudson's Caravans in Mandurah, Caravan
Parts of WA in Welshpool Road, Perth and by mail order from Indian
Ocean Books, PO Box 301, Joondalup. WA 6919. Order