After two weeks rushing around Victoria on the hunt for a bus or RV, and seeing a great deal of the country, we returned to Melbourne from beautiful Moonambel, but not before a visit to the Blue Pyrenees winery near Avoca for lunch with Arthur and Joan. We enjoyed a delicious house platter with their Viognier wine, rather like a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.
The vineyard was originally established to produce a substitute for Remy Martin Brandy during WW2, and was among the modern Australian wine industry’s first ventures into cool climate viticulture. “Our Estate is surrounded by the picturesque blue-hued Pyrenees range named for its beauty and similarity to the Pyrenees mountains bordering France and Spain, though some think this explorer’s memory of what constituted a mountain may have been distorted by his long voyage across the flat seas of the Pacific!”
We returned the quirky little Fiat rental and took on a rather more comfortable Mitsubishi rental with a free upgrade – oh bliss. Within a few days and many more km on the rental plus fighting to escape some extremely pushy salesmen, we had located our new RV, a 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo WH to give it its grand full title, a beautiful silver and such a lovely (grand!) ride. No bull bar but we can get one fitted later, a 2-week wait would be far too long right now.
Next day the Great Caravan Hunt started with a fizzer – a long drive through horrendous (and rainy) Melbourne stop-and-go traffic only to find the caravan we wanted to inspect had been sold under our noses even though Dave had spoken to the dealer earlier that day. We called off the rest of the GCH and retreated ‘home’ to lovely Jen’s where we’ve been made to feel so welcome.
Next day with about 6 caravans on the to-see list we set off almost back to where we’d abandoned the hunt the previous day, inspected a privately owned van (very nice, quite tempting but …) then to a dealer to see what turned out to be a rather decrepit-though-charming little van, and then I discovered, right next to it, THE caravan – a 2001 Jayco Westport, very similar our T5 but with a different interior layout, and it had just about everything on our list ….. solar, a well-sprung bed accessible on both sides, separate toilet and shower, full stove with griller and oven, new batteries and tyres. Sold – to us!
We have to wait six days before we can take possession as the dealer wants to give it a full pre-delivery service. No matter, with the hunting thankfully called off we can relax more and start to gather “stuff” – linen and towels already promised, kitchenware (just received an email promising a bread knife, carving fork and other goodies), plastic storage baskets to fit into the lockers, cleaning materials, non-perishables like spices and pasta, and some more clothes for us as we arrived with only the minimum.