16 Aug 1999
Some long-time friends of ours (Colleen and
Dennis) have recently moved into their new house on forty acres
to the north of Canberra. After years running their own business
I guess they needed a change like many people do in their forties.
Anyway I needed a day off from working on the motor home and neither
of us had seen the new house so we drove out to spend the afternoon
One thing about owning a reasonable piece of land
is that you have a ready supply of firewood. Here we see Dennis
using a labour saving technique to load the firewood, he backs his
truck under the tree then chainsaws the pieces and they fall straight
onto the tray.
Earlier in the day we where having lunch and discussing
what we were doing with the motor home, including how much fun we
thought our two motor bikes would be. I noticed a red Commodore
driving at high speed up their long dirt driveway. It skidded to
a halt directly outside the front door and the driver bolted into
the house, it was their youngest daughter and she was almost hysterical,
"There's been an accident" she yelled, "they've crashed
The "they" she referred to was her two
friends and they were both in the car. We ran outside to find one
lad in the front seat, with a blood-covered face and holding his
arm, and another in the back who looked ok. Dennis jumped in the
vehicle and drove them to the hospital.
When they arrived the lad with the bloodied face
was rushed inside but the other boy, the one that looked injury
free, was told not to move until a stretcher arrived. It seems that
there was some serious worry about his neck.
The point of this story, apart from the irony
of two motorbike accident victims arriving just as we had espoused
the virtues of our newly acquired two-wheel transport, is that it
really drove home to me how your life can turn to shit at a moments
notice. One second you're mind's full of impressing a potential
girlfriend and what to wear to the disco tonight, the next you've
got a face full of blood and the phrase "intensive care"
moves right out of "Chicago Hope" and into your life.
Now I love motor bikes, I rode them years ago
when, as the song goes "I wore a younger man's clothes".
I had a 750cc Honda (with an 812 Yoshimura kit) in the days when
they were one of the top Japanese bikes. Chris used to ride as well...until
the accident of course.
I considered myself lucky to return to four-wheel
transport with both my bike and myself intact, so when Chris first
suggested we buy motorbikes instead of towing a 4x4 I was not keen
on the idea. Still it did seem the most practical option and now
we have them I'm loving the feeling again.
Hopefully, with us being older and a little wiser,
and the bikes being smaller, we can have the fun of motorbike riding
and stay in one piece.
27 Aug 1999
Another milestone passed. I spent the day
on the road today with the truck, ostensibly for Mario (the engineer
who certified the design) to do some trials on the body and mounting
system. However while I had the trade plates I had a little drive
as well. At first I was scared witless and stopped every few hundred
yards to check everything. After an hour or so though it became
apparent that nothing catastrophic was likely and I settled down.
As you can seen the body is largely complete is
as far as the main frame goes. There's still a lot of bracing to
be done though.
Mario and I hit the road and it drove well, slowly
but well. There was no noticeable pitching or tendency to behave
abnormal in any way. Then we took it onto a fire trail near Molonglo
Gorge and tested the mount's ability to move with the chassis, once
again no problems. When we had finished Mario gave it the thumbs
up and I drove him back to his workshop before returning to the
gorge to take some photos.
Here we see a shot of the rear with the truck
parked across a very shallow gutter, note how much the chassis had
moved in relation to the body, even with this small ditch.
I expected the above, after all that was
the whole idea of the rubber mounting system. However I was a little
surprised to see how much the body moved in relation to the cab. After
all they are mounted to the chassis at points that are very close. The
photo below shows both the angular and lateral movement. Good thing
I left plenty of clearance
29 Aug 1999
The Canberra chapter of the CMCA was showing
some motor homes at the Camping and Four Wheel Drive" show
and I took mine as an example of a "work in progress".
It caused a lot of interest, most people were intrigued, I guess
some thought I was crazy while others were simply gob-smacked.
Those who knew the ACCO said it was the
best truck for the job, simple old fashioned technology that will go
anywhere. When we told people that we were hitting the road most professed
envy. Comments like "I'd love to do that" and "You lucky
bastard, I'll do that one day" abounded. Of course many of them
could do it right now if they really wanted to but let's keep that our
little secret, I don't want too many people filling all those great
20 Sep 1999
Not much exciting happening in the last couple
of weeks. It's funny how I thought I was nearly ready for cladding
about three weeks ago when in fact it's only now that that is the
case. There's an incredible amount of fiddly braces to insert before
the cladding can be put on and each one seems to take an age. Also
I've had to finish most of the storage bin doors and window shutters.
There's a lot of work been done I guess, it just doesn't look like
Let's see what else has happened, oh that's right,
I quit my job.