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 Living on the Road :: Wothahellizat Mk1 :: Construction Diary :: #25

17 Feb 2000

While cleaning my office I moved a pile of magazines and there it was, flatter than a prize fighter's nose, my wallet. No big deal about an old wallet I suppose it's just that I no longer need one and seeing it drove my new lifestyle home a bit.

You see that wallet used to be so thick I could hardly sit down, not with money unfortunately, but with the day-to-day trapings of working, running a small business etc. Things like old business cards from people I can't remember, membership cards for various organisations, a dozen or so chits from the ATM and a couple of receipts.

10 Mar 2000

We've been cleaning and fixing houses ready to put them on the market. After a long day I returned home exhausted with one thing in mind, a long hot shower and a relaxing evening (actually that's two things). I reversed the car into it's spot in front of the garage, got out, shuffled to the rear and opened the door, I just needed my jumper.

As the door started opening I remembered something I had told myself when I closed it but it was too late.

Slowly the jar of paint arched towards the driveway. The impending disaster galvanised me into action, my foot lashed out and just got under the jar in time to break its fall.


I tried to balance the jar but was not up to the task, it toppled from my boot, fell the remaining couple of inches to the concrete, and exploded. There was white oil-based paint everywhere.

Chris was at the shops and I we had no turps as I recently took all the chemicals to the workshop. The best course of action I could think of was to mechanically remove as much paint as possible then keep the rest wet until Chris returned and could be sent back to buy some turps.

I plugged the hose in but almost no water issued from the end because the tap washer was missing and most of the water was spewing from the connection, "There's one in the back yard though" and I bolted up the stairs almost running across the lounge room with my paint covered boots. I removed them and ran through the house to the back door, threw it open, disconnected the garden sprinkler system and removed the snap-on connector, just as I heard the door slam. It had locked behind me.

I placed the connector in my mouth, climbed the retaining wall and the back fence then ran around the outside to the disaster area, remembering just in time that there was glass everywhere and I was now in bare feet. Still at least I had water.

With the hose working I tried to blast the paint from the concrete, it was working but I felt that a scouring pad would help so I ran back inside to get one from under the kitchen sink. I opened the cupboard door and saw them, two bottles of mineral turps.


With the turps in hand the panic was over, it was just a matter of spending the required time to clean the mess. An hour or so later I finally got my shower and relaxed in the recliner.

20 Mar 2000

Not much to report I'm afraid. I seem to have hit a bit of an emotional brick wall (actually just a really steep hill I suppose) and have not achieved much on the truck. In my defence though we have been preparing houses for sale etc and that has taken some of my time.

Mostly I've been working on the cladding and I'm happy to say that it's nearly finished.

It seems that every time Chris asks me what I've been doing the answer is "Working on the pop-top". The pop-top has turned out to be quite complex but it's almost finished now. It probably deserves a complete section on its own but for the time being here are a couple of photos.

The first one shows battens in place for the tropical roof which will sit above the main roof, separated by an air gap. The framework in the foreground allows the tropical roof to continue past the main body of the pop top thus providing more protection from the weather and also completely shielding the hinges. Waterproofing the hinges is a major problem with this type of articulated roof and providing a second roof over the entire thing is the best way to fix the problem.

As the truck needs a tropical roof anyway to help keep it cool this can perform both functions.

The only problem is maintaining the air flow between the two roof sections while, at the same time, making it completely water proof. I came up with a method that allows the roof to breath from a skirting on the sides. Here we see small battens onto which the skirting will be fixed. The gaps between the battens will allow airflow. As always there's more to it than this but a full description will have to wait until I get time.

One more photo just for fun, this one shows the back end of the truck with the main shutters opened

7 Apr 2000

It's done, the houses are sold, so all going well we will be homeless in a couple of weeks. They actually sold a bit quickly (3 days for one, a week for the other, did we ask to low a price? I don't think so, that's just the way it is in Canberra at the moment) and the buyers want quick settlements so we've been caught a bit short. I haven't worked on the truck for days and won't get back to it until the dust settles from moving.

There's a couple of shots of the houses, firstly the one we rented,

and next the one we lived in.

Of course the truck isn't finished yet so we still need somewhere to live. Chris suggested that we build some kind of shelter in the workshop. It seemed like a good idea to me as we don't want to be paying rent so I bought the building materials for our new home. Two tarps and some two-by-threes.

I used the timber to make some plates on opposite walls and along the rear. I slung two ropes between the walls then draped the tarps over the ropes and fixed them to the timber plates. Here we see the finished shelter before we moved in.

Note the mezzanine floor, I had to build this as the area was not big enough to hold a bed as well.

Here we see the shelter from the outside. This should do for us but we still need another undercover area for our stuff because the everything in the workshop gets covered in crap and we need to protect some items, so I built an annex to store the things we didn't want to get too dirty.

Above is an aerial shot from the top of the truck showing the annex and some of the junk as it gets brought across from the house. My very own shanty town.

10 Apr 2000

Everything's moved to the workshop now with the exception of the item that forms the core of our existence, the TV :-) I packed it into my car and took it to the workshop, once there we have officially moved. I felt like an admiral transferring his flag between battleships.

The workshop is looking like something from Steptoe & Son. I just managed to leave a path between the piles of junk for us to access the rear of the shed.

11 Apr 2000

Ahhh, I just love living under canvas, the gentle ripple of a breeze on the fabric, the faint aroma of diesel and the rhythmic thump of compressors from next door...hmmm somehow it's just not the same when the canvas you're living under is in turn under a steel workshop roof in an industrial area. Still, with a little imagination...

It's not that bad, quite cozy really, there's a shower, dunny and kitchenette. There's a reasonable amount of room left for our Jason recliners, TV and computer. It's pretty small but then we are about to live permanently in a truck!

Anyway we're finally living-the-life in a small way. We have very few possessions, don't work and are living with a motorhome (that's WITH, not IN). Now if I could just get the bloody thing finished we could hit the road for real.

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PO Box 450, Gin Gin, QLD, Australia.