A space for me

Camper Trailer Australia - - CONTENTS -

WHEN I'M at the helm of our Toy­ota HiLux 4WD with an Echo 4x4 Ka­vango a camper trailer in tow, I’m very con­scious of how much space we take up on the road, at ser­vice sta­tions and in shop­ping precincts. Our camper is rel­a­tively com­pact, but the com­bined length is just over 10m – the size of a small re­movals truck. So it’s not un­usual to ar­rive at a point of in­ter­est or rest stop in a town to find the big­gest chal­lenge is find­ing some­where to park and en­joy it. Be­cause of our rig’s com­bined length, in built-up ar­eas we may not be al­lowed to park along a length of road for more than an hour (see for ex­am­ple Road Rules [NSW] Reg 200). Some lo­cal coun­cils may re­strict our street park­ing al­to­gether un­less we’re ac­tu­ally bro­ken down (https://rac­qliv­ing.­a­van­ning/where-can-you-parky­our-car­a­van/). And in small towns, while it may be com­mon to find des­ig­nated off-street park­ing, it’s less likely to find spots for longer ve­hi­cles. It’s not un­usual to be left care­fully inch­ing our way around park­ing ar­eas that leave us feel­ing like we’re Gul­liver ar­riv­ing in Lil­liput. So, when we find some­where that al­lo­cates long-ve­hi­cle park­ing, it ir­ri­tates me when the park­ing bays are oc­cu­pied by daily driv­ers with nei­ther a camper­van nor trailer to jus­tify their pres­ence there. Whether it’s at the lo­cal Bun­nings or on a side road in a ma­jor town, the sites are there for a rea­son. Why do driv­ers think this is OK? We read enough about truck driv­ers’ rights to stop in truck bays with­out be­ing dis­rupted by car­a­van­ners and RVs. I reckon it’s about time the needs of recre­ational tow-tug driv­ers were recog­nised, too. It hap­pened again as we were re­turn­ing from a long week­end away to Mudgee on the NSW Cen­tral West. Cowra is a flour­ish­ing coun­try town on the in­ter­sec­tion of the Mid-Western and Olympic high­ways. So it’s not sur­pris­ing that the main street has cafes and other ameni­ties cater­ing to pass­ing trav­ellers. Trou­ble is, these are largely sup­ported by rear-to-kerb 45° park­ing spa­ces along the main road – which are no use to us when we’re tow­ing. So we tend to de­fault to the long-ve­hi­cle park­ing avail­able on Young Rd next to Olympic Park and near a play­ground, cafe and the Golden Arches. To say I was an­noyed to find a line of cars tak­ing up the en­tire length of the des­ig­nated car­a­van-trailer park­ing is an un­der­state­ment. And why were they there? Not be­cause the stan­dard park­ing was full. There were plenty of spa­ces for nor­mal-sized ve­hi­cles. I can only as­sume it was be­cause the long-ve­hi­cle parks were the only ones in the shade. Or they were close enough to tot­ter off to the pub­lic toi­lets and to Mac­cas with min­i­mal phys­i­cal ex­er­tion. When did we be­come so self­ab­sorbed? I’d hope that, as a group of over­lan­ders, we wouldn’t re­sort to such low stan­dards. But it’s prob­a­bly the case that, af­ter a long day on the road and with a car full of fid­gety kids, some might find ways to ex­cuse sim­i­lar be­hav­iour. But the ac­tions we take in our own self-in­ter­est af­fect oth­ers. As an old say­ing goes: “You don’t serve a point of view, if the only thing you see is you,” (au­thor un­known).

Reg­u­lar driv­ers who hog long-ve­hi­cle parks meant for rigs tow­ing campers are be­ing self­ish, writes Kath Heiman

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