Another of our goals for this trip is to cook our own meals at night and prepare our own car snacks, lunches and coffees. So far the only money we've spent at servos has been for fuel and a couple of icecreams to thank the kids for being so good in the car on our really long days. I found a great budgeting app for my iPhone that allows me to input all of our expenses, allowing me to track how much money we spend on different things, such as fuel and groceries. We've allowed ourselves $6000 for this trip, though nearly $800 of that was spent on presents while in Perth. We've been eating like kings each night for dinner, though our lunches are more simple as we snack on fruit, mueslie bars and cruskits as we drive. The Engle fridge in the tray contains any cold stuff we may need during the day (and those beverages needed at the end of a long day!) and this saves us having to crawl through the camper to get things from the inside fridge. We use our butane stove to make coffees on the side of the road when we stop for lunch, though we also make sure we've made one before we get going in the mornings. Its a system that's worked really well for us so far and I think we've saved a stack of money by not buying take-aways as we go.
As we were finishing the morning pack up at Smoky Bay, one of the front legs wouldn't wind up as a result of a broken split pin. Again, our neighbour came to our rescue and supplied us with what we needed. Gaz resolved to hit the next hardware store we came across to stock up on the bits and pieces we needed for the problems we'd encountered so far.
We are booked into the Zoofari lodge at the Dubbo Western Plains Zoo for the 23rd. We're all really excited about checking out the zoo as we've heard amazing things about it. With this in mind, we've decided to push forward with bigger days than we first intended so that we can get to Dubbo the night before instead of the day of our booking. Today was another really big day in the car and we crossed the majority of SA in one hit. We stopped just short of the NSW border to cook dinner and settle in for the night next to a creek. It was such a gorgeous night with clear skies, no wind and a stunning sunset that swapped itself for a fullish moon rising through pinky purple skies. Unfortunately, the mozzies loved us as much as we loved our camp spot and I was forced to take dinner prep back inside. It was then I discovered that despite having a full gas bottle, there was no gas coming through to my stove. After mucking around for a bit, we concluded it was something someone with more expertise than us would need to fix. The butane stove has been a really handy back up, and its moments like these I'm so glad we brought it along. We got our camper second hand about 7 months ago and we've only gone on weekenders out of Kalbarri since. It's a 2002 Jayco Outback Flamingo model and I adore it. It has heaps of space, an excellent layout and is really easy to set up and take down. I am happy to accept that any issue we're experiencing is a result of wear and tear to an older camper and is nothing that we can't deal with. We've been going pretty hard and on the whole, everything and everyone is holding up really well.