It all started with reader Tim asking if anyone knew where he could get a rack for his Winnebago Birdsville to carry a box with a generator and other assorted bits and bobs.
Over the course of a week or so we received a number of emails from Ronald Read, who with his wife is living full time in their Birdsville. Ronald – Ron – is obviously a man who likes to do things right and the solution he’s come up with for carrying a small generator is both simple and elegant.
Ron wrote, “I own a 2011 Winnebago Birdsville Elite and had an aluminium box custom designed, built and installed on the rear of my motorhome by a firm in Bayswater Victoria. It houses my Honda 2 kW generator and they will custom make to your specifications.”
“On my box, they fitted slide rails so that the generator comes out of the side of the box for starting and servicing. I had it powder coated so that it fitted in with the decor on the back of the motorhome.”
Ron sent photos of this particularly neat installation, but we did wonder how what appeared to be a cantilever bracket would stand up to the wight of the generator and box bouncing up and down over our rough roads. So we asked him if it were attached to the rear of the vehicle as well, thinking there might be a bracket we couldn’t see.
“No, the box does not attach to the back of the vehicle. It is attached to the chassis on both sides, both to the bottom and the middle of the steel channel. There are eight bolts in total attaching the frame to the chassis,” Ron replied, attaching a couple of photos to help show how it is attached.
“The decal was not fitted by the company. I arranged with Winnebago to get a matching decal set that was on the back of the motorhome so that the box didn't look like an add-on.”
A day later this extra information arrived:
“Just to make the generator even easier to use, I ran a permanent cable from it to a waterproof power point underneath the motorhome, close to the mains power inlet. When I stop for the night, I just have to plug in a short extension cable and the generator is ready for use if required, which is only for devices that exceed the capacity of my 700 watt inverter. These include the air conditioner, microwave, wife's hair dryer and vacuum cleaner, or to charge the batteries if there has been insufficient charge into the batteries from the six solar panels on our roof. All this makes us energy self sufficient for our 365 days a year freedom camping lifestyle.”
Not only was that very helpful, it also begged enquiring about their full-time “camping lifestyle.” A new email appeared soon after.
“Yes, we are on the road full time. Our journey started in November 2011 when we purchased a new Winnebago Birdsville Elite from the Sydney RV Centre. We were renting a cottage in Coffs Harbour at the time, so we drove back to Coffs, packed up and started our journey by travelling to Melbourne to spend time with family over the holiday period,” Ron wrote.
“We travelled through most of Gippsland with some touring into the Victorian Alps. We then travelled up the East Coast, zigzagging in several places across the Great Dividing Range until reaching Hervey Bay, where we headed west to near Roma to try and leave the constant wet weather behind.”
“As there were several family commitments in Melbourne between September and Christmas 2012 we headed south, basically following the Newell Highway but deviating in several sections to avoid the constant stream of semitrailers and B-doubles.”
“Between September and Christmas 2012, between important family events, we did several tours in Western Victoria, such as:
- Melbourne to Mildura (took a month) and then along Murray River to Echuca Melbourne to the Grampians, Otways
- Melbourne to Ballarat, Central Victoria and Portland
- North & North Eastern Melbourne whilst waiting for generator box to be manufactured and fitted”
“We travelled just west of the Victorian high country to the border at Albury and then basically north between the Newell Highway and Hume, and then the New England Highways towards Queensland. We plan to spend winter and spring in Queensland and are loving every minute of this adventure. When we find a site we particularly like we spend more time, sometimes up to 10 days.” Ron concluded.
We wish Ron and his wife safe and happy travels as they ‘live the dream’ so many of us are waiting for.
M2O Toolbox & Canopy (short for 'Made to Order)
7 Scoresby Road, Bayswater Vic 3153
Tel: 03 9729 7568