It has been many months since I first laid eyes on Frankie Dean (our Jayco FD-19 Campervan) and began dreaming of the AdVANtures we would have. Getting Frankie has been such a long-held dream, for what it represents and means for me and my girls. The main dream Frankie brings is time – time to slow down, time to play, time to explore, time to learn, time to bike, hike, read, play games … the list goes on!!
Dreaming about it has been great; it has kept me motivated and working hard – whilst singing ‘Working for the van’ in the back of my mind all day, every day! However, what the dream phase failed to do was prepare me for the learning curve that is Frankie Dean himself! I don’t mean learning curve in a bad way – just an all-consuming, focus-on-task-at-hand kinda way, or a talk-through-the-steps-out-loud kinda way.
I decided on a campervan after exploring options that involved towing. I spent time looking into camper trailers, pop tops and expanders, which I loved; but I decided – as a sole parent travelling with two children – this wasn’t what I wanted. So campervan life it was – and welcome Frankie Dean!
Fast forward a couple of weeks since we picked up Frankie Dean, and I have just got back from Frankie’s maiden voyage – and what a trip it was! I have overcomes fears galore! I have put Frankie through his paces; he has been on a ferry – in fact, not just on but reversed on – thank goodness Sealink traffic marshals will reverse on for you, as I was freaking out!
I have driven around Kangaroo Island – winding roads, dirt road , hills and narrow roads. I have parked Frankie in a variety of places – car parks, caravan parks – and I’ve reversed into campsites too! This may not sound like much to some, but the learning curve of going from driving a little Suburu XV to a 6.4m long x 2.7m high Frankie has taken some getting use to.
Then before I knew it, I found myself sitting in the swivel chair with my feet up the other night at the Western KI caravan park reading a magazine and I nearly burst with happiness! I had a glimpse of life on the road and I liked it a lot! The Jayco jingle and lyrics ‘That’s freedom’ popped into my head!!
The learning curve went on and each day I set myself a new challenge like plugging into power, use the bathroom, reverse into a car park, use the navigation, hook up phone to stereo, use the heater, cook with the gas, empty the toilet. And slowly but surely, like any new relationship, Frankie and I are getting to know each other and it’s looking like we will be a great team!
I don’t know if I will ever feel confident to reverse onto a ferry, but who knows after the big trip (coming soon!), driving Frankie might feel like like home and reversing onto a ferry might feel like a reasonable thing to do!
Now I’m planning on doing some instructional videos for how to do all the ‘things’ in Frankie – for future reference and for other owners of the new Jayco FD19-1 – like swivel the chairs, emptying the toilet etc. So watch this space.
I’m off to learn about tyre pressure today.