Tuesday, 11 February 2014



NZMCA = New Zealand Motor Caravan Association

POP = Park Over Property

Freedom Camping = Boondocking (USA) Over-nighting outside a camp-ground or POP 

Fifth Wheel = Fiver (USA) or trailer attached to a tow vehicle with a turntable

Caravan = Towed trailer from a small camper to a luxurious home away from home

We don't seem to use the generic term RV for Recreational Vehicle as frequently as do North Americans. We tend to call everything a Motor-Home except for small vans and campers.

When we joined up with NZMCA, more than 15 years ago, it was like a small family camping club. Since then it's grown exponentially. We are not fans of club activities. We went to a few rallies. Joined in most activities including the dreaded business meetings. Lord save me from people who must have every 'í' dotted and every 't' crossed to their own satisfaction. At the same time we appreciate the people who work hard to see that the organisation runs smoothly.

Today NZMCA owns several parks where a number of members can park for $3.00 pp per night. There is a system of Park Over Properties for members to stay on the property of other members, as well as a list of campgrounds that might offer members discounts.  NZMCA offer huge amounts of advice and recommendations etc. and produce a bi-monthly magazine. No-one should RV in New Zealand without becoming a member. It makes that much sense. 

NZMCA also deal with all kinds of political stuff including dealing with councils about Freedom Camping also known as Boondocking. This is no small task as New Zealanders become frustrated by the behaviour of certain tourists. Our country is far too small and far too popular with tourists to allow people complete freedom. We have a particular type of tourist who rents a small van with no on board facilities and who use public toilets or the bushes. What a mess. 

Putting that aside .....Last year we finally did something we have talked about for several years. We applied to make our back-yard/lawn a POP. I call it the back-yard because it's the back of the house. John calls it the front because it is on the street side. Confused! We often are.

Our sign went up in November, not long after our September/October stay in Christchurch. We took it down again for our recent visit of nearly three weeks back there. 

Murphy's Law. The sign was hardly screwed onto the fence in November when we returned from a long day driving to and from Waikato Hospital to find our first visitors parked on our lawn. I was exhausted and hid. John must have been too but he did the honours and chatted with them with assurances that they were fine where they were.

This week has been busy too. We've been home 6 days and we've already had 7 vans in. Sunday night there were three. Now we don't have a very big yard and we didn't plan for so many but somehow they worked it out for themselves. We don't charge although we offer good water, power hooked up to our house, internet, and showers. People are always very generous and give us a donation whether or not they use any of these services. John likes this as he can put the cash in his pocket and wander down the road for a newspaper or save it for his next hair-cut. Next time I am shopping we'll get a guest book. I'm also thinking about putting on a kind of Happy Hour but it would be more like a cup of coffee and a chat fest. I have not had much to do with the visitors up to now. John likes talking to strangers. I always thought I was the out-going one but the Motor-Home/RV lifestyle proves I like to take my time getting to know people.

Having a POP is a nice way to feel as though we are in touch with the lifestyle since we are unable to be on the road. I have no idea how much travelling is in our future. Our Old Purple Bus is parked up until we can afford to do the necessary work to make it road worthy. It desperately needs a paint job. I get cross because it looks as though we have a rusting piece of junk on our lawn. I know what I want it to look like and it's not like that now. Our old bus is also a challenge to drive, with no power steering John gets quite a work-out. The old bus is a 1968 Austin chassis with a much newer Nissan diesel motor. It was once a town passenger bus, built in Oamaru. The grandson, Rod Tempero, of the founding coachbuilder, who incidentally built our bus, now constructs sports cars from the same building.

Waiting for a property to sell is not fun. I try not to think about it too much. Our life is on hold for making any plans until my mother's house sells and her estate wound up. I have quite an investment in the property and we could have done with the cash many times over. It's good to know it hasn't been frittered away but the waiting has become painful. Sometimes I get depressed with the waiting because we are not getting any younger. All our plans were put on hold when it became obvious that we needed to be closer to my mother in her last years. In fact our plans have now been on 'hold' for over 10 years. That doesn't mean we haven't been able to do any travelling or have any fun but that our dreams have not been realised. 

In the meantime we will host a POP and enjoy our own area. So many people envy us living here on the Coromandel Peninsula that I feel guilty about moaning. It's hard when dreams are delayed until you wonder if they will ever be fulfilled.

Here's hoping this will be our last year of waiting. But if it's not we will find ways to enjoy our life. I'm over my pity party and ready to live.

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