Ionce sat beside a bush hut in the rain for seven days waiting on a helicopter to arrive. I’d already been there for four and a half months, through a long hard winter, trapping possums for a living, only to have my extraction delayed by huge mountain storms. My gear was all neatly packed; all I needed was to hear the sound of rotor blades and I’d be on my way back to Civvy Street! I was in desperate need of two things: a long cold beer and hokey-pokey ice cream. Actually, three things, but this is a family magazine so we won’t go there! I can recall thinking, “I’ve never been so frustrated in my entire life – and nor will I ever be again.” I was wrong. Sadly wrong.

Getting tanked up has a different meaning when it comes to Mog range. The extra tank gives me an extra 160L of fuel
The Mog had been sitting in a comatose state at the engineering shop for over seven weeks. No matter how hard I cajoled, no matter what subterfuge I employed, it seemingly had no effect, even though I’d booked it in well in advance. The company was busy, and while I had sympathy with their plight I was keen to keep my project moving – if only for the selfish reason I wanted to be on the road in the early part of the New Year. Left with no alternative I decided the only course of action remaining was to move it to another engineer. I’d been quite determined to share the workload around Levin, if for nothing else than to keep people’s interest piqued and utilise the different skill sets from each company.

It was a great call. Once the Mog arrived back at Ducare, the guys took to the new task of building the cab tray and access ladder with unbridled enthusiasm. It was almost as if they owned the project, thinking outside the square and coming up with suggestions I’d never have dreamed of – and trust me, I can dream a fair bit. One thing nagging away at me was how to get a heavy wheel off the ground and hoist it three metres to the top of the cab.

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