Trokkie in Covid19 lockdown – 2020

Finally … this is Trokkie: our new home on wheels.

Specs and why:

  • Hino 500 because we wanted to have enough loading capacity for water and extra diesel. We’ve also had extremely good experiences with two Toyota vehicles in our past (Hiace and Corolla) and Hino is from the same stable … hence our trust in the brand. As a bonus … the size affords us a very comfortable home on wheels with heaps of storage space.

  • We run the truck on 220 Volt. Comparing the price of specialised camping appliances to normal appliances, the difference is serious. Therefore we decided to run 220 volt so we could use the appliances we already had in our home.

  • Yes, we are aware that we most probably cannot go where smaller vehicles can. But loading capacity for water and fuel was a great determining factor to choose this truck.

Our plans were to be on the road by the end of March 2020, but Covid19 messed up that plan big time.

A concise timeline building up to and into lock-down

August 2019:  We had truck and box. Now we could start working on the inside.

17 January 2020:  We had just returned form our Ozzie Christmas trip (Uluru, Wangaratta, Noosa, Perth) and had one month to get Trokkie ready by the time our daughter Erika and her family would visit from Jamaica.

15 February 2020: Kids and grand kids arrived from Jamaica. With the help of our best friends Gavin and Lee (for our solar and electrical installation), Trokkie was ready to go and we took her on her Maiden Trip, with our two grand daughters as VIP guests. Cooking, showering, eating and sleeping in the truck was working, but we still had to pull in camping grounds because we didn’t have a toilet (that was a job for after Erika and Co had gone back to Jamaica, early March).

5 March 2020: Kids and grand kids flew back home to Jamaica and we had to get to work to sort out Trokkie’s last bits and pieces to be really self-sufficient on the road.  So … we were all fired up to get the black water tank and extra diesel tank made and installed so we could indeed hit the road. Not a week later Covid19 hit the world. We had been vaguely aware of it since early March, but never suspected it would become such a global pandemic and have such an effect on daily life.

27 March 2020: Lock-down! By the end of March lock-down in South Africa became effective and everything came to a grinding halt. Not only the fact that we had to stay at home (in Trokkie) was a bummer, but also the fact that business was not trading and we couldn’t do any work to finish Trokkie.

We celebrated Easter with a single Easter egg between the two of us, and were able to chat/skype/facetime with children and grand children on the other continents.

End of May 2020: (date of writing) : 9 Weeks later we’re still in the same position: stuck in Trokkie at the workshop. On  Monday 1 June however the South African lock-down changes from level 4 to level 3, so hopefully we’ll be able to get manufacturers / suppliers to make our tanks and finish the truck. 

Our lockdown / isolation time

As all our children and grand children are gone we are pretty much on our own, so isolation wasn’t too much of an issue for us. 

Being at the workshop and knowing we couldn’t move around for most probably the next two months, we took the opportunity to give Trokkie a serious all-over check, before we taking her on the road full-time.  While initially we still slept inside the workshop, a short while later we decided we might as well do the “truck-living” in all earnest (besides the toilet issue of course) and figure out if our design was as practical as we imagined it to be. So yes … we have lived in Trokkie since then:  a perfect time to finish building and to see what works and what doesn’t.

It turned out to be an interesting (be it sometimes quite frustrating) two months: every time we think the inside of the house is sorted out, there is something new that needs to be worked on (extra shelves, working on the shower floor, adding a mosquito door, …) and requires moving stuff around in our 14m2 house. We don’t have a three bedroom house with garage anymore, so if  for instance we need to work in the bathroom, all the bathroom stuff needs to be (temporarily) stored somewhere else in the truck: on the bed, on the kitchen counter, on the seats of the dining nook, etc. It forces us however, to try finish a job quick, because otherwise we can’t cook or eat or sleep.

Our deadline

Our deadline to be on the road is 30 June 2020.

These are some images of Trokkie under construction and her state of readiness when we took her on her maiden trip. When we reach 30 June, she has to be completely finished and by then we will take you on a more detailed tour of our new house! 

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