Ben Watkins, 8, takes a look at the giant hubcaps on one of the motorhomes on display with Kelly Delaney and David Watkins, of
Ben Watkins, 8, takes a look at the giant hubcaps on one of the motorhomes on display with Kelly Delaney and David Watkins, of

At home in $300,000 dream machine

By DAWN COHEN

DAVID WATKINS wants a busman's holiday that lasts for ever.

The bus driver found his dream life in the six-berth motorhome he discovered at Lismore's 4WD, Caravan and Camping Show on Saturday.

The slide-out barbecue, the washer, the dryer, the computerready desk, even the engine that consumes a litre every three-anda-half kilometres excited the Wardell man.

"You would have a change of scenery every day," he exclaimed.

Partner Kelly Delaney agreed.

"We would stop at places with schools for the kids every few months, and work at whatever we had to," she said.

Would they make enough to cover the fuel costs?

"If I had the $300,000 to fork out to buy this, you wouldn't have to ask me that," she laughed.

Meanwhile, four-year-old Michaela Jones, of Lismore, also leapt to something bigger and better at the show.

The girl usually picks the secure capsule on the merrygo-round, said her grandmother Thelma.

This year Michaela leapt on to Magic Dancer, a risky horse ride she felt ready for.

"It's more fun," she said.

About 10,000 people were expected at the 4WD, Caravan and Camping Show held at the Lismore Showground over the weekend.

The ninth annual show raised money for the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter.

It attracted more than 200 exhibitors, event co-ordinator Howard Atkinson said.

"It's worth about $500,000 to the local economy," he said.

"About 60 per cent of exhibitors are from out of town.

"They stay in local accommodation and are eating local food."

Exhibits on recreational interests ranged from fishing demonstrations to wine tasting, but it was the four-wheel-drives that were on Adam Brownrigg's mind.

"I had one three years ago, and I miss it," said the Lismore man.

"I would use it to take the family camping."

Robert Thompson plans to use his next four-wheel-drive trip to break a world record and save lives.

The Casino exhibitor showed off the Nissan Patrol he and two mates will drive from Byron Bay to Australia's most westerly point, Steep Point in West Australia.

They are raising money for Our Kids charity at Lismore Base Hospital and Kidney Health Australia.

"We are planning to go there and back in seven days," he said.

The record is seven days and 25 minutes.

The Yamaha Supertank fishing demonstrations featuring Australian Bass Angler of the Year for 2000 and 2001, Brett Thomson, were a major attraction.

"We have 13 performing barramundi," Mr Thomson joked. "Actually, we don't train them to take the lures. We don't have to."

Mr Thomson demonstrated how the fish in the massive tank respond to lures, from frog lookalikes to tiny fish.

The 44-year-old angler could not tell any of his fishy jokes until he was performing.

"It's only when I get miked-up that I am ready to bite the heads off fish," he said

"I really enjoy this show. You meet more down-to-earth people here. They are more laid back, more real. A bit like me."



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