Our first introduction to motorhomes was in 1983 when we took a long leave of 3 months in the States. We hired a big rig from ‘old’ friends from my wife’s younger days in Tonga. After travelling 10,000 miles, we were sold on the idea and have had to wait until 2011 to have our own.
Back at the 2008 Camping & Caravan Show at Caulfield, Lyn noticed the Paradise at the end of the day. We took a quick look – had to stand on stools to see in as entry was by invitation – and were very impressed. The following year, we spent two and a half hours in a Free Time with maker, builder, designer, Colin, of Paradise Motorhomes. He answered all our questions, and more. We had been looking at the idea of a 5th wheeler, then an ‘A’ Van motorhome, but now had our eyes set on a Paradise.
At the 2011 Camping & Caravan Show, we took another look at the Paradise with the Free Time in mind. The price had risen. My wife said, “I don’t think we can afford the Free Time now, so we had better get used to the Oasis“. That was in April, 2011.
My wife’s sister, who had just moved into a Winnebago Inspiration on a Mazda, noticed an ad for a secondhand Free Time. It was featured on the front page of the magazine. Narell texted me immediately. We were visiting our son in Ballina on that day and I just walked out of the room and called the advertiser, Allen, who was in Canberra. When I returned into the house, I said, “I think I just bought a motorhome!” It was quite surreal. My nickname is Fritz. I told Allan, whose nickname is also Fritz, that we are extremely interested in the Free Time and had been looking at them for a few years now. We own Yarra Travel Junction and my wife Lyn, was about to go to Egypt and Jordon on a two week educational – go, look, see, sell, visit, and I asked Allen if he could hold the Free Time until her return in 3 weeks when we would fly up from Melbourne to Canberra to view our dream. He was more than happy to do that, which we were happy with too. Lyn returned from Jordon at 1:30am and we were on a flight to Canberra at 8:30am and back in Melbourne at 2:30pm, the proud depositors of a Free Time.
The following Friday, we flew up to Canberra on an early flight and settled the purchase. Strange things were revealed then. The Free Time we were purchasing was the exact vehicle we had been in at the 2009 Camping & Caravan Show – it was their demonstration vehicle for 12 months before Allen and Patti had purchased it. They owned it for 2 years. Yes, both of us had had the nickname “Fritz” since we were kids. We had both worked in Port Moresby in the early 1980’s. When Allen and Patti purchased the vehicle, Colin asked if they wanted something distinctive painted on the Free Time. They chose a Paradise bird – the Papua New Guinea emblem – the only Paradise Motorhome with a Paradise bird on each side. We were happy with that idea too. Then when we transferred the final payment, Allen and Patti’s bank account had 6 digits in a row identical to 6 digits in our bank account number. How’s that?
So now we are the proud owners of a Paradise Free Time Motorhome