On the level with Hayman Reese

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Towing a caravan is a huge responsibility, not only because Jayco have loaned the Expanda Outback to us, but because we are negotiating traffic “in amongst it” with other road users and feel we have a duty of care to our family and others on the road.

Anthony from Cequent, the parent company to Hayman Reese, feels passionately about safe towing and the need to break down the stigmas around mental health, so we’re a great team in more ways than one!

On Friday last week we packed up the Jayco at Big 4 Mornington Peninsula, and met with Anthony and a couple of his team. They arranged for a new tow bar to be fitted to the Legend, which then enabled them to fit the Hayman Reese Weight Distribution System when the Jayco was hitched up again. The system was fitted and carefully configured back at their head office, while Anthony showed us around the family of products in their showroom. This was super exciting – ROLA roof racks and transport systems, Thetford Porta Pottis, clever jockey wheels, cargo barriers, everything you need to build a caravan or camper trailer except the walls. Have you ever seen the hitches available for those massive 5th Wheeler caravans you see on the road? They are seriously impressive! Anthony is hoping to get one of the ultra-cool ROLA Titan trays to us, with some accessories so that we can move some of our heavier/bulkier items out of the Jayco and onto the roof of the Legend, reducing the tow ball weight of the caravan. Having also given us a Tow Ball Weight Scale to measure the load of the caravan on the tow ball, we’ll be able to adjust how we pack the Jayco to keep everything balanced.

Cath brought us coffee and couldn’t do enough for us as we waited in the showroom. Anthony brought in some of the management team to meet Luna (and us!), and we laughed when told that coming to meet us meant bringing presents! Such was the draw of Luna to the staff, that we ended up with a 2-pack of Reese LED lights (or UFO lights as Kirstine calls them), and a heavy duty Reese cable lock which will be great to help us secure the Jayco.

Rarely a day goes by that we don’t have discussions about the stigma of mental health and suicide. This day was no different. This particular team member spoke with us at length on the topic, with his close neighbours having lost their son to suicide. He was obviously still emotional about this, particularly as the acrimonious breakdown of marriage and refusal of access to the son’s children are believed to have been the catalyst to his decision to end his life. The mood was sombre as we discussed this tragic event, and the perception of the Australian public to the topic of mental health was raised. The manager we were speaking to is from Sri Lanka and described the differences between working there and in Australia. He told us that in Sri Lanka, your work colleagues are like a second family, and it is common to simply speak your mind when you are upset about something, regardless of whether work related or personal, with open communication between work “family members” being the norm. He believes that this is generally missing in the Australian workplace culture, which Paul & Kirstine could only agree with. Enforced hierarchy can make communication difficult, and the everyday greeting of “How are you?” is often superficial and rolls off the tongue without the expectation of a genuine answer. What would you do if a workmate actually told you that they were “feeling down and have been for a while now”? Would you stop and listen, even though their honest response caught you off guard? How different would it be if “going to work” was more like “working with family”? Paul and Kirstine have experienced workplaces like this, and fervently wish that they were more commonplace. We’d already heard from another team member who had a bad experience with a boss who was a corporate psychopath and left the job as a result in order to preserve his mental health. Sadly, Paul & Kirstine have experienced this end of the scale too, which begs the question – why can’t we all just get along without hidden agendas and be kind to one another??

With the Weight Distribution System fitted, Anthony and his team walked us through the process of mounting and dismounting the bars, and the difference in the vehicle’s balance front to back was obvious. With our upgraded Dobinsons suspension, and now the Hayman Reese system balancing us out with the Jayco, the responsibility of safely towing a caravan will be a pleasure!

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