We used to feed the five thousand (that’s how numerous they seemed) in our early days of running tours. There was a lot of tucker on the truck, and close to half a ton of drinking water on board, as we would be feeding around 35 people for up to two weeks. There was always the worry that something would go wrong with the pre-frozen food if the refrigerators played up.
On one trip we were sitting beside the truck one evening and I had reason to look with a little suspicion at those seated near me. There had been a whiff of something that suggested over-consumption of fried onions. But nobody looked ill at ease, so I went to bed thinking no more of it. The next evening there was a repeat of the smell. I went through every item in all the refrigerators and did the smell test on them, but could find nothing wrong. The smell persisted. A walk around the truck confirmed that we were not carrying cowpats between the rear duals, and there wasn’t a dead animal caught up in the chassis. It was a conundrum. When the stench became inescapable the following day we hauled all the food tubs off the truck, looking for broken cans or something like that. It turned out that no less than half a dozen UHT milk cartons had wept ("blown" they call it in the trade), and the remaining cartons stood in a stinking thick mess that smelt like a dozen camel corpses. I changed from the dearest brand of UHT to the cheapest, and never again had the problem.
- Caravan World columnist Lloyd Junor owns Aussie Outback Publishing, which produces outback-themed titles including his own, comprehensive The Australian RV and Caravanner's Guide.