There are some days that just don’t quite go to plan ….
Hot one forecast all around and while tempting to try and hide out the day, left Jindabyne a bit after 10, deciding to head home via Gippsland for a change. Temps steadily rising down through Bombala and was in the mid thirties by the time we left Cann River. Then just after crossing the Bemm River the car started coughing again – but this time it seemed a bit more terminal. Wouldn’t clear itself out like earlier in the week, and after a half hour break to give it a chance to cool down decided it wasn’t getting any better and decided we better get on to RACV while we had some phone coverage.
After debating which district we were in they referred us on to Orbost. Mechanic from there rang me to recommend something to try to get us going. And get us going it did – for about 500 meteres till it died again, this time on a corner with no shoulder to pull over onto. After a nervous 5 minutes of cajoling it to restart, finally managed to drive a few hundred metres to a safe resting place well off the road and decided to quit while we were behind.
Tow truck turned up amazingly quickly and we were bounding into Orbost about 3.30. REALLY hot now and had a drink and a snack while they performed the diagnosis which was of course – you’re stuck here. Then a frantic few minutes as the very helpful garage man rang the local travel booking service so they would stay open long enough for us to book bus and train trips home on new years day. Then the calls to the local accommodation establishments to establish the motel down the road only had spa suites available, so we figured we could put up with each other for one night for the sake of $150! Then the incredibly haphazard routine of going through the car – which held amongst other necessities – coffee machine, coffee grinder, TV ….. – figuring out what to take before the car was locked away and what to throw out that would be creating new life forms if left there for a few days.
Finally lurched our way to the motel and after stocking up in anticipation of not much open on New Years Day and a meal at the motels restaurant settled down with much wine and cider, the air con and ceiling fan trying to keep room temps bearable and trying to make out the dialog for Pulp Fiction on a volume limited TV. We agreed that this would indeed be a memorable New Years Eve and some time after midnight collapsed into the sleep of the dead.
Fri 7/1 – the story finally comes to a close -Arrived back home just before midnight tonight – by rough reckoning meaning the trip from Jindabyne to Newport took just under 180 hours! Our trip home on New Years Day was actually pretty enjoyable – bus was pretty busy but managed to spread out for most of the train trip home. After the inevitable false starts waiting for a fuel pump to magically whisk its way to Orbost, managed to get confirmation Thurs afternoon that the car WOULD be available. Clint ( the mechanic) did remark that there was ‘a lot of crap in there’ – at first I thought he meant in the fuel pump but then I slowly realised he was talking about the car. Why would otherwise sane car designers put a fuel pump under the back seat and then let me buy such a car. Clint was apologetic that they may not have put everything back in right – I was amazed they got it all back in at all!
Drove down to Marlo and had coffee while trying to sort out what was where and finding the hidden food items that hadn’t coped well with a week in the car. Once again very hot and in no hurry to rush back to town, so did some touring around, caught my first fish in many a year (an embarassingly small bream), and finally left Bairnsdale with light fading fast. Other than the enormous number of bugs commiting suicide on the windscreen and me having a panic attack every time the car had the tiniest hint of a misfire, it was a thankfully event free trip home.