Friday, December 4, 2009

Problems with the car? Never!

So it's all become very real....... The car is here, the children are sleeping in the camper trailer tonight (in the driveway), and everything is coming together at last.....

Well, almost everything!

My main concern has been preparing the car for the trip. One of the difficulties is that every time I talk to someone who has a specialised area of expertise, I get different advice. It is very easy to become confused and all of these well meaning and kindly people seem to be under the understanding that we have an unlimited budget. This is not the case at all. At this end of the year, when we are preparing to leave, all the unexpected expenses have hit hard.

When we picked up the vehicle about 2 weeks behind schedule, we discovered that it didn't have a towbar fitted. With an electric brake controller, this cost $900. Then the air-conditioner stopped working. At the same time the air conditioner was being repaired, I installed cabling for the Anderson plug and bought all the bits for a second battery, so this bill became $1000.

When I rearranged the seating in the back, I didn't know the specifications for this job, so did not complete it to standard. So I had to do this job again. This has now taken 2 days. In between repairing the car and fitting the bits we need, I am supposed to be working as a self employed electrician. Thus far I am a long way behind in almost everything.

There has been some fun on the journey so far. Last week when I installed the new car stereo and UHF radio, I made a simple wiring mistake and shorted out the dash illumination lights. In turn this shorted the tail-lights, and then the headlights were next in line. Replacing the blown fuses didn't help. As the towbar was being fitted, we decided we would rush the trip to Brisbane and get back before dark, so having no headlights would not cause us any problems. Sure, this sounds like a good plan.

We left for Brisbane around 11:30am and delivered a trailer load of furniture to the in-laws house in Kenmore (western suburbs). A quick scoot across to Capalaba (beachside suburb) to pick up the camper trialer and do the training on how to assemble the thing. The couple at Modcon Campers are very nice and friendly and we get on very well. So the demonstrations takes until about 5pm. We still have plenty of time to get home before dark though, so we get under way.

On the gateway motorway that Friday afternoon, there was a four car nose to tail accident and the normal heavy traffic turned to soup, then became a carpark. We sat on the gateway for one and a half hours and watched the sun go down. Now what????

When it was becoming too dark I turned the hazard lights on and kept moving as fast as traffic would allow. Ordinarily, Friday afternoon Brisbane traffic is chaotic and madness rains supreme. There were people cutting in and out, driving very fast and generally making a nuisance of themselves. This would normally be scary enough, but with only hazard and brake lights working, it was extremely frightening. Karen was on the phone with some friends who were also becoming concerned about us, and they decided to take action.

Two cars left the Sunshine Coast and met us at the BP roadhouse near Caboolture at about 8pm. They escorted us home front and rear with all three sets of hazard lights flashing. Angela (neighbour extroadinaire) led the convoy and asked me what speed we should travel at. I told her it makes no difference to me, as I can't see the speedo anyway and have no idea what our current speed is. We got home safely with thanks to our good friends.

The next day David James and I removed the excess wiring from the vehicle and repaired the headlights! Much to Karens' relief.

Tomorrow, I will be installing the shelving to store all my electrical stock and tools, and with just over a week to go till we leave, it is not before time. Well, now it's time to join the kids in the camper trailer in the front yard, and see if we can sleep ok in it, for at least one night!

Bye for now.


AJ said...

Oh my goodness Daniel, I can hear you snoring from here! Do you think you could keep it down? :) Seriously. The campertrailer is very cool... very roomy. It's great to see you all so excited about your trip. Enjoy! :)

Karen A-D said...

And sleep well we did!!! that's what happens when you're exhausted!!!! Sigh...still so much to do.... and I soooo want to hunt down the crow that decided to sing in the dawn with an "Arrr arrr arrrrrrr arrrrrrrrrrrr"! "grrrrrrrrrrr"