MONDAY 3 OCTOBER GOL GOL TO BIRCHIP 240kms
After leaving Gol Gol had to go back through the centre of Mildura – not the easiest route on a Monday morning, with a navigator who wasn’t always sure enough of turns to enable the driver to be in the correct lane! Things got a bit tense……
Travelled south to Ouyen, then on through Lascelles to Birchip. Refuelled at Ouyen – $1.42 cpl. We had done 499kms.
All seemed well, until we pulled into the Birchip Caravan Park to book in. As soon as we stopped, could see smoke pouring out of the passenger side wheel of the van – and I could actually see flames!
PANIC. John doused it with water. The smell was awful – burning rubber, hot metal. It was lucky that we stopped at that point – much further, and we might have lost the whole van.
But what an entrance to a caravan park……Booked in, explaining that we were not sure how long we would be staying, now. Though that was kind of obvious! It cost $17.60 a night.
We were able to slowly drive the van in and park on our site.
Clearly, W was going to have a bigger job than we had intended.
After getting set up, we drove Truck to find W’s workshop – with his home next door to it. He came to the van to inspect the damage, and removed the wheel, leaving that side propped up.
The bearings in the van wheel had collapsed. Clearly, all that ironwood timber we had been carrying was too heavy for the van. It was probably surprising we’d gotten this far, over roads that were rough in parts. It had also been a real pain, having to either haul the planks that were stored along the van floor, outside whenever we set up, and put them back when packing up, or move them to one side of the floor and try to work around them. Murphy’s Law dictated that the wood was always up against whichever cupboard needed to be opened. Stubbed toes were also an issue. I was thoroughly sick of ironwood, even before our pyrotechnic display.
W thought he could fix it, but there was added damage to the wheel, brakes and surrounds from the heat. He did not know how long it would take to get the parts and complete the work.
Since Truck had been booked in for service, W completed that today. I chatted with A while that was going on.
I was sad that, through unwise actions on our part, we had damaged our lovely little van, which had seen us in such good stead, until now.