OCTOBER – NOVEMBER 2014
Bendigo grandson came to stay in the September school holidays and John took him to the Royal Melbourne Show. A plan to take him out for a drive in Bus didn’t eventuate because John was really tired after the Show day.
Clearly, though, Bus needed a run to shake out the cobwebs. After the family had gone home again, we took the tarpaulin cover off Bus and I checked over the inside. Was surprised to find the house batteries were down to 1. Not good for batteries! I couldn’t work out why, because it had been plugged into 240v power, ever since we’d come home last year.
We took Bus out for a day trip, on a day that was cool, grey and slightly misty. Firstly, a detour down to Bayswater to refuel at an easily accessible servo – which our local one definitely wasn’t. $1.489cpl – much less than we paid on last year’s trips.
Back up the hill to Mt Evelyn, thence Woori Yallock and across to Healesville. The Yarra Valley was beautifully green after winter.
At Healesville, we parked a block from the main street and walked to get lunch at the place we’d eaten at, a few times before. This was shut, and a pile of mail on the floor inside suggested permanently so. So we had to lower the lunch expectations. John got some Charcoal Chicken. I managed a ham and cheese croissant from the nearby Bakers Delight, and we got coffee from a bakery cafe.
We’d left Couey at home today. My thinking was that, not knowing quite what was happening with Bus electricals, it would be better if dog was not with us if we broke down.
Back at Bus, parked next to us was a brand new Traveller caravan and 4WD. The owner was taking photos of his rig, which did look rather splendid in contrast with our utilitarian Bus. I could remember when we were that proud of our new Trakmaster and Landrover. Now seemed a long, long time ago.
John wanted to go look at Maroondah Dam – a water storage for Melbourne’s supply, a few kms out of Healesville. As soon as we parked, could hear the roar from the dam. It had been a wet winter. Although we thought the excess water must be coming out through a pipe, it was really boiling up and then coming down the rock faced section into the Yarra River. That was worth seeing.
The gardens at the Dam are extensive and lovely, a destination for a picnic and wander in themselves. Back in 2008, when we’d had son and his children staying with us, we had occasionally packed the makings and had a BBQ lunch here.
Today, I took a couple of photos of a conifer-type shrub that had eye-catching bright green tips on it.
As we drove to the Dam and back, saw that new dining options had opened, on that side of Healesville. There was an establishment that offered wine tastings and food, seeming somewhat upmarket. There was a Beechworth Bakery too – how long has that been there? Maybe not so surprising that the cafe had shut down, after all. Entry on my mental to-do list: return before too long and try out these options.
Followed the Maroondah Highway to Lilydale and thence home – just in time to do battle with the local school traffic and buses.
Bus went as if it had never had an extended period of inactivity.
It appeared that, as we went along driving, the house batteries were receiving some charge from the engine. That was a surprise – I did not know that was supposed to happen, for those. The two cranking batteries, used to start Bus and power its “car” things, were isolated from the house system, and were obviously not affected by whatever had flattened the latter.
I still had much to learn about this motor homing lark and started to seek advice wherever I could, about what might be the problem.
The slight niggle of worry aside, it had been so good to be going somewhere in Bus, again if only for a few hours. John enjoyed the driving.
My email queries to the company that had done the Bus conversion, back in 2004, went unanswered as did their phone. I wondered if the guy had retired?
We consulted an auto electrician in Lilydale. The advice was that we needed two new house batteries and a new charger. The batteries were a pity because the ones in Bus were onoy three or four years old. They were Haze brand which I’d never heard of. I ordered Full River batteries. We’d had these in the van, which was all 12v so they got a solid workout and were still going strong, after eight years, when we sold the van. Decided to go for another Projecta charger, same brand as was there. The electrician said there had been a faulty batch of Projecta chargers some years ago – maybe that was our issue?
When I thought back, wondered if the funny episode we’d had with the smoke alarm, coming back from the NSW coast, last November, was in fact the charger burning out?
The new one came with a remote monitor, which the man mounted next to the other monitors and switches and wired up for us, so I would now be able to see what it was doing. Previously I would have had to take everything off my bed and open up the underneath, to check this. I was much happier…
He also explained to me how the electrical systems worked – finally I thought I understood it all….
That lot cost almost $1300.
Bus came home again, after its stay in Lilydale. We did not put the tarp back over the roof, hoping to get in a sort break away, before too much longer.