David and Dahlia were brilliant. So was the food.
David and Dahlia were brilliant. So was the food.

Kermie finally enjoys his grand adventure away from home

If YOU read this column last issue, you’d know that our sojourn to the wilds of South Australia for our annual break didn’t go quite according to plan.

The Ford guy who has our Territory has rung to inform us that we have filled up with dud fuel and that the cost of repair means that we will not be eating out much for the rest of the holiday.

He is keen for me to come and sniff the fuel so I ring a friend, Debbie who kindly picks me up and runs me to the dealership.

To the dealer’s credit, they supply me with a demo car to use while ours is under repair, for which I was grateful, and meant that we could do a bit of exploring beyond our immediate beach.

This was an Ecosport, a little 3 cylinder jobbie that actually hustled along quite well.

Mind you, in the three or four days that we had it, I could not, for the life of me, work out how to open the rear hatch.

That really didn’t matter, as when I arrived back at the caravan park in it, Rita said, “Did you have to sign some paperwork for it?”

With my affirmative answer she asks me what, if any, excess do we have to pay if we’re in an accident.

“Umm, the bloke did mumble something about that,” I reply.

“But I’m not sure if it was $3,000 or $6,000.”

And that, folks, put an immediate end to any thoughts of travelling beyond the nearest supermarket as far as Rita was concerned.

I took a gander under the bonnet and I’m sure I saw Murphy sitting there with a mischievous grin on his face, inciting me to ignore Rita’s common sense.

We could finally do some sightseeing.
We could finally do some sightseeing.

Now, here’s the thing with modern cars.

With only three cylinders there is tons of room under the Ecosport’s bonnet.

And there is the battery, sitting there as large as life with plenty of space in front of it.

The negative terminal is easy to get at.

The positive terminal?

That has a plate covering it with multitudes of wires sticking out the sides and going to – only Murphy knows where!

There’s also another plate over it which looks like a trailing arm suspension (and probably as strong).

Why, oh why would you not put that plate in front of the battery instead of on top of it?

I reckon a battery change would require a visit to a dealer – and at $160 an hour for labour, it is the stuff of nightmares.

Anyway, after sitting around for a few days we get the Territory back which means we can at least go see a couple of places.

Hahndorf and Victor Harbour are both magic spots, and the car got us there – and back!

We also wandered up to Jetty Rd in Brighton and had a magic pie and coffee at the bakery.

Taking our plates back to the counter as we were about to leave, the owner, David, offered us a free desert in the form of sort of doughnut shaped like an apple turnover and filled with blueberries.

Yum! This because we’d done a simple thing in returning our plates.

There really are some terrific people in this world. I highly recommend The Brighton Jetty Road bakery.

They survived.
They survived.

Say G’day to Dave and his partner, Dahlia, and tell ‘em Kermie sent you.

So the last few days of our holiday were more relaxing but, always in the back of our minds, was the question of how the car would go with the weight of the caravan hanging off its arse.

One thing for sure: we were not going to leave Adelaide by way of the 10 kilometre climb that the NavGod suggested. Instead we chose the route via Renmark and Mildura – two hours longer but much flatter.

On departure day we left before 6am to get across town before peak hour hit.

Our nerves were so tight I reckon you could have strummed a heavy metal tune on them.

My tenseness abated somewhat by the time we got to Renmark and filled up at a major servo.

Rita, however was not going to relax until we got home in one piece.

Every time I get up to speed, I feather the accelerator a bit to help the gearbox to drop from fifth into sixth.

And every time I got, “What’s wrong? It is OK?” Poor love.

The drive from Renmark to Mildura was startling from the point of view of the millions of tons of red soil that had been deposited in the region from the massive winds that had occurred not long before.

At first I thought the paddocks were all bare earth, then realised that they were covered by this dust.

There were mounds of the dust piled up against trees and fences.

Side roads were closed and looked like something out of the Gobi Desert.

It was an amazing sight and brings home the power of nature.

We arrived at Mildura by midday and, having booked in and set up, headed for the swimming pool on this 38 degree day.

We were glad of it, as the van aircon was struggling. It was still 36 degrees at 11pm that night.

It was good to be home at last.
It was good to be home at last.

Next morning it was on to home via Swan Hill where we stopped for the mandatory Maccas brekky.

Now I’ve spent a lot over the years on their breakfasts, but none have ever approached this one!

It was the best Bacon and Egg McMuffin, Sausage and Egg McMuffin and coffee that we have ever had. Whod’ve thought that a McDonalds could be so different?

We arrive home (in one piece – YAY) with the car not missing a beat. The lawns are shaggy and a couple of the plants are looking sick, but my baby Frangipani’s have survived beautifully! I’m a shite gardener but I have nurtured these cuttings like a mother suckles her young. It was a pleasurable sight at the end of a stressful couple of weeks.

So now we’re back into daily-life mode and this is a good thing. Time to think about our next holiday. I’m all for setting up a tent in the back yard.

Take care of You.

Kermie.

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