The first speed-bump: how we ended up camping on our verge!

The last week before we headed off was filled with social engagements! We wanted to catch up with all our friends before we left, so we were seeing people every day up until the departure day.

Everyone was asking us if we were excited. In our heads we knew we were. But did we feel all giddy, jumpy and thrilled? No, I don’t think we believed it was true, after 10 years of dreaming this trip up! The kids still saw daddy going to work, he was working right up to the day we were leaving, and I had a neverending to-do list.

“I have imagined this moment for so long. Is this real?”
The Matrix Revolutions

Finally, the day came

It was a beautiful, sunny, 33’C day. We packed up, hooked the caravan up and drove off… only to smell a weird electric smell out of the aircon vent! We hadn’t even left the city of Kalgoorlie-Boulder yet, we were maybe 10-20kms out of town. We pulled over, popped the bonnet and saw nothing unusual. The smell was gone, so for a moment we thought that it must have been coming from the car in front of us. It was only when the smell reappeared, that we pulled over, popped the bonnet again, and realised that it was definitely us!

The air conditioner compressor’s clutch pulley bearing went bah-bye. We had a crazy thought of bypassing the air conditioner and continuing on, but the thought of crossing the Nullabor without the airconditioner did not seem appealing, and we were less than 30 minutes from home. So we turned around, parked the caravan up on our verge, bought a new bearing and pulled the car apart.

*Insert a million phone calls to family for advice*

We were going to be back on the road within a couple of hours.

Air conditioner compressor's clutch pulley bearing

Then we broke the pulley while trying to remove the bearing.

Let’s be honest: we were not at our finest after that. Trying to get specific car parts in Kalgoorlie takes time. We wanted to be on the road, not camping on our verge!

Everything happens for a reason

We learnt quite a lot from this situation. Or, more accurately, we learnt quite a lot from our kids in this situation. We all hear that life is whatever we make of it, but to kids, making the most of every situation comes so naturally. When a mother yells out “We’re leaving in 5 minutes”, a child will see it as an opportunity: “I have 5 minutes to get as many jumps in this muddy puddle as possible!”. Am I right?

The day we broke the pulley, I heard Mr9 talking to hubby:

– Daddy, will you play with us?
– Not now.
– Why not?
– I’m not in the mood.
– But if you’re going to sit there being miserable, you may as well play with us being miserable.

The holiday has started. The kids were ready to have fun despite the circumstances. To them, the fact that daddy is home every day is all that matters. So holiday activities ensued: a trip to the local swimming pool, park and playground trips, and lots of board games.

It took three days for us to get the part sorted and shipped from Perth. We installed it and decided to leave the following day. Lets hope this speed-bump at the start of the trip means smooth-sailing from now on! Lets also appreciate the fact that I now know what an “air conditioner compressor’s clutch pulley bearing” is!

Do you have any stories to share with us?

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