Someone was asking me how we were going because they hadn't heard much from us!
It's been a busy time since we last updated here. I've been relying in our oldest daughter's blog (http://www.mysparkie.blogspot.com) to keep everyone up to speed.
I'll do a quick recap here:
In September we started our trek down from Queensland to Victoria for a few appointments. Sickness hit us at Millmerran so we stopped for a few days at the showgrounds ($20 a night) so we could have power to run a heater. We made a break for Goondiwindi where we stayed at the showgrounds ($25 a night) and the next morning we had two new tyres fitted at TyrePower (highly recommend this crowd, who came into work on a Saturday morning because when we made the appointment they'd forgotten it was going to be Saturday!)
|Millmerran Showgrounds, QLD|
Next stop was Narrabri (18/night at showgrounds) where we hunkered down while the driver recovered from the flu! As we drove through Moree where we always stop at the awesome playground, no one wanted to stop.
A few days later as we were travelling between Gunnedah and Dunedoo the bus started to splutter and was really struggling on the hills. We pushed on to the next “town” of Coolah. It was dark so we stopped the night opposite the servo. Next morning Mike and some of the girls walked into town to find someone who could fix our problem which we'd identified as a crack in the injector line. The local hay contractor and also mechanic came out, spent several hours including taking the injector line away to braise, and put it all back together and only charged us $120 and was worried he'd charged us too much! So without further ado we headed off. We met him on the outskirts of town and he told us to come round to his shop and he'd clean up the engine from the diesel leak. Certainly a top bloke!
|Our engine getting a clean!|
Bus was still running a bit rough but had much more power!
Had a good trip from there, stopped at Ariah Park ($10/night) and met another bus family. Always good to meet others living the same or similar lifestyle to you.
|Ariah Park, QLD. Camping with friends|
Somewhere along the way the alternator started rattling! We made it to Narrandera and called into a place where we hoped they'd be able to fix it at least temporarily as it was starting to sound like it was going to self destruct! They called in the mobile machining guy who took the fan and pully off and machined it down. It sounded much better!
A couple of days later we made it to Victoria! We stayed with some friends and helped them move. It made us all realise how fortunate we were living in a bus and when we want to move it's no drama, just put stuff away and get rolling!
After we left Benalla (a great town and really worth exploring) we headed south, after driving about an hour or so the alternator light came on! As it was getting dark we pulled in to the next truck stop! As we were driving a day or two later, Jireh said, “The bus sounds like a train!” When we stopped at camp we looked underneath only to find that we were missing two alternator belts! We now wished we done some heavy vehicle mechanic work in our past life! We charged our starter batteries overnight as we had to make the train the next morning as it was now obvious we were not going to drive the bus to the appointments in Melbourne!
|Charging starter batteries roadside!|
After making some enquires we found out that it was safe to drive the bus without the alternator as long as we didn't do any night driving! This is a challenge for us as we love to drive at night!
We finally made it to Geelong where we parked in a friends driveway while we decided what we were going to do. A guy came a took out the alternator and after taking it apart gave us the prognosis; it was beyond stuffed! On a positive note: the bearing was near new!
|Our royally stuffed alternator.|
We spent the next few days ringing round and driving round (in a friends car) to see if we could locate a new or reconditioned alternator. The only one we found was on ebay – for $1000 – and all the way from England!
We decided we needed to pick up some work to enable us to pay for it and get our home on wheels back on the road.
The jobs we were looking for were temporary, part time jobs. We ended up with a (more than) full time job managing a 380 cow dairy farm! We told the boss we could give him three months work to see him though a tough time.
|Feeding the Jersey calves|
|Jasmine feeding hay to the cows.|
|Jessica milking in the rotary cowshed.|
The older girls have gained some valuable work experience and we have be able to get a new (or reconditioned) alternator, solar panels, a fridge and a satellite vehicle!
Our time here is coming to an end. We are all more than ready to have our life back and not be ruled by the dreaded alarm clock!
We plan of spending the first few weeks after we finish here installing solar, and fitting the new alternator! The job has been so busy that we've had no time to work on the bus so we've just bought the things we need and will fit them on the bus when we have time.On the 1st of February we had our 7th anniversary of living on the road! There have been good times and there have been the not so good times and there have been the downright awful times! Living on the road doesn't mean that life is always good, life happens where ever you live.
|Seven years on the road!|