I must admit that our “48 pizzas” resolution has fallen by the wayside as we’ve embarked on a bit of a healthy lifestyle change but come May 23rd, we would be 24 Pizzas into our 4-year tenure.
Looking back, the decision to join the dark side was a fairly easy one for Nige. After years of dealing with domestic violence and/or alcohol and drug-related events, he was glad and even looking forward to moving on but for me, it wasn’t so easy. As much as I loved the bush, I balked at the length of tenure – a year and a half longer than the other two tenures.
Last week, with the help of my new ‘el cheapo’ sewing machine, I managed to finish whipping up curtains, (mosquito net) fly screens and window socks for the camper van – just in time for the Elvis Festival in Parkes.
At around 360 kilometres away, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to celebrate our newly completed camper fit-out as well as to discover what we’d forgotten to organise or pack.
With a 3-day window of Rest days (what the police call their days off ….. although Nigel would call them “work around the house” or “work for Kaye” days) we booked a dog-friendly caravan park at Peak Hill – not far from Parkes – and took off excitedly last Thursday morning.
Now, in my defence when I first raised the idea with Nigel, it was spring and the weather was sunny but cool. However Thursday’s weather, while sunny, was anything but cool – at around 42 degrees! Gradually our excitement turned into a rude awakening. Questions like “What if we can’t park close to the main activities and have to walk for kilometres? What if Bowie can’t handle the heat? What if there’s no shade?” While we didn’t quite blame Elvis for the heat wave, we definitely questioned why on earth he chose to be born in January.
Of course, none of those questions seemed important when, around 20 kilometres out from the festival, the oil light decided to turn itself on, screaming “pull over now or I’ll blow the engine up!” or words to that effect.
Now the idea of stopping by the side of a country road with a very furry dog in 42 degree heat with no shade to be found was somewhat off-putting and after a few seconds’ debating, we decided to venture on towards Parkes in the hope that the light might decide to turn itself off. Unfortunately that was never going to happen.
Fortunately however, we managed to make it to a service station without said engine blowing up. Unfortunately, after topping up the oil to the level dictated by the manual, the light stayed on leaving us with no other course of action but to wait for our friendly NRMA man to arrive. Fortunately, the NRMA were quite understanding of Bowie’s discomfort and the stated hour’s wait was reduced to 20 minutes (if you remember the Nissan towing debacle, I’m happy to declare that all is now forgiven!!).
Strangely, the manual wasn’t quite correct and more oil needed to be added (who argues with an NRMA mechanic?) but unfortunately and again, contrary to the manual, the light stayed on leading to another hasty decision – to drive on (Nigel), while praying for divine intervention (Kaye).
Of course the light did eventually go off, the engine didn’t blow up and, back at the caravan park, the heat did finally dissipate ……………but not before the mandatory dust storm had blown up.
Now dust storms are all well and good when you have all the windows closed and the air conditioning on but unfortunately (sorry, I had to get one more in) every window and door had been opened to allow for any cooling breezes that might eventuate during the night.
Suffice it to say that our Elvis holiday was short lived and, with 46 degrees predicted, we took off the next morning – in a very dusty van – for the cooling comforts of home. Instead of bopping out -to “Blue Suede Shoes” we spent the following day mopping out – the floor, walls, windows, curtains and bedding all had to be washed.
‘So what’s the verdict?’ you ask. We love our new camper van!