Ever since I reached South Australia, there were these signs telling me that I couldn’t import any fruit or vegetables. But several people I met had told me that they’ve never been checked. So, I thought the checkpoint right before Ceduna would be something you just drive through and they would wave at you to move on. But unfortunately, they stopped me and took my fresh pack of six tomatoes, the potato bag, apples, bananas and my half cucumber I still had away from me L That was probably worth 10$ since fruit and veggies are so very expensive here. Nevertheless, I still bought some oysters at the Oyster Bar after that. They probably would have been cheaper at the sea food shed but that was closed when I got there around lunch time and so I had to take a dozen for 8.50$. They were extremely delicious! I really have to keep looking out for them along the coast!
Then, I started another 790km towards Adelaide. After a little while, I passed a guy with a carriage and two horses. That reminded me of Camp Green Lake in HOLES but I later learned that this guy is walking across Australia, collecting money against cancer.
I’d have made it to Adelaide by 8pm, passing one town after another that was along a train track and looked exactly the same to the one before. Sometimes I was wondering whether I somehow ended up driving in circles but the town names assured me that I was moving ahead. In my head I was pondering whether I shouldn’t sell my car in Sydney or Darwin after all and try to drive through the red center in the end, since it had been driving so well all this time. Hero seemed to like the long straight roads without hills. Why on earth did I think that? Probably jinxed my car because that’s when I started smelling something burned. I should have stopped then right away but I couldn’t see any warning light flashing and so I kept driving until my car slowed down on its own. Oh no, that couldn’t be good.
I opened the hood and my motor was smoking. No hose had popped out but when I opened the radiator lid, all the water inside was gone. I refilled some liquid only to realize that it leaked right out again. I checked the same hose that already caused troubles last time and sure enough, it wasn’t connected anymore. That’s when a guy stopped to help me. He tried putting it back on and then a second car stopped to try too. After a while and a few burned arms, they managed to put it back on. Of course, the car still didn’t start. I didn’t expect it to as the motor was still very hot and all the water we poured in kept evaporating. They hooked Hero up to the battery of the other car and after a while managed to get it started but that would just make the water boil. No way I could drive with this thing. Hero wasn’t as much of a Hero as I needed him to be. There still was one hope though. The two guys had to head off in different directions to run some errands but Ash told me that he had a friend who knew about cars and perhaps they could tow me to his farm later and have another look again. We exchanged numbers and they both drove off, leaving me by the side of the road, only having cell reception when there was wind. For half an hour, none of the passing cars stopped until, someone slowed down, who introduced himself as Ash’s friend. He tried a few things again and then was convinced that there was nothing more to do for my car. I thought I’d be a lot more upset when that happens. I was when that hose popped off 10 days ago. But I probably came to terms with the possibility of not being able to drive the whole 6 months myself. For now, I was just glad I had some kind people looking after me. Digger (I only know his nickname), towed me the 30km to the farm. I’ve never been towed before and was surprised that I had to get in the car and steer it behind him. I thought we’d just drag Hero along behind us 🙂
We made it to the farm without any troubles, where I received a beer and was warmly welcomed by Kerry, Ashley’s wife. They offered me to spend the night with them and would help me sort out possible ways from here. Kerry ushered me into the beautiful house they had renovated and showed me the room I could sleep in. I couldn’t believe it. There was a huge bed in it!!! Then I had a shower and it was so natural for them that I had dinner with them that I couldn’t stop being amazed at how nice people are here!
I didn’t want to just abandon my car here with all the good things in it but towing is extremely expensive in Australia. I couldn’t have afforded that. Luckily, Ash knows the boss of a truck company and someone would even be driving from here to Adelaide the next day. I still don’t know what will happen from there but it will at least be in a bigger city and give me more time to organize something (also, I needed to get to Adelaide, because my friend Michèle from Switzerland was waiting there for me. We wanted to do the great ocean road together).
For the moment, it would have been 200$ to transport me and Hero to Adelaide but Kerry and Ash were still working on it to make it cheaper for me. I really can’t thank these people enough!
I had a wonderful warm and dry night and when I woke up I couldn’t imagine how I had lived without a bed for so long. I love beds! Ash and Digger were already out and about when I got up and I first received a wonderful cup of coffee (bless these people!). Then, I re-organized my luggage, so that I’d have all the things ready I’d take into Adelaide with me. The rest I’d just leave in the car for now. I’m hoping that I can sell them somehow because there is a lot of good camping gear in there. All my prized possessions that helped me survive in the wilderness. I’ve never been good in saying goodbye to things (or people) because you will always be able to use these things for something again, right? But really, why should I get upset about a stove, tent or surfboard? I’ll find my way across Australia without these things.
After that, Ash took me on a tour around the property. Again, never ending fields to every side. We drove around for over an hour, which means that you could probably walk around the 6500 acres for a long time. Somewhere, we found a lost lamb and close to it was a dead sheep, which might have been its mother. Life is though, even for sheep! The lamb was pretty far away from the other sheep and so we rescued it and drove it back to his flock. We can only hope that one of the other sheep will adopt the poor thing.
After that, I waited for the truck to come by and pick me up and once it did, I felt like in Fast&Furious. My Hero got loaded into the back of the truck and they strapped the tires to the side of it and then my car vanished behind the doors. I climbed into the cabin, which was quite big and there even was a bed behind the seats for the driver (now I know where all the missing truck drivers where when we saw “abandoned” trucks on rest areas).
So, we started driving towards Adelaide and for once I could look down on all the little backpacker cars and vans (my brother and dad would have loved that!). I’ve never been in such a truck before except in a learning simulator at the open house of the army in Switzerland. And there, I felt really dizzy and sick after being in there for two minutes. Luckily, it is a lot more agreeable in a real truck 🙂
So, the next six hours, we spent driving on country roads, in SA sunshine with Tim McGraw on the speakers. Taylor Swift, if you need new song inspirations, you should probably come travel here in Australia 🙂
We stopped at a gas station for a Gyros and finally made it to the truck depot in Adelaide at 11pm. Greg was then so nice to even drive me to my hostel, where Michèle was waiting for me.
I was so lucky again to have met the right people at the right time who went out of their way to help me! Now I’ll have to spend a few days running around in Adelaide to hopefully be able to sell some of the things in and on the car.