Sunday 11th October 2009, St George.
I have had a good night’s sleep now and can possibly reflect on what happened yesterday in a fresh frame of mind. One thing that was proved yesterday was that truck drivers, again even though they hate caravans, are human and can be very helpful even to us caravanners. This has always been one reason I have always had a CB radio, and have found in the past that if one communicates with the truckies when holding them up they can be very patient knowing we are thinking of them. We are very appreciative of the help the truckie gave us yesterday in using his phone, it must have cost a fair bit, and he refused any payment. Now what we have to do is hopefully find out what actually caused the problem. I have two thoughts: a/ A wheel bearing gave way, it has been a fair while since they have been done, apart from when I had them checked in Perth last year and the report was that they were ok. It was at this time that I decided to return to Narrandera to have them done again as they must have used a good grease for them to last this long, and it was the intention to do that on our way south this trip. If it was a wheel bearing, I guess I left it a little too long, but as I have been checking bearing temps at a regular interval on all our trips recently with no indication of any problem, I suspect that this was not the actual problem. B/ A retainer spring on the brake has come adrift as it did once in the past. I suspect this would be the case as the brake shoe would then rub on the drum causing excessive heat and if it then created the heat that obviously did develop in the drum, this would have caused all the other things that occurred. This includes melting the tyre, and causing the grass fire when we stopped, in reflection I think we were lucky we had fire extinguishers as we could have lost the van if they were not extinguished. Without having the wheel apart yet it is obvious that the bearings have disintegrated, as has the brakes, and it may be very difficult to ascertain what actually caused the problem. We will find out tomorrow when the mechanic comes to survey the damage and make a list of parts required. I did find out one interesting factor with the RAC during this incident. When I rang the 13 number I actually got connected to RACQ, as we are in Queensland, and they indicated that they do not cover the towing of caravans. I strongly indicated to them that we are covered by Tasmania (RACT) and they do cover caravans. He then rang Tassie and they confirmed that this was the case and then everything we needed to get us back to St George was done and handled adequately by the RAC, so thanks to them for all the assistance. I even got a call from Tassie later in the day yesterday to see if all went well and to explain other things that we would be entitled to claim if the situation arises. I am now very grateful that we have had RAC coverage for the duration of our travels.