11/10/2000 Wednesday, (Tassie).
What a start to the trip, a very eventful day, lost a wheel off the caravan, ran into the back of another car, I hope this is going to be all our problems gone for the rest of the trip.
The day started well with all done that we had to do to get organised before our departure. The house is now on the market with a real-estate agent taking full control in our absence. He has organised an open day for Saturday and is rather optimistic of a sale, but he is a chap with a weird sense of humour so wether he was serious or just over optimistic who knows. If he does sell all well and good because we are hopeful that when we return all we have to do is move out and be free to return to the mainland after Christmas.
We have cleaned out a lot of things that we will no longer need after the sale, a heap of articles for Narrelle to help her with settling in after her marriage, and some to Matthew and Adrian. The articles for Narrelle didn’t help on the day because they were all in the back of the panel-van, and being my fault and not realising the extra weight, I found it more difficult to stop the car when problem situations arose, like one less wheel on the caravan than should be and following too close to other cars in peak traffic.
We were fortunate with our mishaps in some respects though, no.1 that we decided to travel to Devonport a day early so we would have a relaxing day on the day we board the boat, No.2 that the wheel fell off in a 60 km zone and near a service station, no.3 that it was a day early because if it had been tomorrow (Thursday) shops would have been closed in Launceston due to show day holiday and no.4 the mechanic at BP Hagley knew where to send me in Launceston to obtain the replacement parts.
What actually happened is, which I should be ashamed of but see it as having learned a lesson, several weeks earlier I did some work an the wheels on the caravan and removed the offending wheel in the process. On completion of the job it started raining and even though I do have a recollection of tightening the wheel nuts I obviously didn’t. The lesson is to check all wheels before moving off in the future. On our travels the wheel nuts came loose and obviously one by one fell off. When most had fallen off and the wheel started wobbling the studs with nuts still on, snapped off. The wheel became jammed in the wheel area and the caravan then skidded on the springs, or the ‘U’ bolts holding the axle to the springs, and the wheel drum. After removing the wheel drum and taking it to the mechanic, he then informed me where to get replacements so then made a trip to Launceston and would you believe it, while returning by the northern outlet obviously too close to a 4 wheel drive vehicle I found that I didn’t have enough room to stop with all the weight in the back of the car. It sounded like the complete front end was destroyed. The other vehicle then drove off so thinking that he was looking for somewhere to stop safely I followed him and to my amazement he just kept driving as though he wasn’t even aware what had happened. After failing to get his attention and noticing that there was no damage to his vehicle I decided to not bother any more and found a place to stop and check my damage. I couldn’t believe the small amount of damage, I guess that plastic makes a lot of noise when it is hit and then restores itself to it’s original shape.
All spares purchased, a return trip to Hagley, and parts put together by the mechanic, saw us safely on our way again.
We finally settled in to the caravan park at Devonport at about 7.30 and enjoyed the relaxation that followed after such a hectic day.