At Hay, NSW, we plop ourselves in the warm morning sun and have a cuppa. Then Woody tells us that the fridge won’t start (on gas).
We drive into town, buy a new bottle of gas and have a delicious lunch at Dusty Beans Cafe laughing that the problem is probably because we haven’t turned on the 12 volt switch.
Back at camp we realise that this is indeed not the problem and discover a gas leak in one hose. Woody returns to town to buy a new one only to find it is the wrong size. Back to town again. In the meantime we break the regulator stand and thankfully repair it. The boys, along with another camper, remove the outside fridge vents and peer in. I’m wondering what we can do but the other camper says he’s an ex gas fitter. Eventually super stressed we ring a caravan repairer in Griffith and he turns out thankfully to be a Thetford authorised repairer, even over the phone he is reassuring.
Our ex gas fitter mate drops in to explain that they’re here for a few days waiting for a diesel heater to be delivered as he can’t stand the cold. “It’s been so cold my goolies froze.” he tells us.
To relieve our stress and frustration we all cook up a Chinese banquet and have a jolly good feast. Tomorrow we’ll have to be up early for a detour to Griffith.
Next morning we’re up before dawn driving into the sunrise all the way to Darlington Point. Low fog hangs across the plains and the sun burns a fluoro laser beam into our eyes most of the way. It’s a magnificent morning but hard to enjoy when trying to see the road and riding shotgun watching for Roos. The passing trucks are constant and keep us amused with their banter on the CB radio.
At Darlington Point we turn north onto the Kidman Way and cotton turns to rice, citrus and grapes. The soil is rich and it is an oasis the rest of the way into Griffith.
One in four glasses of wine are made here. We’ll need a few of them tonight I’d say.
Matt knows his stuff and opens the vent and cleans out some carbonisation then jiggles the fridge out from the front and tightens a nut just a little. Voila, she’s working again. The job costs us nothing as it is covered by warranty.
Ten days later we arrive at Cooper Creek in outback Western Queensland we park the van in a shady spot with a view of the creek, it’s a bloody big creek is all I can say. I start the fridge on gas and guess what, it goes out. Time and again it goes out. Bugger. Here we go again. We quickly decide that we need to head towards Longreach and another repairman. Jundah has a caravan park where we can plug into power and is 100kms in the right direction. I take a couple of photos of the creek then we head north, sorry river view and dreams of a sunset on the Cooper but sometimes, especially in this caper things don’t go to plan. At least we don’t have any broken bones.
Two days later we check into Ilfracombe Caravan Park for the weekend as a caravan repairman lives nearby.
On Monday morning we’re up early to pack and hook up before the repairman arrives to work on the fridge. He spends an hour and a half and finds the problem to be a faulty mode selector switch. In other words, the fridge works fine when we select 240 volt or car battery but ignites then stops when we select gas. He rigs up a temporary bypass wire to see us through until we get home. Which means that we’ll have to plug two wires together whenever we light the fridge with gas, then pray.
That afternoon we’re lucky enough to get the last free camp site behind the North Gregory Hotel in Winton. It is tight but Woody shimmies the van in like a pro. I reckon he should have taken a bow as I’m sure that all the blokes were secretly watching. We turn on the gas bottle, jump on board, connect the two wires and press the ignition button and she starts…then after waiting a few minutes and releasing the button …poof, she goes out. Bugger we’ve just done $150! After several tries we give up and drive around the corner to the Pelican Caravan Park to hook up to their delicious power. We contact Thetford fridges for the details of their Cairns technician, book a repair for the following Monday and rejig our plans yet again dropping free camping which would require us to run the fridge on gas. We’re utterly over fridge issues but boy I’m loving how easy it is to adjust plans with WikiCamps Trip Planner. What a shame though that we’ll miss Julia Creek’s famous riverbank free camp.
The next Monday we’re up early again, this time to pack the van and drop it off at Portable Fridge Solutions in North Cairns. It’s a strange feeling dropping your ‘house’ off. Andy is the Thetford authorised repairer so it should be in good hands.
We make the most of the time by popping over to Smithfield for haircuts. It’s surprising how you don’t think you need a trim until you reach the tropics then you can’t wait to have a haircut as it feels so hot in the steamy climate.
At least we can’t complain about the cost of the fridge repairs this time. Andy replaces the faulty selector switch and only charges us $165. In fact Joseph at Ilfracombe was on the right track, he just didn’t tighten the temporary wires enough and they had fallen off the inside of the fridge on the way to Winton…Gee and that was one of the better roads that we’ve travelled on!