Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Berdt's maiden voyage
So it's official - we now own a vehicle on Australian soil - so like any good Canadians, we decided to jump out on the open road and drive. I'm actually dedicating this part of our trip to Dan - as I feel that the amount of driving we are doing is rather Dan-like. For instance, Monday, after we purchased the car we decided to get back to the hostel as quickly as possible, head to the Olympic park and then get on out of Sydney as fast as possible. The Dan tribute starts with the fact that we made it back to the hostel using the force. We had maps that showed the different areas in Sydney, but nothing more useful - not to mention this was my first time driving on the left hand side of the road (as long as I discount the previous day's test drive where I think the car's previous owner Dan (also he who named the car) was likely praying that would pay for the car even if I crashed it), but regardless, we made it seemlessly back to the hostel. The Olympic park was neat in that the Olympics were there, but honestly, I wasn't overly impressed. The best part was a small fountain with bricks underneath it paying tribute to all the medal winners (I got my picture taken with Jan's!). Then we had to head out of Sydney - one of man's greatest suburban sprawls...and I'm from Calgary! I would like to point out at this time that prior to Sunday, we had been planning on heading up north of Sydney to find some warmth (I really didn't bring enough clothing to be where we are!), but instead we are now down in Melbourne (complicated story, but we had to come to Victoria to register the car as it's a Victorian car, and we wanted to come visit family friends - who are the BEST hosts in the world! and we're leaving our bike boxes here too) so yeah, instead we headed 180 degrees the other way. For those of us in Calgary, it would be like deciding to take a holiday in Vancouver, but heading to Winnipeg first (and you know you'd do it Dan if you thought there might be anything remotely interesting in Manitoba!!!). So we started out on the open road...out to test Berdt's skill (oh yeah, I'm not sure I'm spelling that right, in fact I'm almost 100% sure I'm not...but it's my car!)
So about 30 minutes into our drive we got a scare. Here's some more background - in Australia they have discovered a 3rd type of gas (petrol) that fuels cars: regular (leaded and unleaded), diesel AND LPG...well it turns out that Berdt can do both LPG and regular unleaded (I don't think I've specified unleaded since I was 5 years old but anyway...) and the kicker is that LPG is only 40 cents/litre instead of $1.30/l - so it's a score. So here we are trucking down the freeway and Berdt starts to disagrees with our plans. I would push the pedal and I would have a bit of resistance, then nothing...so I was getting a little worried as we slowed down to 40km/h, but I kept my cool. I mentioned to Chris that it felt like something was wrong with the fuel pump - at which point he saved the day and suggested that we switch to the other sort of fuel - and presto we were on our way again. Now, I would like to point out just how embarrasing it would have been to call out roadside assistance only to have them point out that our problem is that we ran out of gas and that in actual fact we didn't run out of gas as there is half a tank of unleaded...I tell ya - oh and for the record, there is no gas gauge for the LPG - I'm not just stupid!
So yeah, all's well that ends well...and I would like to say that was Berdt's only idosyncrasy...but it's not. Only the right windsheild wiper works, there is trouble opening all of the doors (you have to physically lift them up), there is a bit of a raunchy smell in it (so we are going to febreeze it until it goes away), oh yeah, and it only starts when it wants to. Yesterday, we had to get jump started from the campsite and then push started from one of the gas station stops...so we're getting the garage to look into that one. But he purrs when he's happy (except for in 3rd where I think he is decidedly unhappy) and he fits 2 bike boxes and bags while leaving the rear window completely unobstructed, we're in Melbourne and he was only $700 - a bit of an adventure - but good times all the way. I'll add pictures when I'm able.
Anyways, I'm about to head out on a run. Chris is sleeping downstairs as he's really quite sick, but we have Sandy super mom helping to take care of him, and really with the amount of running around we've been doing, I think it's fair to take a day's rest! So I'm outtie!