Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Getting Eddie to Tasmania

Being collected in Sydney
Getting my Traveller from Steve and Mikey's place in Sydney back to Hobart was a lot more difficult than I  expected. Tasmania is an island off the south eastern corner of mainland Australia. There's about 1200km of road plus a 450km sea crossing between here and Sydney. The Traveller was up there, with its engine out, no radiator and no brakes. All I needed was a transport company prepared to move a non-running car from Sydney to Hobart. There weren't any. I could find a few companies that would ship a running car to Tasmania, but I could find only one company prepared to transport a non-runner, and they wouldn't bring it across the strait. I would have to go across on the ferry and tow it home from Melbourne. The transport company wouldn't hold it in their depot for me, but luckily Brett (who first pointed me to the ad) generously offered to store the Traveller at his place near Melbourne until I could get over to collect it. After a lot of mucking about (and a substantial up-front payment) it was collected from Steve and Mikey's place. Steve sent me some pictures of it on the back of the truck.

...Then it disappeared...
Literally 'dropped off' at Brett's
 Brett would have liked to have been home when it was delivered, he would have liked to have known which day it was arriving. He would like to have had it delivered into his driveway. However the transport company went very quiet. They wouldn't return phone calls, and they couldn't be specific about when it would be delivered,even more ominously they didn't seem to know where it was. After many days of both Brett and I trying to get information out of them it turned up at Brett's, without much warning. Brett wasn't home, it didn't arrive when they said it would and it wasn't in his driveway. Instead they seemed to have thrown it off the back of the truck as they drove past his house. They left it where it landed, with one wheel on the footpath. Brett had to push it out into the road and use his 4WD to tow it up his driveway, but at least it was safe again (although it was filthy!).

On Rod's Trailer behind the Mighty RAV4
All that was left was for me to make the road trip and the two overnight ferry crossings, over and back, to bring it home. I took a day off work, accompanied by my brother-in-law, James and we headed north. I stopped off at Rod's place near the ferry port to borrow his trailer, which was a very important part of the equation. Rod's trailer is the perfect size for a Mini, its built to exactly fit a Moke which is important on the ferry because the trailer is charged (a great deal) by length, and this whole process was becoming very expensive. Apart from a terrible sleepless night in the cheapest accommodation on the "Spirit of Tasmania" (a cinema seat) the rest of the trip to Brett's house was uneventful. Rod's trailer is so compact that towing through an unfamiliar city was a dream. After buying half of Ikea (a compulsory stop for Tasmanians visiting the big city) we arrived at Brett's. My Traveller looked great sitting in the shed next to Brett's. It was the most Travellers I've ever seen in the same place at once! With Brett's help we soon had Eddie snugly tied down and ready to head home.

The return trip was not so great. I got sick - really sick - on the ferry, I'm not certain whether it was the Swedish meatballs for lunch or the fish and chips for dinner. Another sleepless night (spent mostly on the toilet) didn't help. Back on land Faye, Rod's wife, came to my rescue with some good drugs and after another  few hundred kilometres with James driving while I tried to maintain control of my bodily functions we rolled Eddie into my hired storage shed.

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