Stranded 61 km outside of Kalbarri

by Petra Bucheli

Monday 12th March, 2012

Today we got up early as the garage to fix the camper opens at 8am. Shortly after we were there. No surprise that they did not know anything about us. Also we explained our problem and that they should have been contacted by Apollo. Steve mentioned something like “again an Apollo”. He told that it is normal that campers have to be fixed as I asked if they have often Apollos to repair. Steve called the Apollo office and told them that the problem was not caused by us. We finally continued our voyage by 10am. In Northhampton we had a late breakfast and did some sightseeing. Interesting was a catholic church and an old monastery. The church is from the same architect as the one in Geraldton. Some aspects, like the construction material, are similar to the cathedral. As the doors were closed we thought that we could not visit it. We asked at the information office and they told us to go to the school at the back of the church. There we found a kind lady which opened the door for us. Then we looked at the former monastery which is now used as hotel. We drove then to the small coast village Horrocks. We continued as there was not much to see. A gravel road brought us to the main road which leads to Port Gregory. Back at the main road Sandra had a problem with the clutch and could not change the gears well anymore. So we drove in the third gear to Port Gregory. We wanted to get to Kalbarri and let the car check there. On the side of the read there was a salt lake with little water. The water was rose and smelled not very nice. To get back to the main road we had take 500 meters of gravel road. At the end Sandra could not start driving again. As soon as we had the warning lights on an opened the hood a farmer stopped. He also tried to start and told us that the clutch is broken. He was so kind to call Apollo to explain them the problem. He left us after he was sure we had enough water. We got his mobile number and he invited us to wait on the farm. After the first phone call with Apollo we believed that we had to wait only for an hour and thus we stayed in the shadow of the camper. During the next 3.5 hours there were many calls between us and Apollo, Apollo and the Roadside Assistance and finally between the Roadside Assistance and us. We were very disappointed about Apollo as they often made empty promises and did not update us about the current state. But from the Roadside Assistance we got informed regularly about the current situation. Mainly David from the office in Geraldton did his best to free us from this situation. At 4pm our vehicle loaded to the tow truck and we god freed from the nagging flies. Greg drove us back to Geraldton and unloaded it at the camping. Originally we should go to another camping, but the guys from the Roadside Assistance called Apollo and explained that that one is too dangerous for two ladies. Beside the stress we had some fascinating experiences. The Australians are very helpful. A car stopped and told us that we are camping on an access road. We explained our situation and it was good. We even found a tree on which mussels are growing. And finally we now know that in Australia even in the shadow there is sunburn danger. For the end of the day we watched a very beautiful sunset. How this will work out, we do not know yet. Tomorrow at 7:45pm we will be picked up and brought to a garage.