. We decide to pull off to a lookout (thankfully with hindsight we didn’t turn the engine off) Bill has a quick look but everything seems fine. Bill takes over driving and we’re not far down the road and the warning light for overheating transmission comes on, dropping back our speed the temp starts to drop but still too high so we decide stop for a while at the next town to let it cool down. We finally make it to Barcaldine, famous for The Tree of Knowledge and the beginings of the Labour Party, we’re still 106km from Longreach, 304km West of Emerald. We park out the front of a little Information Centre and go for a walk up the main street, quite a long street however with only a bakery, café and an IGA and of course 5 pubs. Bill walks back to get the car and van while I grab a few things at IGA. He jumps out so I can drive pop it in drive and NOTHING, no gears just neutral, must be me so I turn the engine off and tell Bill the car hates me and he can drive so he starts the car it drives about 5mtrs then NOTHING now a warning light has come on saying 4WD Serv and several other alerts. Awesome! (We only just had a service less than a week ago, Bill had asked them to do a transmission service but they told him that is done at the 80k service and as this is the 40k service it wasn’t needed) Not really sure what to do next, I ring Jeep assist thinking we didn’t have cover as we’ve had the Jeep a little over a year and I thought it was only a 12mth cover, happy to say I was WRONG, we’re covered, hire car, towing, emergency accommodation, the lot
. Now the logistics, we’re over 600km from Rockhampton were the car has to go for repair, then there’s the van! I get off the phone from jeep assist with the promise of a call within 20min from a logistics co-ordinator, we wait but no call so being control freaks we ring the local caravan park and explain our woes, no problem the lovely lady says "I’ll send my hubby Darrin around he’ll get you sorted, no problem love." Within a couple of minutes two blokes rock up in a dual cab ute, Ian takes kids and I back to the caravan park while Darrin stays and helps Bill unhitch and move the jeep, which after sitting now engages drive for long enough to pull forward before dying again. I’m in the office at the caravan park when I see Ian and Darrin return with the van before I get over to them they’ve unhitched and started setting up the van with the kids, gotta love country hospitality! Bill has stayed with the Jeep as they had told me they would sending a truck to pick it up, he gets sick of waiting so limps it back to us at the park. By turning off the engine and turning it back on it will engage gear for a minute before stopping again. After not hearing anything he rings Jeep assist back to be told they can’t get a tow out to us tonight it would be tomorrow, hmmm little bit annoyed they had no idea we’d organised the van to be moved and we hadn’t had a call back and now it’s 5:30 as far as they know we’re all still sitting on the side of the road, we first called at 3:15 so perhaps not a 20min call-back
. Now we’ve been told no chance of getting a hire car that could tow our caravan. That my friend is a challenge, we have service on Bill’s ph and WiFi compliments of the caravan park so it’s on. After 2 ph calls we’ve established we can hire at least 2 different vehicles capable of towing our van from Hertz in Emerald. The dude rings back from Jeep and I explain what we’ve discovered, fantastic he says I’ll give them a buzz and let you know. At around 8:45pm I get another call back from Jeep assist saying things aren’t looking good they can’t find a truck to come and get our car as jeep have a $2,000 limit and the quote they’ve had is $2,400 hmm do you not know how to bargain? Tomorrow’s challenge, get us a tow truck to Rockhampton under $2k!
Finally bed and sleep we are thankful everyone is ok (even Claire seems a bit better) and we’ve met some fantastic locals, and travellers.
We broke a Jeep!
Up and ready to go by 7:30am. Claire has woken with a temperature poor love, Panadol and sleep in the car will hopefully help shake it. No rain overnight and the road is open so we're good to go. Little bit of slip sliding on the dirt road but once we hit the bitumen it’s smooth sailing. A few suicidal cows make the drive a bit more interesting, together with emu’s , eagles and then a wild pig darting in front of us followed closely by a farmer in a ute. Back on to the main road we head North to Emerald along the way we have an emergency stop to close the roof vent on the van which has blown open, good thing we stopped it’s a bit of a war zone in the van that dirt road must have really shaken things around, thankfully nothing broken so off again. Quick stop in Emerald for fuel and I find a Gloria Jeans! Yay gotta love skinny latte (with hazelnut of course) in the middle of nowhere, priorities! My turn to drive and car feels a bit strange, kind of like something stuck under the accelerator? Oh well maybe I’m imagining it. Off we head to Longreach, it’s a few km’s down the road it still doesn’t feel right, we are driving through the great dividing range so put lack of power down to steep climb