Michael’s dad, Barry, was an electrician and whenever he would wire something new, he would need a ‘smoke test’, in other words ‘lets turn the power on and see if there is any smoke’. In many cases, more than one smoke test would be required. So in an ode to Barry, we spent 3 months traveling down the east coast of Australia doing our own ‘smoke test’ for the big trip.
Here are a few things we checked off while ironing out the bugs:
1. Set up camp and survive the night
Our first night in the car was spent at Minnie Water, a whopping 14 km from home, but we survived and felt confident we could do it again. From here, we spent nights in Hat Head, Sydney, Kiama, Narooma, Eden and Lakes Entrance on our way down to Melbourne
It is worth noting that to date, in the short 12 months of his life, Baz has travelled around 30,000km and stayed in over 25 different houses and hotels.
2. Take Baz on an aeroplane
From Melbourne we jumped on a plane and headed down to Tasmania for a week to visit Margie’s sister. Baz did well on the plane…well he slept the whole way on both legs of the journey.
3. Not get arrested by the police
Upon returning to Melbourne we travelled around visiting friends and family and on one transit we were pulled over by the police, and were shocked to discover that our car registration had lapsed. With no permanent address we had never received a notice. Just for future reference, it is worth staying on top of this or face an $800 fine. One formal letter to the police department explaining our situation and they kindly let us off.
4. Drive the car in some snow
From Melbourne we headed East to Lake Mountain so Baz could experience his first snow. While the car did not miss a beat, the best could not be said for Baz in the snow, he was not impressed and sat forlornly on his taboggan and wouldn’t touch the white stuff. Maybe when he is a bit older
5. Start the car up on a -7oC morning in Canberra
From Melbourne we hit the road for Canberra, where is was bloody freezing. One morning we woke up to -7, where the water from the air conditioner had frozen on the footpath outside and was still a slick of ice at 3pm in the afternoon. But the car still started, albeit a little sluggishly.
6. Turn it into a city car
All these kilometres and all of these cities, and the car did so well. We managed to make it all the way back to Brisbane before she broke down on us. There were so many narrow street and tight turns that she even started to feel like a city car.