The comedy of errors otherwise known as Our Trip To Victor Harbor, February 2008

{mosimage}So the plan was to leave at about noon on Saturday, but we were pretty much ready before then. Started packing the car, picking up around the place, and Darrin checked the power steering fluid (which he’d just filled up Friday morning) and it was totally empty. He found where it was leaking, and of course the obvious answer to such a problem is duct tape. Lucky for us we actually had a roll, and I ran inside to get it. Darrin taped up the leak while I finished packing the car. And we were off just after 12 by the car’s clock, just before 12 by the one on my mobile. So we were pretty much on schedule anyway.

By the time we got to the Brickworks, Caleb was asleep. Yay. Exactly what we were hoping for on a 2 hour drive. And then I got hungry around Noarlunga. And all our food I’d packed was in the boot in the esky. So we decided to drive through Hungry Jack’s and get some lunch, and hopefully not wake Caleb. Hahahaha…of course as soon as Darrin turned the radio down so he could order, Caleb woke up because it was too quiet all of a sudden. We got our food, parked the car in a shady spot, and ate. Got Caleb out of his seat so he could have a feed, but he wasn’t hugely interested. He did play around a bit though, and got to stretch, so we hoped he’d be happy enough the rest of the trip, and maybe even go back to sleep.

Nope. About 10 minutes down the road he started fussing for a feed. So we stopped and I fed him, and we headed off again. And he fussed again, so we stopped again, and this time I got in the back seat with him and rode back there for the rest of the trip (about half an hour).

We got to our caravan park and they informed us that just the night before, the gas line to our caravan had broken, so we wouldn’t be able to cook in there. Not a problem; we decided we’d use the camp kitchen or one of the barbecues instead. Found our caravan, unpacked, I went off to find the toilets.

Just before 4 we packed ourselves back into the car and went off to the first orienteering event. I picked the short course – 2.8 km, 30 m climb. I went with Caleb in the pram. And guess what – the 30 m climb was all at the beginning, so I got it all out of the way right away. I hate hills. Luckily the terrain was pram-friendly (almost all streets) so I didn’t have too much trouble pushing him.

And then he started to “sing” sometime between marker 4 and 5, and was just starting to doze off as I was approaching number 6. So I thought I’d put the backrest down, and he could lie down and have a snooze. Big mistake. Instead of relaxing him, it woke him up. And he really told me off for it too.

So marker 6 was down some steps on the beach. There was no way I was getting the pram down there, but there was a lady just ahead of me who offered to punch my card for me. And then the shortest route between 6 and 7 was along the beach, but with a pram? You’ve gotta be kidding. So I had to go back out the way I came and go the long way around.

And at marker 7 we caught up with Darrin, or he caught up with us, and said hi, and as soon as he went out of sight, Caleb howled (we’ve got that fun separation anxiety phase happening at the moment). Picked him up & carried him for a few minutes, then once he’d calmed down enough I put him back in the pram. He fussed a bit on & off the rest of the course, and really got annoyed after the last marker, so I picked him up again about 200 m from the finish and carried him the rest of the way. Darrin had already finished, even though he’d started after me on a longer course (he only walks, but he’s FAST). Handed him off to Darrin at the finish because my arms were aching. Hung around for a little while, then decided to go up the road for some drinks. Came back to the event, waited for Colin & Aaron to get back from their course, chatted a bit, then got back in the car to go back to the caravan park, 5 minutes away.

But it’s never as simple as it sounds. Caleb did NOT want to be in his seat. At all. We stopped twice in the first kilometer because we thought he wanted a feed, a clean nappy, his shirt off, whatever. We tried all that stuff and he STILL wouldn’t sit in the seat without howling. Eventually we decided we couldn’t really do anything else, and left him there screaming the whole way back, even though I was sitting right next to him. It sucked. Even after we got back to the caravan park and I could take him out of the seat the rest of the way back (we were only going 10 kph), he still fussed a little. He was happy again as soon as he had a feed, once we got back to the caravan. Oh, and filled his nappy. That was part of the problem too, obviously.

So we sat around there for a while, Darrin reading his book, Caleb & me watching him read his book (and Caleb trying to crawl on the book – remember when I said I dreamed he turned into a kitten? Maybe he has). Started to think about tea. Looked at our little map to work out where the camp kitchen was, then headed off by way of the toilets. Decided on the way there we’d rather barbecue, because there was one closer, so we went back to get utensils. Got the utensils, went over to the barbecue, and on the way it started to drizzle. Darrin barbecued the meat and I held Caleb, who was starting to get really fidgety. Went back, had our tea, Caleb fussed a lot, I fed him, he fell asleep. We watched the end of 50 First Dates, then I went to the toilet, came back, went to bed. Not to sleep though, not for a long while. And Caleb, having missed a few feeds over the course of the day, made up for it overnight.

Woke up Sunday morning feeling stiff & sore all over. Strange bed, cold weather. Went to the toilets, came back, cleaned up the caravan, got packed in the car, turned in our key. Drove off to the event in Port Elliot. The start & finish were right on the beach, and it was a little breezy, and there was rain coming. I decided that if I was going out, I’d go by myself, and Caleb would stay back with Darrin. So Darrin went off first, and Caleb & I sat on the ground next to the start & finish. And then the rain started to come, so we made a run for the car. Which was up a big flight of stairs. Ever tried carrying a backpack and a 10 kg baby up stairs? Not easy. So we sat in the car the rest of the morning.

And then my mobile starts to ring. And I check the voicemail, and it’s the caravan park lady. And then the low battery signal starts up, and the call gets disconnected, and I ring back AGAIN, and it’s the caravan park lady saying we dropped a wallet and someone turned it in. I check for mine – it’s there. Must be Darrin’s. Must’ve dropped it putting his jeans into the car. I turn the phone off to save power.

Anyway, so I tell Darrin when he gets back, and after arranging a lunch date with Colin & Aaron, we head back to the caravan park to get the wallet. And then it starts to rain again, so Darrin put the wipers & lights on.

We decided to kill some time by wandering through some of the shops on Ocean Street (main shopping area in Victor Harbor). So we popped into Angus & Robertson first (book shop) and didn’t buy anything, because we had $20 left and we still needed lunch. Left A & R, went up the street, saw this place called All Sweets & Treats, and I started to *jokingly* go in, because we all know what a sweet tooth I have, and then I saw it.

Dr Pepper.

We interrupt this program to bring you a special presentation of Dumb Poetry In A Card Type Trash.

Ode to My First Dr Pepper in Four Years

By melvan


Window shopping

And there you were

Maroon and metallic

Begging to be bought

Three dollars leave my wallet

“Would you like a cold one?”

Oh yes.

She returns with my can

Maroon, metallic, and chilled

My precious…

We now return you to your regularly scheduled program, already in progress.

So then we walk further up the street to the fish & chip shop we’d arranged to meet at. It was still ages yet till one o’clock, so we went back outside and wandered around a bit. Came back after looking around in a closing down souvenir shop, and just stood around outside the fish & chip shop till Colin & Aaron got there. Bought our food, walked off to a picnic table & sat down and ate. Caleb pretty much demolished any piece of fish I gave him, and dropped it on the ground, so in the end I just ate off all the coating first and let him go crazy with the rest, eating whatever he didn’t drop. After lunch, I took him on the baby swing (which didn’t really hold him securely, so I took him out) and the slide (which he wasn’t too sure about). Then when we were all ready to leave, I fed him and we walked through the market. If we’d had money left, there were several things I would’ve taken a closer look at. But I didn’t want to depress myself so I didn’t.

We got back to the car, and got all our stuff packed away, and Caleb in his seat, nice and comfortable, all fed, and Darrin turned the key, and click click click click….

He asked me what I thought it was, and I told him I didn’t know, but it sounded expensive. He had a look under the bonnet. Tried again. Noticed the headlight switch was still on. Oops.

No worries, at least now we know what it is. And we’re RAA members, so we can get a jump for free. So I get my mobile out, Darrin makes the call, and just as he’s telling the operator “I’m at the corner of Torrens and…” and looking up the name of the other road, the phone goes dead.

We look in the street directory for the location of the nearest pay phone. There’s one across the street in the shopping centre. So we cross the road, find the phone, look in my wallet for coinage, and we only have 20 cents. The phone need 50 cents. And that’s all the money we’ve got, apart from about $4 in the bank which we can’t get to, because it’s Sunday and the banks are closed, and you can’t get less than $20 out of an ATM anyway.

Then Darrin goes into the Caltex and asks to use their phone. The lady there says “The cord won’t reach, but here’s some coins.” He goes back to the pay phone, calls the RAA, and they say they’ll be out in 15 minutes.

Thank you, Caltex lady, whoever you are. 🙂

So the RAA guy comes out, probably actually about 20 minutes later, but that’s fine. He pulls out this portable jump thing, hooks it up to our battery, and Darrin turns the key, and the car goes VROOM. Yay.

So we’re off again, finally, and within about fifteen minutes Caleb goes to sleep. And we go through a lot of HORRIBLE traffic, because it’s the Victor Harbor road, and it’s a really bad road. It’s so bad there was a political cartoon in the paper a few years ago about someone asking how to get to Victor Harbor, and the other person says “It’s easy, just follow the red and black posts.” (Red posts indicate a person who was injured; black ones for someone who died.) And at one point, in ONE KILOMETER (which is about 5/8 mile) there were FOUR red posts. Yet the state government still hasn’t done much about it, except to put up a sign for the current number of days without a significant accident and remind people to be careful…but that’s a rant for another day.

Anyway. We got back to Adelaide finally, and we’re going through the roadworks at South Road and Anzac Highway, and Caleb wakes up. And he’s hungry, and hot, and so Darrin finds the first place he can and pulls over so I can feed him. We spend about 10 minutes sitting on the side of the road, feeding him, trying to keep him happy, giving him toys to play with, but again, it doesn’t seem to work once he’s in the seat. This time, however, I got the dummy out and gave it to him. He sucked on it a little, then pulled it out and sucked on the wrong end. Whatever. At least he’s not screaming, and we can get the rest of the way home.

And now we’re home, and some idiot has left a Homecare catalog in our letterbox, which has a very obvious “NO JUNK MAIL” sticker on it. And Darrin walks in the front door first, and Biscuit is there, and goes straight back to the laundry room begging for food.

And then we noticed something.


I call it “First Sunburn.”

Oh, and the duct tape held the entire time too.

We’re back.

And we had a good trip, apart from Caleb getting sick of the car in the last half hour of the drive (each way), and needing the RAA to come give us a jump start after we left the car for 3 hours with its lights on.

I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow. Or sometime this week anyway.

That’s a little TOO convenient…

So we’ve been thinking about this trip to Melbourne. And there’s a long weekend at the end of our trip anyway. And when I was first suggesting it, Darrin said something like “Maybe there’ll be orienteering down that way this year.”

We got this year’s event programme today. And guess where the events are for that weekend?

He swears he didn’t pay anyone off to arrange it that way, but I’m not so sure…. 😉


{mosimage}So before this trip to the US can materialize, we have to go to Melbourne and get Caleb’s Consular Report of Birth and his passport. Thus, here are our tentative plans for a trip there in the October school holidays.

Saturday 27th September: Leave home, drive to Horsham, Victoria, and stay the night.

Sunday 28th September: Horsham to Ballarat. See the Grampians.

Monday 29th September: Ballarat to Melbourne. Stay in Melbourne till Friday 3rd October. During this time, Darrin wants to go driving on some freeways, and I want to visit USA Foods and get some Dr Pepper, and of course we have to do Caleb’s paperwork as well.

Friday 3rd October: Leave Melbourne and drive to Geelong along the Great Ocean Road.

Saturday 4th October: Geelong to Warrnambool.

Sunday 5th October: Warrnambool to Mount Gambier, where we’ll finally get to check the Mount Gambier Fasta Pasta off our list (and we will have been to nearly all the South Australian ones).

Monday 6th October (Labour Day): Mount Gambier to home.

Trip stuff.

{mosimage}So I had a look at some ticket prices and car hire prices, and guess what? It’s *just* cheaper to fly from Adelaide to Los Angeles and hire a car than to add the Los Angeles to Minneapolis leg. That’s not counting the petrol/gas, meals, and hotel/motel stays. Some or most of those expenses would be covered by our normal weekly spending anyway. And Darrin likes driving, and really loves the idea of a roadtrip. And I don’t mind it either, especially if I get to see some national landmarks like the Grand Canyon, Old Faithful, Mount Saint Helens, the Alamo, Mount Rushmore & the Black Hills, and Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalbuquerque, where the sun is always shining and the air smells like warm root beer, and the towels are oh so fluffy!

Darrin looked at sites tonight about hiring a Winnebago or similar vehicle, and it’s about half of what the airfares would be. Yeouch.

So now I’m looking for experiences of people who’ve done massive cross-country roadtrips and stayed in hotels. Do you book the hotels in advance, or just trust that somebody’ll have a room available wherever you decide to crash for the night? And what restaurant chains feed kids under x years for free? I remember hearing Shoney’s did this at one time. Any others?

Oh yes. And the newfangled cars with the built-in child safety seats – how old or heavy does a kid have to be to sit in one?

That’s it for now. I’m sure I’ll have more questions later. Bedtime.

Hey, cool, I don’t have to post later today. But I probably will. What else am I going to do when it’s 42 degrees outside?