After checking into our chalet in Margaret River we had about three hours to spend exploring the area caves. We all jumped back into the car for the quick drive South.
Me: “Do you hear that?”
Rob: “Crap, the battery light just came on”
Me: (brilliantly reading out of the manual) “yes, that means our battery apparently is not charging”
*beep* *beep* *beep* (coming from the dash – not from any of the passengers)
Rob: “Crap, the thermostat light is on too”
Luckily we were able to pull into the Mammoth Cave car park and let the car cool down for a second. Rob popped the hood to take a gander.
Me: (still reading from the manual) “It says here that this is most likely the poly v belt is not properly working thus impacting the other components under the hood”
Rob: “Well that would make sense given that the belt is missing”
According to our GPS we were generally somewhere in the woods and maybe approximately 20km away from town. Once service bars increased it only took a quick Google search and one phone call to see that the mechanic was on holiday … until January. One more phone call (to the BP station) got us the number to a garage that was not on six month holiday. I was able to get a hold of Al at the other garage.
Me: “Hi, our flux capacitor is broken and we’re coasting along Caves road – can you fix us?”
Al (the mechanic): “Sure love, bring it on in”
Me: “Great! How do I get there?”
Al: “First star to the right and straight on until morning!”
Ok, those really aren’t the directions however the combination of his lovely Aussie accent and my complete lack of orientation I didn’t really understand him. I stared at Rob for a bit when he asked for the directions before ringing up the shop to explain to them that I was a complete idiot and needed the directions again. I retained this information and we were able to glide into the garage before combusting. After a quick look at our car it was decided that it would not be ready until Friday. This was good news except we were in a bind since we still had many places to reach on our road trip. Luckily Mr. Mechanic Al had a solution.
Al: “Hey guys, I just finished up the car hire guy’s car. Turns out you can drive his car to the BP in town and Gary has a rental for you”
Ahh, of course … Gary … the car guy … (huh???)
We all piled into Gary’s car and drove to the BP where we saw him cleaning off the windshield to a very questionable but obviously well worn Mazda. I wasn’t quite sure why he bothered cleaning the window when the seats inside were torn to the padding and there was some sort of animal hair present. All that was required to rent the car was a $50 bill and letting us know to just drop the car back off at the BP when we were done. He was quick to pick up on our lack of accent though.
Gary: “You interested in a real Australian experience?”
Us (collectively): “huh?”
Gary: “I have some Joeys, come follow me home.”
We got in the car (it took Gigi a while since her door would not open) and looked at each other with concern. Were we really following this guy (a stranger mind you) home? After a drive through the woods (thinking we really should’ve brought bread crumbs). We came to a nice home and followed him in. There in his living room we were greeted by two little joeys and through the back windows we could see a yard absolutely full of wild kangaroos eating dinner. Gary apparently has been raising these two Joeys for the past year and has been feeding the adults for the past eight years or so. We went outside to have a better view and were amazed at how large and beautiful they were and how many they were. Gary called us back inside as it was bottle feeding time for the joeys and let us have a go at it – and it was so much fun!
We were able to find our way back to our chalet and were more than pleasantly surprised with the turn of events our trip encountered.
*Disclaimer: No American tourists were in any way hurt in the making of this blog entry – only German cars*