We immediately pulled over on the M1 Freeway and Mike jumped out of the car and ran to look at what was the problem. Smoke was pouring out of the right hand caravan wheel, and the wheel was super hot. There were no flames, but the burning metal smell was pretty awful. We thought that the issue might have been brakes (because we’ve hit that problem before and had it fixed) but after a few minutes, Mike suspected it was a failed wheel bearing. We didn’t want to stay on the M1 too long, so we looked at how far it was to the next turnoff, and the Darnum Exit was 500m over the crest of a hill. We limped off the Freeway and pulled the van onto a side road that had grass area where the kids could run around while we organised what we figured would be a pretty painful process.
|Loading the Tow Truck in Darnum|
|Off to the doctor|
To cut a pretty long story short, the failure we experienced was indeed a wheel bearing. The wheel bearing collapsed which then caused subsequent damage to the Axle. Obviously this wasn’t great news for us, however everything else about the situation could not have been better if we had planned it ourselves! Our NRMA Roadside Assistance (premium package) organised everything for us to get the van to the ‘doctors’. The tow truck turned up in about 15 minutes, Our NRMA Insurance is most likely to cover the damage costs (this is to be finalised on the 22nd and the caravan repairman feels that the insurance is very likely to pay), one of the dwellings at Brigadoon Cottages (which was booked) became free at the last minute, and Ed (Liz’s Cousin) and Michelle (Ed’s wife) very generously allowed us to use the cottage (which was awesome – more on this in the next blog entry because we stayed 4 nights), the Roadside assistance package will pay up to $700 for accommodation fees (in the immediate breakdown area) to cover expenses while we don’t have our van and we have the gear to proceed while the van gets fixed if required. So although it’s bad news, it’s actually not that bad, so we’re just treating it as a slight change to our plans. We really feel that this God is looking after us perfectly.
We are carrying a tent and all our camping gear with us (most of the camping gear we use in daily life in the van) and so once the van was secured at the repairers, we packed all the gear we needed to continue our journey in the back of Bruiser (the Landcruiser) and we’ll be able to continue our journey (with help from Ed & Michelle and Liz’s Aunty and Uncle who are both providing us with some accommodation).
It is likely that the Van will be in repair until Monday the 28th November, so we will be spending a week or two without our van, but continuing to see south East Victoria.