Editor’s Column: Ever get the feeling fate is trying to stop you from doing something…
…But you go ahead and do it anyway? I had that feeling on a trip I was doing. It wasn’t a huge undertaking, just a couple of days in the bush testing out a new camper trailer and blowing a few cobwebs out, which frankly, was long overdue.
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The fist sign that the universe wasn’t happy with this particular trip came when the front diff in my 4X4 decided to let go a day before we were due to leave. Bummer, but not a deal breaker; luckily Pat’s Amarok was free and he let me borrow it. Thanks Mate. The next hiccup came in the form of bushfires closing the highway, which is pretty much the only way to where we were going unless you consider a seven-hour detour to a destination that’s usually six hours from my joint acceptable (which I don’t). Now i’m not going to say that setting up a trailer in a truck stop car park really scratches that camping itch, but hey, it got the job done and let us get a few hour’s rest. We heard the call come over the radio that the freeway had re-opened around 4am, and we were back underway, still in good shape.
We make it to our beach campsite and get the camper set up. Couple of problems though: First, despite being hooked up and charging up with no problem when we left, the camper battery had dropped a cell and the fridge and lights were all out. Second, the camper was missing a couple of awning poles that supported the weight of the canvas – we should be fine as long as it doesn’t rain… Which is precisely when fate really decided to put the boot in. Not half an hour after we’d got everything as set up as could be, thick black clouds rolled in driven by winds in excess of 100km/h and brining with them pounding hail and monsoon-spec rains. It was the kind of storm that has you suspiciously eyeing the horizon looking for the four horsemen of the apocalypse. The campsite flooded in about three minutes, our camper trailer sank six inches straight into the swampy sand in another two, the awning was straining under the couple of hundred kilos of water that had pooled in it, and one of the stabiliser legs called in sick and decided not to work. All within 20 minutes of arriving.
But you know what? It’s this sort of thing that makes memories. The storm passed, we drid off. Some judicious work with the jack and shovel got the camper unstuck and the awning sorted out. We spent the next couple of ays throughly enjoying one of the most idyllic spots on the planet. Sometimes it’s like things go wrong just so you can appreciate the times when they go right that much more. And yes, I got bogged to the chassis rails on the way out (more shovel work) and had a tyre valve disintegrate on me as I was airing up (that’s what spares are for, right?) because fate is nothing is not a prankster… but hey, it’s all part of the adventure. The worst days camping are always going to be better than the best days working.