I was just over at Red Nomad's blog, reading about the road between Broken Hill and Cobar.
It sparked a memory which I will now tell you about.
I remember that road well.
Years ago when the oldest was tiny, we drove it often on our way from Brisbane to Murray Bridge.
One year we had a hole in our exhaust pipe right behind the muffler.
Back then soft drinks came in steel cans, so we'd drink a coke in Brisbane, cut the ends off the can, open it along the seam, then fix it over the hole with a couple of "U" clamps.
It would last all the way to Murray Bridge and we'd do the same thing to get back home.
Over time, as the hole got bigger, I'd be instructed to make the trip without shoes so that I could feel if the floor was getting hot. Then we'd take a break while it cooled down, replace the burnt out can and continue the trip.
We probably made half a dozen of those long trips like this.
Then one trip the can failed us.
The hole in the exhaust pipe had just gotten too big.
We had left one of the smaller towns and I noticed the floor getting very hot.
We stopped and let the car cool down, then turned back and limped our way back along the road to the town, stopping every few minutes.
It was night time and most of the town was asleep, only the petrol station was open and about to close.
The mechanic had gone home for the night.
The baby was asleep in the back seat, so we settled down in the front seat and slept off and on while we waited for morning.
As soon as the mechanic arrived, he looked at the pipe and said it couldn't be fixed.
The hole was too big, but also too close to the muffler, so there was just no room to do a good patch job. We'd have to fit a whole new muffler and pipe. At a rather large cost.
And he'd have to get one from the larger nearby town.
Well, I had the money set aside for the cost of petrol and snacks on the return trip so we used that to pay for the replacement.
The day after we arrived at the grandparents home, I went to see the boss at the company I'd worked for before moving to Brisbane and applied for a job. I had a reputation as a good worker and because I wouldn't need training, I got a job starting the next day.
I didn't tell him that I'd only be there a couple of weeks, just long enough to earn the money we needed to get back home. (sorry, boss)
So instead of enjoying a two week Christmas break, I worked in a smelly factory, wrapping 40 pound cheeses and working the milk bottling machine.
Just before we needed to go back to Brisbane, I told the boss I'd have to quit. The baby wasn't doing well in the cooler air and we'd have to go back to Queensland for her health.
He wasn't happy.
Not at all.
Because now he'd have to hire the much younger girl who'd also applied for a job, but would need the instruction and training period to become familiar with the machines.
At the time I didn't feel too bad about what I'd done, we had no savings and had to get home.
Hubby was in the Army and had to get back.
It didn't occur to us to ask family for help with cash. (They didn't have much themselves anyway)
Although now that I think about it, it wasn't a nice thing to do to the boss who'd been so nice to me.
GULLIVER HAD A LOUSY TRAVEL AGENT
6 hours ago