The next morning I took the car to the tyre repair place which was within walking distance, a good thing in long run as I did a lot of walking between them and the motel room. They looked at the car and declared I had bent the wheel, which means I needed a new one, and on closer observation they found I had bent the back wheel on the same side, that meant two new wheels. They attempted to straighten the wheels but it was useless, there was no choice but to get new wheels shipped in from Brisbane, and this would take two or three days.
“Bugger what now?” Remember my aim is to put miles on the car? There were two options open to me at this point. Stay here in Moree and sit in a motel for three days or try to carry on my journey with another car.
Across the road was a rental car company, that gave me an idea. I would rent a car for the rest of the trip. The cost of the accommodation and staying here would surely be similar to renting a car, I had free accommodation at the other end.
A new part of our journey started, renting a car. A simple process in most places. You go to the rental car company, choose a class of car and they check your licence, sign up a contract and off you motor.
Not quite that easy here however, it appeared the number of cars in this rental car company at this time is four, one of them was an old utility which I am not convinced was actually a rental car. I settled on the smallest of the cars which was at reasonable rate. Great,the rather robust mid thirties woman running the desk informed me it was at the airport and her husband and co-owner of the establishment would go out and get it for me.
I could wait if I wanted. I decided I would, to shorten the time, it was only 9am and with some luck we could have this car and be on the road by 10am.
The rental office is a small cubicle at the back of a large tin shed garage and said husband had a car on jacks and was busy messing around under it. The day was starting to get hot and the shed magnified it. From the shed was the constant noise of some child’s cartoon being played a full tilt as a chubby 10 year fiddled with her mothers phone while not really watching it.
The husband disappear to the airport and 5 minutes later there was a call.
“The car you want hasn’t been returned”
“Okay what’s my choice”
“There is a Forester if you are okay with that.”
My agreement relayed to the person at the other end.
“Ah sorry sir we don’t have the keys for the Forester, looks like they weren’t returned”
“Okay what’s my choice”
“The ute out there”
“It’s not big enough I need three seats”
The owner lady was yelling down the phone to over come the noise from presumably her off spring who was still not watching a very loud TV.
“We can do you a four drive” She offered helpfully.
“Anything else?” My desperately vain hope.
“What’s the 4wd?”
“Okay”, my thinking time was short I had wanted to give one of these a try.
“Hubbie will bring it back from the airport”
Within five minutes a new looking white Toyota Prado diesel turned up with a big yellow flashing light on the top. How was this going to go down with the rest of the party?
I hadn’t driven a diesel or a Prado before and I have to say the experience was very positive although the car is a smaller than our Nissan Patrol, I still liked it.
We spent the rest of our trip looking like a road crew zipping along the back roads of NSW with our flashing yellow light on the roof. We only ran it for a short while, I had to see if it all worked.
On our return to Moree four days later to pick up our poor Holden Astra, we found they replaced the two wheels but it also had damage to the front steering the required further work. We had assurance it would last us until we got home and indeed it did.
By the time I added up the accommodation, diesel price and rental car hire, my costs were over two thousand more than expected and I had not put those valuable kilometres on the Astra. Oh well I will need a plan B for the Astra.