So much for my triumphant setting off to go to the desert.
I got as far as Adelaide where I finally conceded. The car is at the mechanic’s getting a new head gasket.
Despite (or perhaps because of) driving 1700k in 2 days OK, the problem is getting worse. Water is being pushed out of the radiator and the engine is overheating (in that order). It is also guzzling petrol, and that is getting worse too. I was considering driving home to get it looked at, but I’m not sure I would make it that far. I also don’t think I can afford the petrol at this rate!! My fuel consumption has increased by about 60%.
So I’m still in Adelaide. There are worse places to be.
I would travel up into the Adelaide Hills to visit some wineries but both times I’ve tried to do that the car has only made it about 30k before I’ve had to turn around and nurse it back home. Which is a great shame, because the world’s best sauvignon blancs are made in the Adelaide Hills. There might still be an opportunity to borrow a car to get up there, or when I get my car back I might have to take it for a drive to test it out. After all, I’ll still need wine for my trip!
But while I’m here I get to see my parents, and my sister (at least before she went to Darwin yesterday), and my gorgeous new great nephew and great niece. It’s not a bad place to be stranded. With two new babies around, of course I had to get out the camera and have some photo sessions.
I lived in Adelaide for a short while when I was younger. In those days I didn’t know about the Adelaide Hills, but I did haunt other wine areas. I remember going to McLaren Vale with my sister, visiting two wineries, then going to The Barn for lunch. We left there again as the first people were arriving for dinner. It was a goooood afternoon, and not unusual. I even used to drive down to McLaren Vale to go to the beach when I lived here.
Then there was the weekend at the Clare Wine Festival with a girlfriend. We borrowed a tent & sleeping bags for the occasion (camping was primitive in those days), then had no idea how to put the tent up. We probably shouldn’t have opened the first bottle of wine until we had the tent up. With each glass, the tent sagged more and more, until finally somebody felt sorry for us and came to help – but not until they’d sat there watching (and laughing).
Things have certainly changed since then, at least with my camping abilities (or maybe not).
That’s one of the best things about Adelaide – the food, wine, and festivals. There is a huge variety of very good restaurants in all price ranges, most of which also sell magnificent local wines. Every time I come to Adelaide I’m sure I put on kilos. Even if I’m just here for a weekend.
And I’m a vegetarian!
That’s something both Adelaide and Melbourne do far better than Sydney. Food and wine. There are some very good places in Sydney, but in both Adelaide and Melbourne great places to eat or drink are everywhere. Restaurants, cafes, pubs, wineries. In the city, suburbs, on roof tops, outdoors, beer gardens, laneways. And almost every one of them has good vegetarian options. Often just as part of the menu, not even in a special section at the end of the list.
If it wasn’t for the weather I’d consider coming back here to live. While summers are beautiful, often getting up to 40o, in winter it is freezing, and wet. The seasons do tend to be extremes. Now it is the middle of winter, and it’s cold and raining. As much as I love seeing everybody I really do want to get out there into the Simpson Desert. It might be cold there in winter, but at least it’s dry – and warm during the day.
In the meantime – here are my new great nephew and great niece with their great grandparents.