I set out yesterday at noon feeling stout of heart, but somewhat underwhelmed. We had driven into town and back again the night before (about two hours of driving) and I was about to do it all again. [whimper] So I Humbered toward band practice in Coburg, and once I got there, it was all peachy, and we got a lot done. I left at 6pm to head home to the Trailer, with thoughts of working on my caravan the next day.

It was on Auburn Road that I saw the red light on my dashboard come on, and stay on. I immediately assumed that the generator had died and was no longer charging the battery, as has happened once or twice before. I didn’t think it would be too problematic, as it wasn’t dark and I knew I’d be able to get home way before the battery drained.

I kept driving. By the time I’d hit the Monash Freeway, the red light was still on. About 500 metres from the Warrigal Road turn off I noticed the temperature gauge was heading toward HIGH. HIGH is bad. The Humber temperature gauge is always a steady sober halfway point between low and HIGH. I pulled over and popped the bonnet.

Having traffic whizzing past you at 100 kilometres an hour is a great way to feel like you’re really alive. In this heightened state, I looked under the bonnet, and noted that everything – and that would be including my very recently installed FIVE HUNDRED DOLLAR RADIATOR – was exceedingly hot. Horror!!

I sat and mused for a while in the car, waiting for it to cool down. Decided to call the RACV, and realised I had to top up my phone in order to make a call. After topping it up I waited for ten minutes for the transaction to clear. Nothing. Spent a very entertaining 13 minutes on hold to speak to someone at VirginMobile, who then informed me that my card had been rejected. I paid with another card. More on the rejection later…

Then I had to call the RACV. And change my coverage from the HiAce van back to the Humber. “That will be sixty eight dollars to have two cars on your account” chirped some chick who was lucky not to be anywhere near me, “I’ll just put you though.”

I hung up. I called the accounts area. I swapped the cars, for nothing. And obviously sounded like my tether was getting shorter – either that or the traffic in the background alerted the service agent to my situation. “Shall I put you throught to roadside assist?”
I thanked her, breathing deeply. For some reason the RACV no longer has the word ‘Humber’ on their databases, leading to fraught conversations where they scream HONDA? and I, increasingly irate, shriek back HUMBER – H for Hotel – U for Uniform – M for Mike – B for Bravo – E for Echo and R for Romeo and G for GAH!!!

When roadside assistance finally understood that it was not a Honda in distress, they then told me that the RACV don’t service cars on freeways, as it’s too dangerous. Instead, they send a priority towtruck, to take you anywhere in a 20km radius – and every kilometre after that is something like three dollars. Fine. I waited for an hour, and during that time established that I knew a few people in my free towing zone. I also discovered that the fanbelt, looped disarmingly over the fan, was unscathed and that the pulley that it used on the generator had a big nasty sheared sort of crack in it.

My emphysemic towtruck guy turned up and had the Humber aboard in less than three minutes. He told me that he and/or his truck had been hit three times doing freeway pickups. Which made me feel better about not attempting any repairs while I was stranded. I got to ride in a cool truck, and we settled the Humber gently eleven kilometres away, outside R&D’s house.

M and HumberFather agreed to come down in the morning with new generator pulley bit. R&D agreed to let me sleep the night, and even gave me dinner and a glass of red – and then took me to breakfast the next morning! M and HumberFather fixed the pulley in about 40 minutes, with me as a mechanical assistant, and then I took everyone to lunch. The End.