Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Map of Tassie Tour - Last Rites

Tomorrow is the last day of the Tour. Its not finishing the way we had planned or ever imagined.
Life on the road packed into a box
trailer and car.

For five days now, I've been on the road, after a week at home to lick my wounds. This trip has been for the single purpose of recovering all of our gear from our now dead Avan.

It has taken me 6 days to get from Tamworth to Melbourne and back again - about 2600kms. Others would do it faster but after recent events, pacing myself there and back seemed to be the way to go.

It has been an emotionally very emptying trip. Had it not been for a night with close friends on their farm at Jindivik, east of Melbourne, there would have been nothing but the draining feeling of picking up the pieces of something broken and knowing there was nothing you could do to mend it.

Clearly, the worst day was my visit to the Avan factory at Pakenham, where our broken maison sur roues has been sitting with it's broken leg and cracked back. The folks at Avan were brilliant - from the company exec Mark, who led me to the spot in the back lot where the van sat; to the guy working on new vans who came over for a chat and to sympathise; to the friendly security guy on the gate who waved me through and wished me luck.

It took me two hours to unpack our mobile life into plastic boxes and bags and stack them onto a rented trailer and into the back of the Forester. It was hard work physically in the humidity and harder emotionally but it was a simple act at the very end of the stripping that bought me undone. In my final act, after all the lifting and packing and toting, I returned to the inside of the van and took down the laminated map of Australia we had been given by son Sam and daughter in law Jacquie. It had been attached to the ceiling, above the bed. On the roads of Australia, we had overlaid in texta the tours we had made in the van - north as far as Cairns, west as far as Adelaide and Kangaroo Island and all over the eastern states.

The simple act of stripping the map from its velcro mounts, rolling it and placing it safely in the back of the car was symptomatic of the three weeks of turmoil and resignation since the accident. After three days driving and two hours of work, suddenly, there was nothing left to do but say goodbye.

It was just too hard.

Farewell, goodbye, amen.
The insurance company - GIO - have been wonderful and this week, our claim will be settled and a payout placed into our bank. It won't be enough to replace our van. We'll have to work on that for a bit. Avan have been very supportive and understanding, accepting the hulk and storing it for us until I could return for the last rites. Friends and especially family have been brilliant, understanding how this abrupt change has left us not just robbed us of the holiday we had looked forward to but interrupted a lifestyle choice we had anticipated for at least ten years.

All of these acts of kindness and sympathy have helped enormously.

The only thing left to do now is to accept what we know we can't change and move on. I wish it was as easy to do as it is to say.

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