Imagine if your car broke down in the middle of no-man’s-land, with a caravan towing behind, in 40-degree heat and the nearest service centre 100 kilometres in the other direction.
This was the (terrifying) reality of RV Homebase residents Bill and Sandra last month.
The RVers were on a return trip to Maryborough after spending two months touring Tasmania, when a strange sound started echoing from the engine of their Ford 4WD.
Luckily for them, the community-minded village of RV Homebase were able to provide assistance through “RV Rescue” that saw their car and caravan towed home, thanks to funds collected at the RV Homebase Washbay. “RV Rescue” gives residents peace of mind while travelling to and from RV Homebase and assists in case of accident, sickness or emergency that requires immediate support when travelling.
Before Bill contacted the RV Homebase team, he, Sandra and their dog, Obi were stranded in a town called Coonabarabran, in the middle of west NSW, with no help in sight.
“It started when we were making our return trip from Tassie and decided to take the short cut through the middle of NSW,” Bill said.
“I thought that I heard a funny knocking noise through the radio, but after I turned down the volume I realise it was coming from the engine.
“I called into the service centre at Coonabarabran, but they told us that we needed to take the car to a Ford dealer at Gunnedah, which was 100km away.”
Bill phoned Ford customer care for assistance but was told he needed to contact RACQ. However, after a few phone calls back and forth and a car and caravan still stranded on the side of the road, Bill decided to pay an independent tow truck driver to take his car and caravan to Gunnedah.
“It cost $500, but I was happy to pay the fee if it meant getting the car and caravan off the main road and to a service centre where it could get fixed,” Bill said.
“Unfortunately, when we got the car to the Ford dealer at Gunnedah, they said that they were too busy to look at the car that day and that they couldn’t look at it until Friday.
“So after all that, I booked into a caravan park and got settled in for what was hopefully only going to be two days.
“In the meantime, Sandra had continued on home in another car that was following behind.”
That Friday at the Ford service centre, Bill was told the engine would need to be completely pulled out of the car and the wait would be another 21 days.
“It was 40 degrees and there was no relief from the heat at all, so hearing that was not ideal. We didn’t have a car and couldn’t go anywhere, and had to walk everywhere. It was more than 1km to nearest shop.”
That’s when one of Bill and Sandra’s neighbours from RV Homebase mentioned “RV Rescue Service”.
“I spoke to Kevin from the sales office and soon after RV Homebase Chairman Peter Shadforth called and offered his help,” Bill said.
“He got in touch with his mates at Clayton’s Towing and they came and picked me up and brought me back home to RV Homebase.
“I was so grateful, it was an incredible thing to do when we were stranded with no other option at the time.”
The tow truck driver dropped Bill and his caravan off at home, where Sandra was waiting, before leaving the car at the Ford dealer in Maryborough to be fixed.
Bill said he was very grateful for the assistance RV Homebase was able to provide.
“If it wasn’t for this service RV Homebase was able to provide it would have been a long and hot wait for me,” he said.
“When Peter sent for help I thought they might bring back the caravan and leave the car at Gunnedah to be fixed, but they brought everything back, which made everything so much easier – We are truly grateful.”