Farewelling my brother in Dicky Beach it was an easy 1 hour drive to Brisbane. It’s a place we have always enjoyed visiting and we had ample tasks to occupy our time while we waited a week for our flight back to Canada to spend a month with our kids and friends there. There would be a few sights in Brisbane, a bit of vehicle maintenance, the need to seek a vehicle storage solution while we were away and, finally, a wonderful opportunity to catch up with nieces, nephews, a cousin and one of my oldest childhood friends.

We bid farewell to Tim and Maree and left for Brisbane. Wonderful stay, guys, thank you !
Brisbane – our first big city in quite a while.

Vehicle first. Our regular readers may remember the big jolt when we hit a thick tree root on the very last few kilometres of the Cape York track. It was enough to shake our camera and we really felt it in the van.

The Cape York “bump” that damaged our right front tie rod. It needed to be replaced.

No obvious damage at the time but, later, in Rockhampton during a routine tire rotation, the technician noticed the front wheel which took the impact had a little bit of “play” in it. Very driveable, he assured us, but, based on his further inspection, said it was likely a fractured nylon piece in the tie-rod and the tie rod would need to be replaced. The Mercedes dealer in Rockhampton had the part and, while he confirmed it was almost certainly the cause of the issue, lamented that they could not do the job for two weeks ( not our first such service challenge on this trip ). We would have to do it when we got to Brisbane and had more time.

Slight “play” in the front wheel as a result of the Cape York knock.

A good thing as it turned out. A local European parts specialist here in Brisbane supplied the exact same ( German-made ) part, directed us to a specialist suspension shop for the install and finally over to Bob Jane Tires for the wheel alignment. All wrapped up in the course of a half day’s running around, with great service from all involved and at a fraction of the cost ( and delay ) we would have experienced at Mercedes Benz in Rockhampton. Nice to have it all sorted out.

The new tie rod.
Installed quickly and reasonably by the good folks at Pedders.

Now on to family. My niece, Shannon ( and her family ) and nephew, Caleb ( and his ) both live in Brisbane – both have moved since we last saw them and both have had beautiful additions to their young families. On the few occasions we do pass through Brisbane we usually have little time for any meaningful visits so it was wonderful to spend a couple of relaxing days with both, to get to know their newest young ones and catch up on the goings-on in their worlds. Likewise with my long-time friend, Tim ( and his wife Ros ). For once we had time to do more then just catch up for a quick coffee or beer as we blew through town. Great to reminisce and also do a little exploring together around some of the parts of Brisbane we’d not seen before. 

Lois with some of the kids – intrigued by our “house” !
Lois, going over the merits of the Sprinter with Shannon’s neighbours. One already owned a Ford Transit van and the other was about to buy a new van and do a self build. Lots of questions…!
My nephew Caleb, wife Jess and their delightful family. We needed practice with babies so the visit with them was helpful in more ways than one !
Parked up at my friend, Tim’s. Our first visit to their beautiful home in Brisbane.
My cousin Carol, whose husband Lee has done a three volume history on the “Gunn” genealogy. Seems our roots are inextricably linked to Norse Vikings ( centuries prior to out more recent Scottish heritage ). She kindly supplied me a set – thanks Carol !
Makes for fascinating reading ( well, at least if you are a Gunn ) !

One last task while in town was to find secure storage for the vehicle while we would be away. After some crazy quotes from a few places we managed to find a good option in a gated commercial facility not too far from Brisbane airport. Pleased with that and now able to travel with some additional peace of mind ( a condition of our Carnet – the vehicle temporary import permit – was that the vehicle be secured, not on a public street, and not be driven by anyone else while we were out of the country ). Check, check and check !

View of Brisbane from Mt Coot Tha. We travelled there with Tim.

With our daughter’s delivery date known ( she was going to be induced ) we could now schedule our planned departure so as to ( hopefully ) coincide as closely as possible with the expected delivery. Vehicle dropped at the storage centre and bags packed we Uber’d to Brisbane airport for the 13 hour flight to Vancouver and then on to Kelowna.

AC36 was our flight home. Enjoyed 5 movies ( since I didn’t sleep a wink ) for the 13 hour trip…!
We were on standby for this particular Air Canada flight……
…..and we were very grateful to Angela at check-in for making it happen. A 100% full flight and she got us the last two seats. We were seated miles apart on the plane but “beggars can’t be choosers” ( as they say ) and we were just ecstatic to make it. Got home to see our daughter both before and after the delivery. Who could ask for more ?
The world seems so small when you see it on the seat display.
Timing is everything and the gods really smiled on us. We arrived home in Kelowna at 10.00 am August 5th and saw our daughter, Jackie, in the hospital as soon as we got off the plane. She delivered beautiful, healthy, baby Hadley just before 5pm the same day.
Our beautiful bundle of joy, just a few hours old……
And, dressed up to leave hospital, Hadley Charlotte Van Vliet, ready to be doted on !!!

So with all that excitement and lots of eagerly anticipated baby-time coming up in the next few weeks, we’ll take a summer “pause” on the OneEndlessRoad blog and get back at it just before returning to Brisbane in September.

To all our regular readers, thanks for tagging along with us, and to all our local friends and family, we look forward to catching up while we are back !

Till next month…….