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Stranded In Kapunda, South Australia

28th & 29th April, 2009

Not content with dropping out of the lime light my frog van continues to find new ways to play a staring role in my blog posts about Rose and I (supposedly) and our South Australian adventures. This time a dead battery left us stranded in the mining town of Kapunda for the night.

I've written about Kapunda on Rose's last trip in 2007, specifically about the annual Celtic Festival and a few other local sites. I thought I'd covered the town pretty well and wasn't going to write another post since we only managed to browse through the town's extensive history and mining museums. However as things transpired the van decided we weren't going home just as the sun was setting and most things were closing for the night.

Rose and I were taking a final look at Sir Sidney Kidman's old residence, now the main building for Kapunda's high school. Sir Sidney is a rather famous land owner in Australia - at one time owning probably more land across the country than most other land holders. It was starting to get dark, we got back in the Van, I turned the key and nothing. Well the dash lights came on but that's about it. A few more attempts at turning the key later and even the dash lights stopped working. I checked all the fuses but they were fine.

I've never had a battery just go dead (especially not after a really good long drive at speed) so I was sure it couldn't be a battery issue and thought maybe the ignition switch was broken. You'd understand my logic more if you have seen the key I use to start the van, otherwise it sounds a bit silly. Anyway I pulled apart the steering column casing to get at the ignition switch but it was a fruitless exercise and I ended up putting it back together with no progress made on the problem.

We were too far from home to get my partner, Enigma, out to pick us up and too far to get the van towed home. Rose and I decided to find some accommodation in Kapunda for the night then deal with the van in the morning when we might be able to get a mechanic to have a look.

As luck would have it the nearest accommodation was a bed and breakfast called Ford House. When I say 'luck' I really mean that. The B&B owners, Liz and Chris, were better than the RAA (our local automobile break down service - of which I'm not a member). Not only did Liz welcome us straight in after Rose explained our situation but she volunteered her partner, Chris, to drive out with me and have a look at the van when he got home from work. We'd just been hoping to get a room for the night!

Chris was immediately thinking 'flat battery' based on what I told him so we drove to the high school in his ute armed with a set of jumper leads. Sure enough the van started. Unfortunately as soon as you turned the headlights on (it was dark by this time) it stalled and was completely dead.

It was possible to keep the van going with just parking lights on so Chris suggested I drive it like that back to their B&B a few minutes away and he would follow behind. As soon as we got back I turned the motor off then tried to start it again. The power lasted for all of a second before going completely dead.

Chris seemed to think the alternator was probably fine and all that was needed was a new battery. He drove me about a minute further up the road to show me where we could buy a new battery from in the morning. How many B&B owners would do all that I wonder!

Our overnight stay at Ford House was extremely pleasant. Complimentary tea, coffee and port is provided to all rooms and breakfast is included in the price. You also have access to television and the owners DVD and CD collections. For dinner Rose and I went to the Pub across the road known as the Sir John Franklin Hotel where I had a very nice meal of fish, salad and chips.

The next morning at Ford House Liz made us breakfast. Well she made Rose Scrambled eggs and she tried to tempt me with a hot breakfast (or at least more than just the cereals, biscuit and cup of tea that I had). I'm just not a big breakfast person. I find large breakfasts make me want to go back to sleep instead of getting on with my day. However if you are a big breakfast kind of person then you'll love Ford House at breakfast time.

After thanking Liz and leaving glowing comments in Ford House's guest book we set about getting a new battery. I won't bore you with the details suffice to say the new battery did the trick and got us going again. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping the alternator is fine!

Since we were still in Kapunda we decided to use the day to see a few more of the things the town had to offer.

First up we did the 1.5km walk around the old Kapunda Copper mine for which the town is famous for - apparently the copper find here was the purest find anywhere in the world at 63 percent pure.

There's actually not a lot of the mine's buildings left to see other than a single chimney that was installed as an air vent and a couple of other fallen down structures. However there is plenty of information boards to fill in the blanks and you can walk down into the mine pit and see various shafts where the miners hand dug for copper.

From there we went to the newly established Salon Rouge Gallery and saw paintings by Sophie Gralton and Jacqueline Coates. Sophie paints autobiographical self portrait works of children that feature wonderful textures not only from paint but also lace work and other collaged items. Jacqueline is a master of painting flowers in sizes that make their structure seem quite awesome (literally).

Moving on we visited the studio gallery of Roger Murcott. Roger paints mainly birds in an almost photo realistic style, something he told us he's been doing for over 30 years. I found his sketches with their colour descriptions to be quite interesting to look at as well. I can't imagine doing anywhere near as much planning and studying for a painting as he seems to do.

From there we stopped in at the Kapunda Bakery for lunch (which features a downstairs bakery museum that I wrote about in my previous visit to the town) and then went for a look at the Little Glory Art Studio (note: web site may or may not work. At the time of writing it was still a 'work in progres') where artists B. J. Moore and Carmine Lake exhibit their work and run a Succulent Nursery (the subject of Carmine's paintings).

By about this time we felt we'd seen as much of Kapunda as we wanted to see for the moment so Rose and I decided to head for home. Fortunately the frog van was on the same page this time and we departed for Gawler with no further hiccups and glad to be getting home.

Comments

  1. Thank goodness for the good help at the B&B! Has this van been a good buy or what! This is where technology of mobile 'phones comes in handy for texting etc to let Enigma know!

    At least all your travels are showing up the problems! Is that the entrance of the gallery? It looks a bit primitive.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Tet (David)
    Yes our web page is up an running now
    www.littleglory.com.au
    Carmine

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for the update Carmine. The site looks fantastic too. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Kapunda Tourist and Leisure park boasts 42 powered sites and large open spaces for unpowered camping. This is an excellent place for family bonding.

    ReplyDelete

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