After a nail-biting trek back along the Stuart Highway, we finally made it back to reliable mobile service... where at least if the van died we could call someone. Thankfully it made it all the way down into Port Augusta, and in time before the Ford dealer closed as well. They could see us the next day, and we parked up at the Roadhouse right around the corner from it.
Duncan takes great delight in being parked up at Roadhouses. Me, presuming internet access is available, I'm more happy to park out in the middle of nowhere as long as there's a working toilet. Duncan on the other hand prefers to wake up to a sea of trucks - or "toot toots" as he calls them, perplexing, because he's said the word "truck" before.
Port Augusta Ford (who are also an Isuzu dealer) managed to squeeze us in the next afternoon, but we went over there first thing in the morning to try our luck, simply for lack of anything better to do. It worked out pretty good, because we ended up with a loaner car for the morning. I stuck $10 worth of petrol in it and we went off to take a look around.
After spending some time at the "esplanade" and walking around in a giant circle, I got the shocking memory that I'd only intended to park the car where I did (on a gravel pull-in near the yacht club) for a few moments to look at the bay/gulf/whatever. We decided to get back in the car, and go check out the botanical gardens.
There's not a whole lot to see there, unless you're really into arid flora, but if you drive all the way through it to the rear-most car park there's a pretty spectacular view of the narrower part of the Spencer Gulf. Apparently it's somewhere around the spot some early adventurers gave up the idea that they'd found a water-course navigating straight up the guts of Australia, but the really interesting thing for us that day was a couple of Dolphins playing out in the bay, which I think we managed to take a good picture of:
We ended up taking the loaner car back just before 1pm, when the mechanics were supposed to be able to look at the van. We sat around for a few moments, then they took off with the van. At first they were thinking fuel pump (which is what I was dreading, because it's an expensive operation and we'd be out of commission for a while), but after a quick test-run they didn't think so.
The cheap scan tool they had wouldn't read the codes off the thing (apparently Transits are picky like that) and the Ford one was at their sister dealership and wouldn't be back for a few days. They cut the fuel filter open for a look, which was pretty much inconclusive, and then we were on our way home.
The van started really acting up around Ouyen, Victoria, so we stopped for some lunch and so Duncan could play. We finally made it home around dinner time, and now we play the waiting game to figure out what's going on with the van.