Wednesday 23rd May 2018
We are up at 6am and left Camping Kate ever so quietly at 6.40am, we made the 7am appointment at the garage, Omega Garage Services easily enough, it was only 11kms away. We have decided to have the squealing noise investigated and had arranged to come here two days earlier upon recommendation from the reception at Camping Kate. I was asked to wait 10 mins, I think we had got here before the manager and some of the staff!
About 20 mins later a chap came to see us and we discussed the braking squeal and could they carry out an inspection of the front brakes, no problem! A mechanic drove Pogo away and out of site! It felt very odd, that is our home on wheels and we don’t know where Pogo’s gone!
It’s a large business and we sit inside a swish reception area & wait……30 minutes later, Sir this way, oh dear I thought. I follow Mario to a garage bay, Pogo’s front is jacked up and front wheels removed, there is a problem with the discs, they have got many grooves and some deep ones too, I can see and also touch the inside discs and they feel the same. Then Mario says the bearings seem to be worn as well and they might be a problem as well!
“oh, no” what happens now I asked? Mario says he will get their master technician to carry out a further inspection and let’s see what he says.
We wait and 10 mins later I am in the passenger seat of Pogo as Pivo the technician is taking the van out for a test drive, it felt strange sitting in the other “seat” and I felt a little nervous but he was a good driver, the windows were open as we drove along, drives fast and then slow, braking hard and then slowly and then fading, in gear and out of gear, a proper road test.
Once we got back Pogo is over a pit and I was asked to stand about 40 feet away and observed. In a short while, maybe 20 mins, I am called back over, his assessment is the bearings are okay with the normal amount of “play” being acceptable but the front discs and pads need replacing, my head is churning and processing the info, 2 discs per side and 2 sets of brake pads and labour, how much is that going to be I am thinking, at the same time I know I am going to get them replaced here today or tomorrow, we need to be safe and this is a priority.
Who knows how many more kms we are going to do and over what terrain over the next three months?
Back once more at reception & Mario asks me technical data and information about our van, maximum weight and weight per axle, the VIN No. and is it a Fiat or Ford? Next, he gave me the quote and I just said please can you fix it and please can it be done today or tomorrow?
We can fix it at 9am tomorrow and the parts will be ordered today and should be here between 7am and 9am. Ok that’s fine with us. Then Mario says you can camp here tonight, do you need water and electric, they really are a kind sort these folks! But can you go now and come back here later about 3.30pm please and see me before I go home.
We decide to visit Cavtat just outside Dubrovnik, its only a few kms from here, maybe we can park by the marina/harbour and get a fresh sea breeze to cool us down as its so stuffy and humid right now.
We find ourselves at the harbour car park, we drive up the barrier cautiously as I might need to reverse if we decide not to enter, I am checking the price and I can see it says 70kn per hour for our height! Yes they charge by the height, no mention of length at all! Anything under 2.3 metres is 30kn per hour above is 70kn per hour (we are 3.16m high), there is no height barrier or designated area for high vehicle parking! The attendant is impatient and punches the ticket machine, hands me the ticket and says 30kn, the barrier flicks up, before I move forward, I asked how much for two hours he says 60kn and 70kn for 3 hours and waves his arm around indicating to move forward. Once again, I say is this right? 70kn for 3 hours, yes, yes, he repeats and again waves his arms about. We drive through and find a spot on the marina edge, good views and a fresh breeze, it’s a scorcher today.
We chill for 2.5 hrs, reading, music, and generally lazing about, some drinks and snacks are consumed. The time to leave and make our way back to the garage comes around and we move off with 25mins spare before our 3 hrs are up.
We haven’t much cash left as we intend to go to Montenegro in a few days, and they use euros, so I had only 75kn in cash, we roll up to the exit, put the ticket in and bingo it’s 210kn! The machine doesn’t take cards. I spoke to the attendant, a different one now though, who is stood by the machine (why is he stood here and not in his booth controlling the entrance and exit?) I explained what his mate had said a few hours ago and we had a bit of a disagreement, Cathy hears this and she repeats the same story to the chap and then he backs down and now he says 100kn, now I need to jog in to town for an ATM, once back I pay him 90kn, drive up he says and the opens the barrier.We have our freedom and we quickly drive off.
We are in the reception once more drinking coffee and using the wi-fi, reading and generally relaxing in the cool shade and enjoying the peacefulness. Mario said he will come and get us in the morning between 7am and 9am.
At 5.30pm we are directed on to a piece of land attached to the garage car park, we had tea and I put the washing line up and hung out the washed bedding to dry in the evening sun.
We were watching the jets coming in to Dubrovnik airport from our “free” camping spot, we have got our earplugs ready for tonight!
Later we watched all the evening activity, people all around us, delivering, chatting, smoking, meeting, dropping people to collect cars, leaving cars, etc, what a busy place this is all the way up to 11pm.
I hope the parts come on time tomorrow and we can get fixed up.