Bob was the highlight of my social media for a couple of weeks back in May. Crowned the ultimate hero by my friends and followers (or rock star *American accent*, according to Bob), he came to our rescue not just once but twice during a road trip down to the Red Centre. From a complete stranger to being part of the furniture, Bob is the coolest guy I know, and hopefully a friend for life!
Bob came into our lives on Tuesday 18th April, if I remember correctly – and when I say our lives, I mean the lives of myself and Chris, and my friends Aimee and Jordan who were also on the road trip with us (blog to follow on that – I know, I’m slack). It started when we broke down in our beloved Land Rover, Billy. Billy had already let us down earlier in the day when his hose thing blew (apologies, I don’t know a lot about cars), but anyway, we got that fixed…or so we thought.
In pretty much the same spot that the hose blew, 50km’s out of Alice Springs (the centre of Australia for those who don’t know) and en route to Ayers Rock, the cap on the coolant tank exploded! Great!! So, there we were, pulled over on the side of the road (AGAIN), in the desert and covered in flies, with not a scooby doo on what to do. We were defeated – cheers Billy. Quite a lot of cars drove past and not one stopped but then one guy on his beasty road bike (a KTM 1190 to be precise) pulled over on the opposite side of the Road and took off his helmet. It was Bob!
When I say covered in flies, I seriously mean COVERED!! They were horrendous and a lot of swear words would leave all our mouths in the following days to come. Anyway, Bob had a look – he tinkers with V8 cars as a hobby and Billy is a TD5 diesel but a car’s a car in my eyes! He advised us to fill the tank with water and he followed us back into Alice Springs at a slow pace, stopping every now and then to check the water levels and top up. We made it back to town and safely to the Land Rover garage to have words.
We took Bob for a drink in Alice Springs and found out a lot about him – a very interesting man indeed, with stories that you could listen to for hours in his cool American accent. That night we had to camp at Alice Springs again. The next morning, we still weren’t sure what was happening and Land Rover were fitting a new tank and cap for us. We had to go bowling to pass the time and we bumped into Bob again that day, missioning about Alice on his bike and checking out what was around town…not a lot really. It was grey and raining that day, I had no idea you got rain in the desert!
The following day, we set off again hopeful that we would finally catch a glimpse of The Rock (Ayers, not the wrestler). We were off and kept getting further and further away… things were looking good!! Then about 100 or so kilometers out of town we saw a car and caravan pulled over on the side of the road with the baldest tyre I have ever seen! They were an oldish couple, definitely retired, and guess who was helping them?…BOB! Evidently, Bob was not just our hero!
We pulled over to see if they needed a hand but he was all done and was ready to head to the Rock too, so he started following us. So, here we were tootling along with Bob on our tail and thinking about how mad it was that we ran into him again helping somebody else! But then another 70km along the road, the cap blew AGAIN! 170km out from the nearest town and stuck…but Bob was there! What are the chances? Talk about the universe sending you signs!
When I mentioned flies earlier, well the flies just 50km out of Alice had nothing on the flies 170km away from Alice! They were intense! We were literally stuck in the arse end of nowhere and covered in flies but luckily there was a blanket of cloud blocking the sun as Chris and Bob took Billy to bits to remove the thermostat (this was the conclusion that was made). At first I had my headscarf over my face, then it was sitting under the mozzie net on the chair. This was serious!! Bob is a menthol cigarette smoker and I even had one after 1.5 year of not smoking – I know, what an idiot. A few more followed too *sigh*. What else are you supposed to do when you’re stranded in the middle of the desert with no phone signal? The smoke seemed to scare off the flies for a bit too!
A few hours passed in the desert before they had the thermostat out. I don’t even know how me, Aimee and Jordan passed the time but somehow, we managed to not go insane. Once the car was back together again, we were buzzing to get it started and go! But…it wouldn’t start!! Something obviously went wrong – god knows! We thought there could be too much liquid on the engine from the cap exploding, so we decided to wait until morning to try again. That’s right, we had to camp over night at the side of the highway with a gazillion flies. And Bob insisted on staying with us to make sure we were okay! What a hero!
So, there we were stranded, and had to make the most of the shitty situation we were in. Aimee and I took on the women’s role and cooked the tea (sorry feminists, it’s just a joke). We cooked up some homemade chips and kangaroo burgers, which would be Bob’s first ever ones. Luckily, we were fully equipped with food, water, cooking gear…but no alcohol. Which would have definitely come in handy that day! The men collected whatever wood they could that wasn’t as ‘dry as sticks’ (literally) to make a fire – they came back with actual trees! We sat around the fire that night hearing about Bob’s fascinating experiences and his family and then headed to bed unwashed and stinking of smoke. Luckily, the flies buggered off when the sun did.
The following morning, we woke up to the flies again and tried the car but Billy was having none of it! Bob once again took the role of hero and drove Chris on the back of his bike 80km to the next service station with phone signal! Aimee, Jordan and myself were sat there for almost three hours edging closer and closer to the rapidly disappearing shade from the roof tent – we didn’t think of putting up the awning *hands over face* (silly billies). Anyway, they returned almost three hours later and with news that we couldn’t be collected till the following morning. Shoot. Me. Now.
We sent Aimee and Jordan hitchhiking back to Alice Springs and Bob set off for Ayers Rock after doing all he could to help us, and selflessly taking a full 24 hours out of his planned trip! Chris and I were stuck there for another 20 hours. I can’t deny that I wanted to cry. But!!! We ended up getting Billy going…(which I will talk about in my next post – this is about Bob). We did make it to the Rock eventually, FYI. Just not in Billy.
Bob spent the next four weeks travelling the west coast of Australia and we kept in touch, following his journey on Facebook. Chris and I told Bob that he could come and stay with us once he got to Darwin; we wanted to repay our dues and show him how grateful we were. Anyway, he arrived in Darwin on Saturday 20th May and we couldn’t wait to see him! We were straight on the beers (bubbles for me) and out for dinner, showing Bob our favourite sunset spot, and we even went out for more drinks in town, which is very unlike me and Chris. It’s safe to say that I was pissed that night – which isn’t hard at all as I get drunk from just two glasses of bubbles.
Bob had originally planned to stay three nights with us and head East to Queensland on the Tuesday, but he ended up staying TEN NIGHTS! He became part of the furniture and it was so lovely having him there. It’s very rare that you can say that somebody doesn’t annoy you when they are there all the time, even a little bit, but Bob really didn’t! We went out to eat ALL the time, and we realised that we both had a love for creamy seafood pasta. He was also a bad influence and would insist I have a glass of bubbles almost all of the time. I very rarely declined…
While I was working, Chris and Bob had a day out on his bike to Litchfield National Park and show him the waterfalls etc. By the way, Chris is obsessed with motorbikes, so having someone there who loved them just as much was so nice for him. It’s safe to say they became BFFS! I’m not so good at the motorbike chat. Chris also had an incident at work, which left him with a huge gash in his head (or coconut as Bob called it), “you’ve got a pretty tough coconut!” he would say in his American accent. Bob spent that whole evening at hospital with us too; five hours we were in there! He even took me for sushi as Chris hates it and told Chris that he should take me for it once in a while because I love it… Lol! What a guy!
The day finally came when Bob made his final decision to leave Darwin and continue his trip around the rest of Australia. It was sad saying bye, he fit into the Broses household just perfectly (Brown and Moses – Broses). We became such good friends and he still seemed to like me after seeing my ‘Hangry’ side. Now that is friendship. We still keep in touch on Facebook and he still calls me Princess and Chris ‘Big Boy’…neither of us can deny that we like our Bob nicknames. We plan to go and see Bob in his homeland and get a tour of California from the man himself. He was most definitely supposed to come into our lives and we will be forever grateful for what he did for us!
I hope this story made you feel as good as it does me, and moral of the story…EVERYBODY BE LIKE BOB! Cheers, Bob!!