Auto-Tec called this morning; they’d run comprehensive diagnostics and the codes in the car’s computer pointed to the 12-volt battery being the likely cause of the problem. That made sense; after all, the battery was nearly 5 years old, and I’d had battery-related codes pop up twice in the last year (June and November). They replaced the battery, and everything seems fine so far; they also installed a trickle charger so we can plug the car in when we go away and prevent the battery from draining itself. Here’s hoping….
We’d gotten a note from PG&E telling us that they were going to turn off our power today so that they could replace a power pole (this was the third attempt; the other two got rained out), so we went up to San Francisco to see the “Sargent and Spain” exhibition at the Legion of Honor. It was very nice and only a little too crowded for comfort; I’m glad we went today instead of waiting for the weekend.
The fan installers arrived a few minutes early (just before 8) and got right to work; that was the only thing that happened quickly today.
I’d decided to have AAA tow Diane’s Prius to Auto-Tec rather than driving it; I placed the request about 8:45am, and their system told me a driver should arrive in 30-45 minutes. About 30 minutes later, a person from AAA called me and said that they were running late, but I should expect the driver in 30-45 minutes. 30 minutes after that, I got an automated call and an alert telling me that the driver was on the way and would arrive in about 38 minutes; the alert even gave me a URL to watch the driver’s progress on a map.
The driver was in Castro Valley, which would be a 47 minute drive down 880 if there was no traffic. It took him 90 minutes to get to our house, and he wound up driving across the Dumbarton Bridge and down 101, 280, and 85 before finally reaching us.
But once he arrived, it didn’t take long for him to load up the Prius and take it to Auto-Tec. I got it there too late for them to squeeze it in today, so I guess we’ll get the verdict tomorrow.
In the meantime, the installers did their work, and now we have a brand new Airspace whole house fan and a new QuietCool attic exhaust fan (with Bluetooth). And we needed them – it was the hottest day of the year so far, and the house was open all day while they worked!
Our flight home was uneventful; there were a couple of times where the turbulence got bad enough that the Captain told the flight attendants to stay in their jump seats, but it was nothing compared to our last day on the ship! We arrived at SFO 30 minutes ahead of schedule, and clearing Customs and Immigration only took a few seconds (Global Entry for the win!), but it took quite a while before our bag came out (it’s an open question which is less useful: the “Door Close” button on an elevator or an airline’s “Priority” tag on luggage).
We were home before 8am and faced with the challenge of staying up until 10pm if possible. I was fading badly in early afternoon, but a trip to our trainer woke me up nicely. I felt so awake that I decided to drive to the allergist afterwards; I took Diane’s Prius.
All was well until I was a few blocks from the allergist and suddenly the dashboard lit up with the Red Triangle of Death, the “Check Engine” light, and the “VSC” light. I drove slowly to the allergist for my shot; I brought the owner’s manual in with me to read while I waited.
Reading the manual and some threads on PriusTalk told me definitively that Something Was Wrong, which I’d already figured out. I called our mechanics at Auto-Tec and they told me to bring it in right away for a scan, which showed a code that indicated a problem with the inverter coolant pump (which they’d replaced twice already a few months ago). The mechanic reset the code and told me to drive home and let them know what happened.
At first, all was well, but when I was nearly home, there was a loud beep and the “Brake” indicator came on, along with the “Check Engine”, “VSC”, and “ABS” lights (but no Red Triangle of Death!). They all went out after a couple of seconds, but returned almost immediately and stayed on for the minute it took to drive home.
I’m bringing the car back to Auto-Tec tomorrow; I’m not sure if I’m going to drive it or have AAA tow it. I have to take both cars out of the garage early so that the crew installing our new whole house fan can use the driveway, so I guess that’ll give me a chance to find out if the lights come back right away!
After being reunited with our bus in Fremantle, we continued on for a short visit to the Botanical Garden of Western Australia in Perth. I could have spent a few hours there, but we only had a few minutes available.
Our tour manager could tell that I was worried about making our 3:30 pm flight to Sydney because of all the delays, so she arranged a private transfer to the airport for us and another couple on the same flight instead of making us wait for the bus again. We had plenty of time at the airport – the Virgin Australia lounge was a pleasant place to wait, and their Wi-Fi was outstanding. :-)
The flight was fine (even if they didn’t have Wi-Fi, unlike Qantas and United); I even slept for an hour or so after dinner, much to my surprise. Our flight landed at the domestic terminal, but our hotel (Rydges Sydney Airport) was at the international terminal, and we had to take a city train to get there!
The hotel was pretty basic, but it was comfortable enough for one night, and it was only 181 steps from the closest international check-in counter. United was at the other end of the terminal, so our walk was a bit farther. :-)
We had our choice of lounges to wait for the flight – Singapore or Air New Zealand; we’d been in a Singapore lounge on our Asia trip in 2019, so we picked Air New Zealand. It was very nice, and I left with a pocketful of hard candies for later. :-). We saw a few other folks from our cruise, too – there are at least nine of us on this flight.
Our final morning on the ship dawned a bit early; the ride had improved a lot overnight, and we’d slept fairly well. We were greeted with a lovely rainbow at breakfast, too.
The first building we saw as we entered the port was a brewery, one whose product we won’t be able to sample. Oh, well.
We’re taking a little tour of Fremantle on our way to Perth and the airport; we made a brief stop at Fremantle Prison (now a major tourist attraction), which was built by the convicts themselves.
Today is ANZAC Day, which commemorates the Battle of Galipoli in World War I where Australian and New Zealand troops were basically slaughtered because of bad planning by the British High Command. It begins with dawn services and most towns have parades. We got to see Fremantle’s parade.
We tried to get a coffee after the parade but the service was so slow we had to leave to meet our bus…which wasn’t at the meeting place! We are waiting for them with four others from our group – we’ve talked to our tour manager and she says they’ll be back for us Real Soon Now!