Wrestling with myself


Busselton 1990   © PJ Croft 2016

I’m wrestling with myself. Guess what … I won.

What’s it about? I have a two month gap between now and my next Bali trip mid December. I feel like doing something with it, and my long delayed idea to do a driving trip on the east coast beckons. Using Frequent Flyer points, take a free flight to Adelaide, Melbourne or Sydney, buy my long desired second hand car and hit the road. It’s the best time of the year to travel (except in SA, maybe) and it would be good to have some warm weather.

The car? After long consideration, (forget Mercedes), I think it has to be a Honda MDX.

Generated by Carsales Image Server on 01:20.10 10/07/2016

2005 Honda MDX

Generated by Carsales Image Server on 01:20.17 10/07/2016

2005 Honda MDX

This was Honda’s first serious 4WD SUV, but they were only sold here between 2003 and 2006, when they were dropped in favour of the HRV and CRV. They are still being made in Japan and the USA, but we don’t get them, dammit.

I don’t need 4WD, but it has on-demand 4WD,  only kicking in when the car feels as if it’s losing traction. The engine is a 3.5L V6 and has a great Honda reputation. Only trouble is, fuel economy is around 14L/100km. Ugh. Still, I only get 12.5L/100km in my present car, but since I do so few kms, I only fill up about every three weeks. My car is 15 years old, nearly 16, and has only done 145,000km. It had done 72,000km when I bought it in 2003! It still drives beautifully, but I want a bit more lux as I get nearer the great exit door. Someone said, why not drive it east anyway? I would nearly do it, but the cost of fuel on the Nullarbor is so high that flying is way, way cheaper. And I want to change!

Back to the Honda: The problem is, people hang onto them and nearly all have done 130,000km and upwards, some up to 300,000km. I think this shows the durability of the engine, but I wouldn’t take on such high mileage cars.

I have my eye on a 2005 model that’s only done 104,000km, asking $10,999 in a private sale. It’s in Sydney. Private sale = buyer beware, no warranties. Hence my struggle. There are very few dealer cars, I’d say because dealers don’t want such old cars on their books. Dilemma.

I had an idea for a Ford Territory Ghia, and it’s still a viable prospect, but the Honda has more luxo for half the price. The Territory goes for around $20,000, the Honda for around $10,000. I like the look and feel of the Honda more, I think. Dilemma.


One thing I’ve been considering is that if I want to drive the Nullarbor, I’ll have to spend one night each way out on the road, sleeping in the car. But I need CPAP, so how to do it? I wouldn’t want to risk flattening the car’s battery running the CPAP all night, even assuming I could adapt it for 12V power (it’s 240/110V only). Later: no, it’s 12V DC as well.

In Hardly Normal I saw the answer: it’s one of those new Lithium-ion battery packs that has enough grunt to jump start a car, several times. 20Ah I think. This one also has an air compressor, a powerful LED torch and several USB sockets. All in a carry case for $199.

So if I buy a 12V-DC to 240V-AC inverter, that should comfortably run my CPAP, I reckon. Plus giving me the peace of mind of a spare car battery, in effect, and a tyre pump out in the middle of nowhere. Good plan? I think so. Now to price 12v-240V inverters.

Later: hmm, I’ve I’ve just found the ideal inverter at Jaycar’s website, a 12V DC to 230V AC model rated at 150W for $59.95. Weight 400g.

I’ve checked the CPAP machine – amazingly no power figure is shown, just 110V/240V AC. But it also runs off 12V DC (separate socket) and that’s shown as 2.5A. So that’s 30W. Easy. I could run two of them, one for a partner as well <g>. I know a lady who uses CPAP. Ideal.

2,5A for 8 hours equals 20 Amp hours, the capacity of the Li-ion battery. Hmm, just enough, but a recharge would be needed next day. I’d better test this out before I go.



Busselton 1990  © PJ Croft 2016

Quoting GetUp:  “In the aftermath of the South Australian blackout Malcolm Turnbull has called an emergency gathering of state energy ministers this Friday. In the lead up, he’s been spouting lies about renewables causing the blackout, and calling on states to abandon their strong renewable energy targets.

“Energy experts all agree that South Australia’s blackouts had nothing to do with the state’s leading renewables program (and everything to do with a bloody great big storm).”

This is me: Malcolm Turnbull, before he became PM, was all in favour of carbon dioxide emissions reductions, green energy, renewables. and so on.

But in order to become PM, he had to cave in to the hard right of the Liberal Party, the climate change deniers, the coal mining lovers, the anti-renewables, the anti-wind tower, anti solar energy Neanderthals. And that’s what he’s done! He’s switched from believer to denier, simply because he wanted to become PM. That’s why we call him Malcolm Turncoat. He’s a traitor, a self interested, self important, gutless, do nothing PM in the great Liberal Party tradition.

He’s also a bankster. Yes, that rhymes with gangster. He’s successfully stymied a banking royal commission to protect his mates in the big banks, because he used to be one of them! The results are there for all to see – the bank CEOs are just sleazing their way past the Senate inquiry, with slick, rehearsed, lawyer-vetted answers that satisfy no-one. Well done, Turnbull, you bankster.


I spoke to someone on the phone this morning and he started coughing. He’s got the same thing I have, an endless, persistent cough that drives me nuts. I’ve had it for around two weeks so far and although the sore throat has subsided, the cough is still pretty bad. Keeps me awake at night. Deep down, almost no phlegm, dry tickle. Ugh.


I was talking about lawn mowers a coupla weeks ago. Last week I bought a Ryobi line-trimmer as a first step. Someone said, with my small area of lawn, wouldn’t the line trimmer do the whole job? Probably would, I agree.

Anyway, I bought a 1000W 240V electric model. Too bad about needing a power cord, it’s only a short distance. Battery models are a rip-off. They seem cheap, but the cost of the batteries at around $200 almost doubles the price. This is an extreme example of the cheap printer/expensive ink rip-off. Not for me.

But on the first use, within 5 minutes the line had disappeared back into the spool, and I had to disassemble it to get the line out again. GRRRR! This is a universal problem with line trimmers. The bump feed works as long as you keep bumping, i.e. feeding the line out, but if you forget, you’re back to re-threading it again.

There’s a suggestion around to forget the line spool and just attach long cable ties to the spool holes. I could try this in a reversible way. No harm done. Must do it.


I have to go to Fremantle on Saturday (birthday party at RPYC Fremantle clubrooms), so I thought I’d take the train, so I can drink. Hmm, what time, so as to get to the Freo station at 10.45am? Hah, Transperth, web site, itinerary all mapped out for me. Leave Butler station at 09.25am and get to Freo station at 10.44am. Not bad.

I think I’ll take the one before, at 9.10am, to get there at 10.29am to allow for foul-ups.

Dammit, I have to wear long trousers! I hate wearing longs. I’ve got so used to wearing shorts and sandals that anything else feels weird.