Walter, a silver 2002 Pajero Exceed, rough around the edges with a few minor dings and some wear inside, has been our much loved tow vehicle since we began Our Wayfaring Life on 27 November 2017. After 566 days on 16 June 2019 we had to make the decision that it was time to say a sad farewell to our Walter.
Prior to starting our travels Walter had had a major service, new brakes and a timing belt. Then on the first day as we headed down the Hume Highway out of Sydney we had car troubles. WTF! Walter! I scolded. Then I kindly told him to get his shit together and let him know there was no way I could cope with having to cancel our life of travelling on day one! Then with our breaths held we took him into the first mechanic we could find. The mechanic told us Walter’s transmission was the issue but what exactly was the issue would need a more thorough investigation than he had time for. We were assured Walter would very likely make it to Melbourne where we due to board the Spirit of Tasmania a few days later.
So we drove to Melbourne, boarded the boat and got Walter to Tasmania and to a transmission specialist. Thankfully a full transmission flush did the trick (cost of $75) and we were off traveling Tasmania.
It hasn’t been complete smooth sailing with Walter since that day. He has had a new petrol pump, new shocks, new brakes, oil changes and top ups and his filters replaced as well as number of new tyres. Other than the petrol pump which wasn’t a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, everything else we put down to normal maintenance, especially when living on the road and towing a caravan. These were all costs we had expected and budgeted for.
Then it happened on 16 June 2019, Walter is towing our caravan Josephine up a long incline and decides he will go no further. Luckily he was willing enough to get himself and Josephine off the road.
Thankfully we have NRMA Roadside and because it was a Sunday, the two of them were towed to our friend’s place about 45 minutes from Ipswich Queensland. A couple of days later Walter was diagnosed with transmission and gearbox issues estimated to cost $4000 to fix. We had hoped for another chance of getting him back on the road at a reasonable cost but $4000 was far from that. Still it was not an easy or happy decision.
We will miss Walter. He had personality. He loved adventure, beach drives were the best. But other days he was a grumpy old man wanting to rest his tired bones and needing some TLC. Still we loved him. Therefore it is with great sadness and large dash of nostalgia that we say goodbye to our Walter.
Walter, we will treasure the memories we made with you. The time we had together traveling around Tasmania, up the east coast of Victoria and NSW and around southern Queensland. Absolutely would have loved to have travelled further and longer with you and driven more beaches together but it is not to be. Sad farewell, goodbye Walter.
Originally Written and Published: 1 July 2019
Edited and republished: 2 January 2020