Being broken into was a major downer.
Someone had been in our space and took what they wanted, which happened to be our stuff. Little did we know it was just the start of a long-winded, day-in-day-out litany of problems.
We were meant to go on a big ol’ mountain bike ride with our friends Dan and Mike when our fridge stopped working. Luckily there was someone who could attempt a repair but he was two hours away in Genoa. When we called, he wasn’t entirely sure he’d be able to fix it but it was worth a shot, as being human, we needed food.
We gave up our big ride and conceded to spending the day driving through a big busy city, in a big wide camper van, with big clenched buttocks hoping we’d make it out alive. It was insane. Not only did cars go where they wanted, but scooters darted in, out and across every free space in between. A recent bridge collapse meant ridiculous rerouting and nonsensical navigation while trying desperately to keep from knocking out motorcyclists with our sideview mirrors.
Two hours in Genoa and 360€ later, we hopped back in the van ready to race out of Genoa and back to our friends for apéros…
Click, click, nothing.
Are you kidding me. The van wouldn’t start. We were in BFN, it was raining, cold and our van wouldn’t start.
Luckily, it turns out it was a loose battery terminal and soon we were off again, albeit shaken with frustration. We got out of Genoa and finally returned to Finale.
We got a great ride in the next day and started to feel our spirits lift. Maybe that was the end of our camper van catastrophes! Or was it just the beginning?
On our way North back to a stopover in Chamonix, we stopped in Sospel to test out the mountain biking there.
It was ok.The town needed some love (read: ‘was a sh*thole’) so we weren’t planning on staying long. We slept through most of the night after our ride but around 6am, we woke to an unusual chill and a fridge that was struggling to light.
It wasn’t the fridge again, but the butane. It had gotten so cold it stopped flowing completely. Sigh.
Phil walked to the nearest gas station, it was burnt to the ground. He found another shop a 10-minute walk away, so we bought the propane and Phil carted it back across a field on a dolly.
The next stop was back in Chamonix to drop some things off, pick some things up and get a surgery each! Nothing major but had to be done. The night before we got surgery and left Chamonix it was -10C. Technically speaking, that’s @#$%ing cold. And as we drove out of the valley and up toward our next stop, England, we smelled ammonia.
When you smell ammonia in a camper van fridge, I’ve learned, it means your fridge is fooked. And it means you can’t repair it, that it has to be taken out and replaced. And only for a meager £1200 plus £300 for installation. And £30 for taking the old one to the dump (which we later found out was 50 meters across the street). Soooo that happened. Again, we were lucky to be in the UK where we could even find a dealer nearby and turns out the price was fair.
So now our fridge looks like a spaceship with blue LED lights inside that make lemons look like oranges and we’re back on the road. Cross your fingers for us.