Don’t say that, please,” Michelle excoriated Zevin.
“But this trip is jinxed, Mom!”
No, it’s not, it’s been a great trip thus far and promises to continue so, but we’ve certainly had (more than) our fair share of challenges.
For one: the 14-year-old fridge in our van has decided that fighting 100ºF heat each day is more than it feels up to. Needless to say, this has put Michelle’s dreams of home-cooked meals from locally sourced whole foods all along our travels on notice.
But, like all the issues that have come up so far, after a wave of shock, we dust ourselves off and puzzled out a workable solution. In this case, we’ve been supplementing the fridge’s waning talents with dry ice every day or two, and found that if we always park so that the fridge side of the van is in the shade, things keep passably cool (albeit it not health inspector cold.)
That is, until we passed through the Mojave Desert. On the far side of that, the she just stopped turning on.
Luckily, we made some hurried phone calls from Cambria, CA, and found an RV repair outfit that could order in a replacement fridge on a day’s notice, so we tossed our cold cuts and waited it out.
In another one of those good news, bad news, who knows stories, after we dropped our rig off to have the refrigerator replaced (estimated cost: $1,400), they called us to let us know that a) they had ordered a replacement with the wrong door swing, so they couldn’t replace it, but b) they had blown out the burners and our old fridge was working fine (cost: $70). Hot damn!
Like many people, our primary camera is an iPhone, but I figured if I was going to take a month-long van trip through the gorgeousness of the southwest, I needed something with a bit more verve. I don’t have the patience for all the fiddling an SLR takes (plus, I know that the camera that takes the best pictures is the one you have with you, and I didn’t want that hanging around my neck everywhere I went), so I invested in a decent point-and-shoot with a 20x zoom, quality optics and decent sensors.
I also invested in a case for it, but, you know, that’s a hassle sometimes, so I mostly kept it in my pocket, until Day 3, when I squeezed through a narrow rock passage and crushed the built-in lens cover. Oops.
Fortunately, the lens itself was undamaged, and the zoom still extended and retracted when the camera was turned on and off, but the self-retracting lens cover was toast.
Grieve, mourn, move on. I spent twenty minutes with a dental pick and a leatherman, tearing the non-functional pieces of the lens cover out, and now I have a lens-coverless camera that works great.
The mishap that took a bit more out of us was the bathroom door.
Buttoning up from a pitstop on our way into Bandalier, Michelle gave a yelp from the back: our paneled bathroom door had fallen apart in her hands as she went to swing it shut.
Of course, this meant not just that we didn’t have a bathroom door (which serves to protect those not on the toilet from several sensory assaults), but it also meant we had to find something to do with a fully detached door in an otherwise small but orderly van.
Not good, but no big problem. The first town outside of Bandalier had a hardware store, where I headed in with my short shopping list: driver, several sizes of square bits, wood glue, L-brackets and screws. We set up in the parking lot outside the hardware store while Zev investigating a nearby junk store and, 30 minutes later, we were back in business.
Next calamity? Bring it.