Ironing out the glitches

We’ve always known that this first leg of our trip would serve as a shakedown of our van set-up and all of it’s fancy systems. In fact, it is turning it to be exactly that already.

The shakedown has already involved some tweaks to the way our stuff is organized in the van. While much can be planned in advance, sometimes it takes nothing short of actually to living in your vehicle on a daily basis to realize which items need to be more accessible and others less so.

In addition to these kinds of minor adjustments, we have come across some larger issues that need to be addressed before we head further north. The first is that our expensive, diesel cooktop doesn’t work on a consistent basis. We’ve now tested it in various conditions and it’s really only worked once or twice (and even then not all that well).

Witt has been pouring over the user manual and communicating with several experts trying to figure out what the issue is and how to fix it. Fortunately we also have our hardy dual-fuel stove with us — the one that reliably cooked our meals during our Africa trip — so we haven’t gone hungry. But having already dealt with some stormy nights, we can see that having an indoor option is not something we can do without for long.

So Witt spent the morning re-routing the exhaust and venting for the stove, while parked in a parking garage in downtown Rapid City. On first testing, it seems to be working better – but we’ve thought that before! Only actually cooking a meal will prove it out. Wish us luck!

The second issue is that the passenger-side window motor appears to be on its way out. It’s been struggling for a few days and yesterday we almost weren’t able to get the window all the way back up. This is reminiscent of our Africa trip where our crank-driven passenger window broke in Mali and again in Angola, both times requiring some wrangling so I would have the ability to open my window (which when you don’t have air-conditioning — which we didn’t then — is a big deal).

We took the Sparksmobile to a local Ford dealership to have the window looked at. It’s definitely the window motor and they definitely didn’t have a replacement in stock anywhere in the area. So after spending a nice night near Lake Sheridan, we are now back at the Ford dealership waiting for the window motor to be replaced.

Another issue is that we’ve come to the conclusion that bringing our three bikes (and the supporting gear for them) along with us is proving to be more of a nuisance than a benefit. After some consideration of the prospect of either paying exorbitant fees to ship the bikes, racks, helmets, and tools back to Colorado or driving back to Colorado to drop all that gear off (and risk being late for our first volunteer job), we managed to convince Witt’s wonderful parents to meet up with us in a few days so they can take our bikes and gear back for us. Hip, hip hooray!

One Response to 'Ironing out the glitches'

  1. Marcia says:

    Hope you get the stove fixed. And yes, hip hip hooray for Witt’s parents!