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  • Writer's pictureSandra

The adventure begins!

It's Monday, May 2nd, 2022 and we're in the starting blocks to finally receive Skoolie. So off to Pride Haulage Office in Dundalk Harbour. The formalities there are completed in no time and so we call the escort service, without which one cannot get further into the port area. We've been waiting for him for almost an hour, but that doesn't matter anymore.

So Sebastian drives to the bus with the escort service. After about 1.5 hours in which Lennox and I have been waiting in the rental car, I see the purple mood bus in the rear-view mirror. Very quietly and unobtrusively he crept up. Quiet only because the otherwise unspeakably loud beeping of the reverse gear has only been heard intermittently for a while now... God knows why. I miss it this time! In any case, Seb' comes around the corner beaming with joy and tells me about the very uncomplicated handover in the port area. Skoolie just didn't want to start and had to be bridged. In and on the Skoolie everything was as we had handed him over. No quirks, no dents and dents, no missing inventory. Almost too good to be true. In good spirits, we clear the rental car in no time at all... except for my severely handicapped ID card, which has disappeared into a crack in the center console and can therefore no longer be found. He will probably be lost forever. Anyway, Skoolie is here and the adventure can begin. To be honest, the adventure starts faster than I would like, because now I have to drive my first meters on American asphalt.

Seb' drives the rental car to the drop-off station and I follow. There is a lot of traffic around the port, the road surfaces are a disaster and I'm not quite as cool as I'd like to be. Nevertheless, it rolls and I reach the first stage destination delivery station or the gas station opposite without incident. When Seb' comes back from the rental car company, I ask him - cowardly as I am - to take the wheel for the time being. Full of confidence I plan our route in the direction of West Virginia, but first of all get out of this unspeakable city. Everything is going well until Seb' suddenly realizes that the volt gauge is slowly but surely dropping below 12V, meaning the alternator is no longer charging the battery... Not a good sign! Diligent readers will probably remember that shortly before the bus was shipped, we had problems with the alternator and we had it repaired in a specialist workshop because a coil was broken. So now the alternator again? Something is fishy here. We drive on for a while and hope that maybe only the display is stuck, but a look at our control panel, which also shows the battery charge, confirms our fears. shit, now what?

Actually, I didn't intend to have to go to the first workshop after driving less than 50 miles. But what else can we do? So we drive to a parking lot to search the internet for someone who can get us back on the road at short notice. It's not that easy, because it's 4 p.m. in the meantime and many people finish work at 4-5 p.m. We call a few workshops, initially without success. Finally we end up at A&M Diesel, the company has good reviews, is only about 10 miles away, is open until 9pm and most of all is willing to help us. The drive there is a bit like walking on raw eggs... always with the fear of standing still in the neck. But we can make it to the given address. But there is no trace of the company, no company sign, no building that looks like a workshop. Another call to the company confirms the assumption that we have to drive into the driveway at the beginning of the street. It looks more like a sand pit than a specialist workshop, but whatever. Once again I'm glad I let Seb' take the wheel. Because I would never have gotten in and out of there in my life. It's also not a driveway, not even a backyard...I don't even know how to describe it. It's an impertinence! Nevertheless, the boss and some of his people come immediately and check the voltage at the alternator; it produces far too little.

A new one is needed. The boss promises to get one. What is unthinkable in Germany, finding a new alternator in one day, at least seems to be possible here. And indeed, after about 3/4 of an hour, an employee comes around the corner with a box.

The old alternator is quickly removed, but there is a problem installing the new one.

It doesn't fit. What a sh...! The staff tried a bit but gave up after a while. At some point the boss comes around the corner again, gets an overview and explains the situation. The new alternator doesn't fit into the old one's suspension, so there are 2 options: 1. wait until tomorrow and he'll try to find a better one, or 2. make the suspension fit. I decide what doesn't fit, will be made to fit!

The initial skepticism about this company has now vanished; they do a great job! After less than 2 hours and with a new alternator we are back on the road. 600 dollars poorer but richer by a positive workshop experience, we continue our journey. Since it's already evening and we haven't bought anything to eat or drink yet, we only aim for a campground about 23 miles away for the day, but with a stopover at a supermarket to get the essentials. So we buy groceries and gas bottles to at least get the fridge going. Thanks to the adapter we brought along for the American gas cylinders, we can at least successfully complete the "fridge" mission. However, it is now so late and we are so tired that we actually decide to spend the first night in the Walmart parking lot.

Well, that’s life!

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