November 28, 2017
This week I had to tell myself, “listen to your own project”, as things went from bad to worse. Nothing was working out as planned, stress levels raised to the max and everything I touched seemed to go bad. Yesterday I was ready to just throw in the rag and give up. But I can’t. It is not an option. Not now, not the last time we faced adversity and not anytime in the future.
It all started in a remote section of Georgia, as we drove from Chipley FL to Asheville NC for Van Life Rally. Cruising down the highway after an amazing week in the panhandle with friends, I didn’t have a care in the world. Until I saw that little read light on the dashboard come on, followed by white smoke spewing from the van. We pulled over to find a broken V-belt. No biggie. I had spares! We got them on and headed into town to purchase some hoses to fix the coolant lines that blew out.
We decided to call it a day at that point. After all, that adventure had taken all afternoon and we were tired and hungry. We found a great campsite beside a river 20 minutes from town and headed there. Just as I pulled into the campground, I lost drive. We had a CV issue. Two breakdowns in one day. Can it get any worse! I decided to look at the positive side of things. We broke down at a campground beside a river. Could be worse! Then the downpour started…
The next morning we got everything sorted out via a campsite fix. Back on the road to Asheville we go, limping… but moving forward at the very least.
I had GoWesty ship some parts to us in Asheville as those roadside repairs were temporary fixes to say the least. I had a day of proper fixes sitting in front of me.
That day quickly became 2 days as I broke a part on the coolant system during that repair. That hard to find part ended up costing us another day as it would have be to overnight shipped across the country.
When the part arrived it was time to climb back under the van to get it done. Everything went flawless. Part went in. Coolant system bled out no problem and we headed off for a little test drive. Everything was good.
I pulled back into my friends yard to give him the thumbs up and to take off for a bike ride when the van went into rough idle and eventually shut off, and would not restart. 3 days, will now be 4 days as we again will need some new parts.
But now the pressure is on. Our van was not running with 2 events to show her off in the next 2 days. Overland Expo Cool Rides and Asheville Van Life Rally. Stress levels went to what I thought were max as fear of missing these events set in. The only reason we came to back to Asheville was for these events after all and we had made commitments.
While waiting for parts that morning our cell phone service got cut off. One more stressors added to the list. It is our only form of connection in the van. Tracy and I share one phone and one plan.
At this point, I couldn’t sleep. Thoughts have been running through my mind non-stop for days. “How do I fix the van?”, “Why so many problems?”, “What did I do wrong?”, “Why is everything I am touching breaking?”, “Maybe we should just give up…”
But facing adversity is part of life, rather you live in a house or van. We all have ups and downs, and it’s okay. We keep our heads up, and we make it through it with help of friends, family and the great outdoors. The support is there to get through anything.
Things are looking better for us now. Friends helped us out and got the van rolling. We made it to the first event and should make it to the second today. Our phone is working again too, with just a quick stop to the cell phone shop.
Looking back, it was a lot of bad all at once. If this was spread out over a few months, it wouldn’t have bothered me, but within one week, it felt like too much to handle, but we got through it. And so will you when you have that stressful week where nothing seems to go as planned.
We are all in this together and as friends, we will help each other to go through it. Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone who looks like they could use a little help, and never be too quick to judge. You just don’t know what that person is going through at that time.