Another trip cancelled. Vancouver, BC
Thursday evening and we are supposed to be sitting on a ferry for the island. Supposed to be, but aren't.
We were hauling to get out of town and onto the ferry to the island and literally 10km away from the ferry the bus gives up the ghost. I know it’s 10km because almost ironically, we are stopped on the side of the highway right in front of the sign telling us so. In fact, every time a semi blows by the sign shakes back and forth with the gust mocking us a bit. I hop out of the van and slide under in the mud and water to test the starter and solenoid while jen reads from the idiot’s guide. Not that I can hear her with the vehicles flying by us in rush hour traffic, but at least I know she’s telling me the appropriate procedures. Nothing.
That was the extent of our engine troubleshooting knowledge, so jen continues reading while I search for shorts and blown fuses. Just as were ready to throw in the towel about an hour later a kind passerby pulls over to help. Imagine our surprise when the gentleman that gets out of the car turns out to be none other than Mark, our mechanic! We are saved!!
Okay, maybe not. Turns out (okay, good spot for all you with VW knowledge to laugh at our lack of said knowledge) the idiot light that we are supposed to watch before beginning any drive does more than tell us when the engine is warm and we are safe to drive. Apparently it also completes the circuit that allows the alternator to charge the battery, but since it was part of the damage from our electrical fire…no circuit and no charging. It’s amazing that it took this long for our battery to die given the fact we've been burning the lights for two days. I guess that’s the upside of having no radio or windshield wipers…
After messing around with us for a while, Mark decides we are SOL after all. He pulls away suggesting we call AAA to tow us back to town, but we remember that we have wiring parts in the bus and try to fix the issue and avoid the tow charge. Mark had recharged the battery before he left and we figure without rush hour traffic we might actually get home even if we aren't charging properly.
We get home, again forlorn at not making our weekend plans but feeling a bit good about making it home without a tow and that we learned a few tidbits about the bus and found out the flaws in our solar system while still close to home. Setup correctly, the solar setup should jump the chassis battery off the house battery if it happens to die which it didn’t…so much for a backup system.