Where to begin. As most of you know, we were supposed to leave a few weeks ago. As with all old vehicles, they come with their problems. We're cautious and patient: making sure we find all issues before we make it far. Many times we've wanted to rush this process but we have to keep in mind that we're hopefully driving 40,000km. That's equal to the circumference of the earth.
This past week, we discovered an annoying issue with the rear-differential. For those who don't know cars (including myself), I'm told the "rear-diff" is what connects your engine to your back wheels, but more importantly, it handles certain stresses that allow cars to perform the way they do today. For example, when you make a turn, the outside wheel in the turn needs to move faster than the inside one. This may be difficult to visualize, but essentially if it wasn't for the rear-differential then your back wheel would hop off the ground every time you turn in order to catch up with the inside wheel.
Throughout the week, Barry spent many hours trouble-shooting. As we've learned, when it comes to mechanics, there's never a textbook answer. After days of work, we got to a point where Barry was as happy as he could be with what we had - without using brand new parts. I'd like to point out; if we had more money, new parts would be available to us. However, be it the inside or the mechanics, we've used as much refurbished or recycled material as possible. In part because we're poor, in part because we wanted to minimize our footprint.
Yesterday, we got the green light to go for our longest test drive yet. About 400km. Josh and I excitedly hopped in the van and decided to go for a trip to the amazing Riverside Albert. If you're reading from New Brunswick and have never been, get your ass off the couch and plan a weekend trip. I'll give you a list of free camping spots. No excuses. If you're not from NB, areas like Riverside Albert are why I talk up this province so much. It's stuck in the past, in the most beautiful way. If it wasn't for the paved roads, one would truly have no sense of time. The never-ending coastline and trees almost exploding in their late-fall colours make this a truly unique area to explore.
On the way back, we ran into trouble. Shifting from first, to second was difficult, then eventually we couldn't shift into third gear at all. Next time you're in your car, test how far your second gear goes. Put simply, driving on the highway with only two gears is tough. We drove under 60km/h on the 110km/h for over 4 hours.
However, this post isn't a complaint. As I said in my first post, all we have going for us is patience. We've found problems, but now we have the chance to trouble shoot them with Ben's dad Barry, instead of in the middle of nowhere with mechanics who may not want to service an old van.
One thing is for sure: When we get on the road *fingers crossed* later this week, we're going to know that we've been patient and observant, and hopefully discovered most big problems. In everything you do, all you can do is your best. We're certainly trying.
As usual, click the photo to see it full size.