Our time at Supercar Valley had come to an end so we were heading toward the East coast of Italy. It is getting dark early now so it was already dark when we pulled into a spot for the night. I had to reverse Max in and because his rear overhang is so long the rear had to go over a gutter. As I reversed back, something underneath scraped on the gutter. That is not really something to be too alarmed about as Max’s tail end hangs out a long way and is quite low so often drags – we just wince. So we set up and started getting ready to have some dinner.
Max has glass covers over the stove and the sink in the kitchen to give a little more bench space. I opened up the cover over the sink and was filling a cup with water when all of a sudden the glass cover exploded and I mean exploded. No one else realised what had happened but there was glass spread far and wide. Dinner was put on hold while we carefully cleaned up the glass, including changing Legoboy’s sheets because it had gone all over his bed. The glass kept popping and cracking for minutes after it happened, it was quite strange. It would have been good to see in slow motion. It was very strange as there seemed to be no explanation as to why it had broken.
We got up the next morning and as normal reversed off the ramps we use to level Max up, more scrapping sounds from the back. Once we had moved out of our spot I crawled under and had a look – it appeared that the spare tyre carrier had pushed into the grey-water tank, but there were only a few drops of water and when we went to the dump point heaps of water drained out once the tap was opened. I pulled the carrier back to where it was supposed to be and exposed a significant hole. We remembered that we had seen a motorhome place a couple of kilometres before where we stopped for the night, so we headed back there. It was now after midday and of course we were in Italy, so the place was shut until 3 o’clock, so we sat in the car park and had lunch (it is great to have your house with you). Once the place was open again I headed in with a photo so that I could try to bridge the language barrier. The guy understood what the problem was but told me I would be better going to another motorhome dealer that sold our particular brand of motorhome (Knaus) about 10 km away.
When we were at the new dealer I went in armed with my photos again and they told us to bring Max around the back to the workshop. We were ushered into the showroom (where we enjoyed checking out some new motorhomes) while they went to work. I went for a look a couple of times to see what was going on but they got very antsy whenever I went near the workshop, even though I stayed outside, and they would send me back inside to the showroom (I just wanted to understand what they were doing as I couldn’t understand that well when they spoke to me). After a little while they showed me that the hole I had seen was in the polystyrene outer shell (this insulates the tank from small stones as well as prevents it from freezing and cracking in winter) so easily repaired, but the drain pipe going into the tank had broken. It seems that when I reversed back over the gutter the tyre carrier got caught and pushed into the tank which in turn moved and cracked the pipe (not sure why the drain pipe is solid and not flexible); this may also have flexed the kitchen sink which twisted the glass cover when I opened it – well that is a theory I formulated.
After about 1.5 hours we were on our way again. By now it was about 5pm but our fun was not over yet.
Often we will select a camp spot based on the facilities we need as well as the location. We will usually try to find a spot that is in the general direction we want with the services we need like fresh water. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t.
After we had the tank repaired we selected a spot from our book (printed in Dutch), and confirmed in Jack, that seemed to fit the bill. We travelled along a major road for a while and then Jack took us off onto a narrower road where we had to stop once to let a truck pass. When we arrived at a little village and Jack directed us down a narrow lane between two houses we were a little unsure. We wound between a few houses and then popped out the back of the village into farm land. It was completely dark by now but we had to press on. The road became even narrower and then began to wind up the side of a mountain and became quite rough. We continued up and up and from the lights down below we were up pretty high. The trees that hung over the road rubbed along Max’s roof and sides which indicated motorhomes our size did not come this way too often.
Jack displays a chequered flag and announces “you have reached your destination” when we get to the programmed spot. Sometimes this is helpful; sometimes it is annoying because what we have been looking for is not in the published location. On this night when Jack made his announcement we realised that this may have once been a camp spot but no longer. We knew it was supposed to be at a restaurant, which was there but was closed and overgrown; the water and the electricity did not work. It was dark and we did not really like the idea of driving back down the road and trying to find a new location so we decided to just stay – there was no one around to disturb and we would manage without the water and power.
When we pull up the first thing we do is get out the level to make sure that we are close to level, or at least that our heads are up hill. To get things right we have a couple of ramps which we place at the correct wheel and then drive up to get level.
Getting level on the ramps is usually no problem and is usually done in a few minutes. On this night however I overshot the ramps. This happens from time to time as you have to try and judge how far up onto the ramps you are without being able to see them. Usually I can reverse and get back onto the ramp properly. Unfortunately this time I had actually gone over the front of both ramps; front and back on the same side. No problem, just drive right over and start again. Only problem was that the rear ramp actually tipped up and became jammed between the tyre and road, up against the floor.
I was unable to go forward or backward. We were thinking through our limited options (and contemplating jacking up the wheel to remove the ramp which I really didn’t want to do in the dark) when Bookworm suggested attaching a rope and trying to pull the ramp while I tried to reverse off. I set up the rope not really expecting it to work and gave it a go while SWTTM and Bookworm pulled on the rope from a distance. To my surprise Max reversed back onto the ramp and we were able to get the ramps out and try again – this time with someone watching to make sure I didn’t drive off the front.
While we were getting set up again I noticed that one of the taillights was not working. It appeared that the ramp had hit some wiring when it jammed up under the floor – a job for the next morning.
After a good night’s sleep we woke up in the morning and the view was very good. The landscape is interesting here.
First job of the day: the taillights. I figured that the wires had been crushed and maybe one had broken which caused a short and blew a fuse, so I checked all of the fuses first (now that I knew where both fuseboxes were because of another light incident) and they all seemed ok. So I crawled under Max to have a look at the wires. The outer tape had been pulled off but nothing seemed to be broken. The wires ran into a box which I assumed was a junction of some sort and thought maybe something had pulled out inside there. To date I have only used a screwdriver from a cheap leatherman imitation I brought along but this was not going to cut it for this job. I had a hunt around in the basic toolkit that comes with most vehicles and there was one of those double ended screwdrivers. I was able to remove the cover from the box and to my relief found that a plug that took the wiring from the front to the rear had pulled out. So it was a simple case of plug it back in and put the cover back on – nice and easy.
We were on our way again and the road out of the camp spot was as interesting as the way in.
It was a great opportunity to remember that God is in control of all things and nothing takes Him by surprise even if it might surprise us. We also considered that things could have been a lot worse.
An interesting 24 hours.