Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mechanical Difficulties

Beautiful sunny day
By Claire
We decided we needed to do something about our gear shifting problem so I emailed BW Campers and received a quick response from Rene. Fortunately, it’s a Wednesday morning. Rene told us to find a Fiat dealer and sent a link to all the locations. We searched on-line using a map and our limited knowledge of French geography. I asked one of the owners of the campground what town we are in and then asked her collegue for help as well. He did some scrolling on our computer trying to find a mechanic close by and then in the ensuing conversation between all four of us it turned out she has a Fiat camper and gave us the name and address of the place to go. She even placed a call so that Chuck could talk to them. We were lucky that one of the mechanics speaks excellent English.

So, with Suzette programmed and ready to go the 15 kilometers, we made it in one piece and here I sit in the camper while Chuck “talks” with the Fiat people.

I was bustling about in the back of the camper when a mechanic jumped in and the next thing I knew, I was on a test drive with a non-English speaking Frenchman. I decided to buckle up in the rear dinette seat and enjoy the ride.

The mechanic says it’s the clutch and transmission. Chuck is negotiating a phone call between the mechanic here and Eddie and Rene at BW. Things could be worse. We could be somewhere in central Turkey.

We’ve just gotten the word. New transmission, clutch and labor: €4400. Egads! We’ve only driven this thing 800 miles. While I was sitting in the camper reading, the manager rushed over and handed me the phone. It was Rene and that’s as far as the conversation went. We were cut off. I decided to join Chuck in the showroom—blinding sun and glare—and wait to see what would happen next. After awhile, we were told that Rene would be calling back at 2 pm, after lunch. It was now noon. So, we went back to the camper and made lunch. 12:20 and the manager came to the camper again with the phone. Chuck went off with him and talked to Rene. The plan is for Rene to ship a used transmission and we will pay for the clutch and the labor. The transmission should be here on Friday. Right now we’re waiting for lunch to be over so we can find out what our share will cost and if they can get the job done on Friday. We hope we can make it back to the campground we just left and cool our heels there. It’s a very nice place so it’s not all bad. We have our bikes. Again, things could be much, much worse. It’s only money and time. Ha! We knew going in that this was a risk when buying a used vehicle.

Meanwhile, back at our beautiful campground, we decided we’d vacation here for a few days until things get sorted out. It will probably be Monday before the work really gets done. We love this place and anyway, what else can we do? Here are some photos of the campground:

I think they hire professional nappers for their campgrounds

Chuck is great at laundry, but why do we always decide to do it at 3 pm?

Once again, these are typical rental units on the campgrounds

Talk about traveling light! How adorable!

We decided to take a little walk into town, a block away and a block and a half long.

Well somebody had to be gauche

It was very warm so Chuck decided to try the campground pool

We plan to walk the one block back into town tonight to see the sunset over Le Mont St. Michel from the cemetery.

Camping, €13
Baguette and croissants, €2.70
Yogurt, €1.50

Total: €17.20

We’ll keep you posted…..


Kim said...


You and Chuck have become my daily fix of adventure. I am really enjoying traveling with you.

Kim Reinking

Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear about the mechanical difficulties. However, it sure seems as if you are "stuck" in a wonderful place for a few days. Hopefully the repairs will cost less than you thought. I was surprised not to see "chocolat" on your expenses list today...

Carina in Davis

Chuck and Claire said...

Hey Kim,
Thanks! You made our day!

Pat in Santa Cruz said...

How great that you are finding "opportunity" in your mechanical challenge! Your photos of the local color are so interesting. The "gauche" house will prepare you for Gaudi in Barcelona. The sculpture on the beach at Normandy took my breath away. I had never seen that.
p.s. I'm resisting the urge to get a French pastry at my local bakery!

Anonymous said...

Hey Chuck, Looks like a great adventure..... What is your time frame for Egypt? I want to hook you up with a friend of mine over there. He speaks english well and would be a great help to you and your travels there.
Take care,

Chuck and Claire said...

That is great! We will be in Cairo the last week of January. We will be in Egypt from Jan 24 to Feb 23. Please email the contact information to Thank you!