Our morning drive out of Vermont and into New York was perfect. It took us through some gorgeous towns and winding roads that were a far cry from the thousand-plus miles of interstates we knew lay ahead. With nothing but the cost of diesel in our way, we chugged towards Niagara Falls with the intentions of staying nearby for the night and exploring the falls early the next morning before beginning the massive trek home.
About an hour after Christian took over the wheel, he aimed for an exit ramp to a service station. Excited that he'd sensed my impending need to empty my tiny bladder, I hadn't realized there was an odd sound and smell eminating from the engine. As soon as we'd pulled off and began to slow, I too noticed the sound and smell. We quickly parked and popped the hood to inspect. It was immediately apparent what the origin was, as we found a small trickle of smoke wafting up at us from the belt around the AC compressor. Apparently, the compressor had somehow seized up and was now static as the belt spun around it, creating a massive amount of friction.
Being that it was well past closing time for any garages nearby, we opted to head to the next main exit to a truck stop for the night and figure out a plan. Christian did some Googling and made a few phone calls to local shops, leaving messages explaining our situation and asking for a callback as soon as they opened the next day. Given our predicament, we did the only thing we could…we popped a few beers and hunkered down for the night, hopeful that we could get our dear Campbulance into a shop first thing in the morning.
We got up bright and early the next morning and made some coffee with anticipation that we'd soon be heading down the road to a nearby shop. We received a phone call from one of the shops we'd called the night before and they immediately referred us to Dave's Service Center knowing that they worked on diesels. I slurped down the rest of my coffee as Christian made the call to prep Dave's for our arrival.
Dave's made quick work of diagnosing the problem and figuring out the solution…we needed a new AC compressor. Lucky for us, we got there just under the deadline to get same-day parts, so they ordered it quickly and assured us we'd be on our way by 3pm. That gave us an entire morning and afternoon to explore the nearby city of Geneva, so we grabbed our daypack and set off on a walk.
Knowing that we'd have few opportunities to blog on the road, we set out for the library to make use of their free internet and do some catching up. After a few hours of photo editing and blog-writing, we decided it was time to take advantage of the beautiful weather and go exploring.
As inconvenient as the engine trouble was, we ended up having a blast walking around Geneva and exploring the shops and lake. I think we were both grateful for the mandatory break it gave us from the road. After poking around shops and thrift stores, exploring the nearby lake and filling up on a tasty lunch, we figured it was time to head back to Dave's and see what progress had been made.
True to their word, Dave's had Campbulance all ready to roll by 3pm and we were on our way west with renewed confidence and one thing on our mind…making it to Niagara Falls before nightfall.