Stewball’s Revenge

June 20: 021We are now in Rapid City, SD and rode the steam train to Hill City in the Black Hills.

But this blog is about our problem day, three days ago. The drive was a very long one from St. Ignace, MI to Duluth, MN., 415 miles.  Beautiful scenery along lake Superior. 038

We had made the decision to drop out of the rally for the day to get to Duluth early. My sister and brother-in-law were meeting us there for a bit of the afternoon, dinner and the evening. They had booked the same hotel as the rally.

Apparently Stewball didn’t like our plan. On the rally we have two support vehicles with excellent, dedicated mechanics who follow behind. Today, we were on our own. All was well until we stopped for gas somewhere in the western part of Michigan’s UP. The car wouldn’t start. We had just changed drivers and I assumed it was me. No so, the battery was not being charged. The young attendant gave us a push and we were on our way- for a while. Ed was afraid to turn the car off so we ate lunch in the car with it running. He wanted to get into Duluth so we would have help figuring out the Why behind this.

Then as we approached  Ironwood, the engine to falter. As we slowed to make a turn, it quit. We pushed it off into a side road by a realtor’s office. She very graciously called the local garage. They had the battery we needed but we had to unload everything 046

from the back since that is where the battery is before the guy came and put it in. This would get us to Duluth. Ed drove the rest of the way thinking about what was wrong. He was certain it was the generator. The battery wasn’t being charged and had finally run down. He carried a spare generator, one of our many spare parts.

We arrived at the hotel in drizzling rain. The mechanics were far behind so we had an early dinner with my sister and Ed headed back to the car. Replacing the generator is a big, time-consuming job. What Andy (our favorite mechanic) discovered was one of the terminals to the generator had been over-tightened when a new one was put on after our rally in Africa. The terminal had broken off and was lying in the engine compartment.

Andy and car repairSeveral hours of work and we were back in operation. The only remaining problem was the engine hood had to come off for access and getting it back on Andy said to Ed. “It’s time for you to go to bed. We’ll finish up. You don’t want to hear what we will say while getting  this in place.”

They did get it on, but without the spring to hold it up, so for the rest of the trip, I will hold it up each time Ed checks or adds oil.

Next time we will consult Stewball before we change plans.

About ejhowle23

Authors and adventurers, participated in the World Race 2011, an automobile rally from New York to Paris, crossing three continents and 14,000 land miles. Following much the same route as the setting for our debut novel, The Long Road to Paris. This blog describes our own adventures and challenges. And now you can follow our Bahamas sailing adventure that provides the setting for our second novel, Night Watch. Our rally, the African Safari Challenge, crossed five countries in South Africa in May 2014 and in 2015 we participated in the second Trans-American rally this time from Nova Scotia to San Francisco. Spring of 2016 we travelled 28 days around Australia with friends from previous rallies and in the fall participated in our most exhausting rally through Argentina, Chili and Peru- the Rally of the Incas. We were awarded the Against All Odds award. We're still not sure if this was for us or our car. Stewball never broke down and we hardly did. We will soon take on Iceland as a self-drive tour and in the fall of 2017 we will participate in the Odyssey Italia and then back to Africa for a do-over (almost) of the Africa Safari Challenge.
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