hay caramba!

Another day on the beach.

I started the day by walking an hour north up the beach to the town of Zorritos. It’s a small place, but you can get just about anything you need as long as you’re patient enough to go looking for it. I scored motor oil, brake fluid, and some killer ceviche.

The auto parts place is actually in someone’s house. The brake fluid section is next to the TV. You pay over by the couch.

Back at the bus, Bode and I spent some time working on ‘which one of these things is different.’ He nailed them all. No homework today.

Since we’re already planning on staying here a while, I decided to start some of the projects I’ve been delaying. Most notably, the TWO broken Princeton Tec headlamps. If you camp much, you know the importance of a good headlamp. The thought of carrying a flashlight in your hand just seems quaint now.

Anyway, both of these over-priced guys failed and there were two different failure modes. The first one failed with a non-functional patented “IQ switch.” Not so smart.

The second failed with cracked injection-molded plastic case and the battery contacts would no longer connect. They should have gone a little thicker or used a higher grade plastic. I ended up combining both of these units to create a single functional device – for how long I don’t know.

I used to associate Princeton with weenies. Now, I associate it with weenies that can’t design products.

Next up was the cabinet handle. I actually brought this back from the US after the holiday break. It broke the second I installed it. Again, the manufacturers used cheap brittle plastic, so I find it hard to blame The Bus Depot. Except, they sell products made out of cheap plastic that can’t possibly work.

While the glue was out, I fixed the broken handle on the generic sink pump. No biggie there, except I managed to loose the cap to the adhesive.

Next, I tackled a brand new tap-light we had planned on using inside the pop top. It didn’t work right out of the box. Problem – the plastic battery compartment was under-sized, so when you put the batteries in, they couldn’t possibly touch the contacts. This thing would have never worked for anybody. I pulled out my knife and made some changes… and bent the contacts into a better position. How does this crap make it to the store shelves?

Later, when I went to start dinner, the stove didn’t work. It’s been a while since it’s been used, so it wasn’t entirely unexpected. But, this one is important.

Virtually every meal I have cooked on this trip (almost) has been on this single burner gasoline stove. I’ve had many issues with it, but have always been able to fix them. Generally, it just needs to be cleaned.

This time, no amount of cleaning would fix it. I even tried the brake fluid. The problem here is with the atomizer. These are generally pretty difficult (and expensive) to fabricate, so I appreciate the simple wire-in-tube design that the folks at Coleman implemented. But, it can’t  last forever, and today was the day.

So, tonight I cooked spaghetti on a driftwood fire. Campfire spaghetti. It actually wasn’t bad, except we had some guests from down the beach, so the singed eyebrows were unnecessary.

3 thoughts on “hay caramba!

  • February 18, 2011 at 12:42 PM
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    The dog reference was too funny! You get me all hot when you start talking about motor oil.

  • February 23, 2011 at 3:13 AM
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    Always bloody something breaking when you’re on the road, and with all the cheap Chinese rubbish around no wonder that things don’t last anymore…

    We went searching in Panama for some kitchen utensils, things like a large serving spoon, etc. – almost all we found were either made from really cheap plastic (which I don’t trust with hot food), or chrome plated steel, which was already rusty in the the shop (and often labeled as “Stainless”). What really annoys me: producing all this trash is using so many precious resources – I really fear for our future.

    Headlamps: we bought 2 from Eveready – they are really good, we still have both, and they are still working after over 5 years!!! Only the elastic of the headbands is slowly getting brittle. I don’t mind, because mine was always too tight.

    Good luck! And happy travels.

  • February 28, 2011 at 11:23 AM
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    thanks for letting me rant. I didn’t want to sound too much like and angry old man, but it’s frustrating since we depend on each and every little thing to work. We can’t exactly run down to the store and buy another when it breaks!

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