Travel Diary – A Week in Balaguer

After we left Ponts I was very concerned about doing too many kilometers before completing the repairs on the van. Most of the worry about how to have the repairs don’t in a foreign country had passed now as we had spoken to the mechanic, found the parts that we needed, and ordered them it was just a matter of time until it all came together and Bill is back to full health. 

This then started the week of waiting. 

While the used part that we needed for the repair arrived very quickly, by Monday in fact. The new parts that were ordered online actually took over a week to arrive. 

Three days in Balaguer (Elizabeth Sex)

We waited in Balaguer thinking that the parts we ordered online would arrive within a few days. Also because I did not want to drive too far in case we had more issues. We were staying at a convenient place specifically for campers, with free water and power, it’s just not the quietest or most beautiful, never the less very grateful for the services that are here.

funny wifi van life blog

Here we also found it quite amusing that one of the other campers around us had quite an interesting Wifi name, “Elizabeth Sex”, unfortunately, we never did find out the reason for this name. Neither of us worked up the courage to ask the question. 😛

But after 3 days of soccer games around bill each afternoon, we needed some quiet and nature. So we left Balaguer despite the looming issues with the wheel bearing.

Lake Pantano de San Lorenzo

van life blog by a lake Pantano de San Lorenzo

We found just north of the City about 20kms was a beautiful lake, I am still very wary of the damage to the wheel but getting a little more adventurous, but keeping the driving to 30 mins at a time so the heat doesn’t build up.

All-day we had been working in the van next to the beautiful lake with rock climbers around us. All normal but I had been keeping an eye on the fridge as it was a little warmer than normal. Not a major issue but I found myself thinking the worst, do we need a new one, what’s going on with this thing? 

Was it the Gas, Ice, something else? Please don’t tell me we need a new one just after we fix this other issue.

No, in the end I found something blocking the fan, it was the mustard… 

The Gas Saga…

The next day, still at the lake, we were working enjoying the beautiful views and the blue water. Nothing more you could ask for really. 

I went to make a coffee and with a small pop, we ran out of gas. Not an issue normally but in Europe, every country has a completely different system for bottles and gas. The gas also runs the fridge so for the second day in a row we were having fridge troubles. 

I had somewhat foreseen this issue and found someone selling a Spanish gas bottle cheaply in a village not too far away so we headed over there. It was easy enough to get the bottle, although it took my best Tetris skills to get the new bottle twice the size of the old one into space where the old one was. 

van life blog gas for camper in spain
You can see the new Spanish bottle on the left and all the two bottles and all the other gear that needs to go in the small locker in the left.

Directly after we went to a hardware store to get a regulator for the bottle as the ones I had would not fit, we immediately ran into a problem, the thread in Spain is like Australia where it tightens in the opposite direction. So nothing would fit. 

Thankfully, and as we have found everywhere we have gone so far, people are always very helpful and even when you don’t speak the same language you can make it work. So the Owner of the hardware store proceeded to cut some pieces that I had and used some pieces he had to put together a custom fitting that would connect the Spanish gas bottle to the gas system we had. Then gave us a discount on the parts we needed and didn’t ask for anything in return. 

It really shows that no matter where you go there are always people around you that are willing to help.


Finally, after a week of waiting the parts arrived for the repair and we were relieved. So we went to the mechanic in the morning knowing the parts would be delivered that day and decided to wait at the mechanic for them to arrive.

vanlife blog
While waiting for the mechanic we found out that Billy really has the soul of a sports car…

Just before lunch, we had a knock on the door, it was time. We left the van with them for around 6 hours for the parts to be changed. So we cafe hopped and went to the library living the laptop lifestyle in the town for the day.

When we returned the mechanic had driven the van and said that all was good, no noises Bill was back!

So we very excitedly finished up with them and got on the road. To be sure I jumped out and checked that everything was ok after about 30 km.

My heart sank as I touched the CV joint, inside the wheel under the camper, as it was piping hot. Hot enough that I could only touch it for a second without burning myself.

We immediately went back to the mechanic, he was dumbfounded by what was going on. As the heat seemed to be coming from a part replaced only 3 weeks earlier.

van life breakdown

Another night in Balaguer

The next morning we went back to the mechanic and he did some further investigation of the issue but after checking all that he could check, the answer was a resounding, I don’t know…

So he left us with the advice to drive a short distance, around 30 mins. Then put water on the parts to cool them down so that we could continue driving.

Needless to say, this is not an option at all for us so the Saga continues.

On to Tarragona

So after this, we decided to push on towards Tarragona where I found a Mercedes Truck dealer that I hope will be able to help us resolve the issue.

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