What to do when a refrigerator door falls off in the wilderness
The weather turned cold–48 degrees when we woke up in Teslin, Yukon, Canada and headed the RV to Dease Lake. It was late July and feels like winter back home in north Florida. And, of course, its sprinkling (more like spitting) and skies are overcast, heavy with moisture and feels like it could snow. We wore sweaters and a coat. It was so cold in the RV this morning that I turned on the gas heater before making coffee. I could see my breath. It was cold in the RV because we slept with the windows open. Thank goodness for Martha’s homemade quilts.
It was another sunless day in the North Country as we got back on the highway and drove south to Dease Lake–300 miles down the road.
Would have paid extra for someone to improve this weather.
It didn’t get any better at Dease Lake. Temps were a bit cooler at 46 degrees. It rained all night and was still raining when we got back on the road, driving 240 miles to Stewart, British Columbia, Canada.
About 10 a.m. and after a couple hours on the road, we stopped for nature’s call and made hot coffee. Martha opened the refrigerator door and it fell off. The refrigerator just fell off out there in the middle of nowhere. No refrigerator door repairman within 100 maybe 500 miles. No phone service, either. Remember, this is Yukon Territory, Canada. We probably didn’t meet five cars on the highway all morning.
And the refrigerator freezer was jammed full of fresh caught frozen fish–Kenai sockeye and halibut. It is a small freezer, after all, this is an RV.
A plastic piece attached to another plastic piece just broke off. It’s a Norcold model, for those wondering.
Fortunately, our traveling companion from Canada, Don, aka “Mr. Goodwrench” brought five tool boxes, every electric hand tool sold at Harbor Freight, a half dozen hammers of varying sizes, crow bars, fittings to fit everything, fuses galore, half mile of extension cords and of course, more fix-it knowledge than anyone I know. I suspect he could fix a broken tooth. He would at least try. No doubt, he taught Rube Goldberg everything he knew.
Out of one toolbox comes Gorilla Glue. The broken piece gets a dab while he hunts through another toolbox for a piece of thin metal which he couldn’t find but found a piece of heavy plastic instead. Out comes a pocketknife (do you have a pocketknife? Do I have my pants on?) And he proceeds to cut a piece to fit the bottom of the door for reinforcement. He drills holes in the bottom of the refrigerator door, attaches the plastic piece with screws and fits the Gorilla glued pivot post back in place. He made it look easy.
I know all of this sounds ridiculous and a little hokey, but the contraption worked. Two months later we arrived back in Florida and the homemade fix-it job was still solid when a mobile RV doctor came to the house and installed a new door. The RV doc looked at Mr. Goodwrench’s handiwork and just shook his head and said “Wow. That beats all.”
Back on the highway: Milepost 200, a bear cub was spotted lying on the side of the road. It had been hit by a motorist. The sight of the dead cub left us speechless for several miles as we both absorbed what we had just seen.
At Milepost 155 we stopped for lunch at Bell II Lodge, a rustic, really upscale place catering to winter helicopter skiing enthusiasts from throughout the world. They had two helicopter pads just outside the lodge. It was a treat to dine at a table with white linen napkins and tablecloth and silverware that matched. The scene made the soup taste better, too.
We were headed to Stewart, British Columbia, Canada, a distance of 240 miles—an average day’s work on the road. With a little luck, there will be bears feeding on spawning salmon at a little creek just across the Canada-U.S. border in really tiny Hyder, AK., population less than 100.
DAYS ON THE ROAD: 78
GALLONS OF FUEL: 911
COST OF FUEL: $3091
A lunch stop at a roadside restaurant had a collection of several thousand caps tacked to the ceiling.
MILES ON THE ROAD: 8,134