Before reading, please read the first half of the story, The Day Everything Went Wrong For Us On Our Road Trip (Part 1) to know what on earth I’m talking about.
Indicating right and turning off the main road and down the steep lane, we soon realised nothing was open at all. So, we attempted a three point turn, on a hill, in a five metre long van and slowly bunny hopped back up. Trying to avoid looking out my window at the abandoned bus shelter, I thought to myself, I don’t like it here, I really don’t want to be here.
Then… the unthinkable happened.
It was late, it was dark, it was foggy and we were in the middle of the mountainous highland of Snowdonia, North Wales. The van had been giving us grief all day with mechanical problems and we weren’t able to find a mechanic to fix it.
Bunny hopping up the hill, we’d almost reached the top when…
It was literally only a second before that I was looking out my window and through the fog at the abandoned bus shelter thinking, it would be so shit if we broke down here.
Hitting the brake to stop us from rolling back and down the cliff that dropped off at the edge of the road, Dan attempted to turn the van back on.
Mhmm, and as I expected there was no success.
So, stuck on a 45° angle, I jumped out and we began our car starting procedure (a mechanical hack we learned that same day). It went a little something like this…
Dan pulled it into fourth gear and jammed on the handbrake while I hung out the door, shaking the van until I could shake no more. At the same time, Dan wiggled about in his seat until we agreed on a moment to stop, stick it into neutral, take the handbrake off and turn the key.
But it didn’t work this time.. Or the next… Or the next.
We had a problem.
With no mobile phone or anyone around, we had to get ourselves out of this situation. Waiting patiently in the passenger seat for Dan to make his next move, we suddenly started rolling down the hill backwards (Dans rushed master plan to bump start the van). With no power steering or brakes working properly, we were heading straight for the edge.
“Stop… stop… STOP! We’re about to roll off the cliff!” I exclaimed.
Slamming on the brakes as hard as he could, we were in even more shit now. It went silent for a moment while we figured out what the hell to do next. Like I wasn’t already freaked out enough, I ended up jumping out into the cold mist and trying to direct Dan from not throwing the van off the cliff.
Surprisingly, we worked really well together, which was quite unusual. Managing to straighten up the van so that it was actually in line with the road now, we were back on track. All we had to do now was get the van started. Hang on, wasn’t that the problem in the first place?
After rushing back to my seat and promptly shutting the door, it all went silent again. By this point, I was half expecting to hear wolves howling in the near distance and footsteps slowly dragging towards us. “So, is it even possible to bump start a van in reverse?” Dan questioned some minutes later (it felt like minutes, anyway).
Well, we had to do it to find out. So I clung on to the nearest handle and tensed my shoulders as Dan released the handbrake, hoping for the best! On the roll and butterflies in my stomach, the van finally caught on halfway down the hill, shaking and spluttering until it went vrooom!
Let me just say, at that point, nothing had ever sounded nicer than our engine turning on in the middle of nowhere.
Unfortunately, we had to make the decision to postpone our exciting road trip to Blaenau Ffestiniog and Mt Snowdon and turn back the other way, back to where we came from. 30 minutes down the winding road we came across Machynlleth, a unique village in the hills. And this is where we stayed without our little home for the next 3 days while it underwent mechanical work.
We’d also like to point out that this was the first time in 2 months that we’d paid for accommodation. A bed, couch and kitchen at Machynlleth Independent Hostel never felt so good!
After spending £450 (approx. $900) on a new fly wheel (whatever that is), we were feeling poor to say the least. On a more positive note though, we were back on the road and keen to get to Blaenau Ffestiniog within the week for some underground bounce action at the world’s largest underground trampoline!
Have you also been in a creepy situation like this? Where in the world have you been stranded? Share your moments with us!