We made multiple phone calls to Marcelo, and he gave us tips on what to check. We tried multiple angles, all with no luck–the battery didn’t seem to be charging, and thus the car had no juice to run off of. I was testing both batteries with a voltimeter when I heard a loud bang right in front of me, and a small fireball shot up in the passenger side of Lefty, where BKK was sitting. I ran over to see what happened, along with Emily, and saw BKK in a state of shock. Apparently a rechargeable GoPro battery exploded next to him while we was in the car, burning his hand and leg, and blasting a small hole through the floorboards. There was a strong smell of smoke and burnt hair, but it looked like luckily he wasn’t hurt too badly. I could only laugh–of course this kind of thing would happen when it did, adding to our growing list of issues.
Once we got BKK and the inside of the car cleaned up we re-focused on getting Righty back in action. The battery was still a potential culprit, so after trying everything else we set about replacing it, at Marcelo’s request. We got the car to start, but it looked like it still wasn’t charging while the motor was on. Nevertheless, it gave us approximately five hours or so to make it somewhere where we could get the issues looked at, and hopefully fixed. Time was running out–we had a ferry to catch the next evening, and if we missed that we’d be out of a lot of money, and our schedule would be more messed up than it already was.
Joe, Scott, and BKK set off to find Internet to see what authorized Subaru mechanics could be found in the Florence area, which Emily guarded the vehicles. By the time Internet had been procured and the information gathered it was already past 2PM, and we had to hustle if we were going to make it there in time for diagnostics, and the ordering of parts by morning of the next day, if needed.
The shop was still closed for lunch by the time we arrived a half hour later, but the mechanics soon returned and we relayed our issues to them with the help of an Italian neurosurgeon who spoke English, who just happened to be there to check on his own Subaru. As we thought, the alternator wasn’t charging the battery at all–it was a case of a bum part. We could order an off-brand replacement and have it installed before lunch the next day, so we decided to go that route, seeing as there weren’t really any other viable options and time was of the essence. That left us time to finally explore the beautiful city of Florence that evening, which we really couldn’t complain about.
We had been in touch with a couple from the UK–Gemma and Bryn from 2DoAfrica.com–that were doing a multi-month Africa crossing of their own around the same time as us. It didn’t look like we would be able to meet up en route, but seeing as we were a week behind, it just so happened that both parties ended up in Florence on the same day. We met up with them for dinner and drinks in the city center, doing a bit of exploring along the way. They had already found a campsite for the night just outside of the city, so we followed them to it and ended up staying there overnight.
At 12:00AM it was officially Scott’s birthday, so Gemma and Bryn were kind enough to break out their stash of super-chilled French beers from their car fridge to celebrate the occasion. That left just enough time to catch a few z’s before departing the 2DoAfrica crew to push on towards Salerno –hopefully without any issues along the way. That would be the best birthday present of all!