As I mentioned in the last post, we lost all of our wallets when our van was broken into. As everyone knows, whenever a credit card is stolen or lost, the first thing is to report the missing card. Now without the luxury of being at home, it would be difficult to remember whom to call to report the issue. Luckily, every time before a long trip, I would always email myself all the important information such as credit card numbers and phone numbers for the worst case scenarios. I never had to use the information but this time I was glad that I did that.

We went back to the hotel and logged on to my yahoo account to retrieve the information then started to cancel all the credit cards–one of the credit cards was used already for gas a couple of times. Chase had the greatest service of 3 credit card companies as it was the only company willing to fed-ex a replacement card to us in 2 days. Bank of America also fed-ex a replacement ATM card as well. Luckily we were staying at a hotel for a week as it was our timeshare exchange so we didn’t have to stay longer to wait. For two days, we didn’t have any money so we had to charge to our hotel account for food. Although I did have another credit card hidden away in the van for emergency, it didn’t have auto-payment set up so I preferred not to use it.

We also reported the theft to the local police and later were told that they were able to obtain a videotape of two persons using my credit card for gas but they didn’t recognize them. We also tried to get the window fixed for the 2-month returned trip home; otherwise, it would be an invitation for more theft. After talking to the Toyota dealership in Rutland about our problem, we were assured that they can order the parts needed to fix the window in 2 days. We were relieved.

However two days later, when we took the van in to fix, we discovered that they ordered the wrong part and it would take another 5 days to get the new parts. Not only they didn’t fix it, they made it worse by removing a piece of the broken part, made it difficult for us to tape the window shut. We were disappointed that the dealership did not make efforts to help us. We had some duct tape for emergency and this qualified as such. We taped the window shut from inside so it would appear to be normal from outside. We drove home like that for 2 months, replacing the tape many times.

I remember one time I traveled at France with my friend, Steve, and we accidentally put leaded gas into our unleaded-only vehicle. It was hard to put the pump into the gas tank but I managed to do it. We drove only a couple of minutes to our hotel afterwards but for some reasons I didn’t feel right and we walked back to the gas station with our French dictionary and discovered I did put the wrong gas in. I called my friend, Thomas, back in the USA to find out the consequence of such action. He explained to me that the catalytic converter would be completely destroyed but we were lucky that leaded gas may not have reached there.

Steve tried his best to explain in French to the owner of the gas station. Eventually the owner understood and sent a tow truck to bring our car back to the gas station. He didn’t believe how we could put leaded gas in the car and made me demonstrate how I did it. I showed him and he shook his head then told us to come back in a couple of hours while he drained the leaded gas. When we came back, I was expecting the worse, like a few hundred dollars for the labor and everything. Instead, the owner only charged us one tank of new unleaded gas. I couldn’t believe it. When I got home a few weeks later, I wrote a letter and had someone translated it to send back to the owner of the gas station to thank him again. What a service! And I have always had since and forever will have favorable impression of French people.

All in all, it wasn’t that bad. The biggest lost was actually our National Park pass. It was not replaceable so we had to purchase a new one. It was a lot of hassles though. We made sure we had our wallets with us the rest of the trip. Luckily we still had our passports so we can use them as IDs and were still able to go to Canada. We hid the passports well for the rest of the trip.