Two down, one to go?

We purchased our iSotherm Travel box- I believe it’s called- from Defender last late March and had it shipped to us in Vero Beach. It was on sale which is why we got it then and didn’t wait until May. About a month into our trip I opened the lid and the plastic pieces that pass for hinges cracked apart like old, decayed chicken bones. Not my fault!  Bagged up the pieces for evidence and pondered non-destructive repair methods. None came to mind and since the darn thing was ¾ full of frozen meats, heaving it overboard did not seem like a smart move at this time.

Lid with cracked hinge

Lid with cracked hinge

Closing it without the hinges intact was problematic thanks to the interior light on/off button that sticks up when the lid is open and gets pushed down when you close the lid. If you tried to slide the lid in place- whop! The button would break in half; it’s only cheap made-in-China plastic after all.  Our Russ-of-all-trades (Jack is his brother :-)) on board took matters in hand and removed the light and the on/off button with it.

In early Nov Russ emailed Indel Webasto Marine USA and after some delay, Technical Support person, Sergio, became our best email friend. The initial response to help us out was positive it’s just that they wanted the unit back. Another slightly bothersome quirk the unit had acquired was that the thermostat would become stuck allowing the temperature to climb from 15 degrees to 30 or more; uh, not good if you want to maintain freezer mode. The display would read 15 but the inside freezer section temp would be higher. The solution was easy enough, turn the thermostat down and force the thing to turn on. That worked as long as we checked the thermometer inside against the unit’s readout every few days at least.

The company was located in Ft Lauderdale and we considered a rental car to return it, but then what about all that frozen food? Russ would assure me it could fit in our galley freezer, but I knew better. We could lug it to the U-Ship Store nearby and shell out $50 or more to ship it to Ft Lauderdale and again, wait for a replacement. Even with a few day turn around promised; what if we needed to leave before we got the new unit? They wouldn’t send a replacement lid; probably don’t have one to spare. In the end we confirmed that the unit did indeed have a two-year warranty and we could deal
with it “later”.

We never travel through Ft Lauderdale because of the Julia Tuttle Bridge near Miami that we can’t pass under. We either jump out from Lake Worth (West Palm Beach) to Miami or we cross to the Bahamas from Lake Worth.  If we did pass through Ft Liquordale, as our friend Mr. Carnie calls it, I’d be tempted to mis-spend a few days re-living Spring Break 1980 on the beach or at the Button Up. Memories will need to suffice and that is probably for the best.

My next glass of whine is with the starter mechanism on the stove. Let me acknowledge that this could have been worse; it could have crapped out before my two days of marathon baking, instead, it waited until the day we tore ourselves away from Velcro Beach mooring ball #56. For as long as I can remember, the burners won’t start by pushing in the corresponding knob; one must use the oven knob as the igniter. I do the movement so automatically that I’ve quite forgotten it could or did ever work properly. The oven doesn’t get a lot of use, at least once we stop needing it to warm ourselves in the galley on brrrrr chilly mornings.

Friday night I wanted to bake two things at once; roasted potatoes and a small focaccia bread with the excess dough from the large one we made for Thanksgiving. It was so yummy; Russ’s best yet with melted cheese on top a la Joseph’s Bistro in Southport. I push in the knob; silence. Again. Silence. Well I’m getting the silent treatment here so why not whine? Russ confirms that it is in fact not working and uses the trusty ($1 cheapie) grill igniter to get the oven going.

Saturday morning, non-functional igniter forgotten, I try to light a burner. Sigh. I hate using the grill igniter. Fortunately Russ’s suspicions as to the cause, turned out to be correct and all it needed was a good cleaning, a little bashing and a few encourage words to make it functional once again and remove that whine stain.

I am hoping we get #3 before crossing, but it’s not likely.  Plan to head out Ft Pierce heading down the coast toward Ft Lauderdale, then cross the gulf stream and keep going until we run into Nassau. 🙂

Please share any thoughts or questions.

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