Friday, March 19, 2010

Well. That was an adventure.

It was sunny, 65 degrees and I had the evening free so where else would I have gone?

I also accidentally caught a passover of the International Space Station.

The adventure starts shortly after the above two shots. My car had been off the entire time I was walking around that flooded road, which was actually very peaceful with the only noise being the wind blowing through the nearby turbines, and toads croaking in the flood waters. This is probably the most desolate area you can find in DeKalb County. The road is barely wide enough for my car to fit on, so even though I've never seen another car on the road before, I don't even know what we would do if one did come. I was playing around with photos of my car in the twilight, and wanted to turn it around quickly for one last shot. So I three point turn my car, and get back out with it running to snap one or two more photos. I realize the fan is running pretty hard, so I think "oh? I must have hit the A/C or defogger button or something." Got in the car... no, that's not it. That's when my attention hits the temperature gauge and realize it's spiking. This is terrific news! I could not be in a more rural area. I quickly decide that if I'm going to have a major problem I need to get to a slightly bigger road. I quickly began driving back up this winding dirt road until I "upgrade" to gravel and approach a couple farm houses, but now my temperature gauge is getting up there so I quickly shut off my car. I was kind of wary of going up to one of the farmhouses at this hour because 1) I'm guessing they'd be weirded out and not answer anyway at someone knocking on their door in that rural an area at this hour and 2) ... I think I actually just covered everything in #1. Anyway, I put my four way flashers on in the case that someone looked out their window. A few farm dogs got pissed and began barking at my car from a distance. Even more reason I was not approaching the houses right now.

Eventually low and behold, headlights appear. The car eventually approaches, and turns out it's one of the farmers that lives in the farmhouse with the pissed off dogs. He had some coolant in his trunk that he let me use to top off my tank which appeared low. We sat and watched it run for a while, and my temp remained around a moderate level. I offered to pay him for the gallon of coolant I used, but he refused saying that he had been helped many time on the side of the road so he was just passing it along. He gave me his cell phone number just in case, and I was on my way. Half a mile later I'm spiking again. It's either 1) nurse it home very slowly or 2) call a tow. I opted to try my luck at number one. This ended up working, though it took me 4 hours to make an approximately 7 mile drive. I drove in little spurts and when the temperature began to rise I would quickly pull off and let it cool back down. I eventually made it from the dirt road, to gravel, to pavement, to two lane highway and then to the outskirts of town. The repair shop was on my way home, so I just dropped the car off in their lot and left the keys in the drop box and walked the rest of the way home.

I literally gave myself nightmares of the mechanic calling me informing me that my car's engine was toast, or that I'd blown a gasket or some other repair over a grand to have done. The guy woke me up this morning with mixed news. The good kind of mixed news. The good news is that it's a relatively cheap and easy repair. The bad news, there is only one of the parts I need available in the entire US. So, they're having it sent quickly, but my car is likely sidelined until Tuesday, Monday if I'm lucky and Wednesday if I'm not. Additional good news is that the weather should be crappy all weekend so my car is not really needed. Adding to that, Tia begins her spring break this afternoon and was planning on coming up and spending most of the break with me so I won't be without wheels if they become needed. I suppose it's a good thing that this storm system moving through is supposed to lack the fire power for any significant weather. I'm ignoring the potential for snow accumulations at this point. On the bright side I suppose, late March snow does not usually stick around long. If we do *shudder* pick up a few inches, it should be melted within days as the high March sun does it's work and we hit 50's again in a couple days following the cold front.

Oh, for those interested the problem was a belt/pulley system powering the water pump. There were no noticeable leaks, but this system was "disintegrated" in his words. This in turn does not circulate the coolant through the system so it just sits in the radiator and gets hotter and hotter before evaporating. Thus, I lose coolant without actually having a leak. Better now than under the meso. I can't even imagine that. Having your car overheating to the point you can only drive half a mile before it spikes with a tornado approaching you. I guess at that point it would be faster to literally run for your life.

Anyway, one more photo. I'm not overly happy with any of the photos that I shot. Was hoping they'd make the trip worth it but none really stuck out to me. I did shoot a time lapse of the sun setting in the wind farm, so hopefully that will turn out when I fudge with it later.

At least the scenery was nice. But really, why is it that my only car issues happen about as far from civilization as I get during the trip. This one rivaled the trip last June having to nurse my car home at 40 mph on a spare tire from southeast Iowa. A trip that normally takes 2.5 took 5 hours. I suppose actually this one blows that one out of the water... this 7 minute drive should have taken me 15 minutes tops. 15 minutes that turned into 4 hours. Ah well, the repair bill on this will be less than the $600 Iowa gave me that day, and I don't plan to total this car a week after that repair bill. *knocking on every piece of wood in the state of Illinois*

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