Back to real time and Western Kansas

After spending a few days with a very good long time friend in Pueblo West, (Hi!) it was time to continue my slow decent from Colorado to sea level of Gulf of Mexico. Mondays trip for someone who doesn’t “drive like an old lady” I’ve been told, would be no more than five hours max. Me and Moonbeam reach our destination in a blistering nine hours, give or take an hour.

In our defense though, the Check Engine Soon light came on for the first time in nearly 20 years of driving and 215,000 miles. Being one who ALWAYS follows directions to the absolute letter, I consent to do as told. I pull over and pop the hood and proceed. Being a van, the engine I’m supposed to check is hidden deep within an overcrowded dark cavern.  I peer into the darkness, squinting. Ah Ha! Good. I can just barely see the top of something turning, that’s good I think. So after thoroughly checking the engine as directed, I continue on, as did the light.

I could tell the engine wasn’t running all that well but I didn’t know what else to do but press on. But now my “Old Lady speed” has decreased just a bit.

Upon leaving Rocky Ford, I spy a Farmers Market still open. Super! Maybe they have gourds for sale. After quite some time sorting through piles of still green gourds, I strike a deal for five and continue on.

Just inside the Kansas border lies my home town so I take the opportunity to visit another very good and long time friend. We tried to cram two years worth of life into two short hours. And it was really nice to have those two hours with you my friend!  

So off I head pressing into the impending darkness deeper into Kansas territory.  Arriving at my sister’s house, I enjoy hot  chicken and noodles and soon crash from such an exhausting drive. I know by now Moonbeam is not getting any better on its own so I head to the only repair shop in town. Their ace mechanic is off deer hunting. After fumbling for a while, the guys in charge inform me the diagnostic code translates to ‘rich fuel mixture’. That being not too hard to determine by sniffing the stinky exhaust fumes, I am given half a dozen less than well thought out guesses of what might be the cause. I’m not buying into much of anything I’m hearing. My suspicion for quite a while has been the fuel pump and still remains so.

Dilemma time. I can’t get it fixed here that’s a given. It’s 900 miles to where I’m headed, Aransas Pass Texas. I know that between here and there isn’t much more than endless miles of Mesquite trees with far-flung burgs of habitation scattered in. Most of which only have one repair shop as does this one. And if it happens to be deer season it’s closed.

I have once before been faced with a similar situation and I successfully made a four-hour mad dash to the Coast with a screaming alternator all the way. (Deer season, no mechanics) This is a whole lot further to go and can my luck hold out and Moonbeams old tired fuel pump hangs in there. If it can only pump another 80 gallons of gas it might work.

Friday morning will be the test. A true challenge for sure. Don’t you wish you could look forward to a trip like this? The chance of being stranded alongside the road in the middle of who knows where Texas…alone…and deer season!

Who can resist that?  So if it’s weeks before I return to these pages, you will know that’s how long it took my mechanic to shoot his damn deer!

Wish me Luck!


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Patty Helsel
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 16:12:47

    Thank you very much for those two hours. I enjoyed your visit. I am hoping and praying you make it to the coast safely!


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