But I like this van. I know it in the dark. It has four cup holders in the driver's reach. I want it to live. Here is a portrait I took of my van when my sister parked it up close under a cottonwood tree, near the Wells Fargo Bank in Española. I said it had never been in a cottonwood tree, and took this photo:
I have come to make you all feel better. Ready?
If your car is running, rejoice!
If you are at your own house, or some comfy place of your choosing, breathe a deep breath of gratitude.
If the last time your car broke it was in your own driveway, or better yet maybe right in front of your favorite mechanic, remember to appreciate your good fortune.
Here is MY good fortune: I got to see my niece, Gina, in a play Friday night. I stayed in a beautiful place with my sister, and spent most of the day with her. I got safely past Santa Fe (not "through"—took the bypass).
I was not yet on the freeway when the engine started to feel rough. There was a clear place to pull over when I decided to stop, when I saw the smoke (not much; enough) coming out of the engine compartment.
Keith is home! He answered the phone (I'm happy to have a cellphone that was working). I'm glad the car started and ran well enough for me to pull a few hundred feet into the shade under I-25.
The difference between sitting in the shade and sitting in the bright sunshine on a cloudless New Mexico day is HUGE. That was going to be dehydration panic. I have some water, but not much. In the shade, I could last until tomorrow. Tree shade would be better than overpass shade but hey… it's shade.
More good fortune for me! I can use my iPhone as a mobile hotspot. I have my iPad plugged in straight to the car's battery (two options, on phone charger); I don't need the car battery today anyway. Keith arranged for a tow truck to be on its way, to take me and this van to our favorite mechanic, where Keith will meet us, load up my too-much overnight stuff, and pay the guy. All I need to do is be calm, play on the computer or iPad, and wait patiently. COOL, huh?
Yep, I'm pretty lucky. It could have broken on the way TO Española, and that would have ruined the weekend. Keith could have been out of town. I could have been in an inside lane and had a hard time getting to the shoulder safely. It could be dark. But nope! Optimal car trouble.
(Posted on facebook October 4, 2014, 4:55 p.m.)
Keith arranged for a guy from Albuquerque to get me and take the van to our favorite mechanic, Chuck at The Mechanic, a mile and a half from our house. I only sat for an hour and fifteen minutes. It was not hot (in the shade) nor cold. I had a little food and water. I had a hoodie I didn't need.
The view from my waiting place. Temperature mild, notice traffic, peaceful.
More detail in response to Jon Kream wanting to know what broke:
Jon, I will report on Monday when the mechanic gets to peek. Oil had sprayed upwards in the engine compartment, up and toward the driver's side. Not much leaked on the road. There was some leaked on the bed of the car hauler, but not like the bottom fell out of it.
I thought "piston" and I thought "tune-up" before I thought "This won't make it to Albuquerque" and pulled over.
It's a 2008 Chrysler Town and Country in case you want to take bets or something. Nearly 100,000 miles, but new tires. Keith is trying to think of how to decide whether to spring for a new engine if that's what it needs, but I think something tubular or ringlike, perhaps. And I know this van in the dark, and don't want to learn a new automobile.