California, we love you, but please please let us achieve escape velocity.
We are still in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. It is beer thirty and we are sitting coolly in the shantyboat on this hot hot day drinking tall cans of PBR, reading (Kai) and blogging (me).
This morning we were woken up by the trash truck at 6am in the Ranch99 parking lot in Fremont well within the Bay Area having been grounded by a trailer electrical connection that pulled apart during the night’s drive and dragged along the highway.
We motored with our lightless, brakeless trailer from auto parts store to auto parts store looking for the elusive 7 pin round connector. We finally met Erik at a super industrial truck and auto parts store in the wilds of Newark who pointed to several giant buckets of 7 pin connectors. “There’s what you need. That’s industrial, for big rigs.”
Okay, so we hung out in his parking lot, extending our trailer electrical wiring and replacing the connector. Kai used bike innertubes to make a stretchy harness for the long wire. We did a series of impressive truck and trailer donuts to test the new wiring setup.
We got as far as Auburn, still in California. We stopped for a late lunch and to check the tires and coolant level before tackling the formidable Sierra Nevadas. While we were motoring about, the truck starting overheating. Yes, it was a very hot day, but still it wasn’t anything like climbing up the mountains. Worry.
We limped back to an auto parts place parking lot and watched the radiator fluid erupt in geysers of muddy brown water. More worry.
We debated our options.
- Perhaps the coolant was just low and needed a rest and then a refill. That would put us on our way in no time. Or maybe that would be fine at first but leave us on the side of the road halfway up the mountain with an intensely complicated tow situation to work out..
- Or perhaps going to a professional would provide us a little piece of mind. Even if they found nothing but low coolant, we’d be able to proceed with more confidence. And if they found something else (a bad radiator cap? exhausted radiator fluid?), they’d fix that and we’d be on our way, ready to conquer not only the Sierras, but the Rocky Mountains across the Great Basin.
Now that I am no longer a young pup, I guess more and more I think about what could happen and compare these possibilities with the cost of preparing for eventualities. This is not theoretical. When you drive up a mountain in a crappy vehicle with a crappy cooling system, sometimes you make it. But many times the outcome is shitty. I only have to look back at my own repeated experience. Does that mean I am getting more mature?
So we have a date with a local service place that specializes in Ford trucks tomorrow morning. And we are kicking it in the parking lot of Napa Auto Parts instead of getting closer and closer to Minnesota.
But for the moment, we are listening to Lead Belly and Mississippi John Hurt, drinking a cold beer in the shade on a hot day. Could be worse.
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