Saturday, August 14, 2010

Puff the Muggle Wagon

Going on a camping road trip is quite a process in my house. A week ahead, piles begin to appear. The dining room becomes a staging area. Tempers rise, feet stomp and lists rule.

staging area, car camping 2010
I dislike the tension. I gutted my favorite stuffy this week. I wish I hadn't. Now it is floppy and doesn't go squeaky squeaky.

I wish I hadn't.
We were set to head west early tomorrow morning. Destination: Wall, South Dakota. Then on to the Black Hills and the Bighorn Mountains. My family has done variations on this trip lots, but Wyoming is a first for me. I do love camping and hiking!

Water just tastes better camping.
Colorado, August 2009
We get to be outside all the time, the smells are fantastic, I get to chase Dan the Turbo Fawn (What? I can't this time! Phooey!), and we all sleep in a cozy pile in our den-- which is good, because it gets chilly.

They make sure I am comfortable camping.
Jay Cooke State Park, June 2009
So, Friday morning, Susan and Boy#2 went off to run final errands. A longer leash for me, a bone for me, food for me and a new stuffy for me for Christmas (I can hear you, people. I am standing right here.) and some other stuff. They also procured a massive bag of ice and then stopped at the ATM to get some cash on the way home.

They way they tell it, Susan and Boy#2 had been discussing a bad smell that was making them feel icky. They thought is was asphalt or some other nasty fume. But it seemed to follow them where ever they went. At the bank, Boy#2 inquired if it was normal for black smoke to be curling up from the hood.

There is a family legend about my Susan and her sister watching Tarzan on their old black and white TV. The story has it that they were so enthralled with an epic forest fire scene that their dad had to pull the plug when he entered the room and found smoke pouring out of the TV. They also speak of the time their hotel mini fridge exploded in Costa Rica. I worry that my Susan will die in a conflagration someday.

Puff the Muggle Wagon, on a better day.
Colorado, August 2009
But back to the smoking Subaru. Susan clearly knows nothing about cars. She can barely open the hood. She has changed a few flats. But mostly, her car care knowledge involves knowing which way to point the car to get to people who know things.

So she thought of the closest auto shop - the place her sister goes to - and prayed the car wouldn't blow up while driving the last mile down Snelling Avenue.

Friday really isn't the best day to have car trouble. I'm not saying I believe in that Friday the 13th stuff but... Luckily, Susan's sister's car place was  sympathetic. They took a look under the hood and checked her car into urgent care right away. The guy said there was oil all over which was burning as it hit the hot engine. (Susan wondered if they shouldn't have gotten the oil changed for cheap last week.) She was very relieved the auto guy gave her, Boy#2 and their melting bag of ice a ride back home.

A day later, the mechanics are still perplexed. They keep calling about disassembling the exhaust system to "get a better look," checking about the warranty (since there are only 35,000 miles on the wagon) and they are now injecting dye to try to figure out where all that oil is coming from. Words you don't like your vet or mechanic to ever say: "We've never seen anything like it!"

Now it is coming up on Sunday and that is the day of rest for mechanics. We are going nowhere. Hotel and campground reservations have been canceled.  The family is coping even though I seem to be the only one with any food in the house. Maybe they will start making camping meals.

My Susan decided re-channel her stress into a morning mega-walk with me (woo hoo!) and by ripping sweaty armloads of weeds from the garden. She found these cute little baby bell peppers hiding under the weeds.

If we left on time, we would have never found our baby bell peppers!
Maybe is a good thing to gain a few unexpected days of home vacation. No appointments. No schedule. And the grocery store is close enough on foot.

I am good at waiting. 
But... I just can't wait to GO!

Hiking in the wilderness with Boy#1
Colorado, August 2009

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