Thursday, August 21, 2008

Wisconsin - Minneapolis

Jamie's boyfriend Mike drove the water pump down from Mpls on his motorcycle at night, dropping it off around 2:30AM. Ray said he'd be here at 8AM to tow the car to his place, so I got up with a 7AM alarm and had breakfast in the incredibly spacious truck stop cafe. He showed up at 9, dragged the Eldo up on the flatbed for yet another ride, and took it down the road. With no internet access here, I went back to sleep, after setting the MacBook back to work converting the last of 6 reels of full-res HD movies of the 2007 trip down to 720 QuickTime videos for easier viewing and handling. Still no sign of him at 2PM; I called, left a message. So my Minneapolis visit is cut down to one full day. Familiar syndrome, planning too many things within too short a time. But better than being bored.

Ray called around 2:30 PM. With the new water pump the car started, but the alternator wasn't charging the battery. So he installed a new alternator (I hadn't thought of telling him there was a spare in the trunk). The battery still wasn't taking a charge, so he installed a new battery as well. All that, with the towing charge, came to $350 - an amazing bargain, considering that I'd have paid at least twice as much back home.

Back on the road, switched to 50s music on the XM radio, and it felt OK cruising at 70-75 for the 4-hour ride to Minneapolis. But the first time I stopped, it took a lot of turning over and pedal-pumping for the engine to ignite. It was fine cold, but trouble starting up hot is a bad sign. More to deal with, I'll have a shop look at it in Mpls (where I still have to buy two front tires).

It was great to see Michelle again, and Wolfgang, and Jamie and her two beautiful girls. I'd had no internet access in two days, but divided my time between family and mail/web updates as best I could. We set up the tent (which hadn't been opened since it was packed up wet in Texas last year and sat in the trunk since then) in her backyard, and Mimi sprayed the inside with disinfectant.

I'm anxious to get into "normal" road mode, hoping I can cover the long distances between here and Burning Man via Idaho without further automotive incidents. How many more things can go wrong with the car? We'll find out (the hard way).

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