Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I got hold of Tanya's mom Peggy first thing on waking up in the Day's Inn. She was having lunch with her parents, so I drove 30 miles up to West Bend to meet her afterwards. I could see her daughter in her, and her voice showed me where Tanya's bright side came from. I learned tidbits of Tanya's history, like her being senior prom queen, and at 18 being the youngest girl to be recruited as a dancer for the NBA Milwaukee Bucks. Despite the acknowledgment that these things meant less to Tanya than they did to the other girls, to whom their West Bend life was everything, Peggy's parental pride beamed while telling me of these local honors, as it did whenever she spoke of her charmed girl. It was clear why Tanya had to get out of her home town as soon as possible. Some old photos of the bleached blonde teenager were a great sight as well. It was pretty interesting to explain to the mom my transition from initially having a crush on her girl last year, to today's "Uncle Lundo" role which seems to be unavoidable.

Starting out for Minneapolis from MIlwaukee at 3:30PM, I knew I'd get there after dark, but I held the speed to below 60-65 mph to avoid overheating. Switched the soundtrack away from the old standards station to 60s-on-6, giving me a higher-spirited ride along I-94. Cruising along at the relaxed pace, all the other cars and huge trucks whizzing by me, I just grinned - you guys are all driving cars, I'm out here in the sun having a party! But the water pump nagged at me. What does "water pump is shot" mean? Is it still pumping, just making bearing noise, or has it stopped pumping the essential cooling water around the block? The GEN idiot light went out completely for the first time since I've had the car, leading to theories. I never knew what was wrong with it, but that whole harness is probably miswired - the GEN light could actually be the inverse of the signal meant for the TEMP light, and going OFF might indicate overheating? Who knows? Along the way, I ate in MacDonald's while letting it cool down and filled the radiator with coolant before setting off again. I thought I might just make it to Mpls, now keeping it around 50-55 mph. But after stopping to piss about an hour later at New Lisbon WI, it wouldn't start up again. Same old story, now I'm thinking the engine is seized up hot. But a close inspection showed the brand new red wire on the alternator had come separated from its little spade lug, so the alternator wasn't charging the battery again (hence the dark GEN light?).

I tried jump-starting it, but no luck turning over. So maybe it's seized up as well. The woman who helped me has a husband 3 miles down the road with a service shop. Being the accountant for the trucker's motel attached to the Mobil station where I'd stopped, she got me a $25 room (people are so NICE here!). Ray will tow me to his shop in the morning, and darling Michelle agreed to drive down here as early as she can with the new water pump from Cadillac King that arrived at her place today. I need a new wire with terminal, battery recharged, replacement radiator hose (the one on the car spurts water from a crack when I loosen the radiator cap), and the pump installed.

I've got to leave Mpls Sat. morning in order to have time to visit Ellis in Idaho on the way to Burning Man, and that's assuming all goes smoothly with the Eldo after the fixes are done. If I can make it past Seattle, it doesn't really matter if the trip turns out to be a series of repair stops, as I'd have to have those things done back home anyway. But I won't be daunted.

No comments: