Friday, July 3, 2009

We'll Leave the Light On For You

For those of you familiar with the drive to and from Vegas you will understand the gravitas of this event, for those of you not, just bear with me and imagine a HUGE mountain when I say Cajon.

So, Megan and I are driving home from Vegas. Singing along with the radio, sucking down our final slushies from SOnic (sigh) and generally dreading the fact that our little vacation is over.

We have made it over 200 miles and begin the homestreach when we reach the Cajon Pass. The middle of nowhere ride. WHen suddenly I see this out of the corner of my left eye.

FUCK! I think was the first word out of my mouth. Because now we are in the Pass and there is no where to get off. I mention it to Megan and hope I don't scare the shit out of her, but really I am scared. I hate having an engine light on, it doesn't tell you it is the actual engine that is trouble, it doesn't tell you ok you have 25 miles before this sucker blows up, nothing!

Finally we get to the end of the pass and I get off the first exit that has the look of civilization, Upland. I find an auto parts store, where the guy inside informs me they are not supposed to "help" customers with their cars, but he does anyways. I won't name him or his store because I don't want him to get in trouble but if he is reading (I slipped him my card) THANK YOU! He helped me check my trans fluid and my oil. The oil was a little low so I bought some and put it in, spilling everywhere of course cuz I was too cheap to buy a funnel. no luck the light was still on. Then I patiently wait for the car to sufficiently cool to check my radiator fluid, all the while Twittering asking for advice over the interwebz. WHen I open the radiator cap (damned arthritis made it very hard to do), I see green fluid right up at the top so I assume that means it is full. I close it up and pray to the gods of cars for guidance (i.e. Twitter).

I called my local Goodyear where we have been taking all of our cars for almost 20 years and talk to a calming rational voice. First thing he says is "did you get gas recently? Are you sure the gas cap is tightened properly?" WHA? HUH? To me that was the stupidest thing, but I'll be damned if it doesn't say right on the gas cap that if it isn't tightened for 3 clicks the engine light will come on. But no that wasn't our problem.

He directs me to a local Goodyear that is getting ready to close, those wonderful men, open up my hood and start poking around. First thing they notice is that my radiator cap is not on correctly and wondered how far I drove like that. "Only a couple of miles, I swear". A couple of more and I would have had real issues because with my stupid arthritis I didn't close the damn cap all the way. Sigh

After almost 45 minutes of helping me (past closing time and FOR FREE), they ascertain that my thermostat is not opening up and ergo the car may be overheating. Of course they can't fix it right now, (The manager offered to drive us home! 75 miles!) but they help us find a local Pep Boys that can fix us tonight. YAY!

We find the Pep Boys almost by mistake, and settle in for a long wait while they fix my car. My tummy is rumbling at this point and we head off to find something to eat.

The only place within walking distance was the Rat Factory. That's right Chucky frikkin Cheese. UGH. I didn't like this place when my kids were little I can't imagine going there without any kids. Needless to say really, the pizza was Horrible the fries were gross and the only saving factor was the Diet Coke. How we longed for Sonic at that point.

They replace my thermostat and show me the crack, but inform me that my light is still on and I have to take it to my local Pep Boys in the morning to have a code pulled.

After I make them pinkie swear that my car won't blow up on the ride home (sigh), Megan and I head off home 4 hours after the initial light coming on.


  1. That is a driver's nighmare when that light goes on. I remember having the same thing happen to me and I drove on. Yep, burned out the motor. My wallet took quite a hit. Glad to see that some good samaritans helped you and it did not result in impoverishment.

  2. DId I forget to put TO BE CONTINUED?

    Yeah, it gets worse.

    Stay tuned.