Friday, October 22, 2010

Disastrous Day (Not Completely)

So my daughter's on fall break, and my wife asked me if I could take her down to OKC yesterday to spend the weekend with my mom. My dad's El Camino has been driving a little wonky and leaking a little oil, but but I figured I could make it.

I made it about 20 miles out of Tulsa, and then something blew. I looked in my rear view and just saw a solid pillar of white smoke. Luckily, I had already pulled off the turnpike because of acceleration problems, so I only had to limp back about a mile on Rt. 66. I pulled into a gas station and lifted the hood.

Oil had sprayed all over the engine compartment. It was coating everything except the dipstick. I called Mom to tell her I wasn't going to make it. Called Kim to tell her the same. Called Dad to tell him that I'd blown up his car.Kim got my mother-in-law to come pick us up, and literally as she sent me the text to confirm she was on her way, my airtime ran out. We were stranded.

The Girl was upset, but kept herself busy with her dragon stuff. "How to Train Your Dragon" has replaced Pokemon as her new obsession. She loves the movie, and also loves the books, even though the two are very different. She has apparently caught on very early that different media need to tell stories in different ways and doesn't mind as much when the adaptation is different from the original. I think that's pretty cool.

Anyway, spent much of the afternoon sitting around my wife's house, reading the new Naomi Novik which I haven't gotten around to buying yet, but she has. My dad and brother-in-law came out in the early evening to look at the car, so my wife (having just returned from a training seminar in OKC) took me out to meet them.

They brought a new oil cap, because Dad had said the old one seemed to be a little loose. And they brought a new PCV valve, because someone had suggested that it may have been the culprit. It wasn't. There was some sort of plastic cap on the valve cover back of the oil filler cap that had split. It seemed to be source of the oil leak. Brother-in-law taped it up, refilled the crankcase, and then we started it up to see. We couldn't see any oil leaking, but there was an ominous knocking from under the valve cover. They asked me if I wanted to make do with it for a while, but I said between the transmission and the knocking, I was afraid of making it worse.

So Brother-in-Law tried to limp it back to Muskogee. He made it about ten miles before admitting defeat. The clouds of smoke weren't so much what worried him; there was no way to tell if it was still leaking or if it was the old oil burning off. But the knocking, which had been occurring intermittently when he started, had gotten much worse and more continuous after ten miles. So he pulled it into another service station to come back maybe today with a tow truck. By this time, it was dark.

Bottom line: my daughter's bummed that she can't spend the weekend with her grandmother, my mom is freaking out that I lost my car, and I am now without a vehicle again. This blows.

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