We all loaded up into a rented truck and went looking for some scenery yesterday. We started out in Arches National Park, and then did a big loop drive up through the La Sal Mountains. We found lots of pretty things to take pictures of, but didn’t. For some reason when we’ve got visitors the camera barely comes out. So, we were at Arches and have no pictures of arches.
This morning I just barely got the bus to fire up. The starter was just about dead. We found a new one at the first store we stopped in at, and this afternoon I crawled underneath to get dirty.
Before tearing things apart I was looking at the starter and noticed a cotter pin sticking right through it. For some reason I can’t even begin to explain I grabbed a pliers and pulled it right out. I guess I thought it was something installed to keep things from moving around during shipping. Or something. I don’t know. I do know that it was stupid. As I did it I felt some sort of tension release inside of it. Crap.
Well, I went ahead and installed it anyway. It took me about two hours to get the old one out and the new one in, mainly due to one bolt that I couldn’t see from above or below, and that I couldn’t reach my hand to either. It’s only a two bolt installation, so of course one of them would have to be inaccessible.
Anyway, got it all hooked up, turned the key, and surprise, surprise, the bus didn’t start. Bummed at my own stupidity I removed the new starter and put the old one back in. Click, click, click. Nothing. It wouldn’t start at all now either.
So after we got the kids to bed I threw the newly broken starter in a bag and headed out to the highway for what I remembered to be about a two-mile hike. Double that and add in the low sun beating on my face and the hot tar and the speeding trucks—this was turning out to be a hell of an afternoon.
By about the midway point I was thinking about how in just about every other country we’ve ever been I would not have had to walk this far, I would have been picked up. I had my thumb out the whole time and not a single person so much as slowed down. Not that I should talk—when was the last time I picked up a hitchhiker? It’s been years. What a jerk. I need to start paying back the world for all the rides I’ve been given.
I stumbled into the auto store, opened up the refrigerator, and downed a bottle of water. I’ve wondered who is buying these way overpriced sodas or waters at auto parts stores, and now I know.
I told the guy my problem, explaining the bit about the cotter pin, to which he replied, “No, you didn’t do that. No, seriously, listen to me, you did not do that. Stop telling me that you did that.” He was determined to replace it for me despite the fact that I’d pretty much nullified the warranty. And he did, he got me a new one. Even better, he offered me a lift home. My faith in the kindness of strangers restored.