April 29th --My Jeep broken and Kansas--
I don't want to report this kind of thing, but I think I need to face to a reality. Before I start my journey, I expected some trouble and I thought that it is one of the purpose of this journey to overcome unknown difficulties. However, this is too much.
Today, I left the motel at 9:45 and drove east looking for a supermarket and a lube shop. After getting some food, I got an oil and air filter change. I thought I needed it because I had driven more than 3000 miles in red sand. But this was wrong, I guess. I left Denver and took the I-70 to the east at 11:30. It was so gusty that my Jeep swung a little bit when I passed trailers. After driving for about one hour and half, I noticed that a slight press of gas made a shift down to 3rd gear. I thought this was because of a strong head wind. But after a while, I found the water temperature was going up and oil pressure is going down. I slowed down to cool the engine, but in order to keep the temperature low, I needed to slow down to about 50 miles/hour. I decided to stop, looking for an exit with a service station. Just before getting to the gas station at Seibert, I heard a rattle noise from the engine. I put the selector to neutral and let my Jeep go down the slope to the gas station. I waited for some time and stopped the engine. I asked for a mechanic in the office, but they didn't have. They told me that the nearest auto repair is at Flagler, 10 miles west to Seibert. I checked the oil gauge and found no oil was left. I bought lots of oil and added, but it didn't work to stop the rattle noise. Actually, my ignorance with upset mind made me pour about 4 gallons of oil into 5 quart (1.25 gallon) reservoir.. This made a back flow of oil into air filter resulting in smoke. I called AAA to tow my Jeep to the nearest garage. While waiting, I inspected the engine and found a mosquito on the seal of a cap on the top of the engine. I guess the technician in the lube shop screwed up, although it is almost impossible to prove that this mistake is the direct cause of the engine damage.
Oh, my Jeep!
I waited and waited. At last a towing truck came and my Jeep was securely put in a garage. The guy, Mike, was very kind to me. Although it was Saturday, he inspected my Jeep after draining tons of oil from the engine. As soon as he listen to the rattle noise from the engine, he told me to stop it right away. I had to hear bad news. He explained that my engine got a fatal damage. It needs a full service or a replacement. It will take about 10 days. Yes, it is real, not a dream. I tried to be cool. There were some ways to go. Here is the minimum condition. I will take a break at New York and the flight from New York to Japan had already booked. So I need to be at New York on May 14th. One option is to wait here until it's get done and drive straight to New York. But how can I kill 10 days here? He offered a rental car under the condition of returning here. This condition seemed tough when I heard it. He also suggested me to take a bus to Denver and rent a car there. Then I can return it at New York. But I need to fly back to Denver and drive back here. Moreover, I have to restart my journey here. This is also tough and it will cost as high as renting a car here. Finally, I decided to rent a car here and resume my journey. Then all I need is to drop by here to return the car and pick up my Jeep when I drive back from east. OK, this seems the best way. I loaded lots of stuff to the new partner. Of course, I was really sorry to leave my Cherokee here but there was no way. And good thing is when I come back here, my Jeep will be ready to go again, hopefully.
I've got about a half day or a full day behind. It was about 18:30 when I returned the I-70. I was tempted to stay in Flagler or next town. But it seemed to me that the border of Kansas is a symbol of overcoming this difficulty. I shouted, "Never give up! Never!" At last, I crossed the state line and stopped at Goodland, 17 miles from the border. While driving, I was thinking about this happening and what this means. One thing I hit upon was that I could touch a kindness of people. Mike and his wife, Sally were very very kind, helped me a lot and were patient to my bad English. I believe that this experience is worth for what I lost. Unfortunately, I can't take a picture of my Jeep at Miami or New York. This is the only pain left in my heart.
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