Heading Out – Thursday, July 28, 2020

After over 2 years I finally got back on the road about 8:30 am on Thursday, July 28, 2020. I’m heading to Montana and then to the Canadian Rockies. I plan to be gone until mid to late September.

However, I got about 20 miles into Indiana and started having engine trouble (about 11:30 am). The engine was running rough and soon my engine light came on and started flashing. I pulled over and checked my manual and it advised I needed to stop immediately or I could ruin my catalytic converter. So I called AAA. I knew I had crossed the Ohio/Indiana line and had stopped at the first rest area in Indiana, driving west. Then I had stopped for gas at the next exit and had only driven about 5 minutes west. For some reason my call had gone to the Ohio AAA operator. She couldn’t find me. I hadn’t noticed any mile markers. I tried to give her my latitude/longitude that my car’s GPS gave me and she had no idea what that meant. She transferred me to the Indiana AAA operator.

The Indiana operator immediately asked me for my latitude/longitude. I gave her North so many degrees, so many minutes and West so many degrees, so many minutes. She had no idea what that meant. She said it should be two digits then a decimal point then four other digits. I translated it into the format she wanted and then she asked me what city I was near and where I wanted to be towed. I carry AAA premium so I get free towing up to 100 miles. I told her I was surrounded by corn fields, reminded her I was from Ohio but in Indiana and asked if I couldn’t just be towed to the same garage the wrecker was coming from. Well, I learned not all AAA approved wreckers come from garages, some are independent. She told me she would set it up with the tow truck driver to take me to the closest AAA approved garage and gave me that number so I could call and let them know I was coming.

I’m glad she gave me that number because that shop was totally booked up and would not be able to get to me that day. But finally my travel angels joined me and stuck around. The lady at the booked-up shop recommended another garage in the same general area. When I called that second shop the owner told me that parts had not come in for a car they had planned to work on that day so they could get me right in.

The tow truck driver and his mother showed up (family business) fairly quickly and she and I had a great conversation during the 20 minute ride to the garage that kept my mind off my engine. The owner of the garage was very knowledgable and helpful. He kept me informed as to what they thought was the problem, then that the computer codes and measurements confirmed that they were correct, they could get the necessary parts and have it fixed in a couple hours. I think the problem was a fuel injector. By 3:30 I was back on the road.

I had been having trouble keeping awake before the engine trouble but afterward I was fully awake and drove as far as Bloomington, Illinois.

I just want to say a word about how really, really bad the roads are in Indiana. All of the rural interstates are only two lanes (most of Ohio’s are 3 lanes) and everything appears to be under construction but with no one working. The tow truck driver’s mother had said because of the heat all the contractors were working at night. So I drove through construction zone after construction zone, many reduced to one lane, where the speed was legally reduced.