Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Stupid Road Trip

I was hoping to have some great stories of wonderful birds to share tonight. I was hoping to be able to post beautiful pictures. Art and I packed the truck this morning. Boots, hats and gloves, extra socks. Camera and back-up camera. Binoculars, field guide, Birdjam. Hand warmers. Insulated mugs and a thermos of hot coffee. Stop for gas and we're on our way-
Hasty Brook here we come!!
We'd made it about fifty miles on the freeway when we heard a thunk. A bad sound. The power steering went out, the heat turned off and the check engine light came on. Art managed to pull the truck off the freeway to the first exit and into a gas station. He knew before he even opened the hood that it was the serpentine belt. We found an open auto parts store half a mile away that had the part and limped over there. Seventy five dollars (cha-ching!) later we had the belt and tools he needed. Handy Art fixed the problem in the Checker Auto Parts parking lot. Art was so pleased, and it was only 10AM so we turned around and got back on the road headed Up North.
Hasty Brook here we come!!
We weren't on the freeway more than a few miles when I started to hear a flappity-hissy sound. Art said "Oh, that's just the belt seating itself". Moments later gray smoke was trailing us and the power steering went out again. Please-oh-please maybe the belt just came loose. Nope. The water pump was shot and antifreeze was spraying all over. Now we had to call a tow! While we were freezing waiting for the wrecker Art called Checker again and luckily they had a new water pump to fit the truck. (I'm grateful for cell phones!) Finally the tow guy showed up and loaded the pickup. I stuffed myself in the back seat of the tow truck for the SIX MILE tow north to the next exit and then back to Checker Auto. Six miles = $120!!!!! (cha-ching!!)
Art's brother lives 45 minutes away and he drove over to help him replace the water pump ($80 cha-ching!!). At around 2PM they were done. After another $75 (cha-ching!!) for tools, sealant, antifreeze and paper shop towels (they cleaned up after themselves very thoroughly) we were ready to go. The guys were cold and hungry and had worked so hard, we needed to stop for food before getting back on the road. White Castle was two doors down and that's what they wanted. I've heard about White Castle hamburgers but don't remember ever tasting them. Well, now I have tasted a "slider"- one bite was enough. Check that off my life "to do" list. It was awful, really awful! The little burgers were wet and gooey. The bun stuck to my fingers. The onions were clear and colorless and slimy. The meat(?) was wafer thin and gray!! Ugh!!
It was too late to go on to Hasty Brook so Art suggested we check out Carlos Avery Wildlife Refuge a few miles away. Surely there would be birds waiting for us. It was really pretty there. The skies were quite overcast but there was lots of fresh, clean snow. For two hours Art drove slowly through the refuge, stopping patiently when ever I thought I saw something. Trying to keep the conversation cheerful during our 5 MPH, two hour refuge drive, Art reminded me that this wildlife area is a favorite body dumping ground for Twin Cities murderers. NEAT.
We saw:
one pheasant
two ruffed grouse
one blue jay
That's it.
Eight hours,
$350 (not counting gasoline)
four birds,
no pictures.
I had such high hopes of visiting my Hasty Brook. I wanted to see cool birds. It just wasn't meant to be. We picked up pizzas on the way home. Oh well, we're all home, safe and sound and the pizza was terrific. It could have been worse!


Mary said...

Oh, Linne. I'm sorry your plans when so awry. Hey, at least you have a sense of humor about it, right?

I give Art a lot of applause for being able to fix'r up and continue on and for also having the patience to visit another place that wasn't even on the agenda. Michael and I would have probably just given up.

Next trip to Hasty Brook will be glorious and you'll look back on this weekend and laugh. Cha-Ching!!!


Anonymous said...

Glad to know you are home safe and sound. Also glad to know that White Castle burgers (?) are as bad as they've always looked to me!

Jayne said...

Well now, what I will say is that you are so blessed to be married to someone who can fix the darned water pump himself and still smile and head to a place where he hoped you'd still see some birds! Wow, what a guy! So sorry you did not make it to Hasty Brook. Bet that pizza tasted heavenly. ;c) Hugs to you Lynne!

Ruth said...

Others have said it, but your husband sounds like a gem. As you said, it could have been worse. I did have to chuckle though, just because I can identify with road trips like this one. Happy New Year!

Deb said...

Awww! Too bad you didn't make it to Hasty Brook, but I'm impressed that Art was able to get everything fixed up so quickly.

I'm with you on the White Castles. Ugh.

Linda@eriesargonaut said...

Well, you got car repairs out of the way before the new year! At least it didn't happen during a snow storm at night or something(I always try to look at the positive side of things) and you are Ok. How lucky to have a husband that can fix cars like that. Between you and Tom@Monarch it seems there is bad car luck when searching for birds. You'll probably get an extra dose of birds the next time. Here's hoping you get a lot of bird lifers in the New Year!

NatureWoman said...

Wow, he replaced the serpetine belt in a parking lot, now I am impressed! Sorry you didn't make it to Hasty Brook - bummer! But glad you're safe and at home.

Larry said...

one pheasant
two ruffed grouse
one blue jay
That's it.
Eight hours,
$350 (not counting gasoline)
four birds,
no pictures-A year from now looking back on the memory of this trip-priceless! You survived it, and some day you'll laugh about it with friends and family.

KGMom said...

Aww--Lynne--sometimes it seems that when life winds up and starts throwing curve balls. . .it just won't quit.
Glad you made it home, and have the grace to write about your experience.

RuthieJ said...

Dang, Lynne, that just sucks that the trip you were so looking forward to turned out so different. Car problems are no fun--no matter what the season. You're fortunate Art is such a handy guy--my auto repair skills don't extend much beyond changing a wiper blade!

Susan Gets Native said...

I'm sorry for so many things here....
All the money you spent to go nowhere.
The four birds you saw. You could have stayed home and saw more!
And I'm also sorry that you don't like Sliders. I love them, myself. I can eat....well, I'm not telling you how many I can eat at one sitting.