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.
two ruffed grouse
one blue jay
$350 (not counting gasoline)
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!