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Stuck in Russellville

posted at 9:53 pm
on Feb. 7, 2005

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So, I’m stuck in Russellville for a while.  By a while, I mean until they replace a thing called a timing chain in the engine of Debbie’s Jeep.  This would only be a DIFFICULT task, except for the fact that Russellville, while it has a Jeep dealership (but no Starbucks or Blockbuster) doesn’t actually have any timing kits.  Which pushes the needle to IMPOSSIBLE, temporarily.

A kit must be sent from Memphis.

Memphis, I was stunned to find out, is a cornucopia of timing chains, pins, and kits.  They have 13 kits in stock, and will have one here by tomorrow afternoon, or maybe they won’t.  I almost got your hopes up, didn’t I? Yeah, I know what that feels like.

By the earliest the kit will arrive, we will have spent 43 hours in Russellville, and probably eaten catfish twice.  The trip has turned from a sprint into more of a biathalon: run, drop and wait.

The Jeep made the first 1300 miles of the trip with no problem—as long as you don’t count Taco Bell consequences as a problem.  At least we both ate there.

So from Los Angeles to Arkansas we averaged a good clip, staying overnight in Albuquerque, which up to this point was only know to me as the place that Bugs Bunny, having arrived in a sticky situation, “shoulda taken a right turn at.”

As in many things, Bugs Bunny is right.  Had we turned right at Albuquerque, we would not have been pulling off the freeway at the first town exit (they have two!) in the rain at night in Russellville, having pushed on from Ft. Smith, and had the engine suddenly sputter, surge and die.

I tried to start it again, and it made a sound like a New Year’s Eve noisemaker (but less celebratory).  It wouldn’t start.

The hazard lights worked just fine.

But too many cars were behind me waiting for me to just give up.  So I ground the started some more again, and it caught, and we hobbled across the intersection and into the Best Western parking lot.

AAA towing, in the wonderful caricature of one “Bryan, but you can call me Yankee ‘cause I’m from Maine” tow truck guy, who interrupted his SuperBowl viewing to tell us that we COULD tow us all the way to Little Rock, where we could leave the car on the street outside the dealer overnight, but “he wouldn’t leave a dead cat in Little Rock.”

So we decided to have him return the next morning and take us just five mile (not five miles, I noted) to the Valley Jeep dealership.

It was there that Donna told us that we ought to get comfortable, and we could either wait in the waiting room or at our hotel.

Note: When a repair shop tells you to wait at a hotel, do not expect a quick fix.

So here we are, part arriving by truck tomorrow, to be fixed Wednesday, and maybe we’ll be on the road again then, heading east towards Washington, D.C., lighter in the wallet and heavier from all the catfish.

And fried pickles—but that’s another story.



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Dinner With the Cools

Next entry:
Breaking Blog Silence


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