Sunday, July 7, 2019

A look back: July 7, 2018

Saturday, July 7:  Today we headed back to South Carolina.  We had two vehicles, the Buick and the S-10, and we drove in convoy.  Our first stop was Camp Peniel, where we were going to deposit Daughter #2 to serve for two weeks.  (These last few days aligned with our original vacation plans.)  Along the way, we passed this Bicentennial Barn:

After dropping off the daughter, my wife and I took the other two kids and continued south.  Twice in the Columbus area, the truck would not accelerate—once on a merge ramp to the beltway around the city.  In both cases, it resumed behaving properly after a short period.  We stopped for gas south of Columbus and kept going.

By the time we were approaching the Ohio River, it was already lunchtime.  There are two ways one can take here:  stay on the Ohio side of the river and cross later, or cross promptly and travel on the Kentucky side of the river.  Knowing from past experience that there were more lunch options on the KY side, I chose to ignore the Garmin and cross promptly.

After just a few miles in Kentucky, the truck would not accelerate again, and this time, it did not improve.  I simply drove on the shoulder at about 20 mph (faster when going downhill).  At one point I stopped and called my brother, an S-10 enthusiast, for guidance.  We limped it into the next town: Greenup, KY.  Finding a McDonald's, we stopped for lunch.  An Advance Auto Parts store was a few hundred yards further away, so I limped the truck there and had them check it with one of their diagnostic tools.  There was a problem in the fuel system.  I asked them if there was a garage nearby.  There was—on the other side of their building.  I drove the truck another hundred-or-so feet over there and noticed, as I walked in, that they were 15 minutes away from closing.

I learned that the shop had not been there for terribly long; the husband was the head mechanic and his wife manned the counter and the phones.  She even let my kids hold the pet bunny rabbit that had a cage in the waiting room. 
Despite the fact that the place closed at 2:00, the mechanic took about 45 minutes to figure out that the most likely problem was that the fuel pump needed replacement.  He didn't have the part and would not be able to get it until Monday.  Therefore, we would need to leave the truck there.

However, in discussion with these people, we found out they were Christians.  The man told us that he would treat us well because we "were of the household of faith."  And he did.  The four of us piled into the Buick and made the rest of the trip home—about 350 miles—uneventfully.

On Monday, the two younger children headed to camp with the church group.  My wife and I worked ahead so that we could leave work by mid-morning on Friday; we drove most of the way to Greenup and got a motel for the night.  We picked up the truck first thing Saturday morning and had a nice chat with the mechanic.  He offered to pray with us; we gave him and his wife one of our church choir CD's.  The trip home was a success, and we got there with about 20 minutes to spare before we needed to pick up those two kids at our church from their week at camp.