Day 3: Déjà Vu All Over Again

Ooofa.  What a challenging day.  Frustrating, disappointing, infuriating.  Remember that remark about how icebox cool it was in the van yesterday?  Well, guess what.  Loyal blog followers can already see it coming.  Yup, the A/C broke again.  I’ve actually started padding these trips with two extra days for mechanical problems.

Let’s start at the beginning of the day.  Pouring rain in South Bend.  A leisurely hour napping in a parking lot while the locals dealt with scary rush hour madness.  Then, the torrents stopped and I ventured off to shoot in the grey.  I usually don’t shoot inflatables but this Godzilla at a used car lot was super cute:



And then off to wrap up the rest of Indiana — the sun came out for a little bit.  At Portage Liquor (in Portage) – this cool spinner sign.  This particular style I haven’t seen before.  Although this one doesn’t  spin anymore (broken and city would never allow it).  The owner said he had another one in blue stashed out back.  Unfortunately, the sun was directly behind the sign from every angle — so this is the best I could do.



And then in the skeeviest of skeeve neighborhoods in Gary, the dogs and I could take the heat no more.  It was only maybe 9am and already near 90.  Turned the A/C knob for relief.  Nothing.  Tried variations of on/off, front/back, low/high.  Nothing.  Tried the acceleration foot off the pedal to see if blower would kick in.  Blower the same but only hot air coming in.  Off to Illinois to the closest Firestone.  A wise move since the last time the A/C got worked on was that Firestone in Albuquerque just two months ago.

After an hour and a half there, they figured out that their freon machine was on the fritz.  So I had to go to another Firestone a few miles away.  There for another couple of hours — til the figured out it was the same part that I had replaced in ABQ:  those $800 hoses.  Turns out it was a lousy installation and there was rubbing enough to create a hole and leaking.  They would replace for free.  Which is good — but they couldn’t get the part til maybe Friday.  FRIDAY?!  After my freaking out — and a bunch more phone calls — the part should arrive at 11am tomorrow.  So my troubles and the time waste-age are still not over.

By then it was 3 pm and more than half the day was gone.  For nothin.   Nothin actually fixed.  And I’m not feeling especially confident.  What if the wrong part comes?  What if that’s STILL not what’s wrong?  I hear Iowa (the next state coming up) is 110 right now.   But what are my options?  I even called the Chevy dealership across they street — they were booked up til August 2, appointments only.  What the?  So the Firestone guys filled up the freon temporarily for me and said they could hear it hissing.  They pessimistically predicted it would probably last maybe a half hour.  And with Chicagoland at 99 degrees today —  that would be that — and off to the hotel we’d go as fast as Sparkle could fly.

But actually, the A/C held out til around 7pm — and I got some shooting in which helped get me out of my funk and stress.

From Wilmington — the Van Duyne Motel:




A close-up of the wooden fish piece — which looks pretty vulnerable (wooden peeling apart) & might just fall off tomorrow.  Evidently, there was some neon something there before the fish (different or same name of motel?).



From La Salle, IL:



E.F. Budnik’s in Lemont — a pharmacy, cigar shop, etc. from 1922.   It closed in 2010 but the interior still had lots of original cabinetry, a giant steel cash register, and display cases.  Very sad.  Here’s more about the place:



And, finally, here’s how we roll at night.  After a long, hot day this Motel 6 is like a four-star hotel.  All I need to crank out these Flickr uploads & blog posts:  Diet Coke, the laptop, and lists.  Nik lets me have the front third of the chair.



Alright then — better luck tomorrow.  The Firestone guy said the repair would probably be two hours.  Which probably means four.  And we’ll see if the part really arrives magically at 11am.  The forecast for the next few days sounds pretty miserable — thunderstorms, showers, and relentless heat.  But I wouldn’t bet one penny on anything they say.

3 thoughts on “Day 3: Déjà Vu All Over Again

  1. Sorry for all the difficulties, better luck tomorrow…but I’m laughing too because our cats only let us use the front of the chair as well!

  2. oh man, not happy to hear about the A/C but glad you have a somewhat quick solution. i LOVE the price (free!) but i know you just want to continue on down the road asap.

    maybe the upside is that hopefully this will be a solid fix that will hold you for the entire trip, as it seems like you are going to really need the A/C.

    love the pics of your setup in the motel room. like peeking behind the curtain (a la Wizard of Oz)….!

    that fish is really quite incredible. i know it is probably not in good shape but the cracking and bowing really add to the beauty of it — at least photographically. nice!


    • Yeah, I’m thinking Firestone is the way to go for all my repairs — since at least the work is guaranteed. No Firestones near me at home though. Aggravating as it is to be stuck here — it’s torrential rain here (7am) — probably all day — so I must as well just sit in a garage.

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