How I Turned a 5 Hour Drive into a 2 Day Event

If I was the Idiot, I could write something funny and clever about my misadventure, but I don’t feel all that funny or clever.

My son’s car overheated on Wednesday night before we left to go to Laramie.  I took it to our mechanic early Thursday morning and learned it was a seven dollar radiator recovery cap.  No problem.

Except not a single parts store in Cody had the cap.  I called parts stores in the surrounding area and in towns along the way to Laramie.  No one had one.  I started calling local salvage yards.  No one even had a car, let alone a stupid radiator cap.

All the parts stores assured me they could have a replacement cap first thing Friday morning so  I gave it up, scheduled delivery and relaxed at my house.  I got up early on Friday, drove to Cody and patted myself on the back all the way back home.  Only one day delay, seven dollars to fix and we would be in Laramie in time for dinner at Jeffery’s.

Until I tried to put the cap on the tank and it was too big.  Seriously?! 

Okay.  I had two options:  return the part, get the right one and spend my vacation driving back and forth to Cody or load the car with coolant and drive to Laramie, stopping every 20 miles to add more coolant.  I chose the second option.

Little did I know I would be stopping every 20 minutes for road construction.  WTF?!  My dogs hate flaggers.  My dogs REALLY hate flaggers who get too close to the van.  I used the time sitting on the road in the sweltering Wyoming sun to call a few other salvage yards and I found one in Casper that had a Jetta.  When I asked the guy if it had a radiator cap he growled something at me and hung up.  Whatever.

The salvage yard in Casper was nicer and cleaner than most Walmarts.  All the cars were lined up in rows and the ground was covered with clean pea gravel.  The owner told us exactly where the car was and even let me turn the dogs loose while we checked it out.  We walked out, opened the hood and YES! There was a radiator cap!  Fabulous!

We were on the road again.  We finally made it to Laramie at 8pm, a day and a half later than we planned.  I only get a day and a half here before I go back home.  So much to do and not enough time to get it done.

Pictures from the Road

Construction stop in Wind River Canyon

A wind farm by Medicine Bow

A hippy bug in Meeteetse


Halo knows she's bad


Sienna's turn to ride shotgun

Proof there are pigs everywhere: Chewing tobacco spit on a drive thru wall


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. morethananelectrician
    Aug 21, 2010 @ 20:15:09

    Yuck! It is pretty crappy that the cap didn’t fit…you really didn’t have to wait for it…if it was going to be wrong!

    The day we ordered the cap was cool and overcast. We should have left then rather than wait for the wrong cap, but Laramie is 5 hours away with a lot of nothing in between towns. Getting stranded in the middle of nowhere is a little scary.

    At least you didn’t have to pee in the radiator.

    That wouldn’t happen.


  2. Hira Animfefte
    Aug 21, 2010 @ 22:33:01

    Wow, I am impressed at your car repair skills…fixing your own radiator cap out of a salvage yard! Mad car repair skills For The Win! 🙂

    It’s what happens when you spend most of your life broke. You either learn to fix things or your have nothing. I would have never figured out the radiator cap if the mechanic hadn’t found it was broken on the inside.

    Did you ever return the wrong-sized cap to the idiots that sold it to you?

    I will when I get back to Cody. NAPA always gets the wrong stuff. I don’t know why I even bother with them.


  3. DarcKnyt
    Aug 21, 2010 @ 22:52:07

    The worst part of this, the part that gave me heebee jeebees, was the construction traffic in blazing sun. I haven’t got a functional A/C in our car and we just had a hot spell, so … *shudder*

    Have fun! 🙂

    I’m so happy the A/C works in my van. The dogs and I would have died sitting on the road for hours.


  4. redriverpak
    Aug 22, 2010 @ 07:01:53

    Welcome back! We really missed you! Aren’t road trips an adventure? 🙂 Glad ya survived. Now, that you are back, I am posting your blog profile on my blog. Have a great day!

    The adventure isn’t over yet. We discovered my son’s laptop won’t connect to the internet here…not wireless, not directly plugged in. My internet access has been severely limited here, but I will catch up with everyone when I get home tonight.


  5. izziedarling
    Aug 23, 2010 @ 07:11:44

    The best laid plans of mice and men, er, women … sorry you lost the days, glad you are smart enough to get where you want to go, anyway. Hope it was fun!

    It wasn’t my best trip and it was somewhat disappointing all the way around. Oh well, I’ll try again at Thanksgiving.


  6. DarcsFalcon
    Aug 23, 2010 @ 22:42:16

    Who knew a stinking radiator cap would be so hard to find? At least it was a minor fix and you got there safely, despite the construction. 🙂

    Stupid Volkswagon.


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