Our trip covered almost 1000 miles or one kilomile. At roughly 0.75 kmi the VW turned on the dreaded check-engine light and then the motor coughed and quit. It restarted, but lurched its way around and was obviously in distress. Fortunately we had made it to our lodging and were merely driving downtown to get some food and drink. I found a local mechanic the next morning and they hooked up their computer-code gizmo and told me I needed a new mass-air-flow (MAF) sensor. Naturally they had to order the part and we had to wait another day for it to arrive. It took all of 15 minutes to fix after that. Being a Volkswagen engine the part was twice as expensive as most: $235! It’s about the size of a stick of deodorant but if it fails you can’t do much driving.
Starting for home the next day the check-engine light came on again. I went straight back to the shop and they ran the diagnostic again and it found no issue with the MAF and no other problems. We then drove to the VW dealer in Bend and tried to get them to check it out but they insisted they were too busy and could not see us on a drop-in basis until the next day. Well, fuck those assholes. All I wanted was five minutes to check the code output! The guy told as that as long as the engine was running fine not to worry about the light unless it was flashing. Thanks pal, that’s reassuring. Why have the damn light if it is meaningless? Suffice to say we made it home just fine, but it was not without its white-knuckle moments, worrying that some problem would manifest itself in the middle of US-97.
We covered a lot of ground in the state of Oregon but had no rain until we returned to California. There were thundershowers in Butte Valley and believe it or not snow on the summit of Mt. Hebron. By Grass Lake the rain was coming down so fast it was pooling on the highway. Once we made it to A12 the normal summer weather was back in full force—lots of scary-looking clouds but no precipitation.
Today and tomorrow we are cleaning and organizing. We both need a break from all the driving, and as much as we love camping it’s nice to be in a real bed and take hot showers! The eclipse is on the 21st of August, so we have some time before we take off again. Now if I can only get that goddamn check-engine light to turn off!