What an eventful week for our little road trip. Since I arrived Paul has graduated and packed his entire apartment into the back of his Buick “Adelaide.”
Paul’s uncle, Bill, has been helping Paul replace various broken parts on his car for several months. Maine requires a warrant of vehicle fitness, or an “inspection” in order to register the vehicle. To pass inspection, Paul’s car needed new rocker panels, new brake hard lines, and a new horn. We had planned on departing the Milford area yesterday, the 14th. Prior to departure, on the 13th, we thought it would be a good idea to have Bill examine the car again.
Good thing we did! The car had been using a little coolant, Paul had added a gallon or so a couple of months ago. We found a small leak under the hood when Bill inspected it. It appeared to be leaking from the coolant overflow line, not a trivial piece, but no big deal. Bill replaced it, filled the coolant and we drove it back to Paul’s apartment.
The following morning we finished packing and Paul checked into his first online class of the summer. After much cleaning and deliberation we had the car loaded, almost ready to head out on the road. When I arrived from Washington, Paul told me he planned to leave on the 15th. I was surprised, as I had only planned to spend a day or two in Milford before we headed out. Much to my dismay, Paul was right.
As we prepared to prepared to depart on the 14th we opened the hood to check the coolant and other fluids. It was clear that the coolant overflow hose we replaced did not resolve the problem. Even worse, the only remaining culprit for our leak was the car’s radiator. We discovered this at 5:30 PM, just about the time auto parts stores close up. Paul’s Aunt Jane, and Bill saved the day by rushing off to pickup a remanufactured radiator from a local auto parts store. We finished packing things up, visited Paul’s parents one final time and headed out to Jane and Bill’s house at 10 PM to get started on the radiator.
Bill and I tore into the radiator while Paul and Paul’s childhood friend Ben headed out to get something for us all to eat. Paul got a taste of auto mechanics as we reassembled things. By about 2:30 we had the radiator replaced. The hardest part of the whole experience was dealing with rusted and rotted metal, caused by the heavily salted Northeast winter roads. After testing the car we headed in, ate, and fell fast asleep, looking forward to getting up in the morning and getting on our way.
We should have known better. We woke up late, about 9:30. Jane was preparing coffee but needed sugar and bread for sandwiches later. Paul, Ben, and I offered to run to the gas station so she didn’t have to. Upon our return we popped the hood of the car to find the water pumping leaking considerably. Wash, rinse, repeat. A hurried trip to the same auto parts store. A new water pump. Before we knew it, late afternoon had arrived and it was time for dinner. Instead of heading out after dinner, to what quite possibly would have been an unknown, rainy, dark campsite somewhere in Northern New Hampshire, we elected to spend ONE FINAL NIGHT in Maine. We will be headed out at 7 AM tomorrow morning along Route 2.