Friday, May 18, 2012

Picnic in High Jemez

Event: Friday, May 18, 2012
Updated: Saturday, June 2, 2012

We almost didn't make it back!!

Geoff and four-year-old Jason came to our place Friday morning for an all-day trek to a special place in the nearby Jemez mountains. Geoff wanted to introduce his boy to this place and let him roam in the wilderness to his heart's content.

Because Geoff's pickup couldn't handle four people comfortably, we went in my old four-door 4WD red Honda Civic wagon. Geoff drove, while I sat in the front passenger seat and Birgitta sat in the back seat with little Jason in his child's car seat.

It was a beautiful drive and a perfect day.....

Birgitta, Jason, Geoff and Honda ready to go!

Stop on way
On the Trail
Self Portrait
Three grinning hikers

Rest break
Jason inspects bug
At picnic site


Birgitta at picnic spread
Geoff with hat gift from Jason
Geoff & Eugene in meadow
Birgitta at the river

Jason in the meadow

Jason's show and tell

Jason exploring

On the way back

Jason finds snow patch

Happy father and son

White knuckle return trip

On our way back to Los Alamos, Geoff still driving, he noticed the red alternator warning light had come on. We were still in the boondocks on a bumpy, rutty dirt road, but he quickly pulled to a stop. What to do? Was it really an alternator problem or just a faulty connection to the indicator light? He got out of the car and raised the hood to check for loose connections. None found. Hmmm.

 In helicopter pilot mode Geoff went into emergency planning. Warning light on. Out of cell phone range. No passers by. Worst case: alternator out, battery low. Best case: faulty indicator light connection, but functioning alternator. Only option: start car, get on road and get as close to civilization as possible until battery gives out. Did I mention prayers? Birgitta got into prayer mode and Geoff started the car. Miraculously the red light was out! A "Just-In-Time" prayer? Did this mean the alternator was charging again? Didn't matter; we got on the road. Things looked good and we gave thanks.

A few minutes later the light came on again, then off, then back on, off again.  This continued as we proceeded as fast a possible. Finally, the red light came on once more and stayed on. But we were close to town now and in cell phone range if needed. Our comfort level rose and we made it back home without further incident. Whew!

After Geoff left with Jason in his pickup, I hooked up our battery charger to the Honda just in case the alternator was the culprit after all. It was: the battery was completely empty! We must have had only a block or two left of battery juice when we pulled into our driveway. Again, thanks.

Later that evening we called our mechanic. How about coming over for dessert his wife offered and I arranged to have him inspect the car early the next Monday morning. Come Monday's inspection: it was the brushes that had worn out! Alternator OK. A $10.50 part +  labor expense. More thanks.

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