June 3, 2014
When I pulled out of town at 7 am it was already in the 80’s. My van was not running well so I left the A/C off hoping to spare the engine any additional work. I usually don’t mind the heat as long as I can feel a breeze and let my sweat work as a natural evapoative cooler, but 100 degrees got to be a bit much. It wasn’t long, however, before the altitude of the Mogollon Rim gave me some relief.
Once on the Rim it was a straight shot to I40 and then an uneventful drive into New Mexico. I stopped for the night at a Walmart just outside Albuquerque, partly because I didn’t want to tackle the rush-hour traffic, but mostly because I was tired of driving.
It is not a recommended activity to sleep in a vehicle when temperatures are flirting with triple-digit numbers, but I like a challenge. My plan was to hang out in the store until the sun went down and then eat a slow hamburger at McDonalds until the air reached a more tropical degree. I can say that I slept well, but all the windows were open for the better part of the night, inviting any serial killers in the area full access to my home. There was a nice breeze in the night that helped too.
The next day I drove almost to Oklahoma City. I used my A/C part of the time. There was a strong wind blowing from the west, giving me exceptional gas mileage and actually helping the van run better. A good tail wind is the only wind I want with my top heavy rig.
As I drove Interstate 40 I noticed a strange phenomenon with my A/C. When I went up a hill the engine would start to miss and at the same time the climate control would change from blowing out the dash vent to blowing out the floor ducts. For the longest time I thought it was a coincidence but then deduced it was related. The vent uses vacuum to change and hold the selector so I may have a vacuum leak that is causing the engine to run rough when there is a load such as going up a hill.
I parked at another Walmart for the night. I checked out a State park but it was too expensive. It had a nice pool and various hiking trails but all I wanted was a place to park. I didn’t sleep as well the second night and awoke with a headache in the morning. It would be the last night I would have to bare such heat as Missouri finally gave me nice weather.
….to be continued