My Little Car


Pecos Canyon campground

My little car was acting very sick so I found a place in Albuquerque that worked on them and decided to get an appointment. Smart cars are nice to tow, good on gas, and easy to park, but don’t try to get one fixed. Mercedes quit making the gas model a few years ago and most dealers don’t want anything to do with them.  In hindsight I should have bought a small Ford or Chevy or Toyota that any shop would fix. So began my adventure in an attempt to repair my Micro. 

While I was at Bluewater Lake, Micro had a service engine light come on and it wouldn’t run right. It kept losing power, misfiring and stalling. Jeanne had an OBD reader and the code showed up as a bad sensor. When I tow my little car I have to disconnect the battery so it doesn’t lock the doors at 10 mph. Of course when you disconnect the battery it resets the computer and erases it problem codes. 

My appointment was for early Wednesday so I left Bluewater on Tuesday and spent the night at Cabelas in Albuquerque. The next morning I towed the car to the repair shop and told them what it was doing. Of course when I started it up at the repair shop it ran fine. I explained all the symptoms I had experienced and left with a bad feeling they wouldn’t be able to fix it. 

Albuquerque this time of year can be hot. It was hot. Two days while I waited for word on my car it reached to almost to 100°.  The smart thing would have been to rent an RV spot where I could plug in and run AC. I’ve never been too smart. I figured I could do some shopping and eat in some air conditioned places and tough it out for a couple days. I spent three  uncomfortable nights at Cabelas, sweating into my pillow throughout the night. In the morning it was still 80°.  I ran my generator some, but as soon as I turned it off the heat would seep back in with a vengeance. 

After two days I received word from the repair shop that they couldn’t find anything wrong with the motor but other things needed attention. They wanted to change spark plugs, wipers, lights, hood latches, flush brake fluid and coolant, and a couple other ridiculous things. The estimate came to $2275. I told them the only thing I would let them do was the spark plugs. Everything else I could do myself or wasn’t necessary. 

They called this morning and said the car was ready. I talked to the mechanic and he said they really couldn’t do anything unless the diagnostic computer pointed to a fault. He also said he drove it for quite a drive to get the engine light to come on. I hitched up and headed out after dropping $300 to change three spark plugs. 

Tonight I’m at Pecos Canyon State Park, located 20 miles up a narrow, twisted road north of Santa Fe. Pecos Canyon is New Mexico’s newest park. They are still developing the campgrounds. 

There is no drinking water, picnic tables, or dump. The campground where I’m staying (the only first come first served site) has no level parking. I had to use all my blocks to get somewhat level. 

As soon as I headed up into the canyon I knew that cell service was going to be challenging. One look at my phone after I arrived confirmed the area was dead.  A park worker confirmed that I would have to drive back to Pecos to get word out. 

With all the missing amenities and cell service the area is actually quite beautiful. What draws most people to this canyon is the world class trout fishing in the Pecos River. I sometimes wish I was more into fishing like my Dad and my Son in Law. It would sure make places like this more fun. One nice thing is that the temperature is in the 70’s this afternoon. It was a little warm when I got here but a thunderstorm came through and cooled it off nice. 

I’ll explore the area tomorrow if Micro will run right. After the weekend I’ll probably head over to Storrie Lake. 

3 Responses to “My Little Car”

  1. Donna says:

    Does Storrie have first come first serve sites, or will you just park on the lakeside?

  2. Dale says:

    Storrie Lake only has 5 developed sites but they have a 50 acre field between the developed campsites and the lake. The meadow is where I like to park. You can get off by yourself and I’m in no need of a picnic table.

  3. Daryl says:

    Did that error code ever come back in Micro?

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