Now in my “staging area” for a swift strike at my dentist’s office an hour away tomorrow morning, today’s drive would have been four hours, but wound up being closer to five due to my inability to find diesel fuel in eastern Iowa that isn’t biodiesel. Not that I’m against biodiesel on principle or anything. It’s just that the Mighty Furd can’t abide by anything over 5% biodiesel, or the excess will accelerate how quickly the DPF clogs. That’s a quirk of the 2008-2010 series. I used to accept biodiesel as an unavoidable random chance event, but I’m making more of an effort now to avoid it. On the western half of this trip, the Furdster was going into regen mode several times a tankful, which is unusual. But I had done a lot of idling down trails and such. Today was the first day of a clear run, and mileage also happened to pop up from a very good 15.5 to a superb 16.5 MPG. I’d like to attribute it to some very pricey Amsoil additive I just started using, one which claims to improve combustion enough to reduce the number of regens, which in turn would prolong the life of the expensive DPF. But two days of use and one day of improvement do not a trend make. (As of 2011, true Ford diesels were made able to accept up to 20% biodiesel, as I’m sure all other brands were.)
About that Classic Motoring title – remember the old days, when you’d open the car’s windows on a hot day, and maybe pop the floor vents open, the ones near the wheelwells that fed forced air from the plenum under the cowl? And if it was really hot, you’d reverse the vent windows to scoop even more air into the interior, bugs and all? If you go back in time far enough, you’d open the cowl vent directly, or perhaps crack open the windshield from its frame. The end result was a virtual tornado of air. Hot air, sure, but at least it was circulating in a heroically abundant manner. Remember your friends joking about having “360-degree air conditioning”? Those were the days.
Well now you can relive those wonderful days of classic motoring! All you have to do is clear enough space in the passenger side of the Mighty Furd to sit down without having to fold yourself in half. Then wedge yourself in and ride along! For the last week or two, the A/C in the Furd has been audible, the compressor clicking on and off unhappily, when before, it was silent in operation. Well, as of today, it’s silent again. But this time it’s silent because it doesn’t work at all anymore. I finally figured this out when I went through the morning thinking that the air coming out of the vents was certainly not very cool. It had never been very good though, not like the olden days when they used the ozone-depleting refrigerant. But today, it didn’t even cut the humidity in the 95-degree heat. Then when I finally stepped out at a gas station, I realized that the air outside felt cooler than the cab air. Uh-oh. No clicking, and no ear-popping “WHUMPPP!” of air control doors slamming shut when you turn on the A/C switch while the engine is anywhere above idle. Kinda like an old VW Beetle when you tried to close a door without cracking open a window first. The rest of the day was spent with the side windows halfway down, for air. The shower at this Super 8 had better be in working order.
Tomorrow will be busy enough after getting my gums inadvertently stabbed a few times. Then go get my mail, which includes a license plate sticker that I needed six weeks ago but couldn’t get. Illinois will not send them anywhere but to your home address. Given their proud heritage of 1] corruption and 2] obsessing over new ways to define what you cannot do anymore – describing it in such a way that they sound as though they just did you a favor – I usually feel as if I’m arriving back at the Gulag during the summer. Hopefully, I won’t be pulled over and gunned down before I can get to my sticker. Then pick up an inline water filter at an RV store, because the park I hope to stay at has water so packed with iron that it stains everything it touches with an orange glow. But that’s better than the one in Rockford that hates e-bikes and has neither cell signal nor working WiFi. Or the one near Poplar Grove that entertains guests every weekend with drunken youths screaming obscenities each weekend at 1 AM. But these last two, being near water, make up for their foibles by offering prodigious amounts of bugs. I hope there’s room at the inn.
Oh, and check my bank balance before I review my busy social itinerary and contact a Ford dealer I trust, to make a service appointment. Before that appointment takes place, I’ll need to have hammered and hacked the recalcitrant bike carrier anti-rattle handle off, so I can dismount the carrier. Folding the carrier vertical will not be good enough. Whoever works on the A/C and/or cooling fan clutch will need decent access. That carrier removal may be interesting, as rain is forecast nearly every day here for the next 10 days, including when I set up camp tomorrow.
Now, all this might sound like a bummer, but the fact is, I made it here. And after tomorrow’s sweatbath, a week of nice temperatures is due. I have family and friends to annoy and disappoint, and I have a few medicos to infuriate as well. Life is good. Life is a string of opportunities. The fact that I misuse them is just a personal quirk.