I’m not going to lie, I’m a bit of a worry wart. I come by it honestly, my mom is a worry wart (sorry mom, it’s true) and I’m sure her mom was a worry wart and so on and so on. I worry about things that I have no control over, which is pretty stupid because well, I have no control over it sooo… all I can do is try to control my own worrying thoughts and tendencies.
One thing that I worry about quite a bit is my car. I don’t know anything about mechanics. I AM able to change a tire, the only problem is that because of its diminutive size the Mini Cooper doesn’t have a spare tire. Am I the only person who thinks this is profoundly strange???? When I had my winter tires put on before I left for this road trip the guy there told me it’s not a problem because my all seasons have this feature that you can drive on a flat for up to 100 km’s and it won’t wreck your car. My winter tires though? Well, they don’t have this feature so I now had the nagging worry of “What if I get a flat???” (SUCCESS-no flat on this trip!)
We stopped at Chiriaco Summit to gas up before we turned off to head into Joshua Tree National Park. I fueled up then parked in front of the store to pop in and grab a drink. One problem, my car kept making this loud whirring engine noise after it was turned off. I don’t know a lot about cars, but I knew this wasn’t not good. I popped the hood and had a peek to see if my untrained eye could see what the problem was. The answer – NO.
I’m a true feminist who believes women can do anything but I’m also not afraid to ask for help (especially from cute boys and men) so I saw these 2 strapping young lads and asked them to have a look under my hood. (Yes, that was intended to sound dirty!) They were from Britain and sounded like they knew what they were talking about, but that’s probably just the accent in my ears…. that accent could sell me on anything. They said that the engine was overheating and needed water. They unscrewed this valve and it “poofed” with pressure because it was bone dry. They said “You need to put water in there,” pointing to a clear plastic vessel that I couldn’t identify. I had another problem because my dad and I had switched cars the week before and he took the Mini Operations manual for some bedtime reading and forgot to put it back in the glove compartment so I was going in blind.
I asked the young guy who worked at the gas station for a second opinion. He didn’t seem to know much about cars but a lot about doing operating the cash register, so I took his advice with a grain of salt as well. “It needs Anti-freeze.” he said. I was skeptical. It’s hot out… why would I need anti-freeze here in the desert? Again, I don’t know what makes a car run (other than gas) so I went inside and bought the anti-freeze. I asked the cashier inside if I was buying the right kind as there were 2 grades. He said it looked good and I went outside to attempt to use the paper funnel to pour it in. This woman came up behind me and told she had overheard my question and that she’s worked on cars and could she have a look? “Yes!” I exclaimed jubilantly! A woman who knows things about cars, my hero!
She confirmed that I was putting the right kind of liquid into the right spot in my car so I felt like I wasn’t about to make my car implode/explode or any other such disaster. You know, we worry warts tend to go straight to the worse case scenario.
This road side stop is kind of unusual in that it’s a gas station, convenience store, classic car garage, antique shop and the home of the General Patton Museum. We didn’t go inside the museum but checked out the tank exhibit outside instead.
I’m glad we stopped at Chiriaco Summit not just to get gas, but to also get a reminder (that I often forget) that when you’re in need, people step up to help, especially Americans. I remember thinking just that while I was traveling solo in Europe that Americans get a bad rap. Don’t judge them on their politics, their country music or their over the top patriotism. If you take each one as they are, you can’t leave the United States feeling anything but heartened.
Now, if only I could say the same thing about not judging their crazy highway driving… but that’s another post!