Friday and Saturday my husband and I drove south to deliver some things to my oldest son and his little family. After a lovely short visit we headed home. South of Chicago, with 3 more hours ahead of us, our van had a problem. My husband was concerned that the van had blown a gasket, so he called a friend who is a mechanic. A series of checks and phone calls followed, with the conclusion that the problem was probably something much simpler---a torn hose from which we were losing radiator fluid (I'm not mechanical....so if this doesn't make sense, that's why!). The situation was odd. Even though fluid poured out of the radiator while it was being added, the thermostat showed very little heating up. The conclusion was reached that there must be areas below the level of the leak that were retaining enough fluid for the engine to run cool. Also, the outside temp was unusually cold (below 20 degrees F).
I did a lot of praying. It was Saturday night by the time we thought we might need a mechanic...all those businesses were closed. That meant probably getting a room and waiting until Monday. We are in no financial position to handle hotel rooms and huge vehicle repair costs right now. However, before the trip I had feelings that it would be OK to travel, and that we would be OK (that should have been a clue...why would I get comfort if it was going to be smooth sailing....HA!). I felt this way from the beginning of the van problem, even when fear and depression began to descend at what might be ahead (like South Chicago...!!!).
We decided to continue our trip, periodically adding water when steam burned off what water there was and the engine began to heat up. It worked until we were an hour south of home. Not so bad...at least we were north of Chicago! At this point the van did some new strange things and died shortly after my husband rolled toward an intersection west of Kenosha. We rolled through a green light and into a gas station. Ha....what timing!! More convos with our friend ensued. When the van cooled off, it started again and more fluid was added. We limped into our friend's shop near Racine after 9 PM on a Saturday night.
Oh, what a kind soul.....and he had been right as rain, so the saying goes. A hose that has something to do with the heating system had ripped and caused all of this. It was a simple fix, and while there he checked out the rest of the van. We made it home safely after that, with the van intact. It has to go in for another problem, but it will be OK for a few short trips until it's appointment with the doctor!
When this problem began we could not heat the van. It was so cold....boy, it was going to be a long, cold trip if we were able to travel at all! Not a fun prospect. But an odd thing happened. After we had traveled for awhile, some faint heat began to come through the vents. The air gradually heated even more..in fact, it was quite toasty at one point. My husband guessed that this was from steam (that seemed to be the case since we ran out of water periodically....!). Ha!
I have begun pondering this experience. There is lots of food for thought. Right now I am so grateful for the blessings we had, most of which was our Good Samaritan!
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