Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Those Are the Brakes

We were on the road early. We were all anxious to get to the camp, unpack, and not be inside of the vans for several days. The weather was changeable, as it often is in the mountains of Colorado. The interplay of sun and clouds with the rain and lightening made the travelling and scenery more interesting. The vans were climbing while storms rolled around us. My wife was driving and noticed that the brakes didn’t seem quite right.
She pumped the brakes and put the van in second gear just as we topped the mountain. Saying that the van seemed better, we started down the far side. It was a short descent and we radioed ahead saying that we needed to pull over and see what was happening. Just entering a town named Craig, Colorado we pulled the van into a McDonald’s parking lot.
My wife almost had to stand on the brake pedal to get the vehicle to stop. As soon as it stopped, I told her to pull the transmission into park. When she did, we could hear the motor racing like a jet plane readying for takeoff. She turned off the engine. Everything was still but the ticking of the engine as it cooled. The Pastor came back and we explained what was happening. He popped open the engine cover and looked. We couldn’t see anything amiss. We sent the campers ahead in the two functioning vans, while five of the adults stayed behind to wait until the problem could be solved.
He called AAA and they sent a mechanic with a tow truck. The mechanic looked with his flashlight and soon said, “A spring that connected the foot pedal to the accelerator had broken and had flown off.  Our garage is about a block away, if one can steer and brake and the other regulate the choke by hand, you won’t need to have the van towed.”
We did and it made for a great, humorous photo, and believe me, one of the other drivers got one for posterity. We followed the tow truck and into the garage where he directed. The mechanic didn’t have the specific spring, but with some ingenuity and repurposing another spring, we were soon on our way.
It was the first time that so many adults were in the same van on the trip and we had a great time talking and laughing. We drove through the sulphurous smells of Steamboat Springs and soon arrived at the Wilds. It felt so good to know that there would be only hiking, eating, resting, and devotions without having to drive and set up camp each day.
One of the drivers said that the biggest van that was pulling the trailer had slowed to five miles an hour as it crawled over the top of the mountain pass. The altitude was 10,600 feet above sea level and the oxygen had decreased for the combustion of fuel.
The lodge at the camp overlooked a small lake with the campers’ cabins spreading out on both sides like wings of a bird. Boys to one side and girls to the other, and never the twain shall meet, except for games, eating, and devotions.

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