The week before spring break we spent nearly $1200 replacing the rack and pinion on the van so that it would be in tiptop shape for our spring break trip to Las Vegas. On 1-15, close to Beaver, the check engine light came on again. We called our trusted mechanics and Jeremy (JP Midland in Roy) told us to get an engine scan at an auto parts store, which we did. The scan showed engine misfires so the salesman sold Lance spark plugs and sent us to a local mechanic who told us it would take $250 and 2.5 hours to put the plugs in Five hours later it was done. Total price, including parts bought from the salesman, was about $350.
The check engine light came on again on the way to St. George. On a wing and a prayer we drove to Las Vegas where, the next morning, we consulted a mechanic that Marjorie and Jason trust. The scan showed more misfires so, for $800, the mechanic replaced the coils.
On the way home, close to Beaver, the check engine light came on again. It was Sunday, General Conference was on and mechanics were off, so we decided to try to make it home. We did make it home but the van did not. At Nephi the check engine light started flashing and our faith started failing. We left the van in Santaquin in the parking lot of a mechanic Uncle Warren trusts and rode home with my parents (who heroically drove to Santaquin to rescue us).
Gratefully the van story does not end there but the spend-money-on-repairs story does. When the Santaquin mechanic was able to work our van into his repair schedule (Thursday of the following week) he could not find anything wrong; no check engine light and no indication of problems on the scan. He drove it for 30 minutes on the freeway….still no indication of problems. We drove it home Saturday without incident.
The drive home was without incident but the experience was certainly more than slightly incidental. We are referring to the adventure as The Van Incident (not to be confused with the Saran Wrap Incident, which was much more physically and much less economically painful).
As traumatic as it might have been, The Van Incident did not define our spring break. It was a glorious break from reality. Miles and Lance had at least two Monster Big Gulps daily from the neighboring 7-11 and I slept past 5:00 a.m. most mornings. Marjorie and I enjoyed several long bike rides, weeded her front and side yards, cleaned out two refrigerator/freezers, and volunteered 4 hours at the D.I. where we semi-successfully sorted other people’s junk. We also shopped at Costco and spent 7 hours Saturday at a junior high track meet. When Marjorie’s friend, Jen, learned what we did, she said “What? Did you not want them to ever come back?”
We do want to go back! Watching Spencer run (and win the 400m) was awesome. Weeding (and chatting) beside my sister was priceless. Being corrected on the correct way to sort junk by almost every DI employee was hilarious. Even shopping wasn’t heinous. (Costco has great samples…) We would love to go back. And we probably will. While we were there the Watkins voted and their decision, though not binding, was flattering and unanimous: Hislops should make visiting Las Vegas their annual tradition. Good times.