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Archive for January, 2008

Chronicles of a Pathfinder (3)

Posted by jbharp on January 15, 2008

I’ll offer one last story about my old Pathfinder. This one is a doozy. It takes the cake. It’s about the time my Pathfinder ruined Christmas…wait that happened twice. I guess there are two stories left. I’ll sum them up here.

In 2005, I at least made it back to my brothers near Tulsa to have our family Christmas time. Then we began the caravan back to Arkansas to see the extended family. I stopped for gas just east of Tulsa and noticed an abnormal feeling as I rolled to a stop. That feeling turned out to be my transmission fluid leaking…actually dumping out from a busted seal. Transmissions don’t run without transmission fluid.

Fortunately, my brother’s family was still behind me. They picked me up and we returned to their house. I really can’t remember why we didn’t continue over to Arkansas, but everyone was upset that my adorable niece would not be there. But I got to spend an extra day with her at her house. And then when they went on to the in-laws, I got to spend two entire days by myself (including Christmas day). It really wasn’t so bad. I’m usually a go-go-go type of person. Always doing something with a schedule that is packed full of activities and commitments. So a few days to literally sit and rest was refreshing and reviving.

I guess I was due for another one this year…or maybe it was my truck that was due for another breakdown (that’s more likely). I was two hours into my usually nine hour drive back to Oklahoma when I stopped for gas in La Junta. It was a cold night and it became colder when my truck wouldn’t start. I tried to jump-start it twice with no success. It was about 11 pm and I realized I’d have to wait till morning to get any repair help. So then I was off in search of a hotel. The one I happened upon had a friendly middle aged man. Since I had broken down he didn’t charge my any extra for taking the dogs in the room with me. CJ and Charlie didn’t care much for the comforts of the hotel room though.

On Saturday morning (Dec 23), I finally located a mechanic in the town. La Junta is a pretty small town and for the most part still has a 5-day work week meaning many businesses (including mechanics) were closed. The shop keeper went to fetch my truck about a mile away and pull it back to the shop. I went back to the hotel for the rest of the morning and into the early afternoon while my starter was being replaced.

A few hundred dollars later, I was ready to hit the road again. But I turned around and headed back west to Colorado Springs. The driving conditions in Colorado were fine. It was the unlikely weather conditions in Oklahoma that forced me to make the U-turn. Ice and snow were causing power outages and closing down highways. So my truck wasn’t the only reason for the ruined Christmas of 2007. Blame the weather too. In fact, my truck was great in bad weather conditions…when it could start. 

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Chronicles of a Pathfinder (2)

Posted by jbharp on January 6, 2008

I rallied a few friends together July 4th 2005 to hike Pikes Peak – the majestic 14,110′ mountain in my backyard. The hike is over 12 miles long and climbs nearly 8,000′. It’s a long journey getting to the top, never mind getting down. That’s why we solicited the help from a few more friends to drive to the top and pick us up.

One friend volunteered but didn’t have a vehicle that she felt could make the trip. Thus presenting a perfect opportunity to display the heroic capabilities of my newly purchased Nissan Pathfinder. So my friend Sandy drove my new set of wheels to meet us at the top. 

My Pathfinder completed the journey. It got up the mountain and hauled all our tired bodies back down. But a loose gasket under the drivers side floorboard (I believe part of the exhaust system) made it’s presence known on the gruelling climb. Sandy thought she could smell rubber burning but uncertain what it was from she kept the pedal pressed and pushed on toward the top. The smell became more intense until she finally reached the peak. Finally stepping out of the truck she realized that her shoe had been burned and melted.

The gasket released so much heat that it melted a hole in my floorboard and turned the heal of Sandy’s new white tennis shoe into a black, smoldering glob of rubber. It provided a good laugh for us all and we were glad Sandy’s shoes held up enough so that her foot didn’t get burned.

I eventually had the gasket fixed and I put two thin pieces of wood on the floorboard to cover the quarter size hole. This hole in the floorboard wasn’t the only thing about this truck that made it a vehicle more appropriate for the Flintstones era. More to come…

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Chronicles of a Pathfinder (1)

Posted by jbharp on January 5, 2008

About two and a half years ago, I made what I thought to be a smart financial decision. I bought a 1995 Nissan Pathfinder and was very excited about the purchase. It was rough and rugged; a perfect vehicle for me and my dogs. I was able to pay for it completely. Yahoo, no monthly payments! But I soon realized that my new set of wheels would become a new set of bills.

Shortly after I bought it, I took a road trip back home. It was the summer of 2005. Before heading to Arkansas, I was at the farm in Oklahoma along with my brother and his new girlfriend. Ryan (brother) wanted to take Erin (girlfriend) back to Arkansas too. But she was teaching summer classes and would only be able to stay for the weekend. In order to let her have the pleasure of seeing the Harp boy’s hometown and to let Ryan have a break from the farm duties, I decided to cut my time in Pea Ridge a few days short to take Erin back to Oklahoma.

We went to church that Sunday morning before hitting the road. It was a warm summer day, so I cracked the windows a few inches. The passenger side window ceased to work after that morning. It wouldn’t go up and it wouldn’t go down. I was simple stuck a few inches from the closed position. I wasn’t too bothered by it. After all, it was summertime and I enjoyed riding with the windows down and a wind filling the cab. But that wasn’t always the case for any passengers riding with me, especially when cruising down the highway.

Erin concurs. She experienced a four hour ride that Sunday unable to role up the window just to keep out the gust during the 80 mph drive. I believe she had quite a headache when I finally dropped her off. Maybe a slight ringing in her right ear too.

Despite this trip Erin stuck around and she married my brother the following summer. But what’s even more surprising is that she is now driving her very own Nissan Pathfinder! All four windows work…so far.

I’ll share a few more Pathfinder stories over the next few days.

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“Special” Days

Posted by jbharp on January 3, 2008

Yesterday was Happy Mew Year for Cats. I celebrated in a number of ways. First I actually saw a cat yesterday, although I did not wish her a Happy Mew Year. But at least I did not let her play with my dog. That is the second way I observed the day, by not allowing my dogs to diminish the world of any cats. Finally, at improv practice I spent some time acting like a cat (inspired by a young girl at my church).

I know that it was Happy Mew Year because it says so on my calendar. I received it from my equality obsessed city organization. The calendar is full of cute and special days all year long. January 14 is National Clear off Your Desk Day. June 27 is Sunglasses Day. And September 10 is Swap Ideas Day.

There are two things about these “special” days that bother me. First is the space it takes up on my calendar. I have a fairly busy schedule and this 8.5×5.5 inch calendar is my method of organizing my events and looking ahead to see what’s on the horizon. So I often have events, reminders, and notes written on the majority of the boxes and in the margins. I need all the space I can get!!! A tentative camping/hiking trip is competing for space on August 2 with National Mustard Day. At least I used yellow on this day for my color coding method.

But I don’t mind having a special day noted on my calendar, as long as it truly is a special day. That it is a day of significance, meaning, worth, and a history to recognize.

It’s disturbing to think of people giving more honor and recognition on Chocolate Mint Day on February 19 than the previous day of President’s Day on February 18. And what a tragedy if some people will give more celebration to National Tap Dance day on May 25 than celebrating the service men and women of this country the following day of Memorial Day on May 26. The calendar gives equal recognition on December 18 to Bake Cookies Day as the recognition on December 25 to Christmas Day.

Well, I am glad to receive this handy little calendar from my work. I’m also thrilled they provide white-out.

Here’s a few more of the many “special” days on my calendar –
January 23 is National Pie Day – A day that is not to be confused with National Pi Day on March 14 (3.14).
March 22 is International Women’s Day – A day where no American Woman can be honored (not sure about men, though)
April 17 is Blah, Blah, Blah Day – A day when useless information is printed on my calendar.
August 8 is National Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Night – An evening to recognize the utter short comings of zucchini compared to a flaming bag of poo.
September 28 is Fish Tank Floorshow Night – A night for all cats to begin an inner journey of self realization that ends on Happy Mew Year.

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