Jeep Adventure Part IV: Stuff Breaks

Read about the first part of our adventure here

The Sun mocked our concept of mid-morning by pummelling us with an unrelenting vigor.  Though it was not yet 10 a.m. we were “enjoying” heat in excess of 100 degrees fahrenheit.  Tinted windows and climate control helped significantly.  The engine had it’s work cut out for it to fight the heat, convey it’s occupants including their sundry possessions, and drive four large tires all through sand.  We saw the various trails leading up onto the ridge but determined to continue through the wash as it would be a smoother ride.

Smoke seeped between the left fender and that side of the hood as we all leapt from the vehicle to survey the damage.

The wash terminated instead of connecting back to the main wash we had travelled through the night before.  Just as we made to turn around, the engine suddenly sputtered and threatened to stall.  Instinctively, I depressed the clutch pedal to lighten the load on the motor.  The pedal swung through it’s full travel without resisting my foot in the slightest just as the motor did it’s best impression of a stone skipping in reverse.  It punctuated each pat with greater intervals until it stopped altogether.  Smoke seeped between the left fender and that side of the hood as we all leapt from the vehicle to survey the damage.

Our trip had just become an adventure.  We were up a (dry) creek without a paddle.  We also had no ability to disengage the clutch and one overheated engine.  We did have some water, positive attitudes and plenty of snacks.  We set the chairs up in a small square under the shade of the hatch and waited for the engine to cool.  If we could get it to run, there was a chance we could pop it into gear with the clutch still engaged and limp home.  We kicked around a few other plans and briefly discussed what would be required to collect help if we couldn’t get rolling again.  After burning my hand and a few more minutes of trying not to move at all, we decided we could try to fire it up again.

We wanted to be sure we were ready to roll away once we got started. Didn’t want to be going in reverse at first so we pushed the Jeep backwards.  Cody, Landon and I pushed while Rachel steered.  I left the parking brake on and had given Rachel no instruction to release it.  That made the going tough at first.  We made better progress upon correcting that mistake until we rolled one of the tires against a rock.  That seemed to be far enough though so we all climbed back inside and crossed our fingers as I prepared to turn the key in the ignition.

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