The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

I don’t really feel like telling this story, so here’s two pictures that do it instead.

If you’re not real familiar with cars, that second photo is what your pistons look like after your head gasket leak destroys them. Or one of them anyway.

It all happened climbing or trying to climb over Tehachapi pass, to get out of central California. We’d been holed up in Bakersfield where I came down with a sinus infection that gave me a fever of 104 and took three rounds of antibiotics to put down. I was pretty doped up on cold medicine, but we really wanted to get out of Bakerfield so we went for it. About half way up oil was spraying out the right side of the engine and that was that. I pulled over and called AAA.

We got towed over the pass and, in the beginning, when I thought it was only the head gasket, we piled into a tiny, dingy Motel 6 room with 2 double beds and prepared to wait for a couple days. The next morning I got a call from the mechanic that I need to come down to the shop. That second picture is what I saw.

It was demoralizing to see the exhaust manifolds, spark plugs and other things we had just done sitting there destroyed. I called Corrinne and we discussed what to do. We seriously considered cutting our loses and parting it out, in fact we decided to do that, but in the end we couldn’t give up now. We’re too stubborn apparently. We had to stick with it. But there was no way we were going to hang around for weeks in a Motel 6 in Mojave, CA. We rented a car and set off for Palm Springs, where they at least have things to do and more than one restuarant.

We managed to get a great deal on a condo for a few days. It was a golf resort, the sort of place where I feel far more comfortable talking to the employees than I do my fellow guests, but it had a kitchen and the nicest foldout bed for the kids we’ve ever had. It also had a pool. And weather nice enough to use the pool.

Palm Springs is possibly the least Christmasy place you could think of, so we compensated by doing some Christmasy stuff, like going to the living desert museum’s night time Christmas party. Lights, a carousels, and a pretty massive outdoor train setup were all hits, but our kids really can’t stay up past eight so they didn’t last long.

Christmas at the zoo photographed by luxagraf
Manual focus in low light is hard.

Reading over this it really doesn’t sound so terrible actually. It always sucks to be homeless, but when you live on the road it’s pretty much inevitable. One of the prices you have to pay to live this way I suppose. It could be worse.


classical_liberal December 24, 2017 at 9:27 a.m.

Ahh Crap!!!

If it makes you feel any better I’m spending my Christmas working 14 hour shifts, hundreds of miles from my family and girlfriend, the high temp wont get above 0 F. I do, however, have plenty of snow.

Keep the adventure alive!

scott December 24, 2017 at 4:35 p.m.


Sorry to hear that, hope you find some way to celebrate. We’re all down with the flu right now, so it’s looking to be a bit dismal here as well.

DREW ELDRIDGE December 27, 2017 at 2:33 p.m.

Dont stop now. Youre the only thing that gives me hope sitting in my cube all day. Fight the good fight!

For a cold- Here is my cant miss home remedy- I just told Cathy and Bill about this last weekend and ill swear by it 100%

14-16 oz distilled water in some sort of bottle you can shake up. add 2 tsp baking soda and 2 tsp non iodized salt.

shake it all up until it disolves 100%

Take a turkey baster with bulb syringe and squeeze into each nostril (HARD) twice per nostril. 2 times a day for as long as it takes.

I promise it will work. I was desperate when I came across this- had 2 rounds of antibiotics prior and even tried to snort fresh lime juice (a terrible idea).

To entertain you while you are down….

Makes the Neti pot look like a wus!

Scott December 27, 2017 at 3:06 p.m.


We’re not quitting yet. Although we’ve all now had the flu for six days and if ever there’s been a time I wish we lived in a house, the past couple of days would have been it. But it will pass. I think.

Funny thing about your nasal cure, that’s more or less what I usually do, but I use a neti pot and add some goldenseal. I’ll have to pick up a baster though, looks more powerful and less likely to break when traveling. Thanks for the tip.

DREW ELDRIDGE December 28, 2017 at 9:09 a.m.

Just got word that Cathy has turkey basted twice so far- Ill let you know how this saga plays out. She has already gone through 2 rounds of antibiotics with no results. I predict the turkey baster to cure her within the week.

Good luck out there! 2018 is your year!

Scott December 29, 2017 at 12:39 p.m.


I have an alternative to the turkey baster, when you’re short a baster… use the neti pot, and then… just snort it like it’s 1985 and you’re at Studio 54…


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