I was making good time.
I still had a tail wind across most of New Mexico, and I thought I could make it to Arizona before stopping for the night.
Unfortunately, about 15 miles from the AZ border near Lordsburg, NM, the engine started to make a knocking noise. It was loud enough I could hear it over the radio, which is typically cranked way up so I can hear it over the wind and engine.
I slowed down, thinking I had thrown a rod or something equally horrible.
The noise slowed down along with the engine, meaning it was definitely IN the engine.
Fortunately, the noise started about 10 seconds after I passed a billboard for a Ford Service Center exit 1 mile.
I let the van slow down even more as I approached the exit. The knocking noise got louder with acceleration, but I didn't seem to be losing power.
I limped into the Ford Dealership, and was told that everyone had gone to lunch but someone would be take a look at it soon.
I opened an emergency beer and consulted my Diesel Repair manual's troubleshooting guide.
Hmmm.... bad fuel? Nah.
Injector pump? Gawd I hope not, and I didn't lose power so probably not.
Injectors? Quite possibly. She had been giving me some trouble starting warm.
As I removed the engine cover, a little hobbit of a man came over to take a look.
He peered around in the engine compartment with a flashlight and mirror.
The cats were terrified by this strange person invading their van. They hid in the bowels of the cargo hold.
The mechanic determined I had a cracked fuel line which was the cause of the noise.
I was doubtful, but hey, he was the Ford mechanic.
They had to order the part, it would be in tomorrow. The fuel line had been pulled out, so I couldn't drive anywhere. They offered to get me a motel.
"I don't have money for a motel. Can't I just sleep in your parking lot? Think of me as free security."
After consulting the Big Kahuna, I was OK'd to sleep in the parking lot of the dealership.
I passed the rest of the day drinking the remainder of my emergency beers and re-reading 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance' which is a fabulous book that was eerily appropriate to my situation.
My little kitchen, with the stove set up.
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