"Fires in the northland * floods to the south
Put the pedal to the metal * and let it all hang out"
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Travelog Day 5; Lateral Drift
Well, the part came and was installed by Bilbo Baggins. The engine sounded fine with the cover off, but naturally as soon as I paid the bill and drove away with the cover in place, the knocking noise was still there.
I drove around town for a little while, listening to the noise and looking for a shady place to park. While I listened, I was asking the van to tell me what was wrong with it. My initial panicky thoughts of severe engine damage had run their course, so I took some time to really listen and think.
Whenever I attack a mechanical issue, I try to start by fixing the easiest, most obvious things first. I went through a mental checklist of my fuel system, and decided to replace my injectors. Replacing them was something I'd wanted to do before I left on my journey, but I ran out of money and time. The van has nearly 150K miles on it, so it is about time for new injectors anyway.
Fortunately, you can't throw a rock in this town without hitting an auto parts store or service center. I think there must be some kind of mechanical vortex here that causes vehicles to break down. There seems to be a plethora of churches too, so I guess you can pray you won't be ripped off too badly while you wait for your car to get fixed.
I went to NAPA and ordered new injectors for $56.00 each. (Ford wanted $75 each) At this point in my journey I had about $200.00 left, and that was to buy diesel. Fortunately the Bank of Mom came to my rescue and bought me new injectors.
The parts would arrive in the morning, so I drove to a shady place across from the post office and snuggled the van up underneath the light shade of some tall spindly pines. This was actually a really nice spot. The pines were on my passenger side, and there was a little gravel road running behind a warehouse beyond the pines. It was really as private and shaded as I could ask for in this little desert town.
I settled down to continue reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and was amazed at how much more I was getting out of this book the second time around.
For those who haven't read it, it isn't so much about motorcycles, or maintenance, although those are in there.
It's more about a Journey to find Truth. It's about questioning very fundamental assumptions about how we do things and why.
It questions the nature and foundations of rational thought itself.
It came to me that this situation I found myself in was a sort of lateral drift of my own, and probably a necessary and valuable experience.
The best way to explain about lateral drift is in Robert Pirsig's own words;
"In a laboratory situation, when your whole procedure goes haywire, when everything is wrong or indeterminate or is so screwed up by by unexpected results you can't make head or tail of anything, you start looking laterally. That's a word he later used to describe a growth of knowledge that doesn't move forward like an arrow in flight, but expands sideways, like an arrow enlarging in flight; or like the archer, discovering that although he has hit the bull's-eye and won the prize, his head is on the pillow and sun is coming in the window. Lateral knowledge is knowledge that's from a wholly unexpected direction, from a direction that's not even understood as a direction until the knowledge forces itself upon one. Lateral truths point to the falseness of axioms and postulates underlying one's existing system of getting to the truth."
So with thoughts such as these, I drifted. I enjoyed this quiet time beneath the pines to read and think. I was thankful for my life and experiences so far on this journey.
When I talked to my friends, they seemed shocked to hear I was so positive about being stranded in this desert town. Life is 10% of what you experience, and 90% of your attitude towards it.
So I will enjoy this day of rest and reflection. Tomorrow will be lots of work, changing out the injectors.
I am a militant hippie, an conservative liberal, a practical dreamer, an empath who is fundamentally selfish, a butch femme straight chick that likes auto repair and a multiverse of other contradictions who is still stuggling to be a responsible master of our destiny.
I use lots of nasty chemicals on this blog. It should go without saying, but it is always the responsibility of the individual to READ THE LABEL and use products safely. These are my experiences. You should always take what I say with a grain of salt. If you want real tech support, visit the product's website. They have lots more highly paid lawers than I do. I will not be held responsible for someone else's stupidity, only for my own. And for chrissakes, keep your kids and pets away from this stuff.