I know, boobs and Utah in the same post.
Well apparently I don't know as much as I thought I did about my friends back home in Blighty. I've just learned that some of them are hiding more than what God gave them underneath those handknits. Good Lord!
I will take their identity to the grave (hint: it's a woman) because with our history I owe this person some discretion, but honestly, who has a secret boob job? Are they possible? Apparently so.
Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled program, with a satellite delay of only three weeks. Sorry! I'm rubbish and also a very busy person....
So there we were leaving Las Vegas, the creature all fueled up with Old MacDonalds FIES! Then we hit a snag. The first hint was when LK said 'I don't want to alarm you, but'. He is not a man for superlatives. For him 'Houston we have a problem' was probably a bit overstated.
I turned down my ipod and braced myself for disaster.
We were 25 miles outside Vegas on the most deserted, windswept piece of desert highway you could imagine. It was 3 o'clock in the afternoon and 110º. The last turn-off we'd so blithely passed was appropriately 'Caliente, Nevada' - and for good reason. The temperature gauge needle was vertical and we were spewing engine coolant. LK pulled off the freeway in to the sand and scrub and 'popped the hood' (opened the bonnet) to survey the damage. There wasn't even a lone Joshua Tree for shade. The trucks thundering by mere metres from our heads were creating quite a breeze, but breeze is a misleading word isn't it? You automatically think, cool, refreshing. This was like standing in front of a hairdryer to keep cool. If you haven't been to the desert before this kind of heat is surprising. The first time I ventured anywhere with that dry, arid heat I was casting my eyes around for the fire - for the open oven, for anything that could generate such fiery energy.
Don't say 'but it's a dry heat'.
The rest, three weeks later, is all rather anti-climatic. LK poured several canisters of coolant back into the molten radiator, we did an extremely ill-advised but absolutely necessary U-turn on Interstate 15 and crawled back to Vegas on the hard shoulder at a measly 17mph, our sweltering tails between our legs. Neither of us daring to breath in case the temperature needle started to climb again. Our favourite Vegas road-trip game of 'spot the car-fire scorch marks by the side of the freeway' was not quite so entertaining this time. I have never wished so fervently for a GMC Behemoth or a Dodge Leviathan, something absurdly large and garish with ice-cold AC. There are occasional reasons why American 'cars' are giant tank-like gas-guzzlers. Our little sedan had thrown in the towel.
The miracle of the situation was not that the head gasket had not blown (it's not that I don't love double negatives), it was that we didn't see a cop for the entire 90 minute mis-adventure. We ended up limping back to Santa Barbara in the dead of night, with no air conditioning, to take advantage of the cool 90º night-time temperatures. We did not get to Utah to visit the cabin that LK's Dad built entirely by hand. A cabin I've only ever been to once. But if we had made it to Utah and taken pictures, they would have looked something like this:
Oh well, next time. In our Ford Four-Miles-to-the gallon McMansion on wheels.
And no, for the record, it was not lost of me on my 10th anniversary that I am married to a man who is not only smart enough to think ahead to buy engine coolant, and a cooler with ice and gallons of water, but who knows how to 'pop the hood' and is man enough to work out how to fix the damn thing too.