Sorry, Cheryl Crow. No, really.
Even yesterday, after sitting for more than five hours in our little tow car (with three adults, three cats, and a dog), I remained hopeful that we might make it to California in time for my scheduled gig at The Rellik Tavern.
But it was not to be.
The trouble started on Sunday, as we were making our way from Flagstaff, back to Vegas, so that Kevin and Kathy could catch their evening flight, and Gary and Rita could check in to the Palazzo Hotel for the night and catch their own flight back to Atlanta on Monday). About midway back to Vegas, we tried to turn on our auxiliary generator, to use the overhead AC. The generator cranked, but it wouldn’t turn over. Kevin and Gary thought it might just be a battery problem. We were all hoping that would be the case, at least, since that would be the easiest fix to the problem.
But it was not to be.
Come Monday, we started with trying to replace the batteries. Actually, I would have liked to start by testing the existing batteries. But the Napa auto parts folk insisted on installing new batteries. It was only after that failed to have any positive effect on the generator did they get around to testing our old batteries, which turned out to be just fine (and given that the tester was a little, hand-held unit, I still don’t know why they couldn’t have started with that in the first place).
The next part was calling around town to find someone who could take a look at our generator and start working on it. We ended up at Findlay’s RV, just a couple of miles down from Sam’s Town (the hotel/RV park we’d been staying at for the last week). This was the part where we all ended up in the tow car, while Findlay’s proceeded to look at the generator. Their initial thought was a bad starter, and they would have to yank the generator out and order the part (overnight shipping). At least we could then get back into the RV and drive it back to Sam’s Town for the night.
The next day, we waited and waited (and waited) for news from Findlay’s. By 1:30pm, we had to leave Sam’s Town, or be charged for another day. We parked at Findlay’s and waited some more. All the time, I am calculating: how many hours will I have left to drive some 540 miles to Benicia, California, and play a gig scheduled for tomorrow night.
Then we were told that the problem was not the starter; or at least not the primary problem. Apparently there is something called a “stater” that went out, subsequently causing the starter to burn out. It would take a couple of more days (ordering another part, since it seems nothing that we really need is right here in Vegas). I called the Rellik Tavern to inform them we were broke down in Vegas, and there was no way I would be able to be there in time. They were pretty sanguine about it (and I hope they won’t hold it against me, next time I try to book a date with them).