The transmission exploded just outside of Springfield, Missouri, and we looked like crop dusters on the freeway, what with the huge plume of white smoke that trailed us.
Sweetie had detected a problem with the transmission in Joplin, and after much deliberation, we concluded that the best thing to do was to head back home and add fluid every 100 miles.
It was a good plan.
Sweetie was able to coast up an exit ramp, and a repair shop was located and a wrecker service was called. David towed us to Beetle's Transmission, and then drove us and most of our belongings to a little motel that I called the Ship Wreck, but was actually named the Land Mark, a seedy $25 & Up kind of place that clearly stated NO PETS, but let us stay anyway. Before Dave drove off, he gave us his phone number in case there was trouble about Princess, saying his sister could look after her.
We walked to a nearby U-Haul to rent a vehicle, but Tiny the Manager told us that Enterprise would be cheaper and he called them and helped us make arrangements for them to pick us up. Shortly, a man in a little white Hyundai arrived and he agreed to pick up more things from our van, drop me and Princess at the Ship Wreck, before taking Sweetie back to the Enterprise lot.
I want to give a shout out to everyone we met in Springfield. Everyone that we dealt with was so nice to us, went out of their way to help us, and that made a bad situation bearable. Dave the Wrecker Man, Bob at Beetle's, the Indian Man at the Ship Wreck, Tiny at U-Haul, the Enterprise Driver, and just about every other person that we met, were friendly and helpful and smiling. (Of course, if we had not had money and credit cards with which to pay, we may have had a whole different experience.)
Since we were going to be in town awhile, we explored the area. Springfield, like many midwestern towns, was built on a grid system, so once one learned a few north-south and east-west streets, getting around was a cinch. We drove down College Street, and smack downtown I saw a theatre marquee advertising John Prine in concert for Friday night. I have loved Mr. Prine's music since before I moved to Atlanta, and I own several of his albums, but I had never seen him in concert.
We bought tickets Thursday, center row in the balcony, and dressed up as best as we could, and went. Opening act was singer/songwriter Carrie Rodriques, who played fiddle and guitar. I had never heard her before and thought she was great.
After a 45 minute set, that had started promptly at 8, there was a short intermission as the roadies changed the guitars and amps, and at 9, John Prine and two guitarists came out and rocked the house. His voice is more gravelly now, twelve years after having a tumor removed from his neck, and he seemed a little hoarse at first, but as the evening continued he just got stronger and stronger. He played many old and familiar songs as well and a few I didn't know. He bantered, told little stories, and put on an amazing show that lasted for over two hours.
It was great.
We left for home the next morning. Our great $800 van is now a great $2000 van, and she drove fine and we got home yesterday to all my bunnies, cats, and chickens.
Also. It rained hard in New Mexico. Hard rain in a desert is never a good thing. So, it all sort of worked out in the end.