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03/03/2005 - 10:27pm

Stranded? No.. Camping!


I'm in the middle of a most interesting experience at this very moment. I arrived onsite at a client's location to spend the day as part of their IT staff working on a particular project for about 12 hours/day beginning today and going through Monday.

Yesterday, I had the oil changed in my Jeep. I have a minor coolant leak that I've had for months. It's no big deal, I just add water every week and all is well. The vehicle never runs anywhere near hot, even when I go longer than I should in refilling it. So I had them check out the leak to find out where it was at. They couldn't find a leak, but they did notice that my radiator cap was bad. They said that this was likely not the problem, but because the old cap couldn't keep the pressure in and the new one can, the leak will likely be exposed, so I should bring it back in a few days to have it checked out.

So I'm on my way this morning to my client's office, and the Jeep starts running very warm. Not anywhere near the red, but still hotter than it ever has before. It gets to a certain point, then cools down, then heats up, then cools down; and continues this cycle about every three minutes. That was very confusing, as it indicates a problem with my thermostat, but doesn't explain why it was leaking before.

So as evening approaches, I check fluid levels in the reservoir and everything is good. I start the Jeep and let it run for a bit so it can heat up. It starts to get very warm, and does not cool down this time. I open the radiator and notice that it's empty. So I walk to the nearest convenience store and pick up two gallons of water. I begin filling the radiator, and just as I'm finishing up with the first gallon, I hear water dripping out the bottom. The water pump is leaking the water as fast as I'm pouring it in.

Now here's the dilemma. It's 9:00pm, I need to be back to my client's office at 7:00am, and I have no ride. But as it turns out, that's not really a problem. I have laptop with wireless card, some high-gain antennas, a DC-AC inverter, and a large interior. So as I write this, it's now about 10:30pm, and I've hopped on to some open wireless network for internet access, and I'm ready to hit the sack. Now all I have to do is figure out what device I have in my Jeep that I can use as an alarm to wake me up in time.

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