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Posted by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 10/2/2016

Well now, it's certainly been interesting couple of months (good grief!) since my last post. I have not, sad to say, been sitting around watching Doctor Who re-runs, however.

About a week after that last post we had a humongous hailstorm here in Colorado Springs. The hail itself wasn't all that heavy or large, but there was a lot of it, and my trusty truck got hung up in the ice on the way up the canyon that evening. It was a good 4" deep so I guess I can't really complain, and I think maybe if I'd had my snow tires on I would have been okay, but of course it was the middle of summer so I didn't.

So I hiked home and the following day (after what seemed like a very timid sun coming through the clouds) I drove down to free my car from the ice along the side of the road (where it had backed when I got stuck). Turned out however that the Trailblazer was doing a marvelous job of keeping the sunlight from getting to all that hail, plus the tires were partially off the road into a bit of a hole, so the upshot was I couldn't move it at all. That sucker wouldn't budge.


Okay, that's what AAA is for. It took them a while to get here (lots of damaged and off-the-road cars due to the hail) but once he did it was a simple matter to hook up the winch and haul my Trailblazer out of the ditch. Maybe 20 minutes after he'd arrived my truck was free, and he went his way and I headed home to Tanglewood.

Then came the following morning. As I tooled down the road (carefully, since the hail and rain had done some damage) I hit a bad dip at a spot just a bit down canyon from where I'd gotten stuck (pure coincidence). Less than a quarter mile later, the 'Low Oil Pressure" light came on the dashboard. Quite puzzled, I pulled to a stop and poured some more oil in (I keep a bit in the back of the truck), then noticed immediately that it was gushing out the bottom and down the road.

I had apparently bashed the oil pan.

Okay, so this was awkward. I was about as far as I could be from any other houses (not that there are many up here) and I'd just sacrificed what was left of my oil to the dirt road. I decided to at least try to get the Trailblazer back home since I knew it would automatically shut off if it was in danger of running dry. I thought I might be able to make it.

I got most of the way at least -- the Trailblazer shut off just below the big pond below my property line. I didn't think much of it since I was trying to get to work, so I figured I'd take a gander at the damage and figure out what to do that evening or possibly the next day. Turned out it took me until Wednesday to look because it was raining to beat the band Monday and Tuesday evenings. Once I got under there though I quickly saw it was bad.

Turned out I had destroyed the oil pan, not just cracked it or put a hole in it. Half of the bottom and front end of the pan was completely destroyed. And then I noticed something else -- somewhere along the road (not the canyon gravel road or I would have noticed it) I had somehow dropped the differential road connecting the differential over to the driver's side tire. That's right -- somehow a three-foot-long piece of steel had fallen out of my truck and I never noticed.

So between that and the other problems I'd been having, I decided the time had come to retire this particular truck and get another. That set off a 5 week search both here and up in Denver, looking for the right car and all. I found a lot of cars with "Check Engine Light" problems, as it turned out, and a lot in which switching to 4WD went "CLUNK"... Yeah, no. Apparently used 4WD vehicles mostly have had the "4WD" drive driven out of them. 

I finally zeroed in a fine 2003 Trailblazer and got 'er home without issue. Since then it's taken a couple of weeks to get it registered and all my stuff moved into it from the old Trailblazer, and that more or less brings us up to date.

Today I was finally able to look at the door again and some progress was (I hope) made. I'll write about that in another posting.

I'm behind schedule now but technically I have a month to finish up the door and keep it tied to Summer, 2016 plans. We'll see... It's gonna be tight.

Steven in Colorado

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