El Reno, OK – late night

In what seems to be shaping up as a trend, I gave a mechanic a fistful of money today and he failed to actually fix the problem.

I mean, it’s nominally better than it was.  Now the roaring and being limited to 45mph is interspersed with short stretches where I can go as fast as I want (for instance, the first several miles out of the service center’s parking lot).  But it’s still not right.

I don’t know what the deal is.  Maybe I’ve got “dickweed” written all over me, and they know I haven’t clue one about things automotive (or maybe they read the last couple updates, and were just waiting for me to come through town while eyeing expensive catalog merchandise).  Maybe they see the NC license plates, and know I’m on a trip and will therefore be miles away before I discover their treachery.

Or maybe everything went to hell all at once and each of these guys is fixing the next most obviously busted item going down the line (or, he just realized in horror, maybe something still broken is _causing_ all this other stuff, meaning I might have to replace some of them _again_…).

So the beautiful sights I saw today?  I-135, the inside of a Wichita RV repair shop (amazingly, it wasn’t nearly as exciting as I’ve made it sound…), I-35, and I-40.

On I-40, about 10 miles before the exit just off of which I’m camped, there was a sign that said: “HITCHHIKERS MAY BE ESCAPING INMATES.”  I got worried only after I stopped being curious whether they meant the hitchhikers may be inmates who are escaping, or that hitchhikers may be escaping from inmates attempting to take them hostage.  Either way, there was now good reason to believe that there were inmates about, and, whether they were escaping or taking hostages at the moment, I wanted no part of them.

There was a young kid at the desk when I checked in at the campground, he asked for the typical name and address.  When I told him the town he said “Simpsonville?  That sounds scary.  Lots of crime there?”  I’m thinking, right, in South Carolina we taxi our criminals to the suburbs, rather than forcing them to thumb a ride.  I managed to complete the check-in procedure without issuing him the beating he so richly deserved, that should count for something.

And by the way, where’s all my email?  Oh, sure, everybody’s my pal when it’s all laughy-pants time, I hit a few rough spots and all of a sudden all I’m getting is notes from my mom and pornography advertisements (not in the same letter, typically, mercifully).

Tomorrow looks like today, only perhaps hotter and with more humidity.  Seeing as how the overworked engine has me frightened of what what might happen if I do something foolish like turn on the air conditioner, my joy at this outlook is no doubt clear to you all.  I hope to make it to the Albuquerque area, hitting Arizona they day after.

And another by the way, do we really need all these big square states out here?  Did you know there’s almost four hundred miles of Kansas?  And I’d had my fill after about seven of them, thank you very much.  Now I look at maps of New Mexico and Arizona, and my mind cries “why?”  If you discount such chilling road signs as “Next Services 183 Miles,” the only thing these states have shown me that I can’t get at home is roadkill the size of my sofa.  That’s why you only drive west in an RV or a semi: buffalo just shrug off Toyotas.

Okay, I think I’m babbling at this point (although there _are_ buffalo here.  The same sign that proudly proclaims it as the state animal also advertises the restaurant where you can eat some of it on a bun with fries.  Rather a carnivorous lot, here in the Plains states).

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