Monday, July 11, 2011


The drive back to Missouri was interesting. We found out about Dad's passing at lunch time on Thursday and the rest of that day and all of Friday would be a complete whirlwind. We tied up loose ends here, and hit the road at 0530 Friday. As we made our way through Kansas, something didn't feel right but I kept it to myself. The temps heated up and, at one point, Heather reached over to turn up the AC. That's when I knew something was wrong. She's never hot. The AC wasn't running as cold as it should be. I pulled over and found smoke coming from the back of the AC pulley. Things seemed better with the compressor off so I figured we would just have to run without the AC. Even though I knew that he had already passed, I felt a huge sense of urgency to get us to St. Louis as fast as possible.

About 100 miles later, I got off at Salina to get fuel and could hear the pulley singing. I knew we were not going to make it all the way and we'd be lucky to get to a gas station. Once at a truck stop I began to think about options. I finally limped 3 miles to an Auto Zone and went inside to ask about an AC fan clutch assembly. I was hoping to be able to replace just the pulley and retain the freon and the AC. Nobody in Salina had the clutch but Auto Zone had the entire compressor. So I started working in the parking lot and the 103 degree temps. My idea was to try to pull the clutch off the vehicle and swap it with the clutch on the new compressor. I wasted about an hour trying to make that work before I realized that the cover plate on the clutch had moved independently from the internals and this made it impossible to use a puller to remove the pulley from the compressor. So then I decided to just swap compressors. The compressor is held on by 4 bolts and then you have to remove 2 lines from it. I felt terrible releasing the freon into the environment but I felt like I needed to get my wife home faster than Tuesday (it was a holiday weekend and nobody was able to bleed the system and recharge it for me). And just so you know...I did try my best to come up with a way to bypass the AC entirely but Jeep uses one serpentine belt so when the AC goes, you don't go anywhere.

Soon we were on our way again and we finally made it to the house at about midnight. Normally the drive doesn't take nearly that long but I was stressed to the max, hot as hell, worried about my wife, concerned about the dogs in the heat, and I was not thinking clearly so it took a while to come up with a list of options and then go through them piece by piece.

The viewing was on Wednesday night and it was a tough pill to swallow. My father in law wanted a very traditional Catholic burial and, while I respect his wishes, I just didn't think he looked like himself and it was very hard for Heather and I to see him like that. I'll never forget watching that casket close. The trip to the cemetery wasn't any easier.

I'm back in Colorado now but Heather is still trying to handle some things back home. One thing Heather said pretty quickly after hearing the news was that this couldn't impact the CTR. I shrugged it off but she had that look in her eye and made it pretty clear. I didn't do much riding at all in St. Louis as the heat was simply unbearable. Today I pretty much napped all day and thought about things. Obviously, I have a lot of emotions right now. I'm sad. I'm very angry. I'm confused. I'm tired. I'm angry. But I'm not going to disrespect him and miss the race. I'm not going to use his passing as an excuse. I know I'm going to have to keep a leash on my emotions and not let them dictate things any different than I can let anyone else dictate things.

I've done a lot of thinking about faith. I truly believe that he will be with me. Watching down on me.

I miss him. I wish I had called him one more time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Chris,

You know how its goes when a friend goes though stuff, can not really think of anything meaningful to say except the standard condolences, cycle of life thoughts, take care etc.

But maybe go for some relaxed trail riding?

Anyway, give Heather best wishes from Sharon & myself.