Monday, January 08, 2007

Check Engine Soon

Twice on our drive to California, we bought gas of a certain brand. I don't want to name names, but it rhymes with "Schmillips 66." Both times, the check engine light came on.

The owner's manual for our van was reassuring, and suggested that we burn through one tank of gas before flying into a panic. We did just that, and the warning light went out in each case. We resolved never to fill up on Schmillips gas again.

Alas, while on the Kansas Turnpike between Wichita and Topeka, the tank was getting low. We had two choices: get off of the turnpike, drive who-knows-how-far, and pay a double toll, or buy more Schmillips gas. We chose the latter. Sure enough, the warning light lit up again, and stayed on all the way to South Dakota, where at the Vermillion exit on I-29 I filled up at a Conoco station.

Sunday, January 07, 2007


We just returned from California. To misquote The Pretenders, 4,000 miles is very far through the snow. Actually, only a tiny portion of that was through the snow. We hit a pretty good snowstorm in Utah on our way west. We had the good luck to drive through Colorado between the two big storms they've had. Not wanting to risk more snow, we took a southern route through Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma on our way back home. Here we are at the Grand Canyon:

We had a terrific time staying with Joel, Patricia, Andrew, Eric, and Paul, and also spent a day at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach with both them and Jim, Rebecca, Ben, Michael, Ingrid, Allison, and Emma. We also visited the Los Angeles Zoo, the Kidspace Children's Museum, and the Huntington Library and Gardens.