Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee
kevin_standlee

Let There Be (Too Much) Light

Because of overrunning Day Jobbery, we didn't get away from Fernley until just before sundown on Wednesday. We had just over 200 miles to go to the Vagabond Inn in Bishop, via US-50A, NV-117, US-95, NV-360, and US-6.

I rarely drive anywhere that high beams are of much use because there's usually too much traffic; however, the drive on US-95 south of Fallon led out into some fairly low-traffic highway at night, so I clicked up the high beam. When I did so, to my surprise, the lights clicked completely off before going up to high. I clicked them again and they went to low, again going completely off before coming back on low beam.

I then tried again and it clicked through dark to high; unfortunately, now they wouldn't click back down to low at all. My headlights were stuck on high beam.

At the first convenient place with a wide enough shoulder, we pulled over, and Lisa tried to troubleshoot the problem, but nothing we tried worked. At first we considered calling the hotel in Bishop and canceling so we could hole up at Hawthorne NV, but it was already after 6 PM. (Later I found that the Vagabond Inn has a Noon-previous-day deadline anyway.) So we decided to hope for the best and push on to Bishop.

Although traffic was light, it was there, and I'm sure I annoyed a lot of people last night. I responded to anyone who blinked high beams at me by flicking the lights off and on to show (I hope) that I didn't have any choice in the matter.

It was a clear night with a nearly-full moon and otherwise not bad for traveling if we hadn't been fretting over the lights. After a brief rest stop at Hawthorne, we didn't stop again until we got to Bishop about 9:45, roughly 5 hours after leaving home for the nominal 217 miles including stops.

We grabbed groceries from the nearby Vons and made sandwiches. I got a huge fright when I took my blood sugar reading an hour later: 322! That's 100 points higher than the highest reading I'd ever had in my life. Normally I should have exercised, but I was exhausted from the stress. I took an extra dose of metaformin and went to bed. (My overnight blood sugar was 173 the next morning, which is not good, but not as awful as that 322.)

This morning, after spending two hours on a Day Jobbe conference call, we checked out of the hotel and took the Astro to the GM dealership in Bishop. They said they figured an hour or two to troubleshoot it, so we walked back up Main Street, ending back at the Denny's next door to the Vagabond Inn for breakfast. Just as we finished up breakfast, the dealership called to give me the bad-but-could-be-much-worse news: The light switch relay — original equipment on the 1989 Astro and very brittle old plastic — is broken. The multifunction turn indicator, which is what controls the high/low beam and is very expensive (I know, I've had to replace it twice), is fine.

The good news: this is only a $35 part plus installation (and $100 diagnosis). The bad news but not unexpected is that they don't keep it in stock and can't get it until Monday. But that's okay; we're coming back through on Monday and spending Monday-Tuesday nights in Bishop. I can take the van to them first thing in the morning on Tuesday, leave it with them, and collect it from them later that morning.

We walked back to the dealership, where they told me not to worry about the $100 diagnosis charge; we can settle up everything after they've replaced the switch on Tuesday. They told me that they'd like to wire around it to give me low-beam-only; however, the relay is so fragile that they could easily end up shattering it and leaving me with no lights at all, so they left it alone. This means that it would be best to travel only during daylight hours until next Tuesday, which is a bit challenging during these short days of late autumn.

On the bright side, my blood sugar an hour after breakfast today was only 137, which is high-normal, but normal nonetheless. I need to eat less and exercise more, and eat fewer carbs.

Today's stage was to Lancaster (200 miles), which would ordinarily be no sweat at all, but with the desire to not be traveling after dark (sunset was about 4:40 today) and not getting away from Bishop until after Noon, we needed to rush. We did however stop for a few minutes for a rest break in Lone Pine; there was a nearly 30 minute delay for one-way controlled traffic on a stretch of CA-14; and we made a wrong turn in Mojave that cost us ten minutes. The net result was that I had to put the lights on in Lancaster itself, and I felt awful about running around with high beams, but it's better than no lights or running lights only. We got to the Holiday Inn Express about 5:30 PM. Again, it took around five hours to go about 200 miles.

Tomorrow we have only about 77 miles to go, albeit that we're heading into the Los Angeles basin and can't expect to make good time due to traffic. However, our fingers are crossed that we'll get to Manhattan Beach and SMOFCon by mid-afternoon at the latest.
Tags: astro, lisa, smofcon, travel
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