The hard-starting problem came back, and this time it wouldn't start at all. Lisa puzzled over this for a while, and then said, "Go inside and buy a can of starting fluid." When I came back, she had the hood open and she sprayed the fluid into the air-filter intake, then rushed into the van and turned the key. It started right up just fine. Her diagnosis is that what my mechanic did to get it over the low-idle-stall must have made it not want to start up easily. If this is all that's wrong, we can manage by using the starting fluid whenever the van is sufficiently reluctant to start. Once it's running, everything is just fine, and it ran pretty well on the drive to Winnemucca. Thank goodness the problem happened while we were in a truck stop where we could buy supplies, rather than at a desolate pull-out with no services, where we briefly stopped to make sure the antennas were correctly deployed.
When we got to the hotel and moved in for the night, we decided we did not want to drive anywhere else, what with the van being reluctant to start. (As it happens, it starts more easily cold than warm, which is a bit unusual.) There was an Arby's a short distance away, so we walked up the hill and got some roast beef sandwiches. The staff there were friendly, but a cloud hangs over them: the store is closing on Sunday and they're all out of work.
After we ate, Lisa sent me down to the minivan to get two more sodas out of the electric ice chest we've brought along. (The chest is turned off overnight so it won't run down the battery, but that's okay, it's just to keep sodas cold; there are no perishable items stored in it.) There was a pretty looking sunset out over the desert to the west back toward Fernley that I managed to capture in this shot.
So far I've remembered one thing that I forgot: a jacket. I don't expect to need it during the drive to Spokane or while we're there, but I really should have it by Seaside, where I'm likely to need it. It's not important enough to run back home to get, but we're going to need to see if we can pick me up a new windbreaker during our travels. We'll try Big R (there's one a short distance from the hotel) on our way out tomorrow morning as our first attempt.
I admit to being uneasy about the difficulty the van is having starting, particularly as tomorrow's leg of the trip up US-95 is one of the most desolate parts of the trip, as we drive from Winnemucca to Pendleton. It's probably just as well that there aren't many places we'll want to stop. We may want to make any restroom breaks a tag-team affair with one of us always staying with the van while it idles away, rather than risk restarts when its warm.