Well, if what happened tonight is the harbinger of trouble, maybe not. While powering up the long climb out of Dunsmuir toward Weed and Yreka on I-5, the van was performing pretty well, maintaining 65-plus on the open road, when the SERVICE ENGINE SOON light came on. Now there's not much you can do when that happens because it's unclear exactly what triggered it, so I just kept going. When the road flattened out, the light went out, and then along the next climb, it came on again. It went off again as I slowed down in Yreka for the exit and driving in to the hotel.
The van has plenty of power, but I can think of several possible problems. Among them -- and I don't know if this will trigger the check-engine sensor -- is that I'm concerned that the alternator isn't putting out enough power. Admittedly, I had the air conditioning and lights and radio on, but the needle certainly seemed low to me.
Why do these things always happen on the road trips? Still, there's a GM dealership in Stayton, so I can probably have the van looked over and they can tell me what's wrong while I'm in Mehama. Fingers crossed that this isn't a serious (read: expensive) problem.
On the one hand, if this had turned up a couple of weeks ago, I could have had my regular mechanic look at it. On the other hand, for the past two weeks, I've been too busy to do anything of that sort.