Westbound Day 22 – 62 miles – Moab

Saturday, 9 July 1994

This is the day our plans get really screwed up. The intention was to drive through Monument Valley, dip into Arizona and return to Utah to overnight near Zion Park, which we’ll have a look around tomorrow. The reality is the Caddy doesn’t want to go anywhere, my increasing concern that getting it back to the starting point may not be smooth sailing is getting a little too close for comfort. It misfires, coughs and won’t run at more than about 20 mph. Of course all the auto repair shops are closed on Saturday morning but I finally find a tiny place out on the edge of town. The young guy running it has very little equipment but he seems to know what he’s doing, diagnoses a faulty plug lead and suggests changing all the plugs and leads. Which takes some time, some of the plugs on the right side are very hard to get at. But finally it’s back together but the timing is, just like at Yellowstone a few days ago, way off. With that fixed I collect Maureen and Kieran and we set off. Twenty minutes later we’re heading back to town with the damn thing missing as bad as ever. This time everybody is closed up so we’re really stuck!

Kieran & CaddyI spend a couple of hours messing with it and trying to find any Saturday mechanic before we finally give in and check back into the motel we left that morning. We’ll explore around Moab on Sunday and try to get it fixed on Monday but our time to get back to San Francisco is definitely getting tight and this glitch has really lowered our spirits. Still we’ve had a pretty good run of it, considering the age of our venerable vehicle. And if there’s one region of the US I really want to come back to and explore in greater depth it’s the Southwest, so Monument Valley and Zion can wait for next time.

Late in the afternoon I decide to have one last go at it and decide the plug lead to the right front plug, the hardest one to get to around the generator and air-con compressor, is loose. I take it off, put it on again, and lo and behold the damn thing works! Kieran and I drive five smooth miles out of town and back again and we decide tomorrow we will set off, aiming directly west with getting back to San Francisco the sole concern. Moab once more looks like a really interesting town and an excellent meal ends a depressing day in a more upbeat fashion.