Friday, July 01, 2016

Endurance Trip to Coast with Cats

Long day.

It began when the alarm clocks (3 of them) blared a minute apart about 3:30 a.m.  Too soon.

By 4:30 a.m. I was in the car, clutching a cup of coffee, Jade and Chessie in traps in the back, secured, for travel, with bungee cords.

Off we went.

It was the steep mountains of the coast range that threw me into a pit of worry.  My car began making horrible noises, like muted metallic knocking, that sometimes sounded like ball bearings running together, kind of liquidy and muted, not sharp sounds, but loud.

My stomach knotted, worried we wouldn't even make it back into cell phone covered area before the thing quit for good.  But we did make it.

I don't know what those horrible sounds were, that cursed the airwaves in the trek over the mountains.  Probably nothing good.  But I hope it was bad gas.  On the way back, with a different tank of gas, nothing, no knocking sounds.  But will the noise return and what was it, really?

I finally had to realize we'd make it or not make it, and turn up the CD player, so I couldn't hear the noise.

I was second in line to check in at the clinic at 8:00 a.m.  They told me to come back at 3:00 to pick up.

I headed straight to a beach parking lot and crawled in the back of the car, spread out on the blankets I'd brought, and slept an hour and a half.  Not enough. But it got too hot in the car.

A couple of elk grazed near the parking lot.

I drove down to the Iredale wreck beach because there's a bathroom there.  I briefly walked the beach but having to move out of the way of speeding cars, on the beach, is not my idea of beach walking.  The number of cars on the beach depressed me severely.  Why are they there?   Cars have roads to be on, everywhere, and isn't there anywhere we can be free of them, not even on a narrow width of public beach?

Car people even ignored the area where they are not allowed, driving right by the signs to spread out. 

To me, it's disgusting, and darn lazy and inconsiderate.

By this time, it was time to go pick up the cats.

But when I arrived, waited through the long line again, they told me they hadn't even started on my cats and it would be another couple of hours.   I was too tired by then to go anywhere.  The roads were absolutely bumper to bumper also, with people coming to the coast or leaving the coast for the holiday weekend.  The weather was cool and overcast one minute and hot the next, so I couldn't stay in my car.  It was too hot.  So I opted to sit inside the clinic, where fans blew, to keep it cool.  I sat there over two hours, nodding off now and then.

The third time I waited in the line, to see if they were done, my right knee suddenly buckled, as it does now and then.  Fortunately, there was a chair near, and I just plopped into that.

Finally, finally I got the cats and left.  Jade had 5 teeth pulled.  Chessie 3 pulled plus a small skin cyst on her shoulder removed.

The bill?  $275, which is why I go the stretch to get to this clinic.  I LOVE them.

But next time, to better manage the long hours involved, I plan to camp out somewhere the night before with the cats. Camping with cats.   Why not?  I've done it before for the trip.  Makes it a whole lot easier on me.

Now for the 3 hour drive home.  Would the car make it.  Thankfully the knocking sounds never became loud and vanished completely after a few minutes.  Was it because I filled the tank, and this gas wasn't bad?  I don't know.  Worries me some.  But at least I made it home.

Left at 4;30 a.m.  Home at 9:30 p.m.  Never so happy to be home.  Jade was too, and rushed around calling out for her friends.  First Shady came to find her, touched noses, rubbed cheeks, then Sam.  Jade is happy!  Chessie is off curled up sleeping.  Soon I will be too.

So glad we made it through a very long day.  Hope not to do that again for awhile.  Actually I do have to repeat because Angel needs to go in.  But this time, I might camp out the night before, so I don't have to do it in one day.  That is, if the car is still running.
Jade and Chessie in traps in the car

Chessie, happy to be home at last.

The spot, on Chessie's shoulder, where the cyst was removed.
I found the below video on youtube and that is the exact sound I heard.  Pinging or Predetonation.   Bad gas is only one thing that can cause the problem.

Still up, unfortunately.  Caffeine too late.  I'm not a caffeine fiend.  I drink one cup in the morning, that's it.   But today I had several cups beyond, and late too.  So my mind runs.   Worries.  If I break them down, I have three primary worries:  shoes, primary care (finding one), and the car.

I ordered shoes when my brother kindly sent me shoe money, through Zappos.  They were supposed to be here, but there was some delivery problem, with a truck or something.  I hope one or both pair fit.  Wouldn't that be nice.  And unusual.  I've been wearing sandals, but they also are too wide, so my feet slip around sideways in them and the straps then wear holes on the tops of my feet.  Plus they are several years old too.

You wouldn't think in this day and age keeping shoes on my feet would be so hard.

Finding a primary care provider seems like shouldn't be so hard either.  Being on medicare doesn't help.  I hope to find one locally, so it's easier than driving to another town, like I've been doing.  Nothing I can do about that for now.

As for the car, I found this online:

"The 3 Most Common Engine Problems;

Engine knock can be caused by many things, however, some of the most common are as follows:

1: The fuel in your car has too low of an octane rating. - The octane rating of gasoline is sometimes known as the AKI--anti-knock index. Manufacturers recommend a certain rating to maintain optimum performance in their vehicles. If you use gas that has an AKI that is too low, you can use an octane booster, purchased at any auto parts store, to bring it back to levels that will allow normal function. If you use the correct rating and it still has issues, try a different brand of gasoline. Using a gasoline with an AKI higher than the manufacturer recommends will not have any adverse affects.

2: Carbon deposits on cylinder walls. - All fuels sold in the U.S. are required to have a certain level of carbon cleaning detergent in them, however this may not be enough to stop deposits from forming. When deposits form, the volume of the cylinder is effectively decreased, which increases compression that can cause knock. To combat this, first try to purchase some detergent additive at an auto parts store, and then try switching fuels. If your car is prone to knock, you may want to add the detergent at every fill-up.

3: Your vehicle has incorrect spark plugs. - Manufacturers have recommended spark plugs for every vehicle, and often list some alternatives. If your car is running anything other than what is suggested, you may have knock. The heat range of a spark plug is often in its part number, and the spark plug is designed to run at that range. Its job--other than producing spark--is also to withdraw heat from the combustion chamber and into the head. Try to change your plugs if altering your fuel doesn't help.

The three causes of knock are the most common, and also the least expensive to fix. If your car is still experiencing knock after these suggestions have been followed, try and take it to a reputable shop."

I will replace the spark plugs. I haven't for some time now. I meant to do it when the coil pack failed but I didn't. So I can do that and I can also get some cleaner to add into the fuel because I have a feeling bad gas is gumming up the system with carbon deposits. I am not going to do number one, as listed above, switch to higher octane because I have a hard time affording the lowest octane. But I might switch gas stations, because that was a scary drive to the coast with the pinging noise so loud. And I've not heard it before so I have to think/hope it was a tank of foul fuel.

And I'll not put off flushing the coolant system either as that is very important. The coolant loses its anti corrosive ability after a few years. But I am not doing anything til next week. It will all wait and now, finally, after Nyquilizing, I am off to bed.


  1. I hope you get a wonderful nights sleep. You certainly deserve it.
    Fingers and toes crossed that the simple fixes are all that is needed.

    1. I did, and will get another tonight. Hope my car is just fine, with a few tweeks.

  2. Hope you finally got some sleep. What a long day but I know Jade and Chessie are thankful you took time for them.

    1. Yes, both girls would cry out when eating at times, so I'm glad I got them over there. Many hardships are worth the end result.

  3. Glad to hear your trip had a happy ending. My solution to strange car noises is also to turn up the music so I can't hear it.

    1. It's a great solution. Music really helps me survive many difficult times. Soothes the soul!

  4. What an ordeal! I'm so thankful you made it home safely. And may the spark plugs prove the solution. As for those illegal beach drivers, I wish they would all receive expensive fines. I'll admit that beach driving on the Outer Banks when we had a four wheel drive truck was fun once or twice, but to go where it's prohibited? That's obnoxious at best.

    Bless you and these sweet kitties. And good luck on the shoes and finding a primary care physician! I hate the thought of you suffering foot pain.

    I hope you slept well and are having a lovely Saturday!

    1. I'm glad to be home safely too! Jade was exuberant to be home, thrilled! I hope the shoes come soon and I hope they fit. That would be terrific! It's a clean up day today, since I wasn't here to keep up yesterday. I mop the entire house daily and sweep twice daily.

  5. I am glad you are safe and sound. Praying the car issues get resolved fast. You need good, solid, safe shoes. I hope the new ones arrive soon and fit well. I pray you get a good pcp, too. That is important! Hugs to you and the sweet cats there. ❤

  6. That's always great advice, Strayer, just turn up the music and you won't hear the bad noise . :)
    I completely agree with you about cars on the beach - ridiculous.

    1. I find "turn up the music" to be a great way to solve lots of problems. When I'm down and out, I turn on the music and dance. It drowns out my brain saying bad things to me and makes me feel better almost immediately.