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Door Demon Thwarts Blowout Fallout

August 28, 2017


     The electronic component on my van's sliding side door gave out years ago, due to normal wear I suppose. Two kids, pets, trips. It just stopped moving on its own. It quit unlocking from the inside shortly after a playa trip, so I lived with only one fully functioning door. No problem.

     Until the day that rarely used door started popping open on its own. While I was making a cross country trip, no less. Yes, I mean popping open, creating a suction just like from a killer Stallone movie when the plane door is opened and the money falls out... My camping gear was all tightly wedged so nothing was lost. Yes, thankfully. So not only was it creating havoc inside and with the air-conditioner (100* typical Moab temp) I felt compelled to drive slower and stop often to shut and lock it. Olive, my faithful backseat driver was "pointing" out the obvious with a LOUD, none too happy yip. Let me add here that she was trying to "save" me from the demon, as my constant mutterings and a rope tightly fastened across the vehicle didn't assuage her fears. 

     The drive gave way to frustration as a tiny voice of reason was predicting an exorbitant new vehicle payment. I couldn't shake that dread. The drive was also lasting much longer than anticipated. I cried. I ran out of water, snacks, and patience. So we stopped for the night. I slept, albeit fitfully. Olive slept like a log and bed hog. One word: Normal. 

     Within an hour of home, I felt relief pass through me. I had gotten used to the door/road noise and left it ajar. The rope kept it from sliding open. The air conditioner kept us comfortable as it was cool that morning in the high desert. Oh, I still had frightening visions of car leases and new car smells, but I was no longer suicidal. Home. My destination was near.

     Then BOOM! FLAP! Boom! Blowouts on busy Interstate 80 are never easy. You need to be a fairly good driver to keep it on the road, not kill yourself or others. As luck (or demon) would have it I wasn't driving anywhere near the NEW legal speed with the door ajar. Safely, I managed to get the old beast pulled off the road. I was shaking so hard I couldn't dial AAA. But after a few minutes and a few sips of tepid water, I knew I had to act. It was getting hotter by the minute with no shade in sight. Using my Leupolds I could relate accurate mileage marker info to the tow truck driver. Using the one door that worked, I kept the interior fairly cool by creating a nice cross-breeze. I worried, Olive slept. 

     About three hours later, the tow truck dropped the van, the dog, and I off in front of my house. Home!  Oh Lordy! We had survived the demon door AND the blowout! The next day the tire guy said both back tires were blown. Yup. The tread was gone. For all my muttering and cringing at new car costs, I felt humbled and blessed, to buy a couple new tires and drive away.  The demon door has yet to pop open again, but Olive remains leery. And I admit, okay, I left the "rope" in place, just in case.


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