The Quad cities of Davenport and Bettendorf on the Iowa side of the Mississippi River and Rock Island and Moline on the Illinois side were as far away from home as we would to go on this trip. Though we weren’t planning to take the most direct route possible, from there on we’d be moving in a homeward direction. We didn’t get very far though! As soon as we got out on the interstate yesterday morning, it was obvious that we had a vehicle problem!

We’d actually been suspecting a problem for a couple of days. The check engine light had been on, then off, then on again and we’d started to notice an unfamiliar whine. Now we had no power! Believe me, it’s no fun crawling along a busy interstate at 40 or 50 miles per hour!

We managed to limp into the small town of Durant and find a garage. They were pretty sure we had a transmission problem which was also our greatest fear. After cooling off, the vehicle responded a little better and they recommended that we take it to the Chev dealership a little further down the highway at Iowa City. We had a little difficulty finding the place but once we did, we learned that though the transmission fluid needed to be flushed and replaced, the transmission itself was fine and the problem originated with the catalytic converter. It needed to be replaced.

The good news was that though the vehicle is no longer covered by warranty, the catalytic converter was! GM would pay for the replacement including installation! The bad news was that there wasn’t one available anywhere in the state of Iowa! One would have to be brought in from out of state. They could have one there by this morning but we’d have to pick up the cost of shipping. And, of course, we’d have to find a place to spend the night!

The dealership recommended the Heartland Inn and after phoning around, I discovered that they did indeed offer the best deal. We packed up the basics for an overnight stay, left the trailer in the secure lot at the dealership and were delivered to our hotel by the dealership shuttle. They were definitely doing their best to take good care of us!

Since we were without a vehicle and there didn’t seem to be much of interest within walking distance, we spent the remainder of the day hanging out at the hotel. The fact that it had a nice pool helped a lot! The shuttle picked us up shortly before noon today and 25 hours after pulling in, we were on our way again.

Yesterday, when I was beginning to stress out over what might be wrong with the vehicle and how we were going to cope with this unexpected setback, Richard reminded me that simply having a vehicle at all, not to mention a trailer to pull behind it and the opportunity to enjoy holidays like this one, puts us amongst the world’s most privileged people. Wow! That really put things in perspective for me!


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