Breakdown in the Heartland

Mindermines Travel Blog

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It was just after four when I crossed the state line back into Missouri and estimated an arrival at Myrna's sometime between five and five thirty. Soon after, La Bamba's engine suddenly quit. I've had it quit before on previous trips - once by fuel starvation due to a clogged filter and once by a failed fuel pump. I carry spares of each of those. On both of those occasions the engine weakened before dying a slow, gradual death. This time it was abrupt and final so I suspected an electrical problem. I coasted off the road and into a gravel clearing near two grain silos in front of the Central Prairie Farm. Rain poured and winds howled.


When the rain finally tapered off I confirmed voltage to the coil. There was no way, alone, though to check for a spark to the plugs until Lester drove up to check a nearby rain gage (it had rained two inches). He confirmed that my coil was only putting out a weak spark then offered a ride into Pittsburg, Kansas, to an O'Reiley's parts store. I was grateful that they had a new coil and more grateful for the kind help and hospitality of the heartland farm folks. Between downpours, I changed the coil but the VW still would not run.

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