Friday, July 3, 2009

July Birds

I received instructions on where to see Bobolinks. They're like a blackbird that live in wet, grassy fields. Sure enough, the directions were perfect, and the Bobolinks were there, along with a Wilson's Snipe.

I was also told that there were woodpeckers to be found in a burned area and set off to find them. They were to be found 13 miles up Granite Creek, which was a dirt road. I only recently began taking my Honda Accord on dirt roads. It is the first car in my life that was purchased as a new (not used) car, and I tried hard to take very good care of it. But, since the transmission failed after only 66,000 miles (They do that on '01 Accords, as a class action lawsuit proved ... but the settlement that increased the warranty from 3 years to 7 years did me no good at year 8. In fairness, I should mention the dealership knocked 50% off the $2,800 repair bill for this faulty component.) I have now had a bit less love for this car, and it is now "of age" to hit the dirt. I wouldn't go on just any dirt road, but this one was nice and smooth -- for the first 10 miles. Then it got a bit bumpy, and at 12.5 miles it was downright rutted. But I was just too close to give up.

At mile 13 I parked, and since I'd heard a few scrapes (which I hoped would be the bumper) I cautiously looked underneath the car. Yikes! Fluid dripping. That's not good. I tossed the camera and binoculars back into the backpack and climbed under the car. I couldn't see where it was coming from, and no hose was obviously broken, or even abraded. I raised the hood. All the fluid levels were full. I got back underneath and held my hand under the drip. It wasn't slippery like oil, and didn't have any obvious color. I considered tasting it, but then imagined being broken down 13 miles in the mountains with absolutely no other person seen the whole trip, and then having to walk out while queasy (or worse) from drinking car fluids.

I thought I'd better go before all of whatever it was flowed onto the ground, and nervously started back down the road, not once looking for a bird. After a few miles I considered my hand, where I had caught the drips. It was completely clean, with no residue, like water. Water! The air conditioner was condensing and dripping just plain old water. What a relief this was, though I still eyed the dashboard temperature indicator nervously once in a while, in case I was wrong.

So, no woodpeckers were seen. And I wasn't about to go up that bumpy road again in this car. Maybe I'd come back with my little pickup. That would make more sense.


Though I didn't find the woodpeckers, I did happen upon this Ruffed Grouse on the drive back. So, seeing a Grouse up close made the adventure a bit more successful. And, I got a story to tell out of the deal. Seems as I tell my friends, they all chime in "air conditioner" at about the middle of the tale.

The moral of the story. "Don't look under the car. You may not like what you see. "

1 comment:

the casbah kitten said...

A bobolink! That's wonderful that you got to see one. I laughed about the car though....couldn't help it. I could just picture you.....