Updated: Jul 20, 2019
Day 11: Bourbonnais, Illinois
We did not set alarms for this morning because there was nowhere to be. Molly and I shared one queen bed while Megan, the Captain, and his dog shared the other, and our gear lined the walls of the room. Today was a day of waiting for the diagnosis and hopefully repair of the Tour Loaf. I intended to spend most of it lounging in bed, since it is the time of the month when I don't feel like doing anything else. Molly, Megan, and I went to continental breakfast downstairs from our hotel room. Molly brought the Captain back a plate, as he had gone to walk the Ugly Bear. Later in the morning, we took an excursion to Phillips, the Chevy Dealership and RV Repair Shop. We retrieved the garments we needed to wash, and the Captain was able to speak with the mechanic briefly to calm his nerves about the examination in progress. I had my first glimpse of the engine of a motorhome, which sits between the Captain and First Mate's chairs.
Back at the hotel, Megan, the Captain and I made use of the washing and drying machines for our clothes from the first ten days of the journey. I spent most of the day as I had planned - in bed - catching up on the Captain's log from the Chicago Fiasco, when I stopped making time to write it. Meanwhile, Megan and Molly individually explored the surrounding area on foot. They walked extensively, purchasing a few garments at thrift and department stores in a derelict shopping mall, and making a few phone calls to family members and their significant others. I did not partake in any of these adventures, preferring the darkness of the hotel room and the task of documenting our travels.
The Captain was restless. I joined him for lunch at the Cracker Barrel, a Southern Cooking establishment behind the hotel, where I sampled an unusually healthy and delicious dish for such a place: a kale and brussels sprout slaw with cranberries and a light, sweet dressing. This was in addition to grilled cheese and a vegetable soup, but the slaw was the most memorable part of the meal. Still restless after lunch, the Captain returned to the dealership to set his eyes on the Tour Loaf and inquire further about her progress.
There were several updates throughout the day on the Tour Loaf's condition, as the mechanics examined and worked on her. The main problem, they found, was the cam shaft position sensor, which was not properly sending a signal to the distributor, causing a gap in the process that normally led to ignition and a running engine. This was responsible for our breakdown in Chicago, and to the great relief of us all, was remedied by the mechanics by midday. We had the shop change the oil on the motor and generator for good measure. Since they had demonstrated their expertise, we also asked them to go through the entire machine and let us know of any concerns. While this had been done once before the sale to the Captain in California, and again before our departure from Austin, it apparently had not been done skillfully enough. I feel our trust is well placed in these particular mechanics, as opposed to those who examined our machine before them.
By the end of their workday at 1700 hours, the mechanics had found one non-urgent issue and told us the machine was in generally very good shape. They planned to finish their examination in the morning. We decided to postpone the non-urgent issue - changing the rear main seal - until we reached Rochester, New York, since it was a time intensive and costly job that was acceptable to leave undone in the interim. The only consequence for now would be that we would need to replenish the oil more frequently than otherwise on the road. We resolved to check the oil each time we stop the RV as we continue our journey, and keep extra on hand.
In the evening, the four of us and the dog went to explore the near-abandoned shopping mall further. Molly purchased some exquisitely carved gauges to replace the simple ones she wore, and I treated the crew to some ice cream on our way out.
Before dinner, the Captain and I indulged ourselves with an episode of Wynonna Earp on Netflix. We had been eagerly awaiting July 16th in anticipation of the third season of the campy and extremely gay sci-fi western becoming available for streaming. The episode was delightfully Buffylike. Megan and Molly, in their ignorance of the show's fabulousness, chose to exercise in the hotel fitness center. We reunited to venture out for groceries, including fresh fruits and vegetables and a liter and a half of kombucha to replenish our gut biome after the days of poor nutrition following the Chicago Fiasco. Molly settled in contentedly in the hotel room with these foods, while Megan, the Captain and I (and the Captain's dog) walked across the way to Tucci's Casual Italian Restaurant for eggplant parmesan.