Recently I was again looking forward to a leisurely trip on Amtrak from San Diego to Orange County to visit my kids and grandkids. As I was tooling up the grade I was so thankful to have a dependable, cool car, even with 86,000 miles on it. The thought had barely left my mind when the steering became sluggish. A couple of dashlights came on and I knew I needed to take the Campo/Boulevard off ramp.
My faithful little van coasted to a stop right under the shady overpass while steam came pouring out from under the hood. The Rev. Mike Myrick of El Centro was in the second car to go by. He quickly assessed the situation — a broken fan belt.
I hopped into the car with his mother while Mike steered the van the half-mile to Benny's Garage in Boulevard. There a bearded, long-haired man in a mechanic's uniform sat eating his lunch. Benny, the owner of the garage, was "in town" for the day, so Gary helped me. After allowing the car to cool dow, Gary replaced three belts and started filling the radiator. The water ran out the bottom as fast as he poured it in.