Okay- so maybe the title is a bit over dramatic and grammatically incorrect, but the experience is worth mentioning.
Baby and I had an unplanned stop today on our way home from the Tri-Cities. I had noticed that my 'check gage' light was acting up a bit in Richland, but thought this was the next thing in my dash to go since the RPM light burnt out a while ago. No biggie.... right?
Well, after a few side trips, dirt roads and an hour of going over 70 mph, I exited with anticipation at Blalock Canyon. I figured this would be a fun place to explore/hike/take pictures/etc. When I exited, I looked at the dash and my car had most definitely overheated and the gauge was not capable of going any higher. "How long had it been like this?", "Was it overheating everytime the check gauge light was on?", "Oh my gosh is my engine ruined?"
Well, I decided to pull over and have a look under the hood, since I'm so not familiar with anything engine. I open the hood and my car is gyrating. It sounds a bit like a fan with the protective plastic out of place and you can feel the vibration as the fan uncomfortably rubs against the outer shell. This went on, without any particular pattern for about 15 minutes. I was kind of freaking out, but figured I could handle this. Goal #1: Chill out. So I took it upon myself to get water for Baby, look for a non-existent granola bar, take pictures of myself with my timer option, smell the sage brush on my fingers, gather empty Starbucks cups in my car for disposal.... I kept as busy as possible. Baby waited patiently.
After the noises stopped, I sat there for an additional 30 minutes. I then remembered how I handled this problem with my last Ford SUV(The Bronco II Rocks!...I see a pattern here!). I drove 45 miles to the Dalles with my heat on high. The engine was at about 90% of it's heat capacity and my body was at about 150%. It was ridiculous. But we made it. We found an oil change place that topped off my fluids and also changed my broken thermostat. All fixed. The Explorer will live to see another day.