I have good news and bad news.
It cost me roughly $2,000 to get my car fixed, but fixed it is and my journey will restart in the morning.
What happened is the belt tensioner on the timing belt broke. Which is surprising given that it was replaced roughly 5,000 miles ago, just before I started this trip. But here is where I made a mistake. I had a local (recommended) mechanic do the work instead of taking it to the dealership. The dealership was not convenient and I knew they would charge roughly twice as much, so I know why I made this mistake. However, I knew I was going on this trip so if anything were to go wrong the local mechanic would not be available, but with the dealership I would have a warranty that would be honored all over the country. Turns out things went wrong. Now I have that bigger warranty.
Now for the good news. It could have been worse.
On a modern engine, when the timing belt slips or breaks, your engine is toast.
When my tensioner broke, nobody can understand why the belt didn’t slip, but it didn’t.
So, which is it? Am I having a run of bad luck or am I the luckiest guy in the world? When I lost my clutch, it was a simple hose change, of which there was one in town. When I lost 4 lug nuts on the rear wheel, one held. When the belt tensioner broke, the belt didn’t slip.
I’m being given the chance to see the world as I want to see it.
I’m very lucky.