April 12, 2003

Took a long scenic drive on the Shenandoh Skyline drive today - it was clear and good weather, but the trees haven't regained their leaves yet. They have a stable at the 51 mile marker that you can go horseback riding, provided you knew enough to reserve in advance (that's one day early) - Skyline Stables...540-999-2210. On the way back, a strange odor starting coming out of the right side of the van. It smelled like something burning, but it wasn't quite as acrid as rubber burning, although it had a rubber 'flavor' about the smell. I stopped the car, and it seemed to be coming more from the exhaust than anywhere else. We let the van cool down, and I looked for the source, but couldn't find it. Then we drove home without recurrence...:sigh: - buying a used vehicle is one big crap shoot...but I'm going to stick with this van...put enough money into it to keep it running - not so much good money after bad (if the engine blows, forget it), but in standard maintenance items the last owner didn't bother with, like changing the serpentine belt, the PVC valve, the spark plugs, various filters, radiator cap, trans fluid, fuel filter, etc, etc. Buying the parts myself seems to be saving me some money - I just need to find a fairly inexpensive mechanic who will do reliable cheap labor.

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