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I had an interesting time getting to the national meet.

I was going to leave for St. Louis on Thursday morning but work got in the way. I didn't get out of work until about 4 PM. It's only 500 miles from La Crosse to St. Louis so I thought I'd get a good start that night. Depending on my energy, I'd either show up at 3 AM or if I needed to, get a room along the way. I'm a pretty good road warrior so the drive wasn't daunting.

I was running around La Crosse, taking care of a few last minute errands before leaving town when the stereo in my E started cutting out at loud levels. WTF? :shock: I've had zero problems with my car system since I installed it. Soon it was cutting out at low levels. Then it wouldn't turn on at all. The deck would try to turn on but immediately cut out. If I looked at my amps, one of them was following the deck's lead, trying to come on but failing. The other one was in protection. I'm in a big pile of hurt!. Why does this have to happen hours before I'm ready to leave for the national meet? :x

I go by my stereo store and get my best car guy. We swap head units. Same problem. We quickly determine it's got to be power, ground or remote turn on. We find it isn't the remote turn on. OK, power or ground. With a weird problem like this, ground is the obvious culprit. But all grounds look good. We try various other things out like bypassing the cap but we can't figure it out. This is a really strange problem.

The store closes at 7 PM, so I head home and try some other ideas involving grounds in my garage. Still no success. Tired of sweating and very frustrated, I come inside to the air conditioning.

Friday morning I try some more ground ideas - no luck - and figure I've got to get going to St. Louis. I'm going to miss the ball game. I will drive my other car to St. Louis. This isn't the ride I wanted to take but at least I'll be there to meet people. I get on the road for St. Louis by 9:30 AM.

By 2:30 that afternoon, 300 miles out of La Crosse and only 200 miles from St. Louis, I'm just north of La Salle, Illinois on I-39. As you well know, dashboard time is some of the best thinking time you can come by. In my mind, I'm still trying to fix my Element. If it isn't remote turn on or ground, then it has to be power. But how? It was working fine. On Wednesday I did clean the engine compartment, using a minimum of water, and I immediately started the car to dry everything out, but there is a relay for my two battery system in there. I hadn't worried about it as it was designed for the International Space Station. I mean, if it's good in outer space it can handle getting splashed, right? Right? But what if it couldn't. That could cause my problem. The separate battery for the car stereo wouldn't get recharged. The system would work for a while but once that battery drained down, the system might act screwy. It certainly wouldn't come on. That must be it. Damn it, I've figured out the problem and I'm 300 miles away and heading the wrong direction!

I call back to the store and talk to my buddy. He agrees; this makes sense. We come up with a plan to have an installer go out to my house and check out my car, using a multimeter to test the battery and relay.

If this is the problem, I have to go back and get my E. I need to turn around right now, even before I know for certain I've figured the problem out. Each mile I drive away from La Crosse means an extra mile back. I turn around at the next exit and head back north. An hour later, an installer confirms my diagnosis and replaces the balky relay. Whoo-hoo. I figured out the problem. I'm actually pretty proud of myself. If I wasn't only still 4 hours away from home.

I get back to La Crosse about 7:45 PM Thursday evening. I put back together my car as I'd left it in pieces and hit the road again at 10:15. I stop at a rest stop along the way and sleep for about 2½ hours. Back to driving. I reach St. Louis about 8 AM. I had driven 1,100 miles in the last 23 hours. I wash my car and head to the Hampton Inn. I find out that phone calls along the way have made no difference and that I don't have a room. I check in across the street at the Drury Inn, a much nicer hotel and with a very helpful staff, get a shower and go to the meet. Parking, I open my car doors, blast out a live version of Truckin' (it seemed appropriate), kiss Kissya and start meeting people, checking out their Elements.

A half an hour nap in the afternoon helped my demeanor, and I did crash and burn by 11 Friday night, but otherwise I was OK. It was just like rock 'n' roll tour, following a band. Too many road miles with too little sleep. The only thing I really regret is not meeting more folks. I only got to shake hands with half of the people I wanted to meet and I really talked to far fewer. Next year. :sad:

The drive back Sunday was uneventful. I did stop in small town in Illinois north of Springfield to take a nap. There was an antique mall and they had a large Joe Hamon paperweight - I collect antique paperweights - that was a little expensive but I bought it anyway. I also got a cracked windshield on the way home from a pebble thrown up by the car ahead of me. I guess after 48,000 miles, my E is now officially broken in. I know I am. :twisted:
 

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I'm glad you made it home, all that and a cracked windshield, that's rough.
 

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Man, what a story! I get my best ideas in the shower. Must be the hot water hitting my brain.

Glad things finally worked out. :D

Mike
 

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I didn't get to talk to you much but If I knew the trouble you had getting there I would of offered you not one beer but the whole case. Glad to hear that you got back ok.:)
 

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Outpost, one word comes to mind when reading your post, LOVE. I think that is the quinessential EOC member story. Wish I could've made the drive from Jacksonville to St. Louis, but being a college student has its duties (and I'm not talking about binge drinking). Maybe next year.
 

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I'm glad you made it home ok. For the record...you kissed me twice. I'm suprised no one got a pic of it....:-o :D
 
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