On Wednesday Southern Man embarked on a road trip that would encompass Branson, Missouri (two nights) and then Kansas City to here Teen Daughter perform in a piano recital and then bring her back home for the summer.
It almost worked out that way.
Southern Man is a sucker for those three-day two-night mini-vacations where you pay next to nothing but have to listen to the two-hour timeshare spiel. And for the first time ever he decided to take a trip all by himself and do what he wanted to do. Which would be eat, drink, and geocache.
This is what cachers refer to as "level four" terrain.
Once at the top the cache was easy to spot.
Southern Man also visited outdoor sites of interest. At least, of interest to him.
Table Rock Lake Dam on the low (or Lake Taneycomo) side.
The Shepherd of the Hills fish hatchery at the base of the Table Rock Dam.
Those are some big trout!
While poking about above the dam Southern Man ran into a pair of fellow cachers.
Then it was off to Kansas City to collect Teen Daughter.
Teen Daughter with her piano teacher...
...and with Southern Man.
What's a piano recital without snacks?
And then we headed down to Southern State and were about sixty miles from home when The Hyundai shed its timing belt and (having an interference engine) probably chewed the hell out of the valves. So Southern Man sighed and called the roadside assistance number and we were towed in to the dealer and picked up (at dawn) by Southern Father. So The Hyundai made the last two percent of the trip behind a tow truck and has yet to make it all the way home.
Will this be the last outing of Southern Man's favorite cache-mobile?
The dealer is quoting $4500 for a new engine and Southern Man was thinking seriously about just trading what was left in on a new car. That galls as The Hyundai just got paid off a couple of months ago. However Southern Man found a mechanic who actually works on cars and may send it to him instead and is now trying to see where he can pull a couple thousand dollars to pay for it. And once again Southern Man reflects on his good bad luck. That belt could have easily parted company with the rest of the car much further from home. As it was it was only a $200 tow to bring it in to the dealership. It could have been much, much worse. Lord, thank you for ever watching over me. Amen.