The Vogts Gets Needed New Vehicle

For the past few months, my four-door sedan has been struggling to say the least, but I have finally been rid of its inconsistent performance.

See, every time I backed it out of the drive way, I was gambling.

I never knew if I was going to make it to my final destination or not because the transmission wasn’t cooperating.

I could be traveling down the highway only to have the transmission downshift to first or neutral.

The engine would rev up into the red-line area of the RPMs gauge, and I would be forced to pull to the side of the road, shut the vehicle off and count to 10 before restarting the car and taking off again.

Why count to 10? I’m not sure. It might have been because that gave it enough time to reset itself, or it might have given me enough time to cool my temper enough that I didn’t get out and beat the hood of the car in. Most likely, it was a combination of the two; however, going through this ritual wasn’t always a sure fire fix.

It would often go a few feet down the road before downshifting again, leaving me to repeat my resetting ceremony.

This all has come to an end, though.

Thursday was a five-star day. I bought a 2001 Ford Explorer Sports Trac in Salina.

Sure, now I have more debt added to by plate. I just school my college loans over to make room.

I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like to spend a lot of money all at once, but this was a purchase out of necessity.

I needed something reliable, and I wanted a vehicle with a bed and four-wheel drive.

I got that all and more with this truck.

With my new set of wheels taken care of, I decided to travel to Ransom, Kan., which is in Ness County, to visit my friend and teacher-extraordinaire Mr. Travis Schafer.

He just started his first year of teaching in the small school district of Western Plains.

He is teaching second and third grade. Both classes are mixed together in the same room every day, and he has three students per grade.

Like I said, it is a small district.

Mr. Schafer said after his first day Thursday he was excited to go back because he loved every minute of it.

I’m happy for him. I’m sure he is going to make a great teacher.

Personally, though, I wish he was a mechanic because as brother Troy and I traveled to visit Ransom on Friday evening, my truck’s temperature gauge began to indicate the vehicle was beginning to overheat.

I pulled over and popped the hood. Troy and I decided nothing was hot enough to justify an overheating, so we continued on, deciding the sensor must be off.

We were clearly wrong.

On Saturday afternoon we made a quick trip to Ness City to get a few needed items. On the way back, the air conditioner stopped blowing cold air and the temperature gauge went above and beyond the “hot” mark.

When we got back to Mr. Schafer’s house, I popped the hood again to find the radiator and sprayed water all over.

I promptly called father Steve back in Canton. Just from what I described he thought maybe it was the water pump going out or the thermostat being broken.

Travis called a couple guys he knew in town.

I never caught their last names, but I won’t forget their first names.

They named Todd and Troy.

It’s a small, creepy world, isn’t it?

Todd and Troy looked under the hood and surmised the problem had to lie in the thermostat, so they took it out and put my truck back together.

Knowing as much as I do about cars, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to drive the vehicle with the guts of the thermostat missing, but they and father Steve both assured me that I could drive it without for as long as I wanted, though I should probably replace it by the time winter strikes if I want to have a heater that actually warms the cab of the truck.

I made it back to Moundridge without incident.

Overall, it was a good trip out west, but I must admit I was more than frustrated that the vehicle I had owned for less than three days already had a problem.

Luckily I am so stoked to have a truck finally that I think I will be able to get over it rather quickly.

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About toddvogts 773 Articles
My name is Todd Vogts. I am an assistant professor of media. I like the color green, riding my motorcycle, and being with my family and friends. A good book is a perfect companion for me any time, and I'm a published author and journalist. Visit my website at and follow me on Twitter at