Outback in the Shop Again – Thank You to the Gentlemen at the Twin Bluffs Bar

On the drive back from Minneapolis it was snowing and miserable.  On the Minneapolis/St. Paul belt line, visibility was roughly 25-50 yards.

And it was a long and miserable drive, even when we cleared the cities and the visibility improved:


It was fairly cold, so the snow drifted a lot and the road was slippery.  But it wasn’t slushy at least.

We thought we were doing well and took a break at Culvers to eat lunch.  Started off again… but my side of the car was blowing cold air.

I asked my husband if the heater was out.

He said, ‘No, the car heats by pulling air from the engine using coolant-‘, and then paused.  Started swearing and pulled over.

We didn’t reach the red zone, but the car was over heating.

We pulled in next to the Twin Bluffs Bar near Winona, Minnesota, popped the hood, and waved away smoke to look things over.  His guess was a ruptured hose since it was all coming from one spot.

Checked coolant… yeah, none.

The bar next to use was dark, two snow covered trucks parked in front of it.  (This bar, Twin Bluffs near Winona.  They’re closed, sadly.)

I called, but one relative’s line was busy, and the other went to machine.  We have dumb phones because we’re cheap, so that was no good.

Finally, I put on my yaktrax to walk to the nearest house to ask for help.  (Totally an affiliate link, but they’re PRICELESS, and it was all blowing snow on an ice sheet in the parking lot.)

But out of the blue an engine started.  I spun around to see if my husband was starting the car, but no.  One of the trucks had remote started.  I ran up to the bar and knocked on the door, and two wonderful gentlemen answered.

They had no more idea than we did what might have happened… but one gentleman drove home and came back with an entire jug of coolant.  We poured the whole thing in, and they told us we were 12 miles short of La Crescent.

He wouldn’t take a single dollar, but we thanked them profusely.

So we limped to La Crescent, watching the temperature gauge and blowing the air as hot as it would go.  (85 degrees according to the digital display.  We kept the windows open!)  Stopped at the Kwik Trip and bought two jugs of coolant.

Got a hold of relatives, but the one who would be able to help us was at work.  Thanked them and decided to try for our local mechanic… we were only two hours out after all.

… we made it.  The temperature gauge stayed halfway, and we didn’t appear to have lost any coolant when we arrived.  So now our car is at the shop, and we’re home.

Way too much adventure for me!

Have you had road trip disasters?  How bad were they?  How did you cope?  Inquiring minds want to know!