We’re pretty close to halfway home now. There was only one incident, but that didn’t take too long to overcome. Just before exit 340 on I-40 in Tennessee, the heat shield covering the catalytic converter decided to partially detach from the car. That’ll make a noise. We were dragging it along for maybe a quarter mile before the exit. I got off and took a look. I figured we’d need to stop some place and buy a wrench so I could take it the rest of the way off, so we poked “Shopping” into Tomtom, and it directed us down a switchback to a Walmart in Rockwood, TN.

Before we got to the Walmart though, we came across an auto parts store. I went in to see if they would know what size bolt was holding that thing on, and he offered to loan me a hacksaw. Made sense to me, so I accepted the offer. I went out, and decided there was no way I could get beneath the car sufficiently to operate a hacksaw without a ramp or a jack or something. I went back in and asked for a ramp. He gave me a jack. I jacked it up a bit, and then thought to document my findings:

Heat Shield

Heat Shield

That liquid is condensed water dripping off the air conditioner coil. I left the engine running while I effected the removal of the shield. It was about 90 degrees outside, and the humidity musta been pushing 100. I ended up not using the hacksaw. The shield had cooled enough that I was able to grab it with my bare hand. I worked it back and forth until I induced a stress fracture all the way across the nut hole. Then I pitched the shield in the trash, returned the tools, and we set out again.

Total time elapsed: 30 minutes. Not bad!

Now we’re in Strasburg, VA, two miles short of I-66 on I-81. Google maps said that our first leg would take about 11 hours, but it did not allow time for doing things like eating or removing heat shields. We did the trip in about 13:30 hours by my reckoning. Google says the second leg should take about 10 hours, so I’m figuring another 12:00 to 12:30 for that.