“The day my car blew up in Ensenada” (not really)
It could have been written by someone else in the “Obituary Column” and said, “The day Tom’s car blew to Smithereens in Ensenada”
As normal, I left this morning at 10AM, on my once-a-month major grocery shopping excursion. I’ve pinned it down to two stores, Smart & Final, and Walmart (when I need more of my meds), normally a two-hour round-trip.
When I first moved here the end of May last year, every time that I ventured out was a real adventure for me, but now almost eight months later, I’ve memorized all the really bad damage-causing “Pot-Holes” (ask my three tires that I had to replace), and the trip into town has become somewhat mundane. I needed groceries, so I had to make the now easy journey.
Added to the itinerary today was a stop at the propane dude down the hill from me. I had done this once before, putting the empty propane tank on the floor on the front passenger side of my vehicle, no biggie.
About a block from my first destination, “Smart & Final”, I did not see, (since my eyes are constantly scanning the road in front of me for pot-holes), but I heard this almost explosive-gaseous-like whoosh from the passenger side. It only lasted a split second. At first I thought perhaps my water-jug was burping, as IT was sitting upright on the front passenger seat, as if guarding the propane tank on the floor in front of it.
So now I’m a little concerned, (more than just curious). Was it the propane tank that made that sound like a huge momentary whale fart? As soon as I pulled into the parking lot of Smart & Final and turned off my ignition, I got out of my car, walked around to the passenger side, opened the door, took the propane tank out, set it on the ground, took my index finger and covered the little whole where the “Pressure Relief Valve” is supposed to be. Not only could I feel a slight pressure on my finger, (of the escaping propane gas), I could actually SEE the fine mist of the propane gas slowly escaping.
Now, for those who are NOT aware, propane tanks have what’s called, a “Pressure Relief Valve”, a valve that normally doesn’t function in ambient temperatures, and it is there primarily to release propane if the temperature is increased to the point where, due to the heat surrounding the tank, the “Pressure Relief Valve” functions as it’s name, it relieves the pressure that has built up because of the tank being heated and the “Gas” expanding. That’s why you DO NOT want to seek shelter near your propane tank if your house is on fire.
Well, my guess is that when the propane dude was filling up my tank, and opening and closing the “Pressure Relief Valve” with a tiny screwdriver, (a test?) he failed to tighten that screw properly.
Back to the Smart & Final, and to make this long story shorter, eventually the Ensenada Police arrived, who called the Ensenada Fire Department, who eventually called the particular propane gas company, who eventually showed up with a tiny screwdriver to tighten that tiny little screw that opens and closes that “Pressure Relief Valve”, which was more than likely only loosened enough to cause it to “Blow” a little, loosening the screw just enough for it to have constant leakage. My 30-45-minute normal shopping trip at the Smart & Final turned into a 2 ½ hour visit.
Moral of the story, (for me at least) in two parts:
1) I shall always make the propane stop, the last stop instead of the first.
2) Think about this for a second. Had I indeed waited and made my propane stop last, instead of first, and arriving home, hooked my little tank up to my space-heater, got warm and cozy, went to bed, NOT hearing that slightly loosened “Pressure Relief Valve” screw cause the valve to “Blow” perhaps in the middle of the night, releasing all five gallons of its contents into my house, you all might have been reading a different story tomorrow morning, after the lighting of my stove to make my first pot of “French Press” coffee. “Large explosion rocks the coastline of Ensenada, one person missing”. Of course, I’m sure that I would have smelled something “fishy” in the morning, unless some small spark blew me to “Kingdom-Come” in the middle of the night.
P. S. I LOVE living here, and tonight as I am eating some store-broiled chicken breast, I have to say, the chickens here in Mexico are so good, they remind me of how tasty chicken was for me as a child growing up on a farm in Minnesota. For sure the chicken here is 1,000 percent better than the chicken in California.
Peace & Abide, La paz y la morada, السلام والالتزام , שלום ושמירה, Paix et Demeure, Խաղաղությունը եւ մնալը, Мир и пребывание,, 平和と遵守, 和平與恪守, Aştî û Abad, صلح و عبید, Fred och Abide, Kapayapaan at Patuloy, Frieden und Bleiben, Mir i Ostanite, शांति और निवास, Hòa bình và ở lại, Мир и Абиде, שלום און בלייַבן, สันติภาพและการปฏิบัติ, Mir in bivanje,
Dr. T. C. Saxe, DD, RSISHE
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