On sunday, the weather seemed nice and we had some free time, so Joahnna and I decided to fly to Paso Robles and have lunch. After a nice lunch at Matthew's we went back out to the plane and tried to start it up.
Since it was fairly hot, and my plane is a dark color, it had some problems starting up -- vapor lock in the fuel lines is fairly standard, and when it happens the engine needs some coaxing to start. While I was trying various combinations of full-throttle / closed-mixure and whatnot, the engine partially caught and then kicked back (briefly ran in the wrong direction).
And after that, trying to crank the engine only resulted in an ugly grinding noise.
I went out to try and hand-crank the propeller to a different position, hoping this was some sort of transient fault, but when I moved the prop, I saw that the starter gear and the main gear were now just brushing over each other rather than meshing cleanly, so this needed some attention from a real mechanic. Unfortunately, real mechanics don't work on sunday.
So, with some help from the kind people at the Paso Robles Jet Center, we rented a car one-way back to San Jose, and left the keys for the mechanic at the attached shop. He gave me a call today and informed me that I had broken the starter housing, and I needed a new starter.
The new starter is on order, but for the time being my plane is grounded.