April 1, 2017 Leave a comment
As I write this, I am stranded on the side of the highway with a blown engine. It’s 2:00 AM, and my wife and 2 teenage sons are sleeping the best they can. What a way to spend spring break.
We started this trip on Thursday evening, it’s now Saturday early morning, and about 1.5 hours into our trip, the alternator went out and we had to find a room, then a shop early Friday morning to replace it. $80 for the room and $370 to fix the truck. So we were back on the road by 9:30 AM Friday morning and all was going well until we were driving through the mountains of West Virginia when the engine started knocking. I checked the oil, it was a bit low, so added a few quarts and on we went. Trying to get to Myrtle Beach by check in time. It was driving ok, still knocking, when just south of Ashbero NC a big ole plume of smoke started rolling out from under the car, and then it literally died.
Of course I have roadside assistance, so I called for a tow back to another hotel. Long story short, no tow company was willing to come pick up the 4 of us and the truck unless I could pay them $400 cash up front?!? Yeah, like I have an ATM in my truck, and who carries that much cash anymore? Really, Mr Tow Guy, you don’t accept credit or debit cards? Sounds like a big scam to me. The other option was a tow company who could take 2 people and the truck, leaving 2 of us on the side of the road at midnight to find a cab or walk the 21 miles back to the hotel. So we look for a cab company and the only one in the town went out of business. The only option roadside assistance could find for a ride for the 4 of us was a personal limo company from a town 1 hour away at $94 per hour, minimum of 4 hours, for a trip that would take them 2.5 hours?!?
So, here we all sit. Waiting until 9:00 AM for the rental car company to open and hope they live up their motto of picking you up. I hope that includes on the side of the road!!!
This has been a vacation from hell, but all be damned if I don’t get them all to the Beach front hotel in Myrtle Beach, even if it’s only for 1 day. As for the truck, don’t really know what to do about getting it fixed, leaving it on the side of the road for whomever wants it, or trying to find a way to tow it back the 900 miles home. A new engine will cost $1000+, only paid $3000 for the entire truck. Maybe cut my losses and leave it….
We’ll see what happens next.
So, after a night on the side of the highway, I called to reserve a rental car when they opened at 9:00 AM. All good… Just needed to request a pickup. After calling for nearly 1 hour and getting no answer, I decided to try and start the truck. To my surprise it actually started so we all jumped in and drove up the exit ramp, still running, turned right started driving down the road. Mind you, the engine is knocking louder than an 80’s rap band, but we make it to the next street and then right heading back to town. We make it about 1 mile and it dies again, nothing..Won’t move. Called the rental car place and still no answer.
The wife tries starting it and woohoo it turns over. Repeat this process 3x until it just won’t go any further.
Calling, calling, calling and no answer at the rental car company, wife is freaking out thinking we’re going to spend another day/night stranded.
Along come a couple of locals, to say they were anything but real locals I’d have to spend the next few paragraphs describing them. They asked what was wring, I told them and they said they were on their way to the local dump. As soon as I mentioned I had $20 for anyone to give me a ride into town, they changed their plans and offered me a ride. Without hesitation I accepted and grabbed my phone, the cash and went to climb in.
The door panels were spray painted pink, the entire dash was duct-taped and spray painted blue. I couldn’t make this up if I tried, but off we went. As he merged into the highway, he said “I haven’t taken this truck on the highway in years”, and by the way it was shaking, I had no reason to doubt him. After a bit of a ride, the older brother said to the younger brother who was driving, “take exit 64, it’s quicker”, so off the highway we went. At the top of the ramp, the truck sputtered and stalled. He says ” I think we’re outta gas”, as he’s trying to restart the truck.