Vehicular despair

Picture this: You’re driving down the interstate at a healthy pace when suddenly you feel the engine sputter, rev down, and DIE, while you’re in motion, in traffic. This is what happened to me today as I was hurrying over to the Whitewater Center to finish my second (and final) check-out run in order to become a certified raft guide.

I swear, some higher power is trying to prevent me from finishing.

The car was being a pain yesterday morning: when I tried to start it, the engine would turn over and catch right away, but then it would sputter out and die as soon as I let off the gas. Even one full second without a modest amount of gas would be enough to kill it. I cursed and stomped, as I was supposed to be heading over for my final check-out then, but there wasn’t anything I could do.

Later that night, and early this morning, it started up just fine. No problems, no hint of any earlier difficulty. It seemed it had just been a crazy fluke… Until I was on I-85 hurrying over this afternoon for a make-up run to finish my check-out. And then, without warning, it died on me for no apparent reason.

Fortunately I had enough speed going that I was able to coast onto the next exit ramp, and there wasn’t any traffic coming at the intersection so I was able to coast through a stop sign and around the corner into a gas station. Because the car was technically not even ON at that point (momentum notwithstanding) I had no power steering, so wrestling it around these corners was a bit of a feat, but the lack of other cars on the road made it reasonably safe to attempt.

I called AAA and got the usual “it’s taking an average of 90 minutes for a tow truck to arrive” mantra, with a warning that I needed to stay with the car until the tow truck arrived. In a shocking twist, he actually got there in 20 minutes flat, which is by far the fastest tow service I’ve ever received. My neighbors Shane and Jen, continuing their ongoing quest to land a spot in the Neighbor Hall of Fame, zipped over right away to give us a lift home.

Now I’m sitting here on the couch, trying to blog my way through my current inner battle between screaming and crying. I’m wondering how expensive this repair is going to be, and mentally preparing to decide whether it will make more financial sense to fix it or just go carless in advance of the move to NYC. I’m also wondering how the repair bill, or the occasional cab ride, will impact my moving budget.

As the bumper sticker says, I’d rather be rafting.

3 Responses to Vehicular despair

  1. Micki says:

    Screw the car, dude, you won’t need it in NYC anyway. No gas, no repairs, I think that will be a savings even in the face of the occasional cab/bus fare over a few months. Plus, you have people like me with big ole boxy cars that can motor you around if needed in a pinch! I probably have the most dog-friendly vehicle around, call any time!

  2. gatoruptown says:

    Ended up being almost $400 to repair, but I went ahead with it. Especially with plans to work over the summer at the Whitewater Center (Sal as much as possible, me on the occasional weekend shift) we needed a car.

    But yes, when it comes time to move to NYC, I will not be bringing it with me 😛

  3. […] second ride-along was plagued by car trouble, but I finally got the car in working order and headed up there Monday night after work. Again, I […]

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