Sunday, October 21, 2012

DAY 60- Car Trouble...

It’s hard to believe it’s been 60 days, 2 months, since I headed out of Salt Lake City in my loaded up car heading for the northwestern US.  It’s interesting because this trip for the most part has been better than what I could’ve ever imagined in my wildest dreams.  I’ve learned to let go a little more and just be.  But I also have learned to be a little more confident as each day passes.  You only live life once and sometimes it’s so easy to hide in the everyday rhythm that you lose track of that. 

I’m lucky enough to be in a situation where there’s no true rhythm which doesn’t allow me to hide.  Sometimes that’s good but other times I get my “moments” where I want to hide and need a little down time.  I must admit that I’m working to find a bit of a balance but all in all it’s given me more freedom to just go and do than I have ever had in my life.  It’s like someone opening a HUGE double wide door and saying just go play.  The HUGE playground is 48 states and I’m plowing along with all of the gusto I can manage.

I started the day with the two egg option for the cook to order breakfast this morning at the Best Western Plus.  I thought I should mix it up a little and didn’t really feel like anything sweet after that HUGE piece of pineapple chiffon cake the night before.  I got packed up.  The plan for the day was to check out Palm Springs and then drive up to Laughlin, NV where I would stay for the next couple of nights.  The general plan is to head north just a bit and then over into Arizona.  I started loading my gear into my car when I noticed a puddle under my car.  Ah-oh!  I put my finger in it to see what it was and I pulled away red liquid; transmission fluid.  This was really not a good thing.
Photo- My poor car on the tow truck! :((

I decided to check out of the hotel and then head over to the nearest Jiffy Lube to have them take a quick look and possibly then refer me to a nearby automotive repair shop.  I turned a left on to Hwy 111 from my hotel and immediately the car started to act sluggish.  I could barely get it to go up to 30mph.  Oh-no!  I pull over and take a right at the next street but there’s no parking on the road just a bike path area.  I take a left turn into a subdivision and park the car. 

I get out my AAA card and call the card on the back.  Please, please… I think to myself let it be that I stopped it soon enough that no true damage was done to the transmission.  I give my info to the man on the phone who then transfers me to a woman that dispatches for the AAA southern California area.  I give her the address to the house across the street which is the only address I can see in the area.  She estimates it’ll be a 20-25 min. wait before the tow truck will be there.  It ended up being only about 15 minutes before I see the tow truck driving down the road. 

I stood outside my car and am waving at the tow truck driver but he’s looking at the address of the houses across the street and almost passes me.  Then, he stops and gets out.  “I’m sorry”, he says and then he slowly shakes his head side to side like Ray Charles.  “I must be blind that I didn’t see you right in front of me.  Sorry about that!”  I’m cracking up and say, “It’s Ray Charles my tow truck driver.”  He laughs, takes a look at my AAA card with driver’s lisc. and then asks what the problem is. 

I tell him and he gets my car key.  He directs me to get in the air-conditioned cab of his truck while he gets my car on the bed of the tow truck. Within a short bit he’s in the truck with me and has me sign a form which he teasingly says I’m signing my life away.  I ask if the AAA automotive repair shop is very far away.  No he says it’s about four miles away, and I say that’s good because I have a 100 miles distance with AAA.  He says he can take me the scenic drive to the shop.  Great, I say I can get the sights in of Palm Desert on the way huh?  I couldn’t help but laugh.

You’ve got an infectious laugh he says as he turns the truck around.  Then he goes onto say you know most people are not laughing in situations like this.  What else am I supposed to do being mad or angry about it won’t change it or make it better so I might as well laugh about it?  Just go with the flow.  Then, I tell him about the last time my transmission had given out on a road trip along the Oregon Coastline.  Another road trip he asks and I end up telling him about my two year plan. 

2 years!?!  He exclaims.  Wow!  He keeps on looking at me with this look of disbelief.  That’s something he’s never heard of anyone doing before and he thinks it’s cool.  That’s really cool he says.  We continue to talk as he drives to the repair shop.  He talks about the one time he drove on a trip to the Oregon coastline with no set plans.  He said it was the best family trip he can remember and it was a pretty scenic coastline.
Photo- The "Ray Charles" of tow truck drivers!  But a nice guy!

We get to the repair shop and he unloads my car after he does a quick pose for my blog picture.  He’s a bit conscious about what he calls a silly haircut.  I just laugh.  Why are we always so self-conscious when others most of the time don’t even notice stuff like that.  Then I remember my thought process at arriving at the restaurant last night.  Hmmmm…

I go in the shop and give them my info and then am about to sit down when the guy suggests that I might want to have lunch and wait over at a nearby restaurant that closes at 2PM.  We should know what’s going on with your car by then he tells me.  I walk across to the parking lot and into a little diner in the strip mall area called C.J.’s. 

C.J.’s is only open for breakfast and lunch.  It’s Friday lunch hour and it’s pretty busy.  The hostess told me to sit where I would like and someone will be right with me.  I find the only table that’s open but needs to be cleaned off.  I slowly sit down.  A guy runs over with a wash rag wipes the table and asks me what I would like to drink.  I said a diet coke but he comes back with ice tea with lemon. 

I’m not in the mood to complain.  My mind is focused on hoping that I don’t need a replaced transmission in the car.  Please, please, I hope I didn’t do any damage to the transmission.  I order the patty melt medium well done with a side a mixed fruit.  I’m still not use to being asked how I want my burger done; not something they do in Utah.  I feel a bit down at this point and I’m really not even interested in the food.  I text John and tell him I didn’t get very far.  He asks if he can do anything later and I text back maybe a strong drink after they tell me what needs to be done.

The patty melt arrives terribly greasy and I eat all of the fruit before even attempting the sandwich.  I’m taking my time and really just drinking the ice tea which really tastes good to me.  It’s kind of a nice for a change.  I tell the gal that I hope I’m okay just hanging out and that my car got towed to the repair shop over the ways there.  Oh you poor thing she says that’s no problem at all as she refills my ice tea. 

My phone rings just before 2pm.  It’s the repair shop.  It’s a broken pan and a cracked gasket that need to be replaced but he states that all of the transmission fluid had drained out of the engine.  He says they can replace those parts and refill the fluid but that might not solve the problem because more damage could’ve been done to the transmission while it was dry.  But it was a place to start and then drive it to see if more needed to be done.  I tell him to go ahead and do that and then we’ll see what is what.

I pay for the restaurant and the hostess wishes me good luck with my car.  I walk over to the repair shop and sit in their front waiting room area.  I get out my nook and just hang out.  I also watch a little TV but I couldn’t really concentrate on the TV or my nook.  I was a bit stressed out.  I text John and ask how far a drive is Laughlin.  It’s four hours but with Friday traffic it would take a bit longer than that.  It’s almost 4PM.
Photo- A street in Palm Desert not far from where I stayed the night.

 I guess I need to see about finding a hotel to stay in Palm desert for the night.  John offers his spare bedroom.  He mentions that he’s just planning on staying in at home watching some TV and that he’s been having a hankering for meatloaf.  I laugh.  I text back and say I make a great meatloaf.  He asks me to text him the shopping list and he pick up what’s needed.  Okay, why not?  I text it back and a short time later a guy from the back of the repair shop comes back and says my car is ready and it seems to be driving fine.  They drove it around the neighborhood for a bit, but he suggests I don’t go anywhere too far for a while before it’s been driven a bit more.  I told him I was planning on Laughlin.  He suggests I drive around locally and make sure there’s nothing wrong before I get out on with my traveling.

So I take my car over to the interstate and zoom along on I-10 going east for a couple of exits; then through Palm Desert in stop and go traffic.  Next it’s up to Hwy 74 and I drive up the mountain side that I came down to get into Palm Desert.  The car’s doing beautifully.  I meet John and follow him to his townhouse in a gated community.

It was fun using someone else’s kitchen to cook in and it had been a while since I had cooked for someone.  I made a dinner of my meatloaf with extra special sauce and some garlic mashed potatoes, while John opened a bottle of wine.  We had a nice meal and then just hung out and watched a movie.  I was almost falling asleep on the couch.   The day had taken its toll on me.  John suggested that I turn in for the night and wished me a good night.  I went to the guest room and got settled in for the night. 

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