Posted by: tlnemethy | December 14, 2013

Freeze Frame

Driving from Springfield was a debacle I wasn’t expecting. I mean, not only had my lovely little Squirtle taken a wonderful turn for the worst in forcing me to put in a new clutch (and SURPRISE we installed a new flywheel too) but those wonderful quick fixes ended up taking four days instead of the estimated five hours. Of course, there had been a major storm that rolled through the entire Midwest, pretty much demolishing any chances I had of safely and productively continuing my scheduled journey to Kansas, Indiana, Ohio, Virginia, and finally home to New Hampshire.

It was a decent storm though. Lot’s of freezing rain and icy treacherous road conditions. In fact, while I was spending the first five hours in the waiting room of a Pep Boys, I saw a ton of terrified people come in putting new tires on and getting chains to cut through the snow. There was a lady sitting across from me wearing a full snow suit and there had yet to be a single snowflake fall from the sky. She looked like a relative of mine and I couldn’t help but get a kick out of seeing her overreacting so early.

I didn’t look too cool myself, though, as I was hunching over a foil roaster pan that contained my seedling lettuce varieties so they wouldn’t freeze to death in my car. When I pulled it out of my car, everyone in the office perked up thinking I was going to be divvying up some delicious cookies or cupcakes or something. Nope. Sorry to disappoint. Just some lettuce leaves you can pluck off for foraging.

I think they took pity on me as I sat there with a mopey look on my face as hour after hour they still couldn’t fix my car because they gave me control over the TV remote. That’s true pity.

Four days later, after putting parts in my car they never asked me for, nor did they quote me estimations on, I drove off the lot with a very sensitive clutch and snowdrifts to deal with. You see, Missouri had yet to really clear most of their roads even though the storm had rolled through days before. I rolled out of town the next morning and made it uneventfully to Kansas where I was lulled into a false sense of security before a secondary storm rolled in.

Then, the cars in front of me started to put their brakes on. It didn’t seem too different than any other day on the highway when trapped behind a slowpoke, but that was until I touched the brakes. Immediately, I was sliding on my brand new tires towards certain death through decapitation by a red truck bed my car was approaching at a decent clip. Then I started to turn to the left. At least I wouldn’t hit the truck bed dead-on. Squirtle might survive if I hit broadside. Honestly, I’d be kinda pissed if I’d just spent my entire paycheck fixing a car I was gonna demolish only a day later.

I hit the median at a decent speed, slower than the speed limit, yes, but still faster than I’d like to go off roading in my little V-dub. There also happened to be a car already down in the ditch just twenty feet from my car when it finally stopped rolling with a very nice rusty thunk sound. I swore profusely, parked it, and took a quick walk around to make sure I hadn’t blown a tire on the rough landing or that nothing was hanging off the undercarriage. It looked good. No visible damage anyways, but the ground was so rough that I probably wouldn’t have noticed it. A cop was there too. I gave him an awkward wave as I started off the median and tried to merge back onto the highway.

The car started with a nice, grating I’m gonna explode any second type of noise and the engine temp immediately spiked to an unnatural level which moved me to pull off the side of the road again and examine the bottom best as I could. Nothing looked too wrong so I limped the car the remaining 40 miles to Manhattan and made plans to find yet another auto place to keep me in the running for my most epic road trip of all time.

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