Sunday, September 27, 2015
Crisis #4-Idiocy on Full Display
With 8000 lbs in tow, the 15 mile range on the trip computer clicked down, one at a time, ever so slightly quicker than the odometer climbed. If the computer was accurate, this was going to be close. But even if we don’t quite make it to the gas station, I can always run ahead and get a gallon or two of diesel to get us going again. Just a minor inconvenience, right? Well with less than a mile to go, the trip computer read zero, and within a minute the vehicle sputtered to a stop. Fortunately it wasn't a terribly busy road, but we were stuck, and stuck good. It was only a minute before a kind couple pulled up and offered to take me to the gas station to fill a can. After putting a couple of gallons into the tank, we still couldn't get her started. The gentleman helping said the diesel took a bit to take, and wasn't like a gasoline engine. So I'd have to try and draw fuel through the engine by keeping the ignition cranked over. After 5 to 10 seconds of keeping the ignition cranking, crack! Something just broke. I instantly thought it was the starter, because now the engine wouldn't turn over at all. An hour or so later, with help from numerous kind souls who came to our aid, we managed to get a tow company to hook some chains up to the Excursion and drag me, with trailer still hooked up, a couple of miles to their repair shop. It was after 3pm at this point, and I had yet to eat anything. The mechanics weren't certain they'd be able to locate a new starter in town (if that indeed was the issue) before their 5pm closing time. While I unhitched the truck, which included getting towed over to the garage bay, and pushed in by a small tractor, the boys, Khaki, and Mama made the best of the situation. This wasn't your typical service center. There was no waiting area, no office, no seats. The boys drove little matchbox cars along the garage floor. Mama kept them occupied for what was maybe 30 minutes before I joined them. When I did, I saw two boys covered in grease from head to toe, red from the heat and sun, and as dirty as could be. With 90 minutes to kill, and all of us long overdue for food, we wandered to, ironically, the only place walking distance - a gas station. We looked like the saddest bunch of folks in town, greasy, dirty, hot, tired and hungry. If it weren't for the substantial cash in our wallets left over from the trailer purchase, I'd have felt a good deal homeless. We entered the gas station and turned the men's room into our personal home for 20 minutes, washing the boys in the sink, conducting diaper and clothing changes, and freshening up. After a few donuts, Slurpees, sandwiches and hotdogs, we began the journey back to the mechanic shop. As we approached I noticed the truck wasn't in the parking lot. Sigh... they still weren't done. We'd be looking for a hotel for the night. But when we entered, it wasn't in the garage either. A moment later it pulled up behind us, ready to go! $325 later (which included the towing, parts and labor costs, $150 for the starter), we were on our way. First stop - a gas station!