Thursday, December 26, 2002

It's a C-Dog Xmas

I'll start by letting you know that my Xmas Eve and Xmas Day were the best I ever had ... great time with the fam and my girl, lots of presents, etc. All good. The adventure begins on the drive back to Providence ...

Route 6 is one of the most dangerous stretches of road in the country based on the number of accidents per year. Too many trucks travelling too fast on a too narrow two lane road that winds and twists up and down the woods and hills of eastern Connecticut. It was windy, snowy, and sleeting all day and all night. The roads weren't the worst ever, but they were none too good. We left my mom's at about 5pm and began the 35mph crawl back home. Thought I heard something bang/snap/crack under the car as we left, but figured it was just an icy, slushy block getting jarred out of the wheel well. My car was jam packed with presents, blankets, pillows, cookies, xmas dinner leftover, fruit tort, beer, wine, you name it. I'm wearing my new shoes, sweater, and jeans from my girlfriend. By the time we get to Bolton, she's napping in the passenger seat. I hear the sound again and the steering wheel shimmies a bit. The road is making a long, broad turn and the shimmy stops when we start to straighten out and turn the other way. Seems fine on the freeway bit of Route 6. We get into Brooklyn and the shimmy starts to get wicked bad. I pull over when we finally get to safe spot. Lots of long stretches of nothing but woods in that area. I look for another snow chunk in the wheel wells and don't see anything. Get back in and keep going. The steering wheel is shaking like crazy. Finally, we get to a gas station where I can pull up to a pump and check it out again. Still nothing. I jack up the car to see if the tire's loose. It's on tight. Look under the hood for things that might be obviously snapped in two, dumping fluid, or spewing smoke or sparks. Everything looks fine to me. You could replace my engine with wheelbarrow full of discarded tractor parts and I'm not sure I'd be able to tell the difference, but still, looks fine. Get back in the car, freezing and wet, and go to put it in gear. No movement, but it sounds like somebody trying to run that barrowload of parts through a trash compactor. Not good. Push the car up near the gas station and call AAA. Happy Christmas, standing around the Xtra Mart 8pm Xmas night with a sullen clerk (who, by the way, doesn't seem to appreciate your trying to describe to AAA where you are by saying, 'middle of freakin' nowhere ... seriously, I asked at the counter and they don't have a street number') trying to remember your warranty terms, waiting for the tow truck, and feeling like a dipshit for making Mega leave his house on Xmas to come and pick up you and the Xmas boodle to drive you back home.

Waiting now for the garage and the Toyota dealer to figure out how they can best screw me. "Your warranty covers the drive and power trains to 60,000 miles, unlesss something happens to your CV boot."

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