I have been on my monthly dog transport to New York and didn’t get back home until 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning. This wasn’t a normal trip.
I was booking it up the New York Thruway listening to an audio book disk when I felt a vibration and heard a rumble that sounded like I had a flat tire. I wiggled the steering wheel to see it the van would wobble, but she felt steady. Then I noticed that I was loosing speed but the rpm’s were holding steady. That’s it. I had either blown out the transmission or the rear end.
Luckily the traffic was pretty light so I was able to make it to the side of the road. It was a tight fit as the side of the emergency lane was three feet high with snow. After making three or four calls to get some help I was told that I had to give them a mile marker number. That was a hundred yards in either direction (there are mile markers every mile and nine other markers between at tenths of a mile. So I had to walk the distance in the 10 degree weather and back again - in sneakers.
A half hour later the wrecker showed up. When he loaded the van on the back of his tow truck, transmission fluid poured out like a huge coffee urn had been tipped over. There was a hole in the pan and a gear hanging out.
I was towed to Stewart International Airport to the AVIS dealer to pick up a new GMC Cherokee. I had twenty cages with twenty-five dogs to transfer. As I was unloading the disabled van I strained my lower back. There were three Hispanics who barely spoke English. They told me to rest and they would swap the load. That was very nice of them and I appreciated it very much. But they either wouldn’t listen or couldn’t understand English or my instructions. The cages were stacked closely to they way I wanted them only facing the wrong way. When I got to the destinations I had to pull the cages out to unload the dogs.
I finally reached my last location, the Mohawk Shelter, in Albany, NY, at 5:45 p.m. (I’m usually there around noon or half past noon.) Normally I would head back and stop over for a rest around Winchester, VA, but I was so tired and stiff, I decided to stay in Albany. When I woke up Saturday morning, it was -1 degree with a high of 8 degrees expected. I had to get back to Georgia.
On the way back I saw one of the saddest things I have ever seen. It brought tears to my eyes, and I pulled over and said a prayer for the demise. Just South of Winston, VA, I had pulled off to get some gas and right there at the end of the ramp was a Waffle House CLOSED. It had the white paint saying CLOSED on all the windows and all the lights were off. The only dark thing among all those new car dealerships bright lights. It was so sad.
The rest of the trip was uneventful, but I was already bummed because of the WH demise. Damn the economy.
MASTERPIECE #1651 - Karel Myslbek, Czech *"So What Do You Say? Should We Try CPR, or Just Rob Him and Call It a Day?,"* 1909 Oil on canvas
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