Sunday, January 18, 2009

I'm Finally Back

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.


Olly said...

Oh no....not a closed Waffle House. What's this world coming to?

Too bad about your van. It always really sucks when things like that happen on a road trip.

SkippyMom said...

Coffee I am glad you made it back okay...sounds harrowing, to say the least. Glad you are safe.

You should touch base with Marni - we live near Leesburg VA [roundish about Winchester] and if you need a place to stay, with home cooking and a nice toasty bed on your way from NY back to Georgia [or vice versa] - Marni can give you my references :D - you are always welcome. Anytime.

Marni said...

If you plan to stop at Skippy's house I may have to come with you!

Glad you made it home safe.

Anonymous said...

Let's hope this "closing" syndrome does not grow any further! Let's start a "National Waffle House Day"!
Afterall, in this time of change for the White House, The Waffle House also needs recognition and support.
"Eat at Waffle House, a change that is HOPE!"

e.Craig Crawford said...

That was SOME adventure. I can imagine all the frustration. But us ex-tin can sailors just take it in our stride, and work things out .. no matter how long it takes.

I surely hope your Waffle house never shuts down. Not because I'd feel sorry for you. I just don't want to put up with your pissing and moaning for days on end.

coffeypot said...

Olly, it was a rental van, so I'm not out the money, thank God.

Skippy, I'll talk to Marni, but I rarely stop for more than twenty to thiry minuets at a rest area. But if the fatigue hits too hard, I will get in thouch with you. Thank you for the offer.

Mr. Guinness, I'll vote for you on the WH issue alone.

e.craig, pissing and moaning I would. But, luckily, there is a WH a mile up the road and the next exit off I-575. I can live with that.

Trukindog said...

How can a WH go under HOW HOW I ask you?

RE: The trip, look at it this way, a flat tire could have caused you to lose control and wreck the fan. At least with a blown trans you & the dogs are all safe well. A half hour in the cold is better than a minute in the ER.

Pamela said...

I'm glad you didn't become a waffle out there on the highway -- that was dangerous and scary.

That repair will boost someone's economy. not yours of course.

Pamela said...

woops. just saw your rental van comment. okay. I feel better

Burfica said...

People are going under with the economy but obviously the government and tax payers can pay for one of the biggest most extravagant inauguration balls ever!!!

Brother Dave said...

Great news that you got through your van breakdown mess with no more hassle than you had.

I can understand a high-dollar restaurant closure, but a Waffle House. That seems just incredible.

Several of us met at our local Slim Pig'n's the other day to find it shuttered and dark. They offered the best rack of short ribs you ever sunk your teeth into.

Their menu was full of pricey items. I can imagine that people pinched by the economic downturn opted for more penny-wise places to feed, thus abandoning Slim Pig'n's.

Restaurants like Waffle House and IHOP should be able to survive. Time will tell because things are predicted to still get worse.

Tookie Tail said...

i'm so sorry to hear of your misfortune. At least you're home safe and sound now.Sounded like a frustrating trip to me. You must be way more patient than I am.

Anonymous said...

good news or bad news I am back too! Glad you are safe x