Well, my weekend was downright terrible. I, being the the good son that I am, attempted to drive from Atlanta to Augusta. It being father's day weekend and all, my mission was to secure a tablesaw for my Pop. I thought it was all planned out, I knew the model, I had the store, and it was near my parents place in Augusta. It was not a cake walk, it was more like a hot lava walk...barefoot.
I left Saturday morning, in the vain hopes of missing traffic. Oops, turns alot more people were on the road at 10am than I anticipated. Not to worry, I drive along I-20 at a zippy 80-85mph. "Vrroom! Here I come Pops! We'll get you rebuilding that deck in no time!", or so I thought.
Somewhere along the way I get inspired to listen to my Ipod, (with 1 earbud at somebody's suggestion.) I'm rocking along to whatever bad music I have, (okay if you really want to know I was listening to RENT. If you want to know even that much more badly, it was the Movie Soundtrack, not even the Original Broadway Cast Recording. Why? A. I'm probably one of the few straight men you know who digs musicals, and only slightly ashamed to admit it. B. Okay, so I was poor man karaoke-ing the songs sung by the characther Tom Collins, along with C. Critiqueing Rosario Dawson's portrayal of Mimi. The Verdict? She's respectable, and well she's Rosario Dawson, she's ... hawt.)
Speaking of heat... when after a cursory glance.... I realize my engine is about 1 sliver of a hair away from the dreaded REDLINE on the temperature gauge. I follow the usual Emergency Kelvin Hotness procedures, Hazard Lights? Check. Windows down, Heater to Max, Vents tilted UP? Check, Check and Check. Alright we should be cool...-er right? Wrong. No hot air is coming from the vents... Damnit, she's gonna blow Captain! Crud, crud, what to do... Slowing down won't work, stopping the engine might... maybe it's time for a tow... wait, maybe I'm just ultra low on Coolant, good thing I've got some in the trunk...
I take in my surroundings and digest this simple fact, "I'm in the middle of freaking no-where." Now, I'll admit, Augusta, GA isn't exactly "Someplace, USA", but it's a heck of a whole lot more than Camak/Warrenton GA
. I slow down the car, pull to the emergency shoulder, and look at my troubles. Fudge muffins, and donkey saddles, that's the an enormous crack in my radiator. And what's this? The recovery bottle top... Exploded off?! Awesome, that explains the excessive music video smoke and acrid smell. I didn't take pictures of the engine compartment, because the last thing I wanted to do was subject my camera and other gear to the wonders of evaporated coolant.
I had to get off the side of the road. I don't know if you've ever had a roadside incident, but there's something ... humbling about being buzzed by a 20-ton tractor trailer zipping by at 75mph. I get the bright idea of adding just a coolant I have left to the radiator. The effect was something from that old show on Nickelodeon, "Mr. Wizard". A few seconds of gurgling, and a good minute or two of viscous white coolant-laden steam. Fun, after huffing the stuff for a second, I make the concious decision that one should not huff and drive broken heavy equipment. To the driver's seat!
I called my parent's house, and my dad answered. "Hello?" he says, "Hiya Pops, I'm in trouble...bad." I explain the situation and asks me what steps I took. We get to the same page, and he asks if I can drive it a little bit down the road to an exit. I comply and refer to my phone's GPS feature to find me a service station. "Good, I'm near an exit," I say to myself, unaware of my vast ignorance of the ignorance society has paid to this particular exit. Auto-salvation it was not, more like... Deliverance
. Nothing, nothing for at least 5 miles around. I confirm this in my phone, and eventually just pull to the side the road, GA HWY 80.
I relay this defeat to my Pop, but he already had a back up plan simmering. Turns out my Uncle (okay not really an uncle but my Mom's Sister's Husband's Brother) who lives 2 houses down from my parents has a two wheeled car trailer hitch. Pop goes to get it, and then come get me.
So I wait. I take pictures of the lovely surroundings... of nothing, and my car. I even self timer a shot or two, just to remember that for some odd reason, I'm not entirely bummed about the situation. I call some buddies just to past the time, and laugh at the situation. Prior experience is what probably kept me from panicking or worrying much past the heat of the day.
Pops saved the day, as per usual, and we got the car hooked up and hauled home. I bought a new radiator, we installed it ourselves, and barring a few minor issues, I was able to drive it back to Atlanta this morning. There's a few kinks to work out, a clogged thermostat being the main cause of the failure cascade, but I think we'll get them fixed this Saturday when my Pops and his buddy come by to install the new thermostat.
We did get him that table saw. It's uber-nice and crazy expensive, and it'll take a day to build just the saw itself. But it's worth it. It's reasons like this we all have to love our Dads. But I don't know about you, I only call my Pop "Dad" or "Father" when I reference him to complete strangers or have to specify his status in my family. People hear me say "Pops" and assume I have more than one father or something out of a sitcom. My Pop has never been Dad or Father, those are too formal for us. He's Pops, and I'm Ken. Yeah, seriously, it's what he calls me. It's even weirder to see his name for me typed out. Happy Father's Day Pops. Thanks for saving my bacon again.