Monday, March 13, 2006

Monday 2/27/2006 cont.

We continue along the Ohio Turnpike until Maumee, OH, when Donnie calls over the CB, “something’s up.”

I look ahead and think he might be talking about the utility workers pulled over to the side of the road. Then he comes back. “I just lost 5th gear.”

It was at this point that I break one of my Cardinal Rules of Life - I call someone on a cell phone while driving. Until this trip, I had never even had a cell phone, and if Donnie’s dad hadn’t lent us his Tracfon, I probably still would be cellularless. But it turned out to be quite a useful tool.

“Hi Nor!” I say, “guess what I’m doing? Yes, I am talking on a cell phone while driving. But there’s a reason; we’ve run into a little situation here on the road…” and I explain. Now the reason I call Norah was a.) she was most likely to pickup the phone, and b.) her fiancée knows not just a little bit about cars. All I really wanted to know was should be ditch the car or try to get it fixed? I didn’t want her to waste too much time; we’d make the final decision, but she went beyond the call of duty leaping into gear - calling my dad, her fiancée, other contacts etc, searching the web like a person in one of those OnStar commercials. It was great.

When she called back, she had two opinions for me: “Dad called someone and said that you should stop because you might do more damage - chunks of metal from 5th gear may be flying around in there and could break the other gears. Brian’s cousin said you should limp it along in 4th since that’s the strongest gear.” I thanked her and we struggled through the Ohio Turnpike. When we arrive at the end and pay the toll to exit, it was the moment of truth. I hang back near the entrance of the tollbooth with my hazards flashing, just in case we had to push the truck through the toll.

I wait and watch the truck. Break lights. No lights, then break lights again. Then movement. Donnie’s voice over the CB - “All I have left is 4th.”

I pay my toll and the lady in the booth said, “are you with him? He’s having transmission trouble and he’s pulling off at the next exit.”

I follow and roll into a gas station behind him.

We are now stranded in Edon, Ohio.

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