CHAPTER 1: WOMAN AND ALTERNATOR
I should be a professional trucker the way I drive hither, thither and yon and, Neo, your post yesterday--Women, the car breakdown and the cell phone---reminded me of one of many wild stories from my driving resume of years gone by….it was long before cell phones and a while after I had a husband to call and beg to come rescue me. It was a new day of learning how to stand on my own two feet for me, and, I'd best get on with the lessons and learn to like 'em, or be forever miserable.
Anyway, thanks for jogging my memory, Neo. Fun to remember and seems like only yesterday when this whole thing unfolded.... Before I tell my story, let me say I think every woman needs to have her car serviced regularly whatever its age, whatever her age. My car guys are an integral part of my life as they keep my car in tip-top shape. With their fine maintenance, I've driven cars across the country with 230,000 miles on them. I also think a woman needs to have AAA Plus , a great emergency road service, though there are limits to what and where it functions best. Today's cell phones certainly help with having at least the illusion of help everywhere, all the time, though it certainly doesn't always work out that way.
Meanwhile, a while back, before cell phones, I was driving cross country around December 27 (the time of the shortest days of the year) from Nashville to meet friends in Colorado for a New Year's vacation of skiing.
As I drove from Missouri into the heartland of Kansas, I noticed my alternator light come on and the power starting to slowly fade. Somehow I got to a exit in the late afternoon and managed to find an old repair shop that had a new/used alternator which they installed in about four hours. As night fell, I was back on my way onto I-70. I drove for several more hours trying to make up for some of the time I'd lost but finally was so sleepy I stopped at a little motel to spend the night. I set my clock for 4 am at when I got up to make up the rest of the lost time and started to drive in the pitch black dark.
It was now snowing outside, the wind blowing fiercely and the temperature had dropped to -10.
Great driving weather, I thought as I gave thanks that I had gotten a new alternator installed the day before when the sun had been shining.
As I drove along for about thirty minutes in western Kansas in the dark, I looked down and noticed the alternator light had come on again. Then I saw all the gauges beginning to drop. Clearly I was losing power and on the high plains in a snow storm with almost no exits was not the best place.
Surely this couldn't be happening again. It had been fixed the day before and I had been assured by the auto mechanics it was safe to continue my drive to Denver.
But the falling gauges weren't lying. The electrical systems was slowing going down again.
I began to pray out loud as I considered my diminishing options. The next exit was miles away. I saw a rest stop sign up ahead. But I decided not to stop for fear of getting stalled there. Instead I decided to try to make it to exit miles away.
I drove by the rest stop, past the entrance ramp and continued on the Interstate…….I had to move on, I told myself, as long as I could. This was before cell phones and I was alone.
Then as I drove past the rest stop in the snow and wind, out of the corner of my eye…something caught my attention. As I drove on suddenly it hit me…..and I screeched on my brakes.
I saw something amazing in the rest stop.
My prayers had been answered, only not in the way I expected. I slammed on my brakes, pulled over, breathed a sigh of relief…..then backed up in the Interstate margin to the entrance of the rest stop. I drove in and surveyed my salvation as the last little bit of energy drained out of my drying car……
Now, I ask you, do you know what I spied from the corner of my eye that saved me that day in desolation of western Kansas in a snowstorm in sub-freezing weather and a snow storm?
Read on, dear reader, and see.
CHAPTER 2: ANSWERED PRAYER
After passing the rest stop and catching a glimpse of a miracle out of the corner of my eye, I hit my brakes in the darkest hour before dawn on I-70 that late bitter cold December morning, backed up, then drove into the rest stop in the wind and freezing snow.
What I had seen from the corner of my eye and now loomed dead ahead of me was nothing short of amazing. It was certainly the unexpected answer to my prayers. But I was running out of time. Could I utilize the help that waited in front of me I so desperately needed before my car lost all power again?
All I could do was go for it.....a girl has to learn to ask boldly for what she needs. It was time for action:
I pushed my automatic shift into park, jumped out of my barely idling car and ran around in front of it. Then I started screaming at the top of my lungs over the blizzard and wind. I stood on my tip toes and reached up to pound the bottom of a door attached to large tractor trailer cab, screaming as loud as I could, “Hello! I need help! Anybody up there?…Hello! Help!”
It seemed like forever I kept yelling and pounding the bottom of that cab door. Then suddenly a man’s head popped up in the drivers window and looked down at me. He had been dead asleep.
“I need help. Could you please help me? I’m going to Denver and it’s my alternator…it’s almost gone and I have no power….it may already be too late, but I know you could help me if you would….I hope it’s not to late….”
No further explanation was necessary. He instantly comprehended the situation, what I was talking about and what needed to be done—fast.
Without batting an eye the man yelled back to me “Go into the ladies room and wait, I’m going to get you to Denver. Hurry and get out of the cold. Don't forget to get your pocketbook out of your car.....I’ll come and get you when I'm ready for you to come back.”
I did exactly as I was told and took shelter in the ladies room of that desolate rest stop on I-70.
Ten minutes later this big trucker man pounded on the ladies room door and yelled for me to come out. He told me everything was okay and it was time for us to head to Denver.
So I came out and ran to his big truck. He opened the passenger door of his cab, got the ladder down and helped hoist me up into the front seat. It was warm inside there and I had never sat so high off the ground above the highway, except in an airplane.
As he climbed into the drivers seat, he introduced himself. And then he revved up his big truck engine. Not only did he get me to Denver four hours later. He radioed ahead and found the best Volvo dealer to deliver me to. He radioed for someone to call my friends so they could meet me while my car was being repaired. He was truly a Godsend. And a very nice and honorable man to boot.
By now I’m sure you must know what caught my eye from the Interstate that morning, but just in case you haven’t figured it out:
It was a huge tractor trailer car carrier— fully loaded with brand spanking new cars….er, except for one little empty space on the lower back of his behemoth truck....one empty space on the back.....
As it turned out Divine Providence, had been saving that space, that bitter cold, dark and snowy December morning in western Kansas for my little Volvo...... And now you know the rest of the story.
UPDATE: Neo ups the ante.