But Kyle, which one of your resolutions did you accomplish? I assume you ask. Unfortunately I haven't spent the last two months "traveling more" or "trying new things" so by process of elimination, I must have sold my car.
Yes, you read that correctly. I sold my car. If you know anything about me, then you probably know that I hate -I'm sorry, hated- my car. I've no doubt relayed the horrors that vehicle brought on me every opportunity I got. I wear my bitterness on my sleeve, like a stain of black ink. Whenever car stories are being swapped, you can be sure that I'll be there to cut through the lighthearted conversation with an over-the-top recount of the time my ride tried to kill me. You'll know it's me telling the story too because I still turn red whenever I think about it...Not that I'm holding a grudge or anything. Surely I wouldn't stay sour over a lemon (that's a car pun). All I can say is don't hold your breath, I can be pretty petty if I put my mind to it.
It's a long story, one that no one ever asks to hear. So instead of offering to tell you, I'm just gonna start...
|This car was the best|
Back in August of 2014, Earl the girl was the target of a hit and run. Stef got a case of whiplash and I (and this is true) ended up getting shingles from the cumulative stress of working full time, dealing with uncooperative insurance companies, being broke, and taking too many classes during the summer semester. But other than that, no real injuries.
Being without Earl, I took what little money I was given from the accident and put it all towards the first car I saw at the first dealership I visited. This I learned, was a bad idea. This new car was much more expensive than Earl was, surely it would be just as good if not better than my dear Earl. This was a bad assumption to make.
I buy the car, and it has it's quirks but nothing too crazy. The window tint is heavily scratched from what I assume was a dog, many of the lights (dome lights, mirror lights) don't work even after fuses and bulbs are replaced. Whatever.
Our story begins on December 31st, 2014, which was about three months after purchasing the car. A last minute plan to spend the new year in a cabin tucked between the Colorado Wyoming border is made and we cram five people and a dog into the car and hit the highway. It was about 85 miles to the cabin, and the sun had set hours prior. It was a miserable 2 degrees outside by the time we hit the dirt roads. Trying to navigate to the cabin proved to be a bit of a guessing game. I've been there countless times growing up, but I've rarely been the driver, and had never driven without someone to follow behind. Plus we were far outside of any cell phone reception.
I bet you're sensing some foreshadowing right about now.
The temperature dropped down to -2 degrees as we slowly climbed up a particularly steep hill along the pitch black dirt road. I remember the temperature, because it's the last thing I saw on the console before the car blew up. We were inching up the hill when a violent jolt erupted from the engine. The car recoiled and began making a grotesque mechanical gargling sound. The engine hacked up a constant stream of dirty smoke that enveloped the car and any power felt from the gas pedal was cut.
Kevin, Mouse, and myself took it upon ourselves to assess the damage. I lifted the hood, which only added to the comical amount of smoke that was pouring from it.
"Well, it's definitely blown." Mouse said, using the flashlight on his phone to cut through the smoke.
"What the car? The car's blown?" I asked panicked. I know nothing about these machines.
"The turbo." Mouse said.
"I have a turbo?" I asked.
"Had a turbo." Kevin clarified.
"I stood in the bitter cold, watching my frozen breath, trying very hard not to freak out. It had been about 40 minutes since we had seen another car, and even longer since we had any cell reception. Other than the five of us, nobody knew that we were going to the cabin that night and there was no way the car would make it the rest of the way. The roads got progressively more demanding the further into the mountains one drove. I struggled to digest these odds all with the realization that it was currently minus 2 degrees outside. By then it was around 8:00 at night, the temperature would surely dip much more the longer we waited. That realization, that we were stranded in such cold weather, without shelter or communication to anyone, was my first taste of legitimate fear. It was a thick primal sort of panic, the first time I really thought "could this kill me?"
You're probably thinking five kids and a dog are stranded in the middle of nowhere with a broken car on a freezing winter night? Is this the premise for a low-budget slasher film? And I'd have to agree with you on that. I'm sure it's in pre-production already.
After somewhat gaining my composure, as well as pondering which Freddie Kruger-esque monster would fulfill our crappy slasher flick, I got back in the driver's seat a tried to imitate a demeanor of confidence towards the situation.
"We need cell service. We need to head back" I tried to say with authority.
I don't think anyone bought it, not even Kevin's dog. Regardless, I start the car and attempt to backtrack down the hill. The engine sounded like a blender eating up Hot-Wheels. I could feel the zeros being added to the repair bill with every foot we drove. There was no doubt that every hill was doing monumental damage to the vehicle. It was painful to listen to. My whitening knuckles tightened on the steering wheel more and more with every unnerving clunking sound that came sputtering from under the hood.
This went on for quite some time.
Each hill was a roll of the dice. The vehicle had absolutely no power, any part of the road with even a slight incline could easily stop us. I tried to gain as much momentum as possible from hills and coast up what I could. Some small bumps (we're talking, less steep than your driveway) took several attempts to climb over.
A car that cannot go over small hills is not conducive to driving in the mountains. I knew it would only be a matter of time until we found ourselves stuck between a valley of two hills that we could not get out of. This worried me, along with pretty much every other aspect of the situation.
Thankfully, after what seemed like hours, I spotted a pair of headlights on the horizon. It was a car heading towards us. Moral was suddenly at an all time high in the car as I flashed my brights and honked my horn in excitement. The car didn't seem to respond to my cries for help as it didn't slow down, just kept driving. I started to worry that the car wasn't going to stop as it approached us. At the last moment desperation kicked in and I jumped out of my seat and leapt in front of the car's headlights waiving my arms frantically. Thankfully, the car chose to stop before hitting me.
The people driving ending up being Godsends. They lived part time on one of the properties around, so not only did they have extra gallons of drinkable water, but they also had phones with special coverage for the mountains. So I grabbed the phone and dialed the one number I could remember, my mom. I explained everything as well as I could, apologized for ruining whatever New Year's Eve plans she may of had, and promptly asked her to pick us up at the Forks (the only landmark I could think of. It was a cowpoke bar that located where the dirt road forked. Get it? Clever name right?)
Not to drag an already longwinded story out further, but we somehow ended up making it to the Forks, causing immeasurable damage to the car along the way. But it didn't matter, never have I been so happy to see such an unsuspecting bar. We celebrated our new leases on survival with some beers and nachos while we waited for my mom to pick us up.
thanks again mom
So call me bitter, but I never could look past that experience even after the car was repaired. For instance, I still say the car instead of my car. I just want to distance myself ya know? I know that it's not the car's fault either, but still. Oh and if you think I was being dramatic about the danger posed when the engine blew, I read an article in the newspaper the next very next day about a man in the same area who also had car trouble that night. He earned a spot in the newspaper because he wasn't as lucky as us. He was unable to get picked up by his mother at the Forks and had to spend the entire night huddled up in his car. He ended up with frost bite on his feet and nose.
So yeah, I sold my car, and for good reason. The car drove fine afterwards, but I think we can all agree that I could use to lose some of that damn baggage. Whew, anyone know of any good cars for sale?