Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Adventuresome

This is West Virginia. It is beautiful. This was taken around 4pm on Friday, the first day of my 10 day road trip of doom. 

Also West Virginia.. also beautiful! However, those huge windmills FREAK ME OUT. I read these books when I was little called the Tripod Trilogy (which I really need to re-read, because that Wikipedia article is giving me flashbacks). The big windmill make me think of tripods and I get a little convinced they're going to spring to life... I'm totally normal.

Here's a pic of a bite on my left thigh. Looks an awful lot like the spider bite on my arm from a couple months ago, right? I don't have Lyme disease, right? Someone assuage me. That pic is from Friday also, it looks a lot better today. And no longer itches. The total size was about 3 inches across.. scary big.


So here's where the story gets interesting... at about 9pm, I had just started driving (my mom is the primary driver on these trips but she occasionally lets me drive). We were outside of Charleston, WV, with a couple hundred miles still to go before we were going to call it a night. I'm chugging along, relishing the 70 mph speed limit, enjoying the mountains at dusk. There wasn't a lot of traffic on the road, so I was going around 77 mph (totally incriminating myself...). Suddenly, I see a deer carcass in the middle of the road... like, right in the middle of my lane. Her back is facing me, perpendicular to the direction of traffic. I didn't have sufficient time to do anything but stay the course... and ran RIGHT over this big old deer. It was a particularly hefty deer, with a fairly tall stomach.

My mom and I were shaken, but kept driving. Seemed like we had whacked her pretty good, but everything was ok.... famous last words! Then things started going rapidly downhill. A light came on in the car saying the coolant was low, and I pulled over. We got out of the car and, indeed, coolant was leaking like a sieve. Not a drip-drip sort of situation, it was pouring out of the car. It was pretty clear and odorless. We called my dad and started calling BMW roadside assistance....

From there, things just got more unpleasant. Everytime we called BMW, we had to go through the "Give us your car's VIN number, where are you located" rigamarole. It was time consuming, and we kept getting kicked off the phone in one way or another. We could not directly call back and speak to the person we had been speaking to before, because they didn't have direct lines. So we'd make headway with one person, get kicked off, and never be able to speak to that same person again. We were in the middle of nowhere, sort of, but only 25 miles from Charleston, which is a big city and is the capital of WV. An added bonus was that BMW can only provide towing if the tow company accepts American Express as payment.. and apparently none of them did, and those that did were unwilling to drive out to the sticks and get us.

Me, my mom and my brother, stranded alongside the road with absolutely NO hopes for the situation changing. It is 11pm, we have made no progress. I am getting grouchy. I am getting miserable. I am frustrated by being told that it is just not possible to get someone out there. BMW doesn't understand where we even are, geographically (actual quote: "So.. Charleston.. you're near Virginia Beach?" other actual quote: "Closest dealer to you I'm showing as Lynchburg" me: "No, that's in another state.. I googled it and the closest dealer is in Charleston" "no, it's Lynchburg" "No it's not"... repeat).

I got pissy and took matters into my own hands. I do not deal well with what I perceived as imcompetence and an utter lack of the ability to use technology.. I understand they were using their special Roadside Assistance Software, but golly, a real live paper map would have helped in this situation! I googled a tow company, got the guy to agree to come get the car but he wouldn't/couldn't transport my mom, me and brother. So, BMW tried to get a taxi to come get us.. no dice. FINALLY a Highway 'Courtesy Patrol' from the WV Department of Transportation stops and takes pity on us. He gives the tow driver a go ahead to drive me and brother in truck, and my mom RIDES IN THE CAR on the back of the truck!!!! I so wish I had a picture, it was so classic/wrong/dangerous. All this time, BMW has been 'working on' getting us a taxi and a hotel... I nipped that in the bud real quick. There was just not enough time for them to work through their computer aided nonsense when I have a smartphone. I found a hotel, booked it, and we were on our way. The tow driver dropped us off, then took the car to the dealer.

Next day, we go visit the car, it looks like this:
Ick. Yes, that is deer hair. The car smelled so bad that the mechanics wouldn't keep it inside the shop, they parked it as far away as possible. It smelled oddly.. fishy. It was terrible. Oddly, the car itself looked fine, but the dealer said that there was major undercarriage damage, and stuff was "pushed back." I don't know a lot about cars, but when their internals are 'pushed,' I am pretty sure that's not a good thing. They said it could take 2 weeks to get the car fixed up, so we got a rental and tried to figure out our options. We could continue driving, but the rental company only gives us 150 miles a day, so we'd never have gotten across the country. We could go home and restart the trip with another one of my family's cars. We could cancel the trip altogether. Because of my work schedule, it looks like it is cancelled altogether for me. I might be able to do half the trip or something, but I'm not sure yet. I am really sad because I wanted to see the country, I love driving/riding, and I wanted to see my cross-country friends who I rarely get to see. It just wasn't in the cards. 

That was the song playing when we were on our way home in the rental.. thanks, satellite radio, for having a sense of humor.

We'll be back to regular running posts tomorrow (Spoiler alert: not much running lately...). 

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