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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Stranded in Idaho

As all of you know, I have been on a trip to spend time with my 75 yo father and to visit another friend in Canada. The original plan had been to go back east as well.

I started out by going to Idaho Falls to visit with my Dad for about a week before going to Canada. I had a wonderful time in British Columbia with my friend Tina for eight glorious fun-filled days.

I was really sad to leave but knew I had to get on with my journey. So back to Dad’s I went with the intent of going from there to Wisconsin and my next friend, Debbie. Then came the dreaded phone call – the dear husband was going to Washington D.C. to get his passport.

What does this mean you might ask? For me, it meant the end of my journey for this year as he had to go to Vienna, Austria for a UN CTBT summit. Have I made your head spin with all those acronyms? LOL! UN = United Nations and CTBT = Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Yeah, my DH is one of a handful of special people in the world that does treaty negotiations and with the election of President Obama, those negotiations have started up again. Good for him as he’s going to be hopping all over the world for large chunks of time. Bad for me as I don’t get to go with him yet as our youngest is a senior in high school. :-(

So in lieu of going on with my trip I had planned four months for, I had to totally rethink my plan. There was no way I wanted to go back to the hot, hot, hot – did I say hot? – southwest. With my Dad’s 75th birthday just a week away, I decided to celebrate the day with him before going home to get the youngest ready for school, a task the DH was supposed to do this year.

We had a wonderful prime rib dinner the Sunday before my Dad’s birthday with as much family as could be there. On the very day, we had a roasted chicken dinner at my brother’s house. It was all fantastic and made my Dad very happy.

As I packed up my stuff, I knew I would miss the surrounding farm land which reminded me so much of where I lived until I was eleven. Giving my Dad a big hug and kiss, I was on my way with four new tires purchased just the day before. I had to get gas and went to the Costco in Pocatello because it was twelve cents a gallon cheaper. My cheap Scottish husband had finally gotten to me over the years. Fill up the tank, hop back in the car and turn the switch.

Nothing. Da Nada. Absolutely nothing. I couldn’t even open the back to get my jumper cables because the whole darn car is electric and there is no lever to open the darn thing up. Sigh. This was bad. A kind soul took pity on me and with his wife and toddler looking on, charged me up and vroooommm – off I go.

In hindsight, I should have gone to the nearest car shop and had the darn thing replaced right then. But I was suddenly anxious to go home since my older son had called to say ‘Hi, Grandma’ which meant they were finally pregnant after trying for so long. Besides, most batteries have one more trip in them and I knew it wasn’t the alternator.

Well, not mine. Just thirty-five miles outside Pocatello, my car lights up like a firecracker with wipers going and all alarms blasting – I kid you not – going all haywire as it dies doing 75 miles per hour. I half expected all the windows to go down as I watched all my crap blow around the freeway. Not a pretty thought. It’s hot, it’s miserable and I can’t even roll down the damn window because it is so dead. Crap, crap, crap. I am so screwed.

Thank goodness for AAA and the hundreds of people in Verizon – can you hear me now? – behind me. I got a call out to AAA who arranged a tow with a very honest guy known as Solly from Solomon’s service in a little town called Inkom. Next call to the DH to make sure I have money all the way around because this just might be expensive. After a short thirty minute wait, I’m in the service garage.

We had a discussion and determined it could be one of three things: battery ($150), alternator ($200-500) or the car’s brain ($1200-1500). My stomach clenched on options 2 and 3. I anxiously sit waiting for the verdict. Yippee! It’s option #1. Still, it takes another hour to go to Pocatello and get the battery, bring it back, put it in and get me on my way.

Whew! I am just tired writing it all down again! LOL! And yeah, there’s a story here somewhere, I just know it: here I was stranded on a main highway, taken to a service station across from a restaurant called ‘The Red Pony’ and all of it happening in the pouring rain. Don’t think I didn’t take notes...LOL! Yup – quite a story – and if it hadn’t happened to me, I would not have believed it for one moment.

So, now, why don’t you all tell me your worst breakdown nightmare? And believe me, this wasn’t even my worst, just one of many. LOL!

Don’t forget the August giveaway of a basket full of goodies including an iPod nano. Next week, I have a giveaway for all the authors out’s a surprise!

Until next week...see you all then!



susan said...

Several years ago we were about 400 miles from home when our alternator was night time and course now we are losing our lights because what we have is coming right from the alternator in between for support. We were on an interstate which means not many stops along the way. We made it to a small truck stop and stayed there until daylight and slept in the van which wasn't too bad since it did have a bed in it..just that we wanted to be home. The repair man was very nice and even accepted a personal check from us which is rare these days if you are not well known to some one. It was a fair deal as sometmes you read where repair men will sock it to you because they know you will pay anything just to get home. I was a bit edgy for several trips after that as I was not very comfortable being stranded in the middle of an interstate. susan L.

Nancy G said...

I don't drive, but when I was on my "honeymoon" (not really but I'd only been married a week so I call it that)we were driving to southeast Missouri to visit the new in-laws: my new husband, myself and my new sister-in-law (the one who thought she was better than anyone)when the car just stopped dead in the middle of the highway. We were able to get a trucker to help us move it to the side of the road, but then he had to take my hubby to the next exit to get a tow truck. I had hoped it was something minor, but no: my husband had forgotten to check the oil and stuff before we left town, and the engine was done for. (I'm a mechanic now, but not back then)We ended up getting towed all the way to his folks house, and then he had to work the farm to earn enough to buy a new engine for the stupid car. I helped him put it in, learning as I went, and finally after ten days in a place with no television, no music except what the in-laws would let us listen to (in other word no modern music) and nothing to do but read, I was grateful to be heading home. I made sure he checked everything before we left, and we almost made it back home before it happened-two flat tires (not one-he couldn't do it simple)Luckily, I was able to find a phone (this was before cell phones)and call my dad to come pick me up-I was a bit ticked so I went home and left DH to get the car and himself home. the mechanical knowledge has lasted to this day-DH is remarried and lives in Florida with his much older wife.

M.Flagg said...

Years ago I sang with a band. After a gig, the drummer followed me down a deserted stretch of major highway. My little gremlin just fully died. He pulled in front and asked for a screwdriver. I shook my head, never one to carry tools around. The hood was up and he was yelling how girls never carried what they needed. In a huff, he pulled away to get one from home (he was driving his mother's car). He told me to lock the doors, which I did. I waited and waited. Finally, I saw a car coming. Mind you, this was a four lane empty highway at 3 am. The car swirves and weaves. I grabbed the wheel just in time as it flew from the fast lane to the shoulder to hit me, pushing my car into guardrail. The car never stopped. My friend found me in my car yards down the road as the police pulled up. It seems a new gas station worker wanted to try out someone's red corvette but didn't know how to drive stick-shift. I wasn't too hurt. The gremlin survived like a tank, and we all lived to tell about it. To this day, I won't carry a screwdriver - just imagine if I had one in the glove compartment.

Lynn Crain said...


This reminds me of the time we got caught in the middle of an Indian reservation with our water pump out. The nearest place was 17 miles away. That was a fun trip.

Thanks for stopping by!


Lynn Crain said...

Nancy G.,

I so understand about breakdowns. I had a boyfriend in college that no matter where I went with him, we had a car problem. I always impressed him since my Dad had taught me about cars when I was young.

Dad made sure I knew three things: How to jump the car when the battery died, how to change a tire and how to check the oil. In high school I took auto mechanics so I could learn the rest.

And my DH is always amazed that I can tell him when something is going to happen to the car. But this time I didn't follow my instincts and boy did I learn my lesson.

Again. LOL!

Thanks for stopping by!


Lynn Crain said...

M. Flagg,

I am so glad you survived that ordeal! I always worry about that when stranded on the side of the road. You hear horror stories about people being hit outside their car BUT you were inside a tank.

I've had a couple of tanks in my life. One was my 68 Camaro. I would get nailed by people with a new car and get barely a dent and their fiberglass pieces would be on the ground next to them. I also had a 69 Galaxy 500 once. Geez...nothing ever touched me in that one...LOL!

Thanks for stopping by!


Stephanie said...

Imagine moving in the middle of a hot summer day. Finally have the truck fully loaded, the family van stacked to the roof with odds and ends plus all the family pets and just enough leg room for the kids.

On our way, an hour and half from the house and the nearest rinky dink town the van starts making odd noises in the middle of nowhere. Can't figure out the problem, having done the whole check list before we set out, so one my mother and one of my sibs take the truck to the closest station. Toes us there and we find out its the alternator and they can't get a new one for a day and half. We-five people-ended up staying in a small roadside twin bed hotleroom with everything from the van plus the animals: three dogs, cat, and two Hudini-type turtles. It was fun.
But it gets better...on the way out of town two of the trucks tires decided to go flat at the same time. Dealing with the moving company to pay for them...not so fun.

C.R. Moss said...

Imagine summer time in Vegas (think it was toward the end of July), nice and hot outside. It's after 5pm so the air is nice and toasty. Coming off 215 to go north on Rainbow. Friend and I are in the car sitting at the light. Radio goes off. I notice my whole car is off. I'm in the left lane of the right turn and am blocking rush hour traffic with my dead car. Luckily some men were nice enough to hold up traffic and push us onto Rainbow into the emergency lane. I go to call AAA. Turns out that had expired the month before. I'm not happy. Call hubby. He comes and then calls a tow. Fun, eh? All that because my battery went. That was in '05 & I had to replace it again in '08. Stupid desert sucks the life out of them.

PJ von Detweiler said...

Early September 1981. PA Turnpike. Three children in the back seat, one a six week old infant. CB radio (a useless implement, we discovered. Channel 9 was a joke.) Three hours. Statie finally stops, calls for a tow, and leaves. Tow comes, no space for a family of five. Finally got to a phone, called the folks (who were worried sick), were rescued.
Radiator leak $150
Engine seizure. $1400
Seeing my dad's car pull into the service station. Priceless.

Lynn Crain said...


That is definitely a good one. I just can't imagine being in that room with everything you've desribed...just too funny!

There is a story there, I know there is!

Thanks for stopping by!


Lynn Crain said...


That is so true of the desert. This one was the original and I purchased the car in 2006. I too have noticed it seems to only last about 3 years here in the heat.

Still, not a happy thought in rush hour traffic here. People are insane. LOL!

Thanks for stopping by!


Lynn Crain said...


LMAO...this is so hit the spot.

Luckily I don't have too many of those when I was growing up. Dad was too anal about his cars.

It was only after I was out on my own I learned the realities of car mechanics. The very first trip I took to a national park 200 miles away, I had to call home because the car had died.

Thanks for stopping by!


CrystalGB said...

One summer, my cousin and I decided to go to Virginia Beach for July 4th. We did fine going there but on the way back instead of going south, we went north and ended up in West Virginia. It took us 4 hours longer to make it home because we had to backtrack. We were exhausted when we got home.

Belinda McBride said...

I've had some pretty awful breakdowns, including one late night break-down on I5 when Darryl Rich was picking his victims from that area!) But the most memorable was when I went to my first big, on the road dog show. It was the Siberian Husky National Specialty being held in Ontario, CA. I rode with my friend Barbara in her moterhome, along with her 6 dogs and my Summer. Coming home, we were just over the Grapevine, on the north side, when the engine blew. Its over 100 degrees out and we're stuck with a vehicle full of arctic breed dogs. Not good. The surly tow truck driver takes the moterhome, leaving us with all the dogs at the side of the freeway. Well, luckily, another friend pulled up in her van, and we stuffed all our dogs into crates with her dogs. We now had 12 dogs and four adults in this rackety old van. Summer sat on my lap and I sat on a tin can full of dogfood. We make it to another town, and the electrical system fails...and our driver gets a phone call that her mother has just died. We get a new battery and she drops us off in Sacramento. We spent the night with Barb's friend who has MS, and I stayed awake all night trying to keep Summer from making noise. The next day someone else takes us to Grass Valley where I picked up my car and fled back to Redding, swearing never to go to another dog show in my life.

It retrospect, it was a kick in the pants.

Judy said...

We live in Louisiana and we were going to Colorado to visit my daughter. She had my son's two girls with her and it was getting close to school starting, so we thought we would take a short vacation and then bring them back home with us. We made it to Selena, Kansas and the car starting stopping and starting. Still not sure what it was. We left the car in Kansas at a garage, rented a car and went to Colorado. On the way back home, we stopped in Kansas to pick up the car, the garage could not find anything wrong with it:) We paid them, took the rental car back and started for Louisiana. We had been travelling a few hours when it started doing the exact same thing. We took it easy, when it decided to stop we would find a safe side of the road and wait until it started running again. We made it home eventually and the next day my husband took the car and traded it in. I believe that was about the worst situation I have ever been in. Here we were with two younger girls on the interstate from Kansas to Louisiana, not sure what we were going to do if this car would not restart. Very frustrating time!!

Anonymous said...

Several years ago we drove to San Diego from Phoenix and there is a stretch of about 100 miles of nothing in site but the desert. It felt like 110 degrees that day. Needless to say, our fan belt broke and we had to hitch a ride into Yuma. ugh in the heat, that was quite a trip

Jeanette J said...

Our worst break-down was on a trip to New Brunswick. The last leg of the journey is on winding dirt roads in the woods with no street lights. By the time we reach this leg it's night...and the car dies. Let me tell you, when it's dark there in the back woods it's really dark. I think we changed a fuse and finally got it going and made it to the camp. We took it to our cars dealership and they were supposed to have fixed it. Well, driving home to Ontario it kept dying which is scary when one is travelling along about 100 km an hour. By changing fuses when we broke down we managed to make it to Toronto. We did get it fixed and got our money back from the dealership in New Brunswick

Lynn Crain said...


At least it was probably pretty country. The only places we've ever done anything like that is when we get lost in cities. They are not fun places to be most of the time.

Thanks for stoppinb by and sharing your story!


Lynn Crain said...


Where the heck do you live that you're in the Grapevine? Reason I ask, I know that area...LOL!

Yeah, it sounds as if was a harrowing experience. I can see why you didn't want to do any more dog shows.

Thanks for telling us your dog show experience!


Lynn Crain said...


That is the exact same thing I told my DH when my youngest was born. We had a Jeep that was starting to do the same thing and all I could envision was me getting stuck on the freeway, rush hour traffic with a newborn.

He eventually figured out what the problem was, 2 fuel pumps both electric and one had gone belly up. I refused to drive that vehicle.

The problem was the very next one we got, a Taurus station wagon was just as bad. We had apparently got a lemon.

Thanks for sharing your car story!


Lynn Crain said...


Ah...Yuma is the arm pit of the world...LOL! I worked there a whole summer and it was nothing but desert and dust and hot, hot, hot!

And don't get me even started on belts. I swear I should own a factory.

Thanks for sharing your story!


Lynn Crain said...


Sounds similar to what we had to do when the water pump went on the Indian reservation in New Mexico.

My husband kitched a ride to the nearest phone some 17 miles away while I limped the car to him. I had to put towels on the radiator, drive a half mile or so, stop and rewet them with just me and our oldest. It took me 4.5 hours to get 17 miles.

The tow truck didn't get there until almost midnight and we had to ride in the Jeep while it was being towed. It was dark and some idiot almost did a head on with us. It was an experience I never want to repeat.

One good thing, I didn't have any forest around me or anything because the desert there is pretty bare.

Thanks for sharing your story!


jennifer said...

mine was at night time i was going someplace i had never been before i was upset cause i couldnt find the right road so i was not paying any attention to the gas gauge. before i knew it i was on a rock road in the middle of no where n out of gas at like 2 in the morning. about 15 mins of me trying 2 decide which way i was suppose 2 walk 2 get gas a beat up truck pulls up and a very rough looking good ol boy got out. i wasnt sure whether this was the start of a bad horror movie or not. well it turns out that the man was an actual good guy he went to town got gas brought it back put it in the car and lead me 2 the highway n refused payment.

Lynn Crain said...


Such a great story although a little scary. You never know what you're going to get but sounds like the guy who found you was great.

Just like the tow guy who came and get me. Makes me keep my faith in mankind.

Thanks for stopping by and telling us your story.


ddurance said...

I was about sixteen and working at a garment factory as an inspector. It was hotter than hell in there and you had to stand up on concrete all day. Needless to say, I didn't have a lot of clothes on, like really short shorts and a barely there tank top.
I was headed home from work when my always breaking down car broke down once again. Luckily I was within a quarter mile of a house where I dearly hoped nice, normal people lived. Anyhoo, I started walking when a weird guy stopped to ask if I wanted a ride. Well, my dad had always read a lot of true crime stories and he was fond of saying things to me like, "You need to be careful, don't make me worry that I'll find you mammocked up by the road some day." No kidding, I don't even know if mammocked up is a word, maybe just a southernism. Pops should be proud though cuz I turned down Mr. Possibly Psycho right quick like. He argued a bit but finally left. Before I could get to the house, a family of women and kids pulled up and were headed to town and offered me a ride. I felt safe enough to accept and all's well that ends well. LOL


Lynn Crain said...


It would appear that our father's had the same type of philosophy. I was always told something close to what you are saying.Dad definitely didn't care if I had to walk 50 miles, I better never get into a guy's care unless I knew him well. Dad would have preferred my brother...LOL!

Thanks for stopping by...loved your story.


Cherie J said...

Reminds me of a trip we took a few years ago to visit my mother. On the way back home we ended up stranded halfway through the drive back when our car stalled. We managed to make it to a rest hour but since it was evening the car repair shops were closed so we had to get the car towed to a hotel in the next town to stay overnight. Our son was about two then which made the situation extra frustrating.


Mindy said...

I was working 2nd shift at a PA state MR (Mentally Retarded)facility. I had a Pontiac Ventura, a VERY hatefull car.
2nd shift ended at 11:30 & I was driving home to Coatesville, PA. I got to a BIG hill leading into town & my car died. All of a sudden three of about the scariest looking (Think Hell's Angels!)guys walked up to my car & tapped on the window.
They offered to push my car to the side of the road & then they escourted me home so no one would bother me. Talk about appearences being decieving!
I got home & called my Dad to get my brother to the phone to fix the car the next day.
Mum Sadie (Grandmother) overheard the conversation. when Rick & I took the car down to work on it the next day Mum Sadie gave me an
earfull as only a true Pennsylvania Dutch Grandmother can. Later she told me to go get her pocketbook out of her room & I ended up with another car.

SiNn said...

Back when i was 16 i came bakc to ill from indiana to spend time with my aunt nd uncle over the summer everything was ok up untill was time to go home so i called home asked for a week extention which i was granted then was time to really come home so my mome came to get me with our family friend and my nephews mom so we are headed home not only did our tire blow but our alternater went out about 4 hours from home here we r in a town where we knew no one and our mini van broke down talk about sucky i had the lecture of if you would of came home the week before this wouldnt of happened but we waited another 4 hours to get another tire and an alternator and on the way we went till we hit a freak hail and ice storm coming back in to indiana where we had to pull over and wait it out so we could return home so an 8 hour trip took 18 hours

Tina said...

we were on this ricket bridge on a high way and me and two infants had to stay in the car while my hubby crossed four lanes of traffic to get help then 18 wheelers were going by shaking us was scary!

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