March 14, 2010
Wednesday at about 4pm, Courtney and I were eating at the Fred Meyer deli when we decided that we wanted to go see her mom and grandparents in Roseburg, Oregon. It is a six hour drive. So we left at about 5:30 and everything was going fine. We forgot our cell phone chargers, but our batteries will last. Most of the drive was in the dark which I hate and about five hours into the drive I was super tired and struggling to stay awake.
My 2001 Ford Escort with about 120k miles was running fine as always. All of a sudden my car wonâ€™t accelerate. Ok that sucks. Then I here a thud and I can tell some kind of belt just snapped in my engine. I pull off onto an exit ramp and as soon as my car stops, it dies. Itâ€™ll be the last time it ever runs. I call roadside assistance and tell them what exit we are at and they wanted to know where to tow my car. I quickly realize that I have no clue where I am. I know of no towns that are with in 40 miles and it is 10:30 at night.
My fiance calls her grandparents which we find out are about an hour away. We decided that it would be best to leave the car and get it towed in the morning. When a tow service is open and I can actually find the nearest town. Her grandparents picked us up and they brought us back to their place.
The next morning I called a tow service based in Drain, Oregon that is basically five miles away from my car. He said he could go tow it and we can meet him at the repair shop. Then we got a call from him and he said that the car wasnâ€™t there and that probably the police had it towed. Oh great Iâ€™m sure they are experts at finding the cheapest towing service. I called the state police and they said they towed the car and to call â€™Jimâ€™s Towing.â€™ He is based in Yoncalla which is just a few miles from my car. I called him and he sounded like a pleasant guy until he told me the price of the towing. 335 dollars. Wow, ok thatâ€™s gunna be a big hit. Oh and he wanted it in cash. Of course I have not a cent in my bank account cause I paid off a big chunk of my credit cards yesterday. Thank god that I found one of Courtneyâ€™s paychecks this morning and cashed it. There goes every penny that I had brought for the trip. Luckily I happened to have 300 bucks in my back pocket. Come to find out that he charged us $200 more than any other tow truck would have. He turned out to be the biggest jerk that Iâ€™ve met in years.
We went down to get my car and have it towed again to a repair shop. Of course that was another quick $65 dollars to tow it not even a mile down the road. I could have and should have just pushed it down the road in the pouring rain for an hour. At least the repair shop took a credit cardâ€¦
The mechanic was a real nice guy and he owned and ran the repair shop with his wife. Very down to earth, small town friendly people. He informed me that my engine basically just blew up and he would need to replace it. A used Ford Escort engine would cost about $2500 with no warranty and a rebuilt engine would be about $3500. This trip is starting out great! My car Blue Books for about 700 dollars and thatâ€™s with a running engine.
Well the obvious decision here is to trash my car. We found a guy that would tow my car to his junkyard and give me 200 dollars. Perfect. Went and cleaned out my car which was freaking disgusting, something had leaked all over my trunk and all over my golf clubs. There was mold all over the bottom of my trunk. There was junk all over in my car. Typical messy car. Of course my future grandfather decided to help me clean it out. I am made such a great impression on him. Thank goodness he is a great guy and understood that people arenâ€™t perfect, especially me lol.
We spent the next few days at the grandparents house and it was actually a good time, in spite of all the recent events. They drove us back to Portland this morning, which is about half way between our houses. My brothers wife (who lives about two blocks away from me)so kindly met us there and drove us the three hours back home.
So at least we are finally home and I can start the search for a new car. I cannot afford it at all. I have no job, have been living off of my parentâ€™s insurance and have zero money. There is a slight possibility that I may have to cash out my poker bankroll to buy some sort of transportation. Iâ€™m definitely going to have to cash out a few hundred to repay some people for their help over the past few days. Iâ€™ll have to drop down in limits at poker, but at least I know I can win at those levels and maybe I can grind some real quick money.
I learned quite a few life lessons on this trip:
- Never buy Ford Escorts and drive them more than a 100k miles. The engines give out and the car isnâ€™t worth the repair. Iâ€™ve had two Escorts and both ended the exact same way. The repair man and the guy that bought the car from me told me the same thing. â€œEscorts are just that type of car.â€
- If you break down on the freeway, donâ€™t pull off on an exit ramp. It will be considered a hazard even if it is on the shoulder. The police will tow it and the towing company can charge whatever they want. Instead, pull off onto the freeway shoulder and you will have a day till it can be towed.
- Keep your car clean as often as you can because you never know when you will have to clean it out with your fianceâ€™s grandfather.
- And the lesson I have learned twiceâ€¦SELL YOUR CAR BEFORE IT KILLS ITSELF!