Don Bauder 4:30 p.m., Dec. 9
When you last found me it was three weeks ago when my Automotive Karma wore out. That's when the engine on my van began to tick and then knock. Seven days later the transmission on my truck decided to go into neutral and stay there during rush hour on the 15 south. Now we are down to a motorcycle and the motorhome.
Now I know you'll agree trying to find a good mechanic is up there with trying to find a good doctor or dentist. You can take potluck in the yellow pages, the Pennysaver or a word of mouth referral from someone who's had good fortune regarding their auto repairs. Estimates on the vans engine went from $1300 to $4500. I felt as though I were at an auction.....1600, 1600 do I hear 2000? Yes. 2000, 2000, do I hear 3000? 3500, 4000, 4500, 4500. Yes, but not sold. With the economy being what it is, tough and challenging and money being what it is--scarce, $4500 was not an option. We decided to pursue estimates on the truck instead, thinking it would be the more cost effective way to go. At first we were told it was a simple switch on the side of the tranny that tells the engine what gear it's in. A quick $110. Then the auction began again. The same mechanic told me I needed a new transmission at the tune of $2800. I did what any self respecting person would do when faced with major surgery, I got a second and third opinion. Estimates went from $2300 to $3800.
My, oh my. Decisions. Decisions. What's a girl to do? Faced with financial catastrophe on all sides we decided to tow the truck home. Stay with me folks, 'cause this is where it starts to get fun. My old autoclub expired 5 days after the truck was towed the first time. We decided to get AAA. Not thinking about it at the time we now have a whole 7 miles of free towing. Which I now know I need to increase. As I said this is where it gets good. Friday, Feb 5th, I have the truck towed 7 miles. Careful to know my next chess move, I measure exactly 7 miles on the odometer, so I knew where to drop the truck next. On Saturday, Feb 6th, I meet the driver and have the truck dropped at my pre-designated coordinates. Of course it had to rain. Where's the fun if it hadn't? I measure the last distance to home. A mile and a half.
We decided after the Superbowl we'd make the last move. Under the cover of darkness we brought out the heavy artillery. We pull up to the truck in the motorhome, rope in hand. We should not have tried this at home folks. We are not trained professionals. My husband jumped out and quickly attached the ropes. Flashers on, we were off to meet the first turn and challenge. The ropes break. Coasting to the left turn lane for Citrus, he jumps out and reattached the shortened ropes. We are on our way again. Sort of. We make the turn and the ropes snap. He jumps out again reattaching the ropes which were alot shorter. Soon he'd be on the motorhome bumper.
We now have a long stretch of straight road. I get so excited I forget to watch my speed, and the war weary ropes snap again. We coast to the shoulder in front of some homes, as two cars come from behind. The first passes, and the light show begins as police lights flash and we have the honorary siren blast. Fearing a big fatty ticket for our "Do it yourself tow", my heart stops. Then the happy dance begins-he was after the other car!!! I run home, get some ratchet tiedowns, and in a flash he has them attached. We get to the first of the final two turns and make it. Three blocks and a horseshoe driveway to go. The final right turn the tiedowns shred apart. We are 1 block and our driveway from our final destination. It's 9:30pm. We are out of rope and options. Then an angel in a baseball cap appears. "I have chain and a hitch." He hooks us up, and I pull up the drive. Did I mention it's a horseshoe and the motorhome is 27'? I get to the top and start down and am touching the fence. My husband is in midclimb. Finally we are on hallowed ground, waiting for divine intervention for possible repair. Until then we have a motorcycle and a motorhome.