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What am I doing It's all fun and games till Annette faints and Carlyn gets her pants slashed... who am I kidding, it's still fun

On The Road Again

USA | Thursday, 5 February 2009 | Views [415]

So… after a less than spectacular 19hour trip from Ft. Lauderdale to San Diego, I have spent the last two weeks doing, well, nothing. Ok, that’s a lie. I had a belated Christmas, got wicked sick, puppy sat a feisty yellow lab who had a taste for magnets, went to the driving range once, pretended to have graduated from Cornell’s Hotel School for a few nights, distracted Tracy and Rory at work, packed pretty much all my belongings, and took my car in to get a tune up before yet another road trip.
The tune up is where the problems started.
Thursday I took my car to the Mazda dealership (after my mom’s insistence) for an oil change and tire rotation. Driving home after paying a few hundred dollars more than anyone should ever pay for an oil change and tire rotation, I noticed, driving 60mph (being passed right an left) down 805, my watch, wrist, hand, and arm had begun to bounce and quiver right to left at what seemed to be a super sonic pace. It seemed my car had picked up a bit of a shimmy from the dealership. Then it hit me, they had rotated the tires….
Unfortunately my tires were not the same size. Why? you ask. Well, it seems that during my last adventure cross country, somewhere around telluride, some nice road worker had dug a trench. I proceeded to hit that trench. Going, at a low estimate, 70mph (don’t ask Donal… I’m sure his story paints my driving skills in a slightly different light) Not until the next day did Donal and I actually take a look at the tires. By that time my nice little low profile tires had each developed matching tumors in the sidewalls. These tumors threatened to burst the my front tires at any moment….
We were kind of near four corners. If you have ever been to four corners you would know there is not much there. For those of you who have never had the pleasure of visiting four corners (where Arizona, Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico meet) imagine an immense desert, a two lane road… yeah, that’s about it. Oh and a gas station out of the last century, rusted, unused pumps, a few tires sprawled around, peeling faded blue and red strips painted where a sign should have been affixed and no 195/50R16 (apparently an odd sized low profile tire.) Lucky for us, there was a man “working” there, albeit there couldn’t have been much work. He was nice enough to look at me like I was crazy to have driven there at all, and point us back, 40miles or so, to Durango Colorado which, believe it or not had multiple tire stores from which we could choose.
Not that that meant they had my size tires. So basically, after having directed all the other information about my car to Donal (who doesn’t own a car or drive) the mechanic pulled me into the garage and bitched at me about keeping my car well aligned. Bitch session was due to the fact that I had warn the tires down to the steel belts… oops. But on my own behalf they tested the alignment and it was perfect. So, I was told that the only option was to replace my now busted front tires with larger tires (205/50R16) and then switch the larger tires to the rear.
This trip to the garage all came back to me in unmistakable clarity as I shook down the freeway with my larger, unbalanced tires now on the front of my car.
It was Thursday.
In denial, somehow thinking that this shaking had all been in my head, hoping I wouldn’t have to take my car back to the dealer, I had my mom drive my car… on the three quarters of a mile of freeway between our house and the grocery store there was only a slight quiver in the wheel not the ungodly shaking of the afternoon before. Granted I don’t think the car ever made it over 50, but it was enough that I could convince myself the shaking maybe was all in my head. I called the dealer to explain my oddly sized tire predicament and make sure the larger tires were safe on the front. I was told that, while it looked stupid, it was in fact, safe.
No trip back to the dealer for me.
Saturday… Dad drove the car… we were all stunned that the doors didn’t fall off with that much shaking. Goodyear’s Superbowl Sunday hours were looked up and the car was brought in that morning.
Goodyear: My front tires (the smaller ones) were peeling. Mazda hadn’t told me that? My radiator something something (pointed out to me) tubey thing had a slight leak. Not really a problem, but had Mazda told me? No? My shocks were 30,000 miles past when they were supposed to be replaced. Mazda? No? Really?
See a theme here? So… somehow, for my safety, I agreed to get brand spanking new shocks. He’d make a deal for me though, the fourth one would be free, and he might even be able to cut a few bucks off the two new tires I needed also.
So, very rarely am I that girl. But when it comes to cars, I am that girl. The girl that knows absolutely nothing. I might as well walk into the office with my purse wide open and a sign on my forehead that says “fleece me” I can’t even pretend to know something, anything really. The vocabulary is all foreign to me. My alternator sprocket needs a new shroder head? Blankly nodding I do my best impression of a dear caught in headlights then ask how much it’s going to cost. $1300. Really? Well, you know best. Ok.
So, the tires, shocks and probably an alternator sprocket’s shroder head were paid for and replaced. But my car was now all shiny and ready to drive 3000 miles packed down with hundreds of pounds of my crap.
Or so I though. It was Sunday night by the time I got my car back to the house and started packing. The plan was to leave before noon Monday. Having packed my car full once or eight times before, I knew the routine. Cargo box on…. And shove as much stuff as possible into it. Although now I had quite a bit more stuff than previous years. Because of the cruise, I had to bring things like prom dresses and tasteful, smart causal attire, clothes that could no longer double as napkin or packing material. And all those clothes came with matching shoes. This looking nice think is a pain and takes up a lot of space.
So, in the cargo box goes cruise wear, tent, sleeping bag, ski pants, half my glass (30lbs) glass tools, climbing shoes, harness (you know, the essentials) In the trunk… well, anything else that would fit. Plus I had to factor in both parents (330lbs) and their stuff (dad: 15lbs, mom:50lbs) Because, apparently parents have to have somewhere to put their feet, I had to leave a few things home (to be shipped later): backpack, bike, golf clubs, bouldering pad, snorkeling gear, softball equipment, any and all kitchen items except my knife and espresso maker, and ski boots.
By noon-thirty Monday, after one minor breakdown (happens every time I have to tetris style mash all my things into my car) we were ready to go. House locked up, encyclopedia of Buddy waiting for the dog sitter, all other cars quietly parked and ready to go unused for a week, we backed out of the drive way only to hear the horrible gravel like grinding of my back tire on the inside of my wheel well.
Hmmm, I think it was just something shifting in the trunk…. AHHH, there it is again… ok, that’s not right. Straight back to good year. Long story short, 24hours, spring spacers, smaller tires (yep went back to the 195/50R16,) 21.6 miles of test driving my car while holding my breath waiting for a horrible grinding noise, and somekind of rusted suspension socket replacement later we were on our way… minus 43lbs of cruise clothing to be shipped later.
So New York here we come.

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