Did that headline make any sense?
What I mean is, sometimes you think that everything is really bad, but then you realize what would have been even worse and you find yourself shaking your head and saying, “Holy Toledo, I just dodged a bullet.”
Well, that happened to me today.
THE SET UP
So….. as many of you know, we have spent the last month moving from Grass Valley to Paso Robles, which is about 5.5 hours in a car and around 7 in the truck – one way.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about how my Jeep overheated on a busy road in Grass Valley, but the silver lining was that the tow truck driver fixed my weed wacker and gave me a wonderful pep talk.
And Hubby knew he could fix the Jeep so we ordered a radiator. In the meantime, Hubby had put some ‘radiator fix-all’ stuff into it that plugged up the hole. It felt kinda like a rinky tink fix but the Jeep worked and I knew the radiator was coming. Which it did.
Hubby and I have been using the truck to drive back and forth to Grass Valley. I’d take the truck and horse trailer and fill up the trailer. He’d take the truck and rent a flatbed and move large items. I’d return with the truck and horse trailer and get more stuff….
During this back and forth, we moved the 10 horses. Something told me to NOT trailer any of them myself. I marked it off to owner paranoia, but I listened. I had all 10 hauled professionally. I drove the truck with no cargo and met them at the new house.
All appeared to be fine.
Then, last week, I was driving the Jeep to meet Hubby in town, and it lost all power. I coasted into a parking spot and walked to where Hubby was meeting me.
‘Hmmmmm’, he said, ‘that doesn’t make sense.’
“I know!… Will you drive the Jeep home tonight and see for yourself?”
Of course, it didn’t do the bad thing when he drove it.
But, I asked Hubby to continue to drive the Jeep (and I’d drive his car), because I didn’t trust it.
Now let me introduce a fourth vehicle, Hubby’s SUV.
(For you keeping score, I have the Jeep and my truck. Hubby has his car and his SUV.)
So, on Saturday, Hubby drove the truck up to Grass Valley to pick up our last item… Hubby’s SUV that he needs to repair because it has no reverse. It will go forward, just not backwards. Since he has another car (and we’ve been very busy), he hasn’t fixed the SUV yet.
Anyway, Hubby drove up Saturday to Grass Valley and as he arrived, he realized that he had forgotten the keys to the SUV – back with me in Paso Robles.
He had driven the 5.5 hours and he didn’t have a key to start the car to put it onto the rented flatbed to bring back here to the new house.
So, he called me.
He asked if I could meet him halfway at 8:30 in the morning on Sunday, the next morning (yesterday).
So, I got up at zerodarkthirty and drove up to meet Hubby at the halfway point, which just happened to be the Famous Pea Soup Andersons. I got there first and ordered a wonderful breakfast.
I turned around and drove back to the new house while Hubby went back up to Grass Valley to deal with his SUV.
A few hours later, Hubby called to say that he had hooked up the SUV and he was headed home in the truck, pulling a trailer which carried the SUV.
In the meantime, I had my own kind of fun… dealing with Hubby’s crazy puppy who was out of his mind due to our crazy neighbor who was skeet shooting off his back porch almost directly into my fields. (Seriously) Don’t get me started.
I had been in the pen with Annie when he started and she almost mowed me down. Very dangerous.
Anyway, I was fine… but listening to irregular rifle shots for 8 hours can really make one go a bit nails on a chalkboard.
HUBBY RETURNED HOME THAT NIGHT
It was about 9:30pm when Hubby came up the driveway with the truck, pulling the trailer and the SUV.
Immediately I saw that he was in trouble… My truck is a 2 wheel drive and unless you hit the driveway just right and go in the right direction around the roundabout, it won’t make it. And, it wasn’t making it. Hubby was digging new trenches in our newly graveled driveway.
I didn’t dare go outside.
Finally, once I saw that he had given up, I went out the backway to meet him coming in. He was beside himself and almost in tears.
I said what wives say… It’s OK, we’ll deal with it in the daylight… let’s get some food in you, take a nice shower and I’ll turn down the covers…
After he settled a bit, he turned to me and said that “That wasn’t all…” there was something wrong with the truck brake drum on the truck, he thought. He said that as he was coming over the Grade (a very steep canyon between the flat middle part of California and the more mountainous Coastal Range), the truck started to make a ‘funny noise’ in the wheel. He was sure he had gotten a rock in the drum. He said not to worry.
So this morning, everything seemed easier, as predicted, in the daylight. Hubby took the SUV off of the trailer and drove it into a nice parking spot where it can go forward. Then he drove the truck and rented trailer around the roundabout and parked it. He would come back later in the afternoon to return the trailer.
Hubby went to work, and so did I (well, I work in my office and I went there). My day was very busy but I did grab time to go to the Post Office and the grocery store in Hubby’s car. (He is still taking my Jeep to work since I don’t trust it.)
OK, so… around 3:30 I called Hubby and asked if he was going to take back the trailer. He said he was mired at work and asked if I could do it. I said that I had a deadline and I couldn’t. So, the truck and trailer stayed connected (which ended up being a good thing).
At 6pm, Hubby calls me to give me an update.
Evidently, the Jeep radiator overheated again AND did the bad thing while Hubby was driving home. He was stuck on the side of the road. He was very upset.
I noted that I still had the truck with the trailer attached and that I could drive it down to him and he could load up the Jeep onto the trailer.
So, I got into the Truck and set about moving the seat forward since Hubby is much taller than I am… and the automatic mechanism broke. I couldn’t move the seat forward. But, no worries, I ran inside the house and brought out two pillows that I put behind my back to push my little legs forward. Yes! I could reach the pedals and the clutch (it is a 5-speed).
Ready again! I started the truck… except, it wouldn’t turn over. My workhorse Dodge 3500 dually 5-speed – refused to go to work.
All I could think about was Hubby sitting down on San Miguel’s Main Street, cooling his heels.
I tried one last time and worked the pedals like crazy to keep it running. Hmmmm. It worked but this was very odd behavior from my trusty truck.
THE DRIVE TO GET HUBBY
I have never pulled a bumperpull before so I was watching in the mirrors to understand how the rented trailer turned – and then I heard it. A huge grinding and bumping sound. I slammed on the brakes and I had no brakes.
Luckily, I was on flat, less traveled, vineyard roads. And luckily that the truck was a manual. I was able to stop it by down shifting and using the emergency brake.
Frightened but stopped, I put my foot on the pedal brake. This time, it engaged.
Weird. So I called Hubby and asked if this is what happened to him while he was traveling over the Grade? Is this the rock in the brakedrum? He confirmed that it was.
So, I drove on, very slowly, checking the brakes every mile or so. I never took the truck out of 2nd gear. The sound got worse, the ride was horrible and the brakes were failing. I knew it. But, I drove to reach stranded Hubby. I figured that we could drive the truck/trailer back home in first gear and make it.
I saw Hubby on the side of the road and gently pulled my truck in front of my Jeep. I handed the keys to Hubby and he loaded the Jeep onto the rented trailer behind my sick truck.
I had Hubby drive us home. I could tell by his face and his driving that he was very concerned, too. The noise had subsided, but the brakes were almost totally gone. He never took it out of 2nd gear.
Our plan was to stop the truck on the final flat before our hill to offload the Jeep. In this way, we knew the truck would make it up the driveway… and the Jeep had sufficient time to cool so it could be driven the last block and up our driveway.
As Hubby stopped the truck, his foot pushed the pedal to the floor. No brakes left at all.
He rolled the Jeep off of the trailer and I drove the truck up our hill and up our driveway and around the back (in very low gear) and it coasted to a stop in front of our garage.
Hubby drove the now cooled Jeep onto the property and parked it.
While I prepared dinner, I heard Hubby making all those noises that guys make while fixing a car after work when they are already tired and hungry.
After a while, I went out to see how it was going.
Hubby told me that the wheel bearing had completely broken. Eventually, the wheel would have just ‘come off.’
Are you saying that the wheel was about to come off?
HOLY CRAP! (So much for the ‘road safety inspection’ I had in February…)
Hubby turned to me and shook his head and exclaimed something about ‘when will it end’… and ‘we’ve had so much go wrong lately – why is it all happening at once?!’
But to me… all I could think about was how flipping LUCKY we had been that we’d been driving these cars/trucks unbeknownst to us that needed major attention – and nothing happened to us! I had just used that truck on two major road trips to Grass Valley. What if the wheel had fallen off on busy 100mph I-5? What if it fell off while he was in the dark driving over the horrendous Grade? What if I had decided to trailer my own horses and the wheel fell off somewhere in 100 degree weather on the freeway? What if it fell of when I just drove Wrigley to his new training experience? What if I had just driven into a ditch coming to get him?
Sure, we have 4 cars and tonight, only one works. And that definitely leaves me stuck at home. But, I don’t have a job right now so I have nowhere pressing to go. I need to finish unpacking… and I need to set up my studio… I need to wash the floors… and I haven’t spent much time with the horses. It is kinda fine that I cannot leave the house. Oh, and I just went grocery shopping! Bonus!
Yes, we’ve had our share of bad luck… and we dodged a number of bullets in the last few days… and but I don’t feel unlucky. Nope, today, I feel INCREDIBLY lucky. Even with the wheels coming off.