Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Roxy the drama car

Oh, hey. I took a hiatus last semester to work on my recital. I'm happy with how that went, and with the fact that I can learn new things, now.

video

I decided to go up near Lake Wintergreen around sunset yesterday to take some pictures. ... should have walked. It was a blast running up there on Sunday (and yes, I went before the 40 mph winds hit us) and I'd have been better off repeating the experience. That said, yesterday makes an interesting story.

Right, so I decide it's a good time to take some pictures up at the lake. Now the hills around here aren't all that well taken care of the day after a storm, and it definitely means careful driving. The car does make it to the top of wintergreen, though, and I'm a little surprised at how well it does so. Not a bit of slip; it's like watching a slow, inexorable force climb something.

The car's a little older, a '99 Cougar – not something you'd ordinarily take out in the snow, but it's what I've got. The check engine light goes on an off at seemingly random intervals, and in cold weather the battery light turns on because it's tougher on the charging system.

I turn the corner to get to the lake when I notice something curious. Those two indicator lights are now, well, pulsating is a good word for it. They aren't really flashing, exactly, because you can tell they aren't supposed to be. This is about the time I decide to skip the pictures and turn back. So now I'm at the very top of Wintergreen, in a car that's whining about check engine and battery.

That's when the whining stopped and the screaming began.

So, systematically, the check engine, battery, ABS, airbag, traction, brake, traction control button, and a crazy-red-light-I've-never-seen-before come on, most of them wavering somewhere between deciding to be on and deciding to be off. All of the gauges go out. Somehow, the motor's still running. I'm already heading downhill, I just started, and I'm thinking This is not good. This is not good at all. interesting, though...


A couple of seconds later, and I'm wondering why things are so very quiet. It's nice to have a quiet car... oh right, it's because the engine just quit. Well this is also not good a good thing. In fact, I would say this is almost worthy of getting onto my list of bad things to happen in a car on a hill with snow all over it.

Things you need to know when your motor goes: you only have a few applications of power brakes, so use them long and use them wisely. You also don't have power steering, so I hope you've been working out a bit.

Eventually I get to a spot at the bottom of the hill and pull the car into a backroad. A friendly veteran lets me jump the car, which works, kind of. At least, it works for as long as the cables are connected. Being that I am not a fan of attaching cars together or stealing batteries, I decide this isn't about to work. The car starts, runs for about 3 minutes, and then fails... miserably.

My immediate thought is to borrow someone's extra battery, throw it on the passenger seat, and wire it to the main connection under the hood. This is something I think comes from my uncle. I never find anybody with an extra battery though, so here comes the tow truck. Yay.

Just before the truck arrives I figure I'll take the stuff I might need out of the car. I figure what the heck, I'll try to start it. Of course it turns over and works beautifully, enthusiastically...

So, the car that a couple of my friends dubbed Roxy is apparently a bit of a drama queen.