Search

I Lost My Tranny in the Blue Ridge Mountains Part II

Updated: Nov 5

My Virginia experience has been good so far, other than the blown transmission and end of the life of my car 750 miles from home.


I find a hotel 20 minutes from Williams Auto and know I’ve got to be here for two nights. Not what I wanted to do, but I don’t have a choice. When the Taurus failed, I was thinking, ‘let’s find a U-Haul dealer with a hitch and I’ll hook up the car and continue the ride. It’ll cost $600, but at least it’s forward progress.


Only one of the dozen U-Haul places answered the phone or returned my calls, texts, or emails. It was noon on a Saturday, not 2 am. Where have they all gone? The one that called didn’t have any hitches, nor could they lead me to someone who did. Guess which global enterprise is going to receive a not-so-great review.



Cucumbers and Cigarettes


Anyway, I’m at the Extended Stay hotel in Richmond, so I decide to get some food for the next two days, settle in, and work a full day from the hotel tomorrow. I’ll be in transit on Monday, so I might as well do it now. It turns out to be a good move as I have a productive day in my room that smells like a combination of cucumbers and cigarettes from years gone by.


Monday finally arrives, and it’s all Uber rides, shipping, travel, and disappointment. The tab for the refurbed transmission will be nearly $5,000, so that’s it for the car. I’d already settled with myself that if it were less than $1,500, I’d go for it. As is, it would have taken four days to get the tranny. Aiken at Williams Auto tells me they have to remove it from a car and ship it to them.


Sounds like a live organ replacement to me. Not worth it for an ‘05 Taurus with 220k miles. I say thanks but no thanks, then tell Aiken I’ll figure out what to do with the car. A few minutes later, she calls back and offers to buy it from me for $150. “It’s a deal! Thank you.”



Uber Here, Uber There


So I Uber back to the shop, we make the transaction, and I take the ten bags worth of stuff out of it. It’s a sad affair as I see all the little things I’ve collected in it over the years that I have to leave behind. Antifreeze, oil, blankets, etc. I was ready for anything except a blown transmission.



I call for another Uber to bring my stuff to the UPS Store, say goodbye and thank you to Aiken, and we’re on our way. I’m at the store for a while as they convert ten bags of loose stuff into two huge boxes. As with all UPS Stores, 15 people are waiting behind me, but I’m still in a pretty good mood, albeit stunned that I lost my car so quickly.


I had asked the Uber driver, Garand, if he could wait for me and then take me to the airport, but he says no since he’s a dick.


Best Uber Ever


Now it’s back on the phone to call another Uber driver. This guy, Derek, shows up in a black Tesla Model S with custom seat covers, and this thing is spectacular.


“What a beautiful car!” I say to him, and I can see he’s proud of it. He speeds out of there and onto the highway toward Richmond International Airport. He’s a good guy and loves to talk about his car, and he demonstrates all the features as we roll down the highway, including hands-free driving. I’m a little nervous when he puts his hands behind his head, but he’s confident, so I forget quickly.



We finally arrive, and I feel a little better having talked to someone. First time at RIA, but it seems nice enough. I take my time, make sure I don’t have any drugs or weapons in my bag since I wasn’t planning on flying, then go in. Just another airport, and I don’t even care anymore I’m so stunned by the whole experience.



Search My Bags, Please


Of course, an overzealous douchebag security guy takes my backpack for ten minutes and rifles through it looking for the guns, explosives, and drugs, but fortunately, there are none, and I’m free to go.



From there, the flight goes as normal, and I arrive at the new terminal at Orlando International Airport, and Susie picks me up. The warm air feels good, she’s concerned, and it’s nice to be home. I drive home, telling her my tales of the road, and we get home. I go to bed and fall asleep, wishing I’d just woken up from a bad dream.



No such luck. Tomorrow is car shopping.


Home Blog Bio Album Reviews Contact